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Vexing Valley Ambush

A Secret ValleyThe tumultuous and meddling doings of Mischievous Meadows comes to a cataclysmic end in this week’s Sidequest Saturday: Vexing Valley Ambush!

The trails of Agent Elwin, Alby Amhlaoibh and whomever let loose the pepfralcons all lead to the same place: a secluded valley to the northeast of the grove where all this mess began. The troublesome antagonists are the adventurers’ only lead for what could have happened to their magic items, and were that not enough, an enchanted ring found while trying to lock down the location of the party’s adversaries provides the final clue—a lesser shining star.

Read the following as the PCs follow the magic item or trails of the various small folk proving to be such an impediment, bringing them into the Vexing Valley:

Pollen wafting on the breezes that fall down the hills on either side of the valley bring a pleasant fragrance to the idyllic scene before you, complementing the rolling green grasses and shimmering verdant fields that sway from blasts of wind that whip across the meadow. The sloped sides of this valley eventually round to a narrow pitch above its deepest part, a single cave four hundred feet from the natural entrance between its hills.

The slopes of the hills on either side of the valley are at 45 degree angles (counting as difficult terrain to move up and granting higher ground to combatants farther above) and about 600 feet from base to top. Eventually it narrows and rounds into a sort of hilly-gorge with a cave at the valley’s lowest, deepest point.

Once the party approaches within 100 feet of the cavern’s entrance, magical sensors hidden deep under the earth by Alby pick up their movement (although incorporeal and invisible PCs remain undetected). This begins a chain reaction that unleashes dozens of biddlywinks into the valley; read the following:

As you peer about the valley, looking intently at the cave entrance at the bottom of the pitch, some movement catches your eyes; something small and insectile begins to curiously crawl out onto the green grass and you make out the shape of what must be another biddlywink. Then a falling rock from further up the valley wall, above the cavern’s entrance, alerts you to the presence of another magic-consuming insect. You quickly realize to your horror that the entire wall is filled with biddlywinks, and the mischievous creatures begin pouring out from the hillside, buzzing in your direction!

 

Biddlywink CR 4

XP 
1,200
CN Diminutive fey
Init +9; Senses darkvision 120 ft., arcane sight, see invisibility; Perception +12
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 size)
hp 38 (7d6+14)
Fort +3, Ref +9, Will +8
Weakness silver
OFFENSE
Speed fly 60 ft. (perfect) or 40 ft. (see text)
Melee force fronds +11 (1d8+3 force)
Ranged +11
Space 0 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks force fronds
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7th; concentration +10)
Constant—arcane sight, nondetection, see invisibility
At will—glitterdust, mage hand
5/day—dimension door
STATISTICS
Str 6, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 16
Base Atk +3; CMB -2; CMD 13
Feats Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Sleight of Hand), Toughness, Weapon Finesse
Skills Escape Artist +14, Fly +15, Perception +12, Sense Motive +11, Sleight of Hand +17, Stealth +26, Survival +12; Size Modifiers Fly +6, Stealth +12
Languages Druidic
SQ freeze, hide in plain sight
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Interdimensional Sac (Su) While biddlywink can (and often do) consume enchanted items as quickly as possible, they also store them to digest later in an invisible extradimensional sac not unlike a handy haversack or bag of holding, but only capable of storing up to 30 pounds. When a biddlywink is killed, the sac appears on the material plane and bursts open dealing 3d8 force damage (DC 20 Reflex negates) to any creatures or items in a 10-ft. radius (though not to anything within it).
Force Fronds (Ex) The tendrils extending from a biddlywink’s mouth can be devastating when employed to attack a creature. On a successful melee touch attack, they deal 1d8+3 force damage.
Light Flier (Ex) When a biddlywink’s interdimensional sac is holding at least 2½ lbs. of items or a number of caster levels worth of items equal to twice the biddlywink’s hit die, it cannot maintain a sustained flight. Its speed is reduced and it moves in long bounds and hops that don’t exceed 5 feet in height or 10 feet in length—the biddlywink effectively now has a base speed of 40 feet until items in its Interdimensional Sac are digested.
Ranged Legerdemain (Su) A biddlywink can use Sleight of Hand at a range of 30 feet. Working at a distance increases the normal skill check DC by 5, and the biddlywink cannot take 10 on this check. Only object that weigh 5 pounds or less can be manipulated this way.
Wyrd Digestion (Su) These strange insectile-fey literally eat magic to survive. As a standard action, a biddlywink can ingest a magical item of Diminutive size or smaller. As a full round action, it can consume a magical item of Tiny size and over the course of a minute (ten rounds), a Small size magical item.
Once eaten by a biddlywink, an item is not instantly destroyed—instead it is secreted inside of its Interdimensional Sac. Potions are digested quickly within and are destroyed after a number of rounds equal to caster level. Wondrous items are more resilient and last for a number of minutes equal to caster level; any other enchanted items (rings, staves, weapons, armor) are destroyed after ten minutes per caster level.
Any item recovered from a biddlywink’s interdimensional sac before it is fully digested operates at two caster levels higher than normal for one week. The first time it is stored in an extradimensional space, it remains empowered this way until removed again (though afterward, the increased power diminishes and it returns to normal).
Biddlywink that consume enough magic items (1000 gp x hit die) transform into a biddlytree and sprout 2d12+4 biddlywinks with the young template after 1d10 days.

Biddlywink Army

CN Medium (100) army of fey (biddlywink)
hp 21; ACR 6
DV 16; OM 6
Special arcane sight, darkvision, flight,  ranged legerdemain (once per round of combat, a biddlywink army engaging an army with enchanted weapons or armor can choose to reduce the opposing army’s bonus to either DV or OM by -1), see invisibility, weakness (silver; a biddlywink army takes x1.5 damage from an army attacking with silver weapons)
Speed 3; Consumption 5
Note Biddlywink armies predominantly only attack armies with enchanted goods, but will engage pepfralcons (their natural predators) if the fiery birds are outnumbered.

Most adventurers are smart enough not to engage dozens of biddlywinks all at once and make a run for it or somehow protect themselves in the hillsides, but if a PC decides to take the insectile fey head-on, don’t discourage them—just strip them of their magic items as they pit themselves against the biddlywinks (either an army using the mass combat statblock below facing off against 12 of the creatures at a time)!

Put the pressure on for a few rounds of chase as the biddlywinks near the party or breach their ad hoc defenses and ask the PCs for a DC 13 Perception check to notice that the lesser shining star is gleaming an impossible-to-hide ray of starlight towards the cavern. Then read the following:

A defiant, familiar cry accompanied by the waft of an open flame seems to grow from one lone call into a chorus of voices as you realize the battle is soon to be joined by more adversaries. Swooping into the far entrance of the valley from behind both hillsides are dozes of pepfralcons! The flaming birds dart forward, scorching the air behind them and turning the entire area into a raging inferno!

Deerfire_high_res_edit

Fiery Terrain

While the pepfralcons absolutely pose a serious danger to the PCs as enemies, the greater problem is the enormous fire that is certainly going to consume this valley before the battle comes to an end! Every square the pepfralcon “army” travels through is ignited and burns for 1d10+1 minutes, dealing 1d6 fire damage to anyone that passes across a fiery 5-foot square!

If the party isn’t running for the cavern yet, the lesser shining star begins to gently tug them in the direction of its parent artifact—currently being used quite feverish by Alby as he gathers the choicest items from his treasure hoards before absconding. Any PC wearing the lesser shining star suffers a -1 to attack rolls and AC every round they fail a DC 10 Strength check to resist the ring’s pull if they aren’t gradually moving toward the cave entrance. Moreover, one particularly fearsome advanced pepfralcon keeps attacking the adventurer carrying the lesser shining star, continuing its assault until the bearer escapes into the cavern.

Advanced Pepfralcon CR 10

PepfralconXP 9,600
N Medium magical beast
Init+9; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +10
DEFENSE
AC 25, touch 17, flat-footed 18 (+6 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural armor)
hp 136 (13d10+65), fast healing 1
Fort +11, Ref +15, Will +8
Immune fire
Weakness cold
OFFENSE
Speed 10 ft., fly 70 ft. (perfect); hovering inferno
Melee beak +21/+16/+11 (1d8+6 plus 1d6 fire, Crit 19-20/x2+1d10 fire)
Ranged flaming feathers +21/+16/+11 (1d8+2 fire, Range 20 ft.)
Special Attacks flaming feathers (ranged touch, 1d8 fire; Reflex DC 20 or catch on fire), hovering firestorm (30-ft. radius, 6d6+12 fire, Reflex DC 20 halves)
STATISTICS
Str 19, Dex 27, Con 19, Int 9, Wis 18, Cha 15
Base Atk +12; CMB +16; CMD 35 (cannot be tripped)
Feats Dodge, Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Natural Weapon (bite), Toughness, Weapon Finesse
Skills Fly +21, Perception +10 (+16 visual), Stealth +15, Survival +10; Racial Modifiers +6 Perception (visual only)
Languages
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Fiery Flurry (Ex) Any natural attacks made by an advanced pepfralcon deal +1d6 fire damage as its plumage scatters with each violent movement. Any creature that strikes an advanced pepfralcon with a natural weapon or without a melee weapon that grants reach takes 1d6 fire damage as the shed feathers whip at their limbs in response. These feathers never ignite flammable materials.
Flaming Feathers (Ex) The advanced pepfralcon can fling it’s fiery plumage at enemies within 20 feet (any farther and the quills are consumed in the flames. On a successful ranged touch attack, targets take 1d8+2 fire damage and make a DC 20 Reflex save or catch on fire.
Hovering Firestorm (Ex) As a full-round action, an advanced pepfralcon can create a miniature tempest centered around the square they occupy. This maneuver provokes attacks of opportunity. The advanced pepfralcon spins wildly and swiftly whips out feathers that turn a 30-foot radius into a tempest of flames that deal 6d6+12 fire damage (Reflex DC 20 halves). Any flammable objects in the area catch fire (attended objects receive a DC 17 Reflex save).
Hovering Inferno (Ex) Any round in which an advanced pepfralcon does not take a full movement, any squares adjacent to their path of movement (including squares they briefly occupy) are filled with its scorching plumage as the bird sheds fiery feathers everywhere it goes. Creatures in any of these squares make a DC 20 Reflex save or take 1d6+2 fire damage (success negates). Normally these feathers burn out before igniting materials, but as a swift action the advanced pepfralcon can intensify its feathers’ heat to ignite flammable materials.
TACTICS
The advanced pepfralcon is extremely dangerous; its intellect rivals many humans and it makes the best use of its abilities, burning all of a target’s allies to distract them before moving in for the kill.

Pepfralcon Army

N Small (50) army of magical beasts (pepfralcons)
hp 38; ACR 7
DV 17; OM 7
Special burn, fast healing 1, flight, immunity (fire), scent, weakness (cold; a pepfralcon army takes x1.5 damage from area cold attacks)
Speed 3; Consumption 3
Note Any squares the pepfralcon army crosses during a battle remain on fire (dealing 1d6 fire damage to any army that occupies that square) for a number of rounds equal to 1/8th the pepfralcon army’s remaining hit points)

Fortunately for the PCs, Alby didn’t even have time to set up traps or properly close his escape route! On the tops of the hillsides of the valley the party notices lurking masked figures of mysterious individuals (P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. Agents) as the PCs dive into the cave, and they’ll only have a minute or two to gather what they can from what Alby left behind—troves of medium and minor wondrous items, and their equivalent magic arms and armor. Read the following as the adventurers escape the vexing valley:

Escaping the impending inferno by diving into the cave, you barely notice black-swathed figures atop the hillsides of the valley, obscured by the smoke but definitely there—and in numbers.
The shrieking pepfralcons don’t follow you into the rocky passage and after a few dozen feet you lay your eyes on a treasure hoard that would make a dragon blush in shame. Glowing swords, glittering shields, embroidered boots, inscribed rings, and countless arcane or divine goods are littered in piles around the cavern.
No exits are clearly visible save what appears to be a malfunctioning secret door built into the wall, heading north farther into the earth.

Celurian-Prayer Bead of SaintWhat exactly the PCs pull out of the item hoard and how much time they have to do it is ultimately up to the GM, but should never exceed twenty rounds; what more, the presence of the pepfralcon army directly outside of the entrance should warn them the time to leave is imminent. The AaWBlog recommends rewarding the party magic items equivalent in worth to the ones they lost (perhaps even improved versions) as well as a few other choice pieces—this is the time for their reward. Read the following when the adventurers finally make good their escape down the tunnel Alby clearly left through:

On the other side of the malfunctioning stone-slab door, you can clearly see the broken handle of a half-activated lever—which explains why the door wasn’t entirely closed. The tunnel contines down another forty feet before turning around a bend.

A DC 20 Disable Device check or DC 12 Strength check activates the full mechanism of the seamless secret door in the escape tunnel and buys the party a bit of a head start from the sure-to-follow P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. agents about to storm the cave. After a hundred feet, the PCs come across a conspicuously large red button that says, very clearly in large letters of Common, Dwarven, Elven, Gnomish, Halfling, Klavekian, Orc, Vikmordere, and others, “DO NOT TOUCH.” Pressing it doesn’t do anything, but a DC 30 Disable Device or DC 30 Use Magic Device check gets the button to work, caving in all of the tunnel behind and the cavern that holds Alby’s last treasure hoard.

Of course, the adventure isn’t over—the PCs have brought themselves to the attention of a powerful and influential organization. If they haven’t made permanent enemies or aren’t guaranteed to do so (in the case of the vast majority of paladins), the party may find employ or a means to power by joining the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S.—but that’s a story for another day. Most adventurers probably want to settle scores with Alby, and if they still have the lesser shining star, the PCs have the means to do it (although they won’t be the only ones looking for the troublesome gnome)!

Check out the AaWBlog tomorrow to get a look at a P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. Agent if the PCs are being actively chased by the organization, but otherwise, have a great time bringing Mischievous Meadowsto your tabletop in time for April Fool’s Day!

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The Critics

The Critics (CR 11; 12,800)

As the party travels through the wooded area of Mischievous Meadows, they run into the critics—a group of more or less mad individuals whose exposure to art in one form or another has twisted them. Now they roam the region to sate their thirst for vengeance, while pretending to help the world by ridding it of bad art (though their interpretation of such is rather broad). Little do the adventurer’s know that an agent of a mysterious organization watches them from afar, guiding the critics toward the party to once more test their mettle!

(1) Deilarth CR 8

Gary Dupuis -Amaralda-CThis half elven redhead has a mad glint in her wild green eyes
XP 4,800
Female half elf sorcerer 9
NE Medium humanoid (half-elf)
Init +7; Senses low-light vision; Perception +12
DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 16, flat-footed 16 (+2 deflection, +3 Dex, +4 mage armor)
hp 49 (9d6+18)
Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +7; +2 vs. enchantment spells and effects
Immunities magic sleep effects
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger +4 (1d4, Crit 19-20/x2)
Special Attacks laughing touch 8/day (melee touch attack, target can only take a move action for 1 round)

Spells Known (CL 9th; concentration +14)
0th (at will)—daze (DC 19), detect magic, detect poison, ghost sound, prestidigitation,  read magic, resistance,  touch of fatigue (DC 15)
1st (7/day)—charm person (DC 18), entangle (DC 16), feather fall, mage armor, magic missile, shield
2nd (7/day)—bull’s strength, eagle’s splendor, hideous laughter (DC 21), see invisibility, touch of idiocy (DC 21)
3rd (7/day)—deep slumber (DC 22), fly, hold person (DC 22), lightning bolt (DC 18)
4th (5/day)—confusion (DC 23), crushing despair (DC 23), poison (DC 19)
Bloodline fey

STATISTICS
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 13
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 20
Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Eschew Materials, Greater Spell Focus (Enchanment), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (Perception), Spell Focus (Enchantment)
Skills Appraise +8, Fly +10, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Perception +10, Spellcraft +10, Perform (painting) +6
Languages Common, Elven, Sylvan
SQ Cantrips, fleeting glance, woodland stride
Gear circlet of alluring charisma +2, ring of protection +2, handy haversack (4 potions of cure light wounds), 325 gold pieces, a collection of hastily drawn sketches, and a brass spyglass missing one lens.

TACTICS
Deilarth has mage armor cast before any encounter (included in the profile above). If she has time to plan she casts eagle’s splendor, shield, see invisibility, and fly on herself, then bull’s strength on Paddy, Faddy and Olwen. She controls her enemies with crushing despair and confusion, using lightning bolt on targets that seem immune to her enchantments.

BACKGROUND
Deilarth grew up in a small village. One day she started hearing voices telling her to create paintings—she started painting and showed such great talent that her depictions of the beautiful scenery around the village made her a well-known artist in the local area. Alas, as the months went on the voices made her paint more and more twisted versions of the nature around her village, culminating with otherworldly landscapes she saw only in her dreams.

Deilarth locked herself in the workshop and worked feverishly on a masterpiece to reveal to the villagers so they might understand her, like she understood the voices. Finally the day came where she unveiled her outstanding artwork, and the voices assured her that everything would be better afterwards. The villagers gathered in the center of the settlement to see what Deilarth had created—perhaps she had abandoned her weird style of late and returned to her roots, some said.

The painting was magnificent, although today no one knows exactly why—as the villagers were gathered a rift appeared over the artwork and several lithe figures in leather armor surged out. Some of the lookers on were slaughtered, some were taken away, and some were driven mad by the weird energies radiating from the tear in reality.

Deilarth was driven mad by the knowledge that her painting had doomed her birthplace and everyone in it. She cried out in vain to the voices she had heard, but they had grown silent. The mad artist wandered the woods and meadows until she met Olwen Oakenbranch, and she listeneded intently to his ramblings about art. Deilarth thinks art is dangerous to the untalented, as it must have been her lack of talent that created the disaster in her village.

Now she travels with her companions and deems art worthy, or in her case deems people talented or untalented usually on a whim; the talented travel on, and those lacking in ability are sentenced to death. To help her determine if people are talented or not, she uses an old spyglass; Olwen, Paddy, and Faddy believe it to be a magic item, but only Deilarth knows how to interpret the things she sees within it—the truth is that it is just a broken spyglass the insane painter found before meeting Olwen.

(1) Olwen Oakenbranch CR 8

tree creatureA huge tree with blackened bark strides towards you, as it approaches it seems that the trees around you come to life as well. He screams, “show me the art, or die!”
XP 4,800
NE huge plant
Init -1; Senses low-light vision, Perception +12
DEFENSE
AC 21, touch 7, flat-footed 21 (-1 Dex, +14 natural, -2 size)
hp 114 (12d8+60)
Fort +13, Reflex +3, Will +9
Immune plant traits; DR 5/slashing
Weaknesses vulnerable to fire
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 slams +17 (2d6+9/19-20)
Ranged rock +7 (2d6+13)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks rock throwing (180 ft.), trample (2d6+13, DC 25)
STATISTICS
Base Atk +9; CMB +20; CMD 29
Str 29, Dex 8, Con 21, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 13
Feats Alertness, Improved Critical (slam), Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Diplomacy +9, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (nature) +9, Perception +12, Sense Motive +9, Stealth -9 (+7 in forests)
Languages Common, Sylvan, Treant
SQ Animate trees, double damage against objects, treespeech
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Animate Trees (Sp) A treant can animate any trees within 180 feet at will, controlling up to two trees at a time. It takes 1 full round for a tree to uproot itself, after which it moves at a speed of 10 feet and fights as a treant (although it has only one slam attack and lacks the treant’s animation and rock-throwing abilities), gaining the treant’s vulnerability to fire. If the treant that animated it terminates the animation, moves out of range, or is incapacitated, the tree immediately takes root wherever it is and returns to its normal state.
Double Damage Against Objects (Ex) A treant or animated tree that makes a full attack against an object or structure deals double damage.
Treespeech (Ex) A treant has the ability to converse with plants as if subject to a continual speak with plants spell, and most plants greet them with an attitude of friendly or helpful.

TACTICS
Olwen starts by using his Animate Trees ability and using them to engage the most formidable looking characters. He focuses his attacks on one enemy at a time, unless he is hurt by fire; then he attacks the source of the fire damage along with any animated trees until that threat is gone.

BACKGROUND
Years ago in a small glade two treants made their home, tending to the plants in the area. One day as Olwen returned from a trip to a nearby glade he found his friend was missing. The treant searched for him high and low, eventually finding his friend made inanimate, used as a support beam for a newly built bridge—cut down by woodsmen and used to further civilization’s encroachment on everything Olwen held dear. Furthermore a woodcarver had been hired to carve intricate designs on the bridge and now Olwen stared in horror at the scenes that adorned his friend’s trunk—happy humans dancing and playing music.

The carvings became the focus of Olwen’s rage; he detests everything humans call art and has made it his lifelong job to rid the world of all mediocre works. The treant fully understands that there is magnificent art and he intends to make sure that all humans that create mediocre art, or can’t create art at all, are destroyed along with their works.

Greengully Bridge still stands this day (Olwen cannot make himself destroy his friend’s tomb) but the he still wanders off to chat to his friend for hours. When he is home, Olwen usually stands with his back to the bridge as he cannot bear to see the crude mediocre carvings on it (meaning he hasn’t yet discovered that several people have made their own etchings into the timber and his friend). These carving are of a more explicit nature and their crude vulgarity would most likely send Olwen on a murderous rampage should he see them.

(2) Redcaps CR 8

redcapA small wicked old man, this snarling little humanoid wears metal boots and a blood-red pointed cap.
XP 4,800
NE small fey
Init +8; Senses low-light vision, Perception +12
DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 15, flat-footed 16 (+2 armor, +4 Dex, +3 natural, +1 size)
hp 60 (8d6+32), fast healing 3
Fort +6, Reflex +10, Will +7
DR 10/cold iron
Weaknesses irreligious
OFFENSE
Speed 60 ft.
Melee Medium scythe +10 (2d4+10, Crit x4), kick +4 (1d4+6)
STATISTICS
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 21
Str 18, Dex 19, Con 18, Int 16, Wis 13, Cha 15
Feats Cleave, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (Scythe)
Skills Acrobatics +15 (+27 jump), Bluff +13, Climb +15, Escape Artist +15, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (nature) +14,  Perception +12, Sense Motive +12, Stealth +19
Languages Aklo, Common, Giant, Sylvan
SQ Boot stomp, heavy weapons, redcap
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Boot Stomp (Ex) A redcap wears heavy iron boots with spiked soles that it uses to deadly effect in combat. These boots give the redcap a kick attack that it can make as a secondary attack, either as part of a full-attack action or as part of its movement just as if it had the Spring Attack feat.
Heavy Weapons (Ex) A redcap can wield weapons sized for Medium creatures without penalty.
Irreligious (Ex) Bitter and blasphemous, redcaps cannot stand the symbols of good-aligned religions. If a foe spends a standard action presenting such a holy symbol, any redcap that can see the creature must make a DC 15 Will save or become frightened for 1 minute and attempt to flee. A redcap who successfully saves is shaken for 1 minute.
Red Cap (Su) A redcap wears a tiny, shapeless woolen hat, dyed over and over with the blood of its victims. While wearing this cap, a redcap gains a +4 bonus on damage rolls (included in the above totals) and fast healing 3. These benefits are lost if the cap is removed or destroyed. Caps are not transferable, even between redcaps. A redcap can create a new cap to replace a lost cap with 10 minutes of work, although until the redcap takes a standard action to dip the cap in the blood of a foe the redcap helped to kill, the cap does not grant its bonuses.

TACTICS
Paddy and Faddy always attack enemies wearing the lightest armor; they both revel in the blood spilling and horror of their terrified foes.

BACKGROUND
In the town of Groverton lies a manor shunned by the locals; few if any will speak of it. This estate has always been the seat of the ruling duke, but now it stands empty and deserted. Two years ago the people rose up against the mad Duke Heinan von Twikelsburg (the last of his line and quite off his rocker). Heinan’s madness started showing some ten years before when he ruled that all men should wear purple hats on Sundays on penalty of death—the people chuckled at their duke’s newest idea, but two months later no one laughed when eight men were executed in the village square for unwillingness to comply with the duke’s wishes.

The people quickly adapted and wore purple hats on Sundays afterward, but the duke was bored when no new executions were forthcoming and decided that he himself would decree which weekday it was when he awoke in the morning, so eventually the people wore purple hats every day. The next ten years were a nightmare for the people of Groverton as a variety of weird laws made their duke’s descent into madness clear for all to see, though no one dared to speak out against him.

It was into this town the two redcap brothers Paddy and Faddy came—they were employed as the duke’s personal riddlers. Each would ask unanswerable questions like, “what is the color of the sound of a butterfly on a winter’s night?” No matter what the answer was, the unfortunate soul would only hear the redcaps say, “wrong off with your head!” Heinan von Twikelsburg was delighted with his newest entertainers, but the people had had enough. Paddy and Faddy escaped the raging mobs descending on the manor and during their flight they came across Olwen and Deilarth. The redcaps introduced themselves as comedians—Olwen decided that it was an artform he knew little about and therefore he needed them to tell him if a comedy was mediocre or not (so far, everything has been mediocre to the brothers.)

ALTERNATE SOLUTION
The critics require a performance to help them judge if the party should die or not—a series of five DC 20 Perform checks appeases the malicious impromptu judges.

SCALING THE ENCOUNTER
To modify this encounter, apply the following changes:
CR 10 (9,600) Apply the young simple template to all of the critics (+2 on all Dex-based rolls, -2 on all other rolls, -2 hp/HD)
CR 12 (19,200) Apply the advanced simple template to all of the critics (+2 on all rolls [including damage rolls] and special ability DCs; +4 to AC and CMD; +2 hp/HD)
Not long after the PCs have ended their encounter with the critics, a trio of strange, man-sized birds that appear to be made of fire burst from the treeline and swarm them, raining down hot death on the adventurers! Keep an eye out on the AaWBlog tomorrow to see the stats for pepfralcons and what’s in store for the party in this week’s Statblock Sunday!

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Biddlywink Barrage!

biddlywink barrageTracking after the enchanted items stolen from them the night before, the PCs unknowingly walk into a grove of biddlytrees and are attacked by a swarm of the magic consuming creatures!

The biddlywinks don’t actually pose that great of a threat to the PCs; the real danger is the loss of magic items and what awaits parties that remain in the area for too long. The adventurers aren’t the first to be lured into this trap and the corpses of a few wayward explorers fall from the trees! Read the following as combat begins:

As several more of the creatures leap from the brush and attack you, the probiscii from their mouths frothing with agitation, the bones and tattered remains of bodies in various states of decay fall from the branches above and scatter among the grove!

(10) BIDDLYWINK CR 4

BiddlywinkXP
1,200
CN Diminutive fey
Init +9; Senses darkvision 120 ft., arcane sight, see invisibility; Perception+12
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 size)
hp 38 (7d6+14)
Fort +3, Ref +9, Will +8
Weakness silver, vermin qualities
OFFENSE
Speed fly 60 ft. (perfect) or 40 ft. (see text)
Melee force fronds +11 (1d8+3 force)
Ranged +11
Space 0 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks force fronds
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7th; concentration +10)
Constant—
arcane sight, nondetection, see invisibility
     At will—glitterdust, mage hand
     5/day—dimension door
STATISTICS
Str 6, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 16
Base Atk +3; CMB -2; CMD 13
Feats Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Sleight of Hand), Toughness, Weapon Finesse
Skills Escape Artist +14, Fly +15, Perception +12, Sense Motive +11, Sleight of Hand +17, Stealth +26, Survival +12; Size Modifiers Fly +6, Stealth +12
Languages Druidic
SQ Freeze, hide in plain sight
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Interdimensional Sac (Su) While biddlywink can (and often do) consume enchanted items as quickly as possible, they also store them to digest later in an invisible extradimensional sac not unlike a handy haversack or bag of holding, but only capable of storing up to 30 pounds. When a biddlywink is killed, the sac appears on the material plane and bursts open dealing 3d8 force damage (DC 20 Reflex negates) to any creatures or items in a 10-ft. radius (though not to anything within it).
Force Fronds (Ex) The tendrils extending from a biddlywink’s mouth can be devastating when employed to attack a creature. On a successful melee touch attack, they deal 1d8+3 force damage.
Light Flier (Ex) When a biddlywink’s interdimensional sac is holding at least 2½ lbs. of items or a number of caster levels worth of items equal to twice the biddlywink’s hit die, it cannot maintain a sustained flight. Its speed is reduced and it moves in long bounds and hops that don’t exceed 5 feet in height or 10 feet in length—the biddlywink effectively now has a base speed of 40 feet until items in its Interdimensional Sac are digested.
Ranged Legerdemain (Su) A biddlywink can use Sleight of Hand at a range of 30 feet. Working at a distance increases the normal skill check DC by 5, and the biddlywink cannot take 10 on this check. Only object that weigh 5 pounds or less can be manipulated this way.
Wyrd Digestion (Su) These strange insectile-fey literally eat magic to survive. As a standard action, a biddlywink can ingest a magical item of Diminutive size or smaller. As a full round action, it can consume a magical item of Tiny size and over the course of a minute (ten rounds), a Small size magical item.
Once eaten by a biddlywink, an item is not instantly destroyed—instead it is secreted inside of its Interdimensional Sac. Potions are digested quickly within and are destroyed after a number of rounds equal to caster level. Wondrous items are more resilient and last for a number of minutes equal to caster level; any other enchanted items (rings, staves, weapons, armor) are destroyed after ten minutes per caster level.
Any item recovered from a biddlywink’s interdimensional sac before it is fully digested operates at two caster levels higher than normal for one week. The first time it is stored in an extradimensional space, it remains empowered this way until removed again (though afterward, the increased power diminishes and it returns to normal).
Biddlywink that consume enough magic items (1000 gp x hit die) transform into a biddlytree and sprout 2d12+4 biddlywinks with the young template after 1d10 days.
Weaknesses Biddlywink are vulnerable to silver and take x1.5 damage from all attacks made with the material (by spell or weapon). Moreover, whenever being treated as a vermin would prove negative for the biddlywink, such as when fighting an opponent with favored enemy (vermin), they are treated as the vermin type.

biddlywink barrage 2This battle shouldn’t be too dangerous; the biddlywinks put up a genuine assault but won’t be much of a problem for the PCs. Only 7 engage directly while 3 more attempt to pilfer more enchanted goods from the party.

When the combat begins to near a close, the troublesome creatures take to the woods and the adventurers are likely to give chase. Following the trail of the insectile fey is a simple task—it seems as though their flight is a reckless retreat, but in truth, the biddlywinks are only drawing the PCs farther into their trap.

After chasing the mischievous monsters about 100 feet farther into the woods, give the PCs DC 25 Perception checks to realize that their magic items or active spells (if they lack obvious effects, such as fly or an activate +1 flaming scimitar) have suddenly stopped functioning. Immediately afterward, the trees literally comes alive and attack them!

Chasing after the troublesome creatures you dash deeper into the forest, hot on the trail of the magic-eating insects. Suddenly something in the air seems to take on a strange quality and before you know any better, a truly exotic tree appears from the treeline, moving towards you with a clear malevolence!


Find out just what attacks the adventurer’s in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday!

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Sangue Malar

AWW_Blog_Blood_Vat_Map_Justin_Mason_Draft_002 jpegThe paranoia and chaos reaches a fevered pitch as midnight nears before Countess Veresovich enacts the final portion of her plan—the large floor of the ballroom suddenly drops out from under the attendees of the masquerade, dumping all of them onto a steep slope that slides each into an unremarkable hewn stone chamber hundreds of feet below.

If the PCs fall with the nobles, read the following:

The muffled panicking of the crowds of lords and ladies has grown as every member of the masquerade suddenly understands the excruciating experience of being locked in a cage with portent of only doom. Then, in a moment that immediately draws silence from everyone present, a loud, ominous clockwork gear can be hear turning somewhere along the wall.

Before anyone can react, however, the floor drops out from underneath! The crowds of nobles fall a few feet (or in some cases, a few more feet) and slam into a pitched slope that funnels them all down into a pile of frantic limbs in a nondescript cavern roughly hewn from the stone.

If the PCs are in another room when the nobles fall, read the following

A loud grinding of gears reverberates through the walls as the consternation in the main hall suddenly quiets in response. A moment later scores of crying voices ring out briefly before disappearing—the floor of the entire room dropped out from under the masquerade’s guests, funneling them directly into a large chute that goes down for hundreds of feet into the darkness. Their cries for help are easily heard and whatever uncertainty about what troubles Veresovich Manor that remains is sure to be brought to an end below.

sangue malar caveThe nobles are all too cowardly to venture farther down the cavern until the party arrives, at which point all of them assure the PCs that they are clearly better suited for danger. A good thing too; the only exit from the chamber is a narrow, 200 foot long hallway that leads down a small motley of miniature bluffs inside of a larger chamber and at its end are a dozen of the Countesses’ most fanatical acolytes. They lie in ambush, waiting to massacre anyone that’s fallen into their master’s trap, filling the sloping rooms with blood that pool in the final area.

(12) Sanguineus Acolytes; CR 4 (XP 1,200)

Sanguine AcolyteMale or Female human (Klavek) fighter 4/sorcerer 1
HP 44 (4d10+1d6+19); AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge)
Init +3; Speed 30 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +6 (1d6+3, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +8 (1d8, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.)
Base Atk+4; CMB +5; CMD 18
AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +3; Str 12, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 14
Skills Bluff +8, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (religion) +4, Perception +5; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Focus (necromancy); Eschew Materials, Toughness, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 1st; concentration +3, +7 defensive; spell chance failure 25%)
1st (3/day)—ray of enfeeblement (DC 15; CL 2nd), ray of sickening (DC 15; CL 2nd)
0th—acid splash, detect magic, mage hand, touch of fatigue (DC 14; CL 2nd)
Bloodline undead (sanguine)
Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork rapier, masterwork light crossbow, 78 gold
The Blood Is the Life (Su) Sanguineus Acolytes can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead 5 times a day. As a standard action, they can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as them, and must have blood. This ability heals the Sanguineus Acolyte 1d6 hit points and nourishes them as if they’d had a full meal.

After the cultists have been bested, Countess Veresovich makes her second attack: she orders her corpse companion and a second squad of 8 acolytes to assault the party.

With the blood of the fallen acolytes spilling onto the floor, you notice this entire cavern slopes towards another chamber. Inside of the next area you can clearly see Countess Darah Veresovich—her dress gown is gone, replaced by a set of vicious looking full-plate armor. She gestures at you and screams, “Kraujas, loyal followers, attack the interlopers! Coat the walls in blood! Sate your hunger for the crimson wine and drink your fill from the fallen!”

Once the battle seems to be going the adventurers’ way, the Countess decides to use one of her last cards: she enacts the binding rituals placed to affect the Items Sanguineus, conjuring forth whomever wore the vampiric amulet, mask and cloak (under her mental control, although it is not complete).

sangue malar 3Countess Darah takes a brief instant to survey the battle and makes a split decision, screaming, “MORTUUS VIVENS!” Wards and spiritual markings flare along the walls and roof of the ceiling in spurts that become more and more frequent before they all pop with darkness that coalesces in the center of the main cavern. In the matter of a moment, a pallid, familiar figure emerges from the inky black cloud, prominent fangs jutting from their mouth…

Vampire Dominated

Should one of the PCs have worn all three of the Items Sanguineus, they must make a DC 20 Will save each round or are under a dominate person effect controlled by Countess Darah Veresovich. If a member of the cult wears them (like Count Krev Ragata) they automatically fail their save each round unless they roll a natural 20.
Vampire Template

vampire aaaaughVampire” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature with 5 or more Hit Dice (referred to hereafter as the base creature). Most vampires were once humanoids, fey, or monstrous humanoids. A vampire uses the base creature’s stats and abilities except as noted here.
CR: Same as the base creature + 2.
AL: Any evil.
Type: The creature’s type changes to undead (augmented). Do not recalculate class Hit Dice, BAB, or saves.
Senses: A vampire gains darkvision 60 ft.
Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +6.
Hit Dice: Change all racial Hit Dice to d8s. Class Hit Dice are unaffected. As undead, vampires use their Charisma modifier to determine bonus hit points (instead of Constitution).
Defensive Abilities: A vampire gains channel resistance +4, DR 10/magic and silver, and resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10, in addition to all of the defensive abilities granted by the undead type. A vampire also gains fast healing 5. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, a vampire assumes gaseous form (see below) and attempts to escape. It must reach its coffin home within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed. (It can normally travel up to 9 miles in 2 hours.) Additional damage dealt to a vampire forced into gaseous form has no effect. Once at rest, the vampire is helpless. It regains 1 hit point after 1 hour, then is no longer helpless and resumes healing at the rate of 5 hit points per round.

Weaknesses: Vampires cannot tolerate the strong odor of garlic and will not enter an area laced with it. Similarly, they recoil from mirrors or strongly presented holy symbols. These things don’t harm the vampire—they merely keep it at bay. A recoiling vampire must stay at least 5 feet away from the mirror or holy symbol and cannot touch or make melee attacks against that creature. Holding a vampire at bay takes a standard action. After 1 round, a vampire can overcome its revulsion of the object and function normally each round it makes a DC 25 Will save.

Vampires cannot enter a private home or dwelling unless invited in by someone with the authority to do so.

Reducing a vampire’s hit points to 0 or lower incapacitates it but doesn’t always destroy it (see fast healing). However, certain attacks can slay vampires. Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight staggers it on the first round of exposure and destroys it utterly on the second consecutive round of exposure if it does not escape. Each round of immersion in running water inflicts damage on a vampire equal to one-third of its maximum hit points—a vampire reduced to 0 hit points in this manner is destroyed. Driving a wooden stake through a helpless vampire’s heart instantly slays it (this is a full-round action). However, it returns to life if the stake is removed, unless the head is also severed and anointed with holy water.

Speed: Same as the base creature. If the base creature has a swim speed, the vampire is not unduly harmed by running water.
Melee: A vampire gains a slam attack if the base creature didn’t have one. Damage for the slam depends on the vampire’s size (see Natural Attacks). Its slam also causes energy drain (see below). Its natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Special Attacks: A vampire gains several special attacks. Save DCs are equal to 10 + 1/2 vampire’s HD + vampire’s Cha modifier unless otherwise noted.
Blood Drain (Su): A vampire can suck blood from a grappled opponent; if the vampire establishes or maintains a pin, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution damage. The vampire heals 5 hit points or gains 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour (up to a maximum number of temporary hit points equal to its full normal hit points) each round it drains blood.
Children of the Night (Su): Once per day, a vampire can call forth 1d6+1 rat swarms, 1d4+1 bat swarms, or 2d6 wolves as a standard action. (If the base creature is not terrestrial, this power might summon other creatures of similar power.) These creatures arrive in 2d6 rounds and serve the vampire for up to 1 hour.
Create Spawn (Su): A vampire can create spawn out of those it slays with blood drain or energy drain, provided that the slain creature is of the same creature type as the vampire’s base creature type. The victim rises from death as a vampire in 1d4 days. This vampire is under the command of the vampire that created it, and remains enslaved until its master’s destruction. A vampire may have enslaved spawn totaling no more than twice its own Hit Dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit become free-willed undead. A vampire may free an enslaved spawn in order to enslave a new spawn, but once freed, a vampire or vampire spawn cannot be enslaved again.
Dominate (Su): A vampire can crush a humanoid opponent’s will as a standard action. Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire’s influence, as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). The ability has a range of 30 feet. At the GM’s discretion, some vampires might be able to affect different creature types with this power.
Energy Drain (Su): A creature hit by a vampire’s slam (or other natural weapon) gains two negative levels. This ability only triggers once per round, regardless of the number of attacks a vampire makes.

Special Qualities: A vampire gains the following.
Change Shape (Su): A vampire can use change shape to assume the form of a dire bat or wolf, as beast shape II.
Gaseous Form (Su): As a standard action, a vampire can assume gaseous form at will (caster level 5th), but it can remain gaseous indefinitely and has a fly speed of 20 feet with perfect maneuverability.
Shadowless (Ex): A vampire casts no shadows and shows no reflection in a mirror.
Spider Climb (Ex): A vampire can climb sheer surfaces as though under the effects of a spider climb spell.

Ability Scores Str +6, Dex +4, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +4. As an undead creature, a vampire has no Constitution score.
Skills Vampires gain a +8 racial bonus on Bluff, Perception, Sense Motive, and Stealth checks.
Feats Vampires gain Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, and Toughness as bonus feats.

As the vampire appears and some of the wards around the chamber fizzle away, a second wave of acolytes pours in from behind the nobles and a true slaughter commences as the PCs fight against the leader of Cultus Sanguineus and her vampire thrall: either a fiendish Krev Ragata now with the vampire template, a Sanguineus Acolyte (use their statblock above) with the vampire template or a turned member of the party!

 

Blood Sucking Leech Pits

Each of the pools in the main chamber is only a few feet deep but hides a greater danger than slipping down; a DC 20 Perception check reveals that leech swarms occupy the blood ponds. These creatures have been specially prepared by Countess Veresovich and are a rare breed from exotic lands that instantly latch on to anyone that steps into one of the slough—traveling through these squares requires a DC 15 Reflex save for each 5 ft.-square entered. On a failed save, creatures are subjected to one swarm attack  from the vermin as they eat their fill. Otherwise the creatures are content to stay in their confines and lap up the wave of crimson nourishment sure to pour their way.

LEECH SWARM CR 4

XP 1,200
N Diminutive vermin (aquatic, swarm)
Init +4; Senses blindsight 30 ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 size)
hp 39 (6d8+12)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +2
Immune mind-affecting effects, swarm traits, weapon damage
Weaknesses susceptible to salt (see giant leech)
OFFENSE
Speed 5 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee swarm (2d6 plus poison)
Space 10 ft.; Reach0 ft.
Special Attacks blood drain, distraction (DC 15)
STATISTICS
Str 1, Dex 18, Con 15, Int, Wis 10, Cha 2
Base Atk +4; CMB ; CMD
Skills Stealth +16 (+24 in swamps), Swim +12; Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth in swamps, uses Dexterity to modify Swim checks
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Blood Drain (Ex) Any living creature that begins its turn with a leech swarm in its space is drained of its blood and takes 1d3 points of Str and Con damage.
Poison (Ex) Swarm—injury; save Fort DC 15; frequency 1/round for 2 rounds; effect 1d4 Dexterity drain; cure 1 save.

 

sangue malar 2The Battle Behind Them!
The Countesses’ grand plan has led both the nobles and the acolytes (of which, there are about 50 each) to fall into states of adrenaline borne of bloodlust, fear, magic and exotic spices. During this side encounter (which occurs in the cavern the adventurers were fist ambushed in), both sorties receive the advanced template though once the PCs engage them and their master is gone, the cultists lose their fervor and cease to be a unified force (if they were an army, they aren’t anymore and disperse: see below for details).

Mass Combat in Cultus Sanguineus

There are a number of ways to incorporate this enormous melee combat into your game, but the AaWBlog recommends using this opportunity to try out Paizo’s excellent Mass Combat Rules.
Because of the space restriction and build of the map however, their movement and space rules differ slightly.
1) Each army always occupies 10 contiguous squares until reduced to ½ the unit’s hit points, at which point its DV and OM are both reduced by 2 and it only occupies 5 contiguous squares.
2) When reduced to ¼ hit points, the army disperses, reverting to single creatures; take the total number of the army’s remaining hit points and divide it by its maximum hit points; multiply this by 25 and round down for the total number of remaining units (which are too ineffectual to engage an army unit and are sure to die soon).
Klavekian Noble Army

N Small (50) army of humans (klavek aristocrat 6)
hp 13; ACR 3, ranged
DV 14; OM3
Special ferocity
Speed 1 (on this map, 4 squares); Consumption 1
Note Due to their hardy survival instinct, the Klavek nobles benefit from the Ferocity special ability if demoralized or routed. It may continue to act for one more Melee phase, and its OM and DV are reduced by 4 for that phase.
Adrenal Klavekian Noble CR 5 (XP 1,600)

Male human [Klavek] aristocrat 6 (temporarily advanced)
HP 39 (6d8+12); AC 16 (+4 Dex, +2 natural)
Init +4; Speed 30 ft.; Atk unarmed +2 (1d3+2, provokes attack of opportunity), rock +4 (1d4, range 10 ft.)
Base Atk +4; CMB +6; CMD 20
AL Neutral; SV Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +7; Str 14, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 17, Wis 15, Cha 19
Skills Appraise +15, Bluff +13, Diplomacy +15, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (geography) +8, Knowledge (local) +8, Knowledge (nobility) +8, Perception +8, Profession (merchant) +11, Sense Motive +11; Feats Deceitful, Persuasive, Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
Cultist Army

NE Small (50) army of humans (fighter 4/sorcerer 1)
hp 16; ACR 3, ranged
DV 15; OM 5, ranged
Special armor training, bravery, cannibalize, spellcasting 1, weapon specialization
Speed 1; Consumption 1
Notes Once per battle, increase the army’s OM for either ranged or melee attacks by 2.
Adrenal Sanguineus Acolyte CR 5 (XP 1,600)

Male or Female human (Klavek) fighter 4/sorcerer 1 (temporarily advanced)
HP 54 (4d10+1d6+29); AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 natural)
Init+3; Speed 30 ft.; Atk mwk rapier +8 (1d6+5, Crit 18-20/x2) or mwk light crossbow +8 (1d8, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 80 ft.)
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 20
AL Neutral Evil; SV Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +5; Str 16, Dex 16 (20 restricted by armor), Con 19, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 18
Skills Bluff +10, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (religion) +6, Perception +7; Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Focus (necromancy); Eschew Materials, Toughness, Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 1st; concentration +5, +9 defensive; spell chance failure 25%)
1st (3/day)—ray of enfeeblement (DC 17; CL 2nd), ray of sickening (DC 17; CL 2nd)
0th—acid splash, detect magic, mage hand, touch of fatigue (DC 16; CL 2nd)
Bloodline undead (sanguine)
Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork rapier, masterwork light crossbow, 78 gold
The Blood Is the Life (Su) Sanguineus Acolytes can gain sustenance from the blood of the recently dead 5 times a day. As a standard action, they can drink the blood of a creature that died within the past minute. The creature must be corporeal, must be at least the same size as them, and must have blood. This ability heals the Sanguineus Acolyte 1d6 hit points and nourishes them as if they’d had a full meal.

With Countess Darah defeated, the acolytes broken and perhaps with a few nobles left alive to tell of their deeds, the party might feel victorious as the conflict draws to a close—their moment of triumph is brief, however, as the pooled blood that now fills the main chamber begins to steam….

[Stay tuned to the AaWBlog for the FINALE of Cultus Sanguineus as the prime evil behind this debacle in Mohkba is revealed in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday!]

Also, today’s beautiful cartography is brought to us today by Justin Andrew Mason! We cannot thank him enough and are absolutely beside ourselves to add yet another new contributor to the AaWBlog crew!

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Primates & Cold Blood

Allosaurus_eating

Primates & Cold Blood (CR 10; 9,600 XP)

As the adventurers travel through a jungle, they enter a clearing and song of chirping wildlife is abruptly cut off. Read the following to the players when the party notices the ominous silence.   

Suddenly a terrifying roar reverberates down from the woods ahead. Trees snap as something big makes its way toward you—a flock of birds take to the air from the trees, the bright colors reflecting from their feathers in stark contrast to the cacophony made by a roaring dinosaur bursting into view. The enormous reptilian beast charges forward on two powerful hind legs, roaring as it snaps its toothy salivating maw and barrels at you!

The allosaurus was searching the jungle prey for a juicy carcass when girallons decided to use it in their attack on the PCs. The many-armed primates pelted the dinosaur with rocks, driving it toward the party—after being goaded into a state of frenzy, the creature charges through the jungle and at the PCs. The girallons wants to use the reptile’s charge to bolster their own assault, hoping to bring back some prisoners to their high masters to be used as sacrifices in dark rites, or simply as slaves in the forgotten jungle ruins the girallons use as their base of operations in the area.

(1) Allosaurus

Allosaurus (1)     CR 7
XP
3,200
N huge animal
Init+5; Senses low-light vision, scent, Perception+28
DEFENSE
AC 19, touch 9, flat-footed 18 (+1 Dex, +10 natural, -2 size)
hp 93
Fort+11, Reflex +8, Will +7
OFFENSE
Speed 50ft.
Melee bite +14 (2d6+8 plus grab, Crit 19-20/x2), 2 claws +14 (1d8+8)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks pounce, rake (2 talons +14, 1d8+8)
STATISTICS
Base Atk +8; CMB +18; CMD 29
Str 26, Dex 13, Con 19, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 10
Feats Alertness, Improved Critical (Bite), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Nimble Moves, Run
TACTICS
The allosaurus charges at the first character in a line and focuses all its attack on one foe at a time. If a character deals more than 20 points of damage against the reptile, it will focus its attacks on that opponent.

(3) Girallons

Girallon (3)     CR 6
XP 
2,400
N large magical beast
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, tremorsense, Perception +11
DEFENSE
AC18, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+3 Dex, +6 natural, -1 size)
hp 73
Fort +9, Reflex +8, Will +5
OFFENSE
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.
Melee bite +10 (1d6+4), 4 claws +10 (1d4+4 plus rend)
Space 10 ft.;Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks rend (4 claws 1d4+6)
STATISTICS
Base Atk +7; CMB +12; CMD 25
Str 19, Dex 17, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 7
Feats Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Perception), Toughness
Skills Climb +14, Stealth +5
TACTICS
The girallons will let the allosaurus charge first and then follow right behind it. They follow their instincts and attack any strong-looking characters first. When the many-armed primates outnumber the survivors they grapple frail-looking characters to take as prisoners. They keep a distance from the allosaurus the entire time, as they do not want to end up in its jaws—clever PCs may realize that they are keen not to near the dinosaur and use this to their advantage. Should no characters survive, the girallons drag the party’s bodies back to their hideout.

AREA FEATURES
The medium undergrowth makes movement difficult—the allosaurus is an exception to this rule as the undergrowth is not strong enough to make difficulties for a creature of its size and strength.

SCALING THE ENCOUNTER
To modify this encounter, apply the following changes:
CR 9 (6,400 xp)
Remove one girallon from the encounter and apply the young simple template to the remaining two (-2 on all Dex based rolls, -2 on all other rolls, -14 hp).
CR 11 (12,800 xp)
Add the allosaurus’ mate for a total of two dinosaurs.

[Submitted by Brian Wiborg Monster]