XP 1,600 Persistent NE haunt (10 ft.-radius grove) Caster Level 5th Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear the growl of dreaming wolves) hp 22; Weakness susceptible to magic weapons; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day
Effect When this haunt is triggered, creatures that enter into the Riverwalker’s area must make a DC 15 Will save or fall asleep. The round after being put to sleep by the Riverwalker haunt a sleeping creature stands up and walks out onto the Mohkba River (as sleepwalk). Sleepwalking creatures take one move action a round at half speed, gaining the benefits of a water walk for 10 rounds as soon as they reach the waterway before eventually plunging into the water and automatically waking up. Creatures put to sleep by the Riverwalker haunt can only be woken by taking damage (which triggers a new Will save to wake up).
Destruction The Riverwalker haunt can only be destroyed by searching the floor of the Mohkba River nearby, digging up the bones of wolves that were bound and drowned there decades ago.
Adventure HookThere are many dangers on the Klavekian Grasslands and after crossing the Mohkba River there won’t be many places for the PCs to hide as they travel north to Enixam. One particular grove looks promising however—a skilled hunter will recognize that while wolves once kept a den there, it’s long since been abandoned. The grove makes for a perfect hiding place to catch some rest, but those who don’t perceive the Riverwalker haunt in time may very well have their last.
Type mechanical; Perception DC 27; Disable Device DC 22 Trigger touch; Reset automatic Effect all effects from magical potions are negated by the potion parasites with a host for 1d4 days after the last potion is imbibed or until any spell that recovers ability loss is cast (DC 21 Fortitude save negates); multiple targets (all targets exposed to water contaminated by potion parasites)
There are many dangers that plague those who travel the Mohkba River, but one of its most insidious is the obscure, nearly microscopic species known as the potion parasite. When a person is infected by a potion parasite trap, the nearly invisible organisms ingest any potions (but not extracts) drunk by the host, negating their effect. Potion parasites are fragile once removed from their outdoor environment, and if not fed a potion (either in a contained environment or while within a creature) within 1d4 days of its last feeding, potion parasites die (at which point a host can resume drinking potions normally).
Fortunately potion parasites rarely infect large swathes of water, and there is only a %1 chance that they inhabit a square of the Mohkba River that a creature is traveling through. However, the creatures often appear in freshwater streams and there is a 5% chance that any water gathered nearby the river contains potion parasites.
DESCRIPTION Still slick with visceral slime from the river beast’s stomach, this unusually large glass bottle contains a clear liquid infused with swirling golden particulate. It appears that a small rolled piece of parchment has been inserted into the vessel, a piece of twine securing the document as it floats within the potion. A bit of the string hangs outside the lip, securely held in place by a bulky cork stopper.
Consuming a treasure potion is before pulling the rolled parchment out destroys the small scroll but grants the user a the immediate use of a locate object effect focused on the most valuable unattended object located in a 500-ft.-radius (this effect persists for 2 minutes).
If the parchment is removed from the treasure potion and investigated (a DC 10 Disable Device check before the liquid is consumed), the item loses any magical properties but there is a 20% chance that the parchment transforms into an accurate map that depicts the location of a local hidden treasure cache containing 1d4 random minor magic items, 1d4 random potions, and 3d6 x 10 gp.
CONSTRUCTION Requirements Brew Potion, locate object, create treasure map, knowledge of the location of a hidden treasure (to be depicted on the map), and 10 gp worth of fine gold dust; Cost 400 gp
DEFENSE AC 20, touch 10, flat-footed 18 (+1 Dex, +1 dodge, +10 natural, -2 size) hp 76 (9d10+27) Fort +8, Ref +9, Will +5; +2 vs. spells and spell-like abilities Defensive Abilities evasion; DR 5/magic
OFFENSE Speed 10 ft., swim 60 ft. Melee bite +13 (2d6+6), 2 claws +8 (1d8+3) Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft. Special Attacks brine breath (100-ft. line, 4d8 bludgeoning, Reflex DC 20 for half, usable every 1d4 rounds; see text), emerging charge +1d6, pounce Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +11)
3/day—invisibility (self only, water only)
TACTICS Before Combat A river beast uses invisibility to hide in the water, positioning itself for a devastating emerging charge. During Combat When facing multiple opponents, a river beast downs one foe and grabs another before retreating, waiting to re-engage a smaller force of enemies. Morale River beasts flee when reduced to 13 hp or less.
STATISTICS Str 22, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 4, Wis 14, Cha 9 Base Atk +9; CMB +17; CMD 29 (can’t be tripped) Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Snatch, Toughness Skills Perception +10, Stealth -7 (+13 invisible), Swim +21; Size Modifiers -8 Stealth SQ amphibious
ECOLOGY Environment water (Mohkba River) Organization solitary or pair Treasure standard
SPECIAL ABILITIES Brine Breath (Su) The gullet of a river beast is a brew of digestive juices and water that most mistake as brine, despite the creature’s freshwater habitat. The creature can release a 100-ft. line breath weapon that deals 4d8 bludgeoning damage (Reflex DC 20 for half) as a standard action once every 1d4 rounds. A river beast automatically receives a free trip combat maneuver (that does not provoke attacks of opportunity) on any creature that fails the Reflex save to halve this damage. Emerging Charge (Ex) A river beast can start a charge while in the water and end it on land, using its swim speed to determine the distance it can move onto land; at the end of any such charge, the river beast deals +1d6 precision damage with each attack. While in the water, a river beast can use Swim in place of Acrobatics.
The so-called “river beasts” only appeared in the Mohkba River this spring, and none are sure where the creatures come from. They use their supernatural talents to hide, near vessels and waiting for the right moment to make an emerging charge, slaughtering one or two sailors before using Snatch to grab one to drag down into the water as it retreats. If the ship manages to stay afloat, a river beast follows it along like wounded prey, repeating the maneuver until its had its fill.
RIVER BEAST Huge magical beast, chaotic neutral AC 15 (natural armor) Hit Points 59 (6d12+18) Speed 20 ft., swim 60 ft. STR 19 (+4), DEX 13 (+1), CON 16 (+3), INT 4 (-3), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 9 (-1) Skills Perception +5, Stealth +5 Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons that aren’t adamantine Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, passive Perception 15 Challenge 5 (1,800 XP) Emerging Charge. If the river beast begins its turn in water, it can move in a straight line up to its swim speed to attack a target on the ground and deal +2d6 damage to any hits against that target until the end of its turn.
ACTIONS Multiattack. The river beast makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws. Bite.Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) piercing damage. Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) slashing damage Brine Breath. (Recharge 5-6). The river beast exhales brine in a 100-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 26 (8d6) bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one (and not knocked prone).
[Developed with some helpful advice from Tom Foster and Mick Hand! -MM]
When Antonio Casta pays out the PCs for helping to collect taxes to repair the docks of Drak’kal he has one last offer for the party: taking a healing salve to the baroness of Enixam, the misbegotten sister settlement of Mohkba, the capital. For their troubles he offers the adventurers a princely sum of 2,500 gold pieces, 500 of which he pays out immediately (the remainder to be collected on delivery). Unfortunately a strange new river beast has thawed from the ice during this extremely warm spring, discouraging ships from traveling upstream, and the curative will expire in just three week’s time, so speed is of the essence. If the group is skeptical about the task or uninterested in traveling north, Lightning Stokva hears of the offer an hour after the party leaves Casta’s office and reveals to the PCs that his niece Issa briefly passed through Enixam on her way to the Three Sisters (and that surely if there are more clues to the origins of strange creature found in the collapsing slaughterhouse, they will be along the paths she took).
The journey to Enixam means not only a long trek north through the dangerous Klavekian grasslands, but crossing the Mohkba River as well. As ice plugs and spring snows melt, the waterway has taken on a fierce current and worse yet, a new type of aquatic creature has started to plague ships and travelers floating upon it. Taking the long way around Mohkba isn’t an option—as it is the PCs overland journey will get them to Enixam with two days to spare (at best!), so at one point or another they’ll have to cross the Serpent Tail River. Furthermore, sailing isn’t in the cards either; all the ships are booked and the few headed northward are tightly-knit groups unwilling to tolerate new passengers.
The waterway is normally quite wide (between 400 ft. and 800 ft.), and at these points the current requires DC 14 Swim checks to traverse. There are thinner portions that dot the landscape (between 150 ft. and 300 ft.) but here the water runs extremely fast and requires DC 18 Swim checks to cross. Regardless of where exactly the PCs are crossing the Mohkba River, one of the river beasts [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM] attacks them as soon as two or more adventurers are in the water (light blue squares are difficult terrain and dark blue squares require Swim checks to move and fight in). A DC 20 Perception check spots the creature before it strikes.
Swimming in the wide, slow-running portions of the Mohkba River require DC 10 Strength (athletic) checks and the more rapid areas require DC 15 Strength (athletic) checks. Only PCs with a passive Perception of 15 or greater notice the hiding river beast without actively looking for it.