Vale of the Spider Eaters – Part 3
Gopcheck’s face and hands were scratched and bleeding from running through the woods. This place was creepy—webs above in the forest canopy blocked much of the sun, and the undergrowth was thick. Suddenly, the frightened soldier stumbled onto a game path of some sort. He heard the sounds of combat ahead—a dozen of his mates were fending off a huge spider. Gopcheck steeled himself and crept up behind the arachnid. With a mighty stab, he thrust his sword into the creature, which stopped moving except for the twitching of it legs. He breathed a sigh of relief—he was safe with his friends, and it looked like they had managed to lead a few pack animals bearing supplies. Suddenly, the same whirlwind of debris stirred up as before, the mules and horses started braying. Before Gopcheck and the rest of his companions fled once more down the path, he could see one of the pack animals stiffen and stop moving as the mage had before.
This is the third post in the story of the Lost Battalion, a side quest in five parts that can be played as a stand-alone adventure, or may be used as additional content to Twin Crossings—a mercantile endeavor for 4th level characters, now available in the store and to subscribers of AdventureAWeek.com. You can find the first post here.
If you want all of the bonus content for Twin Crossings in one shot search for the tags “Lost Battalion” and “Burned Mill”, and you can find them all here on the AaWBlog!
C. Victors become the Prey (CR 5)
A spider eater tracking the now dead spiders drops down out of the canopy two rounds later. There is no surprise round.
Scaling the encounter: The loam on the forest floor is damp and soggy and is not stirred up by the spider eater’s hover ability except for parties of APL 5.
Spider Eater (3.5) hp 42
Spider Eater (Pathfinder) hp 52
Development: The path through the woods leads to the pools and caves beyond.
D. The Lair (CR 5)
Read the following:
The trees open up onto a clearing, at the center of which stands a large hot spring, steam rising from the surface. Across the pool a canyon wall rises up to the far slope of the mountains surrounding the vale, you have penetrated to the farthest depths of the hidden valley. A cave mouth is visible in the canyon wall, obscured by a huge mass of webs.
It is clear that a significant body of men perished while making their way to the cave. Discarded arms and armor (well rusted and of no value) are strewn about, recognizable as the trappings of the mage’s lost battalion if the PCs are already on its trail, or granting a second DC 20 Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (history) check to reveal the history of the battalion and the mage.
An ogre spider hunts the salt worms within the cave.
The cavern is 80 feet wide by 120 feet long with an 80 foot ceiling. Drifts of a white mineral pile up in the corners of the cavern, and around the bases of stalagmites throughout the cavern floor. Webs (DC 16, hp 7) are heavy in these areas, but sparse in the rest of the cavern.
Read the following to begin the creature’s ambush:
A boulder on one of the cavern walls slip and start to fall. Wait—it is no boulder, but a spider the size of an elephant!
Monstrous Spider, Huge (3.5) hp 52
Ogre Spider (Pathfinder) hp 52
Development Defeating the spiders allows the PCs to explore the cavern more fully, discovering that the white mineral piled around the rock formation is loose salt. They also discover an escape tunnel leading out of the caves.
Next Time: Did Gopcheck escape the vale? Or does his story remain untold until adventures penetrate the depths of the hidden valley?