Friday, March 25, 2011

List of Woodland Encounters

Daddy Grognard put out the call for a community project to build a table of non-monster woodland encounters. Here are the ones I suggested in my comments on that post. Some made it onto the table, some didn't.

The following is declared Open Game Content:

A heavy tree limb falls from the surrounding forest canopy. Make a DEX check; rolling lower than DEX means the PCs didn't get out of the way and got smashed by the branch. Roll 2d12 for damage (because they ain't called widowmakers for nothing!).

Animal Graveyard
The dense forest opens to sparser ground with younger trees and overgrown grasses. Scattered everywhere underfoot are the bones of all sorts of forest creatures, from field mice and voles to bears, wolves, and elk. Most lie intact, where they fell. There is no way to move around or through the area without stepping on bones. None of the skeletons are animated, but the careful explorer might discover a Unicorn skeleton with an intact horn (which can heal wounds and cure poison) among the dead.

Sword in a Stone
What appears to be an ancient sword, driven to the hilt in a large stone. Both the sword and stone are covered with lichen and mosses. Clearing away the layers of growth will reveal faint, worn runes from a long-dead language carved around the stone's circumference. PCs with knowledge of arcane languages will be able to decipher the message to read "As this stone is to the earth, this sword is to the stone." There is no way to remove the sword from the stone.

If a PC traces the runes with his or her fingers as the message is spoken (in the original tongue), the stone will levitate ten inches off the ground for 1d4 rounds. Under the stone are the crushed remains of three adventurers; what little rotted clothing remains indicates they came from different time periods. A rotted purse contains 10cp, 45sp, and 15gp.

If a PC is caught beneath the stone when the levitation ends, they must make a successful DEX check, or suffer 2d6+12 points of crushing damage. If they roll a critical miss, then the PC must Save vs. Death. A successful save results in 2d8+12 points of crushing damage.

Disturbed Graves
The PCs stumble upon a series of 1d8 ransacked cairns on the edges of the path. Each cairn is roughly human-sized, and the human remains are either missing, half-pulled from cairns, or dismembered and scattered about the underbrush. It appears to be the work of vandals or grave robbers more than the work of animals, although the remains show evidence of animal teethmarks. Nothing of value remains in the cairns or on the bodies.

There is a 10% chance the PCs accidently stir up the ghost of one of the dead. The ghost will beseech the party to rectify the damage to the graves.

If the PCs decided to re-inter the dead (at the ghost's behest or not) and perform a funeral rite, an emaciated terrier wearing a red collar will emerge from the underbrush and sit next to a cairn. Hanging from its collar is an emerald worth 3d30gp. The dog is friendly, and will allow the PCs to feed and pet it. However, once the PCs remove the emerald, the dog will disappear into the woods, never to be seen again.

In the middle of a clearing is a white gazebo. Inside the gazebo is a table and four chairs. Upon the table is a fancy teapot, a lamp, a gold key, and a tinderbox. On the ground are a brick, a violin, a ruby worth 10gp, a gold piece, a wax seal kit, a small gold crown encrusted with jewels totaling 700gp, and a short sword. If the PCs attempt to enter the gazebo or take any of the items, the gazebo attacks.

The PCs progress is stopped by a 2d100-foot deep sinkhole that is 3d20+10 feet wide. There is a 5% chance the sinkhole is the opening to a cavern complex.

Doored Tree
The PCs spot a large tree with a three-foot-tall door mounted in its trunk. Above the tree is a hand-made sign with the name “Mr. Sanders” carved into it. If the PCs open the door, they will find a small, sparsely decorated room containing 3d6 pots of honey.

Poacher Camp
In a small clearing the PCs discover an abandoned poacher encampment. Hanging from the trees are several rotting animal carcasses, stripped of their hides, antlers, teeth, claws, etc. Flies swarm the area, and the carcasses are crawling with maggots and grubs. The ground is trampled and splattered with blood. There are collapsed tents, broken equipment, and large, hand-sized stones scattered around the camp. Trees around the outer edges are smashed and flattened, as if some large creature tore through the area. No tracks or footprints are visible. The rotting remains of two mules, their carcasses obviously gnawed on, can be found 100 yards away. The stones around the camp's fire are engraved with strange runes, and the burnt remains of something rubbery and tentacled can be found under the ash.

The PCs notice they've passed the same tree three or four times. The tree will continue to "follow" them for 1d8 rounds/turns (DM choice). Casting Detect Magic will make the tree glow with a bright green aura.

Forgotten Garden
The PCs stumble upon the remains of what was once a lush and beautiful topiary garden. The trees, bushes, and shrubs are all shaped into the forms of animals and monsters--badgers, bears, griffins, manticore, centaurs, sphinxes, kobolds, gnolls, etc--but are clearly overgrown and have not been trimmed for quite some time.

Creeping throughout the garden, entwined through all the shaped plants, is a Tantalus Vine (see comment from C’nor on this post).

There is a 5% chance this is the Garden of the Hag Queen.

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