The newly-established frontier settlement is in trouble. Recently, the river on which the settlers depend for their crops has started to run low. Crops are withering and food is getting scarce. The settlers are thinking about leaving the area and going somewhere more conducive to good harvests and full bellies.
Needless to say, this state of affairs is not natural. A young 2nd level druid, headstrong and idealistic sees the settlers cutting down trees, clearing the land and driving away the animals, and has decided to do something about it. He has used his Animal Friendship and Speak with Animals spells to bring under his control most of a local group of giant beavers and has persuaded them to dam the river that ultimately supplies water to the fields of the settlement. In this way, he hopes to drive the settlers off the land and see it return to nature without having to harm anyone.
All seemed to be working well until an evil magic user (4th level) and his band of henchmen arrived on the scene. They swiftly tracked down the druid but rather than kill him, the magic user had another use for the druid and Charmed him, using this to get him to release enough water from the dam to ensure that crops revive and no settlers leave the valley.
Ultimately, his plan is to destroy the dam, using his henchmen and the beavers, flooding the settlement in a catastrophic deluge which he intends to dedicate to his god. Such will be the power of this sacrifice, hundreds of souls, including women and children being lost, that the area will become tainted with darkness and radiate evil in a way that will attract monsters from far and wide.
And of course, the magic user has promised his henchmen that they can kill and skin the beavers when they have finished. Given that an average pelt is worth 1250gp and there are an average of 25 beavers in a colony, that’s 31,250 gp if you’ve a passive conscience and a sharp knife.
The magic user will keep his henchmen out of sight until he is sure that he needs them. If the druid is attacked in a way that is overtly hostile, the beavers that he has befriended will rush to his assistance and attempt to drive off his attackers. If he is killed, they will attempt to return the favour, knocking his killers into the lake, where other beavers will attempt to subdue or stun them with blows from their tails or drive them into areas of the dam where they will become entangled and drown.
Whilst the magic user is cunning and manipulative, portraying himself as a concerned friend of nature and the balance of neutrality, he is not regarded as a friend by the beavers, but merely as an associate of the druid. Therefore, it may be possible to manipulate the situation so that the beavers may turn against the magic user.
Depending on when the party get involved, the Charm Person spell on the druid may have as long as three weeks (his INT is 11) before he gets a chance to save again. The DM should keep a careful eye on the time taken by the party in voyaging into the wilderness to find the cause of the river’s low level.
Frequency Very rare
No appearing 10-40
% in lair 80%
Treasure type C
No of attacks 1
Damage per attack 4-16
Special attacks Nil
Special defences Nil
Magic resistance Standard
Intelligence Low to Average
Size M (6’ long)
XP value 60 +4/hp
Beavers are deemed to have treasure type C, which as we’ve already seen in past weeks is a low-probability wide-range treasure combo. Bizarrely they may also have magic items although just how they’re supposed to use them is another matter.
As a final note, these are not something that Gygax just took from the wild and stuck the word "Giant" in front of them. These critters really did exist, becoming extinct only about 10,000 years ago. Click the link at the start of the post to find out more.
Not small, are they?