So, quite large then.
No appearing 1-3
% in lair Nil
Treasure type Nil
No of attacks 2
Damage per attack 5-20
Special attacks Nil
Special defences Nil
Magic resistance Standard
Size L (20’ tall)
XP value 4200 +18/hp
This adventure hook is situated in a dusty, windswept area of hills and rocky wilderness. The hill tribes, a bit like the Afghulis from REH fight their bitter little wars amongst the peaks and valleys but some tribal chieftains aspire to something a little more civilised and have built fortresses and palaces where they display their cultured credentials with antiquities and valuables looted from ruined cities high in the mountains.
Recently, one of these chieftains was visiting a city of the nearest nation, seeking influence and power, when he was the victim of a gang of assassins. His life was however saved by a group of adventurers who pitched in to drive off the assassins.
This is the hook by which the party can be enrolled on this adventure. The DM may wish to portray the assassination attempt in all its detail or just have the party stumble upon it and lend a hand to the beleaguered chieftain and his guards.
Either way, the chieftain is delighted at the assistance rendered to his good self and extends the hospitality of his hill fortress to the party whenever they wish to visit.
As luck would have it, the party’s visit coincides with the annual Baluchitherium hunt, in which the chieftain and his sons take part. The huge beasts roam the rocky wilds and present a formidable challenge to the tribes who regard it as a mark of extreme honour and prowess to hunt one of these creatures to the death. A hunting group is made up of a father and sons only – once a hunt has begun, no-one can intervene to assist the hunters.
"We will eat like kings tonight, my brothers!"
The party’s stay at the fortress is one that is lavished with the sort of luxuries that a powerful hill chieftain can provide for the people that saved his life. The DM should use his imagination and dip into some REH for flavour.
There is also plenty of glinting gold, jewels, antiques and probably some magical artifacts lying around the fortress; it would be terribly bad manners to filch this, although the chieftain may well gift something valuable to the party if they prove their worth on this visit.
Because the assassins who failed during the city visit are waiting to strike again, using the cover of the hunt. They have already infiltrated the fortress using disguise and agents, and depending on how the fight in the city went, they may have a score to settle with the party as well.
As a further twist, it may be the case that one or more of the chieftain’s sons are plotting to have him ‘accidentally’ killed during the hunt. Perhaps the nearby nation that the chieftain has courted so assiduously is keen to have someone a bit more pliable on the throne and has backed the efforts of the son to do away with his father. It may be that there are in fact two gangs of assassins on the loose, each with its own agenda – one working for the nearby nation and the chieftain’s son, the other working for a rival chieftain or tribesman.
The chieftain’s territory may well be on a lucrative trade route that could do with opening up or perhaps it has large deposits of precious metal just crying out to be exploited by entrepreneurial individuals. The party could well be offered a cut of these potential opportunities to ‘look the other way’ when another attempt is made on the chieftain’s life or maybe even become more actively involved.