Wednesday, 23 March 2011

If you go down to the woods today...

Yesterday, I posted an adventure for bears that included a table of natural hazards and interesting things to be encountered on a journey through forest terrain. As a Community project (and a nod to Gorgonmilk), I wanted to throw this one open to my followers to see if we can beef up the d12 table into a d30 one.

What I want are non-monster hazards and features that have hidden dangers or features, along the lines of what's already there. Let's see if we can make woodland travel really hazardous again...

1. Landslide – either (1d6 1-3 the path ahead has crumbled away and leaves the party having to turn back or try a very risky way round or 4-6 the terrain above the party comes crashing down on them, with all the hazards that this will entail)

2. Quagmire – the party finds itself stuck in a marshy bog with the following consequences (1d6) 1-2 up to their waists, 3-4 up to their armpits, 5-6 up to their necks. Make a second roll and if a 6 comes up, a deep section of bog has been entered that is deeper than the party is tall)

3. Fallen tree – the path ahead is blocked. The blockage will extend 3d12 feet on either side of the path. The tree can be climbed over but horses and mules will have to be helped over or taken around the obstacle.

4. Wasps! A vicious swarm appears from an old tree stump and attacks the party and their mounts. The horses will panic unless either a ranger or druid is available to control them. Each party member who does not flee will take 1d3 of damage per round.

5. Precipitous slope – the ground pitches almost straight down in front of the party. Each party member must make a Climb Walls roll as if they were a thief of the equivalent level. Failure means the party member in question has plunged 1d30 feet with the appropriate damage when they come to a sudden stop. Horses and other animals will have great trouble descending. There is a 20% chance that searching to either side may reveal a narrow ledge whereby mounts can descend.

6. Woodland shrine, overgrown – either a cave or tumbledown stone walls signal what was once a holy site to a woodland deity. Now it is unused and overgrown but it may still have some lingering power. If the characters are of a diametrically opposed alignment, they will be struck down with a minor malevolent effect from page 162 of the DMG. A minor benevolent effect may be bestowed if the characters are sympathetic to the aims and beliefs of the deity. As mentioned in the DMG, the effects will last 1-4 weeks.

7. Poisonous berries – surely no-one would be so stupid as to eat those brightly coloured berries they can see growing in the bushes. Maybe not, but the horses might decide to try them. Or any other animals the party have with them. All animals that do try them must save vs. poison at +2 on the die or fall deeply unconscious and die within 1d12 hours.

8. Hallucinogenic flowers – as the party pass through this area, they will disturb the pollen of the flowers and this will cause hallucinations, the exact nature of which is down to the DM to decide.

9. Gorge – a deep gash in the ground blocks the way. It is like the precipitous slope except that on the far side of the river or stream at its bottom, there is another slope of similar steepness that needs to be ascended. Again, searching up and down the length of the gorge may find a place that is marginally easier to descend or ascend.

10. Midges! The swarming, biting cloud of insect pests makes the party’s life a misery. Each round that they are in this area, each of them will take 1hp of damage from the midges. All die rolls they have to make will be reduced by 1. Animals will be very bad-tempered and difficult to control.

11. Overgrown battle site – the bones and rusty armour tell a sorry tale of mortal combat and sudden death. Now, they are almost invisible amongst the undergrowth but there is a chance that some of the armour may be useable and a slim chance that some coins or magic may still be obtainable if the party dig hard enough. However, there is also a chance (10%) that the party will disturb something that was not meant to be troubled and a random undead entity will rise up to punish the interlopers (either skeleton, wraith, spectre or ghost)

12. Ancient statue – long-neglected and crumbling with the years, this is nevertheless indicative of something. Whether that something is a ruined mansion, a temple, the entrance to a dungeon complex or just a memorial to a forgotten family member, no self-respecting adventurers would pass it by without checking to see what else is in the neighbourhood. Of course, there is also the chance that it’s a stone golem that is waiting for some kind of trigger action.

13. A small freshwater creek crosses the path, just deep enough to fill the PCs' waterskins. Something drifts past the PCs while they are doing so:
1 a cloud of red liquid (this could be anything from blood to wine to a magical potion)
2 a toy ship
3 lots of feathers
4 lots of old leaves
5 a message in a bottle
6 lots of dead fish
There is something going on upstream...
(RorschachHamster)

14. Pit - A pit or sinkhole about 12 feet across mostly hidden by vegetation. It's filled with thick mist/smoke (perhaps it opens to subterranean caverns?) and from within the murky depth strange hissing sounds can occasionally be heard. (Trey)

15. Eremite - A hermit monk (Cleric 3) is picking mushrooms in the woods. He's unusually loqacious (you know, for a hermit) and will tell a friendly part what he knows about the local area--and possibly something about mycology if asked. (Trey)

16. Irritating foliage - Dense patch of nettles/sumac/poison ivy means those walking through must save vs. poison or be at -1 to hit and AC for the next hour. Any magical healing or herbalist can remove the effect. (Satyre)

17. Crowstorm - A murder of crows is disturbed by the passing of the PCs and fly upwards in a raucous mob, spoiling any chance of surprise on unsuspecting monsters. Wonder what they were eating? (Satyre)

18. Widowmaker - 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!).
(Matthew W Schmeer)

19. 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 with an intact horn (which can heal wounds and cure poison) among the dead. (Matthew W Schmeer)

20. Forest Fire-A bolt of lightning strikes a nearby tree, causing it to burst into flames. If the weather conditions are dry enough, the fire will catch and spread. The direction and speed of the blaze will depend on wind conditions. The fire will burn until it reaches a clearing, or a body of water. (Oublieditor)

21. 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. (Matthew W Schmeer)

22. Forgotten hunter's trap. If the party is not actively searching for traps, then the character in the lead must save (versus petrification) or take 1d8 damage. Since the trap has been long abandoned in the forest undergrowth, it has become quite mucky and rusty, and anyone taking damage must also save versus poison, or the wound will become infected. (Kelvin Green)

23. 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. (Matthew W Schmeer)

24. The Crumbling Bridge - the party encounter a gorge (see 9) but this time, it's traversed by a stone bridge. However, it has suffered the ravages of wind and rain and is in a very parlous state. The party can cross it but there is a chance that
1. a stone nearby falls into the gorge
2. a stone on which one of them is standing falls into the gorge (save vs. DEX or go with it)
3. the entire bridge starts to crumble (the party have 1d12 melee rounds to get off the bridge before it falls into the gorge)

(note that there is also a 10% chance that the bridge is guarded by a knight in black armour who will challenge the best fighter in the party to a duel. If he is injured at any point in the duel, the knight will taunt the party that his injury is only a flesh wound) (Daddy Grognard)

25: Gewgaws. Hanging from the branches in this area are a number of small figures made of twigs, grass and leaves. They are of crude construction, but they do bear a slight resemblance to the party members (Kelvin Green)

26 Abandoned Well: overgrown with weeds and a rotten plank placed over the mouth, the well is either half-filled with a noxious, toxic liquid that used to be water or completely empty with sharp rocks awaiting the unlucky traveller who falls through the plank and down the 30+ feet. (Boric G)

27. 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. (Matthew W Schmeer)

28. Lost? 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. (Matthew W Schmeer)

29. Stone Portal - the party encounter two monoliths standing perhaps five to ten feet apart. Whoever goes through (and there will be no result if they throw stones or other objects through) will vanish from the sight of the party. The PC in question will arrive on the far side 1d12 hours into the future and if he searches for his fellows, will find them not too far away, viciously slaughtered and partially eaten, already festering and covered in flies. He can return through the gateway but not until it has reset which may take 1d8 x 10 minutes. There is a 15% chance that returning through the gate may send him 1d12 hours into the past (i.e. before he stepped through the first time) (Daddy Grognard)

30. 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 (Matthew W Schmeer)

22 comments:

  1. 13 A small freshwater creek crosses the path, just deep enough to fill the pc's waterskins. Something drifts past the pc's while they are doing so:
    1 a cloud of red liquid (this could be anything from blood to wine to a magical potion)
    2 a toyship
    3 lot's of feathers
    4 lot's of old leaves
    5 a message in a bottle
    6 lot's of dead fish
    There is something going on upstreams...

    ReplyDelete
  2. 14. Pit - A pit or sinkhole about 12 feet across mostly hidden by vegetation. It's filled with thick mist/smoke (perhaps it opens to subterranean caverns?) and from within the murky depth strange hissing sounds can occasionally be heard.

    15. Eremite - A hermit monk (Cleric 3) is picking mushrooms in the woods. He's unusually loqacious (you know, for a hermit) and will tell a friendly part what he knows about the local area--and possibly something about mycology if asked.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 16. Irritating foliage - Dense patch of nettles/sumac/poison ivy means those walking through must save vs. poison or be at -1 to hit and AC for the next hour. Any magical healing or herbalist can remove the effect.

    17. Crowstorm - A murder of crows is disturbed by the passing of the PCs and fly upwards in a raucous mob, spoiling any chance of surprise on unsuspecting monsters. Wonder what they were eating?

    ReplyDelete
  4. 18. Widowmaker - 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!).

    19. 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 with an intact horn (which can heal wounds and cure poison) among the dead.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 20.Forest Fire-A bolt of lightning strikes a nearby tree, causing it to burst into flames. If the weather conditions are dry enough, the fire will catch and spread. The direction and speed of the blaze will depend on wind conditions. The fire will burn until it reaches a clearing, or a body of water.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. 21. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 22. Forgotten hunter's trap. If the party is not actively searching for traps, then the character in the lead must save (versus petrification) or take 1d8 damage. Since the trap has been long abandoned in the forest undergrowth, it has become quite mucky and rusty, and anyone taking damage must also save versus poison, or the wound will become infected.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 23. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Matthew - are you okay with turning this into a pdf when it gets to 30? I don't have the software at this end.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Daddy Grognard: Yeah, I can do that. But it is fairly easy to do. If you have a Mac, you can just choose print, and then in the printing dialog, click the "PDF" button.

    If you use OpenOffice on Windows, you can export to PDF. Otherwise, you can install a free PDF printer like CutePDF.

    ReplyDelete
  12. 24. Gazebo. 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.

    25. Sinkhole. 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.

    26. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 27. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 28. Lost? 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.


    Ok, people--come up with 2 more!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well, sinkhole's been done by Trey back at 14. Not sure about the Gazebo and the Doored Tree. But here's a couple more:

    The Crumbling Bridge - the party encounter a gorge (see 9) but this time, it's traversed by a stone bridge. However, it has suffered the ravages of wind and rain and is in a very parlous state. The party can cross it but there is a chance that
    1. a stone nearby falls into the gorge
    2. a stone on which one of them is standing falls into the gorge (save vs. DEX or go with it)
    3. the entire bridge starts to crumble (the party have 1d12 melee rounds to get off the bridge before it falls into the gorge)

    (note that there is also a 10% chance that the bridge is guarded by a knight in black armour who will challenge the best fighter in the party to a duel. If he is injured at any point in the duel, the knight will taunt the party that his injury is only a flesh wound)

    Stone Portal - the party encounter two monoliths standing perhaps five to ten feet apart. Whoever goes through (and there will be no result if they throw stones or other objects through) will vanish from the sight of the party. The PC in question will arrive on the far side 1d12 hours into the future and if he searches for his fellows, will find them not too far away, viciously slaughtered and partially eaten, already festering and covered in flies. He can return through the gateway but not until it has reset which may take 1d8 x 10 minutes. There is a 15% chance that returning through the gate may send him 1d12 hours into the past (i.e. before he stepped through the first time)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Abandoned Well: overgrown with weeds and a rotten plank placed over the mouth, the well is either half-filled with a noxious, toxic liquid that used to be water or completely empty with sharp rocks awaiting the unlucky traveler who falls through the plank and down the 30+ feet.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. ??: Gewgaws. Hanging from the branches in this area are a number of small figures made of twigs, grass and leaves. They are of crude construction, but they do bear a slight resemblance to the party members.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'll edit this one up and see if I can convert it to a pdf. Does anyone know how I can link that pdf to my blog, if it works? A bit like Matthew does with his?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Get a DropBox account. They are free for up to 2GB of filespace. Very easy to use.

    Of course, there is also Google Sites and Google Docs. I also happen to have access to campus server space, so I can host stuff via FTP access (at least until the IT department catches on!).

    ReplyDelete
  21. 30. 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 http://hamsterhoard.blogspot.com/2011/03/deadly-gardens.html).

    There is a 5% chance this is the Garden of the Hag Queen (http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=21504).

    ReplyDelete
  22. That's great,Matthew. I've now obtained Cute pdf and Drop Box, so I'll be putting something together shortly for this.

    Thanks everyone for your contributions!

    ReplyDelete