No appearing 1-12
% in lair Nil
Treasure type Nil
No of attacks 1
Damage per attack 3-12
Special attacks Nil
Special defences Nil
Magic resistance Standard
Size Medium (3’ at the shoulder)
XP value 85+4/hp
This adventure takes place in thick, sylvan forest, off the beaten track but in the same area as a scattering of ruined buildings and caves.
The basis of the adventure is the conflict between two druids. Wafar has been the druid of this area of the forest for a long time, and to be frank, he enjoys it. In fact, he enjoys it so much that he is in danger of becoming hubristic in his druidism and deriving power rather than balance from it.
Were Wafar the only druid in the area, all would be (more or less) well but unfortunately, a young druidess named Preha has taken up residence in the forest and is establishing her reputation as a talented charm-maker and potion-brewer, more in touch with nature than Wafar and slowly becoming more popular as well.
Wafar is incensed by this newcomer and has tried several times to persuade her to move on. The place that she is living in now is her third home; the first two were destroyed by freak weather or attacks by large woodland creatures.
Realising that Preha’s popularity protects her to a certain extent, Wafar has resorted to a new and more subtle scheme. Using his cunning, he lured a party of adventurers and their henchmen into the forest and employed the Staff of the Forest to turn them, one by one, into wild boars. Then he started a campaign of insinuation to blacken the reputation of Preha and make out that she was responsible. Two search parties sent to track down the missing adventurers were lulled into a false sense of security and either killed or polymorphed by Wafar in the same fashion.
Wafar’s efforts to blacken the reputation of Preha are succeeding to an extent and rumours picked up by the party if they scout around before entering the forest will give her a sinister and witch-like image. Other people will defend her and say that the goings-on are nothing to do with her.
The polymorphed boars have settled into the life of the forest, some joining existing herds or sounders (there are three others in the area, separated by at least seven to ten miles. Sounders are predominantly matriarchal in the real world but for the purposes of this adventure, I’m giving them a rather more egalitarian feel). There are also solitary boars who were forceful or aggressive adventurers before they were polymorphed. Young males who have not yet mated tend to gather in groups. As well as the polymorphed boars, natural boars are common and there has been a good deal of interbreeding between the two groups.
Wafar, level 5 druid
He is a powerful druid but his pride in his own abilities is proving to be his undoing and if anything, he is moving towards a more evil iteration of neutrality (but not NE – not yet, anyway).
He has acquired a Staff of the Forest, which has aided him in his ambitions and his rise to his current status but it is now running out of charges (it has 13 charges left) and he needs to use it carefully if it is not to become useless.
The Staff of the Forest can perform the following functions:
Faerie Fire (1 charge)
Plant Growth (3 charges)
Polymorph (but only into a creature of the woods) (4 charges)
Control Winds (5 charges)
Charm Mammal (2 charges)
Call Lightning (3 charges)
Hallucinatory Forest (4 charges)
Wall of Thorns (6 charges)
Plant Polymorph (victim is turned into a harmless woodland plant or tree) (4 charges)
Each ability is cast as that of a 12th level druid for the purposes of damage, saving throws etc.
Each power is activated by pressing a different rune carved into the wood of the staff and inlaid with silver.
The Staff, if fully charged, will be worth 8,000XP and sell for somewhere around 27.5Kgp.
His weakness is that he has come to rely on the staff more and more and so neglects his spells. His darkness is also reflected in the nature of the animals that he can summon – those that come to him now are the more savage, wild and unpredictable ones, the predators and scavengers.
Once he is aware of the party’s presence in the forests, he will attempt to approach them in a manner that will gain their trust and proceed to poison their minds still further against Preha. Should the party prove troublesome, he will use his Staff against them but he would rather not, since it will use up valuable charges.
She is less reliant on physical strength and more on her wisdom, intuition and her force of personality. She is attractive but in a natural, unconscious way. Just as Wafar is moving from N to NE thanks to his ambition and greed, Preha would drift into NG were it not for her current situation.
She brews potions from the woods and uses charms and runes to enchant seemingly mundane woodland items, giving them powers that might not at first be suspected. Typically, she may brew healing potions, potions that give unnaturally accurate insight, limited prophecy through trance, ones that bestow a particular animal power and ones that give immunity to certain woodland poisons and parasites.
Her charms may bestow the following effects
1. Pass through vegetation even if a hostile spell is cast upon it
2. Grasping the charm will allow the wearer to pass themselves off as an animal to observers, provided a save vs. Rods/Staff/Wands is made every two rounds that this effect is being used.
3. Immunity to the effects of fire – the charm is not protected and must make its saving throw or it will be destroyed (although its effects endure whilst the fire does)
4. Immunity to the poisons of woodland creatures
5. Renders the wearer invisible to Detection and Scrying or means they will be seen as a normal animal
6. The wearer can cause a full fruit tree or bush to grow from a seed or stone in 1d12 rounds
7. The wearer can breathe underwater for 2d12 rounds. If caught underwater when the effect wears off, the wearer is transformed into a fish or other water-dwelling animal for 1d12 weeks.
8. The wearer can walk across the surface of any single body of water once.
9. Causes the wearer to draw his/her food from the sun as does a plant
10. Immunity to charm spells
11. Enables the wearer to read the mind of any woodland animal
12. Immunity to falls – the wearer will hover in mid-air until pulled to the ground
The charms are made of simple materials and will only last for 1-3 uses.
She has made her home in the space beneath the roots of a huge fallen tree and has several established natural traps (snares, pits, trip wires etc) arranged on the perimeter of her home to warn her of the approach of strangers.
The transformed boars often visit her home - she knows what has become of them but cannot do anything to help. She sings and talks to them in the hope that their minds will still be able to understand the words.
She is aware of something in the forests that is disturbing the balance of nature but is not aware of what it is. She suspects that it has something to do with one of the old ruins in the area but cannot say more.
ANNOUNCEMENT – next time, I will be skipping past Brain Mole. It does practically nothing except attack psionically and since I’ve never used psionics and their overall interest is low, I can’t think up an adventure based on a monster that has one hit point and no physical attack. So we’ll move on to Brownie.
Gauntlet Roadshows: Gaming Thunder - *LIVE FROM CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY...* GauntletCon ran this weekend, with nary a hitch (*except a hilarious one I’ll mention below*). I ran four sessions of *Wo...
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