Adventure Locales12/22/2004


The Bog



This adventure locale is best suited for a plains area, such as the Shining Plains or the Greenfields near the Dragon Coast, the Ride near the Moonsea, or the Shaar. With suitable adjustment, it could be set in a forested area as well. The unique nature of the place, however, can follow the heroes around for quite some time before they discover the truth and find a way to rid themselves of the consequences of spending too much time here. This adventure locale is suitable for four 6th-level player characters.

As the road (or path) winds through the grasslands, a small house (a mimic) slowly comes into view near the horizon and along the road. It is quite alone in this part of the world, but travelers may hope it offers some shelter for the night. Those who approach can see that the 15-foot-square house stands on short stilts in the middle of a shallow bog or heath. The watery grassland stretches some 200 or more feet away from the road, and is about 120 feet wide. Tall grasses protrude above the water's surface, as do other bushes and a couple of small trees. A look into the water from the roadside can reveal turtles, snakes, or even a beaver. Wetland birds such as warblers, killdeers, go about their business in the area. On the far side a pair of blue herons stands in the water. In trees a few hundred feet away one might find the nest of some ospreys or hawks. In the late afternoon sunlight it is quite peaceful here. Only a closer examination reveals the strangeness of the place. Nothing here is quite as it seems. No immediate danger is apparent, but that is no true indication of the peril that awaits the unwary.

No regularly used campsites are around the edge of this bog, and nothing indicates that people stop here. Certainly people travel on the road, and sometimes stop to water here, but everyone who regularly uses the road knows not to stay here or to be here after dark.

Crossing the bog is easy, since the water is only 3 feet deep at its deepest points. The average depth is only 2 feet. The animals that make this place their home avoid anything walking through the waters. Treat the whole area as a shallow bog; movement through the area is hampered and the DC for any Tumble check increases by +2. See page 88 in the Dungeon Master's Guide for more information on bogs.

Upon reaching the house, one can see that the roof is covered in bird droppings, mute testimony to the time the old house has been here. The house seems unoccupied, since no one within answers any hails. Though perhaps 50 years or so old, it appears very sturdy. The wood may have come from somewhere far away, since it has a reddish hue similar to that of a redwood tree, which is not a tree that grows in this area. Though the building seems weathered, the red coloration shows plainly, as if valiantly resisting the work of time. The door stands slightly ajar, and one of the two windows on the front side appears open. The other is shuttered. Windows on each side give the owner a view of the surrounding bog. One can imagine that this is the home of a druid.

In fact, the house is actually a Huge mimic that has lived in the bog for decades, slowly changing as a result of its exposure to the bog waters. To the casual observer, the mimic looks exactly like a small house set on stilts. The windows around the sides and back seem to be shuttered. At the front of the house, a shutter and the front door seem to be ajar, with only blackness behind them. Both window and shutter seem stuck in place -- neither one moves when the wind blows.

Characters who examine the house should make Spot checks opposed by the mimic's Disguise check to detect what the "house" might truly be. Anyone touching the house automatically becomes stuck to the mimic and needs a DC 16 Strength check to break free. The mimic also can use its slam attack to grapple foes. Foes grappled after being slammed cannot get free without first neutralizing the adhesive.

The mimic immediately uses its slam attack when anyone touches it or prods it with an item. If the foe has not noticed that the "house" is really a creature, the mimic surprises the foe. In most cases, the mimic slams the foe that touches it, but it's smart enough to ignore a fairly weak character who touches it and becomes stuck in favor of attacking a more dangerous foe.

The mimic feels a compelling need to remain in the waters of the bog, and in any case it cannot flee the faster player characters anyway. Thus, it tries to neutralize all attackers (usually by rendering them unconscious) before finishing anyone off.

Around the base of the house, buried in the mud of the bog floor, the player characters can find a few items left by previous victims. These include a +1 greatsword (or other appropriate weapon for your player characters), a suit of masterwork chainmail, 21 gp, and a wand of shield of faith (+2) with 3 charges remaining.

However, the greatest danger facing any explorer of the bog is not the mimic, but the bog itself. About 320 of years ago, this site was the home of a powerful and mentally unbalanced wizard. He was called Hedge in derision by the people who lived close by at the time, which only fueled his growing madness. During one horrible experiment, something happened that no one understands. The mage's tower was obliterated as if it had never existed, and the bog spontaneously appeared in its place. Theories abound, but no one can know the truth because all records have disappeared along with Hedge himself.

The bog is the physical manifestation of a rupture in the Weave. A small amount of magic slowly leaks from the rupture. The bog has a faint aura of transmission magic at all times, as do any creatures that have been infused with the magic of the place.

Any creature that has been in the waters of the bog begins to absorb magic from the site. The amount of magic that can be absorbed is finite, but still a body normally cannot hold the raw magic of the Weave. After 1 hour in the water, a creature acquires the magic-infused creature template described below.

At night, the bog produces magical light effects similar to dancing lights spells, and the lights shimmer and dance all across its surface. To someone who didn't know about the bog, it appears that a group of will-o'-wisps has come out in the darkness to play. The lights never approach anyone, but they put on an eerie show all around the watery area. The bog doesn't have any intelligence; the light effects are random. Though unnerving, they are not harmful to anyone.

New Template: Magic-Infused Creature

In some rare places in the world, the magic of the Weave leaks out and pools. In these places, living creatures can absorb the magic and carry it within them. This changes the creatures in subtle but discernible ways. Most creatures that have absorbed magic in this way live out the rest of their lives without realizing what has happened and with just a few unusual changes that they cannot explain.

"Magic-infused" is an acquired template that can be added to any living corporeal creature (hereafter referred to as the base creature). A magic-infused creature used the base creature's statistics and special abilities, except as noted below.

Special Qualities: A magic-infused creature retains all the base creature's special qualities and gains those described below.

Aura of Magic (Sp): The creature always detects as magical under spells that detect the presence of magic. The type of magic is transmutation, and the strength is "faint."

Infused with Magic (Ex): The creature's whole body is infused with magic, which permeates the creature the same way that water does a human. This infused magic never leaves, and it never grows in strength unless the creature is further exposed to a source of infusing magic. Removing the magic absorbed in this place requires a targeted dispel magic spell that succeeds against a 24th-level caster, or a wish or miracle spell.

Minor Polymorph (Sp): The infusing magic affects the body of the magic-infused creature. Minor changes occur to the creature's form that the creature cannot control or remove without ridding itself of the infusing magic. These minor appearance-changing effects can include horns, a forked tongue, reddish or bluish skin tone (or any other color), change in hair color or length, baldness, and the sudden appearance of tattoos linked thematically to the creature in some way (such as an orc skull with an arrow through it on a ranger whose favored enemy is orcs). These changes do not affect class abilities, and remain with the creature if it changes its form via polymorph or similar magic. Creatures with the shapechanger subtype can revert to their true forms in 1 round, as usual, but the appearance changes return a round later. They remain until the infusing magic is removed from the creature.

Infused Shielding (Su): The infused magic acts as a versatile, but weak, magical shielding. Each round, the shielding can absorb 1d6 points of damage from magical attacks. Deduct the damage from the first attack that strikes the creature (an attack that deals damage always deals at least 1 point of damage). Apply any leftover shielding to subsequent attacks. For example, the 1d6 roll for a round indicates the shielding can absorb 6 points of damage this round. If the shielded creature is then struck by a magic missile spell that deals 5 points of damage, the shield absorbs 4 points of damage, the creature takes 1 point of damage, and the shielding can absorb 2 point of damage from further magical attacks this round.

Level Adjustment: +1.

Magic-Infused Advanced Mimic: CR 7; Huge aberration (shapechanger); HD 15d8+75; hp 142; Init +4; Spd 10 ft.; AC 16, touch 8, flat-footed 16; Base Atk +11; Grp +27; Atk +18 melee (1d8+8, slam); Full Atk +18 melee (1d8+8, 2 slams); Space/Reach 15 ft./15 ft.; SA adhesive, crush; SQ aura of magic, darkvision 60 ft., immunities (acid), infused shielding, infused with magic, mimic shape, minor polymorph; AL N; SV Fort +10, Ref +7, Will +10; Str 27, Dex 10, Con 21, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 10.

Skills and Feats: Climb +17, Disguise +20, Hide -8, Jump +2, Listen +12, Spot +12; Alertness, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Disguise), Weapon Focus (slam).

Adhesive (Ex): A magic-infused advanced mimic exudes a thick slime that acts as a powerful adhesive, holding fast any creatures or items that touch it. An adhesive-covered mimic automatically grapples any creature it hits with its slam attack. Opponents so grappled cannot get free while the magic-infused mimic is alive without removing the adhesive first. A weapon that strikes an adhesive-coated mimic is stuck fast unless the wielder succeeds on a DC 18 Reflex save. A successful DC 18 Strength check is needed to pry it off. Strong alcohol dissolves the adhesive, but the mimic still can grapple normally. A mimic can dissolve its adhesive at will, and the substance breaks down 5 rounds after the creature dies.

Crush (Ex): A magic-infused mimic deals 2d6+8 points of damage with a successful grapple check.

Aura of Magic (Sp): The magic-infused advanced mimic always detects as magical under spells that detect the presence of magic. The type of magic is transmutation, and the strength is "faint."

Infused Shielding (Su): The infused magic acts as a versatile, but weak, magical shielding. Each round, the shielding can absorb 1d6 points of damage from magical attacks. Deduct the damage from the first attack that strikes the creature (an attack that deals damage always deals at least 1 point of damage). Apply any leftover shielding to subsequent attacks. For example, the 1d6 roll for a round indicates the shielding can absorb 6 points of damage this round. If the shielded creature is then struck by a magic missile spell that deals 5 points of damage, the shield absorbs 4 points of damage, the creature takes 1 point of damage, and the shielding can absorb 2 point of damage from further magical attacks this round.

Infused with Magic (Ex): The magic-infused advanced mimic's whole body is infused with magic, which permeates the creature the same way that water does a human. This infused magic never leaves, and it never grows in strength unless the creature is further exposed to a source of infusing magic. Removing the magic absorbed in this place requires a targeted dispel magic spell that succeeds against a 24th-level caster, or a wish or miracle spell.

Mimic Shape (Ex): A magic-infused advanced mimic can assume the general shape of any object that fills roughly 3,375 cubic feet (15 feet by 15 feet by 15 feet), such as a small hut, or a large toolshed, or some other structure. The creature cannot substantially alter its size, though. Its body is hard and has a rough texture, no matter what appearance it might present. Anyone who examines the mimic can detect the ruse with a successful Spot check opposed by the mimic's Disguise check.

Minor Polymorph (Sp): The infusing magic affects the body of the magic-infused advanced mimic. Minor changes occur to the creature' form that the creature cannot control or remove without ridding itself of the infusing magic. These minor appearance-changing effects can include horns, a forked tongue, reddish or bluish skin tone (or any other color), change in hair color or length, baldness, and the sudden appearance of tattoos linked thematically to the creature in some way (such as an orc skull with an arrow through it on a ranger whose favored enemy is orcs). These changes do not affect class abilities, and remain with the creature if it changes its form via polymorph or similar magic. Creatures with the shapechanger subtype can revert to their true forms in 1 round, as usual, but the appearance changes return a round later. They remain until the infusing magic is removed from the creature.

Game Resources: To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the following resources: Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, Dungeon Master's Guide.

About the Author

Robert Wiese is a veteran of the RPGA offices, where he worked for seven years and has been a member since early 1991. In that time he has written over 60 adventure scenarios for the club, a couple of articles for Polyhedron, and the Living Force Campaign Guide (the last one with Morrie Mullins). He also got the Living Greyhawk and Living Force campaigns off the ground and into the hands of wonderful members to develop. Now he works at the University of Nevada at Reno in the Biochemistry department, proving that you never can tell where you'll end up.

Recent Adventure Locales
(MORE)
Recent Realms Articles
(MORE)

About Us Jobs New to the Game? Inside Wizards Find a Store Press Help Sitemap

©1995- Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use-Privacy Statement

Home > Games > D&D > Forgotten Realms > Articles 
You have found a Secret Door!
Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
Email A Friend Email A Friend
Discuss This ArticleDiscuss This Article
Download This Article (.zip)Download This Article