Random Encounters
Denizens of Stone Bog
By Skip Williams

Even the most idyllic sylvan forest has places of darkness and evil, and Stone Bog represents such a place. Here, overfed trees grow rank and twisted. Their leprous branches hang like a moth-eaten shroud overhead, keeping the soggy ground below in perpetual gloom.

Little grows in the shadowy spaces under the trees, save for a layer of spongy moss that shifts and squirms underfoot. Running or charging over the moss requires a Balance check (DC 15). If the check fails, the character falls, halting the character's movement. It takes a move-equivalent action to get up again.

Here and there, masses of stone lie askew, pushing up through the moss like rotten teeth. One can find toppled walls, old foundations, random debris, and even a few lurching, weather-beaten statues. These ruins stretch for acres and were once part of a vast temple complex and village, now long abandoned to the encroaching forest and seeping groundwater. The statues tend toward the grotesque; they feature tortured humanoids, deformed animals, winged fiends, and leering beasts, half animal and half human. Local legend holds that some of the statues move, always with silence and always furtively, just at the edge of one's vision. Some scoff at this tale, dismissing it as a trick of the light. Others are not so sure.

The Gargoyles of Stone Bog

A few of the statues in stone bog do indeed move, though few that catch them doing so live to tell the tale. A pair of particularly nasty gargoyles lurks in Stone Bog, and they delight in spreading mayhem and terror.

Beware the Ghouls

Deeper within Stone Bog lies an abandoned cemetery, with its gravestones scattered and toppled like a child's discarded blocks, and its mausoleums roofless and doorless. A pack of powerful ghouls led by a mighty ghast calls this area home. After centuries of gnawing only ancient bones, they're hungry for fresh treats.

Mummies of the Bog

A particularly soggy area of Stone Bog harbors several guardian mummies who are doomed to defend their waterlogged turf against all invaders.

Green Death

Deep in the fetid, gloomy heart of Stone Bog lies the den of the most awful bog denizen of all.

About the Author

Skip Williams keeps busy with freelance projects for several different game companies and has been the Sage of Dragon Magazine since 1986. Skip is a codesigner of the new D&D game and the chief architect of the Monster Manual. When not devising swift and cruel deaths for player characters, Skip putters in his kitchen or garden (his borscht get rave reviews).

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