Random Encounters09/22/2003

Ill Met on the River of Dreams

Seething Rapids

The river enters another fairly wild stretch here. The channel narrows and enters a series of stony gorges that make the water flow deep and fast. This stretch has even more white water than the previous one, and several waterfalls as well. In addition, several points of geothermal activity are on this portion of the river. Several of the waterfalls and rapids also sport geysers or hot springs.

One such area consists of a wide, shallow maze of rapids, backwaters, and side channels where the water roils and steams, sometimes from the force of water flowing over the rocky bottom and sometimes because a geothermal vent below the surface literally sets the river to boiling in some places. The water in this area is hot enough to deal 1 point of fire damage per round. In addition, the heated water produces a fog that grants concealment to creatures at least 20 feet away and total concealment to creatures at least 40 feet away.

A small group of salamanders has laid claim to this area. They forage for metal in the surrounding gorges and bask in the heat. The salamanders resent intrusions or trespassing of any kind and prove hostile to any visitors. They lurk in the fog (gaining concealment) and imperiously demand that any nonsalamander entering the area turn back. They attack anyone who does not comply (but see Bringing the Parts Together).

In a fight, the average salamanders form a battle line while their leader, a noble salamander, uses her spells from within the fog. When her spells are exhausted, the leader joins the fray.

Average Salamanders (3): hp 58 each, see Monster Manual, page 219.

Noble Salamander: hp 112, see Monster Manual, page 219.

The salamanders have amassed a pile of gold and silver ingots from their mining activities in the area. This cache is worth some 3,500 gp, and it lies hidden deep in a thermal vent where the water is literally at the boiling point (1d6 points of fire damage per round of exposure, or 10d6 point per round of immersion). The salamanders use a long chain to retrieve the ingots from the vent. A continuous plume of boiling water and steam marks the site of the vent, and the salamanders have hollowed out several rocks nearby to serve as resting places. A successful Search check (DC 20) along the bottom here reveals the chain.

Bringing the Parts Together

The salamanders are aware of the nagas living upstream from them, and of the yuan-ti living downstream. As noted at the end of part two, the salamanders are on bad terms with the nagas because the nagas frequently trespass into the salamanders' territory, mostly for the sheer joy of annoying their neighbors.

If the party has defeated the nagas in a fight and can prove it (for example, by showing the salamanders one of the naga's heads), the salamanders allow the group to pass unmolested. If, on the other hand, the salamanders suspect that a group is on good terms with the nagas, they'll prove even more hostile and determined to slay the party.

The salamanders remain on fairly good terms with the yuan-ti downstream. The yuan-ti respect the salamanders' territory and occasionally barter with them for weapons and other meal goods. A party of glib characters might convince the salamanders to allow a group an unmolested passage through their territory by claiming to have some business to conduct with the yuan-ti.

Coming in Part 4 of Ill Met on the River of Dreams

Will the PCs encounter the yuan-ti that live along the river?

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