Random Encounters
The Hamlet of Relmouth
By Eric Haddock

The Creeping Forest

The woods near this hamlet (or any hamlet situated near a forested area) are home to the usual manner of forest animals and growths -- but they also contain a patch of marshy ground that is home to a darktentacles.

The isolation of the hamlet would suggest that a creature such as a darktentacles would not find good hunting. Every so often, however, someone searches the nearby woods for other potential quarry sites, sources of water, or other resources that would make life at the quarry easier.

The darktentacles' food supply has started petering out since the quarry shut down, leaving it little choice but to creep ever more closely to Relmouth, lured there by the chance that someone from one of the houses will stray a bit too far into the forest. Meril and the Stranger (see previous installments) know about the darktentacles but have not sent anyone to their doom. The competition for fresh bodies is close enough as it is without inviting another mouth to the table.

The darktentacles is becoming increasingly bold due to its lack of prey. It is fairly intelligent and has begun to suspect that the Relmouthans are working together against it. Although it prefers the wet marshy ground of a swamp or similar terrain, it won't hesitate to spend a fair amount of time on dry ground -- especially if doing so means getting a chance at wrapping its tentacles around a Relmouthan. Although it has never seen any of them up close, the creature suspects that one of them, somewhere and somehow, is depleting the area of fresh victims.

Some of the ways the PCs might encounter the darktentacles include the following:

  • If the PCs come through the wilds to get to or away from Relmouth, they may encounter the darktentacles while traveling.

  • If the PCs explore the area, they may stumble across this creature, as well.

  • Should the PCs deal with Meril or the Stranger in a manner that threatens either of them, the PCs may find themselves being lead to the darktentacles (while the one leading them there hopes to escape it himself). In fact, any NPC that feels threatened by the PCs may run off into the wilds, only to meet doom at the grasp of the darktentacles.

  • The PCs may find that the darktentacles has moved to work around the path leading to the quarry; investigation of reports of missing people (and any remains found near a path) could point toward just this type of creature. Some folks still do go out to the quarry hoping to find something more than death (or the Stranger may drive some to go out there); desperation does instill a certain kind of bravado. This combination can be a bad one that brings the PCs into a confrontation with the darktentacles.

The Darktentacles' Current Motives

Eventually hunger is going to drive the darktentacles into the hamlet. Once there, it will first grab a bite to eat, then ask questions. It should be only a matter of minutes before it meets up with someone once in the hamlet and then do what it does best.

Darktentacles: hp 75; see Monster Manual II, page 54.

Bringing the Parts Together

If things are going slow, remember that the darktentacles is intelligent and also believes that something in the hamlet is keeping people from walking in the woods. The only way to find out if that's true is to enter the town and wring information out of people. The darktentacles could be encountered just as it is loping and flopping across what passes for Relmouth's main street.

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