Over the Edge
Episode Two: Rocky Road Ahead
By Will McDermott
Over the Edge is a short adventure for four 9th-level characters. In Episode 1, the characters were hired to investigate manticore attacks on a trade route through the Lortmil Mountains. Soon after entering the mountain pass, they encountered a caravan that had been waylaid by a local group of bandits called Killian's Krew. After the battle, the merchants told the heroes about two hill giants guarding a bridge farther up the pass. The party now nears that bridge.
Encounter 2: The Bridge
The route through mountains winds as it rises into the pass. If the characters do not attempt to sneak through the mountains, Geet and Gern hear their approach and the first encounter happens right after they round a bend. If the characters are being quiet, give Geet and Gern one listen check to hear the characters before they round the bend. Once in view of the giants, any character making a successful Spot check (DC 25) sees the giants in time to act during the surprise round. All other characters are flat-footed for the first volley of rocks.
Once the heroes spot the giants, read or paraphrase the following text:
|You round the bend to see a sturdy bridge, just wide enough for a merchant's cart, suspended over a chasm about 150 feet away. Two hill giants stand on the path in front of the bridge, each with a pile of rocks at his feet -- and two in hand, about to be hurled at you.|
Geet and Gern: CR 7, hp 118 (Geet) and 98 (Gern); See Hill Giants in the Monster Manual page 98. Between them, Geet and Gern have just 20 silver pieces in their pouches and nothing else of value.
Tactics: Geet and Gern are immediately hostile toward the characters and throw rocks until the characters close into melee. At that point, Geet fights with his greatclub. Gern, however, attempts to grapple his melee opponent. If successful, Gern then tries to pin on his next action. Should Gern successfully pin the grappled PC, he uses his partial action to move to the edge of the cliff and drop his opponent as a free action. The chasm is 1,000 feet deep, so a dropped character suffers 20d6 points of damage from the impact. Any character not in melee with either giant may make a spot check (DC 25) to notice Gern glance at the cliff edge during the initial grapple attempt.
After dealing with Geet and Gern, the characters hear a scraping noise. A Listen check (DC 10) enables the heroes to determine that the sound comes from the chasm. Any character who surpasses a DC 20 on the Listen check realizes that someone or something is climbing up the cliff face.
About the Author
Before moving to the Online Media department at Wizards of the Coast, Will McDermott was editor in chief of TopDeck magazine and, before that, The Duelist. Will has written strategy guides for both Magic: The Gathering and the Pokémon TCGs, and is currently writing a Magic: The Gathering novel.