Episode Three: Pack Attack
By Owen K.C. Stephens
is a short adventure for four 15th-level characters that takes place in
a lightly inhabited, mountainous region. The adventure has connections
to the drow and an underground network of caves, making it particularly
appropriate for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, but is easily
placed on almost any D&D world.
Background: Looking into the "Evil Eye"
In the first two
episodes, the characters witnessed an attack by two purple worms on
a small caravan, and learned that the local area around the town of
Havenfast is rife with dire beasts and other monsters. The PCs then
spoke with the sorcerer Zareph, who asked them to look into rumors of
a creature locals call the "Evil Eye." This monster, whatever
it is, seems to be driving every living creature off the nearby mountain.
The characters had to deal with a mob of townsfolk who didn't appreciate
their presence, and someone slipped one of the PCs a note claiming to
know where the "Evil Eye" can be found. The note instructs
the heroes to be at the north gate of Havenfast at midnight to learn
The note was slipped
to one of the characters by Seirenn, a 10th-level half-elf rogue (use
the generic NPC from Chapter 2: Characters of the Dungeon Master's
Guide) who the previous band of adventurers had hired to gather
information on the local situation for them. Seirenn dwells in Havenfast,
and has found the current problems bad for business -- she only steals
from merchants who come through town, never locals, and with the troubles
fewer outsiders are coming through. She considers it to be in her own
best interest to help the characters put a stop to whatever is happening
on the mountain.
Seirenn hides by
the north gate one hour before midnight (Hide skill +15) and waits for
the characters to show up. She takes 10 on the check, so a Spot check
(DC 25) must be succeeded to locate the rogue if she doesn't want to
be seen. Seirenn is a punctual woman, and will hide from any PCs that
try to scout the rendezvous point ahead of time.
Once the PCs arrive,
she reveals herself and explains her association with the earlier band
of adventurers. When asking around for them, she has discovered that
many decades ago a beholder was spotted on the mountain, though some
local heroes went to confront it and couldn't find it. She told this
to the adventurers that went up more recently, and they were convinced
that the creature was a beholder mage of some sort. After they came
back from "defeating" it they were even more convinced, and
claimed the monster was capable of becoming invisible and traveling
to other planes.
Two weeks after
they left, Seirenn began hearing the rumors surrounding the creature
the locals called the "evil eye," a vaguely described creature
that was occasionally visible up on the mountainside at night.
Seirenn knows where
the earlier party faced their "beholder mage," and it is very
near where the "Evil Eye" has been spotted. Seirenn doesn't
know if the "Evil Eye" is a second beholder come to see what
happened to the first, or if the first creature somehow survived, but
she can direct them to a path that leads to the cave where the first
beholder mage faced Seirenn's former employers.
On the way up the
mountain path to the cave of the "Evil Eye," the characters
are jumped by a group of 5 dire wolves in hiding (Hide +11, Move Silently
+11). These are the last dire wolves left on the mountain, and are far
tougher than typical members of the species (they have advanced to the
maximum 18 hit dice possible for dire wolves). They have been harassed
by the "Evil Eye" to the point that they attack anything that
enters their territory, which of course includes the PCs.
(5): CR 8; Large animal; HD 18d8+54; hp 135; Init +2; Spd 50 ft.;
AC 14 (touch 11, flat-footed 12); Atk +19 melee (1d8+10, bite); Face/Reach
5 ft. by 10 ft./5 ft.; SA Trip; SQ low-light vision, scent; AL N; SV
Fort +14, Ref +13, Will +7; Str 25, Dex 15, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha
Skills and Feats:
Hide +6, Listen +4, Move Silently +7, Spot +4, Wilderness Lore +2*
Trip (Ex) -- A dire wolf that hits with a bite attack can attempt
to trip the opponent as a free action (see Trip in Chapter 8: Combat
of the Player's Handbook) without making a touch attack or provoking
an attack of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the opponent cannot
react to trip the dire wolf.
-- The creature can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight,
torchlight, and similar low-light conditions.
Scent (Ex) -- The
creature can detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and
track by sense of smell.
Skill bonuses --
A dire wolf receives a +1 racial bonus to Listen, Move Silently, and
Spot checks and a +2 racial bonus to Hide checks. *It also receives
a +4 racial bonus to Wilderness Lore when tracking by Scent.
Once the dire wolves
have been dispatched, the heroes spy a dark cave opening at the end
of the path. The corpse of a dire bear lies just outside the opening.
Flies circle it, but from the PCs vantage point, there is no clear injury
to indicate how the bear died. Once the heroes pass the corpse and approach
the cave, they can see that the entire belly of the beast is gone (disintegrated
by the beholder after it killed the bear with a finger of death).