Two: Caught in the Web
is a short adventure for four 9th-level characters. The party can consist
of any mix of classes, but it should include at least one character that
is good in wilderness settings, such as a druid, ranger, or barbarian,
and at least one cleric. This scenario should prove a reasonable challenge
for characters from 8th to 10th level. The adventure takes place in a
swampland that is near a small settlement.
have just arrived in the small settlement of Crivdall, which is a fort
on the edge of a huge, dangerous swamp. In the dead of night, a small
armada of monstrous vermin attacked the characters and their hosts, and
the PCs may have spied a mysterious figure that controlled their actions.
the attack, it's likely that the characters want to pursue the mysterious
figure. If they try to go to where the figure was located, jump to "The
Note" section below. In case they do not and want to wait until dawn,
read or paraphrase the following text and adjust it as necessary:
wait until dawn, which is when the settlers slowly start to rebuild
their fort. The giant vermin had inflicted terrible damage to the
wooden walls, including bursting through the gate with apparent
ease. Several of the settlers were killed or injured during the
fray, and the sound of weeping drifts throughout the entire settlement.
rain has finally stopped and the muddy ground is thick with blood,
debris, and footprints.
characters do not investigate the location where the figure (Aleretheral)
was spotted, one of the townsfolk looks for himself and finds a set of
footprints. A successful Spot check (DC 12) reveals a note tacked to a
tree with what appears to be a giant insect claw. It is crudely written
in Common and simply reads "Leave."
the tracks is relatively easy. Anyone with the Track feat can follow them
along (DC 5). If the party does not have someone with the feat (or if
they were killed or incapacitated during the last encounter), then they
can follow along with a Search check (DC 15). The footprints lead deep
into the swamp, where few of the settlers have ever been. Two young huntsmen
from Crivdall, Menrin and Tobis, can go along as guides. If they remain
with the party through any encounters that earn the party XP, they receive
fewer XP due to the presence of these two NPCs.
and Tobis: Male human War3; CR 0; Medium-size humanoid; HD 3d8;
hp 13; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12; Atk
+4 melee (1d8+1/x3, shortspear), or +4 ranged (1d6/x3, shortbow);
AL NG; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 13, Dex 11, Con 10, Int
9, Wis 10, Cha 10.
Feats: Climb +2, Handle Animal +2, Intimidate +1, Knowledge
(local) +0, Move Silently +3; Power Attack, Track, Weapon Focus
Leather armor, shortspear, shortbow, 20 arrows, quiver.
Spider's Lair (EL7)
head into the swamp, the PCs and NPCs follow the tracks to a small cave
nestled among some ancient trees. If they enter inside, read or paraphrase
the following text:
tracks lead to a small cave that juts out from between a mass of
ancient mangrove trees. Moss and vines thickly cover it, but it
appears to be high enough to be out of the stagnant swamp water.
choose to go in, read or paraphrase the following:
you move inside the gloom of the cave, you can see that it is relatively
dry, but it reeks of decay and rotting vegetation. The shuffling
tracks that you followed through the swamp are abundant here, but
they seem to meander. As your eyes adjust to the darkness, you notice
that the walls are densely covered in what appear to be . . . webs.
cave is home to a brood of monstrous giant spiders, which attack from
the cave ceiling. They try to web the characters in place before attacking,
and at least one attacks Menrin and Tobis sometime during the battle.
Monstrous Spider (2): hp 60, 55; see Monster Manual page
Monstrous Spider (4): hp 11, 10, 10, 9; see Monster Manual
used his trackless step ability to get out of the cave without leaving
footprints. Upon searching the spiders, the characters can find that each
of them is wearing a "collar" that is made up in a primitive
fetish of stones, feathers, and insect parts.
no trail and at least one party member in dire straits, the party may
feel compelled to return back to Crivdall. If they do head back, the party
should catch glimpses of more giant insects looming in the reeds and trees
of the brackish swamp. While they do not attack, they do send an indication
of imminent danger. If they don't, the DM should certainly feel free to
have these insects attack the PCs until the PCs head back to recover,
until the PCs are dead, or until the insects all die. Aleretheral can
call upon three times as many insects as you see represented thus far
(minus those used in later encounters).
Cagle splits his time evenly as the administrative assistant and part-time
designer for the R&D department of Wizards of the Coast. In addition
to numerous web articles, he has written several articles for Dragon
Magazine, contributed to two Star Wars RPG products, and contributed
to the Arms and Equipment Guide for D&D. A lunch
hour rarely goes by where he isn't writing for, playing, or thinking about