Scary, or other (hopefully) otherwise interesting roomsEdit
Rooms are dull. A player wants to walk into a dining room only so many times. The idea here is to add interesting rooms, or situations, that can be implemented to add some fun to otherwise dull encounters. Fighting a new monster is fun, but fighting the same old monsters in all new ways can also be fun. While these rooms aren't designed to be particularly more challenging than typical encounters (this is not intended to be the Book of Challenges), they should be fun by pushing characters out of their typical comfort zones, and routines. Any (eventual) maps uploaded are drawn to fit the Chessex Battle Mat (the one with hexes on one side, and 22x25 squares on the other).
Room with 6 floorsEdit
Abstract: The plan here is to have a room with 6 floors. I'm not entirely sure how the mechanic will work, but this idea is to let characters walk up walls as if they were walking on the floor.
Summary: The party has found a knotted rope leading up through a 5 foot hole in the ceiling of a cave, and logically they begin to climb up. The rope is hanging in mid air, attached to nothing, and stops about 5 feet after leaving the hole (through which the players are climbing). The hole is 5 feet in diameter in the center of a 25 x 25 foot room. There are no doors in the room, but there is another hole in the ceiling (the walls are about 35 or 40 feet tall). After tugging on the rope, they realize it's not going anywhere and begin to climb the walls (which are worked stone with the occasional stalactite (I guess technically they are all stalagmites, but whatever), but there are enough hand holds to climb slowly). Here is the fun part: The instant a character touches a wall to begin climbing they "fall" onto the wall. When they get up and look back, all of their party is "standing" on a wall, parallel to the ground. The idea is to say every time a character "falls" onto a different floor, it's as if they are under a Daze spell(only one that actually affects higher level characters). Not enough to ruin combat (yes, there will be combat), but enough to make things interesting, and logically realistic (the idea being if you just "fell" onto the wall and are now walking on it as if it were the floor, you're going to be a little confused for a few seconds). Either way, so at this point hopefully everyone will want to give the wall-floors a try, and will begin climbing. The biggest trouble is here. I'm trying to figure out how to map where each character is while they climb. The current plan is to use the net of a cube and be careful about how "floor changes" happen (Suggestions welcome). By this time the entire party will likely be running around making tons of noise and trying to "jump/fall" to opposite walls (I don't know about everyone else, but the average mental age in my party is 6). Now I introduce the monsters. First thought is a dragon, but I think something like Shadows (or something else with perfect flight) would be more interesting , as they could float around being a real hazard.
DM Tactics: (more complete tactics to come when I've picked an enemy) Each opposite wall is far enough apart that I don't think I'll have to worry about opposite wall flanking, but I will be doing a lot of the Pythagorean theorem to determine who is in range for what. After the monsters are dispatched, the party will crawl through the hole in what was once the ceiling, and proceed on to the next room.
Abstract: This room is supposed to be a dragon's nest. I'm not sure what the canon accepted rules are for dragon nests, so I'm kind of on my own for what this is supposed to look like. Naturally, the eggs have to hatch, right? Encounter Level: Dragon's CR
Summary: Players are exploring through some natural stone cave (or other environment where dragons might nest), and step into a larger cavern. The stench of decaying meat wafts from the other side of this large pile of sticks. Players bold enough to climb the sticks will see the corpse of a goat and 3, or more, eggs. Players smart enough to get a better feel for the room before climbing the pile of sticks will notice egg shells or other evidence of a nesting site scattered about. At this point the players will have to decide how to deal with the eggs, and oh look, one is hatching! <insert some cinematic description of the hatching of an egg, with a small belch of fire>. Here is where different players will get some thoughts:
- Fire! Red Dragon! Kill it! Kill it fast! (The brawler)
- Fire! Dragon! Is it chromatic or metallic? (The rules lawyer)
- Fire! I want whatever is in there to imprint on me! (The opportunist)
- Are you sure it's a dragon? Maybe it's not, let's wait a bit. (The "Fool me once...")
Naturally, if the eggs hatch, the dragons are going to call for mom. The entire party is now standing on a large pile of kindling with the (fire immune) new-born babies of a very protective she-dragon. However, dragons are smart, and maybe you can tell the dragon you were just visiting (This will be harder if the barbarian's battle axe is dripping in egg juice). At this point the encounter is likely to devolve into a typical dragon encounter.
Mine Cart CarnageEdit
Abstract: As the name would indicate, this encounter should be happening in, on, around, or near mine carts. The urge to throw in gorillas with barrels, or smooth rocks with 3 stripes should be suppressed depending on the tone of your campaign. A chase element here might not be mechanically the most fun (relying on a evocation wizard or ranged hitters to crush the bad guys) and easy to "derail" (Oh yes, pun intended. But seriously, a "wall of ice" is going to stop a mine cart cold (Pun still intended!)). Here is my suggestion for an encounter in an abandoned mine. This encounter is designed for lower levels, but could easily be raised to work on stronger parties. Encounter Level: 4. Designed for a 5 person ECl 3 party (party level 3.6). To lower encounter level take away Eric and give his thunderstone to Moe.
Summary: The unmistakable high pitched chatter can be heard just beyond the door, as the ranger grips the hilt of her longsword just a little bit tighter and mutters "Kobolds..." under her breath. The party (as silently as they can manage) load their crossbows, ready their wands, and draw their blades ready to "get the jump on those kobold scum". (DMs note: I usually embrace pre-game strategy and let the party get a surprise round if they deserve it, but sometimes the enemies are ready too!) The meat-shield kicks open the door, shouts something about the death of his father, and runs in. To a pit. Those /not/ charging blindly into battle will notice the giant hole in the doorway and use a move action to step around it. Let's assume you have a typical 5 person party, I'll go through each character's role:
- Meat-shield: He's in a hole. Not a very deep hole, 10 feet or so. However, he's not the only thing in the hole. Snakes, spiders, rats, or another typical (low-level) dungeon swarm should be in the hole. His hands are now full.
- Caster: In all honesty, he is probably weighing his odds about the mystery pit against the 4 angry, well-armed kobolds, and that scary looking pair of super ferrets (Dire Weasel mounts). He probably decides on the kobolds, and casts sleep or color spray (if he's good) or Magic Missile (if he's learning the ropes).
- Ranger: Seething with rage (not real rage mind you, flavor rage) the ranger gets around the hole and looses an arrow at the first thing with a pulse.
- Rogue: With a dainty AC and banal Hit Points this low level rogue is more of a crystal crossbow than a glass cannon. He probably decides death from 15-30 feet is the tactic here, and delays until after the wizard puts a kobold or two to sleep for that tasty 2d6 Sneak Attack.
- 5th Man: No telling who this is, probably a bard or cleric. Buff/Debuff. Rinse, repeat. Hitting people should really be considered if the Wizard put the kobolds to sleep, to save the spells for later.
DM Tactics: But that's the players. If you're reading this, you're the DM. Throwing rocks is a stupid way to play. That's why these kobolds came to fight. Sure you've got 2 kobolds on Dire Weasels, and 2 with their rocks, but you've got three more. Calvin and Hobbes (the mounted kobolds) attack the ranger and rogue respectively. Bill and Ted (the two who didn't get mounts) throw their rocks at the wizard. Moe, Larry, and
Curly Eric are on a ledge about 25 feet off the ground, sitting in mine carts (forget about those?) that are on tracks around the perimeter of the room. Moe drops a couple of vials of acid on the trapped pit fighter (he's got 4, 2 he is saving for later. Next encounter later). Larry has 2 tanglefoot bags, and hopes the first one hits the wizard, but will use both. If the first hits he drops the other on the next biggest threat. Eric has a thunderstone and is cautious about how to use it. If Larry hits the wizard with the tanglefoot bag, Eric is lobbing that thunderstone at the ranger. The kobolds will knock a character out, but won't try to outright kill anyone but a Gnome (sorry guys, it's all but in the Monster Manual). Where is the mine cart carnage, though? Sure, three guys are spinning around on a ledge, but they could just as easily be running. Here is the fun part. Eric has a dull job, especially after the first round. He, however, gets to trigger traps. Mine carts and kegs of oil are attached to the ceiling of the room, at 5 randomly pre-determined locations. The kobolds know these locations and won't step there, but might stand near there to encourage one of the players to do so. When a character enters that spot Eric hits the "release" button and drops the weight. Kill Eric and Moe mans the triggers, followed by Larry. DC 12 Reflex save dodges the falling objects. If you're feeling generous you can put a ladder on the floor that can reach the upper ledge. Bill, Ted, Calvin, Hobbes, Fluffy and Giggles(the Dire Weasels) should die in that approximate order. Needless to say, Moe, Larry, and Eric will likely be the last to die. By the end of the encounter the kegs of oil (2) should have fallen and coated the stone floor. Depending how much you like the PCs, feel free to throw down a torch and watch. Lucky rolls and a smart strategy has the players winning this encounter in about 5 rounds (or less).