Saturday, December 11, 2010

[D20cember] I is for Inclement Weather

Inclement Weather: A Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Labyrinth Lord adventure set in the Ashford Valley.

Get Ready:
Travel in the Ashford Valley can be difficult and dangerous. And that's only from the dangers on two- or four-legs. The weather can also drive the story and in this one it does.

Get Set:
The PCs are traveling between Sooton and Clifton, but not along the Deep Forest Road. Perhaps they chose the overland route to visit old friends along the way or were looking for the entrance of an old mine or sought after a famed swordmaker who disappeared in the region a decade ago. However they chose the path, the path takes them into a raging Nature!

As night is falling, the weather turns severe. The PCs have to find shelter or lose their lives when massive hail stones the size of your fist come raining down!

Hailstorm! Each character in the open must save versus petrify or suffer 1d4 damage per round until shelter is found. Possible shelters include stands of trees, rock outcroppings, an old barn or other farm structure, or nearby caves, all of which require an ability check vs. Intelligence or an elf's ability to detect hidden doorways (1-2 on 1d6) to spot and between 1-3 rounds to reach safety. (A cruel GM may require three ability checks vs. Dexterity to reach the shelter, with the total number of successes subtracted from 4 rounds to determine how fast the PC makes it to safety - 1 round for a complete success and 4 for complete failure, with each round taking more damage!)

While waiting out the hailstorm, the PCs hear hammering, like a hammer hitting an anvil, a way off. It's methodical and steady. After a while, it stops, then starts up again. It doesn't take long for the PCs to determine the direction.

The hailstorm stops about an hour later and then a steady deluge of rainfall fills the rest of the night. It's miserable, even if they made shelter in the old barn (the roof leaks) or the cave (the water starts pouring into the down-sloped entrance), and it's even worse under the stand of trees or the rock outcropping.

If the PCs decide to search for the person making the noise instead of waiting out the night, it at least keeps them warm with all the moving about. Their search leads them to an old mine entrance, with a ruddy orange glow coming from it.

The mine is home to a half-dozen or so Bugbears, with a single captive, Wylane the Smith. Wylane is an excellent swordsmith, famous all throughout the Ashford Valley. About 10 years ago, he left Ashford to set up a forge away from distractions. He found a likely place in the wilds between Sooton and Clifton and spent his time forging swords and selling them here or there.

About a year ago, the Bugbears captured him and forced him to forge them weapons while teaching him how to make Bugbear Longswords, which are prized swords in the Ashford Valley because of their fine quality and damage abilities (1d8+1). The longswords that Wylane has made are even finer quality and do greater damage (1d8+2).

The Bugbears are lead by a ’bear named Ash. He rules with a brutal hand and the other ’bears (B’dash, B’gash, Blash, Brash, and B’zash, all brothers) are in mortal fear of him. Ash has dreams of using Wylane as the means to start a humanoid arms merchant house, providing excellent weapons to the lesser monsters for lots of gold, so he isn't as harsh to Wylane but a slave is still a slave.

If the PCs start a fight with the ’bears, Wylane with come to their aid, picking up a longsword (1d8+2 plus 3 for his great strength) and attacking the ’bears, too. As a slave, he knows that this may be his only chance to escape so his morale is high.

If the PCs manage to free Wylane, they've earned a friend for life. Part of the loot in the cave includes a dozen Bugbear longswords (1d8+1) and the seven Wylane longswords (1d8+2) that Wylane and the Bugbears are using.

Notable NPCs:
Wylane the Smith (1 Normal Man); Alignment: Lawful; Armor Class: 7 (leather armor); Hit Dice: 1d8, Hit Points: 8; Attacks: longsword (1d8+2+3); Save: NM; Special abilities: master swordsmith, Strength 18; Morale: 12.

Bugbears; No. Encountered: 1d3+3; Alignment: Chaotic; Armor Class: 5; Hit Dice: 3d8+1, Hit Points: 18, 15, 14, 13, 10, 9; Attacks: longsword (1d8+2), longbow (1d8+1); Save: F3; Morale: 9 - it drops to 5 if Ash (HP 18) is killed; 50% chance to surprise enemies.

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