Friday, July 14, 2006

Encounter: The Baleful Bog and Teen Troll Ranger (EL 8)

Presented below is an encounter with a crafty troll ranger who has laid an ambush involving a pool of quicksand. Included are some of the features applicable to any swamp you might use the encounter in, a complete description of the encounter, and statistics for the trap-laying troll.

Marsh Features
Fog: The entire marsh area is covered in low-hanging fog that obscures ground details. Attempting any tracking in this fog increases the DC by +2.

Marsh Terrain (DMG p.88): with the exception of the remnants of the road, this entire swamp is a moor. Terrain is as follows:
20% of terrain is Shallow Bog (movement is 2/1, Tumble DCs are +2),
5% is Deep Bog (Movement is 4/1 or you can swim, Tumble is impossible, water provides cover),
30% is Light Undergrowth (movement is 2/1, Tumble DCs are +2, provides 20% miss chance concealment), 10% is Heavy Undergrowth (movement is 2/1, Tumble DCs are +2, provides 30% miss chance concealment).
The remaining 35% of terrain is normal.

As the players enter this area, read or paraphrase the following:
"Low brush and pools of water are half-concealed by low-lying fog. Dark trees stretch up, as though trying to escape the fetid swamp; dense vines, moss and foliage block out any light from the sky. The buried and half-submerged road is blocked at two places by fallen trees, the first 50' ahead and the second another 50' past that."
The area to the left of the path at the second fallen tree is a patch of quicksand (see below) that the troll has concealed (DC 25 Spot or Survival check to detect). Anyone entering the squares marked as quicksand will fall in and begin to sink.

Creatures: A clever troll ranger is hiding in a hunter's blind 30' up in a tree and 30 feet away from the road, waiting for prey (Hide:+3 bonus for being 30 ft away, +6 ranks in Hide, -4 for size Large, +10 circumstance bonus because the blind is exceptionally cunning, for a total Hide of +15).

When the party gets to the second blockage on the path, the troll ranger will swing down from the blind and attempt to bull rush a member of the party into the quicksand hidden next to the path (with +4 circumstance bonus for momentum and +4 for size Large). He may wait at first to see if any of the players stumble into the quicksand and the other players are distracted trying to rescue him.

Once he completes the bull rush, he will land on the ground on the opposite side of the bog. From there he will harry the party with showers of arrows. The first shot will be with a rope-arrow at the party member in the quicksand. The troll is equipped with a composite longbow (+3 Str) and 10 barbed arrows with a thin but strong cord made of vine attached to the shaft allowing him to retrieve prey from the quicksand. These rope arrows are located in a quiver hidden behind a tree stump. The ends of the cords are already secured to the tree stump.

The Teen Troll Ranger is here. In addition, there are Bog Hounds.

Tactics: Attempting to surprise any prey, the troll will initiate combat with a bull rush to push an opponent into the quicksand. He will likely target the party member with the heaviest armor and will recieve a +4 circumstance bonus for momentum and a +4 bonus for his large size.

After the party member is trapped in the quicksand, the troll will fire a rope-arrow at him, allowing retrieval of his corpse later. At the same time, he will yell for his bog hounds (free action), who will arrive 1d3 rounds later. The troll, being fearless, will then fight to the death.

When they arrive the bog hounds will attack the weakest looking party member, making use of their trip attacks.

Quicksand: Roughly 25' x 25' area. The troll has covered the surface of the quicksand with leaves, brush, and other natural vegetation to conceal its true nature. The party can detect the trap with a DC 25 Survival or Search check. Any character entering squares marked on the map as quicksand immediately falls in and is subject to the effects of quicksand as listed in the DMG on page 88.
CR 6; mechanical; automatic reset; DC 25 Reflex avoids; 30ft. deep; drowning danger; Search DC 25; Disable Device DC 15 to clear camouflage.

Treasure: The troll has a belt-pouch with 50 silver coins and 35 gold coins, and has secured some prey he has caught in the blind with him. It amounts to 10 days worth of fresh rabbit and young wild pig meat.

Development: If the party defeats the teen troll ranger, they should be able to help drowning compatriots by pulling them out of the quicksand by the cords attached to the rope-arrows the troll shot them with. Doing so is a DC 15 strength check for every 5 feet they move their friends.

Ad Hoc XP Adjustment: +%20, or give experience for entire encounter as a CR 8.

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