A mysterious rain of frogs or fish. The players will bash
their brains out trying to figure the significance.
Enterprising players with food preservation skills may turn
this into a money making opportunity...
Halfling Weed Has A Kick
A small winding track that can barely be made out--maybe
made by a small barrow as well as feet. The trail leads to a
concealed garden of halfling pipe weed that has a bit
This may be concealed due to taxation or legality issues or
it could just be the family's private plot. Pilfering the
garden in any major way can have repercussions if the
halflings find out or the authorities note the unusually
large quantity of (possibly illegal or taxable) pipe weed.
As the party is riding down a forest track a hail of arrows
and sling stones rain against armour and shields and hit the
party for minor damage (in the pain and confusion the party
will not notice the arrows are blunt with a wooden bulb on
the business end and the sling stones are loose clay that
hurt or even stun but break apart on impact).
A cry of "hold your fire" rings out. A burly Halfling in
leather armour, with a broadsword strapped to his back, and
a red cloth strip around his right arm steps onto the path.
"Ere; you aren't blue team!"
The Halflings are holding military exercises with the
neighboring Human army (or ruling/occupying forces if
Halflings live within another kingdom rather than having
They'll apologise but apart from offering a hit of some cider
they happen to have along they'll do little else. This can go a
number of ways but remember that Halflings in the wilderness
can be near invisible and move silently without ANY thieving
abilities. They will have some real arrows and sling stones
in addition to the blunted versions.
Also, in the event of party retaliation, have the leader and
maybe one other escape (little buggers are hard to find).
While his troops (between 5 and 10 Halflings, slings/short
bows, daggers, small spears and leather armor) are 0 level
Halflings, he's a 5th level soldier/ranger type (has a good
tracking skill and knows the area like the back of his
hand). Have him take shortcuts and routinely ambush the
party with slings, arrows and booby traps. Rambo? He's
nothing! A night raid to run off the horses will leave the
party stranded on his home ground.
The little guy has high physical stats, hit points and maybe
a ring of protection +1 or 2 (to offset the low leather
armour AC and aid with saving throws) and a potion or two of
healing (which were bought along in case of training
accidents). Have him use his broadsword (2-handed) to good
effect if the party get close enough to melee, or fight in
small and tight places where not only is dagger fighting
needed but also the humans lose DEX bonus for AC while the
halfling retains his.
It's entirely possible the little bastard could kill the
party--they'll never look down on Hobbits again.
If a 0 level Halfling escapes he'll alert the authorities of
what members of the party look like.
Scribe/Artist and Student
Riding through the hills in the vicinity of a town they see
what looks to be a half-orc dressed in robes beating a human
child with a stick. Around the area scattered papers/scrolls
blow in a gentle breeze.
The half-orc is the town scribe. The town doesn't hold him
guilty for his birth and his family paid for the best
education possible. Now he is well liked and carries a bit
of weight in the community.
The child is his apprentice. They decided to study outside
today and the teacher is punishing the pupil for bad/sloppy
It's possible the party will think the Scribe is actually a
Mage and in any case will be inclined to kill first and ask
questions later when it comes to a half-orc.
In the hills outside a town city the party spies a bunch of
men in ragged clothing and cloaks beating up a shepherd and
'stealing' his sheep.
The guys in ragged clothing (and equally dirty and ragged
tabards are under their cloaks) are the local tax collectors
gathering arrears-hopefully the party will ask questions
first. They could also (if you want to be really evil) be
real bandits impersonating the local lord's men. The
shepherd, long since beaten senseless, will be in no
condition to say otherwise.
Merchant Trading With Orcs
A merchant in a wagon passing the same direction as the
characters offers the party a job. Two days of easy caravan
guard duty at 1 gold piece and food per day. The merchant
claims to be an agent and apprentice of a semi-famous local
mage and would feel safe ("although I am totally confident
of the customer's good faith and my own ability") with a few
strong arms as well. He's on his way to deliver a shipment
of goods ("a bit of this and a bit of that - general
What the party doesn't know is that the merchant is a mage
and is selling smuggled weapons/armour as well as general
goods. Moreover, his customers are orcs, hobgoblins, etc.
The party will be much surprised when they roll into a ring
of about 50 bad guys and even more surprised when the
baddies are actually friendly (they assume the party are
renegades or bandits).
Needless to say, the party is participating in a capital
offence. The mage (while still considered an apprentice by
his master) is 2nd or 3rd level. He left his spell book at
home having pre-memorized/prepared his spells for the
journey. As his master's agent he'll have access to some
Along a bend/break in the wilderness/edge of the stream a
lonely donkey stands braying. Look! A free donkey!
The donkey will perform routine acts of intelligence to try
to get the party to understand that's he's different in the
hopes they work out that all is not as it seems.
For example: alerting the party to the presence of a
pickpocket in the act, warning them of monsters or traps by
braying/making noise, leading the other animals to safety in
the event of danger, sniffing out water, etc. They donkey is
actually a polymorphed adventurer who has retained his
mental facilities in the change. In effect, he's a super
smart donkey! It may be awhile before the party catches on.
He also kept his original hit points so this burro is REALLY
A Plague Of Pilgrims
Pilgrims on their way to a holy grove/site ask the party for
food and alms. For an added twist you could make them lepers
or plague carriers...
When walking through the forest/wilderness the players see a
gold piece in the middle of the path/road/glade. (This
should be good for 10 minutes of paranoia.) When they pick
up the gold they hear a voice "So you like gold do ye? Want
to get some more?"
A brownie or leprechaun challenges the party to a riddle
match--win and they get X amount of gold, fail and they've
got to complete a small quest (although you should avoid
using this term).
The quest could just be the disarming of some traps,
destruction of a giant spider or snake, the warning off of a
particularly callous hunter, etc. The twist is that, if they
fail to honor their bargain, a ranger/druid/elf will pay a
little visit to the party at a later and unexpected time.
Why Don't You Come Up To My Tree Big Boy?
You guessed it--Dryads.
However, have the Dryads deliberately not (initially) use
their charm power (will only use in self-defense) but have
them try to get party members to co-operate of their own
free will. Have them stress that they need this 'joining'
otherwise the woods/trees/area will suffer as they are not
able to keep the species going on their own, orcs and evil
things will have greater sway, etc.
"You'd be doing me a big favour AND I've a few sisters who
also need some help".
Have them promise that they only require one night and will
not delay the party or seek to hold co-operating males
beyond that. Have them swear an oath. The dryad(s) are being
honest and kidnapping gives one a bad reputation AND brings
the local druid into it...
The dryad(s) will tempt the more red-blooded party members
and (once again) generate a lot of paranoia.
If the PCs 'help' then they are rewarded with a wooden cup (natural formation of wood rather than carved) that fills with clean water 3 times a day or a pouch full of acorns that can be eaten one per day as a substitute for food for the day. In both cases, the recipient is warned that the magic will cease after a year and a day.
4 or 5 minutes of faint but growing louder banging can be
heard. A rustling and a series of squeals warns the party a
minute before an enraged boar charges into the parties midst
and attacks the party in a mad rage!
The local rulers are out hunting for boar and have their
beaters out scaring up the game.
If the party kills the boar the beaters/lords will accuse
the party of poaching (although they will have the sense
after a few minutes of conversation to concede that poachers
normally don't use battleaxes, 2 handed swords etc...).
If they party are in serious trouble (boars can be TOUGH)
have the lords/beaters intervene...
The party, while exploring in the woods, hears a groaning
sound. They can't figure out where it's coming from and
probably become paranoid. Suddenly, one of them step on a
root of a tree, and a great cry roars out. The party turns
round to see a tree animated. It's a treant. The treant
begins complaining about something random. (GM's Fun Time.)
When the players try to talk about something else, the
treant goes onto another random subject and starts to
complain. The treant is neurotically depressed. If the
players try to do something for the treant, the treant will
wish them to do something else, and something else, and so
on. The treant will never actually say what is actually
wrong with him, but a curse was placed on him so he can't
move and becomes depressed. A simple remove curse will cure
him, but the players don't know that...
(This is recommended for a party with some morals. Evil may
not work 'cause they will just try to kill everything.) The
characters are exploring through a forest. During the night
right before they rest they see a figure. As the figure
comes in torch light range, the characters notice the face:
a big red nose, a pale white face, crazy colored curly
hair... Oh my, it's a clown. The clown doesn't speak one
word, but waves the party to follow him deeper into the
woods. After following the clown through the woods for quite
a while, the party comes to a clearing. In the clearing is
a magnificent sight. Great, loud music roaring. Booths set
up everywhere. Trapeze artists doing amazing tricks. They
are at a circus. In the center is a great big tent. The
clown will continue walking into the tent, continuing to
beckon the party.
If the party enters the big tent, the clown is nowhere in sight, but there will be chairs set up facing a stage. On the stage is a speaker. He is running a show. As he wraps up his fluent charismatic speech, the show begins. It is a freak show; humanoids of tremendous abilities, although quite atrocious. While the show is going on, the speaker goes down to talk to the party. The speaker welcomes the party to the circus and gives each character three free tickets to spend as he or she wishes. (Such as booth games, and such. This is the fun part for the GM.) A small prize for a successful game is recommended.
After a character is done with his or her three tickets, they begin to feel weird. After everyone is done with their tickets, they begin to change. Each character begins to transform a bit, each in their own different way, until they all are freaks, one way or another. When they try to leave, the speaker calls out to them and says they can't leave, they must stay now for they are freaks. The characters (if they are smart) will have to explore the circus. They will have to fight their way through new monsters and freaks and explore the place until they go into the big tent and find a trap door to the bottom. There, they find the speaker, and he morphs into a giant spider. After killing him, they find a magic orb which takes away their freak abilities and features and they arrive back at their camp. (They can keep what ever items they got at the circus though.)
The PCs are following a caravan of slave-traders in winter. Light snow is falling and the whole landscape is "dressed" in white. The slave-traders are a brutal, barbarian tribe who sell humans, elves, and half-elves to a trader near the mountains. The barbarians are all brutal and strong, and it's obvious that if the PCs want to free the slaves it will
be a very tough fight. Near the foot of the mountain range the caravan stops at a hill (which as well is covered in snow) to give some rotten
food to the slaves and to water the horses that are pulling the wagons (a small, frozen-over river meanders next to the hill, which the barbarians broke up in a little spot to get the water). The hill is absolutely bare, no cottage, no scrub, no tree to find on it...
If PCs attack, the fight is tough indeed. But in the middle of the fight the hill itself stirs and erupts, showing that its not a hill at all, but a colossal, white dragon (which was sleeping in this isolated country site).
Everybody is covered in a white cloud of snow by the emerging dragon.
The PCs stumble across a tunnel. If they decide to explore it they find out it is much bigger than they thought, a tunnel city like the underdark, only not infested with drow and the like, but local natives (goblins and whatever). A tunnel or cave in the middle of nowhere that no-one knows about will also let you know how inquisitive the party is. Whether they investigate straight away or go and research it at nearest town, if they go in, how deep they go and so on.
A fight in a lightning storm or flash flood situated in an dense forest with heavy fog is WAY more dramatic than a fight in a dense forest on its own. And aside from the combat side of it, are the players able to defend themselves from the recent cold snap that takes the temperatures to below freezing level at night?
Lookout! It's Charging!
A party moving casually through a wilderness area is surprised by a charging beast. It crashes through the brush, tops a dune, or arrives in whatever sudden manner is environmentally appropriate.
A Listen check will reveal that something is coming, and from what direction, seconds prior to the creature's arrival. A Reflex Save will allow characters to jump out of the way. If someone does not get out of the way, there is a chance they will take a charge attack. The beast is not intent on hurting the party; it is simply frenzied and moving in an erratic line. After any first attacks are resolved on either side, the beast crashes to the earth, dead.
No obvious reasons for its death are evident. A Spot check reveals inflamed areas around the creature's eyes and nostrils. Detect Magic will call up phosphorescence over the beast's lungs and nostrils. Detect Poison will highlight an all-over pattern of areas. A Heal check will
inform the PCs that the pattern is brighter near the
animal's brain and spine.
The creature has expired from a virulent disease; one engineered by an insane gnome alchemist/wizard. The beast broke through the wizard's stockade of test subjects, after being infected. The disease is alchemical and attacks the nervous system, but it is infused with magic to make it highly transmittable. The mad gnome plans to get revenge on the world of tall people. The disease is kept in vials that evaporate upon breaking. Infection is highly likely, and even a Reflex Save to get out of the area before breathing only reduces the chances slightly. An infected creature can spread the disease through contact (mostly with its fluids). The disease causes death within 5-15 minutes.
If the PC's eat the beast (it's a great encounter for a starved party), they will almost certainly contract the disease, unless they purify the carcass first. Even minimal physical contact with the creature may be enough to catch the disease. If they backtrack the beast's trail, they
encounter a small, two-story fieldstone tower with a system of shored up tunnels underneath as well as the aforementioned stockade attached to one side.
If the gnome knows the PCs are coming (he will have a perimeter of ingenious alarms), he will be too excited by the chance to test his concoction on living humanoids to worry about how dangerous the party looks.
He will hide in the top level of the tower and drop a vial of the stuff out a window and onto the party as they get within range of the door. He will then down a vial of antidote (one of several on hand), and try to avoid contact with the party until they drop over dead (or should have). The door to the tower is magically locked. The tower contains a full alchemist's lab, a small treasure chest (in a hidden alcove in the tunnels), some food stores, etc.
* A broken shoe.
* A broken axle.
* Animal droppings containing human body parts-small tracks, big beast. Muuuahahah!
* A rickety bridge (Indiana Jones comes to mind).
* Trouble with wilderness powers or power groups (i.e. treants won't let PCs pass without doing something or giving something).
* Poacher encounter. The poachers want to relate to the PCs and share glory stories.
* The PCs fall into a trap with some goblins and are forced to put differences aside to help each other.
* PCs encounter a small hut a bit off of the trail. It's glowing with the hue of an evening fire. If the PCs investigate they find it belongs to an eccentric painter.
* A shrine to a good god in an evil land tucked away in a ravine, covered in overgrowth and moss, where dark eyes cannot find it. Perhaps it predates the evil that came to the land.
End of Supplemental #15