DnD – Cave of Conscience Encounters 5 – 7

Encounter 5 (800 XP) – After the group took care of the ice spiders, they followed the floating ice path down a winding hallway.  With a dungeoneering DC18, they noticed that the path was beginning to angle downwards.  A nature DC18 also showed them that the water around the ice path was beginning to rush faster and splash over the path, making it quite slippery, now difficult terrain.  They could try to pass an acrobatics DC15 to move normally.  If they failed by 5 or more, they fell prone for the remainder of their turn.  As the path wound on, they came across a very narrow, long section with four merloc looking ice creatures standing near the end.  Once visual contact was made, roll initiative!

There were two different sets of merlocs:

Melee Merlocs:

  • AC:22, Fort:22, Ref:17, Will:18
  • Init +2, Speed 4
  • HP 68
  • Attack Melee: Frost Shock – +11 VS Will, 2D4+4, immobilized save ends
  • Attack Melee: Slippery Push – +10 VS AC, 2D4+3, slide target 1
  • Can move normally on slippery surfaces

Ranged Merlocs:

  • AC:20, Fort:20, Ref:19, Will:23
  • Init +0, Speed 3
  • HP 60
  • Attack Ranged 10: Dazed and Confused – +10 VS Will, 1D10+4, dazed save ends
  • Attack Ranged 10: Frost Coating – +12 VS Fort, 1D12+4, slowed save ends
  • Can move normally on slippery surfaces

Another fun part of this encounter is the water on either side of the platform.  During this point of the river, it really began rushing and splashing violently; enough that once per round, a giant wave would crash over a two block sections of the walkway.  The icy water would hit any character in it as such: melee +13 VS Fort, 2D6+5 (miss 1/2 damage), push 2.  If you fell off the path into the water (which is only 5 feet deep but moving swiftly), at the beginning of your turn you make two checks.  The first is an endurance check to withstand the cold of the water.  If you beat a DC15, you’re fine.  Fail by 4 or less, you are slowed until the end of your next turn.  Fail by 5 or more and in addition to being slowed, you take 2D4 cold damage.  Then to see if you can move against the strong current, you make an athletics check.  DC20 to move at 1/2 speed.  If you fail by 4 or less, you can’t move but are fighting the current and remain stationary.  If you fail by 5 or more, you are pushed 5 squares down the flow, which can end up being deadly.  Around the corner of this path (which is only 8 squares long), there is another 8 square straight away.  At the end of that is a cliff with a 50 foot drop.

The PC’s were able to handle this encounter better than I thought.  Only one person fell into the drink, and he saved versus both checks. 

Encounter 6 (1,000 XP) – This is a two-part encounter.  The first part is a skill / tactics situation, and immediately following it, a combat encounter begins.  The skill check is to see how the PC’s get down the 50 foot waterfall.  A part of the problem is that the water is falling into the first lava pit of this mountain, which turns out to be a volcano (thanks for telling them, Chief!).  A perception DC22 shows the characters that there are giant clusters of the blue crystals on the top of the cave above the lava (even though they are large, they are that difficult to notice because the water into the lava is causing a bit of mist).  With a perception DC25, the PCs think they can do some ranged attacks to knock down series of the these clusters into the lava and stand on them.  I made the blocks not terribly difficult to break (AC:18, HP10).  I crafted four 2×3 blocks to fall about one square apart so that there isn’t a clear “bridge” to the other side of the lava pit.  Once the blue crystals were on the water, the PC’s climbed down a rope (except for Paladin Paul, who fell and took 4D10 damage…ouch).  They then got creative, which I gave them some extra XP for.  Our druid changed into a bird, grabbed an end of the rope, with the other end being held onto by a PC on the cluster.  The bird then basically dragged the blocks into one another until they had created a bridge themselves. 

What I was thinking the PC’s may do, other than try to jump over lava, was do an arcane check on the crystals since they are supposed to be studying them anyway.  A DC25 would have revealed that these crystals possess teleportation properties.  Anyone touching the platform when someone beats an Arcane skill DC 28 (which PC’s can assist with) will be teleported to another blue crystal cluster of the skill user’s choice.  But I like my PC’s thinking out of the box, so kudos on the bird taxi idea.

Once they were on solid ground, they realized it was rock, not ice, and that there were now two rock elementals charging at them.  They looked similar to and behaved just like the ice creatures; the only difference was that they were made out of the rock they were standing on.

There was again a melee creature and a ranged creature:

Melee Rock Elemental:

  • AC:25, Fort:20, Ref:17, Will:18
  • Init +1, Speed +5
  • HP: 130
  • Resist Fire 10
  • Attack Melee: Rocky Slap – +9 VS AC, 1D10+4
  • Attack Ranged Close Burst 1: Ground and Pound – Recharge 5/6, +12 VS Fort, 2D6+6 (miss 1/2 damage) and targets knocked prone
  • If hit by Lava Rocks (see below) or pushed into lava flow, gains +1D4 fire damage to all attacks and deals +1D6 fire damage to anyone who hits with a melee attack against him

Ranged Rock Elemental:

  • AC:20, Fort:21, Ref:20, Will:19
  • Init +3, Speed 5
  • HP 68
  • Resist Fire 10
  • Ranged Attack 10: Rock Toss – +10 VS Ref, 1D10+5, on crit target dazed save ends
  • Ranged Attack Burst 1 within 5: Rock Prison – Recharge 5/6, +12 VS Ref, 1D8 and legs encased in Rock Prison.  You are immobilized until you destroy the rock.  Break DC:25, or AC:20, HP10.
  • If hit by Lava Rocks (see below) or pushed into lava flow, gains +1D4 fire damage to all attacks and deals +1D6 fire damage to anyone who hits with a melee attack against him

The other part of this battle was that there was a spell trap.  The PC’s ran right past it, triggering it.  The arcane to notice was DC22, DC25 to deactivate.  Once you enter the squares it was on (or if fail by 5 or more to trigger), the lava around the platform began to bubble and burst.  Once per round, a lava rock would shoot into the air.  I made the platform 4 squares x 8 squares.  That way there were eight 2×2 sections.  I would roll a D8 and the rock would land on that section the next round (therefore the PCs had a one round warning).  If hit by the lava rock, the attack was +13 VS Ref, 2D6+4, ongoing 5 fire.  The 2×2 area then became difficult terrain, and if you entered it or began your turn inside it, you took 2d4 fire damage.

What was fun for me is that before the PCs were able to do a successful nature check on the elementals and learn about the buff they get from lava, they slid one of them into the path of the falling rock and the other into the lava itself.  So both of the enemies got the buff almost right away.  Huzzah!

Encounter 7 (850 XP) – This next one was a personal favorite of mine to create.  The platform that the PC’s are currently standing on after finishing encounter 6 has no clear doorway off of it.  However, there is a cliff face going up another 50 feet.  Our druid turned into a bird once again and flew up to investigate.  What he found was a room 7×7 squares in size, and in the room, close to evenly spaced throughout, were six large blue crystal pillars.  Each pillar took up an entire square and they were as tall as the ceiling (15 feet).  The druid then tried to take a 100 foot rope and tie it around the pillar.  But once he touched the pillar, a blue crystalline hand shot out and hit him.  He then carefully went far around the pillar and just draped the rope over the edge.  They then used the rope like a pulley system.  Instead of figuring out the exact math of Str checks and how much each character weighs, one PC recommended that each PC who is pulling the rope can assist the character being pulled in an athletics check to climb the wall.  The first person up was our paladin tank.  He pulled himself up onto a square right next to a crystal pillar, so he too got smacked by the crystal hand, and since he was permanently on the top, roll init!

There were two crystal monsters in this battle, but each has the same stats:

  • AC:24, Fort:24, Ref:16, Will:26
  • Init +6, Speed 4
  • HP 46
  • Minor Action – Touch a crystal pillar, teleport within and between any of the six pillars
  • If inside a crystal pillar, creatures are invulnerable and can’t be detected
  • Melee Attack: Force Punch – +9 VS Ref, 2D6+2
  • Ranged Close Burst 2: Crystalline Pulse – Recharge 6, +12 VS Will, 2D10+4, weakened save ends

As you might be able to tell, the hard part of this encounter is hitting the guys themselves.  Their tactics are to stay within the crystals and just bitch slap people if they are standing near the pillars, also teleporting around to confuse them.  I organized the layout of the room so that there were only 8 possible squares to stand on where you aren’t adjacent to a pillar, but then you were still within the 2 sq Crystalline Pulse.  However, if all PCs are not adjacent to the pillars and their Pulse hasn’t recharged, the enemies do jump out of the crystals and attack.  They can’t retreat back into a crystal until the next turn.

Another way to get an enemy out is to get rid of the pillars themselves.  They are easily hit (I just gave them a straight Defense of 16 across the board) and only 18HP.  However, each hit deals 1/2 damage back to the attacker.  And when the crystals are destroyed, the magical energies within them burst and violently shatter the pillars into many shrapnel fragments, which creates a Ranged attack close burst 2: +14 VS Ref, 2D12+8 (miss 1/2 damage).  Because the zone is in such close quarters, the first PC or two got hurt pretty badly once they started attacking the pillars.  If a creature is inside a pillar when it explodes, he appears in the space the pillar was and is dazed until the end of his next turn.

Another fun fact of the encounter was when the PCs realized with the same previous arcane check that these pillars can be used for them to teleport around also.  That is also how one of the PCs got up on the platform.  Some random pieces of a broken pillar landed on the bottom of the cliff, and the sorcerer used it to teleport up into the fray!

After the battle, they realized there was no clear exit.  So they started doing random checks around the room.  They realized with Arcane DC28 that one of the back pillars, thankfully still intact, is magically linked to another area of the mountain.  These crystals work like the previous ones, where you can arcane assist and teleport with each other (thus helping the non-arcane skill users get around).

Where did the crystal teleport them to?  The players will find out next week…

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About Berton

I am a 27-year old barista / PCA with the lofty dream of being a comic book writer but the realistic goal of becoming an high school communication arts teacher. I am a married man, which is still odd to think about. However, don't let this fact confuse you: I am surely not a grown-up.
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