On Wilderness Adventures – Part Two

First part of article here.

Battle Conditions
Once a Referee knows where a battle will occur and what the adventurers will be fighting, he still must determine other factors that can influence the outcome of the fight.

Before a battle, one adventurer (usually a ranger) must roll a saving throw. If successful, the encounter proceeds as normal. If the saving throw is failed, conditions are applied to the encounter based on how badly the saving throw failed (i.e. the difference between the character’s saving throw number and the number the player rolled). If any condition does not make sense, apply the condition above it instead.

1-2. Mist/Dust
3-4. Precipitation
5-6. Wind
7-8. High Ground
9-10. Surrounded
11-12. Storm
13-14. Earthquake
15+ Roll 1d10 twice on table

The battlefield is wracked by an earthquake. All creatures must succeed at a saving throw or fall down. Those who remain standing suffer a -10 penalty to all actions and can only move at half their normal rate. Spell casters must roll saving throws to cast their spells.

There is a 5% chance each round of a fissure 10 feet deep opening up beneath each creature. These unfortunates must succeed at a dexterity saving throw or suffer 1d6 points of damage. There is a 5% chance each round that a fissure will slam closed, killing anyone inside it. An swampy areas, these fissures will drain away the water leaving a quicksand that sucks in creatures who fail a dexterity saving throw. On cliffs, fissures that occur near the edge of the cliff actually drop creatures of the cliff, where they suffer 8d6 points of damage.

High Ground
If there is high ground on the battlefield, the monsters have it. High ground gives them two advantages. They receive a +1 bonus to hit against creatures on lower ground, and creatures trudging up to meet them do so at half normal movement.

Mist and Dust
The battlefield is shrouded in a thick mist or clouds of dust. Creatures 5 feet are -5 to hit with missile weapons. Creatures more than 5 feet away are -10 to be hit by missile weapons. The chance of surprise is increased by 1 for both forces.

A storm is soaking the battlefield. All combatants more than 10 feet away are -5 to be hit by missile weapons. Creatures move at half their normal movement rate safely, but must succeed at saving throws or fall prone if attempting to move any faster. Charging creatures will slide 3d6 feet when they fall prone.

The battle takes place during a lightning storm. Movement is cut in half due to the rain. Creatures more than 10 feet away are -10 to be hit by missile weapons. There is a 1 in 6 chance each round of lightning striking a random combatant, inflicting 5d6 points of damage and stunning them for 1d4 rounds. Creatures trying to fly in storms must make a saving throw each round to avoid falling.

The adventurers begin combat surrounded by their opponents. If only a single monster is encountered, ignore this result and give it the high ground instead.

High winds roar across the battlefield. Unprotected flames are extinguished and missile attacks are made at a -3 penalty to hit. Small flying creatures must make a saving throw to avoid being blown off of the battlefield and out of the battle. Larger fliers must make a saving throw each round to move through the air.

Monster Encounters
The monsters common to a wilderness region are detailed in that region’s description. Simply choose a monster or roll it randomly, roll for the number encountered, and proceed. If you want to challenge the party, assume an equal number of monster hit dice to the party’s hit dice.

If the Referee wishes, 1 percent of random monster encounters can be with an elemental or extra-planar creature. These are often quite dangerous and so should probably be reserved for experienced adventurers.

Extraplanar Creatures
1. Achaierai
2. Barghest
3. Belker
4. Couatl
5. Djinn
6. Efreet
7. Elemental
8. Ghost
9. Hag, Night
10. Hellhound
11. Ghost
12. Nightmare
13. Quasit
14. Salamander
15. Shadow Mastiff
16. Tavis Wyrm
17. Titan
18. Vampire
19. Xorn
20. Zetan

Traveler Encounters
Encounters with travelers are not intended to threaten the adventurers. Instead, they are meant to present role-playing opportunities or lead to side adventures.

Leaders of groups of travelers are level 3 to 12 level (1d10+2). The leader’s assistant is half the level of his boss. While the character class of a leader of a group of travelers is usually obvious, other details can be determined by rolling on the following tables:

1-2. Lawful
3-5. Neutral
6. Chaotic

Race (Human, with a 1 in 6 chance of being demi-human)
1 Beastman
2 Centaur
3 Dwarf
4 Elf
5 Gnome
6 Half-Elf
7 Halfling
8 Mechanical Man

A caravan consists of several wagons or, if at sea, one or more merchant ships. Each caravan consists of 3d6 traders and guards based on the value of the cargo they are transporting (see below). There is one sergeant for every 6 men-at-arms and a 2 in 6 chance that of spell caster of some sort is with the caravan.

Caravans travel from one city-state to another, hauling whatever the Referee deems appropriate. Assume that each trader has a team that carries 1,000 pounds of goods. A team consists of one of the following:

• A wagon pulled by 2 draft horses, 2 oxen or 4 mules
• A single elephant
• A train of 4 camels or 5 giant lizards
• A sledge pulled by 2 porpoises

For the sake of player interest, it is best to use valuable or useful cargo. If you wish, you can roll randomly for each team’s cargo on the table below.

Roll – Cargo (Value) – Guards

01-12. Ale (50 gp) – 1 man-at-arms

13-22. Iron (100 gp) – 3 men-at-arms

23-32. Oil, lamp (100 gp) – 3 men-at-arms

33-38. Copper Ingots or Dust (500 gp) – 3 men-at-arms

39-44. Tools (1,000 gp) – 6 men-at-arms

45-50. Weapons (2,000 gp) – 6 men-at-arms

51-56. Wine (2,000 gp) – 6 men-at-arms

57-60. Salt (5,000 gp) – 10 men-at-arms

61-64. Silver Ingots or Dust (5,000 gp) – 10 men-at-arms

65-68. Wine, fine (10,000 gp) – 10 level 1 fighters

69-72. Wood, rare (10,000 gp) – 10 level 1 fighters

73-75. Linen (10,000 gp) – 10 level 1 fighters

76-78. Coffee (50,000 gp) – 10 level 2 fighters

79-81. Gold Ingots or Dust (50,000 gp) – 10 level 2 fighters

82-84. Tea (50,000 gp) – 10 level 2 fighters

85-87. Cocoa (100,000 gp) – 10 level 3 fighters

88-89. Silk (100,000 gp) – 10 level 3 fighters

90-91. Tobacco (100,000 gp) – 10 level 3 fighters

92-93. Cinnamon (200,000 gp) – 10 level 3 fighters

94-95. Ginger (400,000 gp) – 10 level 4 fighters

96. Pepper (400,000 gp) – 10 level 4 fighters

97. Cloves (500,000 gp) – 10 level 4 fighters

98. Mithril Ingots or Dust (500,000 gp) – 10 level 4 fighters

99. Platinum Ingots or Dust (500,000 gp) – 10 level 4 fighters

100. Saffron (500,000 gp) – 10 level 4 fighters

A patrol consists of 6d6 men-at-arms (with one sergeant per 5 troops) led by a fighting-man or 6d6 longbowmen (sergeants as above) led by a ranger. There is a 2 in 6 chance that a spell caster of some sort is with the patrol.

A group of pilgrims consists of 6d6 people led by a cleric or druid. There is a 1% chance per 10 pilgrims of there being a magic-user and/or thief with the group. All of the pilgrims share the alignment of their leader.

There is one man-at-arms mounted on a warhorse per five pilgrims. The troops are led by a fighting-man and sergeant, also mounted on warhorses. In a lawful group of pilgrims, the fighting-man can be replaced by a paladin.

Pilgrims travel on foot (60%), donkeys (30%), or horses/camels (10%). Classed NPC’s are always mounted. The pilgrims are heading to a wilderness shrine or to a temple in a city-state and will be glad to travel with like-minded adventurers.

Pilgrims wear a badge symbolizing the shrine to which they are heading. This badge could be a feather of a particular color, a shell, a straw hat, a cloak of sack-cloth, or a bit of embroidery over their heart.

A stronghold is a structure established by a high-level adventurer and manned by his followers. You can randomly determine the type of stronghold encountered by a roll of the dice. About two strongholds out of six are ruins inhabited by monsters.

An abbey is a religious manor inhabited by clerics or druids. Abbeys are always dedicated to a saint or deity. An abbey is established by a patriarch (level 9 to 12 cleric) or archdruid (level 9 to 12 druid) called the abbot or abbess. It houses 3d6 low level clerics or druids and 5d6x10 lay brothers (normal humans). Additional clerics, druids or paladins can be visiting at the Referee’s discretion.

A traditional abbey consists of a square outer wall. Inside there is a courtyard surrounded by a two story structure consisting of dormitories, a chapel, storage and work rooms, a stable and a bell tower. The abbey is surrounded by fields that are worked by the inhabitants. Medicinal gardens are maintained either within the walls or just outside the walls. The abbey’s armory is stocked with mail hauberks, shields, maces, slings, throwing hammers and whatever weapon is favored by the patron deity (i.e. longbows for abbeys of Apollo Helios).

A castle is established by a warlord (level 9 to 12 fighting-man), paladin (level 9 to 12) or ranger (level 9 to 12). The castle is a feudal manor supported by 1d4 villages. The castle is defended by a number of men-at-arms commensurate with its size. The lord of the castle is assisted by one sergeant per 10 men-at-arms, and a cleric (or druid) and magic-user of half the level of the lord.

Motte-and-Bailey: 2d6 men-at-arms
Keep: 4d6 men-at-arms [or tower keep or shell keep]
Concentric Castle: 8d6 men-at-arms

A grove is established by an archdruid (level 9 to 12 druid) with the permission of his or her order. The grove consists of several trees around a clearing. An altar rests in the middle of the clearing. The founding archdruid and 2d6 level 1 to 3 druids dwell in a nearby lodge. The lodge is a gathering place for elves, rangers, the fair-folk and forest creatures.

A monastery is not much different from an abbey except that it is inhabited by monks rather than clerics. It is established by an abbot (level 9 to 12 monk). The abbey contains a training ground surrounded by a shrine, armory and barracks. The monastery houses 1d6 monks of level 2 through 5 and 3d6 level 1 monks.

A magic-user’s tower is built in a hard-to-access spot that offers unique magical properties. It is to these places an adventurer must travel if they wish to commission a magic item or to obtain spells of level 5 or higher. Magic-users have 1d4 apprentices and 1d3 level 1 magic-users.

3 thoughts on “On Wilderness Adventures – Part Two

  1. I like the idea of challenging player assumptions. I can imagine a group passing up the yellowy powder in the terracotta pots, only to run into a spice merchant in the next town …


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