Every Sunday night, I run my epic level D&D 4e home campaign. I prep my adventures in WordPress, then add to it and post it the day after we play. The intent is an adventure you can easily steal, with commentary at the end on how you might make it better.
Dreaming of an Extended Rest
The players have been asked by the Raven Queen to find out why spirits enter into the Bleak Fallows and never return. They’ve had six encounters so far today and been whining about an extended rest, so tonight I’m going to make them fight for it.
This ice cavern is my try at an epic tier dungeon. It’s been created by adolescent wyrm larvae hatching within the ice. As the small larvae incubate (over eons), they grow larger and larger, slowly boring through the ice. The wyrms then tunnel out, leaving behind long pock marks that have no direction, other than out. (Insight + Nature: DC 35)
The players must create their own path within this dungeon. They stumble upon long corridors, some are curiously furnished with illusory furniture (Arcana DC 44 detects illusion magic), others are vacant. Many paths lead out of the mountain, some have long since collapsed and frozen over.
The illusory furniture is there to entice the extended rest. The aboleths want the players to sleep. If they don’t, aboleth brutes will keep finding them, eventually forcing their rest.
Encounter 0.2 – 3 x Aboleth Behemoth (1/2 hp, large-size, not huge)
Eventually the players find a room suitable to their extended rest needs. Have the players roll Endurance checks (Low DC+1 per surge remaining) to determine the order they fall asleep. A success equals sleep and those players are immediately attacked by crazy nightmare creatures. The others must succeed on their Endurance before they can enter combat, though they make that check at the beginning of their turn with a cumulative +2 bonus.
In this dream world encounter, intelligent or strongly willed characters may have an advantage over brute force. Once per round as a minor action, a character can make an Intelligence or Wisdom check (DC 25) for one of the following benefits:
- Add +2 to all damage until the beginning of his next turn.
- Gain a fly speed of 6 until the beginning of next turn (float safely down).
- Become insubstantial until the beginning of next turn.
- Teleport 1d4 squares.
A character may take a standard action for any of the benefits without needing a check.
This dreamscape is psychedelic.
- Floating platforms of pink clouds dance about the battlefield randomly moving 6 squares, twice per round. Once at the end and once in the middle of each round (1d8 horizontal x 1d8 vertical).
- Ponds float around the battlefield in a slow pattern, each moving 4 squares at the end of each round. Those beneath the pond can’t see into it, but those within the pond can see below. The ponds are pocketed dimensions, one could swim downward forever.
After the encounter they deliberate (Arcana Moderate DC) to learn they are stuck in something or someone elses dream. In order to escape they’re going to have to find the chain that binds them here, else they may never wake up.
Along their travels, the players see many strange visions.
As you cross the psychedelic dreamscape you see many strange things. A herd of unicorns charges and phases right through you. A comet plummets to the ground in a tremendous splash, then disappears as if it never happened. The ground flits from fields of feathers swaying like tall grass, to mounds of flies that swarm about with your every crunchy step. At one point you see a charging horde of goblins chasing a wolf, they seem to notice you as they change course to intercept.
Encounter 2 – Random horde of goblins from the Fractured Femer clan
The goblins are all low-level (1-2) goblins, but with increased attack rolls (+20) so they can actually hit… just not very hard. They haunt Gashix with their screams and cries as they die, reminding him of his past.
Puzzle – Find the Lost Wolf
The wolf the goblins were chasing howls a long despairing howl, before bounding off into the sudden appearance of a forest. The wolf continues howling in long drones, as if lost within the spectral woods. Far above the tree tops, black birds swirl in an upward spiral.
When they enter the forest, it becomes a library with the same bookcase surrounding them. The tall bookshelf is fully contained of books, except where two appear to be missing (Perception DC 30). Every author on the shelf begins their last name with “W”. The two books missing are obviously from authors Wormad and Worthington.
With a Wisdom or Intelligence check (DC 25) a character can create any object for one round. Here they have to create the books to place upon the shelf. Gashix doesn’t need to roll, he just knows. Others would need a History check DC 42, any can assist, but Gashix’s assist counts as +5.
- Wormad = How to be Convincing
- Worthington = The Rogues Fancy
Beyond the walls of the surreal library is the forest, haunting and misty. Perception and Nature can track in here for two successes each (DC 35).
At last they come to the wolf, a large dire beast stuck within a bear trap, howling in despair. Thievery will get him out, but he is distrustful of all but Gashix (Nature DC 42, Gashix DC 22). As soon as the trap is touched, spectral energies from the binding ritual explode around them. The battlefield becomes littered with bear traps as swirling masses of hate rise to attack.
The Dark Transport is bound to the bear trap holding the wolf. His transport attack triggers on a failed thievery check, teleporting the triggering player away. The wolf nips (1d6+7) any character other than Gashix if they step adjacent to the wolf.
Admittedly, this was a “character episode” and might be tough for you to steal… Sorry.
I felt Gashix was kind of fading into the background and tonight I was hoping to feature him more within the group. I have character backgrounds from many of the players, Gashix was the first to hand his in. Most of what occurred tonight was straight from his bio.
- The ground level of the dreamscape encounter needs to have a hazard of some sort to encourage players to play on the moving platforms. Otherwise their movement is just work.
- It was fun to watch the light come on above Stacey’s head as he searched the bookcases, then scramble through his phone to find that email sent so long ago.
- I had the ritual born what-nots trigger bear traps when stepping on them. This didn’t make since in my mind, but was fun for the players, so I allowed it.
The good news is the trapped Dire Wolf, Noga, has been here for a long time and knows many things about this Bleak Fallows place, but more pressingly, how to escape this dream…