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Expanded Random Encounters Repost #6 - Stony Barrens

This Net Project was originally compiled by ArcoJedi. Many of the entries were taken from the Dark Sun Mailing list. The Expanded Random Encounters net.project brings otherwise sometimes boring random encounters to life. Giving them more realism than "you walk around the bend to see 4 gith standing in the middle of the road with weapons drawn".

This week, we feature encounters involving stony barrens.


Stony Barrens / Rocky Badlands
Created by David Michael Scheimann

Description: PC’s find their trail crossing that of a small group of elves. In the distance, the elves, about a half mile ahead, stop near the mouth of a steeply walled valley. They seem to take several items out of their bags (some meat, a skin of water, and several ceramic and bone baubles) and leave them by the valley’s mouth, then cautiously back away. Suddenly the air is full of flying items (chatkchas), and a second group of elves rush out and attack the first group of elves. As the defenders run away, two of them are felled by these chatkcha-using elves. The elves fall upon one body (clicking to one another, if one of the PCs is somehow capable of hearing from that distance), and begin eating it. Soon, they drag both the partially-eaten body and the other (in fact an unconscious captive) back into the valley and disappear.

The first group of elves, returning to their tribe (about 50 total) have left sacrifices to the “evil spirit” of the valley for the past three months. They believe an evil thri-kreen spirit has awakened in the valley. Many elves have been lost to its evil powers, turning them into thri-kreen! A sacrifice is left each week, so that the elf-kreen won’t attack the elves’ encampment. Usually, they are safe. If the PC’ s will bring back the unconscious elf - Karridan, one of the chief’s sons - the elves will reward them with a magic item (whatever fits the party and campaign or roll randomly). The chief is under pressure from tribe members who have not yet lost loved ones. If the situation is not resolved soon, much of the tribe might move on regardless.

About three months ago, a wounded thri-kreen, Gyth’na, wandered into this labyrinthine valley. Gyth’na [meaning: ‘Dark Blood’] is a very unique kreen; he is the “quari-cho gyth’na dre,” [meaning: ‘Reincarnation of the dead Dark Blood’] the reincarnation of a half-breed j’ez and to’ksa thri-kreen - his carapace is marked by black bars/stripes, the result of the successful cross-breeding. He is a seventh level psionicist and is Neutral Evil. He believes he is destined to be a conqueror (due to his tohr-kreen blood). Currently abandoned by his human “clutch”, who did not see eye to eye with him, he was attacked by a small pack of lirr and was grievously wounded. After seeking refuge in this valley, a lone elven scout from the nearby tribe came upon him. The elf (another of the elven chief’s sons) was defeated, and Gyth’na, normally excessively cruel, but even more so in his current pained condition, assaulted the elf’s mind, using psychic surgery and suggestion to make him believe that he was a thri-kreen. Since then, Gyth’na has lingered, healing and deriving great pleasure from seeing the elves perverted, and continues to make more of his elf-kreen. There are about fifteen elf-kreen, all from the same tribe. The labyrinth is rigged with lots of traps to boot. The elves fight with zerka (2d4/1d10, like barbed spears) as well as bone [or dasl] chatkcha.

Gyth’na, Qhari-cho Gyth’na Dre [Meaning: Dark Blood, reincarnation of the dead Dark Blood] (male thri-kreen/6th-level fighter, 7th-level psionicist/NE) AC 0; MV 18; HD [(6d10+7d6)/2]+13; hp 27/42 (healing); THAC0 15 (11 thrown, 16 lajav); #AT 4, 3 or 2; Dmg 1d8+3/1d6+3 (kyorchka), 2d4+1/1d10+1 (gythka), 1d4/1d4+1 (claw/bite), 1d6/1d6 (lajav); SA/SD psionics, poison, +4 missile/reac, +4 save/wis, +2 save/charm; SZ L; ML 16
S 16, D 21, C 16, I 16, W 18, Ch 12 {saves: 11 13 10 13 14(+4/6)}
Equipment: dasl kyorchka [spd 2], metal gythka [5], bone lajav [4], shield [+1AC], various trophies
Psionics Summary: Dis 3/Sci 4/Dev 12; PSPs 80 Att: EW, II, PB, PsC; Def: IF, MBk, TS, TW #AT 3/2, MTHAC0 13, MAC 4 Telepathy: Sciences: mindlink, hallucination, psychic surgery (rather than suggested: domination); Devotions: acceptance, amnesia, attraction, ESP, false sensory input, impossible task, inflict pain, life detection, post-hypnotic suggestion Psychoportation: Sciences: teleport; Devotions: dream travel, phase, phase object
Proficiencies/S&P: Traits/Disadvantages: artistic ability (chitin carving). Non-Weapon Proficiencies: contact, dancing (tik-dul), hunting (+1 bonus), meditative focus, mental armor, musical instrument (percussion), psionic detection; modern languages: common, thri-kreen
XP: 4,000 (killing); 2,000 (scaring away); 500 (discovering the true nature of the ‘thri-kreen spirit’)

Description: Gyth’na is the accepted reincarnation of the Gyth’na who lived about a King’s Age ago. The original was a crossbreed between a j’ez (black) tohr-kreen and to’ksa thri-kreen. The result was a to’ksa who had black blood - which resulted in any scars in his chitin staining black. The original lived in the Hinterlands (but that’s another story) and led an army of conquest into the Tablelands north of Urik. Hit by a series of misfortunes, the army he had amassed broke apart before conquest could even begin. The current reincarnation also feels the call of conquest flowing from his tohr-kreen blood. He is a skilled hunter with many trophies, but he lusts for more than just hunting. In a deliberate act of pride, he scarred his chitin in tiger-stripes to demonstrate his heritage.

Elf-kreen (8) (1st-level fighters/?) {saves: 14 16 15 17 17} AC 9; MV 12; HD 1d10; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6+1/1d4 (chatkcha), 2d4/1d10 (zerka); SA/SD none; SZ M; ML 18 hp: 10, 10, 8, 8, 7, 6, 5, 2
Equipment: bone chatkcha [spd4], stone zerka [spd7], shield [+1AC]
Psionics Summary: Nil, MAC 10
XP: 35 each (for rescuing)

Elf-kreen (7) (2nd-level fighters/?) {saves: 14 16 15 17 17} AC 9; MV 12; HD 2d10; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6+2/1d4+1 (chatkcha), 2d4/1d10 (zerka); SA/SD none; SZ M; ML 18 hp: 14, 12, 12, 10, 8, 6, 6
Equipment: dasl chatkcha [spd 4], stone zerka [spd7], shield [+1AC]
Psionics Summary: Nil, MAC 10
XP: 65 each (for rescuing)


Description: The PCs stumble upon a series of jankx burrows. Active mostly at night, these small furred mammals may not be noticed during the day but their system of tunnels will be easy to spot. Jankx stand about 1’ tall on their hind legs, and have a small pointy head with internal cheek pouches. These are wild jankx with no herders to tend them. Even during their most active moments, jankx will not make much noise as they communicate to each other ultrasonically.

The PCs will most likely see their golden pelts against the red rock of the stony barrens in the light of Athas’ moons as the jankx scurry among the rocks in the dark, eating small plants/cacti. They will be timid but curious.

If the PCs are low on food, they will do well to hunt a few jankx. This is only slightly dangerous because of the poison sacs the jankx possess. If a jankx happens to hook an adversary with a spur, the character receives damage and must pass a save vs. poison for no effect. If failed, tremendous and debilitating pain follows in the area injected with the poison, as this area begins to wither (limb, torso, head, etc.). Only that region will be affected. That limb will shrivel and become useless at a rate of 1” diameter / round. The poison can be negated by a neutralize poison; slow poison reduces the effects to 1” / hour. The victim can do nothing but scream and writhe until the poison runs its course. If injected into the head, the victim will lose one point of intelligence / turn until zero, when the victim becomes comatose and will eventually die of starvation.

Removing the poison sacs is difficult, due to their position (requiring a Dexterity roll and a sharp knife). This is assuming the PCs are even aware of the sacs through experience or have a ranger or druid around. Someone with the Survival proficiency (stony barrens or sandy wastes) could also make a proficiency check.

The real danger for this encounter will be if the PCs cook the meat within 100 yards of any living jankx, as the burning flesh emits an odor that sends any nearby jankx into a rage. Hordes of them (4d20 or more) will find the source of the odor each round and attack the diners.

Jankx (469) (1+1HD/N) {saves: 14 16 15 17 17} MC1 AC 6; MV 12; HD 1d8+1; hp 9-2; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1d2 (spur); SA poison; SZ T (1’); ML 11
Equipment: Buried within the tunnels: 8cp, 13 gems, 1 fruit of climbing
Psionics Summary: Nil, MAC 5-6
XP: 35 each

Templar Patrol & Scrabs

Description: “Your party is weaving its way between drifts of orange sand and yellow dust piles about waist high. Large red sheets of exposed bedrock jut out of the ground occasionally and vegetation clings to these like half-dead mountain climbers.”

Two Templars [from whichever city-state is nearest; Urik, Balic, Raam, Gulg] are here on a bounty hunt. An elven boy stole a ring of shocking grasp, an item important to the research of a higher ranking templar. The elf escaped across the desert, fleeing these two priestesses and their troop of guards. He had almost eluded them, but among the myriad loyal guards, the two priestesses had hired a ranger scout. The elf was getting desperate, and so was easily surprised by a nest of scrabs - intelligent insect-like warrior psionicists with one passion: torturing and killing elves.

The templars and their guards found the scrabs and managed to kill many of them, but they were unable to “rescue” the elf back from the surviving scrabs. In fact, their entire elite guard of trained soldiers in service to the sorcerer-king was defeated and the two templars had no choice but to escape with their lives.

The templars are now arguing over what to do. The scrabs on the other hand, have taken the wounded but living elf back to their nest to torture. This nest is not a full scrab nest. In fact, it is an abandoned one, but these scrabs have known about it for quite some time and have been using it as their colony’s staging ground.

Both sides in this encounter (templars and PCs) must roll for surprise. If the PCs win, the two templars can be easily overheard openly discussing their failure and possible solutions. If the templars win or neither side is surprised, the priestesses will approach the PCs openly carrying the water banner (a blue flag meaning peace). Prior to this meeting, Verba will cast zone of truth (from the Tome of Magic) so the answers they receive from the PCs are known as truth. They will introduce themselves and ask the PCs their names. Then they will explain the situation and ask for the PCs help. If asking nicely will not persuade them, the templars will use a charm person spell on the one who seems most likely the leader or the party. They will not hesitate to get violent if it comes to that because their mission’s chances could not get any worse.

Priestess Verba (female human/5th-level templar/LE) AC 5; MV 12; hp 29; THAC0 18 (18, 19); #AT 1; Dmg 1d6/1d8 (sword), 1d4-1/1d4-1 (quarrels); SA/SD templar spells, impress (-2 init/ 2 rounds), +1 reac/attck, -2 AC, +1save/wis; SZ M (5’10”); ML 15 S 14, D 16, C 7, I 12, W 15, Ch 8 {saves: 9 13 12 15 14}
Equipment: bone short sword [spd 2], light crossbow w/stone [6], leather armor [AC=8], 16sp, 9 gems
Spells: 5/3: create water, cure light wounds (x2), locate animals or plants, sanctuary/charm person or mammal, withdraw, zone of truth
Proficiencies/S&P: Kit: weapon master. Non-Weapon Proficiencies: blind-fighting, juggling, weaponsmithing, bowyer/fletcher, endurance
XP: 120

Description: Verba is the quieter of the two priestesses. She is in her late twenties, with a spindly and wiry build. Her hair is shaved in two lines over the top, leaving a mohawk with hair on each side, black and braided in small utilitarian locks. Verba’s voice resembles a man’s more than a woman’s. A ragged scar appears on the knuckles of both her hands (weapons training accident).

Verba is realistic and practical. The idea to somehow get the help of the PCs is mostly hers but she knows it will most likely require Arkahna’s charming ways to persuade them, so she will let her companion do most of the talking. At times, she may throw in her own added comments, but she has seen Arkahna work on others before and trusts in her abilities.

Priestess Arkahna (female human/5th-level templar/LE) AC 8; MV 12; hp 44; THAC0 18 (19, 20); #AT 5/2; Dmg 1d6+1/1d8+1 (sword), 1d4+1/1d4+1 (puchik); SA templar spells, puchik pin attack (-4att vs. strength/round); MR 10%; SZ M (5’8”); ML 15 S 10, D 13, C 16, I 11, W 13, Ch 16 {saves: 9 13 12 15 14}
Equipment: stone short sword [spd 3], metal puchik [2], leather armor [AC=8], 2gp, fruit of healing [DMG p143], fruit of (earth) drake control [PAoA p92]
Spells: 4/2: cure light wounds, command, light, sanctuary/barkskin, messenger
Proficiencies/S&P: Non-Weapon Proficiencies: bargain, bureaucracy, etiquette, information gathering, psionic detection, reading/writing, tracking; Modern Languages: elven, dwarvish
Traits/Disadvantages: ambidexterity
XP: 120

Description: Arkahna’s whole bearing is quite different from that of her sister in the priesthood. She is slightly younger by at least three years, and is healthier and more alluring to the eye. She is shorter, but her build compliments her well, being more proportionate by comparison. Her hair is blond and flows freely down over her head and culminates in a braid about mid-way down her back. Her voice and manner of speech befits a member of an educated nobility, and she vehemently leads a conversation where she wants it to go. Her skin is a little pale for the desert, but is smooth and flawless.

Arkahna will not become argumentative, but will explain to the PCs why it is in their best interest to help the two of them out. She will use bribery if necessary and will then gladly hand over half of what was promised. She will start her explanation with a short lament over the plight of the elf who won’t get rescued unless the PCs help. Then she will say it is their duty as law abiding citizens. Then she will make veiled but easily understood threats stating that the PCs must be helping the criminal elf if they will not help catch him and are therefore subject to the same judgment as he.

In melee, Arkahna can use her puchik to pin the weapon/claw of her enemy (see the Gladiator’s Handbook).

Scrab Leader (7 HD/CE) {saves: 10 12 10 12 13} AC 4; MV 18, Br 6; HD 7; hp 40; THAC0 13 (14); #AT 2 or 1; Dmg 1d4/1d4+grip or 1d4-1/1d3-1; SZ S (4’); ML 13; Int 14
Equipment: bone daggers [2], ring of shocking grasp [DMG p149]
Psionics Summary: Dis 2/Sci 3/Dev 10; PSPs 78 Att: MT, PB; Def: MBk, TS #AT 1, MTHAC0 14, MAC 8 Psychometabolism: Sciences - animal affinity (lizards); Devotions - biofeedback, chameleon power, enhanced strength, expansion, mind over body Telepathy: Science - mindlink, psychic surgery; Devotions - awe, conceal thoughts, false sensory input, inflict pain, mind bar
XP: 1,400

Description: The scrabs are well aware of anything the elf might have been aware of because they have tortured it out of him. They are planning on packing it up and moving on, taking the elf (and his stolen goods) with them. They know the templars might attack any time soon but are not really worried about it. They are not aware of the PCs involvement.

The elf is either alive or dead at the DM’s discretion. However, in no way will he react much to anything even if he is alive. He will just lay there helplessly and mostly unconscious. The scrab leader cannot use the ring of shocking grasp.

Scrab (6) (5 HD/CE) {saves: 11 13 10 13 14} AC 4; MV 18, Br 6; HD 5; THAC0 15 (16); #AT 2 or 1; Dmg 1d4/1d4+grip or 1d3-1/1; SA possible spell use; SZ S (4’); ML 13; Int 13-14 hp: 29, 23, 21, 20, 16, 13
Equipment: bone knives [2], 140 bits, 140cp, 7sp
Psionics Summary: Dis 2/Sci 3/Dev 8; PSPs 61 Att: MT, PB; Def: MBk, TS #AT 1, MTHAC0 16, MAC 8-9 Psychometabolism: Sciences-animal affinity (lizards); Devotions - biofeedback, chameleon power, enhanced strength, mind over body Telepathy: Science-mindlink, psychic surgery; Devotions - awe, conceal thoughts, inflict pain, mind bar
XP: 650