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Expanded Random Encounters Repost #9 - Rocky Badlands

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 rocky badlands.

Pterrax Flock

Description: It is the middle of the afternoon and the PCs are following a faint trail at the base of a cliff that borders the canyon. The pterrax flock is guarding a lone oasis up ahead. Surprise should be rolled normally. The first move the pterrax make will be to take to the sky and make diving attacks on the party, whom they see as a threat. Each pterrax can make one attack pass from the air each round. A PC must roll an initiative within 2 (higher or lower) of the creature he is attacking if he wishes to hit a diving pterrax. One of the pterrax will hover and attack psionically while another will land and attack on the ground after using psychometabolic powers.

If anyone in the party makes an intelligence check at -6, they will remember a defensible overhang about 150 yards back. If the PCs run for that small cave-like indentation in the cliff-side, they can take shelter under it and the pterrax will have to land to continue the fighting. Most likely, the winged lizards would rather stop and return to their oasis.

Avoiding the pterrax by going around the oasis will mean backtracking about five hours to take a different canyon. It is also possible that the PCs could ascend the canyon wall and descend it beyond the oasis - this would take three hours. There is a 60% chance that one of the pterrax will be airborne and may see the party on the clifftop.

Pterrax (5) (5 HD/N) {saves: 11 13 10 13 14}
AC 7; MV 3, Fl 12 (B); HD 5; THAC0 15; #AT 3; Dmg 1d8/1d8/2d6 (claw/claw/bite); SA psionics; SZ L (10’ long); ML 8-10; Int 1 hp: 30, 25, 22, 17, 16
Psionics Summary:
Dis 2/Sci 3/Dev 8; PSPs 100
Att: PsC, II; Def: IF, TW, MB
#AT 1, MTHAC0 16, MAC 5-6
Psychometabolism: Sciences-complete healing, animal affinity; Devotions-biofeedback, flesh armor, lend health, share strength, strength of the land Telepathy: Sciences-mindlink; Devotions-conceal thoughts, empathy, life detection
XP: 420

Hunting Cacti

Description: Two hunting cacti come around a corner up ahead, moving in an awkward shamble. They do not have sensory organs, so they are relying on their psionic abilities to detect the PCs (see sound then life detection, the latter will only work within the first round on creatures of 8 HD or more).

Hunting cacti attack with multiple spines that they shoot from the pods on their body. As many as 10 spines can be fired per round, at as many as six different targets, with a maximum range of 30 feet. The hollow spines are 3 inches long and have a small sac of nerve poison in the tip. Each spine inflicts 1d3 hp of damage. Also, any creature hit by a spine must successfully save vs. poison or be paralyzed for 3-6 (1d4+2) rounds. The save must be made for each spine that hits.

The cacti have 22 and 27 pods on their respective bodies, and each pod has 10 spines. Once the cacti detect a paralyzed victim, they will both move to within 5 feet of it, then inserting a feeding spine into the motionless victim and draining 1d6 hp each round. Each cacti continues to feed until it is personally attacked or until it drains 30 hp from the victim. Any attacks that cause damage to a cactus cause it to withdraw the feeding spine and face the new threat. Any hit from an edged weapon severs a feeding spine (which regrow at a rate of one per day). Hunting cacti generally down one member of a group (be it a party of PCs, herd, or flock) and leave the rest alone. Once they have a food source, hunting cacti continue a battle only if remaining creatures attack them or try to steal their food.

Cacti, Hunting (2) (5+5 HD/N) {saves: 10 12 11 12 13}
AC 6; MV 9; HD 5+5; hp 23, 16; THAC0 15; #AT 10 or 1; Dmg 1d3 or 1d6 (spines); SA poison; SZ S (3’ high); Int special (15); ML very steady (13)
Psionics Summary: Dis 2/Sci 1/Dev 5; PSPs 25 Att: MT; Def: MB #AT 1, MTHAC0 15, MAC 4 Telepathy: Sciences-mindlink; Devotions-aversion, inflict pain, life detection Clairsentience: Sciences-nil; Devotions-psionic sense, see sound
XP: 1,400

Crodlu Herdsmen

Description: This encounter will be initiated differently depending on what time of day it is. If it is night, one group comes upon the other while they are camped. If it is day, one group comes upon another while they are stopped for a rest in the shade of a canyon wall.

The herdsmen will not be surprised and neither will the PCs, with the two groups catching sight of each other at about 200 feet away. At this point, Table 59 in the DMG becomes useful. If the PCs are friendly or indifferent, the herdsmen will act indifferently (unimpressed, unconcerned). If the PCs are threatening or hostile, the herdsmen will be threatening (intimidating, short-tempered).

This shouldn’t become a violent encounter unless one of the PCs does something foolish (defiling, killing one of the crodlu, etc.). News and even some goods can be traded if the PCs want. If battle occurs, about ten of the herders will go into battle mounted, although they do not normally travel this way (it takes about one round to climb on a crodlu). Charging grants the mounted combatants MV 36, +2 attack roll bonus, -2 initiative penalty and an AC -1 penalty. Overbearing rules are on page 60 of the DMG.

Douar Phileb (female human/7th-level preserver/LN)
AC 9; MV 12; HD 7d6; hp 22; THAC0 18 (19); #AT 3; Dmg 1d3-1/1 (dart); SA/SD preserver spells; SZ M; ML 10
S 12, D 15, C 9, I 17, W 13, Ch 11 {saves: 13 9 11 13 10}
Equipment: bone darts (10)[spd2], spell book, components
Psionics Summary:
Dis 2/Sci 2/Dev 7; PSPs 35 Att: MT, PB; Def: TS, TW #AT 1, MTHAC0 17, MAC 9
Psychometabolic: Sciences-complete healing (7, 25/5), metamorphosis (4, 6/3); Devotions-adrenaline control (6, 5/2), carapace (8, 2/1), gird (7, 2x cost), immovability (5, 7/2)
Psychokinetic: Sciences-; Devotions-animate shadow (8, 4/2), magnetize (8, 2+/1+), soften (8, 3/1)
Spells: 4/3/2/1 dancing lights, friends, jump, nystul’s magical aura; melf’s acid arrow, stinking cloud, whispering wind; explosive runes, infravision / hallucinatory terrain
Proficiencies/S&P: standard
XP: 2,000

Description: The herdsmens’ clan leader (known as a douar) is middle aged and tall, limber with chiseled features. She is a brunette and has a braided widow’s peak. She has very clear speech but with a noticeable clan accent.

Being pessimistic and cynical but strangely extravagant, Phileb will not become friends very easily. If the PCs do make friends with her, she gives them each a bone dart that she carved herself (each will also have nystul’s magical aura cast on it, lasting 1d6 days).

Herdsman (18) (mixed humans/3rd-level fighters/LN)
AC 9; MV 12; HD 3d10; THAC0 18; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6/1d8 (spear), 1d6/1d6 (staff); SA overbearing; SZ M; ML 8
S 14, D 14, C 9, I 13, W 10, Ch 14 {saves: 13 15 14 16 16}
hp: 25, 24, 22, 21, 20, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 12, 11, 11, 11
Equipment: spears [spd6], staff [4], shield [+1AC]
Psionics Summary: Nil, MAC 10
Spear range: 10/20/30 yds.
XP: 35

Trained Crodlu (2) (6 HD/N) {saves: 11 13 12 13 14}
AC 3; MV 24; HD 6; hp 28, 23; THAC0 15; #AT 5; Dmg 1d4/1d4/1d8/1d6/ 1d6 (claw x4/bite); SA grapple; SZ L (10’); ML 11
Psionics Summary: Nil, MAC 5
XP: 975

Description: These creatures attack as a unit similar to an intelligent creature because of the commands of the trainer. If the trainer is killed, silenced, or rendered unconscious, the herd beasts flee in unison in a random direction. Anyone caught in combat must successfully save vs. petrification or be trampled by the herd, receiving 3d4 hp of damage.

Crodlu (14) (4+4 HD/N) {saves: 11 13 12 13 14}
AC 4; MV 24; HD 4+4; THAC0 15; #AT 5; Dmg 1d4/1d4/1d8/1d6/1d6 (claw x4/bite); SA grapple; SZ L (10’); ML 11
hp: 31, 30, 30, 25, 25, 24, 22, 22, 20, 17, 16, 15, 15, 12
Psionics Summary: Nil, MAC 6
Grapple: if both forearms hit, automatic bite for 2d8.
XP: 420