You dream of shaking earth and screams, the smell of rot and dark laughter. Burning eyes glare back at you in the dream. The vision changes with the smell of turned earth and wet leaves and a rushing weight on your chest. You feel warmth nearby and see a source of blurred, yellow light. Then something cracks loudly, followed by a shrill scream.
You wake with a start, still in your bedroll, and realize a thin, black root grasps you by your legs and torso. It’s pulling you toward a large chasm in the ground on one side of what appears to be a ransacked campsite under a looming hillside on all sides except the east. The warm light turns out to be a campfire in the dimness of dawn, crackling as it slowly dies. Other roots reach out through the camp.
You remember that someone else should be here, your companions, but you know little else, especially why you’re here. Another shrill scream draws your eye to a small form struggling with another vine. It’s a goblin in rather fine clothing and armor for his ilk.
His bulging eyes fall on you. “Please help poor Splug! Please!” He says a name, and you remember that it’s yours and that Splug is your friend. You and he are about 15 or 20 feet from the edge of the hole. It’s time to act.
- Splug (S)
- You (PC)
- 6 tainted roots®
At the start of the battle, heroes have no weapon drawn. Combat begins now, and it ends only if you defeat all the monsters or you are defeated. Alternatively, if you’re not grabbed, you can run away—see Conclusion.
~Options can be used before or during combat, please use your best judgement!
- Campfire: If a creature enters the campfire square, go to 065.
- Chasm: You can look into the chasm from an adjacent square. See Conclusion.
- Knowledge Checks: You can take a minor action to assess your situation with a DC 15 Arcana (trained only), Dungeoneering, or Nature skill check. If you succeed on an Arcana check, go to 133. If you succeed on a Nature or Dungeoneering check, go to 027. If you fail, you learn nothing useful and cannot use the same skill again for this purpose in this encounter.
- Tents: If a hero is adjacent to a tent and has a free hand, the hero can grab a tent as a minor action. If you do, go to 103.
- Trees: If a hero is adjacent to a tree and has a free hand, the hero can grab a tree as a minor action. If this happens, go to 081.
When a tainted root has a standard action, is adjacent to one or more targets, and it isn’t grabbing a target, it makes a grasp attack against a random adjacent target. If the tainted root is grabbing a target, it makes a drag attack against that target.
A tainted root attempts to drag a target it is grabbing into the chasm. When a hero falls (or jumps) into the chasm, make note of the number of the square where that hero fell. If you fall in before Splug, go to 07. If Splug falls in before you, go to 022. If you fall or jump in anytime thereafter, make a note of the numbered square you fall or jump into, then go to 058.
A tainted root does not willingly enter the campfire square.
FEATURES OF THE AREA
Campfire: The campfire is dying but hot. It illuminates the campsite with bright light.
Tents: Corners of a tent do not block movement, but tent squares are difficult terrain. A creature inside a tent cannot be attacked unless its attacker is inside the tent, too.
Trees: Tree squares are difficult terrain.
Chasm: If you investigate the chasm, go to 131.
Run Away: You can run away to the east. If you do, go to 014.
Search the Campsite: If you take a moment to search the campsite, go to 113, page 26.