Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DM Advice - Creating Ecologies not Static Environments pt 4

Tonight the party returns home from the triumphant success from Arasmis’ Mansion. In so doing, they are returning the Baron’s niece and are returning as heroes. Naturally, they will expect a hero’s welcome which they will get.

A while back, I did a series on creating ecologies not static environments and I want to take it a step further today and talk about some specifics for the Superdungeon campaign.

The party is currently in Forgotten Realms in the central portion of the country of Amn. Now to me Amn is basically a Virgina/North Carolina in terms of terrain features and climate. It is a temperate area of rolling hills and scattered woods. The woods consist of both deciduous trees and of conifers. The hills are either gently rolling or rough and rocky.

It will take several days for the party to return to the town of Fairhaven with the girl in tow after which they are going to get a severe case of rumors of nearby treasure that is going to lead them to the next adventure called Murder of Seven Points.

 I intend to take that time to let them journey through the environment of Amn which got me to thinking what they could encounter in such an ecology. I thought it would be fun to write up a few random tables containing what I come up with as the inhabitants and encounters possible for such an area. I am including both the animals that would be in our world and the animals and monsters that might be in the fantasy world. I have decided that there will be at least 1d4 encounters on the trip.

The Return Home (roll 1d6)

1.       Sparse Woods bordering the road with an occasional clearing that provides a nice place for a campsite or ambush spot. The woods provide both concealment 25% and cover +4 to anyone inside. The woods could contain a variety of woodland creatures ranging from squirrels and small deer and raccoon to larger and more aggressive predators such as bears and mountain lions. On the fantasy side, the area could be home to one or more owlbears and a pack of worgs. The area would be teeming with wildlife.

2. Heavy undergrowth with a scattering of trees in various patches at varying distances from the road. The undergrowth provides concealment 50% to small and 25% to medium creatures. The undergrowth might provide a nice place for a family of brownies to live and the predatory stirges might take up residence in the trees.

3. Variable sized stream ford or bridge that contains moderately moving currents. This could be a shallow stream or a significant obstacle for the party to overcome. If it is a shallow stream, a muckdweller might be a nice encounter and for larger streams, a giant freshwater pike could prove interesting. A nice clue to the party could be that they see very little sign of anything bigger than minnows in the shallows. For a particularly nasty encounter the GM could even add a group of hungry giant frogs.

4. Rough rocky terrain boarders the road as it winds through a rocky hill-scape. There could be ogres here or bandits as there is now a power-vacuum left from the removal of Kol. Areas such as these also serve as burial grounds for native tribes, which could result in a fight with undead if the tombs are disturbed. The wildlife includes mountain lions, large snakes such as pythons, sheep or elk and vultures.

5. An area of rolling grassy hills with little to no undergrowth and a scattering of trees could provide a nice area for grazing animals to feed such as small deer, antelope or other herbivores. Small predators such as bobcats and foxes may burrow in the hills. A band of kobolds might make their home here under the guidance of a small group of hill giants.

6. A large pond or marshy area may be home to a few bullywugs. The pond may teem with fish and other life such as alligators or giant turtles. The water itself could be crystal clear or murky depending on how close to the hills and mountain streams the pond sits.

1 comment:

  1. Update from last night's Tuesday game:

    The party returned the little girl Serena. They were greeted as heroes and given 5000 gp in a treasure chest. They were personally asked by the Baron to go to a city about a week and half away and bring them a message. They also discussed plans on defeating Arasmis upon their return. Tyne made planes with the guildhouse and masons to begin construction on the party's five bedroom manor house and adjoining homes on the five acres granted by the Magistrate and Baron. They then spent the following day at a celebration in their honor before shipping off the next morning.

    They encountered #4 in the table above in their game last night but decided to continue rather than explore the area further than a basic scout. They found a dead elf buried under the rocks. They made camp. Sigrid caught some conies and cooked them. They had camp and kept watch. Over night Meg saw a couple of large humanoids looking at her from across the valley and she flew over to check them out. They were hill giants! They decided to leave the hill giants alone and continued on their way.