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Author Topic: a halfling camp  (Read 1637 times)
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Bane of Legates

Spell Energy / Taint +9/-2
Gender: Male
Posts: 635

Hiding from Shadow

« on: April 07, 2008, 09:12:17 PM »

Just found this on WotC's website, could be adapted to Midnight as little magic is involved:


Frozen Meadow
by Skip and Penny Williams
Vicious Venues Archive

Frozen Meadow is suitable for levels 9-11 and can be used with any D&D campaign.
Trees ring an open meadow blanketed in snow. It is a peaceful scene to be sure, but does something unseen lurk here?
Background for the DM

Halflings value secrecy and privacy more than most people realize. Some say that strangers at a halfling gathering usually remain utterly unaware of what's really going on around them. In some cases, however, halflings wish to celebrate or plan in a more overt fashion. In such cases, halflings seek hidden sites where their activities remain outside the view of nonhalfling eyes and ears. The meadow is one such place. No magic hides the meadow, but it isn't easily found.
Several mobile tribes of halflings use the site for important ceremonies, such as marriages, holiday celebrations, or welcoming new members into the group. Halflings in trouble use the place as a temporary refuge. A few times a year, multiple tribes gather for joint celebrations, trade fairs, or friendly competitions.
The methods used to keep the meadow a secret are simple, but effective. Key turns on all paths leading to the meadow are kept blocked with carefully planted trees and shrubs. These plants have been artfully placed to look like natural growth, but they're actually laid out to allow passage of foot and wagon traffic while they also screen the path ahead. In each case, the trail seems to continue straight on past the planting, so that anyone unfamiliar with the area just moves on by, unaware of the turn.
A veteran halfling adventurer, Gencyrr, makes it his business to keep watch over the area and keep it clear of monsters and other undesirables. Gencyrr is well known to most halflings who use the meadow, but his identity and importance remain a secret outside the halfling community. Gencyrr is a tallfellow and well-versed in woodcraft.

The Setup
The meadow lies hidden in a nearly trackless wilderness area, not far from established trade routes, but far enough off the beaten path to be as secret as a tomb. The place might lie in a mountain valley, a vast forest, a desert canyon, or any other place with a temperate or subarctic climate, and where a sprawling and thinly settled landscape makes it difficult to locate any particular place.
Player characters aren't likely to come across the meadow unless they're tracking a group of halflings who are bound to the place. Even if they stumble on it by accident, they're unlikely to notice its significance unless they search the meadow very carefully or use a few speak with animals spells. A group might come to the area with some information about its true purpose, however.
0.   Bandits operating from a hidden fortress or encampment have been raiding towns and robbing travelers in the area near the meadow, and the authorities hire the PCs to track down the bandits and clear them out.

Though halflings on the run are welcome to take shelter at the meadow, it's not used as a regular camp or as a base for any activity that involves nonhalflings. Gencyrr might know where the bandits really are and might be willing to direct the PCs there or even to lead them there. It's possible, however, that the bandits are fencing some of their spoils to halfling merchants. If so, the bandits and their contacts might rendezvous near the meadow. In such a case, Gencyrr most likely poses as a friend to the PCs, but works to hide any halfling involvement in the matter.
0.   Something too big or tough for Gencyrr to handle has moved into the area, and Gencyrr looks to the PCs to help him clear out the foe.

The interloper might be a dragon appropriate to the surrounding terrain (most likely a red, green, or black dragon), a group of lycanthropes, or perhaps a gang of trolls or giants.
0.   A fugitive has joined a halfling tribe that is bound for the meadow (or already camped there).

The character in question might be a criminal, a revolutionary, or a runaway. The fugitive might have only a few halfling accomplices, or the whole tribe might be sheltering the character. The PCs might be charged with returning the fugitive to civilization, or they might be asked to carry a message to the fugitive or to collect something the fugitive has. In any case, the PCs must somehow infiltrate the halfling tribe, defeat the halflings in battle, or fast talk the halflings to get access.
0.   Someone hires the PCs to recover an item that was lost near the meadow years ago. The item in question might have been placed on a wagon that was lost in the area (see below). It's possible that some halfling rogue stole the item and hid it in or near the meadow.

Visiting the Meadow (EL 9-11)

The meadow itself is just a fairly open space about a quarter mile long and about a hundred yards wide. A long time ago, it was a shallow river, but the river has changed course and left a long clearing of silt soil and tall grass. The latter tends to hide most traces the halflings leave behind.
The text below describes the meadow on a midwinter day when several halfling wagons are parked there and the whole place has festive air.

A winding ribbon of trackless snow leads through thickets of trees with pale trunks and a few golden leaves that flutter in the breeze. A sharp turn reveals an open expanse, perhaps a hundred yards wide, bounded by sloping banks where bigger, statelier trees grow. Tidy wagons decorated with garlands of evergreens and winter berries stand in loose circles under the bigger trees. Open fires fill the air with the scents of wood smoke and the aromas of food roasting or simmering. A few halflings tend the fires and stroll between the wagons. Squeals of laughter and a few snowballs suggest some level of rivalry between the youngsters residing in two of the circles.
The halflings have gathered here for an intertribal celebration. Though they aren't particularly glad to have visitors, they welcome peaceful strangers.

Noteworthy Locations

Though it seems featureless, the meadow is slightly more complex than it appears at first glance. Groups who poke around can find several things.

Campsites: Several areas along the wooded banks that line the meadow have little hollows where a halfling wagon can be parked and tucked away out of the wind (and from rain in the summer when the trees are in full leaf). Each has a stone-lined fire pit and a cask mounted on stilts for storing water. Each also has a dugout under the bank for sheltering ponies and other animals. The halflings also keep stocks of dry firewood in these chambers. When several tribes gather, the halflings circle their wagons in the campsites.

Fireplaces: These are larger versions of the fire pits in the campsites. The halflings use them for celebrations and communal cooking.

Burrows: The burrows are similar to the dugouts in the campsites, but they're intended to house two to four halflings at a time. Each has a few sticks of simple furniture, a fireplace, an urn for water, and a pantry stocked with a few days' worth of preserved foods. A stone secret door that can be locked from the inside provides some security.

Stone Secret Door: 2 inches thick; AC 5; hardness 8; hp 30; break DC 26 (28 locked), Search DC 20.

Stream: A stream about 25 feet wide snakes through one end of the meadow. It meanders through the trees to join a river about three miles away. The water is 10 to 15 feet deep in mid channel (though one ford is about 30 feet wide) and the current flows at a fairly quick rate. The halflings draw water and a few fish from the stream. In the winter, the stream freezes over. Gencyrr usually keeps the surface free of snow so the ice stays clear and slick.

It costs 2 squares of movement to enter a square on the stream's frozen surface, and the DC of Balance and Tumble checks there increase by 5. A DC 10 Balance check is required to run or charge across the ice. Failure means the character can still act, but can't run or charge this round.
Despite the stream's depth, many rocks and snags break the water's surface. These provide plenty of hiding places for fish and crayfish. Any time of year, characters can cross the stream by leaping between the rocks and snags, which generally are 10 to 15 feet apart.
Mire: A section of woodland not far from the meadow is studded with bogs and patches of quicksand. Some of these are big enough to swallow a wagon.
Gencyrr and the other halflings who frequent the meadow know how to navigate the area safely, but strangers risk sinking into oblivion with a single misstep. Halflings who wish to hide something often bury their loot somewhere in the mire or sink it in a bog.
Creatures: Gencyrr is the self-appointed guardian of the place. He lives with a few assistants and some riding dogs in one of the burrows. He spends his days patrolling the area and keeping it secure.
Gencyrr usually has between two and four assistants, depending on who's available and how much help he thinks he needs.

Gencyrr CR 7
hp 41 (7 HD)

Male tallfellow halfling scout 4/fighter 3
CG Small humanoid (halfling)
Init +8; Senses Listen +9, Spot +9
Languages Common, Halfling

AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 20; Dodge, skirmish, uncanny dodge
(+1 size, +3 Dex, +4 armor, +2 shield)
Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +4; +2 against fear

Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee +1 longsword +9/+4 (1d6+2/19-20) or
Ranged +1 composite shortbow +11/+6 (1d4+2/x3)
Base Atk +6; Grp +3
Atk Options Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, skirmish
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds, 2 flasks of alchemist's fire

Abilities Str 13, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 10
SQ see secret doors, trapfinding
Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
Skills Balance +11, Climb +4, Escape Artist +10, Hide +13, Jump +12, Listen +9, Move Silently +9, Search +2, Spot +9, Survival +7, Tumble +12
Possessions combat gear plus +1 studded leather, +1 buckler, +1 longsword, +1 short composite bow (+1), 20 arrows, 4 gp

Battle Fortitude (Ex) Gencyrr gains a +1 competence bonus on Fortitude saves and initiative checks (included above).

Fast Movement (Ex) Gencyrr's land speed is faster (+10 foot enhancement bonus already included above) than the norm for his race. See the barbarian class feature on page 25 of the Player's Handbook.

Skirmish (Ex) Gencyrr relies on mobility to deal extra damage and improve his defense. He deals an extra 1d6 points of damage on all attacks he makes during any round in which he moves at least 10 feet away from where he was at the start of his turn. The extra damage applies only to attacks made after Gencyrr has moved at least 10 feet. The skirmish ability cannot be used while mounted. The extra damage applies only against living creatures that have a discernible anatomy. Undead, constructs, oozes, plants, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to extra damage from critical hits are not vulnerable to this additional damage. Gencyrr must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. Gencyrr can apply this extra damage to ranged attacks made while skirmishing, but only if the target is within 30 feet. Additionally, Gencyrr gains a +1 competence bonus to Armor Class during any round in which he moves at least 10 feet. The bonus applies as soon as the scout has moved 10 feet, and lasts until the start of his next turn.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex) Gencyrr cannot be caught flat-footed and reacts to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. See the barbarian class feature on page 26 of the Player's Handbook.

See Secret Doors (Ex) When Gencyrr comes within 5 feet of a secret door, he can make Search check to see it as though actively looking for it.

Trapfinding (Ex) Gencyrr can use the Search skill to locate traps with a DC higher than 20, and he can use Disable Device (if taken) to bypass a trap or disarm magic traps. See the rogue class feature on page 50 of the Player's Handbook.
Tactics: Gencyrr usually poses as a rough-and-ready hunter or trapper who just happens to be passing though the area. He tries to deflect interest in the area with endless small talk and tales of improbable escapes from monsters and wild animals.
In a fight, Gencyrr keeps on the move so he can use his skirmish ability. He prefers to wield his longsword, and he uses his Tumble skill to avoid attacks of opportunity as he moves around. Gencyrr often likes to fight on the stream, where he can leap from rock to rock and keep a little ice (in the winter) or open water (the rest of the year) between himself and his foes.
Halfling Toughs CR 4
hp 24 (4 HD)

Male or female halfling rogue 2/fighter 2
CG Small humanoid (halfling)
Init +7; Senses Listen +8, Spot +1
Languages Common, Halfling

AC 19, touch 14, flat-footed 16
(+1 size, +4 Dex, +4 armor, +1 shield)
Resist evasion
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +4

Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee mwk longsword+6 (1d6+1) or
Ranged mwk shortbow +8 (1d4/x3) 
Base Atk +3; Grp +0
Atk Options sneak attack +1d6
Combat Gear potion of cat's grace, 2 potions of cure light wounds, potion of displacement, 2 flasks of alchemist's fire, 2 tanglefoot bags

Abilities Str 13, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
SQ trapfinding
Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Iron Will
Skills Balance +10, Bluff +4, Climb +5, Diplomacy +1, Escape Artist +8, Hide +12, Intimidate +1, Jump +6, Listen +8, Move Silently +10, Spot +1, Tumble +10 
Possessions combat gear plus +1 studded leather armor, masterwork buckler, masterwork longsword, masterwork shortbow, 20 arrows, gold earring (15 gp), 9 gp

Evasion (Ex) If a tough is exposed to any effect that normally allows the character to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, the tough takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Trapfinding (Ex) The tough can use the Search skill to locate traps with a DC higher than 20, and the character can use Disable Device (if taken) to bypass a trap or disarm magic traps. See the rogue class feature on page 50 of the Player's Handbook.
Tactics: Gencyrr's assistants usually follow his lead in a fight. They're not quite as mobile as their employer, and generally they close in to melee with foes, always maneuvering to set up flank attacks. If they have time to get ready for a fight, they down their potions of displacement and their potions of cat's grace if they can.
Riding Dogs (2-8): hp 13 each, MM 272.
Tactics: These animals are fairly aggressive and readily attack whenever the halflings do. They usually stick close to Gencyrr or one of his assistants and attack whoever the halflings attack.

Read or paraphrase the following when the PCs encounter Gencyrr.
"Ho there, travelers!" calls a voice from beyond a pile of rocks. A tall halfling clad in rugged leather and animal skins emerges from behind the barrier, wearing a sword at his hip and a bow on his back. His right hand is raised in greeting, and two hares dangle from his left hand. "What brings ye to this part of the country?"
If the PCs converse with Gencyrr, he leads them back to a campfire and invites them to sit and share his meal. His forces are hidden from view until he signals them.
"Well now, I've been hunting and trapping here for a long time, and I can tell ye it's dangerous here. Why just last week I had a narrow escape from the wild bandersnatch. Have ye ever fought a wild bandersnatch? Nay? Well, it's a brute, it is. Eight feet tall, with shaggy fur and long, razor-sharp teeth, plus little bat wings that let it glide down silently from the trees. It got me while I was setting up camp, just like today, and I thought I was a goner. If I hadn't been cleaning the pitons in my trusty climbing kit right then, it would've eaten me in one bite. But I got one hand free from its grasp -- dang, those things have breath like a cesspool! So I jammed a piton into its throat until it came out the other side, and it dropped me like a hot potato and ran off clawing at its neck. I followed the blood trail till I found it over there in the stream, where it had broken through the ice. Carved off a few steaks for myself and left the rest to the carrion birds. The meat is a tad gamey, but edible when dried. Want some?" he asks, offering a bag of some vaguely green-colored jerky.

The Meadow Unfrozen

During the warmer months, the meadow is lush and alive with birdsong. During rainy periods, the soft soil quickly turns muddy; wheeled vehicles leave deep ruts and are prone to becoming stuck. The halflings avoid the meadow at these times and visit the place on foot if they must.

The Meadow as a Darker Place

Gencyrr could easily be a chaotic evil bandit lord who oversees groups of thieves and thugs. His followers may pose as honest halflings, but only to lull potential victims into a false sense of security. An evil Gencyrr might have worg allies rather than riding dogs.


"Il n'est pas besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre ni de réussir pour persévérer" - Devise de la famille d'Orange
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