This week we start on a new series, focusing on locations and the encounters therein. These are basically “drag and drop” or Plug’n’Play areas and encounters for you to use in your games. Please welcome Michael Vail-Steele. 🙂
Adomix Forest Background
The forest lies nestled at the foot of the Unloch Mountains to the north and is bordered by the Ior River to the west. Hundreds of years ago there was no forest there only sparse grassland. That all changed when a tower known to be the home of a reclusive wizard exploded in a burst of golden light, bathing the countryside for hundreds of miles in a celestial glow. A group of gnome traders witnessed the explosion from their camp and upon further investigation found a huge forest where there was once rolling fields.
The trees that seemingly sprung up overnight were hardier than they appeared and wrecked the saws and axes of the curious gnomes. Trees weren’t all that the explosion created, an abundance of animals now frolicked through the forest. In addition to the normal varieties of fauna such as deer and wolves, more dangerous creatures such as owlbears, griffons and other fantastic beasts also stalked the woods. Word of the new and seemingly untouched forest and its plentiful game quickly spread and soon hunters from across the land were racing to it to test their mettle against the forest denizens. But no matter how many creatures were killed for food or trophies, more always arose to take their place no matter the season.
It didn’t take long for the long-term value of the forest to become apparent. A shrewd hunter by the name of Connell established a hunting lodge near the eastern edge of the forest. Over many years the lodge grew from the single building into a small village that now bears the name of its founder. Connell village serves as the base camp for the majority of those who go hunting in Adomix Forest. Most of the inhabitants are human, but the self-sufficient and backwater nature of village has attracted a handful of half-orcs over the years.
It’s taken many years, but Connell Village has finally found a way to develop its primary natural resource, its hardwood trees. It was discovered that nearly all the trees in Adomix Forest contain clumps of living steel. Blacksmithing and lumber operations have been set up to turn this abundance of magical metal into an exportable commodity for the community. There’s a decent living to be made for those willing to brave the creatures of darker corners of Adomix Forest to bring back ore for processing.
While the pop-up forest has been seen as a boon by many, not everyone in the land feels the same. A conclave of druids has met to determine whether or not Adomix Forest qualifies as a true natural location. Some in the conclave are skeptical as to the forest’s origin and if resources should be spent protecting and preserving it as they would with any other forest. Representatives from the conclave will journey to the forest in order to establish whether or not it fits into the natural harmony of the surrounding lands. It is feared by some in Connell Village that if the conclave rules against protecting Adomix Forest that they might seek to destroy it instead.
Adomix Forest can feel very crowded despite its size. Hunters of all stripes and skill levels wander through the forest. Its great fame has even attracted the attention of a royal entourage from a nearby kingdom. The local lord has brought his entire court along with him to hunt a terrible beast and adorn its pelt in their great hall. This large hunting party has caused some of the experienced local hunters to grumble about the disruptions it is causing.
A new fearsome pack has been stalking the hunters rather than the creatures Adomix Forest. A vampire and its spawn have taken up residence in the forest and have turned many a mighty hunter into fearful prey. While they stalk their unknowing prey in the form of animals these vampires do have a twisted sort of honor. They reveal themselves to their chosen targets and give them a one-hour head start before pursuing them. Unfortunately, most hunters are ill-equipped to deal with vampires and are captured and fed upon even with the extra time. Hunters who venture out after dark are advised to carry garlic with them and to return to Connell Village as quickly as possible.
A tribe of ettins lives in the Unloch Mountains and occasionally raid into Adomix Forest for either food or for sport. Most of the raids are either solitary ettins or occasionally pairs and can be easily avoided. On rare occasions, the entire tribe enters the forest for what they refer to as “The Choosing”. When the chieftain of the tribe dies any ettin who wishes to take up the mantle must prove their worth through the slaying of powerful beasts. Scores of ettin rampage through the forest chasing after whoever or whatever they encounter. Chieftainship can be awarded by either slaying a single mighty creature such as a chimera or through slaying many weaker creatures like the local hunters. Victory in this contest is often subjective and arguments about who should win can often spiral into violence that further disrupts the forest.
Drag & Drop Encounter (CR 7)
While following a trail through Adomix Forest you hear the cry of a great bird followed by growling and snarling far-off the beaten path to the west. As you approach through the trees you see a small clearing with a pound. Near the pond, you can see a Griffon (CR 4) has had one of its wings pinned down by a fallen tree and is being attacked by a group of six Wolves (CR 1). Unable to fly away the griffon is faring poorly against the overwhelming odds and is looking scratched and bloodied. The wolves are completely focused on the griffon and are unlikely to notice your approach.