This week Ben shows you his interpretation of the C2 Well Encounter inside the D&D 4E Pyramid of Shadows module. He’s got the terrain, monster groups, miniatures and treasure to share with any and all inquiring RPG minds. Step carefully to learn more.
This encounter has an especially cool backstory. The Pyramid of Shadows is a roaming prison – gobbling up anyone that gets stuck in its path. Arboreans have dug a deep hole (aka The Well) in a futile attempt to escape. This spot now features several colorful yet dangerous creatures – none of whom take kindly to guests on their turf.
This encounter has a woodsy, underbrush feel to it. Thankfully, the Pile’s miniature collection is up to this Pyramid population task. To make mini pickings easier, Ben basically broke the baddies into several groups.
Leader: The Satyr (Underdark, #22) is sorta the area’s kingpin here. He was looking for an ally upon his imprisonment and had no real choice but to align with the Arboreans (especially when a Dryad charm spell entered the mix).
Bodyguard: The Satyr has “worked out” a deal with a Black Woods Dryad (Desolation, #14). She will be concealed on the edge of the well’s slope and immediately go to protect the Satyr so the magical effects of its instrument will continue to aid the battle.
Brutes: Three rough and tumble Shambling Mounds make up the area’s muscle. Ben is using a traditional Shambling Mound (Harbinger #36), a Stormrage Shambler (Unhallowed, #24) and a Bog Elemental (WoW, #24).
Side Note: Download our home brewed Stormrage Shambler desktop for fun.
Minions: This DM always likes a few pestering minions to wreak havoc on the party’s battle tactics. Ben mixed in some stuff that would naturally fit in the forest-heavy underbrush.
- Grub Swarm (Shattered Star, #4)
- Animated Mud (MageKnight, #47)
- Galeb Duhr (Against the Giants, #36)
- Demonweb Swarm (Desolation, #41)
A rock will be wedged in a steep area of the Well. If someone goes to grab it for a foothold on their climb out, the DM will swap it out with the Galeb Duhr and release a surprise attack.
The Map and Terrain
The centerpiece of this encounter is a sloping, forest-draped hole in the ground.
Pink foam is the natural material of choice for such a DIY hobbyist project such as this. However, Ben had two core concerns: playability (keeping minis in place on a sloped piece of gridless terrain) and modularity (lots of work for a potential one-time-use piece).
Thus, The Pile once again turned to its trustworthy terrain ally – paper. Certainly we could craft a printed piece to represent the well while still keeping the module’s desired effects in place. Plus, Hirst Arts tiles would be lined around the edge of the pit to give it a little more depth.
Foam is a valid option and certainly a fun project. However, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is carving up Ben’s free time lately. Thus, three hours of PhotoShop graphic-ing vs. a weekend’s worth of terrain building sorta made the decision to go with paper an easy one. You can download our source files here (warning – it’s a large zip file).
Ben has a few existing modular pit pieces from the Thunderspire Labyrinth’s Slave Pits encounter but they just weren’t big enough for this particular scenario.
Our Satyr is a bit of a gold whore so his den is sure to include a small chest of delicious coins (700 GP, 200 SP, 75 CP). An explosive trap protects his coveted stash (Perception DC 28 | Burst 3, 1d10+6 damage | d4-1% coin damage). The only way to open this chest and not set off the trap will be to play the correct notes off his flute.
And speaking of the Satyr’s personal flute, that’s actually the big prize of this encounter. Owner be warned though as it’s a mixed bag in terms of the magical payout. We’ll dig deeper into this homebrewed treasure item next Saturday.
Until next week.
Questions to Ponder: Have you rebased any World of Warcraft figs for your game? If so, what is your fav? What traits would you give the Satyr’s magical flute? What would you do differently for this encounter? Would you make the well out of foam or would the paper trick suffice for your game?