Additional Encounters on the coastal path in HTBM

Savage Tide Adventure Path

I was just curious to see if anyone else had added any other encounters for the party while they were travelling on the coastal pass in HTBM as they progress towards Fogmire.

Personally, I modified some of the suggested encounters from the adventure and some of those suggested by board members to make things as creepy and stressful as possible for the party. However, I did make one original encounter (I think, unless I was inspired by someone else's contributions and simply forgotten who).

The party settled down for the night at an abandoned olman village on a large beach. They had found evidence of a massive violent event that probably contributed to the disappearance of the natives there. As they were camping, they were visited by the ghosts of the slain Olmans. The party saw the natives going on by their daily life, ignoring the pcs until they screamed, pointing to the sky. Ghostly figures of gargoyles dived from the sky, bringing death to the Olmans. The pcs witnessed the entire carnage, helpless to stop the gargoyles dropping several villagers into the ocean several hundred feet above the water.

As the carnage faded away, the party wizard, a neurotic and paranoid fellow, saw, illuminated in the light of the full moon on a cliff ledge far away, the silhouette of a large ape that howled. It threw something towards the beach before disappearing under the shadows of the clouds as they obscured the moon. The pcs went to investigate and fought only one pair of footprints, belonging to that of a large ape. The object it threw onto the beach turned out to be a bloodstained thighbone of an ape. As they pondered upon this weird turn of events, a low fog billowed off the shores, only to break to let various undead walk out from the sea. A small group of skeletons, zombies, and aquatic ghasts make their way towards the campsite to act everyone there. By the 4th round, the leader of the undead of the drowned (MM 3, I think).

Overall, it was a good, scary fight where the party had to rush to defeat all of the undead as soon as possible. They didn't hold back against the drowned, and despite that, they still nearly lost the pc cleric, and 4 npcs. Most of the pcs have mid-long attack range so they could fight the drowned one without too much risk. Another bonus from this encounter is that the pcs now really want to defeat the next group of gargoyles they will meet.

As the party now heads to Fogmire, I am planning to insert another creepy encounter for them prior to finding the shrine. Did anyone else do something like this to shake the party up? :)

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

What a wonderful, atmospheric encounter!

I had an idea which is somewhat similar to yours, but not as an encounter. One of my PCs is having dreams about the ancient Olman civilization and what happened to it.

I do not think I will add much to the adventure. My group landed on the beach this weekend and had a lot of trouble with the T-rex. One of the PCs was swallowed whole and saved by his friends at the last moment. Then they were attacked by only three terror birds in the jungle, which again caused more trouble and panic than expected. Two minor NPCs died in the first fight, and Avner and Thunderstrike died in the second. These two encounters have instilled a healthy fear in them for the Isle of Dread, and they have not even met the no. 1 bad guy yet, who will have an easy time, I guess!

Well, the 2nd gargoyle attack was swiftly dealt with by the party. A well-placed vortex of teeth (spell compedium) forced the gargoyles to ground after they had attack en-masse the group. With well-placed critical shots by the gun-mage captain and poor attack rolls by the gargoyles, the battle was soon over.

Their first encounter with the bar-lguras resulted in the kidnapping of two npcs (Tavey and Urol) and the newly-acquired animal companion of the druid (a fleshraker). The priest was visibly upset as he had spent the 3 months voyage on the Black Wyvern with Tavey under his tutelage. He had developed a rather close relationship with the cabin boy and he literally lost his anger at the abduction, vowing to chase through the fog-shrouded forest in the night to find the boy. Fortunately for him, the captain and the druid both convinced him (not an easy task) to remain with the group instead of stomping off alone in the night.

The fleshraker eventually made its way back to the party in the morning(it had escaped shortly after the abduction but got lost in the fog). The group's mage was the only one to suffer the Wisdom damage from the nightmares (resulting in a Wisdom of 5!).

The group succeeded in figuring out how to use the mirrors but man, how they managed to open the bronze doors leading to that room was definitely one of the weirdest moments I had witnessed.

CB out.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

My group is not there yet. They are in dark mountain pass and defeated the centipedes last session, which left one of the fighters severely weakened by the poison. The group cleric now wants to schedule an extra rest stop, since they still have enough food.

One of the other PCs has been quarreling with Urol a lot (since Amella is quarreling with Urol and he is trying to seduce Amella), and now I have planned for Olangru to snatch Urol's backpack, hoping everyone will blame the PC and Amella.

We will play again on Friday. I am curious how this will turn out.

And I am curious how your players figured out the mirrors. I have been sort of rewriting that room...

Luna eladrin wrote:

My group is not there yet. They are in dark mountain pass and defeated the centipedes last session, which left one of the fighters severely weakened by the poison. The group cleric now wants to schedule an extra rest stop, since they still have enough food.

One of the other PCs has been quarreling with Urol a lot (since Amella is quarreling with Urol and he is trying to seduce Amella), and now I have planned for Olangru to snatch Urol's backpack, hoping everyone will blame the PC and Amella.

We will play again on Friday. I am curious how this will turn out.

And I am curious how your players figured out the mirrors. I have been sort of rewriting that room...

Well, the players are veterans so they approached the problem very carefully. Since the chamber itself quite frankly screams "It's a trap!," the players did everything at range (lighting the candles, putting a corpse in the throne chairs, etc.). Plus, they let the craziest party member (an old and nearly insane mage) to be the guinea pig. So when he become a feral version, it was rather easy to take him down without resorting to lethal damage.

It was basically trial and error for them. Besides,

adventure trap spoiler:
the objects in the chamber itself are clues. The candles, you light them. The stone chairs, you sit in them. The mirrors, you look at them and touch them. Plus, the fact that the objects are reformed no matter how much damage you cause them also high-light how important the objects are in this context.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Yes, that is right. But some parties had difficulty figuring out the order of events.

My PCs have just had a narrow escape from the black pudding in Dark Mountain Pass. They did not dare fight it (as they were already weakened from the mummies and the spear trap), so they sort of outmanoeuvred it with flaming oil, ghost sounds and throwing objects at it in order to divert it. They managed to lure it far enough away from the exit gates of Dark mountain pass so that they had time to leave. Since they did not dare to attack the giant crabs either, they used ropes, pitons and their climb skills to climb along the rock wall instead of wading through the water. It was again a memorable session. I love this campaign!

Fortunately for them a black pudding is not a good tracker. Otherwise it might still be following them and surprise them when they are in camp :-)

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also: luckily for your party it's not the black pudding's distant cousin, the slithering tracker (updated to 3.5 at the back of Dungeon 143). Imagine an oversized version of that particular ooze, sneaking up on your party! :)

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Don't give me ideas. Those poor little players... :-)

Since my players passed it up last session, I can now comment on the gargoyle lair I placed at the end of the cliffside road.

I used a map I found online (I might post a link if I can find it again) and modified it somewhat to suit my purposes (adding more vertical dimension to various locations). It showed four separate cave entrances leading away from a (what else?) cliffside road.

At first, I wrote the notes intending the PCs to have a chance at getting the jump on inhabitants even if they took no actions to do so. That didn't seem very logical, though, so I changed the notes to assume that the gargoyles had spotted the PCs during their approach, since they certainly would lair in the most advantageous location overlooking the road leading up to it.

Full disclosure: I took some descriptions and inspiration from Belessa's Journal.

After traveling only a short distance more, the road begins to climb a series of broad steps that lead ever higher up one of the rocky mountainsides overhead.

1. Sentry:

- Sprinkle a few extra rubble counters and 3D boulders along the cliff road to add interest to combat and to help hide the rock-like creatures at more distant entrances. (yeah, just keep reading)
- One gargoyle (MM p113) stands sentry duty here, though as the heroes approached, the sentry will have already seen them coming and alerted the rest of the tribe.

As you near the top of the steps, you find that you have climbed quite high and gained a breathtaking view of the cliffside road you just travelled.

As you reach the top of the long, high stair, you come to a cave opening. A ledge runs all the way around the cave, and you can see many gargoyles perched on it.

If the heroes try to communicate with the gargoyles: A deep, grating voice speaks, but none of the gargoyles moved so you can't be sure which one spoke.
Translate from the Ancient Olman: "You will all die here."

Tactics: the gargoyles will work in teams to shove the heroes off the cliff one at a time.

2. Guard Room:

- Alter map to make alcove at back of cave an overlook.
- One gargoyle (MM p113) is in the alcove.

3. Tribal Common Area:

This cave is surprisingly clean. The walls have been carved smooth in several places and are decorated with faded frescoes representing stylized images of snakes, birds, and leering faces.

Spot DC 22 (17 if within radius of bright light): A statue--or perhaps a creature standing very still--is perched on a high ledge in the back of the dark cave.

A guardgoyle (from City of Splendors, I think) stands watch on a ledge 15 ft over the floor of the cave overlooking the passage to room 4. If it is damaged in any way, or if any non-gargoyle comes within 5 ft, it emits a shriek as it shuffles off its stone casing, then attacks on the following round. (As a result, the guardgoyle’s creator, Nerilqua*, receives an immediate mental warning of this fact, and she will begin to rally others to investigate... Grummoc* in 2 rounds, Quotoctoa (if still alive) and the sentry in room 6 in 4 rounds, Kattaxx* in 6 rounds) The guardgoyle will pursue those who flee the chamber, but will not leave the caverns.

* Names are lifted/inspired from various internet sources.

4. Familial Caverns:

- Alter map to put alcoves at height.
- Two gargoyles and various young.

5. Egg Chambers:

- Alter map to put alcoves at height.
- Eggs (basically oval boulders) are stored in the alcoves.

6. Throne Room:

An ancient tattered and stained tapestry lies on the floor as a makeshift rug. runs most of the length of this long hall. Portions of the cavern walls have been finished and ornamented with geometric designs.

From the centre of the room: To your left stands a large stone throne.

Quotoctoa the gargoyle king rules from this hall. If he survived the second attack on the heroes and is still in good shape, he will likely be here. If he survived but was severely damaged, he will instead be in room 10, 12, or 14; Kattaxx will have used cure light wounds to heal the damage he (and any surviving warriors) took in the battle.

This gargoyle appears to be clothed in finery and wears a crown of stone and feathers upon his brow.

If confronted here, Quotoctoa attempts to intimidate intruders to frighten them off, and if that doesn't work, he might try barter to get them to go away peacefully. If faced with a significant challenge, he flees through rooms 9-13, gathering Grummoc and Nerilqua as he goes, and exits via the secret vertical shaft in the ceiling of room 14.

Hidden behind the throne is a passage to room 9.

The 5-foot square that most directly leads to room 8 has a hidden trap.
Spiked Pit Trap: CR 3; mechanical; location trigger; manual reset; Ref DC14 avoids; 10 ft. deep (1d6, fall); pit spikes (Atk +10 melee, 3d6 damage); Search DC15; Disable DC30. Market Price: 5,700 gp.

7. Overlook:

- Alter map so that one side slopes up to landing (room 7), second passage slopes up from landing to overlook.
- One gargoyle stands sentry duty here. If alerted, will call out to Kattaxx in room 8, then attempt to fly to room 9, etc. to alert others.

8. Chapel of Fraz-Urb'luu:

- Alter map to make back alcove an overlook where priestess sleeps.

The walls of this cavern are partially smoothed and have been inset with seven swirling, angular carvings that look like Ancient Olman words spaced evenly around the room. The recessed portions of each of the carvings have been stained black for added contrast in the gloom. The vaulted ceiling above is painted black and has no carvings. Ancient spattered bloodstains cover the floor, most noticably around the far wall, below an alcove twenty feet above the floor. The archway is surrounded in carved sigils and houses a horrifying demonic idol. The place stinks of murder and pain.

The idol depicts a monstrous being with a muscular gorilla-like body. Two vast batlike wings protrude from its back. Its tail is long and hairless. Its head rises to a pointed ridge at the top, and is bald save for tufts of ragged hair hanging from its jowls. Large ragged ears grow from either side of its head. Yet the most terrible aspect of the visage is the mouth, which is overly large and filled with huge fangs.

Kattaxx, gargoyle priestess of Fraz-Urb'luu, will most likely have been warned of the heroes' approach, and will lurk in the shadows behind the idol high above the room. If in danger of being discovered, she will fight to the death to defend the chapel.

Kattaxx is detailed in a February 2007 post on Claw/Claw/Bite.

She will seek to focus her efforts against whomever she perceives to be the weakest or most wounded (Heal DC 20 to correctly identify PC with lowest hp total or most wounds, failure results in random target). As soon as anyone is slain and the sigils activate, she immediately asks for the boon she needs most. (see below)

Whenever someone is slain in this room, the idol's unholy properties become activated, the sigils softly glow blood-red, and anyone in the room may call upon the power of Fraz-Urb'luu to grant them a boon by chanting one of the carved Ancient Olman incantations on the wall. Doing so is a free action that requires a Fort save (DC = 15 + HD of slain creature) or be sickened d6 rounds per HD of the slain creature; those who use prayers granted by another power suffer an increase in DC by their total levels. A successful save allows the petitioner to select any of the following:

Demon Prince of Deception, grant me health!
Gain temp hp equal to a single HD roll of slain creature.

Demon Prince of Deception, grant me stealth!
Gain bonus to Hide and Move Silently skill rolls equal to half the slain creature's HD.

Demon Prince of Deception, grant me perception!
Gain one of the slain creature's special senses, if any, such as keen scent or the ability to see in the dark.

Demon Prince of Deception, grant me tongues!
Gain the ability to read, write, speak, and understand one of the slain creature's languages, if any, or the ability to converse with that type of creature.

Demon Prince of Deception, grant me ferocity!
Gain one of the slain creature's natural weapons, at the slain creature's attack bonus and damage.

Demon Prince of Deception, grant me prayers!
Gain the ability to cast one of the slain creature's spells, at the slain creature's caster level, though as a divine prayer to Fraz'Urb-luu instead.

Demon Prince of Deception, grant me power!
Gain one of the slain creature's extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like abilities, if any.

Each boon lasts until next sunset/rise. Requesting a second boon while one is already active results in the end of the first boon.

If Quotoctoa was slain, there will be a power vacuum that Kattaxx, Grummoc, and Nerilqua are each seeking to fill.

9. Rock Reptiles:

A mated pair of rock reptiles blocks the entrances (use rubble counters, but allow Spot check when first seen). They attack any prey that comes within range (probably gaining surprise).

Suddenly the rock piles begin to move. They look like long, warty lizards about the size of a small horse. It darts forward with lightning speed and snaps at you with its powerful jaws.

I believe the stats are in Tome of Horrors?

10. Tattoo Parlour:

- Alter passageway leading to room 10 to go over passage to room 12.
- Alter map so that large open left side space is 20 feet up in cave wall.

Grummoc is the 'tattoo artist' of the tribe, a highly regarded position. He carefully chisels designs on tribe members for artistic, shamanistic, or symbolic purposes.

For Grummoc's stats, I used those for Tortt as detailed in a February 2007 post on Claw/Claw/Bite. Alternatively you can use the stats for the gargoyle assassin that inspired the name.

Tactics: Grummoc will attempt to achieve surprise with 2 claw attacks from hiding, each dealing his sneak attack bonus. Otherwise/afterwards, he flees. If trapped, a desperate Grummoc may attempt to bargain with the heroes.

11. Grummoc's Lair:

This is a ledge overlooking room 12. I didn't really detail it.

12. King's Lounge / Torture Chamber:

This large cave features a number of severed heads mounted on stalagmites, their unpreserved flesh festering in the heat and attracting flies.

What are the heads of? The heads include a couple of lizardmen, a carver lizard, a reptilian bird-creature, a gargoyle, and two dark-skinned humans.

13. Nerilqua's Lair:

- Alter map so that entrance is 20 feet up in cave wall

In the chamber is a stone platform, a stone chair, and a sleeping pedestal.

For Nerilqua's stats, I used those for Rexx-r as detailed in a February 2007 post on Claw/Claw/Bite.

Tactics: If Nerilqua suspects that Quotoctoa is dead (i.e. sees the gargoyle crown on someone's head, etc), she will do everything in her power to try to get the gargoyle crown. Failing this, she will flee to room 15 in an attempt to get some loot before abandoning the lair for good. If trapped, a desperate Nerilqua may attempt to bargain with the PCs.

Treasure: On a Search (DC 30) of the walls, a PC notices that portion of the wall at the back of the cave appears to be unusually smooth. No amount of searching or investigation will reveal any method to open this cache, however, for Nerilqua used her ring to shape the stone. Inside is a stone tablet of guardgoyle creation (as manual of golem creation, but details process required to make a guardgoyle).

2 ft x 2 ft x 1 ft deep secret cache behind 1 ft of shaped stone: Search 30 (to notice shaped stone), Disable N/A, hardness 8, 180 hp, Strength 35 to break with sudden force, drops to 33 if at less than half hp)

14. Quotoctoa's Private Chamber:

- Alter map to make alcove into overlook where chieftain sleeps.

This chamber is Quotoctoa's private sanctum. The place is furnished with a carved stone table and some crude chairs. The carvings on the top of the table depict the central-eastern area of the Isle of Dread that the gargoyles inhabit. Carved in Terran on the map are the names of the tribes of gargoyles, plus a few other interesting notes about the land immediately surrounding the mountains. (I didn't detail this further...)

In the sleeping alcove is a pedestal with a secret recess hidden in it (Search DC 20). It contains a set of masterwork stonecarving tools, a healer's kit, and a yellow agate wrapped in an old rag (worth 50 gp).

A secret vertical shaft in the ceiling of the main chamber (opposite the alcove) gives access to the mountains above after a 100 foot ascent. It is difficult to find (Search DC 28) because it is ringed by stalactites and clogged with stones, though the lever that operates it is not as well hidden (Search DC 23), being concealed within the geometric designs carved into the wall. The lever causes the stones clogging the hole to fall on anyone in the 5-ft square immediately below the shaft. Only the named gargoyles know about the secret shaft.

Falling Stones Trap (CR4): Search DC 20 (if shaft or lever already located), Disable Device DC 24, melee +15 for 6d6 half-fatigue.

15. Guardians:

A galeb duhr (MM2 p107) blocks the entrance to these caves. (Place a boulder on the map but allow a Spot DC 30 to recognize it as something other than a normal boulder when first seen.) It shambles to life (round 1) and moves aside (round 2) when someone wearing the gargoyle crown comes within 5 feet.

When a hero can see the end of the road: The cliffside road comes to an end here. You cannot tell whether the elements have eroded it away, or the ancients simply never completed it, or it was destroyed intentionally by the occupants of these caves, but in any case, there's no way to proceed further.

A cockatrice (MM p37) lairs within room 15.

16. Treasury:

Here I placed the treasure from the February 2007 post on Claw/Claw/Bite, along with a ghost touch cold iron mace of disruption and a cloth pouch of native design containing a tiny silvery pearl worth 70 gp, a tiny golden idol of the Olman god of luck worth 500 gp, and a small stone tablet inscribed with the locate object spell (as a scroll).

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