Stormy seas rock your vessel, tossing her about like a toy in the jaws of a hound. Thunder rolls in the distance. Then, an arc of lightning splits the sky, and the sound like an exploding fireball all but bursts your eardrums. Your mainmast, struck by lightning, burns, splinters, and topples onto the deck like a felled oak. The last thing you hear is the cracking of wood as the deck explodes into splinters, and the ship is torn asunder. All goes black. You awaken in shackles, half-submerged in water, and surrounded by salmon-pink coral. You survived, but what fate awaits you now? The sound of soggy footsteps echo down the hallway. A creature approaches with an answer. This week’s encounter is Coral Colosseum, a combat encounter in which the characters must prove themselves as worthy gladiators to escape the clutches of a ruthless sahuagin baron. This encounter can serve as a follow-up to Encounter of the Week: Sharkfin Shipwreck, or as a stand-alone mini-adventure. It could also serve as an introduction to Ghosts of Saltmarsh, which releases on May 21st, 2019.
High tide is coming in in this week’s encounter: Sea Trolls in the Net, a tongue-in-cheek combat encounter about a troll troubling fishermen and getting tangled up in their net. This encounter works best when it can add flavor to a grim, seaside locale as a random encounter the adventurers stumble across while exploring. While exploring a blighted shoreline on some forsaken coast, the adventurers find a sea troll feasting upon fishing nets full of freshly caught fish while their fishermen flee from the shore.
As the adventurers depart Honeyfest to go on their next adventure, one or more of the characters may suddenly come down with a terrible sickness. To make matters worse, as they make to leave town (or visit the local apothecary), the market square is suddenly thrown into chaos by a plague wizard and his pet otyugh spreading filth!
This week’s encounter is April Showers and Foul Flowers, a combat encounter that could also become a puzzle for the druids and rangers in your party. While the characters travel through a beautiful meadow, smelling the scents of flowers and earth after a rain, the flowers at their feet spring to life and attack, threatening to entangle and devour them! These foul flowers were animated by the foul magic of a dark sorceress who infused the rain itself with her evil. The characters could fight back against the sorceress and her army of animated plants, or they could try to undo her spell and save the flowers—and the nymph that guards them.
Several days ago, a colony of myconids were born from the gloom and rot of a swamp near a small fishing town. They found a place to form their new colony, and settled on a crumbling mausoleum in a long-forgotten graveyard. Their rapport spores have been spreading unchecked, and have begun to infect the dead buried underneath the marsh. These dead have risen as spore servants, which the myconids are using as watchdogs to protect their new home from unwelcome intruders—like the adventurers. In this encounter, the characters stumble upon an old country graveyard in the middle of a swamp. When they investigate, they fall under attack by the living dead! Once they fend off their undead assailants, an investigation of the mausoleum reveals the true villain behind the attack: a group of mycanoids that infested the corpses with their spores, turning them into telepathically controlled puppets. From here, the characters can either negotiate with the mycanoids or kill them. This encounter’s three acts are: The Discovery: the characters find an abandoned graveyard. The Trial: the characters are attacked by undead. The Revelation: the characters learn that the zombies are really mycanoid spore servants, and can try to reason with the mushroom-people or destroy them. Either way, there’s treasure!
While traveling along the Trade Way, the characters see a small hut on the side of the road, and a spiked barricade erected in the middle of the road. Two men with cudgels in their hands stand on either side of the road. These two brigands proclaim to be members of the Waterdeep City Watch, but any Waterdhavian with half a brain knows this to be a lie. The truth is that these are common highwaymen trying to fleece travelers and merchants with a phony road toll. In this simple encounter, the characters can employ whatever inventive tactics they want to pass the brigands. They may simply pay the toll, they may try to intimidate the bandits or appeal to their better nature by making a Charisma check, or they might resort to violence. Or, they may attempt something else entirely! Encourage creativity.