Today's story is about an NPC Druid/Conservationist animal lover type who is doing his best to help restore dwindling populations of a commercially important Giant Spider variety (go ahead and come up with a cool name if you like, but I'll refer to it as the "Eastern Variety", just for naming purposes. Unfortunately, one of the important breeding spiders got lost in a little bumbling accident when its three-dimensional pin wasn't secured exactly right.
A Wizard friend of this Druid has tracked the Spider by using a Detect (Tag) spell to a location well known for its swampy terrain, and more importantly, a wild Western Variety spider burrow. The party's mission for this Five Room Dungeon is to trek the dangerous swamp area, and bring back the prized breeding stock unscathed.
- Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers
- Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons
- Dungeon Fantasy 5: Allies
- Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures
- Crushroom (DF2:22) CER 69
- Dire Wolf (DF2:22) CER 27
- Foul Bat (DF2:23) CER 36
- Giant Rat (DF2:24) CER 18
- Giant Spider (DF5:25) OR 12 + PR 4 = 16 CER, I think?
- Monstrous Centipede CER 7
- Giant Tick CER 11
- Dire Rat CER 13
- Krenshar CER 18
- Giant Fly CER 22
- Wolf Spider CER 41
- Dire Boar CER 54
- Killer Frog CER 19
- Giant Frog CER 35
- Naturalist Janus
- A Druid and a Scholar, she is an Elf who loves researching animals, and is trying to work to restore the dwindling numbers of Eastern Giant Spiders.
- She is afraid of making people feel stupid by using overly technical terms, so she overcompensates the other way, using "baby language" (which unintentionally causes people to feel stupid anyway).
- Annoyed by people who hate spiders, arthropods, or other "creepy crawlies" for "no good reason".
- Not very capable in a fight.
- Chemist Heidegger
- A poisons expert and a colleague of Janus, he is a Dwarf that acts in a medical and tranquilizing capacity at the same facility.
- Talks in a very rough, almost scary voice, which is contrasted by his immediately charming and friendly demeanor.
- Has a crazy venom and toxin tolerance, often plays with extremely venomous animals, often jokes about being bit while talking to guests, which makes him come off as even more frightening.
- Has a hobby of cultivating rare plants, and his office and home has many exotic herbs and fruits, with fruits and roots in various stages of dissection and examination.
|One of the first Google|
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- They hear a rumor in the rumor mill
- They ask a Scientist contact for a job
- They have an amazing reputation of doing tough jobs and doing them well.
- They are especially docile around humans
- They produce high quality silk fabrics that in turn makes the spider silk armor industry viable
- They are unfortunately endangered
- Janus will tell you that the easiest way to tell the lone Eastern subject from the Western natives is the sound it makes. She will tell you that the western ones make a sound like this *bark* and the eastern one will sound like *meow*. If the players say she is just making dog and cat sounds, she will be offended and say cats and dogs are gross.
- If the players ask, Janus will probably not have much to offer in terms of monetary gain, but she might be able to swing a deal for some spider silk garments.
- The players will receive well-annotated directions to the correct location with no reason to be suspicious.
- If they dig around the rumor mill, the following hints and foreshadowing might come to light:
- In the event of information gathering that results in Success:
- Swamps have a good chance of inducing illness, and the players should be prepared.
- There seems to be a lot of animals out and about this time of season. Seems like more bugs than normal, and with the giant bugs, comes the giant frogs. [Bonus points to you if you can make this point subtle, so your players can have an "ah-ha" moment later.]
- Spiders seem scary, but they are more afraid of us than them.
- Animals are easier to approach with food.
- In the event of information gathering that results in Critical Failure:
- Just burn the whole nest; the run-away will leave when it is smoked out.
- Spiders can take quite a few solid hits without getting hurt too bad, rough 'em up if you need to.
|Spider Nip, a dull poison that|
relaxes and stuns spiders with
little to no permanent consequence.
The Puzzle or Role Playing ChallengeThe player has two good options at this point, they can prepare, set out and travel to the destination, or they can meet with Heidegger about creating a non-lethal poison for subduing the subject. He will tell you he needs some Spider Nip buds to create a tonic that can help stun the Spider.
If you decide to take this detour, searching for the plant requires a one day walk out of the way and a Scrounging roll with a -2 modifier to find. Naturalist can be used as a support skill, with a success resulting in a Scrounging roll with no modifier. Each search takes four hours. A Critical Failure finds a plant that looks similar enough to deceive the player; they will bring it back and have wasted so much time that Janus and Heidegger will both agree that there is no more time to make the draught, at which point they recommend going on without it.
We now go back to the dungeon "entrance" again.
Entrance - Revisited
- A roll of 9-12 means a medium-sized fight today. For 160 CER, this means something around 80 to 120 CER. Some examples include:
- 5 Giant Rats
- 4 Dire Wolves
- 3 Giant Flies and 2 Violent Roaches
- A roll of less than 9 means a small fight (or whatever interesting thing you'd like to do instead). Some examples include, some of the above fights, or:
- 2 Foul Bats
- 1 Dire Boar
- 3 Killer Frogs
- A roll of 13 or more means a more challenging fight (160-200 CER), or perhaps a natural disaster from p. 30 of Dungeon Fantasy 16. Some example fights include:
- 7 Dire Wolves
- 20 Giant Ticks
- 3 Crushrooms
The Puzzle or Role Playing Challenge
- The players might gently mark spiders they have seen already so they don't analyze them multiple times
- The players might attempt to herd all investigated Western Spiders into one area.
- The players might kill all spiders they investigate that turn out to be incorrect.
The Trick or Setback
|Bonjour, mon ami.|
Climax, Big Battle, or Conflict
- 5 Giant Frogs (175 CER)
- 4 Killer Frogs (76 CER)
- Include some stalactites and/or stalagmites as interference obstacles.
- The Giant Killer Frog has a huge tongue for catching the Spider. Even if it catches the Spider by weaving around the players, allow the players the chance to save Her by letting them hack at the tongue as if it were an appendage.
- No one will try to attack the Spider but the King Bullfrog; someone with Strategy or Tactics gets a free secret roll every turn that they can use to realize this plan of attack.
- If the players were especially respectful of the native spiders, they might try binding the frogs, but probably not successfully, although a lucky shot or cumulative binds from several spiders focusing on one target can lead to a surprise victory even without fudging dice!
Rewards, Revelation, or Plot Twist
- If the King Bullfrog swallowed the Spider somehow, surgery rolls might successfully extract the maimed, but still living spider.
- If the Spider was killed, there is obviously no reward; that is the sad end of that.
- If the player brings the spider back safely to Janus and speaks about the frog attacks, she might reveal that they are an invasive species, which might lead to a new miniature adventure on fixing up the local biome.
- Otherwise, another adventure might be escorting Janus, Heidegger, and the Spider back to the breeding facility (Remember, they came from afar).
- 1 Character Point for thinking of a really cool way to find the spider among all the others
- 1 Character Point for defeating the boss without the Spider being hurt at all
- The choice of buying Janus as a contact if you didn't kill animals unnecessarily
- The choice of buying Heidegger as a contact if you successfully brought him the ingredients for his tranquilizer.
- A possibility to buy Spider Silk armor at a discount. Each party member might be able to buy a single garment for half of the Cost Factor Spider Silk normally incurs. (See p. 27 of Dungeon Fantasy 1)
Closing and Other Thoughts
1) I hate the mess it makes, and
2) They say that if you see spiders, it's because they found enough bugs to enjoy living there. I'd rather see the spiders then whatever they are eating.