Xylomancy Random Encounters
“In the middle of the street ahead stands a bizarre structure. A row of townhouses has been twisted into a spiral shape and rests upon an enormous pile of cloth and leather. On further inspection you see the edges of the pile rippling and the whole structure shifts with the movement. As you get closer, an enormous elongated head with eyestalks made of rolled-up carpets swings out from the other side of the structure and regards you.”
The Intelligent House Snail is curious about these new creatures that resemble the portraits inside its shell. It speaks an old dialect of Elven with a voice that sounds like a quartet of violins attempting to replicate speech. You can gain advantage on your diplomacy check through flattery and bribes of “tasty” clothing for it to eat.
Diplomacy check DC 14:
Success: The Snail will allow you to rest safely inside its shell of houses and will also tell you what it knows of neighboring tiles.
After they leave the tile, the snail begins wandering again and the adventurers will be unable to find it.
Special [Snail Friend Reward]: A character with this quest reward may choose one tile in the district where they will always be able to find a friendly house snail. If more than one character in the party has this reward roll randomly to determine whose snail will be available that day.
“You look up as a shadow moves to block the sun. Above you is a small sailing ship, suspended between the towering buildings on either side of the street by a writhing net. As you watch, the net stretches and undulates like a caterpillar reaching forward to grasp new mounting points and releasing those behind. The ship rocks as if it were on the open ocean and slowly travels forward. Ropes trail lazily behind it.”
Success: The character manages to catch one of the the trailing ropes and climb to the ship. Once there they can lower additional lines and haul other party members up reducing the checks for the rest of the party to DC 10.
Failure: The ship moves on and out of reach.
Once onboard: Navigation (Wis) check DC 15
Success: The characters take control of the ship and the net below reacts instinctively to their commands. They may travel to any other street tile or over-city tile in the district or adjacent to it as a single movement without suffering random encounters. Afterwards, the ship leaves to continue its random wandering.
Special [Summon the Swinging Ship Reward]: A character with this quest reward may summon the swinging ship to transport him and his companions once per day. This ability only works in the Carpentry district and adjacent districts.
“You hear muffled cursing and cries of frustration echoing down the street. Moving towards the sound you find a group of fellow scavengers gathered around the remains of a cart loaded with loot. Branches stretch from the sides of the cart, entwining the contents in an almost loving embrace. The wheels of their vehicle have sprouted roots which have dug into the stones of the street. They spread and grow before your eyes causing the cobbles to buckle as they course through the earth. These poor fellows are well and truly stuck.”
Targets: Any vehicles belonging to the group.
Intelligence saving throw DC 13
Success: You realize the implications in time and move your vehicle away before it is affected.
Failure: Your vehicle also begins sprouting roots and branches. You must succeed at 3 DC 13 Strength checks before accumulating 3 failures in order to cut it free or your cart becomes rooted beyond repair.
Rescuing the scavengers cargo
It requires a DC 14 Strength check to break the branches away from the scavenger’s cart so they can recover their goods. As payment they will redistribute what they can’t carry to the party. Each member of the party may roll on the District loot chart for their reward.
Offering one of your vehicles to the scavengers
If you offer to give them one of your carts they will enthusiastically thank the party and offer them a magic item in exchange for the favor. Roll on the District’s magic item table to determine what they offer. (Default: Livingwood Lamellar Armor – provides the benefits of scalemail but does not impose disadvantage on stealth and does not require medium armor proficiency)
Special [Woodshaper reward]: A character with this quest reward can use either the Shape Wood or Fabricate(Wood) spell once per short rest. The use of this spell allows them to automatically succeed at all checks for this random encounter. Rescuing the scavenger’s cart in this manner means that you do not receive either of the monetary rewards. Instead they will mark the nearest undiscovered Adventure Site on your map and you automatically succeed at your next two random encounter checks as they warn you of what is ahead.
“This street seems unusually narrow and catwalks criss-cross above your heads. In the light of your torches you spy strange protrusions from the walls. Human faces appear carved in relief on every wooden surface. They almost seem to be watching you as you pass. Suddenly they shift as their mouths open and they scream at you in an incomprehensible language.”
Targets: Any party member capable of hearing.
Wisdom saving throw DC 13
Success: You keep your wits about you and manage to escape the street with your sanity intact.
Failure: You clutch at your ears as the wailing cuts you to the core. Take 1d10 psychic damage and you automatically fail at any animal handling or persuasion checks.
Targets: Any animal capable of hearing.
Animal Handling check (varies by animal)
Success: You keep control of your beast and it does not flee.
Failure: You beast flees in fear. Returning to the nearest outpost with any loot or attached vehicle.
Targets: Any hireling capable of hearing.
Persuasion check DC 14
Success: You calm your follower and he comes through unscathed
Failure: Your follower goes temporarily mad. He flees leaving behind any loot or attached vehicle.
Special [Tree Speech reward]: A character with this quest reward can understand the wails of the carvings and learns that they desire to be released from their imprisonment. He can make a DC 15 Persuasion check to attempt to calm them and negate all effects of this encounter. Once calmed he may continue to communicate with them and attempt to either negotiate a chance to rest inside one of their buildings safely or learn about what is in nearby tiles.
“When you move to brush hair from your eyes a second time you realize something is wrong. Your hair is growing uncontrollably and moves of its own volition. It braids and unbraids itself, sending feelers out in all directions like creeping vines. It begins to get tangled on nearby objects and even begins to intertwine with your allies’ hair. Efforts to cut it away are useless as it grows back as quickly as you can cut it.”
Targets: Anyone who is capable of growing hair on their head. It will manifest in a character’s beard or even eyebrows if they are otherwise bald.
Stage 1: Sleight of Hand check DC 16 to tie hair out of the way.
Success: You manage to tie your hair into a braid or bun tightly enough to contain its constant graspings. You suffer no penalty.
Failure: You suffer from Medusa’s Locks until the end of your next long rest.
Medusa’s Locks: Your hair is sentient and attempts to intertwine itself with all nearby objects. You suffer a 10 foot penalty to speed and at the start of each round your hair will make a grapple check (+5) against a random adjacent creature or unattended object. A creature can escape by making an Escape check of DC 14 or hitting the hair with an attack that deals slashing damage. Treat the hair as having AC 10. There is no limit to the number of creatures or objects that can be grappled in this way.
Special [Gorgon’s Prodigy Reward]: A character with this quest reward has permanent Medusa’s Locks syndrome but has learned how to control it. Once per round they may spend a bonus action to make a grapple check using their hair but may only grapple one creature at a time in this manner. If their hair is cut by a slashing attack it regrows after their next short or long rest.
“Two men walk into the street ahead of you blocking your path, while two come from behind to block your escape. ‘This is our patch…’ shouts a man from a nearby balcony ‘..and you best respect it! Just leave those nice bags of loot and fancy carts and we’ll let you leave unharmed.’ He cocks a crossbow for emphasis. ”
It is possible to escape this encounter by fleeing, talking the brigands down, or by taking them on in a stand up fight. Below are examples of kinds of skills and difficulty checks that can be used to defuse the situation but the party should feel free to roleplay their approach as appropriate.
Talking: (Example) Intimidate check DC 16
Success: You manage to scare these bandits away
Failure: Go to the fight section of the encounter.
Fleeing: (Example) Athletics check DC 14
Success: You make a break for it with all your loot and manage to knock the ruffians aside.
Failure: Go to the fight section of the encounter.
If desired you can run this fight as a full combat against 4 Thugs and 1 Veteran. However for expediency you may use the quick combat rule below.
Each character may roll their attacks and spells against AC 12. Each character takes 1d6 damage at the start of each round until they accumulate a cumulative 50 damage against their opponents. If they fail they are only knocked out and all their loot is stolen along with any animals or vehicles. If they succeed the surviving looters flee.
The party may choose to immediately surrender any loot and vehicles they have in their possession to end the encounter.
Special [Legendary Reputation reward]: A character with this quest reward is immediately recognized by the looters and they back down before they even finish making their threats. They will immediately change their tune and begin prostrating themselves and sucking up to the character in attempt to convince him to let them join his crew. If the character agrees he gains 4 porters and 1 scout for the rest of the day at no cost and that do not count against his Charisma modifier limit of followers.
“When you entered this house it appeared to be a straight shot to the street on the other side, but now you wander through hallway after hallway uncertain of where you are. Every time you think you see a window overlooking a garden it leads only to an interior courtyard. Every time you see doorway you think must lead to the outside it instead opens only to more rooms and up more stairways. You swear you’ve seen the same sitting room dozens of times now but it never connects to the same hallways.”
Targets: The entire party
Intelligence saving throw DC 17
Success: You manage to notice the maze-like nature of the house before you venture too far in. You may choose to leave the house immediately or attempt to navigate the maze in order to reach the other side. It only requires 2 successful navigate checks to do so.
Failure: You become hopelessly lost and now must find your way back. You must make 4 successful navigate checks to return to the entrance of the house.
Navigating the house: Intelligence check DC 14
The party decides who is taking the lead before each skill check and cannot assist. Every failed check means 2 hours of lost time and nearly a mile of traveling up and down stairs. Every 3 failed checks causes every member of the party to gain 1 level of exhaustion. If the party stops to rest while in the Fractal House they do not suffer a random encounter but lose all successes gained thus far.
Special [Twisted Mind Reward]: A character with this reward automatically succeeds at any saving throws or skill checks related to navigating the fractal house making it a safe and secure place to rest. In addition when they roll a random encounter in this district they may roll another d20. If the result of the second roll is a Fractal house they may choose to run inside in order to avoid the other encounter.
“A cacophony of what could generously be called music blares out from a nearby square. From a distance you two bands of instrumentals posturing and playing at one another at full blast. Their bows whisk from furiously from side to side and their valves twitch in and out in stochastic patterns. Between them lies the fallen body of a scavenger, blood pooling beneath him. Next to him is a coin purse of gold that has fallen to the ground and burst open. Any time an instrumental skirts forward to grab the fallen pouch the opposing band rushes forward in a blast of noise driving it back. You suddenly become self-conscious of your own coin purse when the two groups twist suddenly to regard you together.. ”
Targets: The entire party
Hide: Stealth check DC 16
Success: You dodge into a nearby alley and watch safely as the instrumentals rush past.
Failure: The instrumentals follow you and trap you in the alley. Go to the fight section of the encounter.
Flee: Athletics/Acrobatics check DC 15.
Success: You manage to outrun the stampede and make it to safety.
Failure: The instrumentals outpace and surround you. Go to the fight section of the encounter.
Perform : Performance check DC 14
Success: “The entire mass of instrumentals stop as if frozen in place. After a few moments of silence save for your song they begin to slowly move once again. The sway from side to side and join you in your performance, distracted from their original goal. Using your music you guide them away peacefully.” You immediately end the encounter and negate all effects upon your allies.
If desired you can run this fight as a full combat against 8 small Instrumentals. However for expediency you may use the quick combat rule below.
Each character takes 1d4 bludgeoning damage and 1d4 thunder damage at the start of each round they remain in the encounter. Attacks against the instrumental band are against AC 13. Once a cumulative 70 damage has been dealt to the band it disperses. Fire attacks and area effects deal double damage. The instrumentals do not target unconscious foes. If the entire party is knocked unconscious the instrumentals will scare off any animals and hirelings and the party loses any loot they were carrying.
Special [Magical Music Reward]: A character with this quest reward gains advantage on the performance check and if successful manages to charm one of the instrumentals so strongly it refuses to leave him or her. The character loses the Magical Music reward and instead gains the Pet Instrumental reward.
Special [Pet Instrumental Reward]: A character with this quest reward gains advantage on all performance checks as their pet instrumental instinctively joins them in any musical performance. The pet is a Small Instrumental and can commanded in a manner similar to a Ranger’s beast companion. If it dies or is destroyed the character regains the Magical Music reward. If they choose to intentionally seek out a new instrumental when they roll a random encounter in this district they may roll another d20. If the result of the second roll is a Battle of the Bands encounter they may choose to encounter that instead.
“Catching motion from the corner of your eye you swing your head upwards. A net is falling from above followed by dozens of cat sized spiders! Their joints click as they move and their dark brown bodies appear to be made of knobbled wood. The net they threw at you is made not of silk but of twine and is barbed with hooks made of teeth. They move in for the kill….”
Targets: The entire party
Web: Dexterity Saving throw DC 14
At the start of any round if a character is not trapped in the web and remains in the encounter they must repeat the saving throw.
Success: You manage to dodge the web are are not trapped.
Failure: You are restrained until you escape. You must make a DC 14 Strength check to escape or deal fire damage damage to your square of the web. If your square of the web lights on fire you take 2d4 fire damage.
Flee: Athletics/Acrobatics check DC 13. Must be free of the Web.
Success: You manage to escape the spiders and make it to safety. However any hirelings left behind die.
Each character takes 2d4 poison damage at the start of each round they remain in the encounter. Attacks against the spider swarm are against AC 13. Once a cumulative 100 damage has been dealt to the swarm it disperses. Fire attacks and area attacks deal double damage. The twine spiders do not target unconscious foes.
Failure: If the entire party is knocked unconscious each character must continue their constitution saving throws until either dead or stabilized. If they stabilize they wake up bound in twine and hung upside down. They may make a single attempt at an Escape check DC 14 to break free and save themselves (their companions are nowhere to be seen). Otherwise they are devoured. All loot being carried is lost and any henchmen or animals are killed.
Special [Animate Rope Reward]: A character with this quest reward may cast the Animate Object (Rope) spell once per short rest. By casting that spell they can release the party from the net and avoid the encounter entirely.
“The walls of this alleyway are coated in a web of veined leather that radiates from a mass that might have once been a storefront. As you pass through, you bump against a man-sized lump protruding from the wall. It appears to be human in shape, as if someone made life sized doll of a screaming man out of leather. Suddenly your armor begins to tighten and spread across your body. Leather spreads down your arms and legs and up your neck contracting as it goes……”
Targets: Anyone wearing leather armor
Stage 1:Make a Strength saving throw or Escape check, DC 18
“You rip away the leather of your armor as quickly as it grows as you retreat from the alley, you are forced to tear your way out entirely but at least you can breath.”
Lose armor. End encounter
"It grows over your face; covering your eyes, nose and mouth.”
Proceed to Stage 2.
Stage 2: Make a Constitution saving throw DC 15.
“You manage to take a breath and close your mouth before everything goes dark”
Move to final stage:
“Leather grows up your nose and into your mouth, forcing your jaw open wider and wider as it expands.”
Take 1d10 damage and disadvantage on future Constitution checks. Move to final stage.
You cannot move or breath. You are paralyzed and must make a DC 10 Constitution check every round. After 3 failures you drop to zero hit-points unconscious. After 5 failures you die.
Escape: An ally must cut your free or tear the armor away. It is a DC 13 Strength check to tear you free or a DC 13 Dexterity check to cut you free. If they roll a 5 or lower, then they are immediately subjected to the stage 1 effect as the leather spreads to them as well. The helper can gain advantage on the roll by using a weapon that deals slashing damage and cutting furiously, dealing critical hit damage automatically.
Special [Leathery Flesh Reward]: A character with this reward has their skin transformed to have toughness and texture of sturdy leather and has a base AC of 13+Dexterity when not wearing other armor. They are immune to the effects of this encounter.