D&D 5e

Monthly Encounter #06: The Mysterious Fey Totem (lvls 11-16)

Thumbnail art by Tim Shepherd

Here at Tribality, we’ve decided to provide our readers with Encounters ready to be added to your table. I’ll be creating new ones monthly for you to have a big collection to look through when you run out of ideas for your game. If people end up liking them we may start releasing them in easy to print PDF format.

Don’t forget to comment feedback or possible variations for others to see and/or possibly implement when running this encounter. Without further ado, hope you enjoy it:


Setting: Agnostic
Location: Feywild or similar location
Lvls: 11-16

Encounter background

Long ago, an archfey being by the name of Caru’joalezt created in its free time a totem to place in the middle of the road. For some reason, even if you were to shovel around it, it seems as if it continued miles and miles below the surface. The totem consisted of three faces, each of them portraying a different emotion. Was there really a reason for Caru’joalezt to create it? Not really, she just wanted to have some fun and hear stories from bards singing about the tragedies it caused on those who dared interact with it.


The mysterious Fey Totem

Your walk continues peacefully through the pathway until you come across something that seems off. In this enormous forest surrounded by great trees stands in the middle of the path a three-faced stone totem. These three heads stand one on top of the other, with only the top one and the lowest one looking in your direction, but at different angles. The one on the top has carved in it an incredibly angry face. The one touching the ground, on the other hand, is a weeping face. They all look very square-shaped even though the totem is cylindrical.

The face looking the other way is a disturbingly happy face, with its smile going from ear to ear. All faces look humanoid, making it impossible to differentiate if they are halfling, elves, humans, gnomes, dwarf, or other similar humanoid faces carved in the stone pillar.

The totem was constructed eons ago, which can be identified with a successful DC15 Intelligence (History) check (with advantage if the PC has the Stonecunning trait). The crackings on its side and vines coming in and out from it clearly indicate so. Surpassing 18 on the same check will indicate the PC that the totem was not created in a normal way, but surely with some extremely powerful magic.

A DC12 Intelligence (Investigation), or DC12 Wisdom (Survival) check lets the player know each totem’s head can be rotated separately clockwise or counterclockwise due to some markings on the ground and heads.

Rotating the Angry Face

  • Clockwise: 8 aperages (see stat block in the Aditional info section below) come out from the totem’s mouth, one after the other. They look like extremely slim red apes with big dark eyes and a frown on their faces. They want to kill the players and get their bodies inside the totem.
  • Counterclockwise: Gas emanates from the totem, filling the 60ft area around it with red gas. Creatures in it must make a DC16 Wisdom Saving Throw or become impulsively angry towards any little thing that might annoy them. The effect lasts until dawn.

Rotating the Happy Face

  • Clockwise: All creatures in a 60 ft area must make a DC16 Constitution Saving Throw as gray gas emanates from the totem’s mouth. Failing it makes your character unconscious as it falls asleep. If all player characters fall asleep, Caru’joalezt will appear as they wake up to propose them a deal of their interest (which will most probably make the archfey have fun while the PC suffers some tragedy)
  • Counterclockwise: The character who rotates it needs to make a DC16 Intelligence Saving Throw or have a curse laid on them. Grab a paper and write to the player that their character will find anything else somebody says extremely funny and ridiculous until dawn or the curse is removed.

Rotating the Weeping Face

  • Clockwise: A blue gas emanates from the totem’s eyes as if it was crying. All creatures in a 60ft area must make a DC16 Wisdom Saving Throw. On a failure, the creature walks in a random direction for an entire day as if in a trance, evading all obstacles on the way and staying out of trouble. If multiple creatures are affected by it they all walk in the same direction. Once the effect ends, all creatures come out of the trance exhausted and with 2 exhaustion levels. Attacking the affected creatures makes them make the Saving Throw again.
  • Counterclockwise: A depressive, opera-style voice comes out from the totem’s mouth, affecting all creatures that can hear it in a 100ft radius. Characters must make a DC16 Wisdom Saving Throw or have tears come out from their eyes. The weeping on all those affected lasts until dawn. Players under this effect will need to drink double the usual amount of water or automatically gain a level of exhaustion for dehydration. For more information on this, check out the Food and Water rulings.

Additional info

Evading the totem or not fully rotating all three of the heads makes the Feywild alter the environment around you. If you walk long enough leaving the totem behind to the point you stop seeing it, you will find yourself trapped in a loop by arriving again to the totem’s location. This magic is extremely powerful and can’t be dispelled until you rotate all three heads. Only those affected by the weeping face’s trance may get out of the area.

Dispelling the totem just ends the effect on one of its heads, starting from the top to the bottom one. Make as if each of the heads’ spells were 6th level spells when trying to dispell them.



Aperage


Medium fey, chaotic evil
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 33 (6d6+12)
Speed 30 ft.
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
16(+3)14 (-1)14 (+2)8 (-1)11 (+0)7 (-2)
Skills Athletics +5
Damage Resistance bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage
Senses Passive Perception 10
Languages --
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Raging aura. All creatures in a 10 ft radius that aren't aperages are filled with fury. Creatures in the area have advantage on their attack rolls, but all attacks against them count as critical hits.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The aperage makes two fist attacks.
Fist. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage.


Resolution

Rotating all three heads makes a quarterstaff appear on top of it. This is the Staff of Fey Enchanting. The staff has 10 charges. Tapping the quarterstaff against the ground makes it use one of the charges to gain advantage on all Charisma skill checks and saving throws against fey creatures for a minute. After all charges are spent, it transforms into a snake and can’t go back to its original state.


Want more encounters?

If you liked this encounter and would like to see more consider reading one of the others I wrote!: