Monthly Encounter #18: The Dryad’s Conclave (lvls 11-16)
We are rapidly getting close to 20 Monthly Encounters released! Do you think it might already be time to release a product featuring some of these? Be sure to let me know in the comments!
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:
A wizard decided it was finally time to create their own wizard tower hid in the middle of the wilderness. Only the materials were needed, as magic was going to do the rest of the job to create the massive tower. The wizard rented some workers to gather some logs from the forest.
The forest has been touched by the Feywild since centuries ago, but those fey creatures inhabiting it have managed to keep it a secret for this long. Aria the dryad was having a walk through the forest when her tree got chopped down by these workers. She collapsed to the ground in suffering due to her connection to the tree. This developed extreme hatred towards outsiders and a belief that intelligent creatures are a source of destruction and must be transformed into fertilizer for the forest. Aria formed a group of dryads and satyrs to help her out on the mission and thus, they self-labeled themselves ‘The Dryad’s Conclave’.
The Dryad’s Conclave
The player characters might approach the dryad’s conclave by having any of the following adventure hooks:
- One or more of the PCs were asked to fetch or send something to the wizard in the tower that is located in the middle of the forest.
- The PCs have a reason of their own to visit the wizard.
- There are rumors of people that entered the forest disappeared. The player characters are sent to investigate.
- The wizard sends a sending message to a town nearby to look for adventurers that can get rid of a “crazy dryad” that doesn’t let them get out from the tower.
The forest has the following details:
- The grass, weeds, and undergrowth in the forest have grown to incredible sizes, meaning you have to move them to the side to walk and making everything 10 feet away from you completely out of sight. Tons of crickets chirps and croaks fill the path as well as the scent of putrid rainwater. Looking up, the towering trees from the forest cover the sky with their overgrown leaves and canopy. Only a small amount of light courses through it.
Overgrown grass and weed. The whole area is considered difficult terrain. Creatures in it can only see 10ft. ahead. Any sort of fire has a 50% chance of having the grass catch on fire. If this happens, the fire grows 10 feet in all directions on initiative 0. Creatures standing on the fire take 3d6 fire damage at the end of their turns. The fire extends to trees and brushes and may consume the whole forest if not stopped. The fire dies out 10 minutes after it starts if it stops spreading. If not stopped accordingly, it can last up to 5 days.
Light. Due to the overgrown leaves and canopy, only a small amount of light illuminates the forest. It is considered dimly lit.
The dryads’ conclave
If the player characters figure out a way to move rapidly through the forest, it only takes 1 day to reach the wizard tower. Otherwise, it takes a day and a half to traverse it. If the player characters stop at any point to rest in the forest, read ‘Stopping to rest’. Otherwise, the characters face the dryad’s conclave halfway through the trek. Jump straight to ‘Battle’.
Stopping to rest
If the Player Characters decide to stop to rest, the dryad’s conclave will appear only if they all go to sleep leaving no one on guard or if they use the Leomund’s Tiny Hut. In the first case, the dryads start combat by having the satyrs play their song and casting entangle on the dreaming adventurers. On the other hand, if they are sleeping inside the Leomund’s Tiny Hut, Aria steps in front of it, speaks to the ground in Sylvan, and has tree roots grow out of the ground completely covering the hut. The roots have AC14 and 15hp, as well as fire vulnerability. If the roots are not taken care of before Leomund’s Tiny Hut spell fades, the roots fall on top of the player characters, forcing them to make a DC14 Strength Saving throw or become restrained as if they were trapped with the entangle spell.
Aria is accompanied by 2 charming-bagpipes satyrs, three dryads (check the ‘Monsters’ section below for more details), a giant ape, a saber-toothed tiger, and a dire wolf.
Environment. The environment during the battle has the same properties stated in the ‘The forest’ section, but it also includes a quick-sand pit 20 feet away from where the battle starts.
Quick-sand. A 20ft. radius, 20ft. deep quicksand pit covers the ground. When a creature enters the area, it sinks 1d4+1 feet into the quicksand and becomes restrained. At the start of each of the creature’s turns, it sinks another 1d4 feet. As long as the creature isn’t completely submerged in quicksand, it can escape by using its action and succeeding on a Strength check. The DC is 10 plus the number of feet the creature has sunk into the quicksand. A creature that is completely submerged in quicksand can’t breathe (see below). A creature can pull another creature within its reach out of a quicksand pit by using its action and succeeding on a Strength check. The DC is 5 plus the number of feet the target creature has sunk into the quicksand.
- Suffocation. A creature can hold its breath for a number of minutes equal to 1 + its Constitution modifier (minimum of 30 seconds). When a creature runs out of breath or is choking, it can survive for a number of rounds equal to its Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 round). At the start of its next turn, it drops to 0 hit points and is dying, and it can’t regain hit points or be stabilized until it can breathe again. For example, a creature with a Constitution of 14 can hold its breath for 3 minutes. If it starts suffocating, it has 2 rounds to reach air before it drops to 0 hit points.
Chatting with Aria. Aria is blinded with fury and hatred towards mankind. However, she is not an inherently evil creature and the PCs may be able to reason with her. If asked why she is doing this, Aria answers the complete truth. However, she doesn’t know the wizard was responsible for the act. Characters can convince the dryad to stop fighting and leave them alone with 3 successful DC17 Charisma (Persuasion) checks. If the characters state they will force the wizard and everyone near the forest to leave the area, or stating that they will replant as many trees as were removed from the forest has the Persuasion checks be rolled with advantage.
Aria uses the dryad stat block with the following changes:
- She has 4 spiked roots coming out from her back that she uses as tendrils and legs to walk.
- Has 40ft speed movement.
- Has the following additional spells (use the tendrils on her back when describing them to have them seem cooler:
- At will: thorn whip (2d6)
- 1/day: hold person, spike growth
- Has a Multiattack that allows her to make 2 thorn whip attacks.
- Charming presence. If a creature can see Aria, they have disadvantage on saving throws to resist charm effects from dryads.
- Surpassing Aria’s Fey Charm DC doesn’t make targets immune to it for the next 24 hours.
Charming-bagpipes satyrs use the satyr stat block with the following change:
- As an action, they can play their charming bagpipes, allowing all charming abilities and spells used in a 60ft. radius to have a +3 to their DC (for example, the Dryads’ fey charm requires a DC14+3 = DC17 save to succeed while this music sounds). Playing the bagpipes requires concentration, and has a duration of 10 minutes.
All dryads (including Aria) and satyrs ignore the difficult terrain and can see through it.
The giant ape, and saber-toothed tiger, and dire wolf are under the effects of the dryads’ fey charm ability. These creatures used to be an ape, a tiger and a wolf, but when touched with the energy from the Feywild they changed.
- The dryads cast barkskin on themselves before combat.
- The satyrs play their music and the dryads ready their fey charm ability to trigger right after the music starts (if they go before the satyrs). They prioritize those who look like spellcasters.
- Charmed characters are sent to drown in the quicksand pit. If a melee character gets charmed, they are used to guard the quicksand from other PCs.
- The saber-toothed tiger, the dire wolf, and the giant ape attack in melee so the dire wolf can use its pack tactics trait. The normal dryads charge to do the same after using their charm ability. Aria attacks from the distance with her thorn whip multiattack, and both the satyrs attack from afar.
- Aria tries to be within 30 feet from the characters to be charmed at all times. If a player character is being too problematic, she neutralizes them by casting hold person
- The dryads use the trees to better position themselves anytime they need to by using their tree stride trait
- If Aria notices she is about to get killed she casts spike growth as she escapes using tree stride
- Aria doesn’t really care about the other dryads, but the dryads will protect each other if one is about to go down.
Losing the fight
If the PCs lose the fight, Aria will not outright kill them but use them as hostages to make everyone near the forest leave. Once that is done, Aria allows the adventurers to leave and never come back if they leave their weapons and arcane focus behind. “I have no better way of making sure you leave this forest without doing any damage on your way out”. If the player characters reject the offer, Aria calls upon the remaining members from the dryad conclave (replacing any beast that may have been killed) and attempts to drown them again in the quicksand.
Winning the fight or reaching an arrangement
If the player characters manage to convince Aria they will force everyone to leave and/or plant back even more trees than the ones removed, Aria will happily bid farewell to them claiming “Today you have made yourself a powerful ally. I sure hope our paths cross again in the future”. Additionally, she gives the adventurers one of the bagpipes as a token of gratitude. As the player characters keep walking through the forest, the grass and weed return to their normal side as they walk. After some time, Aria ends up becoming a powerful archfey in the Feywild and may come back during the campaign to give a hand at an important moment.
If the characters end up killing the entire dryad’s conclave, they may find a bag of beans (the magic item), an emerald ring worth 300gp, and 2 leather bags containing a total of 400gp and 20pp in the quick sand pit. Additionally, they can get both charming-bagpipes from the satyrs.
Want more encounters?
If you liked this encounter and would like to see more check out the index I created with all the monthly encounters I’ve created so far, listed by tier lvl and environment: