View Full Version : some adjudication would be useful here

2008-02-17, 12:36 PM
before a possible tpk goes off!
bit of background:
pcs have been travelling through essentially unmapped wilderness when they stumble across a community of people, who appear friendly and fairly normal.

turns out these folk are aranea and tend to rob passersby who lodge with them, however they believe the pcs are too hard and risky for them and so after some nights rest they allow them to leave, however the pcs enter their most dangerous rivals lair soon after leaving.
now the aranea believe them to be in league with this enemy of theirs and so are going to try to capture and interrogate them to see what they know, killing them afterwards. if fight gets too nasty they'll kill them anyway, just in case.

now the pcs have been resting thanks to a rope trick item they have which can be used 3 times per 24 hour period. the aranea know they do this because one of the pcs used it while in their settlement because he did not trust their 'friendliness' (not due to any skill roll or anything)

so the aranea are going to follow them using magic to hide themselves (3 of the aranea are advanced so 2 are 6HD and 1 is 8HD. you normally advance them per character class, but i prefer this way so i'm doing it this way) there are also 6 normal aranea (effectively 6 CR4 creatures 2 CR6 creatures and one CR8 creature against a 6 person level 7 party).
for one day they'll follow in their invisibility spheres and lure beasts and other local fauna to attack pcs in an attempt to wear them down a little.
once pcs pick a rest site and climb up rope they'll set an ambush for when they descend.
basically they'll rest some 100 feet away so they can see the rope descend again and then prepare by casting spells.
2 clusters of 3 aranea with a 6hd one, to left and right of rest spot. cast mage armour, invisibility sphere and then silence on their web, ready for a throw (only the 6hd one can cast this and on his own webbing)
meanwhile the 8hd one will be casting mage armour, invisibility followed by summon natures ally 4(i realise this is a druid spell) to summon an arrowhawk to attack.

so query is how do i start this encounter? i mean the ones left and right will approach invisible and soundless until 50 feet away, the plan is that they'll see the arrowhawk appear and begin it's attack then they advance and begin throwing webs, the silenced webs at the party spellcasters that they know of. following this they're going to use grease spells from normal aranea, glittterdusts from 6 hd ones then move in to bite those not already incapacitated. the 8 hd one will stay back 100 feet unleashing more summoned monsters and then using spectral hand to unleash vampiric touches and other touch spells.

so arrowhawk appears and can instantly can attack and stuff, takes aranea one round to get into range for web throwing....so initiative rolled for the arrowhawks appearance, for those that spot it for the initial surprise round, then normal initiative rolls and rounds thereafter?

2008-02-17, 02:55 PM
Yeah, that sounds perfect. Initiative when the arrowhawk appears, the Aranea use the surprise round to get close enough to throw webs? Sounds good. Have fun spooking your party.

2008-02-17, 03:48 PM
In general, initiative should start when the parties become aware of each other.

I'd recommend giving your PC's listen checks during the time period when they're being followed/tracked. Their foes are invisible, but if they're casting spells they're making sounds, and if they're using charisma checks, words, or anything else to affect animals they have to be somehow perceptible to the animals. If they make their checks, they can investigate and possibly trigger an encounter early.

If they do actually manage to avoid detection until the encounter described... again, allow listen checks for any spells they cast before they have a "silence" effect on them. If a PC makes their check, start the initiative at that point, with that PC and each of the aranea acting in the first round and the remaining PCs acting in the next round. ("Acting" might be "I keep setting up my tent.") If the PC's all fail their listen check, start initiative as soon as the arrowhawk appears.

2008-02-17, 03:59 PM
thanks flymolo.
the thing is they will be descending from a rope hanging 30 feet in the air and being watched from around 100 feet away, listen checks at -10 and spell casting does not need to be loud, so listen check will be dc25 plus distracted pcs (climbing down a rope, putting on armour etc) for an additional -5.

there will be chances the day prior to take pro-active action, but i doubt it will happen. the aranea will be under hide from animals spell and will use the spells mount and dancing lights to attract beasts and monsters to lure towards pcs. horses in the middle of nowhere equipped with bridle and saddle should appear out of the ordinary, but whether they'll twig anything from that remains to be seen.

2008-02-17, 07:56 PM
listen check will be dc25 plus distracted pcs....

Which means they'll probably blow it, but maybe not. May as well give it to them unless there's no way they can possibly make it.

there will be chances the day prior to take pro-active action

Exactly what I was getting at. If they're being followed and the people following them are doing things, that should draw some attention. Heck, even invisible people walking through the forest occasionally step on twigs or push branches aside. If I DM something like that, I'll generally give the party some sort of check once per hour to notice something out of the ordinary.

If the aranea are casting dancing lights to lure animals, that suggests there will be lights dancing somewhere in the vicinity of the PC's. I don't think you need a great spot check to notice such a thing. And, as you mentioned, if they're sending horses with saddles, that should trigger some sort of "something weird is going on here" reaction. Whether they figure it out is another question entirely.

2008-02-18, 03:48 AM
yep, thanks for that!
got a scout and a ranger with maxed spot and listen so they might pass those checks after all, they'll definitely spot the lights and horses, whether they'll take any precautions or set up ambushes or the like remains to be seen!!

2008-02-29, 10:28 AM
thought i'd update this thread with what actually happened in the session.
in true player fashion they worked out almost immediately that they were being followed by invisible aranea!
they avoided combat with a pair of T rex, dire apes and 9 deino-whatsits which the aranea led to them using spells like dancing lights and mount (players used hide from animals, the same spell the aranea use to travel unmolested)
they also hunkered down and hid from 10 griffons that were nothing to do with the aranea.
the final encounter the aranea threw at them were 5 giant wasps, immune to hide from animals as they're vermin. of course party being 6 level 7 characters and a dire wolf animal companion the wasps lasted all of 2 rounds.

so knowing all this did they try to set an ambush? maybe use magic to go invisible and pass without trace to go elsewhere untraceable and use their rope trick device to camp?

no. the found a cluster of boulders and set up camp using rope trick there, 5 feet off the floor so the dire wolf could just jump in.
luckily for them none of the aranea has see invisible or that could have been a disaster.

so morning comes, they faff around before deciding to just dive out in case of ambush, none! then a flying snake creature (summoned arrowhawk) appears 100 feet away and fight starts.
main blaster is hit with an aranea web which has silence cast on it, glueing her to the floor, his 3 bodyguards cast grease under the fighters.
the other side of players same happens again but the web misses and the remaining squares are greased!

most of the players get out of the grease, some towards the aranea, some away from them. they hit two pcs with glitterdust, both fail saves! still in the silenced area!
the dire wolf mind you tears itself free easily and practically saves the party! the leader aranea and one higher level one escapes along with 3 normal aranea, so a re-match may occur! they have two more days of possible attacks coming their way beforethey head home!

i love it when a plan comes together!:smallbiggrin:

2008-02-29, 02:50 PM
there we are as promised!