Adventure 2: GM Notes:

Basic plot

The PCs decided to take a job to go into the forest to act as a distraction while a major deforestation effort is underway elsewhere on the border. They are one of many such groups, and freely chose to do this in return for a large payment of money. I want them to regret this, and to learn that the Forest is a terrible, terrible place that they should fear and hate. They will go into the forest, catch the attention of a Witch, and be tormented and hunted by the Witch and its children (though they will not realize this is happening at first). Almost by default they will have accomplished their mission of distracting the Forest, but at what cost? The Witch, a spider archetype, will spy on them with its children, while using illusions to draw them further into the forest and prolong their mission, ideally drawing one or more PCs off to their doom On the plus side! A great chance to engage with PCs backstory, as the Witch shapes illusions to entrap them. So - head into the Forest, events, find ray's love, track down stag, try to be led further from there *** - at night, will meet Twitch's mirror twin and will try to draw him off - main spider - roses, oils, arrogant, lies, ***

NPCs

Tobruk: member of the merchant cartel, assigned to keep an eye on the mission. large man, about 30, suspicious and used to giving orders. Wants to see the mission done well, can be used as an excuse to try and keep them in the Forest 4 guards/porters: assigned to help Torbruk, carry oil in their heavy backpacks along with everything else. There to die

Encounters:

- on entering the forest, find and stomp on a (1 inch) spider. Is black, with light-pink rose-petal pattern on its back. This is one of Kathryn's children, and is one of the 2 types of baby spiders encountered in this adventure. - at night, attacked by horders of sneaky antler-spiders. they will try to eat some of the NPCs without anyone noticing. maybe set one of them on fire - at night, doppelganger will try to draw off and de-glove some of the porters. Definitely set one of them on fire - at night, rose-spiders will try to crawl on people, in order to act as a psychic conduit so that Selath can read their thoughts - Tobruk will smell the perfum of Fela, his dead wife. Will see her in the distance, being dragged off by the Stag, her hand pierced by its antlers - a large glade where it is always night, centered around a pond that shows a million stars. The druid will read a great disaster in the stars (actually true!). This one is not an illusion, though it will cause delay to do the reading, and it will always seem like with just a little more effort the full reading can be completed. Can find out the town of the disaster (Ortono), the nature of it (giantantic ivory ball teeming with monsters), and the time of it (5 weeks hence). Will not be able to find out the true secret to stopping it, that will just be tantalizing. Goal of this is to make the PCs delay in the Forest - glade has somnolent properties, difficult not to fall asleep there - come across ray's boyfriend, laying against a tree, badly gored & dying, with chitin eggs growing to fullness out of his entrails "the stag! the stag! you must ... you must ... it has the key ... if healed, pustule redirect the healign & pop, releasing spider swarms find the stag's bloody footprints there after - elf commune - playing harp, welcome the elf but not hte others - greasy the bear - man cursed into bear form. Will try to trade them food and water for money, cannot talk but is otherwise intelligent - on the way back, spider attack! mid sized spiders rush in and engage. others try to web & drag off another one of the pcs. pretty much it. they are dog sized versions of the smaller petal spiders, can bite, spray, leap large distances, and engage in psychic fields to cause fear when working in conjunction. each has a solid disk of gold at its heart. idea is to whittle down the PCs so that few or none can escape

Monster 1: Spider Stag

A great white stag, with a great twisted mass of black chitin antlers (little bit beetle shell, little bit shiny fly carapace) - does not have a face, rather just a mass of undifferentiated flesh - strong, healthy, not hard to hit AC 15 - leaves bloody footsteps behind it - defense: aura of dissolution: 5 pts of damage vs strength save 14; as gums bleed. Goes out to 50 feet. sort of an inverse Awe - attack: trample attack, dex save to avoid 5d6 as it moves through - attack: antler stab, inject its egglings via antler-ovipositors - will collapse into cobwebs when killed Weakness: beauty, fascinated by it. also its chitin-antlers hold all of its sensory organs, so vulnerable there to Motivation: - be seen majestically posing at a distance - leave its young in corpses - be hunted down and then fight SubMonster: Antler baby swarm - spiders-things that look like a conglomeration of antlers - difficult to hit, will try to bite as a swarm, or will skitter off into the forest to start their lifecycle anew

Witch - Selath, the Merchant

- Middle aged, hard eyed, and portly in her human form. Her eyes are gold spheres - backstory: tried to commit suicide by goinginto the Forest after her business enterprise collapsed. Found new life there. - Acts a bit like nobility, arrogants and assuming, will lie shamelessly and without reason about the Forest, her motivations, the world, etc. Behind this is cruel and wants everyone dead - in giant spider form, black chitin is armored in clouds of pink rose petals (many thousands of them). Wields 2 swords, made of a black and inky fluid - 2 actions for spider, bonus action used for petals. basically 3 actions - attack: web shoot, restrains, over 6x6 area. DC 14 dex to avoid, DC 15 strength to escape - attack: inks swords: cut (2D6) and on hit will apply status effects (restrain) (terror) (burn) so long as the ink written words remains - defense: turns into spider from human, or into human from spider. In either case leaves the corpse of the other behind it as an obstacle. - ability: minor psychic reading Weakness: incredibly greedy. also weak to flattery SubMonster: Petal swarm Acts as a living, organic form on the battle field. Looks and is supple like petals, but can be as sharp as steel - attack: petals swarm out and surround and serrate - defense: forms a wall of petals - defense: intercepts and misguides an attack on the main lady

What actually happened