d12 Nonviolent Encounters II

I’m headed to Florida for the now annual family winter vacation. While we’re there I hope to take advantage of my father-in-law’s super-nice camera to get some craft pictures for the blog. In the meantime, here’s a little something to tide you over: more nonviolent encounters. This time they’re all monsters with a reason to not fight the party.

  1. An elemental was sent to retrieve another elemental who has been summoned by a wizard / druid / precocious kobold child. The summoned elemental is trapped in a golem / pressed into service as a protector of a location / being forced to be the child’s playmate. The rescuing elemental can’t break through the wards which protect the location of the summoned elemental (and possibly can’t determine the exact location because of nondetection magic), so it seeks outside help.
  2. A small band of celestial vermin (composed of giant angelic scorpions, spiders, and wasps) serves a good deity associated with the natural world / the healing of physical suffering / icky arthropods and oh my god it’s gonna crawl up my leg. They have been tasked with finding a tiefling bandit queen who has been prophesied to change her ways and be a force for restoration. However, the bandit queen is hiding out in a major metropolis, and the vermin cannot enter to find her. They offer their services as mounts and mini-clerics for a week / mission / indeterminate period if the party will find the bandit queen and deliver a message / gently capture her and bring her to the vermin / demonstrate the power of goodness and love to her.
  3. The party discovers that a local official / religious leader / law enforcer is actually an ogre who was notorious for murderously tormenting the village several years ago. In order to teach him a lesson, a wandering cleric / the avatar of a deity of redemption / a wand of wonder misfire polymorphed him into a human / elf / gnome and geased him with aiding the community for one year. When the spell wore off, he found he preferred his life of service to being a grumpy ogre, so he sought out a wizard to make a charm which would keep him in his more palatable shape. Returning to the village, his dedication led to his elevation to a trusted leader. Now the dwoemer of the charm is wearing thin (hence the party’s discovery). He’s terrified of what will happen if his true identity is revealed to the village.
  4. This troll will do anything for the party if they’ll just find something to deal with this horrible stomach bug! That’ll teach him to eat adventurers. They never bathe. Worse than carrion.
  5. The hobgoblin warband is totally ready to throw down with the party. The leader strides forward, strikes a threatening pose, and bangs her mace four times against her shield to set up the beat, cuing the background music. She and her crew are totally gonna win this dance-off. Better hope someone in the party put ranks into Perform (choreographed stage rumble).
  6. An owlbear charges! … and pulls up short of the party, plunking its haunches down on the forest floor. Its tongue lolls out of its mouth goofily. It barks, a shrieking cough of a bark. It’s a puppy who’s a were-owlbear. What have I done.
  7. A nightmare has an ugly infection – she’s caught a case of holy hoofrot. Sure, she could send the party into paroxysms of agony to make her feel better, but that won’t solve her problem. If they can cure her of her divine disease, she’ll offer them a macguffin / information / a pretty sweet magic item. Of course, blessed maladies are rare and difficult to cure – the only person who might be able to help is a local high priest, and asking about how to get rid of a sacrosanct sickness might raise difficult questions in return.
  8. A brightly colored ooze snakes along the dungeon floor. It’s obviously tracing a preprogrammed path. It even changes shape to provide helpful visual notes – it turns into an arrow to point out a hidden door, or it gives a trap an overly wide berth so that those looking on can spot it easily. However, approaching too closely will cause the ooze to sink into the cracks in the floor (or attack). Hard mode: put the ooze on an invisible path across a chasm. Only the path it shows will allow the party to reach the other side. Double hard mode: a differently-colored ooze follows an alternate path… but it traces a path that’s not there. It levitates over the chasm, and anyone following it is in for a long fall.
  9. A pair of driders wants to set up an epic prank on an illithid who’s waaay too full of itself. They’ll provide the webs and spell-like abilities; the party provides the plan and the remaining resources. The goal is something Jim from The Office might pull on Dwight, but if the party goes too far, the result might be more like Carrie.
  10. A gnoll ranger bounty hunter is on a contract to capture one of the party. She uses cunning tactics, traps, and herding, but every effort is nonlethal. Even her arrows are trick arrows meant to ensnare, disable, foil, or misdirect. She’s studied the party in detail already, and she’s prepared to evade their go-to tactics. It’s best if this is played for goofball action, just this shy of slapstick, lest the party start tossing fireballs right off the bat.
  11. That high-level magic-wielding skeletal undead creature isn’t a lich at all… well, not a normal lich (is “normal” a word you can use to describe a lich?). It’s a bard who wasn’t going to let death get in the way of wanderlust, and instead of seeking arcane knowledge to increase its personal power, it instead seeks obscure lore and bawdy bar songs lost to the ages.
  12. A war-party of goblins can’t return to their tribe because they’ve been cursed by a local wizard / witch to incessantly belt out in song / belch profusely / do off-key renditions of stage performances. The tribe members found them too annoying! If the party could help find a way to lift the curse (or convince the caster to do so) the goblins would be in their debt. They may even tell the party how to locate their hidden caches / a lucrative ruin / a long sought-after party goal.

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