Mangrove Crater: a wilderness exploration for INTO THE ODD

Half a dozen years back, a prolonged conflict between two settlements ended suddenly with an enormous soundblast that created a mile-wide caldera.  Soon afterwards, the crater was colonised by a network of mangrove trees: their bark is widely regarded as an excellent ingredient in summer broths but typically demands a high price as it is often found in shark-infested swamps.

It is also possible that whatever triggered the enormous soundblast is still within the caldera.

Rumours

If players spend effort, resources, or succeed in relevant Saves, they can learn the following things:

  • an enormous bird has sometimes been seen circling the area above the caldera (bring me some of its feathers and I shall reward you handsomely)
  • peculiar shaped stones have been collected from the edge of the crater — this one looks exactly like a lizard, will you give me a guilder for it?
  • the sloths that live there won’t attack you but they are louder than my daughter if you disturb them

Cartography

Unless the players are incredible at mapping, it will be very difficult to map the caldera.  If players choose to map the location of each tree, this becomes possible (but will take much time).

Instead, abstract the relative density of the mangroves according to the following scale.  At the caldera edge, there will be partial cover.  Unless players are looking to find denser or looser ground (and are capable of doing so), randomly determine if players advance up or down the scale — odd numbers or black cards move upwards in density, even numbers of red cards move downwards.

  • Mangroves choke the ground; here resides a roc nest, with a solitary chick tearing apart a sloth corpse and a large number of moulted feathers.
  • Almost complete canopy cover: anything larger than a bowltoad struggles to move efficiently.
  • Partial canopy cover; the mangroves are not excessively high and can be easily scaled.
  • Open ground, ringed with mangroves.
  • Particularly loose soil; buried beneath and making a high-pitched whine is Chafer’s trinket.

Encounters

Roll d10 or draw a card; if you would have a repeat entry, instead take the next available entry from the reserve list beneath.

1: Chafer, disillusioned veteran; STR14, 6hp, shears (d8); gone a bit deaf, seeking the trinket

1. Sat beside a tree, crying.  Inconsolable.

2: Bowltoad; STR6, 12hp, bite (d4); driven to surprise and eat movement

2. Wounded and retreating.

3-5: Quail-cockatrices; STR5, 5hp, petrifying breath (d4 DEX damage, ignores hp and Armour); driven to silence noise

3. Three, petrifying and eating a sloth carcass and its dung.

4. Four, fleeing something (consult the table again).

5. Five of them, one of which is an injured chick.

6-8: Lichenback sloths; DEX16, 8hp, claw (d4, Enhanced against wounded foes); driven to be kept to themselves

6. One, asleep in the mangrove branches.

7. Two, lazily feeding on mangrove leaves.

8. Six, haphazardly arranged in such a way that would make passage noisy.

9-10: Roc; STR19, DEX19, 19hp, claw (d6) & beak (d10); driven to feed its chick

9. Carrying off a screaming sloth.

10. Circling in the sky.

Reserves

  • The roc makes a surprise dive at the players
  • A well-buried bowltoad springs an ambush
  • Chafer tracks the players, certain they’ve taken her trinket
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Mangrove Crater: a wilderness exploration for INTO THE ODD

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