D&D Miniatures02/12/2004


Barbarian Rampage!
A Miniatures Encounter for Four 5th-Level Heroes



Preparation

Barbarian Rampage! is a roleplaying mini-adventure that can be played entirely with the D&D Miniatures from the Dragoneye set. It's intended for four 5th-level player characters in an ongoing D&D campaign but could also be played as a stand-alone fight with either the full D&D rules or the tabletop skirmish combat rules.

This scenario uses the following Dragoneye miniatures:

  • Dwarven Werebear (hybrid form)
  • Medium Water Elemental
  • Large Monstrous Spider
  • Stonechild
  • Dwarf Barbarian x3
  • Barbarian Mercenary x3

To play this mini-adventure you'll also need to download and print the maps of the ruins and the cave above. These will print on four pages in 1-inch squares so the miniatures can be used directly on the maps. One portion of the map needs to be cut apart and reassembled in an obvious manner to match the layout shown below.

Of course, you should feel free to substitute miniatures you have for any you lack. Rather than barbarians, the occupants of this small stronghold could be Goblin Skirmishers, Troglodytes, or Goblin Warriors. The Stonechildren could be Bugbears, the spiders could be a Bright Naga, and the Dwarven Werebear may be a Gargoyle. The Medium Water Elemental could become a Medium Air Elemental, a Dire Ape (for a slightly easier encounter), or a Dire Lion (for a slightly more difficult one).

All the NPCs and monsters are exactly as noted on the D&D Quick Reference side of their statistic cards (the side with the picture), except that all the dwarves and the stonechildren have evil alignments.

Background

A roving band of barbarians has entered the region of the DM's campaign. The possible reasons for this incursion include this nomadic band has exhausted the resources of its most recent habitation and has moved here to exploit the new area before moving on again at some unknown point in time or some NPC villain in the region hired the band to be the muscle in some upcoming scheme or power play. In any case, the locals have noticed that the band has found a home uncomfortably near to civilization in an abandoned outpost once manned gnome traders.

Synopsis

The PCs are sent to investigate why the barbarian band has come to the area and rout them if the band's intentions are evil or cannot be ascertained. Once they enter the abandoned outpost, they'll see that the dwarves in the band have expanded their new home beyond the original structure built by the gnomes. More danger awaits them as they explore this new area to determine the cause of the band's coming to the region.

Hooks

The PCs may be hired by the local authorities who are, of course, concerned that a gang of uncouth, unwashed barbarians has taken up residence so near to civilization. A hero with a wilderness inclination such as a druid or a ranger may notice signs in the wild that a group of newcomers has entered the region. A PC barbarian might hear, through family or tribal ties, that another tribe or familial line of barbarians (perhaps rivals of the PC's kin) has settled in the area.

The Encounter

The roving barbarians are indeed evil and are led by an insane Dwarven Werebear. The werebear was once normal, and it fought to protect its distant dwarven home from evil of all kinds. In one battle with mountain orcs, however, it was struck with poisoned arrows. The poison caused excruciating pain but did not kill the werebear. The pain drove it mad. From then on, the insane werebear has wandered the wilderness far and wide. Not long ago, it came across two small tribes of barbarians at war, one dwarven clan and one human. Its insane vision of tearing down civilization one town at a time appealed to both tribes, and its fierce strength kept the two clans from fighting each other. The band united under the werebear's leadership and has hunted the verges of civilization ever since.

The adventure begins when the PCs enter the abandoned outpost at the base of a high cliff. The building was constructed by gnomes long ago. Except where noted otherwise, ceilings and doors are sized appropriately for gnomes. The surrounding area is wooded but the approach to the outpost is paved with fieldstones, though plants now sprout between many of them. A single step leads to double doors that are closed but not locked. If anyone bothers to look up, a Spot check (DC 15) will notice a cave opening far up the cliff face.

The monsters have no treasure, and the NPCs' treasure is their gear.

The Reflecting Pool Room

A dry, cracked, and broken pool dominates this chamber. Characters who look up see that the gnomes built thick glass into the ceiling of this chamber to let light in, which would then be reflected by the water the pool once held. Now, the pool holds only danger for the PCs. A Large Monstrous Spider (the werebear feeds it regularly to keep it from attacking his barbarians) lurks in the bottom of the pool awaiting intruders ("S" on the map). Have the PCs make a Spot check versus the spider's Hide check with its +3 bonus. If it is reduced to single-digit hit points, the spider tries to retreat into its lair, the small room to the PCs' left as they enter the outpost. That chamber is filled with the spider's webs (treat them as a web spell). If the spider retreats to its lair, it fights to the death.

The Outer Barracks

The door closest to the PCs when they enter is on their right. Within, they find several crude sleeping mats, bags made of animal skins containing dried food, herbs, and a few good-luck talismans belonging to the three human Barbarian Mercenaries, whose locations are marked with "H" on the map. They are on their guard when the heroes enter, unless the PCs dispatched the spider in the first room especially quietly (DM's discretion). The barbarians rage as soon as they see the PCs and fight to the death.

The Inner Barracks

This room typically serves as the quarters for several of the Dwarven Barbarians. Currently, only two are in the room ("D" on the map). The dwarf in the alcove has cover (+4 bonus to AC). These dwarves wait for the PCs to enter the room, then fight with their swords. The round after the PCs enter the room, the double doors to the circular chamber open outward and through them steps an evil Stonechild and a third Dwarven Barbarian. If they cannot enter the chamber because of the positions of the heroes, the Stonechild fights from the doorway. During this round, the two dwarves in this chamber rage.

The Circular Room

This was once a fine chamber with a 20-foot-high arched ceiling. Much of that ceiling has collapsed, leaving the floor strewn with rubble (difficult terrain). If the Stonechild and the Dwarven Barbarian in this chamber cannot enter the Inner Barracks, the Stonechild fights in the doorway until it has suffered at least 8 points of damage. At this point, it takes 5-foot steps back into the room, hoping to lure the PCs inside. If the heroes do all enter the room and either of the dwarves from the Inner Barracks still live, they follow the PCs hoping to trap the heroes here.

The New Tunnel

The werebear leading this band has had the dwarves tunnel into the cliff to expand the living space and make room for treasure, prisoners, or slaves that the band will soon accumulate. The lone chamber that leads off the tunnel at this level holds the group's supplies of dried meat and fish, pheasants and wild turkeys hanging to "cure," some hard cheese, waterskins, spare weapons, and so on.

The Spiral

This 5-foot-wide passage winds its way steeply upward about 30 feet before leveling off. If the heroes try to Move Silently up this ramplike tunnel, have them make checks versus the human barbarian's Listen checks with their +4 bonus. If the barbarians hear the PCs, they work together to roll the big boulder near the top of the incline down the tunnel. Allow the PCs to make Listen checks (DC 15) to hear the boulder careening downhill before they see it. Avoiding the boulder requires a Reflex save (DC 20). Any PC who is unaware of the boulder until it rolls into view is not allowed to add his or her Dexterity modifier to the saving throw. The three human barbarians then retreat to the positions on the map marked "H." They rage when they see the PCs, and they fight to the death.

Note that this chamber is actually the mouth of a cave with a lethal, 150-foot drop beyond the ledge. The barbarians won't hesitate to shove an opponent into space.

The Side Chamber

This long room contains nothing of interest to the PCs other than another Large Monstrous Spider, as noted on the map. If the heroes enter this room, the spider moves to the forward part of its chamber and fights. When reduced to single-digit hit points, it retreats to the back portion, which is its lair and is webbed similar to the spider's lair in the ruins below.

The Final Chambers

A tunnel leads back to two final chambers. One holds another evil Stonechild and the insane Dwarven Werebear, noted by a "C" and a "W" respectively. This area is where the werebear meets its followers to make plans. The antechamber serves as the werebear's quarters. If the werebear is in danger of being slain by the heroes, it retreats to the other portion of this chamber, which is also the lair of a Medium Water Elemental ("E" on the map). The dwarves found this chamber when they dug out the area. How the elemental came to be trapped in this pool buried in the hillside, they do not know.

The mad werebear, if given the opportunity, throws itself into the pool here, awakening the elemental in the hope that it will kill the PCs. The elemental would prefer to fight the werebear and ignore the PCs. That's what it will do unless the PCs attack it first. If the PCs attack the elemental, then it fights everyone to the finish. If a fight breaks out between the PCs and the elemental, the werebear can use the distraction to escape back down the tunnel. (For an added twist, give the werebear a ring of feather falling. It can then make its escape by hurling itself from the open cave mouth.)

Concluding the Adventure

If the dwarf lycanthrope escapes, it focuses its insane rage against the PCs as the new target for its hatred of all things civilized. The PCs might be curious about how a water elemental came to be in this high cave. You can use this mystery to lead to new adventures for the group.

Rewards

Defeating the werebear's band of barbarians earns a 5th-level party a total of 6,800 XP; a 4th-level party gets 7,600, and a 6th-level party gets 5,150. Divide this by the number of PCs to determine individual awards.

Dale Donovan is a 14-year veteran of the gaming industry, during which time he edited Dragon Magazine, wrote or edited many Forgotten Realms products (along with every other roleplaying line produced by the company, be it TSR or Wizards), moved from rural Wisconsin to suburban Seattle, and served as a Managing Editor. As a freelancer, he's worked for Steve Jackson Games, Guardians of Order, White Wolf/Sword & Sorcery, the Valar Project, Green Ronin, and Wizards, among others. He loves RPGs, horror and fantasy fiction, comics, movies, most every kind of music, and his lovely wife and wonderful daughter.

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