Sunday, September 8, 2013

Dangerous Encounter: Beware Of Skynet

This encounter takes place on an isolated trail that meanders through a forest of very tall trees. As the party makes their way cautiously through the thicket, they'll hear a very faint, very weak whisper for help. Have the party investigate to the best of their ability, but it should take some time before they realize the pleas for assistance are coming from the very top of one of the trees lining the path.

About 120 feet straight up in the tallest boughs of a tree they can make out the figure of a humanoid weakly waving at them and beckoning them for assistance. From the ground, he appears to be a human (or mutant human) barely moving and tangled amongst the upper-most branches. He can barely talk or move, though he seems to be waving at the PCs to get their attention. The two questions the PCs are now faced with are "How'd he get up there?" and "How do we get him down?" The answer to the second question is left as an exercise in player creativity. As to the first question...

This area of the forest is the hunting grounds of  a colony of Jellyfish Plants (MF rules, page 78). These flying bulbous plants can intertwine their tendrils, creating a sort of "net" that they use to scoop up and trap their prey. They then take their victim to the highest point in the area, all the while stinging the victim into submission with their paralyzing tendrils. Once deposited, the Jellyfish Plants begin to feed until the victim is a dried-out husk. Their current victim is weakened due to this feeding and the poison still in his system, as well as from general exposure. (He is down to 4 hit points at this stage.) He's now trying to warn the PCs of the presence of the Jellyfish Plants, but he is too weak to do much more than frantically wave at them.

There are now 8 Jellyfish Plants hidden underneath the layer of fallen leaves around the tree. They have formed two nets by breaking into two groups of 4 Plants. If the PCs are carefully checking the ground for traps, allow them a 2 in 6 chance of spotting the Jellyfish Plants lurking under the leaves. Otherwise, two of the PCs (chosen at random) will each step onto one of the nets and, with a WHOOSH, they find themselves airborne!

Jellyfish Plants (8) (AL N, MV 20', Fly 50', AC 9, HD 3, #AT 1 (stinging), DG 1d6, SV L2, ML 8, mutations: free movement, flight, toxic weapon)

The Jellyfish Plants will sting their victims for 1d6 hit points each round as they take them to their feeding ground high in the tree. If the victim fails a saving throw versus stun attacks, they are poisoned by a class 11 toxin which will paralyze them for 2d6 rounds. (If they make their save, they can move, but at half-speed for 1d6 rounds.) The PCs are also in danger of falling from a dizzying height if they thrash and fight too much. (The Mutant Lord may wish to roll for falling damage if a victim is able to break free of their captors while in flight.) If the Jellyfish Plants are able to get a paralyzed victim deposited in the tree's branches, they will settle onto their prey and feed for 1d6 hit points of damage per round per Jellyfish Plant.

If the PCs are able to kill or drive off the Jellyfish Plants and rescue the original victim, he will be incredibly grateful to them for their assistance. He's a simple nomad without many possessions, but he happily presents the PCs with a roll of ion bonding tape, 5 light sticks, and 40 gold pieces. (The Mutant Lord may also wish to have the nomad possess some information of use to the PCs as needed by the current campaign of the party.)

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