Dungeons & Dragons Online

Desert Ruins Battlemap + 8 Encounters (4 brand new monster statblocks!)

Osrynn's Oddments presents; Desert Ruins! This 25×25 battlemap has been designed for any number of desert encounters, 8 of which have been suggested below. The new monsters introduced in this weeks offering have all been designed specially to fit into a desert setting (though I'm sure you can think of other uses for them too…). Check you the map and statblocks on my blog Here.

Desert Ruins Battlemap

This week's free resource is another Battlemap + Encounter selection! This week, with a desert theme. I’ve had this map made since before october 2020, and just never put together the encounter list for it. It was partly due to the fact that I couldn’t think of enough encounters that I wanted to include, and otherwise down to the fact that I started something else, and totally forgot about this one… You will notice (hopefully) that this one includes a good number of new/unique monsters; I was feeling creative this week, and wanted to give something to you all for reading my work!📷

The Map

The map this time is another 25×25 square creation. Unlike a good number of my encounters (mostly being woodland/plains settings), this one is set in the middle of a desert area, at the site of an old/abandoned settlement built on the edge of an oasis. Hopefully, even if you don’t choose to use any of my suggested encounters, the setting of this map might spark some interesting ideas for you to use in your games!

Encounter 1: They Came from Below! Level 1-3 (Average)

As they cross the dunes, the party suddenly feels a rumbling underneath their feet. It starts faintly, as if whatever is causing it is a way off yet, but quickly grows more noticeable. Suddenly, erupting from the sand around them, are 2d3+1 Desert Burrowers (statblock below), attacking from all angles. The small reptilian creatures will continue to attack the party, slamming their hard heads into them, and subsequently burrowing themselves back underneath the sand.

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Encounter 2: Well, That Stings Level 1-3 (Very Hard)

During their travels in the desert, the party happens upon a hulking creature. Bursting from a sand dune, a Giant Scorpion (basic rules – p135) suddenly blocks their way forward, and worst of all, it isn’t alone! Covering its body and tail are two Swarms of Scorpions (statblock below), which quickly split off to attack the nearest creatures to them.

Encounter 3: Don’t Go Near the Water Level 4-6 (Average/Hard)

The local village has asked the party to help them; they collect all of their water from a single oasis nearby, but two Water Weirds (mm – p299) seem to have taken up residence. If the party can help them by killing the unwanted elemental intruders, they will be rewarded well. Well, as much as the local residents can manage anyway!

Encounter 4: The Ruins Level 4-6 (Hard)

Locals tell of strange events happening at their oasis. People have been disappearing when they go to collect water, and more and more cacti seem to be growing in the area. The party are tasked with trying to find out what is going on.

When the party investigate, they will find a lot of cacti growing in the area, 2d2+2 of which are actually Malumcereus (statblock below). The Malumcereus are hostile towards any creature that enters their area, and will immediately attack any creature in range, and some will even attempt to sneak up on the party while they are investigating anything else in the area (e.g. another cactus, or the water itself).

Encounter 5: Under the Sun Level 7-9 (Average/Hard)

As they walk through the scorching heat of the desert, the party suddenly spot an oasis in the distance. Near the water, they can see a pair of tents, providing shelter from the midday sun. As they approach, the water itself stays in place, but the shelter begins to warp and distort, before ultimately vanishing. In its place, the party will see a shimmering shape, that looks like an almost solid heat haze. These shapes, actually a pair of Mirages (statblock below), will not move towards the party until they are distracted, or otherwise occupied.

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Encounter 6: Elemental Madness Level 7-9 (Hard/Very Hard)

The area around the settlement the party find themselves in has been plagued by violent sandstorms. Perhaps these are even blocking the route the party wishes to travel? The village seer informs the party that these storms are the result of an Air Elemental and an Earth Elemental nearby, who are at war. The battles between the two adversaries are causing disturbances in the area, with the Air Elementals winds whipping up the sand, and the Earth Elemental creating earthquakes and causing other problems. The only solution would be finding the area where they are currently fighting, and helping them resolve their differences. Preferably in a permanent way. With weapons.

Encounter 7: Djinni in Full Throttle Level 10-12 (Average)

Looking for shelter from the raging sandstorm they have found themselves caught in, the party finds a small amount of shelter in the seemingly abandoned ruins near a desert oasis. Unfortunately, the Djinni (basic rules – p310) that has taken up residence in the ruined buildings does not like company, and he is ready to force them out.

The Djinni will fight the party in the middle of a sandstorm. The sandstorm causes the area to be difficult to see in, giving disadvantage on wisdom (perception) checks that rely on sight, smell or hearing, and imposing disadvantage on any attacks made at a range of above 30 ft. On initiative count 20 (losing ties), the sandstorm will cause sand to fly around the area. All creatures must make a DC 12 dexterity saving throw, or become blinded by sand hitting them in the eyes. If a creature is blinded this way, they can spend an action to remove the sand, and regain sight.

Encounter 8: Death Under the Dunes Level 10-12 (Very Hard/Deadly)

A terrible rumbling emanates from below the dunes. The party had heard about the dangers in the sands, but they had no idea how bad it could be. Almost without warning, a whole portion of desert sinks in front of the party, revealing the jagged maw of a Purple Worm (basic rules – p340).

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On initiative count 20 (losing ties), the sands of the desert will shift as the tunnels created by the Worm begin to fill in. Each creature on the sands (excluding creatures standing on the walls of the ruins portion of the map, or those who either fly, or climb a tree, etc.) of size category large or smaller is moved by up to 10 feet in a direction of the DMs choosing. Creatures moved this way cannot be targeted by opportunity attacks.

Source: reddit.com

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