- 1 Shepherd Of The Woods
- 2 The Adventure Begins
- 3 The Ettercaps Lair
- 4 Room 1.The Entrance Hall
- 5 Room 2. Cocoon Storage
- 6 Room 3. Spider webbed room
- 7 Room 4. Trophy room
- 8 Room 5. The Corpse pit.
- 9 Room 6. The Hatchery
- 10 Room 7. The Ettercaps storage pit
- 11 Room 8. The Dried Oaktree
- 12 Room 9. The Ettercaps den
- 13 Aftermath
- 14 Similar Guides
Hey guys! This is a small adventure with an Ettercap as the last boss. You can find a pdf of the adventure here:
and a non-keyed map here :
Shepherd Of The Woods
Shepherd Of The Woods is a short low-level 5 edition adventure designed for three players. This adventure takes place in a small secluded town called Waythorpe, but it can easily be put into any setting. The monsters in the adventure use the monster stats from the basic rules.
Unbeknownst to the townspeople of Waythorpe, an Ettercap has claimed the woodlands north of town its domain. As the Ettercap seeks to gain more territory, larger predators and animals usually seen deep in the woods have been forced to move closer to Waythorpe. The increasing amount of wildlife has become a nuisance for the people of Waythorpe.
As the Ettercaps usual hunting grounds now lay empty, the Ettercap is forced to make longer and more daring hunting trips near human settlements.
Following are a few quest hooks that can be used to start the adventure:
- Highway robbery. The adventurers are tasked to investigate why the latest trade cart from the neighboring town has not made it to Waythorpe. While investigating the incident, they find the missing trade cart. At first, this seems like a job done by highwaymen, but somethings strange. None of the trade goods has been stolen, but the traders are all missing, and the horses have been drained of blood. The townspeople are willing to pay each adventurer 20 gold for solving the case.
- Cowboys. A local homestead owner has tasked the adventurers to help him guard his cows against bears, who have been troubling him. During the night, the cows suddenly go on a rampage. For a few seconds, the adventurers see a large figure in the moonlight, which most certainly is not a bear…The homestead owner pleads the adventuring party for help and offers a large portion of high-quality supplies (health potions, clothes, food, etc.) worth around 60 gold for successfully eliminating the threat.
- It was Spiderman! Arriving in Waythorpe, the adventuring party is met by quite the scene. A handcuffed old man is dragged to the local keep while screaming about being innocent. In town, the adventuring party will learn that the imprisoned man is a local sheepherder that is accused of the disappearance of his assistant while they were herding sheep near the woods.
The imprisoned man, on the other hand, swears that it was this weird spiderman-thingy that swept away with his assistant. If they can prove his innocence, the imprisoned man is willing to give up his family heirloom to the adventuring party.
The Adventure Begins
Investigating The Scene
At the crime scene, the adventuring party will immediately notice snapped branches and footprints leading towards the Ettercaps lair situated in the woods. The players should automatically know which way the Ettercap went.
"You arrive at the place of the incident. There are obvious traces of a struggle. The grass on the ground is filled with footprints and there are some snapped branches from the nearby brush. This is the place where the ambush happened. As you look towards the woods, you notice a small path where somebody has moved through”
(optional): By doing investigating and perception checks at the crime scene, the players can get clues about the Ettercap. Following are some general investigation checks the players can make at the crime scene:
Wisdom (Perception) check:
- 1-5 "Somethings weird, but you can't seem to put a finger on it"
- 6-12"You notice footprints from the scuffle, but they seem oddly shaped for a human."
- 13-15: "As you search the ground, your hand touches a fluid. You feel a tingling sensation in the hand that touched the fluid.”
- 16-20:” You notice fine silk strands that are wrapped around nearby trees”
- 1-5:" You blank off and suddenly you see… a unicorn-shaped cloud in the sky"
- 6-12: "To abduct a person, the culprit must have been quite strong"
- 13-15"Why did the culprit leave behind the victim's belongings(coins etc.)?”
- 16-20"Judging on the location, the brush and terrain seem to give the attacker advantage on the victim."
Tracking The Ettercap
Once the adventuring party is done investigated the crime scene, traveling to the Ettercaps lair takes 10-12 hours. Before they set out tracking the Ettercap, have the party make a Wisdom (Survival) check.
This check will determine how well they can track the Ettercap and how many random encounters happens on their journey during traveling part I
- 0-6 It takes the party 12 hours to track the Ettercap back to its lair. The party faces three random encounters on the way.
- 7-14: It takes the party 11 hours to track the Ettercap back to its lair. The party faces two random encounters on the way
- 15-20 It takes the party 10 hours to track the Ettercap back to its lair. The party faces one random encounter on the way
Traveling part I
During the first 8 hours of traveling, the woods can be described as fairly normal
"You notice that the woods around you seems fairly old and untouched. The few rays of sunlight that penetrate the canopy of the woods, play with the shadows and colors between the trees. You keep following the footprints left behind by the culprit in the deep green carpet of moss that covers the forest floor. The forest seems vibrant with life."
- The adventuring party sees a black bear feasting on a carcass The black bear does not seem to notice the adventuring party.
- The party members must make a DC 12 Strength (Athletics) check in order to wade through a cold river. Anyone who fails the check suffers 1d6 cold damage.
- The adventuring party comes across an abandoned trapper camp. The camp contains pelts worth 10 gold and provision worth 1 silver.
- A pack of 4 wolves stalks the adventuring party. The party can try a group DC 12 Charisma(Intimidation) check in order to scare the wolves away. If the party fails the check, the wolves will attack.
- Nothing happens.
- A group of wild boars comes rampaging across the adventure party's path. The adventuring party must make a DC 14 Acrobatics(Dexterity) check in order to jump away from their path. Anyone who fails the check suffers 2d10 bludgeoning damage.
Traveling part II
As the adventuring party closes in on the Ettercaps lair, the forest environment starts to change:
“The forest becomes darker and darker, as the roof of the spider web only lets a few rays of light touch the forest floor. The forest is void of life. You only see a few spiders and insects skittering around. The tracks lead you to a cave or building entrance,- it is hard to tell in the lack of light. On both sides of the entrance, large cocoons are hanging from what seems like a ceiling. It feels like you are walking upon a theater scene with the curtains still closed, separating you from the audience on the other side."
The Ettercaps Lair
- Ceiling. The Ceiling in the dungeon is made from thick spiderwebs and is 45 feet high.
- Walls. Walls are covered by thick spiderweb. Under the initial spiderweb, the walls consist of a combination of tree branches, mud, and ground interwoven into the spiderweb. The initial web cover off the walls can easily be burnt off, but the interior structure of the walls won't burn.
- Floors. The ground floors consist of earth, while the floors on the high ground consist of mud, tree branches, and spiderweb interweaved.
- Sound. The sound of skittering spiders can be
- heard throughout the dungeon.
- Light. During the day the dungeon is dimly lit by the small
- amount of sunlight that can penetrate the roof. During the night the dungeon is shrouded in complete darkness.
- Cocoons. The cocoons littering around the lair hold dead animals such as deer or rabbits unless specifically described otherwise.
- Small spiders will emerge to repair any damage that is made to the lair structure.
Dungeon mechanic: Spiderweb bridges.
The rooms in this dungeon are connected by spiderweb bridges. As a random encounter, the Ettercap will cut down the web bridges as the adventuring party is moving along them. When a player falls off a bridge, they take 1d6 damage and lands prone unless they avoid taking damage from the fall DC 12 saving throw. The random encounter can be decided by the DM rolling a d20. If the DM rolls lower than 7, the Ettercap will cut down the bridge that the adventuring party is traveling on.
Random encounter: Spawn of spiders
Throughout the dungeon, the adventuring party can be attacked three times by spawns of spiders. The random encounter can be decided by the DM rolling a D20. If the DM rolls lower than 8, one spawn of spiders will attack the party as they enter a new room. Alternatively, the DM can independently decide when the spawn of spiders attack the adventuring party.
Room 1.The Entrance Hall
The room is quite spacious and about 30 feet up in the air there are large beehive-like structures connected by spiderwebs. There are cocoons of different shapes leaning up against the walls of the room.
Encounter: Two giant wolf spiders. Two giant wolf spiders are guarding the entrance to the great hall. When the adventurers enter the great hall, the spiders will ascend from the ceiling. The spiders have a +2 on initiative rolls.
Room 2. Cocoon Storage
There are cocoons of different shapes leaning up against the walls of the room. In the center of the room, there is an abnormally large cocoon that seems to be moving, almost like there is something desperately trying to make its way out.
Encounter: False Cocoon. On a perception roll higher than 16, the adventure parties will notice small silk strands going up in the ceiling, where the Ettercap is puppeteering the moving cocoon.
If the players move closer than 10 feet of the cocoon, the Ettercap will detonate the cocoon. The acid splashed from the cocoon deals 2d10 acid damage to any adventurer caught in a 10-fee radius. If the adventurers loiter around the room instead of rescuing the"victim", the Ettercap will get frustrated and burst the cocoon in anger. After the cocoon has detonated, the Ettercap will move away from the room.
Room 3. Spider webbed room
In the middle of the space, there is a large spiderweb that connects two chambers-one to the west and one to the east. The spiderweb seems thicker than the usual spider webbing and there seems to a slight tension in the webbing.
Encounter: Spiderweb slingshot. The Ettercap has succeeded in developing a spiderweb slingshot. Singular small creatures and spiders can move freely on the webbing without triggering the slingshot. Medium and large-sized creatures that move through the center of the spiderweb will plunge a few feet-only to be catapulted away 15 feet in a random direction. The catapulted creature must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw to not take 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
A successful DC 15 intelligence(Investigation) check lets the player understand that the spider web consists of two different kinds of silk strands. The outer web layer consists of stiff silk strands that act as spring coils, while the layer at the center of the web is elastic.
Room 4. Trophy room
The room is filled with large rotting animals that have been webbed to the wall in different positions. The animals almost seem as they are part of a trophy room, showing off the Ettercaps hunting prowess. Otherwise, the room seems empty.
Encounter: Burrowed swarms of spiders If an adventurer walks over a spider burrow or tries to cut down one of the trophy room cocoons, three swarms of spiders will burst from the ground surprising the adventuring party.
A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception check reveals that some parts of the ground have recently been disturbed in the room. A successful DC 12 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check allows a creature to fill in the burrows opening before the spiders are allowed to burst forth.)
Treasure: Ornament dagger. Most of the creatures that have been put on display are different kinds of large animals that can be found in the forest: Bears, Elks, and Wild boars. However, there is one creature that catches the adventure party's attention; a barely recognizable humanoid creature that seems to be clasping a beautifully ornamented dagger in its hand. The dagger is worth 70 gold.
Room 5. The Corpse pit.
As the adventuring party moves along the corridor they are first hit by the stench of rotting corpses, soon they start noticing fungi sprouting up from rotting corpses. Corpses of creatures that are decomposed and of no use to the spiders and the Ettincap are disposed to the Carrion crawler living in the pit. The Carrion crawler seems to follow the Ettincaps rule, but act aggressively and hostile to all other creatures.
Encounter: Carrion crawler. The Carrion crawler will immediately attack the adventuring party when they enter the pit. The Carrion crawler seems to have developed an immunity against the poisonous fungi found in the pit.
Hazard: Poisonous fungi. A creature that tries to eat the poisonous fungi must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or take 2(1d6 poison damage and must repeat the saving throw at the start of each of its turns. After two successful saves, the poison ends. A successful DC 13 Wisdom (Perception check, allows the players to identify the poisonous fungi.))
Treasure: Two silver rings. In the dirt of the pit, the adventuring party can find two silver rings left behind one of the rotting corpses. The two silver rings are worth 35 gold each.
Secret door. On the north side of the room, there is a small passage that leads to the Ettercap storage pit. The passage opening is covered by spider webbing, but a successful DC 16 Wisdom or Intelligence (perception or investigation check allows the players to notice that there seems to be an opening behind all the webbing.)
Room 6. The Hatchery
The hatchery is where the Ettercap collects spider eggs to hatch them in an environment safe from outside dangers. The hatchery is overseen by two brood mothers tasked with guarding the eggs.
Treasure: Spider eggs. The spider eggs are an alchemy ingredient that can be used to make potions. There are 100 spider eggs in the hatchery. Each egg is worth 1 silver.
Encounter: The Broodmothers. The brood mothers are two giant spiders that oversee the hatchery. The brood mothers are hostile against the adventuring party and will attack the adventuring party immediately as they enter the space.
Room 7. The Ettercaps storage pit
The storage is situated underground and feels colder than the surrounding rooms. The room seems to function as a cellar sort, where the Ettercap can store supplies for a long time. There are no spiders nearby, as they have all been ordered not to enter this space.
If a character has been kidnapped, the adventuring party will most likely find them in this space.
Treasure: Silver NecklaceOne of the cocoons holds a dead human with a silver necklace around his neck. The necklace is worth 15 g.
Room 8. The Dried Oaktree
In the middle of the room stands a large dried-up oak tree encased in webbing. The Oaktree has clawing marks all over its bark, almost like someone has been lashing out their frustration on the tree. Although the tree has been damaged, it seems remarkably sturdy.
When the Ettercap moved into the area it sensed the lingering fey magic in the tree. The hatred for fey has led the Ettercap to start carving out pieces of the tree and essentially killed the nature spirit.
Treasure: Magical tree branch. Although the dryad has been slain, the tree still inhibits some magic properties. If a player cast detect magic, they will notice a faint aura around the tree. A successful DC 12 dexterity(Sleigh of hand) check allows one player to cut a branch from the tree.
Item: Magical tree branch. The tree branch can be used five times before it becomes a regular tree branch. The Magical tree branch can be used in two ways:
- As an arcane focus that adds +2 damage to spells
- As a Trinket that gives advantage on nature checks.
Room 9. The Ettercaps den
As the adventuring party walks through the narrow tunnel, they are first met with a musky smell. Half chewed animal remains and filth is spread all across the cavernous space -almost like a carpet. The walls have layers of spiderweb and now and then there seem to be animal remains protruding from beneath the spiderweb. The adventuring party suddenly sees a humanoid creature descend from the ceiling to the middle of the space. Soon after the adventure party notice that two large spiders are blocking the exit way to the Ettercap den.
Encounter: Ettercap and two giant wolf spiders, The Ettercap will try to coordinate its attack with the giant wolf spiders. Throughout the encounter, the Ettercap will disappear to the ceiling and leave the fighting to the spiders. When the Ettercap reappears it will try to Web garrote one player from the shadows. At 10 hp the Ettercap will become frightened and try to escape the den by climbing up the ceiling and exit through the tunnel.
After the Ettercap has died or escaped the remaining spiders are unable to maintain the complex structure of the lair. This means overtime the lair will degrade until only the underground storage pit remains.
- Am I being too harsh on my DM?
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- New DM needs help balancing drow priestess!
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "Shepherd Of The Woods-Free low-level adventure" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
- The Tale of the Canon Cannon
- A 4th Type of Encounter: Introducing the Terrain Encounter, combing Skill Challenges, Combat, Chases
- How to scare the bejeezus out of the party with Polymorph / Shapechange
- Don’t focus on doing accents for your characters, focus on doing VOICES
- My older brother (a 35 year old, fully grown man) is both combative with other players AND passive during gameplay. The other PCs are becoming combative toward him in turn. Can’t boot him from the game because I live with him and one of the other players. The situation sucks and I need help.
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