- 1 Primer :
- 2 The adventure
- 3 NPCs
- 4 IMPORTANT LOCATIONS :
- 5 ACT I : The Jungle
- 5.1 How to run ACT I :
- 5.2 Encounters and complications : Roll a D6, choose one yourself, or make your own complications !
- 6 ACT II : The village
- 7 The Priestess' Pet
- 8 Squad of yuan-ti warriors
- 9 Similar Guides
Hi everyone ! I'm Axel, also known as BigDud online and I've been DMing for a few years at this point.
I recently started adapting adventures from my campaign to publish them online as one-shot modules for others to run. The first one, The Sunken City of Nova, was released three weeks ago, and I'm proud to now release my second adventure : The Scaled Queen's Vessel.
The Scaled Queen's Vessel is a module designed for a party of 3-5 lvl 6-7 characters. It features exploration of a dangerous jungle, sneaking or fighting through a yuan-ti village, avoiding the traps and hazards of an ancient temple occupied by transforming reptiles, and a final battle against a terrifying demi-god. If you like snakes, ambushes and putting your players in unfavorable situations, this module is for you ! It's designed to be ran in a single 4-5 hour session, but can easily be extended or shortened due to its modular nature.
Quick Synopsis :
The party is at the edge of a jungle, on the island of Rumblerock, a tropical location within the Explorer's Landing section of Gaia's Breath, west of the continent of Sildur.
They're looking for a yuan-ti village, deep within the jungle, where an entity called the Vessel is being grown inside of an ancient temple. They might have come here to save a friend, to help their new Nwa'Halu comrades (a small tribe of honorable warriors), to recover an artifact, or to put an end to the Vessel.
The adventure starts as they enter the jungle, accompanied by a member of the Nwa'Halu. They make their way through the thick underbrush, dealing with the numerous dangers brought by local wildlife and yuan-ti alike. Surviving ambushes and trying to make progress before they're exhausted, they eventually arrive at the yuan-ti village.
There, several structures of interest are available to them, with the most important one, the temple, being right at the edge of the village. Avoiding or fighting the local inhabitants, they make their way to it.
On the inside, dangerous gas and several traps await them, as well as numerous yuan-ti currently taken by various activities that they must either avoid or deal with.
They push through various chambers until eventually reaching the bottom of the temple, where behind a closed door lies the chamber of the Vessel.
When they open it, they find the High Priestess of the yuan-ti behind it, attempting to feed the Vessel just a little bit more until the party arrives. She sacrifices herself, and the party are forced to react as the Vessel starts destroying the platform they're standing on !
As they fall into the chamber below, they're met face to face with the terrifying creature, ready to feast on the intruders !
The writing style :
My adventures are designed so you can pick them up and run them. All encounters mechanics and statblocks are featured on the same page as the encounter descriptions, and there are many blocks of DM advice all around the PDF to guide you through running this adventure. I also give several starting locations to give you more freedom in integrating the one-shot into a bigger campaign, or manage your time better. Moreover, there are various difficulty settings for most encounters so you can adjust on the fly depending on how things are going for your party.
In addition, all descriptions are already written for you to use, with the intent of systematically containing exposition, atmosphere building and a call to action for your players. You won't have to struggle to put them on the right track again !
If you have feedback regarding the adventure, or want to discuss anything related to how I DM it, please leave a comment and I'll be glad to answer !
Here is a short version of the first two acts to give you an idea of what the adventure is like :
A humanoid race with very similar looks to humans. They're recognizable by their reddish skin, and the tattoo-like symbols that appear on their skin as they grow up. Their legends say they were made from the clay of the earth, molded by the flames of its rage, and cooled down by the water of the sea. Spread through the islands of Gaia's Breath, they are, like tritons, a native race of the region.
A humanoid race with snake-like features ranging from human looking, to an entirely reptilian appearance. The Yuan-ti are the ancestral enemies of the Nwa'Halu, and are led by Ozotl, the Scaled Queen, a mad goddess of vice, treachery and lies. The Yuan-Ti are seen by most of other societies like a despicable, dangerous race of maniacs, and are as such not accepted within most cities.
IMPORTANT LOCATIONS :
A luscious island of thick jungle, located north-west of Kuchari in the Explorer's Landing. Somewhere hidden on it, lies a Yuan-Ti temple to Ozotl the Scaled Queen, within which a Vessel is being grown, soon to be taken over by the goddess.
To the west of the island, perched on a dry, sandy and defensible cliff, the remaining members of a Nwa'Halu tribe are holding out, outnumbered five to one, desperate for any way to stop the Yuan-Ti.
The Temple of Ozotl :
Located at the centermost part of the island, and constructed on a slowly forming sinkhole, the temple of Ozotl is a beautiful construction of massive stone slabs forming a pyramidal shape, on which massive sets of stairs climb in every cardinal direction. Towards the top, an entrance leads to the temple's bowels, where the Yuan-Ti take part in acts of debauchery, rituals, and sacrifices.
At the very bottom, the Vessel lies resting, awaiting more blood to be brought, and the High Priestess prepares for the final ritual, the one that will finally bring the Scaled Queen back.
PRE-GAME & OPENING :
This adventure is designed to fit pretty much anywhere in an existing campaign, and to be easily shorted or lengthened depending on the time frame you have for your game.
Here are a few suggestions of starting locations and situations.
Starting at the village: Shortest
The party starts directly at the edge of the yuan-ti village, after having found their way through the jungle. They still have to make their way to the temple and through it to reach the Vessel !
This starting setup makes the adventure shorter by an hour or so, and allows starting directly in the action. However, it misses roleplaying opportunities with the Nwa'Halu, lessens the amount of interaction possible with whichever companion is following the party, and loses the exploration aspect of the adventure.
You'll have to compensate for the resources the party hasn't spent by slightly turning up the difficulty of future encounters.
Starting from outside the jungle : Recommended
The party starts at the edge of the jungle, accompanied by their Nwa'Halu companion. They'll have to explore the jungle to find the yuan-ti village, reach the temple, and deal with the Vessel !
This starting setup is the way the adventure was designed. It gives the party opportunities to get to know their companion through their journey, allows setting up the tone of the adventure through the first exploration section, and leads to good pacing with rising tension all throughout the session.
It however doesn't leave space for early interaction with the rest of the Nwa'Halu tribe, and assumes the motivation of the party has been set up before the adventure starts.
Starting from the ocean : Long
The party starts on a ship as it passes by the island. In the distance, on the western side of the beach, a large bonfire stands on a cliff, next to which several figures hail the ship. A better look allows their Nwa'Halu traits to be noticed. It seems they're in need of help !
This starting setup is more campaign-oriented, as it allows you to present the hook to your players during the session. It's less directed, and will likely start much slower than other options simply due to the discussion with the Nwa'Halu tribe.
However, it also allows setting up the stakes more naturally, and the roleplaying opportunities can make for great moments with your party.
Hooks : If you're running a campaign and you need ideas to involve your PCS
There are many reasons your party might want to help the Nwa'Halu take out the Vessel. Even if they don't care about the Vessel itself, the yuan-ti village or temple might have valuables they're looking after, plot items they need, or prisoners they care about. Here is a list of possible reasons your party might want to engage on this adventure. Keep in mind that some of these might need you to add characters and/or items to locations of the adventure !
- Empathy : Some of the Nwa'Halu warriors have been captured and are about to be sacrificed ! They need to be saved.
- Vengeance : An enemy of the party has been working with the yuan-ti all along, and is now hiding in their village. When the party is spotted, they run off deeper into the temple, trying to lose their pursuers.
- Contract : A noble or merchant of renown has tasked the party to recover a particular piece of art or artifact from the yuan-ti. It can be an item that was stolen by them, an item they crafted (e.g a statue of the Scaled Queen) or a magical item (e.g the Anguis Imperium, staff of the High Priestess Setsaliss).
- Faith : A part of the totem of Tokona, an important religious artifact of the Nwa'Halu, has been brought into the temple to be kept away from them. A member of your party with a similar type of faith is called upon to help retrieve it.
- Training : The party comes to earn the training of the Nwa'Halu, being aware of their talents. The Nwa'Halu will train them, in exchange for help in their conflict against the yuan-ti.
- Greed : The party learned about the riches possessed by the yuan-ti in their temples. Statues of solid gold, emeralds and jade could sell for a pretty penny, should the party clear out the former owners.
- Knowledge : It's said that the yuan-ti have found ways to create powerful entities that are strongly connected to godhood, called Vessels. Drinking their blood is rumored to allow one the vision of a god for a short moment. What could the party learn from such an experience ?
- Trust : The party needs warriors for a future battle. They know the Nwa'Halu are excellent fighters, but they need to earn their trust before they accept to fight alongside them. They're tasked to eliminate the Vessel in exchange for help.
ACT I : The Jungle
The party is in the jungle of Rumblerock, and have to reach the yuan-ti village. They might know where it is already, or not. Whatever the case is, they'll have to deal with the search parties of the Yuan-Ti, and the treacherous wildlife of the island.
Exploration, Stealth, Problem Solving
How to run ACT I :
This section of the adventure is the most free-form it'll get. Trudging through the jungle to get to the Yuan-Ti village can lead to various complications, and most encounters presented here are designed to allow your players the most creativity in their problem solving. As such, I'll be presenting a few obvious ways to circumvent an encounter and giving tips on how to adjudicate them, but I can't prepare you for every choice your party decides to make. Moreover, there are few permanent stakes in this section, instead focusing on draining some of your party's resources and getting them to know the environment around them.
Don't be afraid to improv and work your DM brain ! If worse comes to worst and you find yourself struggling, you can always quickly transition to the Yuan-Ti village.
A simple skill challenge
To make running this section easy, I use an exploration skill challenge.
The party have to accumulate three successes, representing the advancement through the jungle, while avoiding losing too many resources.
Successes are gained through finding clues, whether those are gained via skill checks or encounters.
There is no losing factor for the party : however long it takes, they'll eventually get to the village. The danger is not to get lost, but to get there with too few resources to handle future threats.
If you're looking to increase the amount of resources drained, you can increase the amount of successes required to four or five. However, be careful to keep Act I short if you want to run the adventure in a single session.
While in the jungle, the party is at constant risk of being attacked by the local fauna or flora, as well as the Yuan-Ti. For that reason, as long as they are within the jungle, the party should be unable to gain the benefits of a long rest.
As a DM, this gives you a way to control how many resources they have at their disposition.
Start the challenge at the edge of the jungle. The party knows somewhat that the temple is located at the center of the jungle, but the thick canopy is limiting their vision.
"You find yourselves at the edge of the jungle, sweating profusely under the burning sun. Palm trees and series of falling vines form a thick vegetal barrier, working with the canopy to block most of the light and forming a dark maze in front of you. You approximately know where you're going, but your vision is limited, and there are no signs of the village at this distance. You'll have to follow whatever signs you can find to lead you there. Pushing below the treeline, the air immediately cools down, but your respite is short : swarms of mosquitoes and other insects are already looking for your blood. In the distance, you see a long, green vine detach itself from a branch and slither away on the thick mud of the jungle floor, while a bit further, you spot a purple plant slam closed on a small rabbit, unaware of its surroundings until it was too late. You're unwelcome here, and you've got a ways to go."
The challenge will be separated in several "rounds". At the beginning of each round, the party can make a skill check to find clues leading them to the village.
After that, you can either roll a "complication check" to see if the party encounters any events, or you can just decide which event they encounter. I personally use the second approach, as it gives me more control over pacing and atmosphere.
Skill checks :
Your party may have various ideas to find the location of the village. They might engage in regular tracking, or use any of their special abilities. I don't know the composition of your party, their spells and magic items, so you'll have to adjudicate as normal. As a rule of thumb, if they spend resources that are not regained during each encounter, adjust the DC of the task to be lower or make it an automatic success. Let your PCs shine !
*General DCs : *
- Basic orientation : DC 20 Survival
- Tracking (requires tracks) : DC 15 Survival
- Spotting a landmark (requires to be within 2 successes) : DC 20 Perception, adjust depending on visibility.
Following their attempts :
If a skill check is above the required DC, the party gains 1 success. If a skill check is below the DC, they make no progress.
Whatever the case is, it's now time for an encounter !
How to abstract encounters and why we do it :
Numerous of the encounters presented in this section can be ran as combat encounter. I however highly recommend using abstraction to adjudicate their results, to avoid spending too much time on events that lack good tension.
- *What is "abstraction" ? *
Abstraction is the act of taking multiple actions that would normally be resolved individually, and resolving them all together using simpler mechanics. Think of it like if a player was making a cake : you can separate the act of adding each cooking phase and roll for each, or you can have them roll one check for the whole process.
Let's take encounter number 5 as an example. The party is walking through the jungle, entering a section where a Yuan-Ti ambush party is hiding in a tree, ready to shoot poisoned arrows at any enemy they see.
We run the beginning as planned, until we arrive to combat.
We could set up a battlemap, player tokens, change the music, and finally run the combat, knowing it likely will only last a single round, which will take us several minutes ; or we can skip all of that and use abstraction.
Here's how it would play out in our chosen circumstance :
"Pushing through the thick vegetation, you're tired and wondering when you're finally going to stumble upon the village. Your drifting thoughts are caught by a faint noise in the distance, immediately recognizable. The drawing of a bow. You lift your eyes up to see, standing on a high branch a few dozen feet in front of you, the shape of several scaled humanoids, their weapons trained on you. You barely have time to react before you hear their arrows releasing ! Make a Dex Saving Throw !"
You can see here one of the first changes made by abstraction : multiple attacks are abstracted as a Dex saving throw.
"Immediately after shooting, the ambush party leaps off the branch, rushing into the thick brush, and are about to escape from view. What would you like to do ? "
The main reason we use abstraction is to keep tension. There's nothing that breaks tension more than taking a five minute pause to set up a battlemap, find your tokens, your statblocks, set up your players, roll initiative, and all of the book-keeping tied to combat. If we abstract initiative, attacks, and movement, we can arrive at a more narrative style of play that keeps tension and allows us to build upon it.
When dealing with player actions, it also allows us to be more lenient with time and locations, and overall represent what they want to do better. Continuing the encounter: let's say player 1 and player 2 want to rush after them, while player 3 and 4 want to shoot them with ranged weapons.
"Player 1 and Player 2, you rush off into the forest, trying to catch the ambushers before they can escape. Roll an Athletics or Acrobatics check to maneuver through the heavy vegetation without losing speed."
Player 1 rolls a 17 and Player 2 rolls a 5. The Yuan-Tis have a passive Acrobatics of 12. Only Player 1 succeeds.
"Player 2, you struggle to keep up but see Player 1 jump off a tree and manage to fall onto two of the back members of the troop. Pushed off their feet, they're stopped in their tracks while the rest of the Yuan-Ti group pushes onwards, leaving them to their fate. In the meantime, Player 3 and 4, you're aiming at the Yuan-Tis as they try to escape. You see them splitting, one group held back by Player 1 while another is still fleeing, taking cover behind some trees. Who do you want to attack ?"
Player 3 and 4 decide to attack the Yuan-Ti that are fleeing, to stop them from warning any others. We make our players roll one attack roll each, representing their cumulated efforts over the time they still have line of sight of the ambushers. The Yuan-tis have half-cover, but the players roll a 24 and a 19 for their attack rolls, both hitting.
"You draw and shoot, draw and shoot as the last members of the troop rush away. One by one, your arrows striking true, they fall limp to the ground, their shouts turning into a slow gargle as life leaves their bodies. With the two remaining members caught by Player 1, the ambush party is no longer a threat, and its last two members' fate are yours to decide."
Overall, we abstracted initiative, damage rolls, attack rolls, enemy HP, distances. If we think about it though, none of those are really important to decide individually : they're all just tools to reach the goal of the encounter.
We abstract initiative because it doesn't matter which Yuan-Ti goes first, just whether the party goes first or not. We abstract HP because 5 more or less HP won't save the Yuan-Tis in a fight, and they're not meant as a real combat challenge anyways. We abstract the end of the fight because once again, it doesn't matter if two Yuan-tis are still alive, they're not going to pose a real threat to the party.
We've however managed to make this scene into a tense chase that probably took only a couple of minutes to run.
You should now understand what abstraction means, and how you can use it to run the exploration pillar in a manner that's a lot more natural.
To Recap :
Abstract to keep tension, make slow scenes fast, and give freedom to players.
- Transform multiple attacks into one save.
- Transform a series of actions or a sustained action into one roll.
- Use approximate distances
- Use "ticks" for HP instead of raw numbers (ex : a weak enemy survives 1 hit, a medium 3, etc)
- End the encounter as soon as the dramatic question is answered (e.g "Will the players catch the Yuan-tis before they escape ?")
Encounters and complications : Roll a D6, choose one yourself, or make your own complications !
Now that I've explained how abstracting encounters work, here are a series of complications you can mix and match to create a tense atmosphere and drain your player's resources. There are three levels of difficulty :
- Easy encounters are likely to drain a minor amount of resources, and their consequences are easily avoided.
- Moderate encounters are likely to drain a minor amount of resources, but their consequences aren't as easily avoided or might be long lasting.
- Hard encounters are likely to drain a moderate amount of resources, are hard to entirely avoid and their consequences are long lasting.
Remember to reward your players for using their resources !
Encounter ideas :
- Easy : The party arrives at a section of the jungle where vines have token over almost every tree and are blocking passage between them. A few of them seem to shift slightly, however … The party must make their way between the trees while avoiding getting bitten by snakes. The snakes are impossible to tell from normal vines except through very close inspection. I recommend using values from no damage to 2d10 poison damage depending on how successful and imaginative the party is with their methods.
- Easy : The party stumbles onto a section of the jungle in which numerous wide-leafed plants have grown, creating large patches of thick vegetation. Unfortunately, those plants are Tinglepads, a variety of fern that seeps a thin coat of extremely irritant mucus on top of its leaves. Passing through or touching Tinglepads results in losing hit dice. I recommend using values from 1 to 3 hit dice depending on how much the players exposed themselves to the Tinglepads.
- Moderate : The jungle floor slowly becomes very muddy as the party heads into a humid, swampy region of the island. Trekking through the mud is tiring. Unless they find a solution to ease their travels, pushing onwards will result in gaining a level of exhaustion.
- Moderate : As the party walks through the jungle, they notice the trees above them being much darker, with some lumpy black and crimson fruits dangling from them. Through closer inspection, these aren't fruits, but sleeping swarms of stirges ! The party must make their way through the swarms discretely or find a way to distract them. Failing to do so will result in damage and loss of HP total. I recommend using values from no damage to 2d10 piercing damage, and lowering max HP values by the amount of damage taken.
- Hard : A squad of several Yuan-Ti ambushers have prepared poison arrows and are hiding on the top of trees near the village. One target must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) piercing damage and 21 (6d6) poison damage on a failure, and half on a success. They'll attack the party and try to flee after shooting a volley. If they escape, they'll come back again, tracking the party and ambushing once more each round of exploration.
- Hard : As the party approaches the location of the village, they reach a river passing through the trees. Small branches of the river spread around the vicinity, while numerous large logs float in the water. A closer inspection would reveal them to be large crocodiles. A DC 20 Perception or Investigation check would also reveal a massive shape, hiding below the water, waiting for a prey. A Giant Crododile is waiting in ambush ! If the party doesn't manage to avoid it, it will chase them down ! I recommend running this encounter as a small scale chase, with the crocodile trying to bite whoever's running the slowest. If it catches someone, it'll leave into the jungle with its grappled victim to devour it. If the party doesn't manage to escape it before several rounds of the chase are complete, they can stumble onto the Yuan-ti village with the crocodile on their tails, revealing their position !
ACT II : The village
The party has now reached the village of the yuan-ti. Whether they've been spotted or have been sneaky so far, they'll have to find a way to reach the temple and enter it from the very top. Meanwhile, allies can be found in the prison, locked up to be sacrificed later.
Stealth, Deception, Large Scale Combat
"Finally, your feet wet, your skin itching and your body tired from the trip, you arrive at the yuan-ti village. Several stone buildings of varying sizes are built on large slabs laid upon the rocky ground. Likely once a beautifully constructed location, the village has been somewhat overtaken by nature, the flooring pushed away by growing vegetation while in some locations, the moisture of the ground forms small pools around which mosquitoes fervently buzz. A few braziers are lit around corners of streets, and you see numerous yuan-tis making their ways to and from buildings, some moving objects and supplies while others patrol the streets. To the west, you see two individuls of mostly scaled skin carrying a red-skinned prisoner towards a slightly sunken edifice. A bit further to the north, a cliff seems to lead into a deep pit, its interior mostly hidden from your position, apart from the slight glimmer of some metallic coin on a central platform. Finally, to the north-east, you see the imposing form of the yuan-ti temple, a pyramidal structure likely 100 ft tall or more, but slowly sinking into the unstable rocky floor. At the very top, an opening leads into the shadowy interior. "
Important locations :
The prison :
Located to the western side of the village, near the Feeding Pit, the prison is a small, two story building with a basement. Two guards keep watch, one on the first floor and one in the basement. Across the first floor and the basement, simple cells are built in the stone walls to hold prisoners, while the top floor, locked behind a strong door (DC 15 Thieves Tools check to open) contains a number of weapons and traps used by the yuan-ti, as well as the belongings of the prisoners. This is an opportunity for your players to gather equipment they were missing, and potentially to set up some traps for the yuan-ti !
In the cells of the basement, three Nwa'Halu warriors are lying unconscious, drugged and stripped of their gear. A DC 20 Medicine check would allow a party member to wake the warriors up using some local plants. A Lesser Restoration spell or similar effect would also cure their unconsciousness.
If awakened and freed by the party, they can provide a distraction or support them in their assault of the temple.
The Feeding Pit :
Near the prison, and towards the north-western edge of the village, a 40 ft pit opens up to a small lake.
At the center of the lake, a small rocky outcrop has been flattened by the Yuan-Ti to receive offerings and enact public sacrifices. A small pile of shiny coins, items and pieces of art is laid openly, seemingly accessible if one were to come down into the pit. Dried blood still remains visible, while numerous small snakes slither through the water.
Below the water, however, rests the Priestess' Pet, a giant constrictor snake that'll attack anyone coming down into the pit.
Snake Tactics :
The Priestess' Pet will attack in two circumstances only : if someone comes in the Feeding Pit, or if High Priestess Setsaliss calls it to attack.
It has a mental connection to her, and will join her if she calls for it.
The snake has simple tactics : it'll rush either a designated target or the closest one, try to constrict it, then swallow it. Once it has swallowed a target, it'll move on to the next. The snake will not flee unless it's reduced to 30 HP or less and the High Priestess is not present.
The Priestess' Pet is a Huge creature, which means it's quite destructive as it moves around, breaking down walls and pushing the sides of buildings. Imagine how terryfing a 80 ft long, 10 ft wide snake can be when it's slithering above rooftops and crashing down balconies on an unprepared party. Make it wild !
Example Loot from the Feeding Pit :
- The equivalent of 120 gold coins of various styles and origin.
- A small statue of Ozotl the Scaled Queen in a provocative pose. Made of silver and inlaid with jade and aquamarine, worth a lot to the right collector.
- The still slimy armor of a deceased knight, spat out a while ago. Set of magical splint armor infused with the power of Shones, goddess of Strength and Courage. Once per day, as an action, the user can cast press their hands against the symbol of Shones on the front of the armor, casting the spell Daylight centered on the user with a duration of one round. In addition to the normal effects of the spell, any invisible devil or demon present within the area is revealed.
The Priestess' Pet
Huge beast, unaligned
- Armor Class 12
- Hit Points 114 (12d12 + 36)
- Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA 19 (+4) 14 (+2) 16 (+3) 1 (-5) 10 (+0) 3 (-4)
- Skills Perception +2
- Senses blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 12
- Challenge 3 (450 XP)
Siege Monster. The Priestess' Pet deals double damage to objects and structures.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage.
Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 16). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the snake can't constrict another target.
Swallow. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature that is constricted. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage and the target is swallowed. The swallowed target is Blinded and Restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the snake, and it takes 10 (3d6) acid damage at the start of each of the snake's turns. The snake can have up to 10 Medium creatures or 2 Large creatures in its stomach at a time. If the snake takes 15 or more damage in a single turn from a creature inside it, it must succeed on a DC 18 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the snake's mouth. If the snake dies, a swallowed creature is no longer Restrained by it and can exit the corpse using 20 feet of movement, exiting prone.
Into the village itself :
The village contains approximately a hundred yuan-ti, though few of them are capable fighters.
The path to the temple is only a few hundred feet, often travelled back and forth by various yuan-tis of different ranks.
Information to be gathered :
A number of clues can be gathered in the village to help the party further in the adventure. I purposefully chose to not tie them to any particular location or individual, so that you can change it up on the fly and reward your players for their ingenuity. Here are a few clues they can find :
- The Divine One, also called the Vessel, has multiple heads and a mostly snake-like body. It's an intelligent creature as compared to most snakes.
- The Divine One is located at the bottom of the temple, past the Door of Sacrifice. To get through the Door of Sacrifice, blood from a living creature must be fed to it.
- The temple contains numerous yuan-tis in transformation. While mutating, yuan-tis are very aggressive but also very susceptible to loud noises, which are very painful and distracting to them.
- A knight from a distant land was fed to the Priestess' Pet a month ago, and spat out last week. His armor looks valuable, but no one has felt courageous enough to claim it back from the giant snake.
- The entrance to the temple is constantly filled with a powerful pheromone-based gas. Those who breathe it become extremely sensitive to yuan-ti pheromones.
Where should they find the clues ?
There are many ways to give these pieces of information to the players. Some of them are more general knowledge, while others are more specific. Remember yuan-tis are intelligent humanoids, who also likely communicate between each other frequently. Notes, gossip, heated discussions between two yuan-tis, or maybe knowledge from the Nwa'Halu prisoners can be the source of these clues. Follow your players' leads and reward them for the creative actions they take.
Running the yuan-ti village :
This section of the adventure is very dependent on what your players do. If they're loud and direct, it's likely they'll trigger the next encounter with the High Priestess. If they're sneaky and careful, it's possible they avoid the encounter entirely. Keep in mind the length you're intending to run the adventure for to adjust the number of events happening.
Encounter : Battle in the village
Should the players make too much noise, or should some of the yuan-ti spot them and raise the alarm, the High Priestess will emerge from the top of the temple, raise her staff, and call forth her Pet from the Feeding Pit. As it climbs up the surface to the pit and arrives into the village, numerous yuan-ti start rushing the party !
A large scale battle :
Most of the yuan-tis in the village are weak fighters. Instead of slogging through rounds and rounds of minions crashing into the party, we can use abstraction once again !
You'll see in the following section that yuan-tis are grouped as a single creature, essentially the same as a swarm. This allows us to represent the scale of the fight while also facilitating rolls and avoiding clutter.
Squad of yuan-ti warriors
Huge swarm of medium humanoids, neutral evil
- Armor Class 11
- Hit Points 82 (15d8 + 15)
- Speed 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA 15 (+2) 12 (+1) 12 (+1) 13 (+1) 12 (+1) 14 (+2)
- Skills Perception +3
- Damage Vulnerabilities Area effects
- Damage Immunities poison
- Condition Immunities poisoned
- Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
- Languages Abyssal, Common, Draconic
- Challenge 3 (700 XP)
- Proficiency Bonus +2
Magic Resistance. The squad has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Swarm. The squad automatically fails dexterity checks and saves, including stealth. However it has advantage in strength checks and saves.
If the squad has grappled a target, it can use one of its attacks to restrain it.
Multiattack. The squad makes two melee attacks.
Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (4d6 + 2) slashing damage or 9 (2d6 + 2) on a miss.
Volley fire (150 ft range). Each creature in a 20-foot radius sphere centered on that point must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. A target takes 14 (4d6) piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
I recommend using two to three squads of yuan-ti against the party, which represents most of the available forces outside the temple.
Squad tactics :
The yuan-tis lack military training and discipline, but they are united by their faith and the call of the High Priestess.
Every round, the squads will either try to get in melee range of a PC, or use their volley fire ability. Once they're in melee range, they'll use their grappling abilities to lock down a target, restraining it before hacking it down.
If they manage to isolate a target within a building for example, they can barricade the front while continuing to damage the PC.
Managing the evolution of the encounter :
Keep in mind that yuan-tis are intelligent creatures ! They want to win as well, and if they manage to isolate a PC, they might turn the fight into a hostage situation, asking for other PCs to stand down unless they want to see their friends' throat slit in front of them.
However, the yuan-tis also want to live. They'll follow these guidelines if the fight is going wrong :
- If they're reduced to 50% or less HP and the party succeeds on an intimidation check (DC 13) or a similar action, they'll flee
- If they're reduced to 25% or less HP, they'll flee.
- If they want to flee but can't, they'll surrender and try to appeal to the PCs' mercy.
Optional swarm rules :
You may consider these rules useful depending on the intentions and the composition of your party.
- Creatures can pass through a swarm's space by making a DC (10 + Swarm's strength) Athletics or Acrobatics check.
- If affected by a spell or effect that would reasonably disable a single creature from the group, but not affect the rest, a swarm instead takes damage as if it lost that unit. Each of the yuan-ti warriors has 1d8+1 HP in this situation.
Adjusting difficulty :
This fight is designed to be relatively difficult, but the final result will be highly dependent on the tactics of your party. They might choose to use choke points to lure yuan-ti in, collapse buildings, or even flee back into the jungle and use guerilla tactics.
As such, here are a few ways to increase the difficulty of the fight :
- Add more skilled yuan-ti champions with specific abilities.
- Have some yuan-ti priests join in at a distance to buff or heal their warriors.
- Use hostages to slow down the party and discourage them from attacking before they've freed them.
Here are a few ways to decrease the difficulty of the fight :
- Have most yuan-ti be distracted by a troop of Nwa'Halu and head to the jungle, lowering the amount of squads left.
- Remove either the ranged attack or melee attack from some of the squads, making them more vulnerable to ranged or melee attackers.
This is the end of Act II, as Act III covers the party entering the temple and dealing with its dangers.
I have omitted several resources present within the PDF to gain space, such as some example Nwa'Halu NPCs to guide the party and how to run them, or information on the setting. Everything you missed, including the two final acts and much more, is accessible through the link at the top of the post !
I've taken enough of your time at this point. Have fun with the module !
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More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "The Scaled Queen’s Vessel : a cold-blooded adventure for 6th-7th level adventurers !" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
- The Cayce’s Guide On How to Encourage Players to Improve!
- Three key takeaways from the recent thread on house rules
- original fishing system for a campaign im doing around fishing
- To all those seeking questions regarding their worlds hoping to make some new Canon.
- How do I encourage players to take notes?
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