Welcome to Ridiculous Encounters, a series of short stories that transform menial tasks and everyday situations into exciting adventures. We make the benign exciting, the humorless fun, and brighten your day. Included with each story are the specifics of the encounter so that you can incorporate these circumstances into your own homebrew campaign.
Recommended Player Level: This encounter would be a deadly encounter for a level 3 five person party, hard for a level 4 party, and easy for a level 5 party.
At the mouth of the chamber, a sweet fragrance fills your nostrils. The room is dark, but you can hear a thundering of liquid pounding against rocks. A ray of light peaks through a hole in the ceiling, lighting the cavern. As you approach the boulders before you, you see that the stack continues around the entirety of the chamber, bordering what looks like a lake; a white lake. Within the lake, circular objects bob up and down. As you squint in the dim light, you jump at the sounds. Snap! Crackle! Pop!
You had heard rumors that this lake contains a powerful ancient artifact hidden deep within its rich fluid. The exact nature of this artifact is unknown to you, but you believe that this item will aid you in your journey. The locals regard this cavern with fear.
“Don’t go near there,” they warned. “It’s spoiled.”
Your companions, however, were eager to press on. So, here you are.
This chamber is the home to one lesser beholder known as a Spectator (see Monster Manual pg. 30), a magical guardian that will protect a piece of treasure for 101 years, and five Gazers (see Volo’s Guide to Monsters pg. 126). Gazers are servants and pets to Beholders and their kin. Within this chamber is a magical item.The Spectator and Gazers will attack any who get too near their treasure. If the adventurers manage to procure the item, the Spectator and Gazers vanish. Otherwise, the monsters never abandon their post, and if the adventurers leave, they will not pursue.
As you approach the edge of the lake, you see a large silver vessel with an elongated rudder arm resting on the shore. The shape seems familiar to you, but your thoughts are foggy, and you can’t quite place it. The long, circular body looks just large enough to fit your entire party, and to safely ferry you across the milky surface.
As you sail across the lake, searching for a glint beneath the surface that betrays the location of the artifact, you and your party try to devise a plan to retrieve it.
“I could tie a rope to my arrow and snag it,” the ranger suggests.
“No need for anything too fancy. How about we just hop in the water and retrieve it the old fashioned way? Simple, but effective,” you suggest.
The Thri’Kreen wizard clicks in irritation. “What and soil my robes? I have a mage hand. What’s the point of having arcane powers if I don’t use it? We don’t even know what this liquid is! I can just scoop it out and no one needs to hop in the water.”
After much deliberation, and some more ideas from the other party members, you all agree to use mage hand, if you can find the artifact.
As the adventurers sail in their spooner, they can roll a DC 15 perception or investigation check to locate the artifact. If any adventurer gets above a 20, they notice rocks in the middle of the lake moving. As they travel further towards the center of the lake, the players will need to roll dexterity saving throws of increasing difficulty as the boulders begin to move with increasing severity, causing waves that become choppier and harder to navigate If any party member fails the save and falls overboard, or if the boat gets within 5ft of the area of the lake directly above the artifact, the Spectator and Gazers rise out of the lake to protect their treasure.
Time passes as your party searches the lake, but the dense white liquid makes it near impossible to see past the surface. As your boat nears the center, the water becomes violent and choppy. Clinging to the side of the boat, you notice that the boulders surrounding you have started moving.
“I see something!” the holy man cries. You whip your head around to look where he’s pointing, and strain to see beneath the surface. You barely make out a glint so faint, you aren’t really sure it’s there. A sudden wave rocks your craft, and the mage (it’s always the mage, that clumsy fool) falls into the lake.
Several of the rocks begin to rise from the surface as one. With writhing tentacle-like protrusions, they turn to face the fallen wizard . Before you is a fearsome sight, as six beholder-kin direct their sinister gaze towards the flailing Thri’Kreen.
The battle plays out with the monsters focusing on the adventurer who fell overboard over those still in the boat. Once the adventurers save their capsized ally, the enemies focus on the largest threat to their treasure.
If the party retrieves the item before defeating the horde, the Spectator and Gazers vanish before their eyes, and the milky lake returns to a calm surface.
Fatigued from the battle, you gaze down at the item in your hand. As you turn the ring in your hand the light catches it, revealing a swirling rainbow. The cascade of colors never repeats, and you find yourself thinking that this ring contains a vastness like the ocean.The wizard waves his arms about, casting a spell, and ticks, “Is it? Could it BE?! It’s a translation artifact!”
Your eyes widen as you realize the importance of this item to your adventure. You hurriedly slip the ring onto your finger as the ranger pulls out the scroll that your team has been desperately trying to decode for weeks. After all this time, you can finally discover what all the hubbub was about.
As you open the scroll, the runes and characters shift and swirl before finally settling down.
SiLly RRrrabbittt! Trix aaaare for KKids!
From behind you, you hear slurping and then the orc yells, “Hey you guys! This lake tastes like milk!”