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5E Help Crafting fun encounter for 2


Hi all. I've been running a campaign for a while, and the group has passed the 2nd chapter. To give them a little chance to stretch their legs, we're having a little interlude before moving on to chapter 3.

One of the players is playing a Dwarf nature cleric who has a pet pig. He's been wanting to find a druid to cast awaken on it, and now we have an opportunity. I'm going to give him leads and send him and one of the other characters off to do that while the other two are handling something else.

My idea is this: they get to the druid grove. Because the party has been helping out so much, the leader is happy to awaken his pet, but she isn't powerful enough to cast the spell on her own. She lost her staff of the woodlands and wants to send him in to get it for her.

The encounter I have in mind is with a shambling mound while a constant and random call lightning spell is going on. Each round, the call lightning will roll randomly between the three, damaging the pcs but healing the shambling mound.

They're 8th level and have a fair bit of magic gear, so the shambling mound itself shouldn't be too hard on its own. But the call lightning ontop of it might mix it up.

Any ideas to spice things up? I know he'll try to charm the shambling mound, and I hate to work around that, but the staff could be stuck in the shambler. Maybe if he does charm it (and deals with the call lightning somehow), getting the staff out will be its own challenge.


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It's entirely possible there are other symbiotic growths intertwined in the plant matter making up the shambling mound's body. Violet fungus, yellow or russet mold, phycomid spores, a partially-absorbed slain myconid still giving off some of its spores...there are a lot of possibilities.

As for the staff of the woodlands, I like the idea of it having gotten caught up in the shambler's body. Perhaps as a consequence, there's a chance each round of it accidentally "going off" and randomly casting one of the spells stored within. Summon nature's ally spells going off could bring some additional creatures into the mix and random wall of thorns spells would likewise alter the battlefield somewhat. (I'm assuming the staff works more or less the same way it does in 5E as it does in 3.5.)



The staff could grant advantage on saves to the SM. You could add a sprite or dryad that likes to have the shambling mound around and does not want to see it hurt or could be opposed to the druid for some personal grief. I do not like having the tricks that sprites or some other woodland creatures play. It feels contrived to force the PC into things.

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