D&D 5E Monkey Business

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
monkeybusiness.jpg

THE SITCH

Fey Ray's high-pitched screams and the swath of destruction wrought by the gigantic ape that kidnapped him made it easy to track the beast deep into the jungle primeval. The elf is your guide in this lost land of overlarge monsters and hostile natives and your best shot at finding the legendary relic known as the Jade Monkey.

A frightening roar shakes the very ground and silences Fey Ray. This is answered by the giant ape Ponga's territorial call. As you make your way through the thick brush, you come upon the scene of an terrible battle unfolding between Ponga and an equally immense reptile, all teeth and rage.

Fey Ray is noticeably silent and still atop a twenty-foot-tall tree in the center of the clearing, his elvish blood dripping down the leaves and branches, his life slipping away with each passing moment.

Will you be able to rescue Fey Ray and avoid the rampage of Ponga and the Terror Lizard?

THE CAST

Ponga, giant ape (DM's Basic Rules, page 22)
Terror Lizard, tyrannosaurus rex (DM's Basic Rules, page 48)
Fey Ray, scout modified with elf traits (Monster Manual, page 349)

and

Four 4th-level player characters

COMPLICATIONS

Fey Ray is dying due to a vicious bite from the terror lizard. While dying, at initiative count 3, he makes his death saves (Basic Rules, page 76) and may die. The elf is also frightened (Basic Rules, page 106). While frightened (and conscious), Fey Ray screams which makes him a target for the Terror Lizard.

Ponga and the Terror Lizard are fighting each other to the death. They both act (in effect) simultaneously at initiative count 10. Divide the circle into four sections with the tree at the center. Number them 1 through 4. On the monsters' turns, roll 1d4. They wrestle each other and move to the section indicated and then they each make an attack against the other - a bite attack for the t-rex and two fist attacks for the giant ape. If the roll results in the same section in which they are battling currently, they remain there. Particularly smart or wise PCs who observe the battle carefully - perhaps resolved by Intelligence or Wisdom ability checks - might be able to determine where the monsters will end up next. In this case, roll the d4 at this time and tell the player where the monsters will be battling on their next turn. (This takes an action.)

If after their movement a conscious creature is within their reach, the monsters each direct one of their attacks at it - a tail slap from the t-rex and one of the giant ape's fist attacks. As well, these monsters make opportunity attacks against any creature leaving their reach (with the exception of Fey Ray leaving Ponga's reach). Any of these attacks might be described as being inadvertent, a result of the two beasts battling each other and less a direct attack against the PCs or Fey Ray.

Ponga is enamored with Fey Ray and is hostile toward anyone who would seek to take him away from her. If Fey Ray is taken from her, Ponga will direct her fury at the PCs unless they can do something to calm her down. Depending on the PCs' goal and approach, this might turn into a social interaction scene with skills like Intelligence (Nature), Wisdom (Animal Handling), and Charisma (Persuasion) coming into play to resolve any uncertainty that arises. If the PCs play their cards right, they might even earn themselves a powerful ally and potential source of income when they bring Ponga back to the Big City for a spectacle. (What could go wrong?)

FEATURES OF THE AREA

Jungle Brush: The green foliage of the jungle is dense, making it difficult terrain. As well, it is a heavily obscured area. It's easy to hide here, but it's also nearly impossible to see effectively enough to target anything beyond it unless at its very edge (which may make someone subject to attack). While they are battling each other, the monsters pay no attention to creatures moving around in the brush.

Tall Tree: The tree at the center of the clearing is 20 feet tall with enough sturdy branches at its top to support the weight of Medium-sized or smaller creatures. Its trunk is covered in sharp thorns which makes climbing it perilous. To avoid 2d4 piercing damage while climbing normally, a creature must succeed at a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check. The tree is fruit-bearing and the strange knobby gourds that grow in its branches are an irritant to reptiles. This fact can be figured out by examining the fruit and making a successful DC 15 Intelligence (Nature) check or by asking Fey Ray about it. If thrown at the Terror Lizard, a successful attack roll means the dinosaur is poisoned until the end of its next turn. There are 2d4 such fruits in the tree.

THANKS!

Thanks for reading this short-form scenario and I hope you can use it in your campaign. It's potentially got a little bit of all the pillars of the game (combat, exploration, social interaction) involved in the scene. I welcome your constructive feedback below.

Assuming you have a typical part consisting of a cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard, how would you go about rescuing Fey Ray? Which class features, assets, and resources would be most useful to bring to bear in this scene?
 

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MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
A very interesting situation. I love encounters where the PCs are presented a challenge that can be handled in many ways.
Some groups may attempt to take out both beasts in combat. Some may try to extract their companion and make a run for it. Others may try to gain a friend by supporting one of the combatants to victory.

Using your proposed group, if I was calling the shots I would try to extract Fey as quickly as possible. The gist of the plan would be to have either the fighter or the rogue (the fighter can likely take more hits, but the rogue is faster with dash as a bonus action) run up to the base of the tree so that the wizard can cast levitate to get them to the top of it (I just looked it up and levitate rises the target 20 feet so it works out perfectly). The next round the wizard releases the spell, the spell bringing the runner and Fey down safely. The runner then tries to make it out of the area and the group tries to lose Ponga in the brush. The cleric could cast a defense buff such as sanctuary on the runner before their attempt and will need to administer aid to Fey as he needs it during the operation. I'm not quite sure what the role of the other martial would be. Perhaps peppering Ponga with ranged attacks if she gets in the way of the runner. Maybe even weakening her enough that the lizard can take her out (and hopefully not want adventurer dessert with its meal).

Not the most perfect plan I admit. It has quite a bit of risk involving making a clean getaway, but I find its more fun to leave room for improvisation. It's also quite fast, limiting the time required to be close to the threats, and upping Fey's chance to make it.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Thanks for the scene, I've enjoyed many that you've done.

One alternate would be to try a save-or-suck spell on Ponga and the Terror Lizard to try to get in and get out quickly. For example a Paladin's Wrathful Strike spell for frightened or perhaps an inspired Command spell from a cleric.

Getting a cleric within range of a healing word on Fay Ray would be important to stop death saves, perhaps having him actually impaled on the thorns and can't be healed until he's moved would be useful, but that would assume he can scream but not move. Otherwise you could heal Fae Ray, retreat while the two fight it out, and come back later to deal with the wounded victor.

Actually, if you expect to have a good chance to negotiate with him (and a Speak with Animals), healing and buffing Pongo so he wins might end up being a good outside-the-box victory.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
A very interesting situation. I love encounters where the PCs are presented a challenge that can be handled in many ways.
Some groups may attempt to take out both beasts in combat. Some may try to extract their companion and make a run for it. Others may try to gain a friend by supporting one of the combatants to victory.

Thanks, and I always try to present scenes where this is the case. If the players come up with a way that "wins" the encounter handily (but is still fun, exciting, and memorable), good on them!

Using your proposed group, if I was calling the shots I would try to extract Fey as quickly as possible. The gist of the plan would be to have either the fighter or the rogue (the fighter can likely take more hits, but the rogue is faster with dash as a bonus action) run up to the base of the tree so that the wizard can cast levitate to get them to the top of it (I just looked it up and levitate rises the target 20 feet so it works out perfectly). The next round the wizard releases the spell, the spell bringing the runner and Fey down safely. The runner then tries to make it out of the area and the group tries to lose Ponga in the brush. The cleric could cast a defense buff such as sanctuary on the runner before their attempt and will need to administer aid to Fey as he needs it during the operation. I'm not quite sure what the role of the other martial would be. Perhaps peppering Ponga with ranged attacks if she gets in the way of the runner. Maybe even weakening her enough that the lizard can take her out (and hopefully not want adventurer dessert with its meal).

Not the most perfect plan I admit. It has quite a bit of risk involving making a clean getaway, but I find its more fun to leave room for improvisation. It's also quite fast, limiting the time required to be close to the threats, and upping Fey's chance to make it.

Potentially very dicey, but exciting! I'd love to see that play out at the table and we could bring in the Chase rules from the DMG. Thanks for offering a solution!
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Thanks for the scene, I've enjoyed many that you've done.

One alternate would be to try a save-or-suck spell on Ponga and the Terror Lizard to try to get in and get out quickly. For example a Paladin's Wrathful Strike spell for frightened or perhaps an inspired Command spell from a cleric.

Getting a cleric within range of a healing word on Fay Ray would be important to stop death saves, perhaps having him actually impaled on the thorns and can't be healed until he's moved would be useful, but that would assume he can scream but not move. Otherwise you could heal Fae Ray, retreat while the two fight it out, and come back later to deal with the wounded victor.

Actually, if you expect to have a good chance to negotiate with him (and a Speak with Animals), healing and buffing Pongo so he wins might end up being a good outside-the-box victory.

Thanks for the kind words. I think that healing/buffing Ponga and negotiating with her is a great plan!
 

EvanNave55

Explorer
Assuming I could get my part to go along with it (which is quite unlikely as we a very chaotic/disfunctional party) we would try to communicate with Pongo, and get him on our side. If that didn't work the rogue would sneak/dash to the tree we'd cast an illusion spell to make them think Ray is still there then sneak/dash away (possibly also using levitate or fly if the wizard has it, he's also particularly fond of rope trick).
Of course the cleric would he Ray once we got him and could buff others or use his magic to destract whoever is still hostile (he has been somewhat creative with his use of magic in the past and our DM is fiarly open to what's possible)
The fighter could be distracting/fighting the T-rex and/or Pongo during this to also help keep them distracted.
The wizard could be on standby in case anything goes wrong or also aiding in distracting/fighting the monsters.
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Assuming I could get my part to go along with it (which is quite unlikely as we a very chaotic/disfunctional party) we would try to communicate with Pongo, and get him on our side. If that didn't work the rogue would sneak/dash to the tree we'd cast an illusion spell to make them think Ray is still there then sneak/dash away (possibly also using levitate or fly if the wizard has it, he's also particularly fond of rope trick).
Of course the cleric would he Ray once we got him and could buff others or use his magic to destract whoever is still hostile (he has been somewhat creative with his use of magic in the past and our DM is fiarly open to what's possible)
The fighter could be distracting/fighting the T-rex and/or Pongo during this to also help keep them distracted.
The wizard could be on standby in case anything goes wrong or also aiding in distracting/fighting the monsters.

Good idea - an illusion may throw Ponga off long enough to get away. As DM, I'd then use the looming threat of the giant ape eventually finding them to keep the party on their toes. Thanks for contributing!
 

EvanNave55

Explorer
Good idea - an illusion may throw Ponga off long enough to get away. As DM, I'd then use the looming threat of the giant ape eventually finding them to keep the party on their toes. Thanks for contributing!

Yeah, no problem. This is an awsome scenario you created. I shared it with my DM hopingg he could use it to create some similar situation, though I haven't heard back yet.
 



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