“All That Remains” Out of the Box D&D Encounters #3

"A Friend in Need"- Out of The Box D&D Encounters #2
"Gone But Not Forgotten"- Out of the D&D Encounters Box #4


Not every encounter needs to be combat related. Many DMs struggle with those moments when the party is wounded, unarmed, or in some for of other distress where combat would not be advised. I’ve been there myself. In some of these cases, DMs will still choose to make encounter rolls in the open, or will want to break up perhaps a long (and likely boring) recovery for the players with some excitement that does not further endanger them.
  The old trope of having them spot deer or other relatively harmless wildlife can get old.
  However, there’s no reason that an encounter needs to be a creature at all. It could be an event or strange location that stands alone as an interesting moment. These events or locations can spawn further adventures with the right descriptions, or if they spark some imagination in your player base.
  In any regard, such encounters can break the monotony of the same-same and perhaps even take a campaign in new and interesting directions.
I hope you enjoy such an offering. I present-

Out of the Box D&D Encounters #3 – “All That Remains.”

“All that Remains”DMs
Environment: Various
Suggested level: Any
   On a foggy day, the adventuring party encounter either a cliff side that has been sheared away with precision, or perhaps a large monolith, or the remains of a wall to an ancient structure.
  In base relief, they can see a massive set of ancient carvings showing the power and domination of an ancient ruler. In the very center of the set of carvings, a massive 20’ tall figure of a ruler in armor and finery dominates the surface. Gigantic compared to everything else, he is shown smiting several foes with a single blow. Around him show various scenes of conquering armies, falling foes, riches and exotic beasts being captured, and other signs of conquest – all carved from the same stone face.
  Investigating the scenes, the players might be able to ascertain the identity of the ruler or the culture he comes from with a successful History (DC 14) check. His identity is left to the DM to determine, but he should be from a time long ago and without a current hold on local politics.
  As the players investigate the surroundings, the fog will thicken. A simple (DC:10) Perception check will show that figures swirl through the mists in perpetual melee. These misty figures make no sound and do not react to any attacks, communication or other interaction by the players. A deeper look (either Investigation or Perception, DC 15) will identify these figures as those armies shown fighting on the carved stone surface – their battle unending even today.
  The area surrounding the carvings and covered by fog will glow faintly under a Detect Magic spell as long as the fog persists.
 If the players dig in the ground within 500’ of the stone carvings, they may find a relic of the long lost battle.
If the players do an archaeological dig, roll d20.
1-10:  Nothing
11-14: A rusted buckle, button, clasp or similar metal fixture to a garment
15-17: A ruined and broken weapon hilt, spear head, arrow head, or other weapon piece.
18-19: A trinket -(Player’s Handbook, p. 160-161)
20:  A gold coin.
  Complications could arise if there is an association of this site with any religious significance. Defiling itD&D by vandalizing the carvings or digging the lost battlefield without permission may invoke some form of wrath from interested parties.
  There may be unquiet spirits, cults, historians, wizard colleges, sage guilds, treasure hunters, established churches or the like that take great offense at the players disturbing (or even getting here first) the site that exists.
  There may be conditions that exist where this sight only appears once every full moon, eclipse, or other event. The fact that the players are here instead of “an official party” whom hold this site in solemn regard may itself create innumerable complications for the adventurers.
  If others find out that even the slightest bit of treasure may come out of the ground here, it could lead to all sorts of prospectors digging the area up for lots mementos and such. The results of that, again, may have further repercussions.
  This sort of encounter also possesses the added benefit of giving a GM access to a way to introduce ancient story-lines. This ancient ruler could be from any race or faith, and the carvings might even hold clues to the characters’ campaign, or even have some relationship to a particular character’s history.
  The archaeological site may also hold clues as well. It all comes down to how a DM wishes to use such an event.
 It is my hope that you have found this useful for those moments when you’re caught short at the table. Enjoy!
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Follow Mike Gould:
I fell into gaming in the oddest of ways. Coming out of a bad divorce, my mom tried a lot of different things to keep my brother and I busy and out of trouble. It didn't always work. One thing that I didn't really want to do, but did because my mom asked, was enroll in Venturers. As an older Scout-type movement, I wasn't really really for the whole camping-out thing. Canoe trips and clean language were not my forte. Drag racing, BMX and foul language were. What surprised me though was one change of pace our Scout leader tried. He DMed a game of the original D&D that came out after Chainmail (and even preceedd the Red Box). All the weapons just did 1d6 damage, and the three main demi-humans (Elf, Dwarf and Halfling) were not only races, but classes. There were three alignments (Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic). It was very basic. I played all the way through high school and met a lot of new people through gaming. My expected awkwardness around the opposite sex disappeared when I had one game that was seven girls playing. They, too, never thought that they would do this, and it was a great experiement. But it got me hooked. I loved gaming, and my passion for it became infectious. Despite hanging with a very rough crowd who typically spent Fridays scoring drugs, getting into fights, and whatnot, I got them all equally hooked on my polyhedral addiction. I DMed guys around my table that had been involved in the fast-living/die young street culture of the 80s, yet they took to D&D like it was second nature. They still talk to me about those days, even when one wore a rival patch on his back to the one I was wearing. We just talked D&D. It was our language. Dungeons and Dragons opened up a whole new world too. I met lots off oddballs along with some great people. I played games like Star Frontiers, Gamma World, Car Wars, Battletech, lots of GURPS products, Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, Twilight 2000, Rolemaster, Champions, Marvel Superheroes, Earth Dawn...the list goes on. There was even a time while I was risiding with a patch on my back and I would show up for Mechwarrior (the clix kind) tournaments. I was the odd man out there. Gaming lead to me attending a D&D tournament at a local convention, which lead to being introduced to my paintball team, called Black Company (named after the book), which lead to meeting my wife. She was the sister of my 2iC (Second in Command), and I fell in love at first sight. Gaming lead to me meeting my best friend, who was my best man at my wedding and is the godfather of my youngest daughter. Life being what it is, there was some drama with my paintball team/D&D group, and we parted ways for a number of years. In that time I tried out two LARP systems, which taught me a lot about public speaking, improvisation, and confidence. There was a silver lining. I didn't play D&D again for a very long time, though. Then 5E came out. I discovered the Adventurer's League, and made a whole new group of friends. I discovered Acquisitions Incorporated, Dwarven Tavern, and Nerdarchy. I was hooked again. And now my daughter is playing. I introduced her to 5E and my style of DMing, and we talk in "gamer speak" a lot to each other (much to the shagrin of my wife/her mother...who still doesn't "get it"). It's my hope that one day she'll be behind the screen DMing her kids through an amazing adventure. Time will tell.

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