For my next post in the A-Z Challenge, I will be posting a Sandbox Encounter focused on a draconic creature of the Madlands and the cultists that worship them. E is for Earth Drake.
Brief Description: Though not as rare as true dragons, the powerful yet primitive drakes are venerated by some as the physical embodiment of the spirits of the land, twisted by their exposure to the fallen blood of the gods. Earth drakes, in particular, are worshiped by small cults that provide them with offerings of food, sacrifice and sparkling treasure. These cultists sometimes terrorize neighboring regions in their quest to appease their earth drake "gods." As their gods are not divine, almost all earth drake cult priests are actually magic-users.
Encounter Groups: These are common encounter groups for this type of encounter.
- Novice (levels 1-3): 5 Drake Cultists, 1 Drake Priest. 2d6x10 silver shillings, 1d2 jewelry. (I use a silver standard in my campaigns.)
- Seasoned (levels 4-6): 15 Drake Cultists, 3 Drake Priests, 1 Earth Drake. 3d4x1000 silver shillings, 1d4+1 gems, 1d4+1 jewelry and two consumable items (50% chance each).
- Veteran (levels 7-10): 30 Drake Cultists, 6 Drake Priests, 1 Earth Drake. 3d6x1000 silver shillings, 3d4 gems, 3d4 jewelry, one magic weapon (50% chance), one magic item (50% chance), and two consumables (50% chance each).
Stat Blocks: The following stats are provided as examples for inspiration. Please adjust as needed to fit your preferred gaming system and style.
- Drake Cultist: AC 8 ; HD 1d6+2 hp; Atk: by weapon (1d6); ST: 16; SP: +1 on attack rolls in defense of their priests or of earth drakes; MV: 12; CL 1; XP 15.
- Drake Priest: AC 8 ; HD 3d6-3 hp; Atk: by quarterstaff (1d6); ST: 13; SP: casts spells as 3rd level magic-user; MV: 12; CL 4; XP 120.
- Earth Drake: AC 0 ; HD 10; Atk: bite (2d8), tail slap (1d10); ST: 5; SP: breath weapon (30-ft cone, 5d6 acid damage, Save halves, once per 1d4 rounds); MV: 12; CL 15; XP 2,900.
Encounter Ideas: Here are six different scenarios related to this encounter type.
- The cult is in the midst of the ceremonial removal of loose scales from the earth drake when the party comes upon the scene.
- The cultists immediately decide that the largest member of the party would make a great sacrifice to their god.
- The drake and the drake priest are torturing a blasphemous cult member before the other cultists when the party comes on the scene.
- The earth drake is about to devour a bound young virgin as its cult watches on with glee when the party encounters them.
- The earth drake and its cultists are sleeping after a long night of ritual feasting and celebration, and do not take kindly to being interrupted.
- The cultists actually worship two different earth drakes, and are confronting one another over territory disputes when the party comes upon the scene.