13 October 2020

Snowy Woods Battlemap

Due to personal time constraints, and the move happening in full this week, no new adventure again… Thankfully, people really seemed to like the format for last week’s free resource, in which I put out a battlemap with 8 random encounters. In keeping with the format (and given that it takes considerably less time to create/write them), I have done the same again! This week, I have created a snowy backdrop for winter/tundra themed settings (that can still work in most (if not all) games).

The Map

The map itself is a snow covered woods. In the top right of the map, you will see a small hut, complete with an outside fireplace, and storage. To the bottom left, there is a frozen pond, surrounded by a rim of rocks/boulders. The map was designed to be a slight hill, with the “cliff” edges representing the steeper sections of incline, and the house at the top (but obviously, this 100% depends on how you want to use the map). The provided encounters should be fine for the levels stated, but they are by no means the only use for this map. If you like the encounter, then brilliant! If you just like the map? Also 100% fine! You can run any encounter for winter/snowy/tundra settings on this battlemap.

Encounter 1: Ice Mephits (Level 1-3) (Average/Hard)

As the party heads into the frozen woods, they notice a frozen pond ahead of them. Surrounding it, they can see a number (2 x the average party level) shards of ice, sticking out from the ground. The closer to these they get, the more they notice a rising fog, beginning to obscure their vision. As they get close enough, the shards will spring to life, revealing themselves to be Ice Mephits (basic rules - p331). These Mephits will attack the party, attempting to obscure their vision (with their innate spellcasting), and using the environment.

The ice pond is considered difficult terrain, and any creature ending their turn on it has to make a dexterity save (DC 12) or fall prone on the ground. The Mephits will try to entice the party onto the pond, and then attack them while they are down.

Encounter 2: Arctic Wolf Pack (Level 1-3) (Average)

Approaching the hut in the woods, the party is suddenly distracted by a blood curdling noise from the trees. A loud, angry, howling sound that seems to be coming from all sides of the party, continues, and is echoed from other directions. Finally, the creature capable of making such a sound shows itself; a Dire Ice Wolf (statblock below), accompanied by 2d2+2 Ice Wolves (statblock below) come from different parts of the treeline, and approach the party, with bloodlust in their eyes.

Encounter 3: Yeti Attack (Level 4-6) (Average/Hard)

As the party travels further into the snowy land, they begin to get the uneasy feeling of being watched. As the day makes its way into evening, the feeling deepens, and the party starts to notice shapes moving in between the trees. Finally, as they settle down for the evening, a quiet rustling can be heard from the trees to one side of their camp. As they look, they notice a pair of eyes staring back at them, belonging to a Yeti (basic rules - p160), using it’s Chilling Gaze feature on one party member. As this is happening, a second Yeti approaches from behind (DC 13 perception check to notice) to attack.

Encounter 4: Wild Mammoth (Level 4-6) (Hard)

Travelling deeper into the woods, the party starts to notice a trail of destruction. Trees, trampled to the ground, others with thick lines gorged into them by some giant creature, and the snowy ground recently disturbed underfoot. As they move further in, the ground becomes difficult to walk in (difficult terrain), as the snow and ground underneath have been churned by the feet of some heavy/large creature. Suddenly, one of the trees around the party collapses, causing one (or more) of them to make a dexterity saving throw (DC 14), taking 2d6 bludgeoning damage on a fail, and no damage on a save, but also causing them to become prone.

Attracted to the sound of the falling tree, the Mammoth (basic rules - p143) responsible for the destruction will awaken from its slumber (hidden somewhere between the trees), and charge towards the party. For this encounter, the ground is considered difficult terrain for any creature of size category Medium or smaller, and every turn, on initiative count 20, another tree will fall, DM’s choice where, with the same save as above.

Encounter 5: Be-Were of Bears (Level 7-9) (Average/Hard)

Deep in the woods, in an area there should not have been any sign of civilisation, the party stumbles upon a small hut. As they approach, sounds can be heard from inside, and suddenly, a hulking figure of a man heaves open the door and stands silhouetted by the fireplace inside. Upon seeing the party (or their tracks, should they hide (DC 17 Stealth)), the figure will quickly transform, revealing himself to be a Werebear (basic rules - p326). He will immediately mistake the party for a band of poachers that have been working in the area, and attack, calling out before doing so for his “companions”.

Two Polar Bears (basic rules - p149) will join in the battle, trying to fend off the outsiders. How will you handle this one? Will he fight to the death? Will he realise his error? Can he be reasoned with? This could be a really fun way to introduce a new character and/or a plotpoint to your game.

Encounter 6: The Trees Have Eyes (Level 7-9) (Very Hard/Deadly)

The further into the woods the party gets, the thicker the tree cover is becoming. The trees are slowly becoming larger, and more warped looking, with some even looking like they have faces coming out of the bark. Unnerved, but still ready to continue their journey, they press on. As the day wears on, they begin to hear creaking sounds, like the boughs of trees moving, but every time they turn around to investigate, nothing seems amiss. The more it happens, the more they begin to realise that the landscape behind them seems slightly different than it was when they passed it the first time, and some of the trees appear to have moved. 

As they start to investigate (or run), 2d2+2 figures step out from behind some of the trees. These Needle Blights (MM - p32) will attack the party immediately, whilst three of the trees themselves will begin to move. One Frosted Treant (statblock below) and two Animated Trees (from the treants “animate trees” feature) will join in the fray.

Encounter 7: Death From Above (Level 10-12) (Hard/Very Hard)

Having heard rumours of deadly creatures living in the frozen woods, and being well aware of the danger these creatures pose to the local population, the party (probably) generously volunteers to travel into the area and fix the problem, once and for all. As they make their way closer to the area, they begin to find the frozen corpses of other adventurers, townsfolk and livestock alike, littering the ground. A great ruckus can be heard from ahead, and suddenly, with a loud screeching sound, a figure drops from the sky in front of the party.

A Young White Dragon (basic rules - p270) lands in front of them, and readies its breath attack, whilst a second, identical figure, circles above. A young mating pair of White Dragons has taken up residence in the woods, and will attack any/everything in their way. And the party look like a wonderful snack.

Encounter 8: Giant Shepherd (Level 10-12) (Very Hard/Deadly)

Travelling between towns/villages/cities, the party find themselves in a frozen woodland. Halfway along the journey, they begin to hear a thunderous noise coming their way. A single Frost Giant (basic rules - p128), herding two Mammoths (basic rules - p143), is heading their way. Trampling all plant life in their way, and not showing a single care for the world around them, these huge creatures are showing no signs of stopping, and they’re heading straight for the town (or other settlement) the party just came from!

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