'The Cavern: From down below to up above'
Waking to find yourself trapped in a mysterious underground cavern, you and your comrades must overcome the perils of unknown inhabitants, unforgiving environment and incredible odds to survive the multi-level journey from down below to the safety of the surface up above.
About this encounter
This encounter is designed especially for people new to Dungeons & Dragons.
You are here - deep underground
The underground cavern is dank and dark, to the touch and underfoot. There’s an audible dripping sound. A thick mist swirls around you - it stings your eyes and makes breathing difficult. You attribute your sudden dizziness to the strange coloured mist. Visibility is low, real low. The cavern is eerily lit by a dim bioluminescent glow emitted by insects swarming nearby. Their glow illuminates a small entrance which gives way to makeshift stairs leading upwards.
Who you're up against
The underground cavern is home to a variety of unique fauna and flora. Fortunately, some have been studied by the scholarly botanists and zoologists of your village. You recall the scholars instructing you to exercise extreme caution when in close proximity and to avoid sudden movement, loud noises and direct contact, at all costs. Less fortunate is the discovery of rival clan members who are also trapped elsewhere in the cavern - you can make out the sound of their muffled voices as they also plan their escape from the cavern. Sounds like trouble.
Small creatures with similar stats, traits and actions to a Giant Rat.
Rival clan members
Humans with similar stats, traits and actions to a Commoner.
As you battle all manner of monsters and creatures deep underground, you may feel your energy start to ebb from you with each step until you feel you cannot continue. I ask you, no I beg you to hold on to hope and bravely push forever forwards to meet your objective. Sincerely, Rowan.
Objective: escape with your life!
To ensure your survival, you must escape from the strange toxic mist of the underground cavern, navigate the maze-like passageways through multiple-levels ascending to the surface. You may achieve this through:
Force: engage the rival clan in a brutal battle from level to level, and to eventual freedom. Be wary of creating commotion, kicking-up spores from the native flora or raising the ire of the fauna, which you may then need to battle - you will face fearsome enemies on all fronts!
Negotiation: try to extend the olive branch to the rival clan and establish a temporary truce as a matter of survival. Many hands make light work (in battle), so every blade against the local fauna helps. The distant promise of long-term truce between the two clans brings hope, so be sure to talk first and fight later.
Stealth: become one with the shadows and the ascending passageways, silently blending into the surfaces and surrounds while avoiding assailants from the rival clan and attacks from perilous native flora and fauna. Eventually, you may reach the surface safely. If negotiations with the rival clan are successful, good outcomes abound.
If you your comrades make it to the surface, you leave with your life and a detailed understanding of the underground cavern and its inhabitants.
Any fauna that followed you now recoils from the harsh sunlight and scrambles back to the darkness from which it came.
Any flora that became entangled now crumbles to dust and blows away like smoke in a gentle breeze, leaving a slight discolouration on your outer clothing.
Survivors from the rival clan emerge gingerly from the cavern entrance and head for the safety of their own village.
A very special thanks to Dan Schuster, Nick Sweeney, John Cardoso, thirdmunky, Abbs, Gwen C. Katz, Lex Gordon, Craig Arnold and the Lunchtime D&D crew™ for your feedback and thoughts on my encounter - thank you!