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Secret Lairs: The End of Roads

Secret Lairs: The End of Roads

witch's hutAt the end of the path, diverging from the road, there sits a homey looking shack. It smells of hearty stew and delicious bread. A pleasant sort of kindness fills the air, and the scent of the food is mouthwatering, making it hard to resist the inevitable pangs of hunger.

Two old hounds lie wearily beside the door, doing no more than politely lifting their heads as you approach. Looking back, the outside world wavers unsteadily. The path is gone, replaced by foreboding trees—the road nowhere in sight.

Inside, you find a plain square room, each wall measuring nearly 25-ft. The aroma smells less pleasant as the door opens and you enter. Bent over a cauldron at the far end of the room is an old crone stirring with a heavy wooden spoon…

Turning to face you, you see she has no eyes. The dogs begin to snarl, their bodies rippling, growing. The old crone smiles, “Just in time for lunch.” Pulling her spoon from the cauldron, thick stew drips from the small skull at its end. With a toss of her hand, you suddenly feel heavy with her cackling curse.

Ambush at the End of Roads (XP 650)

Mother Crone began years ago as a witch, working small charms of memory and magic. As age assaulted her, she felt death coming on and made a pact to stave it off. The pact twisted her, trapping her eternally within the End of Roads. She now waits maliciously to change those who find her into her “little boys and girls.”

Her two “little boys”  defend her viciously, though they too were once travelers. Now all that remains in their world is Mother and serving her will. They target the character closest to her at all times, protecting their mother.

Mother Crone (Level 4 Elite Controller (Leader))

Medium natural humanoid; XP 350
Initiative +2; Senses Perception +5; blindsight
Mother’s Aura Allies who begin their turn within the aura gain 3 temporary hp as long as Mother Crone is not bloodied
hp 104; Bloodied 52
AC 17, Fortitude 19, Reflex 18, Will 19
Saving Throws +2
Speed 3
Action Points 1

[M] Skull-Staff Spoon (standard; at-will) ◊ Weapon
+9 vs. AC; 2d6 + 6 damage, and target is dazed until the end of their next turn

[c] Death’s Friend (standard; encounter) ◊ Necrotic
Close burst 3; targets enemies in burst; +8 vs. Fortitude; 1d6 + 4 necrotic damage, and target is weakened (save ends)

[c] Elder’s Curse (standard; encounter) ◊ Psychic
Close blast 3; targets enemies in burst; +8 vs. Will; 1d6 + 4 psychic damage, and Mother Crone slides target 2 squares; targets are dazed until the end of their next turn.

Mother’s Rage
After Mother Crone first becomes bloodied and until the end of the encounter, her allies gain a +2 bonus on melee attacks and melee damage rolls against the character who bloodied her

Alignment Chaotic Evil Languages Common
Skills Bluff +9, Arcana +11, Nature +10
Str 10 (+2) Dex 11 (+2) Wis 17 (+5)
Con 12 (+3) Int 18 (+6) Cha 15 (+4)

Mother’s Little Boys [2] (Level 3 Brute)

Large natural beast; XP 150
Initiative +0; Senses Perception +7
hp 59; Bloodied 29
AC 18, Fortitude 15, Reflex 16, Will 16
Resist 5 psychic
Speed 8, phasing 4

[M] Bite (standard; at-will)
+6 vs. AC; 1d6 + 4 damage

[m] Aether’s Bite (standard; at-will) ◊ Necrotic
If Mother’s Little Boy has phased more than 2 squares this turn, it makes two bite attacks against a single target

[m] Claws of Lethe (standard; encounter) • Psychic
+6 vs. Will; 2d6 + 3 damage; target is dazed until the end of their next turn
Secondary Attack—+6 vs. Will; until the end of its next turn, target can only make melee basic attacks if it attacks

Alignment Evil Languages Common
Str 18 (+5) Dex 12 (+2) Wis 12 (+2)
Con 19 (+5) Int 7 (–1) Cha 8 (+0)

Leaving the End of Roads (Skill Challenge)

Complexity 2
Encounter Level
PC Level

The home of Mother Crone is suspended outside of the world, connected tangentially with our own through a maze of charms. Those who find their way in, find leaving again difficult, for the charms confuse their eyes and drain their strength.

Perception (moderate difficulty)You discern the right direction and stay to the path despite the magics in the way. If you succeed, you may immediately make a Nature or History check:

  • Nature (moderate difficulty; does not count towards success or failure)You remove a failure by using knowledge of the environment to correct your course.
  • History (moderate difficulty; does not count towards success or failure)The next Perception or Arcana check attempted gains a +2 bonus.

Arcana (hard difficulty; success counts as two successes, failure counts as two failures)Feeling out the charms, you follow their threads: they can bring you much closer to escaping or lead you deeper.

Endurance (moderate difficulty)Two Endurance checks are required as you make your way from the End of Roads. If both are failed, the surrounding charms dull you into sleep.

After Two FailuresMany of Mother’s Little Boys have been set free over the years, wandering lost in the spells surrounding the End of Roads and the characters stumble upon two of them. If the last check failed was a perception check, you are surprised. If both failures were Endurance checks, you awake surprised and prone while being attacked.

After Three Failures—You stumble out somewhere along the road, far from where you left it. You are days further away from their destination.

Hooks

  • Mother Crone made a pact with a strange, dark force. The PCs might be in pursuit of this creature. The End of Roads may possess some clue to the creature’s identity or location.
  • Several local children have gone missing recently and a few elders remember stories of a witch in the wilderness. The PCs are hired to investigate and find the children.
  • The party may be travelling and have the bad fortune or judgment to wander into the End of Roads.

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