Tales abound of the dangers faced in the deep forest. Pitfalls, beasts, and a lost sense of direction threaten folk who live at the edge of the wood. But these dangers are only felt by those who do not learn the forest’s way. For those who respect and embrace the woods, a home and plenty can be found there.
The Wolf Mother
Valenrae once believed that love was for fools. Now, she believes that the only real fools are heroes.
Drawn by the smile of a young human adventurer, her elven mother chose to settle down with her hero. For a time, their life was a fairytale in a little forest cottage. But forest fairy tales often take a darker turn. In the shadow of his former glory, her father turned to drink and cruelty. In time, her mother broke her vow and fled. Valenrae was not so free and suffered many years in his wicked grasp.
The final break came when her father offered his “pretty young thing” as a reward to a reckless young hero who reminded him of his glory days. She had been warned all her life not to go into the woods by a man who saw the world only in threats and treasure. But Valenrae fled there nonetheless, like her mother.
She quickly became lost. In her darkest hour, a shadow fell upon her. Instead of the hungry wolf, she was found by the Green Maiden. Instead of devouring her, the Maiden taught her why she’d been such easy prey. Valenrae took to her new mother’s lessons and became a mother of sorts to the Maiden’s creations.
Valenrae is a druid, and she can also take the form of a bower wolf (see below) once per day as if she possessed the wild shape feature.
The Wood Wardens
Beast and hunters both seek their fortunes in the nearby forest. But to Valenrae, the forest holds liberation. She’s built a community, a small collective of runaways and run-off hedge witches of all kinds. Tales of a “Wolf Mother,” face painted red and adorned in dark furs, have spread. Adventurers have gone in to hunt her. Those who return carry wounds and stories of monsters, which only spur more calls for the hunt.
Valenrae has no interest in harming those who respect the forest. Her exceptions are those who resemble ignorant heroes—out-of-place, marching in plate armor or wielding strange magic. These few, Valenrae loves to terrorize. If they fight, so will she, but her spite only turns to killing if necessary.
Along with Valenrae, a large pack of bower wolves patrol the forest. These plants resemble wolves with dark, mossy fur and a hard bark hide around their bellies and limbs. Thorns replace fangs that require no meat. Long, gripping fingers replace the paws, allowing them to climb. Those who show respect receive it in kind. Those who have no business in the forest will hear their unsettling howls in the distance. They stalk and surround, only going in for the kill with a clear opening.
Medium Plant, Typically Lawful Neutral
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 20 (3d10 + 3)
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.
|14 (+2)||15 (+2)||12 (+1)||7 (-2)||13 (+1)||11 (+0)|
Skills Athletics +4, Perception +5, Stealth +4
Senses Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Bower wolf; Understands Common, Elvish, and Sylvan
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2
Pack Tactics. The bower wolf has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the wolf’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.
Spider Climb. The bower wolf can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
Multiattack. The bower wolf makes two attacks: one bite and one with its claws, or two claws against a prone target.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) slashing damage.
Guardian Howl. The bower wolf lets out an eerie, echoing howl. Creatures within a mile of the bower wolf who aren’t allies must succeed on a DC 10 Wisdom throw or suffer disadvantage on Strength saving throws and be unable take reactions for 1 hour. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns in combat, or each 10 minutes outside of it, ending the effect on itself on a success. If the target successfully saves against the effect, or if the effect on it ends, the target is immune to the bower wolf’s Guardian Howl for the next 24 hours. Creatures who resist or are immune to being frightened also resist or are immune to the howl.
Three bower wolves may ready an action to howl as one, increasing the DC to 12, but only a single saving throw is made. If five or more bower wolves howl together, the DC increases to 15.
These magic items can be found in an around Valenrae’s forest.
Wondrous Item, Uncommon
This branch is etched with up to ten names in sylvan script. For each name, a single promise is shared. A single witness may also be chosen, who is not bound by the promise, but is named on the branch. Should a promise on the branch be broken, the branch snaps at the center. All whose names are etched hear the snap, so long as they’re on the same plane. Those who hear immediately understand the noise’s source and its significance.
Wondrous Item, Uncommon
If sheared and woven, the moss-like fur of the bower wolf can be worn as a cloak for a total of 24 hours before drying out and losing its benefits. A creature wearing the enchanted mantle is immune to the wolf’s guardian howl, gains a climbing speed equal to its walking speed, and gains proficiency in the Stealth skill if not already proficient. A full hour is expended each time the mantle is worn, even if worn for less than an hour, and another hour is used for any remaining time after a full hour is expended.
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