|A trio of grindylows by Michael Scotta|
Available as Stock Art
Environment: Ocean-going vessel
Encounter Level: 5 (XP 1,600)
Area: This encounter occurs while the PCs take passage on a large ocean-going vessel.
Situation: The captain and crew of the ship notice that supplies and stores in the lower deck start to go missing. At first it’s just a few open crates of hard tack, but eventually more valuable cargo disappears. A search for stowaways turns up nothing. However, one night two sailors stationed to guard the ship’s cargo disappear. Only a few spots of blood indicate violence claimed both men.
Unknown to anyone a tribe of 10 grindylows led by a grindylow shaman (druid 5) snuck on board the ship at its last port. The foul creatures now live in the ship’s bilge, explaining why the earlier searches turned up nothing. Ingenious PCs can set a trap to catch a few of the grindylows roaming the ship at night, but will have get into the bilge to eliminate the entire clan. If discovered, the grindylows will first attempt to hold out against the PCs, but if the party proves too strong the gridylow druid will use his magic to cut his way out through the ship’s underside. This will sink the ship.
The ship’s bilge is accessed through a single trap door in the bottom deck at the bow and stern. The water in the bilge is quite filthy and carries filth fever. Creatures injured while in the water or who drink it must save to avoid infection. PCs must also make a DC 16 Fort save when entering the bilge and every 10 minutes thereafter or become sickened while in the water.
The grindylow tribe includes a ranger whose favored enemies are the most prevalent races in the PC party. He slips out at night and hunts the PCs while they hunt for his tribe-mates.
The grindylow carry a minor amount of treasure, though the druid shaman (and ranger, if used) possesses magic items appropriate to a creature of its level. The captain allows the PCs to keep anything the grindylow owned. As well, if the PCs eliminate the infestation and save the ship, the captain will transport the PCs to a destination of their choice for free as long as the voyage does not place his ship or crew in an overly risky situation.