2p D&D Module - Wood Elf Rites

Wood Elf Village

Deep within a great forest, homes are built in and around the trees using magic to shape the wood without harming the plant. A town full of wood elves lives here with a deep and ceremonious respect for the woods. You've been living here as an adult for about a year now in a home shaped for you by the elders. After a long year of waiting it's finally time for your rites into adulthood.

The wisewoman council rules over the wood elves, made up of the oldest and wisest grandmothers. The elves all worship Siallia, the goddess of fertility and protector of mothers, the planter of trees and nurturer of seedlings. She rejoices in life and shields against death. You'll be meeting with them today to perform your rites.

Ask how they've decorated their home and lived for the past year. If they have any questions about the rites they won't know much about them. They'll know that wood elves are proud hunters but the rites are deliberately kept secret.

Once they've gotten settled in their home and decide to meet with the elders you can continue.

The walkways bend around the trees as a natural extension of the bark, and large flat branches serve as bridges between the paths. Homes are delicately shaped as hollow points within the huge trunks. Light filters in through the canopy above and the paths are illuminated with gently glowing bulbs trapped within shaped wood. Other wood elves are out as well and some wish you luck on the rites.

As you approach the wisewoman tree you pass by a small shrine to Shiallia in the shape of a golden acorn. The path winds all the way up the ancient tree, up to a plateau above the canopy. The tree stands taller than all the others, and up above the canopy for the first time in your life you can see for miles in every direction. The tops of trees spread out for as far as you can see, sloping up and down with the shape of the terrain.

The eldest wood elves of your tribe are here. You recognize some of them from sermons and various festivals growing up, while some look like they haven't left this tree in years. They're speaking to (Koeth / Theira) Sylvarun, a close childhood friend of yours who is also doing the rites. The rites only occur every few years, so you figured (he / she) would be here. [He] smiles as you approach, and you can tell that [he's] very nervous.

After some short introductions and getting ready, the speaker will begin.

"Only the strong may earn the gift of life. The weak must feed the strong, and become their strength. It is in the hunt, the chase, and the struggle that our strength is tested. So must your strength be tested now to earn your life in our tribe. Go out into the forest of rains, alone. Hunt and be hunted, become strong or strength for another, and find the statue of Shiallia. Drink from its waters and commune with the goddess, then return here a (man / woman). Take nothing with you, you may only have that which the fertile mother provides."

Here they can talk for a bit before going if they so choose. The elders aren't going to give any tips or hints, seeing that as a sign of weakness. Koeth is friendly but clearly very nervous. Once they decide to leave they must do so alone and without any gear.

Forest of Rains

Enter the forest of rains, where huge globes of water float in the air containing full ecosystems within. Plants grow up from the ground through the water like large seawood, and all manner of fish and aquatic life live sequestered in their floating homes.

You should allow them to find and craft a focus and anything else they need if they search for the materials. Hide or leather armor will require hunting and fighting an animal, but padded armor can be made from vines and wood. Spears and other pointy things can be made with rocks and sticks, and food can be hunted. Primitive versions of most things can be made, but you should let the player figure out what they need and how to make it. Part of the fun can be realizing you need something and how you're going to get it.

After a couple hours they will get hungry, and they'll have to track and hunt some animals. Foraging is especially difficult with a DC 20 and will result in much less food than usual. There are not many fruits or edible roots, most plants use the waters to disperse their seeds and have their leaves eaten by fish. The grasses and leaves don't have many usable calories in them, which is why the wood elves mostly hunt for their diets.

After a full day of hunting, crafting, and traveling, it will become dark and they'll need to make camp. Ask how they plan to prepare and set up their camp, much the same as before. As they settle in for the night they'll hear movement in the trees, how far away is determined by their Perception. It's a goblin (Monster Manual p. 166) and 1-2 hyenas (Monster Manual p. 331) depending on how difficult they can handle. You could do 2 goblins as well if they really need a deadly challenge. Determine surprise based on how things play out, and roll initiative. The goblin will be riding a hyena, so they'll move together.

After the battle, if the corpses are not properly disposed of a pair of saber-toothed tigers (Monster Manual p. 336) will smell and find them, coming to claim the kill. If the player is anywhere nearby, they'll be hunted by the tigers as well. If the player fights the tigers in a straight battle they will likely be killed. Don't bother with initiative and play it out as a series of skill checks. If they're adamant about fighting then the predators will give up and claim the corpses once wounded. They're looking for an easy meal, not a fight to the death.

The next day you can allow for some more hunting and crafting, or straight travel for a couple hours to the monument.

A large monument to Shiallia stands at the center in a glade of flowers. A voluptuously beautiful and short woman with goat-like legs, her long blonde hair covers her body instead of clothes and is festooned with garlands of oak leaves and golden acorns. At the base of the statue is a pool of sweet-smelling liquid. A serene silence hangs over the glade save for the small chirping of birds, which gives the area a very peaceful feeling.

The liquid causes vivid hallucinations.

The trees and ground and even the air will begin to waver and shake and start to change form. Strange creatures made entirely of plant and wood form and jump through the foliage. Trees take on a more golden glow. Small goat-legged creatures run amongst the treeline. A feeling of warmth and happiness washes over you. You see a woman with golden acorns in her hair frolicking with the others. A large grey crag cat leaps into the glade and snarls at you.

Crag Cat

The Crag Cat (Storm King's Thunder p. 240) is very real, a magical feline that resists magic. It's also Koeth / Theira shapechanged and hallucinating. [He'll] start off combat with a charge and a pounce, hoping to pin them to the ground and get an extra attack in. If the crag cat is reduced to 0 [he'll] shapechange back into a humanoid at which point they'll realize who [he] is. On [his] next turn [he'll] use entangle and then shapechange into a Dire Wolf (Monster Manual p. 321) or Giant Spider (Monster Manual p. 328). [He] can also use Fog Cloud if things go bad to hide, heal, and try to get another surprise attack in. If both shapechanges are defeated then Ice Knife and Thunderwave can be used in humanoid form. [He'll] prefer to spend spell slots with a bonus action while shapechanged to heal 1d8.

If the player wins they can decide what to do with them. Koeth / Theira will come back to [his] senses, apologize for hunting a close friend, and recognize their strength. [He] will plead for [his] life if it looks like the player is going to kill them. If [he] wins, then the player will be spared. In either case, Koeth / Theira will confess their love to the player, which they can either accept or reject.

Afterwards, they can return home. They'll need to camp another night in the woods, which will be especially cold. The player can travel home with Koeth / Theira or not. Early during the next day, the saber-toothed tiger will return but this time it will be alone and not be interested in fleeing. If Koeth / Theira is not with the player then [he'll] return to help fight, emerging from the woods at the end of the first round. This should even up the odds a bit and make the fight possible. You could even have both tigers show up if they really need a challenge.

After combat it's an easy return back home, where they'll have succeeded on the rites and be recognized as adults. They'll be shown how to shape the wood of the trees and be allowed to make a home of their own.

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