Expert DM Competition #4 -- Create an Urban Menace
Snorr the Ripper, young shadow dragon"Have you heard of the Ripper? He lurks in the night, brutaly killing helpless victims for no apparent reason. But behold, the Ripper has worked hard to earn his name. A number of the murders involved extremely gruesome acts, such as mutilation and evisceration. And the blood of the victims bedaub the nearby walls."Snorr the Ripper
Snorr is a young shadow dragon, born in the shadowfell. He entered the world a few years ago through a short lived portal and settled for time being in one of the remaining grand cities of Nerath(the recent human empire). Every few nights he goes hunting for prey in the streets. He prefers helpless victims which are alone and expects only little resistance.
He is a playfull young beast and toys with his food after killing. He twiddles with the bowels of his victims and vanishes into the night if he fears to be discovered. His lair is in the cellar of an abandoned manor, but he tries hard not to give it away.
The citiy is well aware of the murders and rumors of "The Ripper" are widely spread. His real Name and his true nature is a mystery however. The overstrained guard has yet failed to find the culprit and the murders fade next to the mass of thugs, thieves and common crimes.
A common assumption is that "The Ripper" is a madman, driven by some hidden agenda. Some suggest he's a Shadar-kai Gloomblade.Snorr the Ripper, Young Shadow Dragon
Level 5 x Solo Lurker
Large shadow magical beast (dragon)___ XP 100 x 0
Initiative +1 x 1
[b]Senses[/b] Perception +9 x ; darkvision
Shroud of Night aura 5 x ; bright light in the aura is reduced to dim light, and dim light becomes darkness.
HP 256 x ; Bloodied 128; see also bloodied breath
AC 23 x ; Fortitude 19, Reflex 21, Will 18
Resist 15 x necrotic
Saving Throws +5
Speed 7 x , fly 7 (clumsy), overland flight 10
Action Points 2
Reach 2 x ; +11 vs. AC; 1d6+3 damage
Reach 2 x ; +9 vs. AC; 1d4+3 damage.
Dragon Fury(standard; at-will)
The Dragon makes two claw attacks. If the Dragon hits a single target with both claws, it makes a bite attack against the same target.
Breath Weapon(standard; recharge 5 x +)✦necrotic
Close Blast 5 x ; +8 vs. Reflex; 1d12+3 necrotic damage and the target is blinded until the end of it's next turn.
Bloodied Breath(free, when first bloodied;encounter)✦ x ;necrotic
The dragon's breath weapon recharges, and the dragon uses it immediatley.
Vanish into the Shadows(standard; encounter)
The young shadow dragon gains gaseous Form and is invisible until the end of it's next turn.
Frightful Presence(standard; encounter)✦ x ;fear
Close Burst 5 x ; targets enemies; +6 vs. Will; the target is stunned until the end of the dragon's next turn. Aftereffect: The target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls (save ends).
The young shadow dragon deals an extra 1 x d6 damage on melee attacks against any target it has combat advantage against.
Alignment Evil _______ Languages Common, Draconic
Skills Bluff +9 x , Stealth +17
Str 16 x (+5) Dex 20 (+7) Wis 15 (+4)
Con 16 x (+5) Int 12 (+3) Cha 10 (+2) Shadow Dragon Tactics
Snorr uses his Shroud of Night
and stealth to sneak up on his prey and initiates a fight with his breath weapon
. In the first round of combat he'll go all out on his target with Dragon Fury
, burning an Action Point for another round of Dragon Fury
. He keeps attacking, using his breath weapon
again as soon as possible. If the fight isn't finished quickly, he use another Action Point, Frightful Presence
, Vanishes into the Shadows
and flees, preferably in stealth.Shadow Dragon Lore
A character knows the following information with a successfull Nature/Arcana Check:Nature DC 15:
The creature is a shadow dragon, an evil type of dragon with a taste for human flesh.Arcana DC 15:
The creature is a shadow dragon, a type of the planar dragons native to the shadowfell.Nature DC 20:
The Breath weapon of this creature is a stream of darkness, wrapping the victims in impenetrable shadows. Shadow Dragons are know as evil and gruel, but most important is that they just don't care about other beings.Arcana DC 20:
A shadow dragon has strong ties to the shadowfell. Where they walk the light darken and shadows reach out towards them. They are even able to become shadows themselfs.The Ripper Encounters
The Encounter is appropriate for a party of level 5. It's designed to provide a change of pace during the stay in a major city. The player may hear the rumors or discover a fresh victim.
Snorr the Ripper is usually found hunting during some nights. The PCs will encounter him alone. It is likely that both sides survive the first encounter and The Ripper gets away, using his abilities to vanish. To prevent this the players will propably set up a trap or an ambush.
Careful Questioning, research in librarys, and tracking may reveal the true nature of the Ripper. While this is a worthy skill challenge, skill challenges for the gathering of information in this way or to locate a hidden lair are already widespread.
For those groups that already know they want to search for the Ripper, and that know at least he has powers tied to shadows and darkness, the following skill challenge is given to search for The Ripper while he's hunting.Skill Challenge "Find a shadow in the night"Complexity
5 - 12 success before 4 failures _____ Level
5 (1000 xp)Primary Skills:
Perception, Stealth, Streetwise, Nature, History
The skill challenge is divided in rounds, each round each player can make up to one skill check according to his actions. A round is based on the actions of the players and can be several minutes or about an hour. At the end of each round add a half failure to the failures of the players. Perception(DC 14):
You walk careful through the streets, you look for tracks, possible victims, deep shadows and unnatural darkness. You can score only successes or nothing in Perception, but no failure. For each success it's getting more difficult to find things your not already aware, add +2 for each Success to the DC of perception. Streetwise(DC 14):
You talk with the right people, look at the right places, following hints and looking for possible spots to hide. The first success in streetwise opens up the acrobatics skill.Stealth(DC 14):
You lurk in the shadows yourself, careful to observe but not to be seen yourself. The player require at least 3 successes in stealth and they should be hinted at this constraint.Nature(DC 14):
You carefuly think about what you know about the thread, hoping to find hints that could be helpful. Using this skill doesn't count as a success or failure for the challenge, but instead provides a +2 bonus or a -2 penalty to the next character's skill check. History(DC 19):
You research the rumors of the Ripper, seeking a pattern or some helpful habit. Using this skill doesn't count as a success or failure for the challenge, but instead provides a +2 bonus or a -2 penalty to the next character's skill check. Acrobatics(DC 14):
This skill becomes availible after the first success in streetwise. You've been hinted at the highway of the thieves, and use the rooftops for the manhunt. A failed check indicates that you fell and you lose a healing surge. Goal:
The players can pinpoint the location to a 10x10 square and they may try a perception check to spot The Ripper immediatly.Failure:
The players searched in the wrong streets and lurked on harmless shadows. The Ripper murders a further victim this night and vanishes without trace. The players need to prepare better or find another way to confront the Ripper.Optional Elements
There is an innuendo towards the elements of false urban legend and the ignorance of the menace, but the elements that are fulfilled are:6)The menace is a solo Monster. The Thread is a Level 5 Solo Lurker.8)The menace is from another plane. The Thread is a planar dragon, a shadow dragon native to the shadowfell.13)The PCs can engage in a Skill Challenge (described in the entry) to learn useful information about the menace. The described skill challenge allows the PCs to learn the location of the menace itself(a.k.a. useful information about the menace).