"The Dark Forest" is an elder shadow drake lair suitable for four 8th-level characters. This adventure can be completed in one session.
A hidden grove within a dark forest has been home to a tribe of alseids for generations. The tribe's most recent leader and spiritual heart was an alseid shaman called Riatha the Raven. Within the grove lies an ancient ring of standing stones atop a burial mount. Here, Riatha conducted sacred nature rites to honor and bless the forest and the tribe.
During one of these ceremonies, the ground rumbled and a column of dense black energy shot straight up from the burial mound and into the night sky. Thick darkness enveloped the area, and the suddenly blinded alseids heard terrible roars. An instant later, the darkness dissipated to reveal a mysterious pool ringed with skulls among the standing stones. Two large, dragon-like creatures with black scales and burning red eyes glared at the confused alseids. One the ground lay the body of Riatha, deathly still. Terror and chaos followed as the creatures brought swift and sudden death, killing most of the alseid tribe members with razor-sharp teeth and deadly, black breath.
The alseids that survived the inital, bloody attack fled into the forest. They counterattacked a few hours later, desperate to reclaim their grove and recover the body of their beloved leader, but the attempt was a fiasco and they were quickly driven off. Now, the few remaining alseids hide in the forest, frightened and unsure of what to do next.
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