Few predators that dwell in Xen’drik are fiercer than bulettes. Surrounded by a veritable banquet of prey, they rarely go hungry, rampaging through the jungle as they hunt. Many bulettes in Xen’drik have grown so accustomed to hunting through dense jungle undergrowth that they no longer lurk underground. These bulettes lose their burrow speed and instead ignore difficult and hindering terrain from plants.
As dangerous as any creature of Xen’drik but far more subtle, the plants of the mysterious continent have been known to attack and even kill those who wander into their domain, adding their fl esh to the compost heap.
One particular group of plants has become very adept at killing trespassers. Where they root along a heavily traveled path, they have littered the area around them with bones and scraps of armor from drow and explorers alike. The drow have learned to avoid this area, but inexperienced explorers might not notice the signs of danger. These plants are a trio of assassin vines (MM 20) growing in the trees around a pair of tendriculoses (MM 241). Although they often fight over food, their combined strength allows them to take down nearly any prey.
Xen’drik’s magical nature and its wide range of terrain and climate have resulted in animals spreading far outside their natural environments. Dire apes lope along the dunes of the Menechtarun Desert. Giant pythons with stony hides slither among the rock-strewn trails of the Skyraker Claws. Green-striped gray tigers with webbed paws prowl through the Marsh of Desolation.
In a Xen’drik campaign, DMs should feel free to ignore the environment line in an animal’s stat block. A few minor cosmetic changes (as suggested in the sidebar on the facing page) can produce a creature that is both familiar and disturbingly different.
The fearsome two-headed tyrannosaurus, based on the original tyrannosaurus (MM 61), is a vicious and bloodthirsty predator native only to Xen’drik. Few of these mutated specimens exist, to the great relief of explorers. Their twin heads, rather than increasing their intelligence, seem to make them twice as stupid.
Xen’drik is home to hives of insectile creatures such as abeils (MM II 22) and formians (MM 108). The center of such hives is the court. PCs must be exceptionally diplomatic to gain entry to a hive court. Those who enter by force of arms must contend with angry guards willing to fight to the death.
Abeil courts (EL 15) form around a queen. Four abeil soldiers and two elite soldiers (abeil soldiers with two levels of fighter) surround the queen, aided by four specially bred guardian wasps (giant wasps advanced to 13 HD; MM 285).
Formian courts (EL 19) form around a queen. Her ranks of guardians include four myrmarchs (MM 110), each commanding eight formian warriors.
In Xen’drik, formian queens often make deals with powers from Dolurrh. Maruts (MM 159) possess a love of law equal to that of the formians and are known to frequent Xen’drik in search of oathbreakers and other criminals fleeing the law of Khorvaire. A single marut often serves as a guardian to a formian queen.
The Marsh of Desolation is home to uncountable swamp predators that hunt and feed on each other. Of these, few are higher on the food chain than the hydra.
One crafty nine-headed pyrohydra (MM 156) uses the swamp environment to its advantage. The territory around its lair is riddled with pockets of fl ammable gas. The hydra has learned the location of these pockets and uses its breath to ignite them, creating a firestorm and roasting potential meals. Whenever the pyrohydra breathes a jet of fire, it has a 25% chance to ignite one of these gas pockets, creating an explosion of fl ame in a 10-foot-radius burst centered on one of the targets of the jet. The target creature and all others in the area take 8d6 points of fire damage (Refl ex DC 15 half).
Led by a clever displacer beast, this pack of four panthers roams the jungles of Xen’drik at night in search of prey. The displacer beast (MM 66) evaluates potential targets, preferring to attack only when the pack outnumbers its intended victims. The displacer beast prowls on the ground, while the panthers (MM 274, use leopard statistics) follow in the trees. A thick canopy of branches provides plenty of footholds for the agile panthers, while heavy foliage combined with their natural stealth allows them to remain well hidden. Treat a panther hidden in treetops as having concealment (20% miss chance).
The displacer beast hopes that frightened victims mistake the panthers for more displacer beasts, so that they either flee or forgo ranged attacks. The pack’s preferred tactic is to creep up on a party. The displacer beast attacks first and draws the party into the trees, where the panthers then pounce. Each panther targets a different individual when possible, attempting to grapple and rake. Killing the displacer beast causes the pack to flee.
For a higher-level threat, use the tactics above but replace the displacer beast with a displacer beast pack lord (MM 66) and replace the pack with dire panthers (MM 65, use dire tiger statistics).
Deep in the Xen’drik jungles, a girallon (MM 126) rules over its monkey court. The powerful girallon drank from a pool of water tainted with giant magic and was blessed with a modestly increased Intelligence of 4. Over the last few years, the creature has drawn retainers to itself and formed a primate society. It wears gold and jewelry taken from moldering chests in the ruins the court inhabits. The girallon is served by four dire apes (MM 62), four apes (MM 268), six baboons (MM 268) and six monkeys (MM 276).
The monkey court is vicious but mischievous. Its members are just as likely to throw rotten fruit at adventurers as they are to attack, and the monkeys love filching shiny items from trespassers to bring to their girallon king. The monkey court favors quick, coordinated attacks and sudden retreat, leading travelers farther into the ruins until they stand before the girallon king.
Explorers set upon by the monkey court can be overwhelmed by the deafening din as monkeys chatter, baboons bellow, apes screech, and the girallon king roars and beats its chest.
The cliff-dwelling raptorans (detailed in Races of the Wild) live in scattered pockets throughout Xen’drik. A hunting party includes four raptoran youth pilgrims (1st-level barbarians on the Walk of the Four Winds) and a single raptoran sentry (a 5th-level ranger). These NPCs are detailed on pages 183–184 of Races of the Wild. They are not initially hostile unless the PCs have intruded upon their territory.
Monstrous scorpions can be found in nearly any environment. Desert, jungle, mountains, forests, and even near-arctic climes are home to these versatile predators.
These monstrous scorpions (MM 287) respond to the call of Vulkoor’s clerics. When summoned, they march toward a signal only they can sense. A group of explorers might stumble across a scorpion march and be forced to deal with these deadly pilgrims.
Explorers traveling the waterways of Xen’drik have reason to fear the strange blue glow that rises from the riverbanks at night. Shocker lizards are not uncommon across the vast continent, lurking in marshes and along rivers and streams.
A group of eight shocker lizards (MM 224) has taken to hunting along the riverbanks, using their powerful lethal shock to bring down mighty prey (including the occasional giant). The bones of one such unfortunate hill giant have created a home for this colony. Its rusting patchwork armor provides cover (+4 AC) to any shocker lizard hiding inside it, but it does not prevent the creatures from sending shock attacks through it.
Though falling into a pit might be little more than embarrassing for a seasoned explorer, Xen’drik veterans know that swarm pits are the most repulsive traps in existence. Any animal or vermin capable of forming a swarm can fill a swarm pit. Hundreds or thousands of these creatures (most commonly centipedes, spiders, or vipers) fill the bottom third of a pit. Creatures with a fly speed never fill a pit, for obvious reasons.
Giant insects are common across Xen’drik, and the continent’s giant wasps (MM 285) are particularly tenacious. A typical nest occupies the tops of two or three large trees and is filled with winding passageways large enough for adult wasps to crawl through with ease. A normal nest holds up to twenty adults and a large number of young, while some nests feature advanced wasps of unusual size and ferocity. Such monsters often guard the nest’s entrance or hunt large prey.
A violent storm coinciding with a fading manifest zone once opened a small gate in the Thunder Sea to Lammania. Before the gate could close, a gang of water mephits (MM 185) swam through and became trapped in Eberron. The mephits soon came to the attention of a local water naga (MM 193), who amused herself by convincing the creatures that she had summoned them to serve her.
The naga always keeps one or two mephits patrolling her territory. The mephits spy on any intruders, using their excellent Hide and Move Silently skills to follow them. Should trespassers appear to merely be passing through, the mephits let them go. However, should any creatures seem hostile or head for the naga’s lair, the mephit scouts attempt to slow them down with their stinking cloud ability. They then return to the naga and report.
If the naga knows that enemies are coming, she protects herself with invisibility, shield, and protection from energ y (fire). If she has time, she makes one or two of the mephits invisible. Invisible creatures underwater create a bodyshaped bubble that grants them concealment instead of true invisibility. Underwater combat: DMG 92.
PCs aware of the naga’s presence might be able to approach her diplomatically. Although vain and proud, the water naga is not evil, and the PCs should be able to flatter her into negotiations.
A race of sinister yak folk (MM II 200) inhabits the snowy peaks of the Fangs of Argarak. While most keep to their mountain homes, enslaving only travelers or explorers who pass too close, several yak folk sorcerers have infiltrated giant tribes in the area. A yak folk puppeteer chooses a target who holds some power in the tribe but has a lower profile than the tribal leaders, then uses body meld to assume the target’s place in the tribe.
Short of using a true seeing spell, PCs who encounter such a tribe have no way of seeing through the puppeteer’s subterfuge. The puppeteer attempts to steer PCs toward the yak folk tribes (if the PCs would make good slaves) or away from the mountain (if the PCs seem too powerful for the yak folk to handle).
A group of Silver Flame adepts recently decided to bring the grace of the Flame at last to the souls eking out an existence in darkest Xen’drik. The missionaries arrived in Stormreach two months ago and spent some time working for the established temple there. After learning of a prospecting camp five days’ journey into the jungle, three of the missionaries set out with healing kits and supplies for the miners. They planned on spending a few days in camp before returning to Stormreach.
Three weeks have passed since they left, and the remaining missionaries grow nervous. Surely their companions will return soon—unless they have met with disaster.
The PCs face three major challenges in this scenario. First, they must locate the missionaries, who stumbled into the path of a wild boar two days after leaving the prospectors’ camp. Forced to flee from the savage creature, the trio wandered lost in the jungle for some days before being ambushed and captured by a tribe of grimlocks. Once they find the captive missionaries, the PCs must rescue them. Finally, the PCs need to deal with a missionary who was infected with lycanthropy by the wereboar they believed was a regular wild boar.
The remaining missionaries in town—a human couple named Corak and Tibari—know that their companions entered the jungle three weeks ago. The group’s intent was to follow a trail for several days until they reached a river, then follow the river upstream to the prospecting camp.
Even if the PCs arrive in time to save the missionaries from their untimely fate, they still must transport the shaken trio home. Of the three, Chaed (LG male human adept 1) and Liria (LG female half-elf adept 1) are nothing more than they seem. The third, however, harbors a deadly infection. Eustech (LG male human [shapechanger] adept 1) contracted lycanthropy from the wereboar’s attack. Unaware of his own condition, Eustech is taken by surprise when he changes form during the next full moon.
Party's ship crashes against the shore, and they have to survive against hostile natives while the crew repairs the ship.