This encounter takes place in the Wychwood region of the Valley, just to the west of the Tiazarr River. it deals with the Khozaki - a "nation" of Fethta riding nomads from the vast plains around the Barony of Ungams.
The players come across an encamped Khozaki mercenary company near the Tiazarr River, along it's eastern bank. These particular mercenaries are in the employ of Baron Ungams and have been sent to cross the Tiazarr, enter the realm of Gorrem Castle, test to see if a new baron has been selected yet, and scout if there is a chance for advantage to be made by a full scale crossing of the river.
These Khozaki mercenaries are 3rd level human fighting men, and are all experts with the spear and the short bow. In the common manner of the Khozaki, they wear loose brightly colored pants, leather shirts, and short capes of a variety of colors. High hard leather riding boots and bronze helmets complete their outfit. In combat, they would wear scale armor over their leather shirts. Again, as common for all Khozaki, they are excellent riders. This company are riding the common riding animal from Ungams, the Fethta. The Fethta is a great riding lizard, the girth and bulk of a horse, but much longer counting the spiky tail. The drool and spittle of the Fethta is poisonous, and they are trained to fight as well as ride. When angered, and in combat, they will rear up on their hind legs (a maneuver that the riders train for, and their special harnesses and saddles are built to support it), and fight with their two front claws and by biting. The riders will employ their spears, and also shoot their bows. In appearance, the fethta looks like a common green garden lizard, but with a 7' long body, and an additional 7' long spiky tail. The spikes on the tail are merely mating adornments, and not for fighting.
Num Appearing: 1-2 (if encountered in the wild)
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3d (15h.p.)
Attacks: 3 (claw, claw, bite) plus disease
Damage: 1d4; 1d4; 2d4
The bite of the Fethta is indeed dangerous. If a successful bite is made, and a save vs. poison is failed, then there is a 25% chance of infection. If this happens, a blood disease ensues - if infected, the victim will lose one point (from each) of strength, constitution and dexterity for 9 days, and then gain it back at one point each for 9 days; if any go below 0 the victim dies. A cure disease will end this.
This company of mercenaries is a small river crossing party, perhaps 20 fighters strong, being led by a 5th level fighting man named Captain Lu d'Ross. They are encamped near the rivers edge in order to construct rafts for crossing the river with their riding fethta.
In order to speed up the process, Captain Lu d'Ross has ordered the company to chop down the nearby Quolda trees. These are semi-magical trees cultivated by the Elves, and have been growing since the birth of the Elven people. Well into the chopping of the second tree (only three or four would be needed, because of the fantastic properties and quantities of wood that can be harvested from each one), an Elven princess from the nearby woodland realm came to Captain Lu d'Ross, begging for the men to stop the process of killing the sacred trees. Captain d'Ross immediately ordered that the princess, a Caerilla Ne Quolda, be taken prisoner so that the wood harvesting could continue.
Encounter: As the players are looking on to the scene of the harvesting of the Quolda trees, they are ambushed and attacked by a group of wood elves who are intent on stopping the harvest, and have mistaken the player characters as part of the mercenary company. The warband of wood elves consists of a 4th level leader Turokan Har Quolda, and six 3rd level elves. All are fighter/magic-users.
Experienced Wood Elf Warriors
No. Enc.: 1d4
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3 (18 h.p.)
Attacks: 1 (long sword, and long bow)
Damage: 1d8 or 1d6
Spells: Magic Missile, Shield, Levitate
If possible, half of the group will cast Levitate on themselves, floating up out of reach, and will employ long bows. The rest will immediately cast Shield, and then engage in combat. If the chance comes up, they will use Magic Missile against spell casters.
Details for Captain Lu d'Ross, Caerilla Ne Quolda, and Turokan Har Quolda are left for the DM to devise.
The players must decide whether they will fight the elves, or try to parlay with them. Then the noise generated will ensure an attack by the Mercenaries.
During the combat, if one occurs, the second quolda tree will be felled (it is almost down when the ambush comes), and inside its massive trunk, a chamber leading to an underground Wood Elf burrow is revealed. Within are treasures and dangers awaiting the Characters - no doubt which will be determined by their decisions during the encounter between the Elves and the Mercenaries - and how they treat with the imprisoned Princess.