Characters are traveling along a narrow ledge, about 1-3 feet in width (DC 5 Acrobatics. Do not need to actually roll, but PCs lose DEX bonus to AC and CMD). The fetid stench of swamp below clings to their nostrils as they skirt around it. They may be going around the swamp because they were told to avoid, or perhaps they don’t have time to lose hacking and picking their way through.
As they near a bend in the path, they hear a loud bang echo up to them from the swamp below. Birds scatter from the trees, and following closely behind are 3 enormous dragonflies, their neon colors at stark odds with the wetlands below. Spotting easier prey than they faced below, they speed toward the characters!
* This encounter will likely seem threatening, but it is nearly impossible to kill the PCs in it.
* There is a high chance of splitting the party in this encounter; be prepared to deal with that.
* Narrow ledge denies characters DEX bonuses to AC and CMD. It also influences their maneuverability.
* 3 Giant Dragonflies (SRD Link) (Bestiary 2, pg. 105)
* Tactics: use their Darting Charge to swoop in, grapple small(er) targets, and carry them off. Dragonflies will attempt to carry potential prey to a secluded area of the swamp for mealtime. However, if they are injured while carrying the prey they will drop it.
* Morale: dragonflies will flee if reduced to ½ hit points.
* Characters falling:
* Characters who fall near the ledge can make a DC 30 Climb check to catch themselves on rough slope.
* Characters who fall over the swamp itself can make a DC 40 Climb check to catch themselves on a tree branch below.
* Characters who fail to do either will take 1d6 nonlethal (hitting soft canopy) + 2d3 nonlethal (hitting deep water) + 7d6 lethal. Average damage = 6 nonlethal and 21 lethal.
* Add 1 more dragonfly for a CR 9. Add 3 more dragonflies (total of 6) for a CR 10.
*As the characters approach the bend, they might smell something decaying. Since this encounter doesn’t yield any treasure naturally, this could be a good opportunity to give the characters a reward for their efforts.
* Give some of the dragonflies minor injuries, to represent whatever happened below.
* The dragonflies may have some sort of arcane or runic markings on them. Since they’re unlikely to die in any close proximity to the players, they will likely be unreadable.
* Boggards tend to revere dragonflies, and their priest-kings refuse to eat anything but the flesh of certain colored dragonflies. Perhaps the characters could strike a deal of some kind…
* The dragonflies were scared away from their normal hunting grounds by something. Give the characters who were dropped a chance to investigate what it was.
* Dragonflies are attracted to the smell of decay. Perhaps that smell around the bend was a humanoid corpse, maybe someone the PCs were looking for or familiar with. * Always a classic: there’s ruins in them thar swamps! Maybe characters who get dropped into the swamp find some clue to solving a riddle/puzzle to enter the ruins.
* Good for horror campaigns: there’s a creepy village/hermit in the swamp that the dropped characters encounter (think the brick makers from The Witcher).