723 The Forest Owlbear

Nestled between the snow-capped peaks of the Galdor Mountains and the dense, whisper­ing pines of Merwood Forest, lies the quaint village of Frosthaven. This serene hamlet, known for its hearty folk and bountiful harvests, faces an unforeseen peril as winter’s icy grip tightens. A rare crea­ture, an owlbear, fierce and unpredictable, has made its lair in a cavern near the town. Recently, it has begun to attack travelers and hunters, leaving the villagers in fear and confusion. None now how to approach this danger.

It all began when a merchant caravan that passed near Merwood Forest was attacked by the owlbear. It came from the snowy thicket and viciously attacked the cara­van guards and then the merchants. A guard and a mer­chant were the only survivors. They reached Frosthaven with frostbite wounds and a terrible story to tell. Since that day, the two roads that pass near the woods have been guarded by the hungry beast. Sir Marin, Frosthav­en’s constable, already considers spending some from the winter coffers to hire outsiders to help them over­come this terrible threat during the deep winter.

Unbeknown to the villagers of Frosthaven, this owlbear is not driven by mere bloodlust. Deep within the shad­owy recesses of its cavern, the beast has adopted four orphaned, regular bear cubs; their mother slain by heart­less trophy hunters. This unprecedented act of maternal instinct heightens the owlbear’s territorial aggression, as it seeks to protect its newfound family at all costs.

Adventure Hook

Rescue. The characters arrive in Frosthaven looking for shelter for the season just as the town is abuzz with tales of the owlbear’s latest attack. The village elders and Sir Marin, the constable, desperate to protect their people and restore peace, offer a reward to valiant sells­words enough to venture into the snowy wilderness and deal with the monster. In a self-aggrandizing display of bravery and ego, Sir Marin (knight) offers to accompa­ny the characters. He sees an opportunity to become rel­evant and to be reelected for his position as constable.

Sir Marin fights bravely but lacks compassion, which may be relevant if the characters want to find a non-vio­lent solution to this situation (4 XP, 500 gp).

 

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