Wandering Monsters — Hidden Cove

We wander out of the forest and to the beach on this week’s Wandering Monsters. While this week’s map doesn’t have a direct connection to the previous two, it isn’t too much work to get the maps connected. Forest Ruins 2 has an opening in area 4 created by an encroaching tree. This opening can connect to a network of tunnels with one leading to the hidden cove. As a note, I’m posting two copies of the map, one with tags and one without for anyone who prefers one over the other. On to the hidden cove!

As always, many thanks to the Pyromancers dungeon painter tool for helping me create this week’s map.


This large cove is concealed by lush vegetation. The rock walls appear more artificially worn down than a natural formation. Sea water collects in a deep pool in the center of the cove with a large mass of seaweed growing out from the pool onto the ground above. A small table and fountain sit beside the pool.



The hidden cove was formerly the lair of a wizard. It was meant as a contingent hideout in case the wizard ever found herself in need of escaping. She had the lair in place as a retreat to allow her to recuperate and plan her next steps. Over the years, the wizard found less need of this particular hideout, eventually abandoning it all together.

Hidden Cove Features

The ceiling of the cove vaults from a height of 10 feet on the edges up to a height of 25 feet in the center. There is no natural lighting within, but during the day, enough light reaches the cove to fill the entire area with dim light. Finding the cove is a difficult matter. The wizard placed a number of wards that redirected anyone approaching from land, turning them around so as to never stumble upon the cave. Anyone aware of the cave’s existence can still locate the cave with a successful DC 25 Survival check and 1d3 hours of searching. When approaching from sea, a different set of wards manipulates the nearby currents to redirect approaching ships. Again, those aware of the cove’s existence can find the cove from sea with a successful DC 20 Profession (sailor) check and 1d2 hours of navigation. Approaching from the tunnels requires no extra time or effort.

1. Pool

This large pool of sea water is 30 deep. The water is relatively calm and maintains the same depth even at low tide. A smaller pool connects to the main pool and is only 10 feet deep. A large amount of sea weed grows out from the pool onto the surrounding rocks. This is known as widow’s weed for its proclivity to grow unnoticed on the undersides of ships, eventually pulling approaching sailors under or, on rare occasions, causing the ship to sink.
Widow’s Weed (CR 1): Widow’s weed animates and wraps tightly around anything it comes in contact with in an attempt to find purchase for its growth. Widow’s weed attempts a grapple combat maneuver with a +6 bonus against any creature that enters the weed’s area. The weed can hold any number of creatures, so long as they are in its area. The creature can attempt to escape the weed by escaping the grapple. The weed has a CMD of 16. Alternatively, dealing any amount of slashing damage to the weed as a standard action cuts the creature free.

2. Tunnel

The cove connects to a small network of tunnels here. The wizard carved these out as a means of escape in case the cove ever became compromised. The tunnels continue further, allowing a GM to connect them with any other fitting location.

3. Wizard’s Collection

The wizard kept only the bare essentials she would require on her table here, including a spellbook, material components, and so on. Unfortunately, most of these items are damaged beyond repair due to prolonged exposure to the sea air. A number small items still survive, however, and the location’s treasure is found here.
The fountain was used as a scrying focus and also as a special teleportation circle. The fountain is in disrepair and no longer functions, leaving only a pool of stagnant, brackish water. Anyone interested in repairing the fountain can do so. The repairs require 1,500 gp in magical components and a week’s worth of work and magical reinforcement. At the end of the week, a successful DC 30 Knowledge (arcana) or Spellcraft check completes the repair. If unsuccessful, the repair can be reattempted, which requires an additional 500 gp in materials and 1 day of work for each continued attempt.


The following encounters can take place here.

Encounter Challenge Rating Creatures Treasure
Reefclaw’s Cove CR 3 Reefclaw x2B2, Reefclaw AlphaB2 Hand of the mage
Sahuagin Dwellers CR 5 Sahuagin x2B1, Sahuagin BruteMC 12 gp, pearl of power I, small ruby (150 gp)
Hideout Guardian CR 7 Advanced Wood GolemB1 Handy haversack containing 113 gp; bracers of armor, scroll of unseen servant; spellbook containing all wizard cantrips, 8 level 1 spells, 6 level 2 spells, and 3 level 3 spells; spell components
This week’s Encounter Table makes use of Bestiary 1, Bestiary 2, and Monster Codex.


A school of reefclaws have taken up residence in the abandoned cove. The reefclaws swim in and out of the cove to hunt for food and bring their prey into the cove to feed. Having lived in the cove for some time, they are fiercely territorial. Among the reefclaws is a reefclaw alpha. The alpha is a reefclaw with the advanced and giant simple monster templates. At any given time, there is a 70% chance that the alpha is out hunting. Otherwise, the other two reefclaws are elsewhere, bullied out by the alpha as it relaxes.
When the PCs arrive, the reefclaws are in the pool. If the alpha is in the cove, it sits at the bottom of the pool. It attacks any PCs that it notices that approach the pool. If reduced below 10 hit points, the alpha swims away, but returns later to try to reclaim the cove. If the other reefclaws are here, one rests in the small pool while the other swims about in the main pool. These reefclaws also fight to defend the cove. If reduced below 5 hit points, a reefclaw flees and does not return.


A trio of sahuagin were recently exiled from their tribe. The leader of the trio is a bitter sahuagin brute. He knew of the wizard’s hideout but usually kept away due to his fear of the mage’s abilities. In an attempt to reclaim their place among the tribe, the trio found their way to the cove. Now, the brute spends his time studying the meager scraps of notes and knowledge that remain. He hopes to learn how to use magic and return to retake his tribe with newfound power. The other two sahuagin are content to live a life of lethargy in this new home. There is a 30% chance that either of the two sahuagin are asleep.
The sahuagin are quick to notice any new arrivals, but don’t immediately attack. The brute attempts to convince any visitors to assist with his quest to take the throne of the sahuagin tribe. If the PCs are unwilling to work with him, he simply asks for any weapons or assistance with learning magic to better prepare himself for the attempt. If the PCs still refuse, he flies into a rage and attacks. The sahuagin do their best to push the PCs into the pool or into the widow’s weed. The brute fights to the death and if slain, the other two sahuagin are quick to surrender or flee.


Although the wizard left this cove behind long ago, remnants of her presence still linger. To keep the hideout safe while she was gone, the wizard constructed a golem from driftwood that washed up into the cove. This wood golem, known as Hilburt, quietly waits in the cove, shooing any critters away and attacking any would-be intruders. While Hilburt remains ever-vigilant, it has grown confused over the years, losing track of its original orders. While the cove is safe, Hilburts sits in front of the entrance to the tunnel, watching for any intruders. Hilburt receives a +20 bonus to its Disguise check to appear as just a pile of driftwood. Hilburt bears a small arcane mark on its back, the wizard’s signature, which can be a clue to the wizard’s identity.
When the PCs arrive, Hilburt springs into action, ready to defend the cove. Any obvious signs of magic such as spell effects, floating ioun stones, or glowing magical items give Hilburt pause. Its confusion over the years has led to Hilburt losing its memory of its original creator. If the party includes a mage, Hilburt may even confuse that character for its master. Hilburt willingly follows that characters orders as if they were its master’s orders. However, any attempt to take any of the wizard’s treasures or to traverse into the tunnel actives Hilburt’s programming, causing it to fly into a frenzy to defend the cove. Hilburt never chases intruders beyond the cove, but willingly follows a character outside if ordered. While outside the cove, there is a 10% chance every day that Hilburt reverts to its original programming and returns to the cove.

That’s it for this week! Please let me know if you would like more encounters such as these where fighting isn’t always the main option. If you use the hidden cove in your game, let me know!  If you have any request for a future Wandering Monsters, please drop me a line at KnowDirection@hotmail.com.

Luis Loza

Luis Loza is a developer at Paizo, working on the Pathfinder Campaign Setting and Player Companion lines. He's done freelance for Paizo Inc, Legendary Games, Rogue Genius Games, and more third-party publishers. His hobbies include gaming both tabletop and video, making jokes, obsessing over time travel, taking naps with Nova the cat, and walks with Heather the wife. He is eternally plagued with a hunger for tacos.

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