Read to Player (Hook):

As you cautiously navigate the damp, cavernous tunnel, the air grows still and heavy. A faint, rhythmic clicking echoes from the darkness ahead, accompanied by the rustle of countless legs. A pungent, earthy scent fills your nostrils, and the ground begins to vibrate with an unsettling tremor. You realize you’ve stumbled upon a giant ant scouting party, their pheromone trail leading deeper into the cave network. Two monstrous, bioluminescent ants illuminate the tunnel with their glowing fungal growths, casting eerie shadows on the cavern walls. Do you retreat, risk a confrontation, or attempt to navigate past them undetected?


The party finds themselves in a narrow, winding cave tunnel, illuminated only by the bioluminescent glow emanating from two fungus-infected giant ants. The air is thick with humidity and the sound of dripping water.

Player Configuration:

This encounter is designed for a party of 4-6 adventurers of level 3-4.

Main Challenge:

The main challenge lies in overcoming a seemingly endless swarm of giant army ants while navigating the cramped cave tunnel. The ants will not retreat and will continue attacking until the party finds a way to escape or eliminate the entire scouting party within a specific timeframe.

NPC Characters:

  • Giant Ants (x8): These monstrous insects are the primary threat. They are relentless fighters, driven by instinct and pheromones. Their thick chitinous hides resist most weaponry, and their bites and stings can be deadly.


  • Ants: The ants will swarm the party, focusing their attacks on the weakest members. They will utilize their numbers to overwhelm and grapple adventurers, attempting to drag them into the darkness.
  • Reinforcements: Every round, there is a 25% chance (d20 roll of 5 or less) that 1d4 additional giant ant soldiers emerge from the darkness, drawn to the commotion.

Possible Player Actions:

  • Fight: The party can attempt to fight their way through the swarm, focusing on taking down as many ants as possible before they are overwhelmed. Area-of-effect spells and crowd control abilities are crucial in this scenario.
  • Escape: The narrow tunnel can be used to the party’s advantage. They can attempt to outrun the ants or create bottlenecks to slow their advance. Collapsible tunnels or explosive traps could be employed to seal off the passage behind them.
  • Negotiate (Optional): If the party possesses the ability to communicate with insects (such as through the Speak with Animals spell), they might attempt to reason with the ants, offering a non-violent solution to the encounter.

Potential Outcomes:

  • Victory: If the party successfully eliminates the entire scouting party within 3 rounds, the remaining ants will retreat back into the darkness, allowing the adventurers to proceed.
  • Defeat: If the party is overwhelmed by the ants or fails to escape within the timeframe, they risk being overrun and potentially captured by the colony.
  • Escape: If the party chooses to retreat, they may need to find alternative routes or face the consequences of encountering the main ant colony later.

Further Ideas:

  • The cave system could hold the entrance to an ancient tomb or forgotten city, protected by the giant ant colony.
  • The party might discover a hidden queen ant chamber within the cave, offering a potential high-risk, high-reward objective.


  • None

Experience Points (XP):

  • Defeating each Giant Army Ant Soldier grants 360 XP.
  • Ant carapaces can be used for a variety of crafting purposes

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