The Hedge Maze
When the group arrives:
Passing through the small break in the trees, you find yourself in a forested area. The air here is still, and smells of rot. The trees are thick and covered in sharp brambles. Narrows paths wind the way forward through them.
Norril and the minotaurs work together, lying in wait until either the group engages the cockatrice or reach the chests in the middle, and then springing into action.
The minotaurs attempt to use forced movement combined with the hedge to frustrate and injure the PCs. Teaming up with Slash and Dash and/or Bullrush attacks, they will attempt to bury players deep in the trees, where they cannot easily (or at least, painlessly) extricate themselves, and lose line of sight to their friends, heightening confusion.
With Forestwalk, Norril is able to move freely through the Needle Hedge as if they were open tiles. Once Norril has identified the most obvious threat, he will use his Lure to draw them away from the group so that he can deal with them alone, leaving his allies to keep the others busy. Otherwise, he will try to focus his attacks on those isolated in the woods by his minotaur lieutenants, using hit-and-run tactics.
Reminder: if this avatar of Norril is killed, the character dealing the final blow will receive a Boon.
The cockatrice acts independent of the others. It hides, listening to the PCs movement, until it thinks it has an opportunity to strike with surprise, and preferably from behind. If it hears the PCs have been engaged by Norril and his minotaurs, it will engage immediately.
Features of the Area
Bright moon: here the moon in the starless sky overhead is quite bright, keeping the entire area well-illuminated.
Needle Hedge: all forested squares in the area are considered Needle Hedge (DMG2, p61).
The chests: the chests are empty, placed there only to lure the group into Norril’s ambush.
Watering hole: The Young Farmhand Corpse (Norril) lies face down just beneath the surface of the water. He is wearing Boots of Rapid Motion. If the group combs through the mud at the bottom of the watering hole, they will also find an Alchemist Fire (L6) and a Potion of Healing.