The dread Tower of Inversion, lair of the vile lich Zarakoth Xorast, contains five layers, each containing different tools of dark magic.
Over three hundred years after the destruction of Linnarson, the ruins of Linnarson remain deserted; the warped magical environs inhabited only by the twisted and bizarre creatures that have been created. Amongst it all, however, the Senior Masters remain, continuing their eternal pursuit of knowledge. (UPDATE IN PROGRESS.)
Maranesh, God of Magic, wearied of the multitudes of humans who came to him, clamouring to be taught the secrets of magic. So it was that he devised a test that would separate the worthy from the unworthy.
You have all chosen to follow the Path of the Philosopher. Not for you the warrior Path of the Battlemage, fighter for justice, nor the Path of the Healer, worthy though it may be to heal the sick. Equally you have rejected the Path of the Artificer, the tinkerers, who work on devices and techniques, as well as the Path of the Loremaster, who merely delves and catalogues the knowledge of the past. No, you have decided upon the Path of the Philosopher, the highest calling, the way of true enquiry, where you will probe the realms of higher mathematics, ponder the meaning of truth itself and tease out the deepest secrets of nature and the workings of the world.
When the characters approach a clearing in the forest, they will see 4 ogres who are guarding, and preventing from escape, 4 human males, and 3 human females. The ogres will see the party and leap to attack. The females will scream "OUR SAVIORS!!" and run screaming straight across the currently forming battlefield, in between ogres and party members, to hide behind the rearmost party members. They will be safe there. The males will try to skirt the battle to the north side to join the women.
To the south, giants will be hiding in the thick underbrush until the party has engaged the ogres and then attack the most opportune target EXCEPT the ones that the females are next to.
It should be noted that the female commoners are not female commoners at all, nor are the male commoners actually male commoners. The female commoners are the hags, who have polymorphed themselves as the commoners in their stewpot to escape detection. The males skirting the battle are actually MORE ogres, the hags were in the process of polymorphing ALL the ogres into regular humans for ambush purposes. The REAL commoners are already dead, having found their way into the coven's cauldron for dinner.
The hags (the women) will position themselves near to any spellcasters in the rear first, and then near anyone else in the back of the fight. The ogres (the men) will wait until the hags shift form, and then attack first the rear folks, then shift into the melee.
It is possible that the characters, as they approach the ogres, will notice the giants in the bush, and be able to warn the others of the ambush.
GAME NOTES: If you sell the screaming women correctly, they will not even be suspected until it is too late. Therein lay the problem. This encounter is ESPECIALLY deadly to the rear eschelon of the party. It is entirely possible that the hags will finish off half the party before they even realize they have been duped. Caution is required if the game master wishes to avoid a TPK(total party kill).