Haunted Errands Plot in Hesli | World Anvil

Haunted Errands

After a great nights stay at The Wandering Lileon, you and the rest of your party stumbles down the stairs for some breakfast. Vaguely, you remember from last night that Barnabas Stripepaw was telling you about this legendary soup that increases your strength for an entire week. Intrigued by the idea, you inquire from the tavern owner some extra information.  
Ah, Strong Soup Onion! Yes, recipe with witch forest is. Please, you for me get it?
— Barnabas Stripepaw
  Barnabas hands you a little map which shows the hut of the forest witch just outside of town. It's a three hour walk, at most.  

Finding the Forest Witch

While the map showed the hut in the middle of the forest, in reality it takes a bit more finesse to find the place. The forest is dense, making it hard to navigate the place.  
As the players venture through the forest, one must be the leading one navigating the party. Since the forest is fairly dense with a few open patches, making it exceptionally difficult to navigate. Determine if the leading player is navigating the party correctly to see if they reach the little hut, or adjust when necessary.
  Once arrived at the witches hut, a halfling tumbles out of the little hut. She looks like a stereotypical witch; pointy hat, crooked nose, and a dark sense of humour. However, her small posture could make for a funny first encounter if the characters are fairly tall.  
Ah, new meat for the soup has arrived, I see.
— Amertume

Following the Recipe

No matter what the party tries, it is impossible to convince Amertume, the forest witch, to give up the recipe. She won't respond to any type of bribing or intimidation. She does, however, propose a deal with the party.  
If you can perform the instructions exactly as I tell you, and the soup tastes exactly as I have intended, you can have the recipe and bring it to Barnabas.
— Amertume
The party has to agree with this proposal, otherwise they cannot continue with the adventure as there is no other way to convince Amertume to give up the recipe.
  Amertume gives the party a simple set of instructions:
  • Gather the Ingredients
  • Caramalise Onions
  • Add and cook off dry white wine
  • Add and cook off flour
  • Add beef broth
  • Add herbs
  • Let the concoction cook for 30 minutes

Gather the Ingredients

Ah, so you're taking me up on my proposal? Good, good... Here is a list of the items that I require with a few extra squibbles to help you find them. Good luck!
— Amertume, ending it with a sinister laugh
Onion Soup Ingredients For Six
  • 2 small garlic bulbs - Forest Floor
  • 2 bayleafs - Forest Floor
  • 4 sprigs of thyme - Forest Floor
  • A glass of Barnabas' Finest Sauvignon Blanc - The Wandering Lileon
  • 2 tablespoons of flour - Limani Market
  • 1.2L of Barnabas' Finest Beef Stock - The Wandering Lileon
  • 1 Baguette - The Wandering Lileon
  • Cheese - Vache's Husbandry
  • A couple nubs of butter - Vache's Husbandry
  • 1.5kg Jacquelonion - Onion Grove
  Most of the ingredients required for the soup are easy to find in the forest. Garlic, thyme, and bayleaf are readily available in the surrounding patches of open area in the forest.  
The party can decide for themselves if they want to ask Amertume if she has the ingredients that they cannot find in the forest. If they do so, Amertume will tell them that she has everything else in her hut, and that she only needs the items from the forest. If the party doesn't ask, they can set out to buy these items themselves but that takes more time, of course.
  Onion Grove is a little further away from the witches hut, but finding it is relatively easy. Once the players find a small onion plant, they only need to follow the trail of onions to find themselves in Onion Grove. Large onion stalks surround the grove with the exception of one small gate. The sweet smell penetrates everyones nose. Upon entering the grove, only the stalks are visible. Under each stalk sits an onion. The party only needs to pull out some onions and be on their merry way.   The moment a player pulls out an onion, the ground starts to tremble. All the stalks, except for the ones surrounding the grove, get sucked up into the soil. Seconds later, an enormous stalk rises from the center of the grove, and a hulking onion steps out from the earth. In front of the gate to exit the grove, another set of stalks shoot up from the ground to block the only way out.  
The players need to defeat the boss onion in order to get the jaquelonion they need for the soup. The stats of the boss onion can be scaled to the level and number of players as the GM sees fit. Upon slashing, and bludgeoning damage, players must roll for a save. If they fail the save, they are temporarily blinded by the tears caused by trying to cut the jacquelonion.

Making the Soup

Upon returning to the witches hut with all the ingredients, and specifically the jacquelonion, Amertume will be utterly surprised and delighted that the party has managed to get everything from her list. She already has a pot heating up above the fire.   First off, the party has to cut the jacquelonion into smaller pieces and the garlic bulbs in fine cubes. When everything has been cut properly, the nubs of butter need to be melted in the shizzling hot pan. Once melted, the jacquelonion and garlic is added to the pot. To caramelise them, the pan must stay around a medium high heat and someone must stir regularly.  

Two mechanics are at play to successfully caramelise the onions.

First, the pot needs to stay around a medium heat. If the pan runs too hot, the chance of burning the jacquelonions increases drastically. If the pan runs too cold, it takes one eternity to properly caramelise.

Second, the mixture need to be stirred appropriately to ensure even browning. Stir it too frequently in the beginning, and it will take much more time for the jacquelonions to gain colour. However, if the party doesn't stir it frequently once the caramelisation process has started, the chance of burning the mixture increases drastically again.

As GM, it is important to find a proper balance between the two.

  Once the onions are beautifully brown, someone can add the glass of Barnabas' Finest Sauvignon Blanc. The players must use this moment to scrape the bottom as best as they can to release the fond from the pan. Once the wine has cooked off, the party can add two tablespoons of flour and cook that for a good minute to thicken the mixture. When it has a pastey consistency, the stock and herbs are added to the pot and brought to a boil. After half an hour, the soup is ready for consumption.  


Amertume will taste the final soup created by the party. If the party followed her instructions and didn't burn the jacquelonions, they will pass judgement. If they did burn the onions, they have the choice to obtain new jacquelonions and try making the soup again.  
Ah, yes, just like grandmother made. You lot have deserved the recipe. Take it to Barnabas, he can make good use of it.
— Amertume
  If the party asks for the written recipe, Amertume will burst out laughing.  
What do you mean, written recipe? This soup isn't done by any written instructions. You only need the ingredients and the rest you've just performed!
— Amertume
Table of Contents
This is my first proper one-shot I've written. I tried to make it system agnostic and with some spots leaving up to the GM's interpretation.
Related Characters
Related Locations

Cover image: Hesli Banner by ShadowPhoenix


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Apr 30, 2022 13:52

You know, I like the idea of turning a cooking recipe into an adventure. It's rather lighthearted and I've never fought a boss onion before (laughed at the save to prevent you from crying). I'd probably shorten the search for the other ingredients, or make 1-2 additional encounters like the onion out of them. The judging would probably be very fun, with the witch constantly looking over their shoulders critically or maybe go full Gordon Ramsay. Nicely done!

If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
Apr 30, 2022 22:06

Delightfully simple! I love it :) Glad I could help inspire it!

Check out my world World Behind the Veil!