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What Ails You

Token images from Hero Forge and Wizards of the Coast, with assistance from Roll Advantage.

Setting

The adventure starts in the trading town of Kelna, in the northeastern part of Troyso, but the main action takes place farther north in the Mountain Dwarf fortress of Den Tharum, built into the side of Mount Brurdar.   Kelna is a medium-sized town built mainly of granite sitting in the foothills of the Shauram Mountains. The surrounding countryside is mostly pine forests. The full-time population is mostly Humans and Hill Dwarfs, but on a busy market day you can see folks from all over the continent. Anyone who wants Dwarven-forged goods out of Den Tharum comes to Kelna to buy and trade.   The Mountain Dwarves of Den Tharum are extremely reclusive, even shunning their cousins, the Hill Dwarves. They only travel to the trade town to sell their wares, and the rest of the time is spent inside the mountain, behind two sets of giant metal doors.

The Quest

The party is a group of adventurers who have been working together for a few years. The party was guarding a caravan, but they have found themselves stranded due to a surprising lack of trade within the town. None of the caravans are moving. The party is in the marketplace trying to find a job of some sort, when the Town Mayor approaches. He is a Human Male named Tranis Hayford, and he wears a smart suit and hat.
Tranis Hayford - Mayor of Kelna
 
"Say, you look like a group of seasoned adventurers. I don't suppose I could interest you in a job? With pay, of course! You may have noticed the lack of business in the market; it's got the town council quite worried."

"We haven't seen a single Dwarf come down out of Den Tharum in weeks, and it's quite concerning. Some of the local folks went up there, but couldn't get in no matter how much they pounded on the door."

"If you'd be willing to, let's say, discover a way into Den Tharum and find out what's going on down there, we really would appreciate it. The council will even pay for the explosives."
  If the party agrees to check it out, the Mayor will direct them to Kargron Moltenrock, a dwarven shopkeeper. Kargon is dark-skinned and stout, with a sturdy leather apron around his waist. His shop is right on the main market square. He sells explosives and other supplies for mining. He also may have useful information.  

Kargron Moltenrock
Hill Dwarf Shopkeeper
"You must be the adventurers, the council told me to expect you! I have some charges of explosives here for you - be careful now. How many would you like? The council paid for two. [Additional charges are 15 gp each]"
"You'll need both sets of explosives to get in, most likely. There's an inner door as well."

"You might want to buy some pickaxes or crowbars {both 2 gp}, just in case you don't set these right. You have a tinderbox {5 sp}, I assume."
 

Part 1: Entering Den Tharum

 
Mount Brurdar is about a two day journey from Kelna, through pine wooded foothills, to the mountain face with giant metal doors set in it. For the sake of time, a montage journey would be most appropriate.
 
Roll d20 Result
17-20 A hole is blown in the door big enough for the party to enter
12-16 A medium size hole is blown in the door. Pickaxe and STR check could enlarge it, or more explosives could be used.
6-11 A small hole is blown in the door. A pair of crowbars and combined STR check, or a pickaxe and STR check or more explosives could be used.
1-5 Some surface damage to the doors. The party will need to use more explosives.
The party arrives at the massive metal doors of Den Tharum, cleverly set into the mountain, itself. They are closed tight, and cannot be opened by brute strength, crowbar, pickaxe, or even thieves' tools. Explosives are the best bet. For each set of charges, the party gets one roll of a d20.   Once in the first door, the party find themselves in a long, formal room with no light except from the hole they made. At the other end is a second door. On the floor in front of it are smeared chalkmarks. If any of the party can read Dwarvish, they will see it says: STAY OUT, QUARANTINE.
 

Part 2 - There and Back Again?

  If the party decides they have enough information for the council, they can travel back to Kelna. Some options include:
  • The party tells the Mayor there were chalkmarks, but they couldn't read them. He refuses to pay without more information.
  • If the party decides to return, skip to part 3.
  • The party tells the Mayor Den Tharum is quarantined. He begs them to get more information, suggests a visit to the local healer.
  • If the party refuses, the adventure ends, and the Mayor pays them 50 gp total.
  • If the party returns to Den Tharum without seeking out the healer, skip to part 3.
  • If they find the healer, continue below.
  • "A quarantine, you say? That's serious business. Not much can take down a Dwarf."   "Do you know what symptoms this illness has?"   "Do you know how it started, or how long it lasts?"   "I'm afraid there's not much I can do to help, without more information. There's an apothecary in Den Tharum named Lysnia Evenbrow, she would know more."
    Devotion the Healer is a Tiefling Druid. Her small shop full of drying herbs and jars of powder is down the street from the main plaza. She wears long robes and always has a peaceful smile on her face. She speaks with a touch of a foreign accent.  
    Devotion the Tiefling Healer
     
    Devotion has a limited stock of Constitution Potions for sale (GM's discretion). Each potion adds +2 CON for 1 hour and they sell for 5 gp.
      Without being more enlightened, the party can choose to end the adventure, or progress to Part 3, and head out towards Den Tharum again.  

    Part 3 - Into The Breach

      The party is faced with the locked inner door. Use the same explosives table from part 1 to determine how your characters get inside. Once through the hole, they find themselves on the center level of the city. It seems to be devoted primarily to trade.   It is a large cavern, broadened and expanded by many years of dwarven occupation. Their houses are primarily grey granite, with colored stone facings on the richer buildings, set into the cavern walls on natural shelves ringing the area. These levels get smaller as they go up, and the quality of houses increases as well. Staircases connecting the levels are concealed in tunnels behind the buildings.   In the center of the cavern is a large flattened stalagmite. Bridges arch over to it on every side from this level, and there is a large, official looking building in the center.   The party is faced with five dwarven guards in heavy plate armor, and a captain. They all look feverish and unwell. The party is quickly encircled. The Guard Captain does the talking.  
    "Who are you? What are you doing here? And what have you done to our doors?"   "You've breached a quarantine! A very deadly sickness is ravaging Den Tharum, and we don't want it spreading. I'll have to assign guards to this door to keep anyone from leaving."   "It doesn't matter why you're here, I can't let you leave until the sickness runs its course or a cure is found. That's final."   "We don't know what it is. First there's a fever, then a rash on the chest. When the cough starts to set in, you're pretty much a goner."   "I suppose you could try the apothecary, Lysnia Evenbrow. She was working on a cure, but I'm not sure what's happened to her."   "Lysnia lives on this level, above her store. It's to your left, just past the tavern. You'll see the sign."
    Dwarven Guard Captain
    Female Dwarven Guard
    Male Dwarven Guard
     
    If your players decide to fight their way back out, you can use the tokens and stat sheets provided in the sidebar. Players will have to make sickness checks, as outlined below, on their way back to Kelna. For sake of simplicity, Kelna is 8 rolls away. Any one who becomes sick must stop and either stay where they are until the party returns, or go back to Den Tharum. They must still make sickness checks. The party can choose to go back to Den Tharum at any time. In Kelna, Devotion the Healer will be able to make a potion from the group's description, treating the symptoms but not curing the disease. It removes one level of sickness per dose, but cannot remove the infection. They will have to keep rolling, regardless of what they choose to do. She only has enough supplies to make 10 bottles with 3 doses, each.
     

    Part 4 - Quarantine!

     
    Failed AttemptsIllness Effect
    1Infected
    2Disadvantage on ability checks
    3Fever: -2 to Strength
    4Speed halved
    5Rash: Unable to use Concentration spells
    6Disadvantage on attack rolls and saving throws
    7Hacking Cough: Stunned for this and every round they fail the Con save
    8Hit point maximum halved
    9Speed reduced to 0
    10Death
     
    Starting with this section, the party will have to roll DC15 Constitution Saves every fifteen minutes to see if they've become infected, or how their disease is progressing. All Dwarves have an additional -2 on their Constitution Saves.
      The party can easily see the tavern sign from where they are, about 4 buildings down. All of the shops are shuttered and closed, as is The Twelve Lords Tavern. Beyond, there is a sign with a mortar and pestle. This shop, too, seems closed, but there is a second doorway next to the shop that leads upstairs. The door is unlocked and leads to a set of stairs. The door at the top is locked. Knocking on the door will cause a short, dark, older female Dwarf to appear, this is Lysnia Evenbrow. She looks tired, and is scratching at the rash above her blouse.  
    Lysnia Evenbrow - Apothecary
     
    Lysnia has a limited stock of Constitution Potions for sale (GM's discretion). Each potion adds +2 CON for 1 hour and they sell for 5 gp.
     
    "What do you want? Can't you see I'm busy!"   "A cure? You want a cure? I want a cure. Everyone wants a cure. There is no cure, not yet!"   "Help? I suppose you might be some help. You look strong, and uninfected. There are ingredients I've run out of, and I'm too weak to get them myself. Lichens and mushrooms, mostly. They might do the trick."
    "You'll have to go down into the mines. Travel past the worked area, and into the caverns. There's mushrooms down the left fork, and lichen down the right one, but I don't know if any beast has moved in since I've been sick."   "Remember, the longer you're here, the greater the chance of infection. Watch for the symptoms: fever, rash, and a hacking cough. Hurry now!"
     

    Part 5 - The Mines

      Travel down the staircases for several levels until you hit the "ground" floor. This is where the mines are located. Enter the tunnel in front of you and travel through the mined area to where the torches stop and the surfaces are more natural. The party will reach a fork, splitting the tunnel in two. They can choose to go about the hunt in whatever order they like.  
    Left-Hand Fork
      Exploring down this long, dark, twisting passageway, the team will find a bend that is wider than the rest of the passage. It is almost a full cave, with a small pool in the back. Growing here is a patch of mushrooms that is being guarded by four Kobolds. If the party chooses to talk to them, in either Common or Draconic, they may learn that the mushrooms are the Kobolds' food source, but the Kobolds might be willing to trade for some other source of food. (They do like ration bars.)   Otherwise, roll for initiative. Mushrooms do not count as cover, and can be walked through or stood on. See map in sidebar.
    Right-Hand Fork
      This passageway dead-ends in a large room with lichen on the back wall, but even before it is reached, the sound of harsh, gutteral voices yelling. The tunnel gives plenty of cover to a stealthy team. If anyone speaks Orc, they will understand that there are two ahead, in the middle of a domestic dispute. Zall says he wants more help cleaning the cave, but Groll insists that he helps enough already. A team with good diplomacy might solve the problem in exchange for the lichen on the back wall, which the Orcs don't want.   Otherwise, roll for initiative. Boulders do count as cover, and can not be passed through. They are ten feet high if any wish to climb on them. See map in sidebar.
     

    Part 6 - The Cure!

      If the team is able to gather both ingredients, they can deliver the ingredients to Lysnia. She begins to put things together for a cure. It takes her approximately fifteen minutes to finish (team must roll for sickness). When she is done, she has a full cure. One dose clears all symptoms and the illness itself, as well. She gives each team member a dose, plus additional doses that they should take to the Guard Captain so he can cure his people to begin distribution to the rest of the population. Lysnia then turns back to making more of the cure.   The Guard Captain will take the potions and distribute them, sending one guard hurrying up the stairs to cure the members of the Conclave of Nobles, the rulers of Den Tharum. The others begin the task of curing the rest of the guards so they can spread the cure to the rest of the dwarves. The team will not be allowed to leave until everyone is cured and the sickness is gone.  

    Aftermath

     

    If the party cures Den Tharum:

      The First Noble (head of the Conclave) will personally reward the party with whatever the GM deems appropriate. He will also grant them access to Den Tharum, something no non-Dwarf has ever had. Returning to Kelna with the news, the Mayor will give them 50 gp each, as well.  

    If the party broke quarantine to return to Kelna:

      The GM rolls a d20 to see if the town became infected as a result of the party's return (DC 10). If the illness is affecting the town, the party should go to Devotion the Healer, and explain how to make the cure. They will not receive anything from the Mayor. The GM should roll an additional d20 to see if anyone breached Kelna's quarantine to spread the sickness elsewhere (DC 5).  

    If the party is unable to acquire the ingredients:

      If it becomes clear that no one from the party will be able to return to Lysnia with the ingredients, the GM should fade to black. Den Tharum is doomed, and so is the party.
    What Ails You
  • One-shot Adventure
  • 4-6 Players
  • Level 3
  • Premade Characters Available
  • Notes for the GM will look like this
    Sample dialogue will look like this.
    Arozira Stonecleaver
    Female Half-Orc
    Barbarian
    Lawful Neutral
    Barzire Flamespire
    Male Tiefling
    Warlock
    Lawful Evil
    Beldrey Mosseye
    Female Halfling
    Rogue
    True Neutral
    Lysmera Goldback
    Female Hill Dwarf
    Cleric
    Lawful Good
    Miradan Duskwalker
    Male High Elf
    Wizard
    Neutral Good
    Oriavor Firbreeze
    Male Half-Elf
    Bard
    Chaotic Neutral
    Sefra Lightbinder
    Female Human
    Ranger
    Chaotic Good
    Ternas Balziros
    Male Dragonborn
    Paladin
    Lawful Good
    The country of Troyso
    What Ails You - Left Fork
    What Ails You - Right Fork

    Sick Guard Captain

    Medium humanoid (dwarf), lawful good
    Armor Class: 14
    Hit Points: 38 (7d8+14) 7d8+14
    Speed: 30ft

    STR

    12 +1

    DEX

    10 +0

    CON

    8 -1

    INT

    10 +0

    WIS

    12 +1

    CHA

    13 +1

    Saving Throws: Str 1d20+4 , Con 1d20+4
    Skills: Insight +3 1d20+3 Perception +3 1d20+3
    Senses: Passive perception 13
    Languages: Common, Dwarvish
    Challenge Rating: 1

    Actions

    Multiattack: The captain makes two melee attacks.   Longsword: To Hit 1d20+4 , Damage 1h 1d8+2 , Damage 2h 1d10+2   Shortbow: To hit 1d20+4 , Damage 1d6+2 range 150/600   Leadership: Recharges after a short or long rest. For 1 minute, the captain can utter a special command or warning whenever a nonhostile creature that it can see within 30 feet of it makes an attack roll or a saving throw. The creature can add a d4 to its roll provided it can hear and understand the captain. A creature can benefit from only one Leadership die at a time. This effect ends if the captain is incapacitated.

    Guard captains are particularly influential guards, being effectively one step higher in their chain of command. This one doesn't look very well.

    Homebrew

    Sick Guard

    Medium humanoid, lawful good
    Armor Class: 12
    Hit Points: 14 (3d8+3) 3d8+3
    Speed: 30ft

    STR

    10 +0

    DEX

    10 +0

    CON

    8 -1

    INT

    10 +0

    WIS

    10 +0

    CHA

    10 +0

    Skills: Proficiency Bonus +2. Perception +2.
    Senses: Passive Perception 12.
    Languages: Common, Dwarvish
    Challenge Rating: 1/4 (50 XP)

    Actions

    Glaive. Melee Attack: +3 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d10 + 1) 1d10+1 slashing damage.   Short Sword. Melee Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) 1d6+1 piercing damage.   Heavy Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 100/400 ft., one target. Hit: (1d10+1) 1d10+1 piercing damage.

    City guards form the main defensive force of a city. This one doesn't look too healthy.

    Kobold

    Small humanoid, lawful evil
    Armor Class 12
    Hit Points 5 (2d6-2)
    Speed 30ft

    STR
    7 -2
    DEX
    15 +2
    CON
    9 -1
    INT
    8 -1
    WIS
    7 -2
    CHA
    8 -1

    Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 8
    Languages Common, Draconic
    Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)


    Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, the kobold has disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight   Pack Tactics. The kobold has advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the kobold's allies are within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.


    Actions

    Dagger. Melee Weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target Hit: 4 (1d4+2) piercing damage   Sling. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4+2) bludgeoning damage


     

    Orc

    Medium humanoid (orc), chaotic evil
    Armor Class 13 (Hide Armor)
    Hit Points 15 2d8+6
    Speed 30ft

    STR
    16 +3
    DEX
    12 +1
    CON
    16 +3
    INT
    7 -2
    WIS
    11 0
    CHA
    10 0

    Skills Intimidation +2
    Senses Darkvision 60ft, Passive Perception 10
    Languages Common, Orc
    Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


    Aggressive As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.


    Actions

    Greataxe Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5ft, one target. Hit: 9 1d12+3 slashing damage.   Javelin Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5ft or range 30/120ft, one target. Hit: 6 1d6+3 piercing damage.


     

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    Cover image: Kadeth Header by Nightflyer0ne

    Comments

    Please Login in order to comment!
    26 Apr, 2022 12:39

    This one is very well made from the pre-gens to the actual story. A equally well made map added to that! You have really taken the advice I heard from Janet well with a timetable and concentrating the players to the task. One question, is the dungeon maps also made with Wonderdraft?   I want to make one suggestion to make the names of locations and characters stand out a bit from the text for the GM to easily find them if needed.   Great work with it all!

    Worldkeymaster, also known as A of Worldkeymaster.
    You are welcome to explore Nimenra, a world in conflict between Humans and Demons.
    My summer camp articles and half-finished pledge document: Summer Camp 2022
    26 Apr, 2022 14:11

    The dungeon maps are made with Wonderdraft's sister program, Dungeondraft.

    Can your party of adventurers cure What Ails You before it's too late?
    27 Apr, 2022 16:58

    Loved the orcish domestic dispute! I always appreciate it when monsters have their own agenda. The layout looks very nice, the adventure was clear and well presented, with a plausible story. The idea of blasting through the doors sounds like fun. Lysnia had really bad luck running out of ingredients so short before success...   Well done, definitely something you could pick up and play as is!

    If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
    30 Apr, 2022 13:12

    The time-pressure and resources available for use at a cost, really help sell this one-shot as a nice stressful scenario! Also supporting different scenarios, nice options this way.

    1 May, 2022 00:56

    This is really well written and I really enjoyed reading it! It has good stakes (literally life or death) and realistic consequences. Good job!

    ~TimeBender~ Attempting to become a jack of all trades with a variety of hobbies that interest me!
    Sage George Sanders
    George Sanders
    4 May, 2022 16:33

    I didn't get to read it all yet but I like your hook - there is no work then the mayor approaches. The party could feel like a team right off the bat with that intro!

    Submit Summer Camp articles for Lavani to read by leaving a comment on her Reading List page!
    Sage George Sanders
    George Sanders
    4 May, 2022 16:45

    I also like the time pressure and the scaling illness. There is a nice double quest giver process too. Great adventure!

    Submit Summer Camp articles for Lavani to read by leaving a comment on her Reading List page!