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The Kris

a D&D5e oneshot adventure authored by frigid_lich_dnd

This adventure relies on resources from the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons books titled Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual published by Wizards of the Coast. The books are referenced in the text as DMG and MM respectively.

The map images used in this adventure have been made by the author using Dungeondraft by Megasploot.

The images representing the magic items have been generated via Dream by WOMBO.

Introduction


The Kris is a one-shot kick-the-door style adventure designed for the D&D5e tabletop RPG system.

This adventure includes mature topics such as substance abuse and extremist violence.

Running the adventure:
This module is intended for a party of 4-5 6th level characters

The adventure was designed as the rescue of a missing noble in a homebrew world, but it can easily be adjusted to fit any setting that includes demon summoning cults. The plot hook assumes the adventurers work as swords-for-hire and are willing to do work for the King's steward. The GM is welcome to alter this plot hook to better fit their needs.

Plot hook:
At the beginning of the adventure, the party has been given a mission to locate and extract Prince Askeladd Karadan, the second son of King Aerik Karadan III.
The King's Steward hires the party offering them 500 platinum pieces or an audience with the King for the safe and discrete retrieval of the Prince, who is thought to have snuck away from his guards into a known drug den where he may be using Mindbloom powder.
Sending royal guards to retrieve the prince is risky, as the Prince's involvement in a Mindbloom powder scandal could undermine the entire family's reputation.
The party is given a physical description of the prince, and is urged to keep the matter as secret as possible.

Background information for the Game Master:
The party sets out on the adventure thinking the Prince is involved in a drug ring. During the adventure they will slowly find out that the Mindbloom powder den is only used as a cover up for a shadier business. At first this will appear to be just a scheme to steal jewelry and money off of unconscious addicts, but some clues in the first areas as well as the old temple in the final areas will reveal that this is really a ploy to trap and sacrifice addicts with the intention of summoning and enslaving demons. When Prince Karadan wanders into the Den, the villains use it as a unique opportunity to summon and enslave a powerful demon. Although the creatures statblocks are clearly labelled as cultists, avoid using this name when describing them to the players to avoid spoiling the mystery of the adventure.

Begin the adventure as the party descends into the basement of an abandoned house in a shady part of town.

Locations


All the described locations can be found on the map in the sidebar on the right hand side, or at the bottom of the page for mobile users.

1. Cloakroom


  • The room is dimly lit by a candle on the counter.
  • This area is used as a cloakroom where patrons can leave their belongings such as coats and bags.
A human Commoner (MMp 345) named Brynn tends to the entrance area and charges guests 5 gold pieces each to enter the Den.
Brynn keeps a hand crossbow and 10 bolts under the counter. If the players search behind the counter, they find 63 gold pieces and 70 silver pieces.

As the party arrives into area 1, read:
"As per the Steward's instructions, you find the basement in the abandoned house. Walking down the stairs, the wood underneath you creaks loudly with each step.
You descend into a dimly lit room with mould-covered walls and floorboards. Your nose is hit by the sharp smell of smoke.

'Ah, new guests, come in!' an excited voice calls from the counter on the right side.

As you approach you see a man dressed in fine merchant clothes counting gold pieces.
'We haven't met before, have we? Five pieces per customer, let's see it.' he says with a smile."

Roleplaying Brynn:
Brynn is a careful, soft spoken man in his early thirties. Wearing fine clothes, he tends to the counter and charges patrons 5 gold pieces to enter the Den. Brynn is not hostile unless attacked, but he tries to find out if the adventurers are here for pleasure or trouble.

Brynn tries to convince the party to try Mindbloom powder, which he believes to give a warm, comfortable feeling and colourful visions.

If asked or interrogated, he doesn't know where Karadan is, but suggests to the players to look for him in area 5. He thinks this place is just a Mindbloom powder operation, and doesn't know anything about the areas 9, 10 and 11.
If the party pays:
Brynn takes the party into area 2 and asks them to make themselves comfortable while he brings some pipes and Mindbloom powder from area 6.

If the party attacks Brynn:
Brynn defends himself using the hand crossbow under the counter, and tries to run towards area 6 and shout for help.

If Brynn suspects the party means trouble:
Brynn tries to calmly point the party towards area 5 and then discretely alert the creatures in area 6, trying to trap the party.

2. Den



  • There are 6 Commoners (MMp 345) lying around the room.
  • The patrons don't have any valuable belongings on them.
  • Loud noises such as combat or the Thunderwave spell alert the creatures in area 6.
The Commoners are coughing and sometimes vomiting, but are otherwise incapacitated due to the effects of Mindbloom powder. They can be woken up by Lay on Hands, Lesser Restoration and similar effects ending the poisoned condition.
If asked or interrogated, they have never seen Askeladd Karadan.

As the party arrives into area 2, read:
"This room is well lit by candles and lanterns, and filled with grey smoke that has a sharp, ashy smell to it. Strewn about the room are six people, mostly humans. They are clutching pipes in their hands, coughing and occasionally vomiting on the ground. The furniture is broken, the carpet is ripped and burnt in places, and the wood is badly damaged by mould."

If a character uses a pipe to smoke Mindbloom powder, they must succeed on a DC 12 constitution saving throw or suffer one level of exhaustion. Regardless of the outcome of the roll the character starts seeing colours more vibrantly and noises appear muffled for 1d4 hours.


3. Hallway


 
  • Loud noises such as combat or the Thunderwave spell alert the creatures in area 6.


4. Toilet


 
  • The floor in this room is stone.
As the party arrives into area 4, read:
"The stone floor of this room is slippery and covered in grime. There is fungus growing alongside the edges of the room. A strong, acidic stench of vomit fills the room."


5. Trapped Storeroom


  • This room has no lighting.
  • The floor of this room is stone.
Bodies:
Bodies wrapped and tied in sheets are stacked up against the wall. If the party examines the body, a DC 10 medicine check reveals they have been dead 2-3 days, and a DC 15 medicine check reveals they died of a Mindbloom powder overdose.


Smoke trap:
Characters with a passive perception of 14 or higher will notice the door has a wire attached to it, allowing it to be operated from elsewhere.
If the party decides to investigate the vent or the door, a DC 13 investigation check will reveal that they have wires attached to them, allowing them to be operated from elsewhere.

Either trap can be disabled with a DC15 sleight of hand check, one for each. On a failed roll, both strings are activated unless the other has been previously disabled, in which case only one string activates.

The vent near the Northern wall is disguising a smoke trap that can be activated from area 7. If the trap is activated, have the party roll for initiative and stick to a turn based action system until the trap is overcome.

As soon as the trap is activated, smoke starts rising from the vent and the door slams shut, becoming impossible to open or unlock without pulling the smoke trap lever in area 7. The door can only be destroyed. The door has an AC of 10 and 20HP. Once the door is open or destroyed the smoke dissipates into the other rooms and becomes harmless.

One round after the trap is activated, every creature that starts it's turn inside area 5 must succeed on a DC10 constitution saving throw or fall unconscious.

As the party arrives into area 5, read:
"The door opens to reveal four bodies wrapped in linen stacked up on the stone floor in the corner of the room."
If a character has 14+ Passive Perception
"As you open the door and try to walk past it you realize there is some sort of wire attached to the bolt of the door and going into the wall."


6. Living Quarters


  • This area is inhabited by 5 Cultists (MMp 345) and a halfling male Commoner (MMp 345).
  • The door to area 8 is locked. It can be successfully picked with a DC15 sleight of hand check using Thieves' Tools.
  • The room is filled with pipes, petals of the Mindbloom flower, bits of food and drink for the inhabitants, sleeping bags, etc.
  • Loud noises such as combat or the Thunderwave spell alert the creatures in area 7.

The Cultists are fanatical followers of the Mage in area 11. It should be very hard to interrogate them, but the party may be able to intimidate or persuade them into giving information at the GM's discretion. Two of the Cultists are missing their left ring fingers. Scar tissue has formed, and a DC 12 Medicine check reveals the wounds to be 4-6 weeks old.

The halfling male, Morric, is the manufacturer of Mindbloom powder, and is showing the Cultists how to process the dried Mindbloom. If asked or interrogated, Morric doesn't know anything about rooms 9, 10 and 11. If a fight breaks out, Morric tries to hide or escape.
If the creatures in this area have been alerted:
The Cultists prepare their weapons and hide around the room to ambush the party. Morric hides.

If the creatures in this area haven't been alerterd:
The Cultists are surprised by the party and caught off guard. Their weapons are not in their hands so they use their first action to arm themselves. Morric panics and tries to escape through areas 2 and 1.

7. Sky Door


  • This room has no lighting.
  • The torch sconces are empty.
  • The floor and walls of this room are made of stone. The ceiling is 40ft high.
  • This room contains 4 Quasits (MMp 63).
The Quasits in this room take the form of bats and hang from the walls. If alerted, they turn invisible and prepare to ambush the party.

Smoke Trap Lever:
Inside the fireplace on the south side of the room is a hidden lever that activates the Smoke trap in area 5.

Sky Door Rope:
Near the fireplace on the south side of the room is a rope attached to a mechanism behind the ceiling. Pulling the rope raises the ceiling, opening a skylight through which the Quasits in bat form can enter and exit the room. The cult uses them as flying couriers.

Table:
The table is covered with various weapons such as daggers and scimitars, and a Lantern of Revealing (DMGp 179).

8. Office


  • The door to area 6 is locked.
  • The door to area 9 is barred from this side and can be opened.
As the party arrives into area 8, read:
"There is a well made bed in the corner of the room, a tidy desk with a lantern, inkwell and a letter on it, as well as a set of shelves littered with shiny baubles and trinkets."

Desk:
On top of the desk is an inkwell, a Letter, 5 Onyx (worth 20gp each), and 15gp. In the desk drawer are five empty scroll cases, and two scroll cases containing one Scroll of Protection from Fiends (DMGp 199) each.

Letter:
This piece of paper has been affected by the spell Illusory Script. To everyone except the Mage in area 11, this letter appears to be an order for a Mindbloom powder shipment. The letter actually reads: "Seeing as the Blood of the Tyrant has been secured, begin the summoning. Let us usher in the age of our rule." At the bottom, the letter is simply signed: "-The Kris."

Shelves:
On the shelves there are several small leather pouches containing necklaces, rings, bracelets and similar jewelry. The pouches contain jewelry with a total value up to 500gp. Next to the pouches is an iron lockbox which can be lockpicked with a DC15 sleight of hand check using Thieves' Tools, or forced open with an improvised tool at the GM's discretion. The lockbox contains 20pp, 80gp, 200sp.


9. Gargoyle Hall


  • This room has no lighting.
  • Floor, walls and ceiling are stone. Ceiling is 20 ft high.
  • Loud noises such as combat or the Thunderwave spell alert the creatures in area 7.
  • Triggering the Fallen door trap does not alert the creatures.
Fallen door trap:
This trap can be detected with a DC15 perception or investigation check, or a passive perception of 18 or higher. Unless the party illuminates the area, the trap cannot be spotted with passive perception. Standing on the door triggers a pressure plate, activating the Gargoyle head on the north side which releases a stream of fire in a 35ft line. Characters caught in the line make a Dexterity saving throw DC 13 and take 6d6 fire damage or half as much on a successful save.



10. Chamber of Devotion


  • This room has no lighting. The torch sconces are empty.
  • Floor, walls and ceiling are stone. Ceiling is 20ft high.
As the party arrives into area 10, read:
"This room is completely dark, with the exception of a red circular mark faintly glowing on the opposite wall of the room. The glow of the mark outlines the edges of a large stone door with some sort of markings engraved into it."

Stone Door:
The stone door has no handles or keyholes. Its only feature is a small circular hole a bit larger than the average human finger, with a streak of dry blood along the stone surface underneath.
The strange engravings on the door are Abyssal for "Accept the Ring of the Prince."
The door can only be opened by a living being who puts their finger in the hole, where it is violently cut off, dealing 1d6 slashing damage and lowering their max HP by 2.
If the party decides to destroy the door, the door has an AC of 10 and an HP of 30. The spell can be supressed or removed by the effects of the Knock spell, Dispel Magic with a DC of 14, or similar effects.


11. Ritual Chamber


  • Floor, walls and ceiling are stone. Ceiling is 20ft high.
  • The room contains 6 Cultists (MMp 345), 1 Mage (MMp 347) and 1 The room contains 6 Cultists (MMp 345), 1 Mage (MMp 347) and 1 Noble, Askeladd Karadan (MMp 348)
When the door in area 10 is opened or destroyed, roll initiative and start a round counter.

2 Cultists are guarding the door, and the remaining 4 are standing near the summoning circles maintaining concentration on summoning rituals.

The Mage is standing over the incapacitated Noble near the large summoning circle and maintaining concentration on a sacrificial ritual. During the first round, the Mage laughs and gloats over the party, saying "You're too late. Yield and It may spare your life." During the following rounds the Mage might try to convince the party to stop resisting and to surrender.

The Cultists and Mage performing the ritual are under the effects of Scroll of Protection from Fiends (DMGp 199)

At the end of every round, each Cultists still maintaining concentration has an 80% chance of summoning a Dretch (MMp 57) to fight the party.
Ending their turn away from a summoning circle ends a cultist's concentration. Using their scimitar attack does not end concentration.

Playing the Mage:
The mage can cast spells that don't require concentration during the ritual, such as Counterspell and Fireball. Moving doesn't break the concentration, but the mage has to be near the altar to kill the Noble at the end of the ritual or it will fail.
Unless interrupted by breaking concentration, at the end of round 4, the Mage kills the Noble using the Pact Blade and summons a Glabrezu (MMp 58) to fight the party.
If interrupted before or during round 4, the Mage doesn't kill the Noble and summons a Glabrezu that is hostile to both the party and the cult, and particularly angry at its summoner.

On a DC10 arcana or religion check, the party realizes that this is a sacrificial summoning ritual. On a DC15 arcana or religion check the party knows exactly how much time is left before the ritual is complete.

The altar is littered with 9 Onyx worth 20gp each.

The Mage is missing two fingers on the left hand, and one finger on the right, which was recently cut off. Two of the Cultists in the room are missing their left ring fingers as well, but the wounds aren't fresh.

The Mage is holding a Pact Blade, which is a dagger with the properties of +1 Rod of the Pact Keeper (DMGp 197). Searching the Mage's pockets yields the keys to the locked door and strongbox in area 8.


Alternate Maps


Game Master Map, click here
Player Map, click here
Gridless Player Map, click here
Printer Friendly Player Map, click here
The Kris - Game Master Map
Unless specified, rooms are brightly lit. Floors, walls and ceilings are made of wood.




   

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Comments

Author's Notes

I hope you enjoyed this entry to the Adventure April challenge, and I welcome you to run this adventure for your party!


Please Login in order to comment!
11 Apr, 2022 19:41

Thanks for ripping the bandaid with me! I'll be sure to check back on Kris later to see how it fares!

Que the wardrums! Check out my bloodied river, running from the heart of the jungle:River Arteria!
Master frigid_lich_dnd
Frigid_Lich_DnD
21 Apr, 2022 12:19

Thanks for the support!

16 Apr, 2022 06:01

Good work! I really like how you added some different read alouds based on passive perception. I gave you my feedback over discord; I hope it helps you improve an already interesting one-shot :)

Master frigid_lich_dnd
Frigid_Lich_DnD
16 Apr, 2022 10:45

Thank you for being a big part of this, your feedback was invaluable! ps: all the treasure!

18 Apr, 2022 02:03

I loved how complete the adventure was, with everything the DM needs to make it work. The map(s) are great, and I also like the art you've generated for your magical items. Great work!

Master frigid_lich_dnd
Frigid_Lich_DnD
18 Apr, 2022 13:05

Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed the adventure. I was worried it might confusing for a DM so this feedback means a lot to me :D

Master FalconX
Lachlan Grierson
19 Apr, 2022 06:24

Ok, I like the way you have clickable buttons for choices. I like the sense of mystery and danger.

Master frigid_lich_dnd
Frigid_Lich_DnD
19 Apr, 2022 10:31

Thanks! That means mission is accomplished :D

19 Apr, 2022 23:46

This is really complete!!

Here is my Challenge article! HROKENTORM   Come vist my worlds PANGORIO for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures! HYPNOSIUM is my new historical fantasy world!
Master frigid_lich_dnd
Frigid_Lich_DnD
21 Apr, 2022 12:19

Thank you very much! :D

20 Apr, 2022 20:30

Nice work! It's really complete and well thought out! My only question (I might've missed it in the article) was if there are any consequences for letting the prince die, or if it's up to the DM's discretion?

Master frigid_lich_dnd
Frigid_Lich_DnD
21 Apr, 2022 12:17

If the party manages to survive that eventuality it's going to be up to the DM's discretion! I'll see if I can revisit the ending and add some more text in there. Thank you!

30 Apr, 2022 19:00

Kick down the door, kill the cultists, save the prince. Very classic, and I like it! It's great that you have branching paths and options. I like the unique setting with the drug den, and the traps seem quite fun. As you asked for feedback on the formatting, I'd suggest to split the longer sections more into sections - for example, a separate statblock for the mage and his tactics. Overall, nice work!

If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
Master frigid_lich_dnd
Frigid_Lich_DnD
30 Apr, 2022 20:49

Thank you, I really appreciate the feedback! I was going for the classic feel, so that means a lot. I agree on splitting the sections such as the mage tactics, so I will take that into account for my future articles!

30 Apr, 2022 23:10

Ooh, this is an interesting scenario! I want to know how it turns out, if you've written a post one shot.

~TimeBender~Check out the first chapter of my newest book on World Anvil (Spoiler I'm posting the entire book for free): 1/The First Rule of Monsterborn Adoptions
Sage George Sanders
George Sanders
4 May, 2022 14:35

That could be a serious fight at the end with summoned creatures adding to the tension! What happens if the party is put to sleep in room 5 - trapped storage room? You cover a lot of other options well. I was surprised the locked door in the office doesn't have a DC. Is that a valid way through? If not, may not be needed.   I enjoyed the variety of traps and the story of what is really going on in this space, uncovered along the way.   Thanks for checking out my one-shot and I saw you on the Storytelling Collective! Look forward to catching up with you on other challenges and events.

Read about the ancient history of the Anhult Wildlands in my Challenge article, Echoes of the Past.

Submit articles for Lavani to read by leaving a comment on her Reading List!
Master frigid_lich_dnd
Frigid_Lich_DnD
6 May, 2022 21:06

I wish the word limit was higher so we could explore what happens to the captured PCs! But it's -very- unlikely they get a TPK in that room (not impossible). It would be neat to have them wake up mid summoning ritual!   The office door has a DC listed in room 6 where it will be more relevant. I avoided double posting it because I got really, really close to the word limit ahahha... Sorry for the inconvenience!   Glad to be partaking in the writing course with you! Hope we see more of each others work soon :D   PS: loved reading through the race! I love fetch quests, and incorporating the Thieves Guild always makes for fun stories :D

5 May, 2022 17:46

"The door can only be opened by a living being who puts their finger in the hole, where it is violently cut off, dealing 1d6 slashing damage and lowering their max HP by 2."   And that is why you capture your enemies alive, so you can feed *their* fingers to magic doors.

Am I my brother's keeper? No, I'm the centre-forward!
Master frigid_lich_dnd
Frigid_Lich_DnD
6 May, 2022 21:07

I sense your alignment is chaotic smart :P