Meg-sery cannot be dead!

This is a one shot adventure that can be adapted to various places in Phaldorya, although I will use the specific location in which the adventure was setted in my campaign. According to the type of group some options could be more sensible than other, but in the complex the adventure is a rescue mission to save a prisoner, possibly avoiding her from suffering any harm.


Introductory scene

The adventure begins when the party that has been travelling along the Southern Caravan Route, the biggest route south of Arquir Desert, a short distance from the Saythan settlement of Kedim, notice the evidence of some burning in the distance, most good oriented groups will be prone to investigate to save any possible survivor, evil oriented groups may still be interested in loot or possible rewards. As they get nearer it possible to perform various checks:

  • Perception DC 5 to notice that the are 7 adult human bodies scattered around the wagons, all dead;

  • Survival DC 10 to notice that assaultants were bipodal humanoids wearing shoes or boots, with at least 3 grades on the skill a rough number of around half dozen of assailants can be estimated;

  • Knowledge local DC 10 allows to understand that the bodies are dressed in a mix of Saythan and Hintadu clothing

  • Healing check DC 10 to detect that the injuries are mixed from arrows, blunt and slashing weapons.

The sun is starting to set on the Southern caravan route and your group begins to look around in search of a good location to set a camp. Observing the horizon you notice at a short distance two columns of smoke and the macabre dance of scavenger birds circling over a depression that you cannot observe from this position. (If the players decide to investigate, please describe their actions accordingly) As the group comes closer to the valley it's possible to notice the presence of a train of two wagons, one of which is laying upside down, surrounded by several dead bodies. As the group gets nearer the scavenging birds elect to fly away (unless they get attacked in this case they may retaliate until they are in a bigger number) and, at the first observation appears clear that the caravan has been attacked by a group of creature that has killed everyone on sight, taking care to give a coup-of-grace to everyone who appeared to be still alive.

Further examination of the area allows the party to realize that all the baggages and, possible, valuable items have been stolen, but some of the tools (pitchforks and clubs) they have used in the attempt to defend themselves are still on the floor, although their market value is relinquishable. While they are searching the area they can perform a check of Perception DC 10 to hear sound of cough and a feint hiss from under the turned-over wagon. If someone, succeding or not, checks under the wagon finds a wide-eyed kid, with a smoke stained face. Once he realizes that you are not the creatures who have attacked the caravan, accepts to get out from under the wagon and if the group appears to be gentle to him (giving him something to clean himself with, or some water or food otherwise talking to him gently and passing a persuasion check DC 8) he explains that his name is Richard Brand, but everyone calls him Dick and what occured to his parents and the people that was travelling with them and mentions that the monsters have taken his sister and asked the party to recover her.


Dick.jpeg
One year ago my parents decided to move, in search of fortune, to Unazan Gazar but after a short while it appeared clear that the climate over there didn't suit my little sister health. So, we joined together with a caravan in the attempt to return to Kedim, the town where my father was born and were, we know, my uncle Trenton is doing very well. According to what Frank, the other wagon coachman, said we could have manage to arrive tonight, but during the afternoon one of the horses went ballistic and started to ride in the flank of the other one, eventually with hit the border of the ditch at turned-over. While I was trying to free my trapped foot, I heard some guttural voices coming from the surroundings, I flattened myself and seen some monsters clad in leather armors attacking the caravan. The voice breaks and the kid start to cry and hiccup, after a few minutes he manages to regain control of himself and continues: They've killed all the adults and have taken my sister Meg with them, I was too scared to come out from my hiding place. Please, good masters, can you rescue my sister and bring us both to safety at the house of my uncle? He looks at the group eye enlightened with hope and face smeared of mud and smoke, after wiping his eye after crying.

At this point player can ask some more questions to Dick which can answer explaining that the creatures that have attacked where tall as human adults, may be a bit stockier, with gray-greenish skin but he cannot tell what kind of monsters they were, that they have stolen the horses and he cannot be sure in which direction they have gone, but considering that they have taken all the baggages they couldn't have gone very far. In the meanwhile the sun has set, the darkness is falling making following tracks very complicate (survival check DC 20) and humidity is coming up so a firecamp will be required soon. The group has two options, return to Kedim that is less than 7 miles away and search from the kid's uncle and possibly spend the night in a tavern or set up a camp to try to rescue Meg early in the morning. An evil oriented party may actually consider to abandon the kid to his destiny or kill him and the adventure would be over. If they pass the check to follow the tracks they can consider their chances of rescuing Meg during the night, but any character with 13 Wis or more realizes that the contras outmatch the pros, because since they have taken Meg with them, rather than killing her on the spot, probably they intend sell her as a slave or have some other plans.


Intermediate scene


The order of development of the adventure depends on the course of action elected from the group therefore if the group manages to follow the tracks in the darkness (please remind to repeat the checks because the can be lost easily in the darkness) head to the combat scene directly. If the group decids to camp near the attack site, ask them how they set-up the campfire and if they organize any guard duties and roll for random encounters (1 on 1d6 means an encounter occurs) every hour you can either select randomly from the table attached but I would probably orientate on some scavenger creature such as hyenas or dire hyenas, since we are pretty close to the attack site. If they, instead, elect to return to the town after a short ride they will get in site of the gates, during the travel Dick will fill them explaining that his uncle Trenton Brand is a well respected jewel-maker in the town, and that he did reply to the letter that his father sent him request help informing that he would be looking forward to his brother after a long time and the rest of the family for the first time. The palisade can be seen from a good distance, here two guards are on duty and will question them without too much enthusiasm, if they observe them accurately then the group can see that one is rather young, around 17 years old, with no beard and they can find out his name is Albert, while is superior is a man in his thirties with neat moustaches but cheeks clean shaved and his name is Gunthar. They will mention that nobody will pass through the gate after darkness, they may ask to check them over and generally be obstructive, unless someone in the group mentions the name of Trenton Brand. If the group has behaved very well with Dick, he may choose to speak up directly saying that is the nephew of Trenton Brand. The name of the artisan will allow the group through the gates without further hindrance, they will give directions to the shop/house and mention to hurry up as usually the artisan retires to bed fairly early. If the group passes through the gates during the day two guards are at the door, but they don't get stopped unless they do something weird.


Leaving the gates behind them, the group starts to walk along the silent and dark roads of Kedim. The town appears quiet in the looming darkness, although the characters have the impression that someone may be observing them, behind closed shutters. The few by-passers the group meets are either guards that observe them attentively without interrupting their patrol or some commoner in shabby clothing with a nervous expression in face. The shop/house indicated by the guards appears sort of midway between the gate and the town center but, since Kedim is vaguely wheeled shaped, it's easy to lose the orientation. After a brief walk you reach a neat door with a shiny plaque that reports the name Brand, beside it a thin string hangs coming out from a little gap beside the timberframe. Pulling it, produces a feint silvery sound from the inside and you have only to wait a little while before a stocky bloke finely dressed as a butler comes at the door studying you. "Good evening gentlemen" he seem to give emphasys to the word gentlemen "Mr Trenton is expecting some visitors, if you've been sent to bring news please speak up"

Kedim is going through some difficult times the nearby mines have been running dry for a while and the bankers of the city nearby has loaned money to most of the businesses in the town, with very few exception. Therefore, even if it isn't important for this one-shot adventure, try to make sure you depict the tense setting. Make a few hidden perception checks while the characters are moving in the town to give the sensation to be observed, just to create a bit of suspence. If the group observes the Brand shop's display, protected by shutters and metal bars, allows to observe some impressive piece of jewelry attesting the skills of the artisan. The building is a two-storey terraced house, the ground floor occupied by the shop and crafting area, while up-stairs there is Mr Brand home. The stone facade is half-timbered and decorated with a beige plaster that gives the building an elegant aspect. The butler is stout man in his mid-age, with baldening dark hair, a goatee and rubicund face. The attitude is kind, though he observe squarily anyone who would look savage. If the group explains what happened he will guide you to meet master Trenton, in the sitting room. To get there he guides you up a dimly illuminated flight of stairs and in a refined corridor dominated by a large portrait of a young beautiful woman facing on the opposite wall a smaller one of a stern-looking man in dark garments. At the end of the corridor, the butler knocks at an oaken door announcing visits to his master.


Sitting in an elegant armchair of red brocade facing you there's an older version of the man from the portrait in the corridor, bushy hairbrows, salt and pepper curly hair, protruding cheekbones and a roman-nose. His martial aspect is strengthened by the black tunic he's wearing, with polished buttons. Of the woman instead there no trace and, despite everything been impeccably clean, it is easy to say that the house lacks a female touch. The master explains that he developed through the years the habit of drinking a glass of brandy with Jeremy, who is a friend and a personal assistant more than a butler, before going to bed. "Today I was expecting my brother Dirk to arrive, have you been sent to carry a message from him?" when he gets informed of the death of the brother the man is visibly shook, although he keeps a rigid composure. When you introduce the nephew all the members of the group have to perform a diplomacy check with DC 15, if someone passes the check the man will tell his story, the wife died while giving birth to two twins and he never married again, he focused in his work allowing to put aside a good wealth and a collection of valuables, lately the times have been difficult in the town but he is one of the few artisans that has not to worry about debts, although sales have gone dramatically low. Otherwise, when you mention the capture of Meg, he promises you a good reward if you rescue her unscathed and, when you accept, mentions something like "After all this time life his giving me a second chance" that will make sense only knowing the artisan's history. If the group meets Mr Brand after having rescued Meg please refers at the final scene directly. He then says that he will take care of Dick if he wants to stay with his uncle, the kid accepts gladly, and asks Jeremy to lead you to the tavern and pay for your stay for the night. During the walk to the tavern if the characters have failed the diplomacy check, they can try to induce Jeremy to say something about his master story, bribery will have a very negative effect on his reactions though.


Combat Scene

The group should be ready to leave to chase the group of kidnappers at the first lights of the day, it shouldn't be necessary to insist too much. They should be able to return to the site of the attack without any additional problems, if they try to follow the tracks walking at half their normal speed the DC of the Survival skill is 9, it takes about one and half hour to reach the grotto where the kidnappers are hiding. The tracks pass through an area of firm terrain, scattered with pre-desertic vegetation and rocks, the presence of the horses make it easier to follow them. Close to the entrance of the grotto the path turns in a soft slope making it's very difficult to get to the entrance unobserved. If group wants to get unobserved they will need to go around for several miles without a chart they are likely to lose the orientation in the attempt. If they approach frontally they are very likely to be spotted, unless they invent something to distract the guards. When describing the guards consider the experience that characters have with goblinoid creatures, if they have limited experience keep a bit of mistery around they species. If they get to the grotto in darkness consider that hobgoblins will see in darkness while most characters will need a light source increasing the chances to be spotted. The guard duties are organized so that two standard hobgoblin will keep watch for eight hours during the morning and in the afternoon relieved in the night by the elite hobgoblins. If the group attacks or gets spotted the guards will give the alarm that will cause the other hobgoblins to be ready to fight by the time the reach the grotto. The grotto is irregular about 7m by 15m but the external opening is only 4.5m wide and 2m meter tall so that it is required to dismount to enter safely. The first half of the grotto is occupied by some rough benches and a campsite with a fire, the second half presents a few steps that are dominated by a rough sculpture of some goblinoid, realistically a divinity. On the right side there is a large cage with a white bundle inside, static and outside it multiple baggage and some clothes around ammassed. The fight should be fairly linear, the hobgoblins try to fight from the distance until it is possible and then they change to melee weapons. The cleric casts first conjures the fog to hide, them summons a earth elemental to guard the cage, and then uses the other spell according to the situations. If the fight is a bit dull you can make it more interesting using some hostage situation, as the elemental can pass through the metal bars of the cage using its special abilities.

Once you manage to kill the cleric, the elemental will dissolve in a pile of soil and survivors, if any, will try to escape. You can find the keys of the cage attached to the belt of the cleric or you can try to break the poor quality padlock that closes it. When you open the cage Meg is unconscious, if a female character touches her at first the child will confuse her with her mother but soon will remind the truth and will start to sob and ask if you have found her brother Dick. You can explore the grotto at your will, behind the statue there's a narrow passage to a secret alcove but only a slim and short person can squeeze through, inside you can find a small surface, with two rough jade sculptures on, that could be of some interest for archaeologists or collectors. The pile of clothes would be probably useless to the characters but Meg will be very fond of anyone who gives her a dress that used to belong to the mother. In term of other treasure please feel free to adapt it to the standard of your adventures, but this should be a small band of scavengers therefore my advice is to keep it low.


Final Scene


According to the time of the day when the group returns to the town please refer to the situation at the gates described earlier on, ideally the group should return during the day and not get stopped by the guards at all. If they have already brought to safety Dick, when they get to the shop the find Mr Brand already busy trying to explain some of the tools of trade to his nephew, whom runs to embrace his sister as soon as he notices her presence. The goldsmith will be very grateful to the party for rescue his nephew(s) from danger and will reward each member of the group with a jewel of their choice, as cash money is short at the moment, for a value of 5d4*10gp each, if a character has points spent in the skill appraise grant a 10% increase in value to the jewel they elect. Furthermore the artisan will cover the costs of your stay at the Borders' Inn, where he has reserved a rich banquet for the group.


Achievements

  • Stainless steel heart: Rescue both kids and reject the reward or give it away to charitable institutions.

  • Hero for Sale: Rescue both kids and haggle on the reward.

  • Night predator: Kill both Trevor and Jeremy and ransack Brand's property.

  • Party animal: during the celebrations or the night spent at the Inn get to learn the sideline stories of Kedim and Trevor Brand.

  • Inside man: try to negotiate with the hobgoblins to release Meg.

Adventure for 4-5 characters of Pathfinder TTRPG lev. 4
Expected duration: 2-3 hours
Type of content: One main combat scene, the rest of the quest is based on interpersonal and investigative skills.

NPCs

Dick.jpeg

Dick CR 1/3
XP 135
Human child expert 2
N Small humanoid
Init +3; Senses Perception -1
Defense:
AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11 (+3 Dex, +1 size)
hp 9 (2d8)
Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +2
Offense:
Speed 20ft
He doesn't have any weapons at the start of the adventure, unless the group gives him one he will fight only to survive.
Tactics:
If in danger he will try to hide. In regards to interpretation I did make him not very good with numbers, but he can be adapted to your interpretative style.
Statistics:
Str 7, Dex 17, Con 10, Int 9, Wis 8, Cha 10
Base Atk +1; CMB -2; CMD 11
Feats Skill Focus (Sleight of Hand), Stealthy
Skills Acrobatics +8, Bluff +5, Climb +3, Escape Artist +10, Sleight of Hand +11, Stealth +14
Languages common


Albert CR 1/3


albert.png

XP 200
Human warrior 2
NG Medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +3
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor)
hp 21 (2d10+6)
Fort +5, Ref +0, Will –1
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee longsword +4 (1d8+1/19–20)
Ranged longbow +2 (1d8/×3)
STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 13
Feats Alertness, Weapon Focus (longsword)
Skills Intimidate +4, Perception +3, Ride +3, Sense Motive +3
Languages Common, Saythian
Gear chain shirt, longbow with 20 arrows, longsword


Gunthar.png

Gunthar CR 2
XP 600
Male human warrior 3
LN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +5; Senses Perception +7
DEFENSE
AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 18 (+8 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 22 (3d10+6)
Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +3
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft. (20 ft. with armor)
Melee masterwork halberd +7 (1d10+3/x3)
Ranged masterwork light crossbow +5 (1d8/19-20)
STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 9
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 15
Feats Alertness, Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus (halberd)
Skills Diplomacy +2, Knowledge (local) +4, Perception +7, Sense Motive +7
Languages Common, Saythian NPC Gear +1 banded mail, masterwork halberd, masterwork light crossbow with 20 bolts


Jeremy CR 1

Jeremy.jpg

XP 400
Male human aristocrat 1/expert 3
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init +1; Senses Perception +10
DEFENSE
AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10
hp 10 (4d8-8)
Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +6
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee unarmed strike +0 (1d3-2 nonlethal)
STATISTICS
Str 7, Dex 11, Con 7, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 12
Base Atk +2; CMB +0; CMD 10
Feats Alertness, Skill Focus (linguistics), Skill Focus (profession [butler])
Skills Appraise +9, Diplomacy +8, Knowledge (local) +8, Knowledge (nobility) +9, Linguistics +11, Perception +10, Profession (butler) +11, Profession (scribe) +8, Sense Motive +10
Languages Common, Dwarven, Gnome, Saythian, Kharmian
NPC Gear noble livery worth 300 gp


Trenton.jpeg

Trenton Brand CR 6
XP 2,000
Male human expert 7
LN medium humanoid (human)
Init +6; Perception +9
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 16 (+5 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 55 (7d8+14)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +4;
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger +5 (1d3/19-20)
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 16, Wis 8, Cha 12
Base Atk +5; CMB +4; CMD 16
Feats Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (craft [jewelry]), Skill Focus (appraise)
Skills Appraise +13, Diplomacy +11, Craft (jewelry) +13, Knowledge (engineering) +13, Knowledge (nobility) +13, Knowledge (local) +13, Perception +9, Sense Motive +9, Stealth +6;
Languages Common, Dwarven, Gnome, Saythian, Kharmian.


Meg CR 1/3

meg.jpeg

XP 135
Human child expert 2
N Small humanoid
Init +3; Senses Perception -1
DEFENSE
AC 12, touch 14, flat-footed 11 (+1 Dex, +1 size)
hp 12 (2d8+3)
Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +4
OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft.
STATISTICS
Str 7, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 9, Wis 8, Cha 10
Base Atk +1; CMB -2; CMD 11
Feats Toughness, Iron Will
Skills Acrobatics +8, Bluff +5, Climb +3, Escape Artist +10, Sleight of Hand +11, Stealth +14
Languages common

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Antagonists


Hobgoblin (4)
XP 200
Hobgoblin fighter 1
LE Medium humanoid (goblinoid)
Init +2 Senses: Darkvision 60ft; Perception +2
Defense:
AC 16, touch 12, Flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +2 dex, +1 Shield)
HP 17
Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +2
Offense
Speed 30ft.
Melee longsword +4 (1d8+2/19-20)
Ranged longbow +3 (1d8/x3)
Statistics
Str 15, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 15
Feats Toughness, Weapon Focus (longsword)
Skills Perception +2, Stealth +5; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth.
Languages Common and Goblin.


Hobgoblin Elite (2)
XP 300
Hobgoblin fighter 3
LE Medium humanoid (goblinoid)
Init +3 Senses Darkvision 60ft.; Perception +2;
Defense:
AC 18, touch 13, Flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +3 dex, +1 shield)
HP 30
Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +2
Offense:
Speed 30ft.
Melee Heavy Mace +7 (1d8+3/x2)
Ranged Longbow +6 (1d8/x3)
Statistics:
Str 17, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 12, Char 9
Base atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 19
Feats Toughness, Weapon Focus (Heavy Mace), Bravery, Combat Reflexes
Skills Perception +2, Intimidate +1, Stealth +5; Racial modifiers +4 Stealth.
Languages Common and Goblin


Kurzack Hobgoblin Cleric of Gruumsh
XP 500
Hobgoblin Cleric 4
NE Medium humanoid (goblinoid)
Init +7 Senses Darkvision 60ft.
Defense:
AC 18, touch 13, Flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +3 dex, +1 shield)
HP:36
Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +8
Offense:
Speed 30ft.
Melee Morning Star +6 (1d8+2/x2)
Statistics:
Str 14, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 11, Wis 18, Char 9
Base atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 18
Feats Improved Initiative, Weapon focus (Morning Star)
Spell lev 0 Bleed, Breaking (as opposite of Mending), Light, Detect Magic. lev 1 Cause Fear, Doom, Obscuring mist, Protection from Good, Magic Weapon (from War Domain) lev 2 Bull's strength, Silence, Summon monster II (earth elemental), Spiritual weapon (from War Domain)
Skills Knowledge (Arcana) +4, Knowledge (Religion) +5, Heal +9, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +5, Stealth +7; Racial modifiers +4 Stealth

Comments

Author's Notes

{Please be patient, more TLC will come to improve aspect of the article}
No master has suffered any physical harm by unhappy fans after mastering this adventure.

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27 Apr, 2021 13:26

This seems like an interesting one shot! I especially like the layout for the 'out loud' parts, looks very neat. It seems that you have covered many possibilities as to what the PC's could do and in what order which is always nice.   The achievements at the end were a fun addition as well. Nice read!

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
Grandmaster AzounIV
Luca Poddighe
27 Apr, 2021 14:55

Thank you very much! This is a one-shot that I did for my players and I felt very ashamed of working so hard to make it suitable to publish because, when I master, I generally work on a very loose canvas and impro a lot, but I realize that you cannot publish something "impro here, impro there!" I am very happy that you appreciate my efforts! (I still have to put a map of the grotto and a few images I'm working on but I am very slow!)

Transform your quirks, in your strength! Join the revolution and visit Phaldorya (Eng)
27 Apr, 2021 15:00

Same here actually. I started with writing everything down first and over time I just started only writing down small notes and doing most on impro xp so indeed it is hard to write it out it full, took me some time as well :p

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
30 Apr, 2021 14:04

This is all awesome, but can I just say I love the addition of achievements and it inspired me to write up something on the side real quick? Such a neat little idea.

I'd love to see your own opinions on my main world, Xardia, and it's Free D&D 5e Module!
Grandmaster AzounIV
Luca Poddighe
1 May, 2021 14:03

Thank you, I think it was an option to mention a few things that characters may wish to do.

Transform your quirks, in your strength! Join the revolution and visit Phaldorya (Eng)