One-Shot Adventure: The Stews Must Survive


Designed for one player with a GM

System adaptable, without combat. Uses 1D20.

Easy difficulty, 2-4 hours of gameplay.
 

Summary

The Knowledgeholders tasked you with saving the cuisine of the fallen city-state of Bregos.
Will you endure the difficult terrain and the even more difficult people
to preserve the tastiest recipes for the future?
 

How to play

Three characters are provided for the player to choose from. The tests are adapted to them, so character sheets are not needed. A GM should be able, though, to adapt the adventure to other systems and characters.   The NPCs will react differently to the features of the chosen character. Each one will open different paths, and have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Detailed, GM-only specifics are hidden under spoiler buttons, though it is not recommended for players to read the scenes in advance.  
GM's insight
The running theme of the adventure is the player having to deal with difficult people. Try to make the characters mildly annoying and hard to please.
 

Choose your character!

Plegamin the scholar

A kite folk. You are good at research, but the mountain will not be good with you. You would produce the best quality records.

Sanska the merchant

A puma woman. Trekking is second nature for you. People often think you are a Breguine by your looks and name: You should blend right in!

Alue the high-end chef

A kangaroo man. You never tried to hike, but you are an expert cook. You know the language of food: You are definitely the one for the job!

Your adventure could turn into canon!

Comment down with the results of your adventure. What did you make? Which perils did you have to endure? Your story could turn into one of the recipes documented in the Knowledgeholder's library!  
Coming Soon!
 
A Breguine old man of llama phenotype and judgemental, exasperated look
Veceron by Naelin

Setup

Not two days ago, the player reached the city of Spire in the north of Thaur following a job posting from The Knowledgeholders, the governmental organization dedicated to keeping and expanding the biggest library in the archipelago.   There Ethel of Spire, an ermine man, tasked the player with going to the city-state of Bregos, hidden atop the mountains. When The High Rust destroyed it less than a decade ago, most of its inhabitants died and many of their secrets died with them.
The Knowledgeholders are trying to record the famous Breguine cuisine before it's lost to time, and it's the player's job to get the secrets out of the few survivors.  
GM's insight

Ethel

Ethel is an elitist, stuck-up character from a noble family. He thinks himself better than the adventurer, and will act dismissive and annoyed if confronted with questions.
 
Ethel provides the player with a map of the route, writing utensils, and a pouch of coins with a letter attached.
The map points to an area in the valley running through the mountain range close to the heart of the city, but nothing seems to connect the road with the mountaintops.
"We arranged matters with a Breguine contact to take you from the valley to the city. He is to be paid with the contents of the pouch."
— Ethel
Ethel by Naelin
 

Scene one: Lessons on Breguine hospitality

The adventure starts with the player having joined some other travellers that are making the short route between Spire and the kingdom's capital, Birdland. After a long, long walk, they see a figure nimbly jumping down the rocky, steep slope of a mountain. It seems like a dangerous descent, but he is sure-footed and quickly reaches the grassy base of the valley, then waves a hand at the player.
Your contact walks calmly, gesturing for you to approach. You have heard of this kind, but you are still impressed at his appearance: A tall goat man, with a long beard covering his chest. His beautiful red robes conceal it well, but you can see he is muscular and broad. His horns are the most impressive part: They spiral up forming a tall cone-shaped staircase along their small bumps.
He is a markhor, a kind not seen on the rest of the island.
 
  • (If the player chose Plegamin or Alue) The other travellers look around and, upon seeing the player reacting, look at them with mistrust.
    A dall sheep woman scoffs as the player approaches the contact.
  • (If the player chose Sanska) One of the travellers, a dall sheep woman, will reach her, put a hand on her shoulder and whisper "Safe travels, sister".
    The other travellers pretend to see nothing.
  The markhor presents himself as Warcaya and asks for the letter. He reads it and tells the player that they will first need to "learn some things about the Breguine culture..."
  • (If the player chose Plegamin or Alue) "To prevent misunderstandings"
  • (If the player chose Sanska) "To see that we are not so easy to fool by looks alone"
 
GM's insight
The lessons are merely an endurance test to see how long it takes for the player's character to call him out on his nonsense. The difficulty will depend on the character chosen:
Plegamin studied Breguine culture and will be quick to notice something amiss.
Alue has no idea about Breguine culture, but has a strong character and will not be fooled for too long.
Sanska is trying her best to blend in and will not want to confront Warcaya.
 
 

First Lesson

The first lesson consists on how to greet a stranger.
Warcaya explains that Breguines greet strangers by bowing very very low, but that foreigners should also pull their arms far back, to express greater humility.
He shows how to do so and then asks the player to try.
First lesson's check
  • If the player chose Plegamin, make them roll a D20.
    On a 1 to 10, Warcaya says they did an almost decent job. (Skip the extra check below)
    On an 11 to 15, something seems odd about the salute.
    On a 16 to 18 they think that's wrong but think there is some second intent.
    On a 17+ they are sure that they are being fooled.

  • If the player requests an insight check, Sanska will need a 20 to think it's a bluff.
    Alue will need at least 18.
    Plegamin needs 20 if they got less than 10 on the previous check.
    They will not see anything weird otherwise.

  • Regardless of whether they did an insight check, make the player roll a D20 and indicate how pleased Warcaya is with their performance based on the result (This is of no consequence)
  As long as the player didn't fail the test, it's on them to call Warcaya's nonsense: don't prompt them to do so.
- Go to: The player called Warcaya on his ruse (Or continue to the Second Lesson)
 
 

Second Lesson

Warcaya says that, when requesting something delicate, Breguines speak in third person, so the player will need to do so to request their secrets.
He asks them to practice by asking him to be taken to the city.
Second lesson's check
  • Make Plegamin roll again.
    With 1 to 5, Warcaya says they are not convincing (Skip extra check)
    With 6 to 13, they think something is amiss.
    With 13+, they know these are not Breguine traditions.

  • If the player requests an insight check, follow the same table as in Lesson 1.

  • Repeat the "performance" check from Lesson 1.
  - Go to: The player called Warcaya on his ruse (Or continue to the Third Lesson)
 

Third Lesson

Warcaya tells the player that adult strangers don't look at children in the eyes. To protect their innocence, they will have to look up and put their arms behind their backs if they pass by a kid.
He asks for a demonstration.
Third lesson's check
  • All characters are suspicious now and roll an insight check.
    Plegamin will be sure of the ruse with an 8+.
    Alue will wonder if he is being fooled with an 8+, and feel insulted by the trick with a 15+.
    Sanska will wonder if she is being fooled with a 10+ and be sure of the ruse with a 16+.

  • Repeat the "performance" check from Lesson 1.

  • - Go to: The player called Warcaya on his ruse (Or continue to the Stream of Lessons)
 

A Stream of Lessons

Lesson Four
Warcaya tells the player that they should repeat the last word of each sentence they are told and asks for a demonstration.
Lesson Five
Warcaya asks the player to find the roundest, smoothest rock around as it is the customary gift for when you first meet someone.
Lesson Six
The player is told that they should wear their outermost layer of clothing inside out as this shows that you have nothing to hide.
 
Last lessons' checks
The last three lessons are ridicule and all characters are suspicious.

  • For each test, make the player roll a D20. On a 10+ the character is sure they are being fooled.
  • As long as the player keeps playing along, keep making the performance checks after each test.
  - Go to: The player called Warcaya on his ruse
- Go to: The player played along until the end
 

Caught you!

When the player calls Warcaya out on his nonsense, he will smile and admit the ruse. He will make up an excuse about testing the player's character, then guide them through the hidden cave routes.

Fooled

If the player doesn't discover the ruse or plays along until the end, Warcaya bursts out laughing at the end of the sixth test, and says the player should be more careful about believing everything they are told. He admits the ruse and guides the player through the hidden cave routes.

Scene two: Harvesting

Warcaya helps the player traverse the dangerous path, full of twists and forks meant to be travelled only by expert climbers.
You emerge from the dim-lit caves into the blinding sun. All around you are the peaks of mountains, peppered with what once were houses, hanging roads, pulleys and terrace farms, now crumbling, consumed by the rust. You see one person in the distance waving their hand at Warcaya only to stop when they see you, and then remain immobile as you are guided slowly through the terrifying paths of the fallen city. You enter a mostly intact house, where an old llama man is waiting for you with a puzzling expression.
 
Warcaya introduces the man as Veceron, one of the oldest surviving Breguines and an amazing cook.
He wishes the player good luck with a smile and leaves.   Veceron looks at the player with a judgemental face and says that, if they want to be taught, they will need to demonstrate that they can properly do what they intend to record.
He looks at the player's character from head to toe and says "Do you think you can cook the best dish...?"
A Breguine old man of llama phenotype and judgemental, exasperated look
Veceron by Naelin
GM's insight

Veceron

Veceron is an old commanding man. He doesn't trust the player and will make it hard for them to get information, but on the inside he's glad someone is trying to preserve their culture and wants it to be recorded correctly.
 

The High Stew

Veceron tasks Alue with preparing a High Stew, a special occasion dish made with strong ingredients for them and his neighbours, that should last for several days.
He will have to go around town to talk to the survivors and get at least a base broth, two strong vegetables or meats, three spices, and four side ingredients and, most importantly, all the potential "fillers" to be added for variety in the next days.  
Getting ingredients
The player must check five buildings and request ingredients to the wary neighbours.
They have two options:
  • Request "ingredients": Roll the table twice and give two items at random.
  • Request a specific type of ingredient: This is considered rude by the Breguine. The player must pass a 13+ check to receive an item of the requested type if the neighbour has one left.
    If they fail or if that neighbour does not have that kind of item, they will drive them away or pretend they don't have anything.
  The test finishes when the player gets as many of each kind of item as indicated above and all the "fillers". If this isn't achieved on the first "round", they will be bounced back by Veceron. Make the player go ask for "next day items", where the neighbours will give one random or specific extra item each.

Butcher Shop

"We don't sell stuff here anymore. There is no economy. We are too few and we have to care for each other."
 

Terrace Farm

"That old man will drive you crazy but he has a good heart"
 

Old Lady's house

"The other survivors care for me. I have more than I need."
 

Soup Kitchen

"It makes more sense for us to eat all together nowadays. This will be a welcome routine breaker"
 

Miners' shack

"We trade minerals with the Thaurian, so we usually get exotic spices"
  Once all required items are acquired, Veceron will go through the traditional recipe, and will make Alue cook while taking notes.
  - Proceed to Closure  
 

Marinated Game

Doisu by Naelin
Sanska was tasked with hunting down wild creatures and make the fibrous meat edible.
She will have to get enough meat for a feast, and prepare it for a "cross grill".
Veceron provides her with a crossbow and traps to hunt in the forest behind the farms.  
Hunting
The player needs to get 10 units of meat. They can choose whether to hunt any creature, or to hunt specifically with the crossbow (Faster but harder) or traps (Slower but easier).
Roll from the eligible creatures on the table. The player will have to roll and pass the test on the first column. If the test is failed, the creature will flee. Keep rolling the table until enough meat is gathered.
 
  Once enough meat is gathered, Veceron will tell Sanska that she needs to marinate the meat to make it softer.
The ingredients are laid on a table in Veceron's hut: Milk, oil, vinegar, spices. He sternly guides you to butcher the creatures and prepare the marinate, then tells you that it will need to sit for three days. Upon seeing your face of disbelief, he puts on a wicked smile and says: "Oh, don't worry. I knew you were coming, so I had the meats already prepared for you in the butcher's shop". He won't accept any protest.
  Veceron explains to the player how to place the meat on metal crosses to hold at an angle over a fire on the ground.   - Proceed to Closure
 

Cheese and Shrooms

Plegamin has been tasked with harvesting the correct type of mushrooms for a cheese & stir-fried mushrooms platter.
Veceron will hand them a puzzle for them to find the correct characteristics of the kind of edible shrooms they should look for amongst the inedible or toxic ones that can be found in the mountainside.  
Puzzle Solution
The Edible mushroom is Orange, has a 3cm tall stalk, and has a frilly cap
 

Clues

  • The Terrible shroom is either White or Green.
  • The shroom with a 3cm stalk is Frilly.
  • The Lamentable shroom has a Round cap.
  • The one with the 4cm stalk is not Orange.
  • The Lamentable shroom has a shorter stalk than the Orange one.
  • The White shroom is two centimeters shorter than the Despicable one.
  • Between the Lamentable shroom and the one with the 2cm stalk, one has a Spotted cap and the other is Black.

  • Once Plegamin figures out how to distinguish edible shrooms, they will be sent to gather them, and then be explained how to fry them with trelis grease alongside bacon and lycern cheese.   - Proceed to Closure
     

    Closure: Relics of a harsh life

    Spoilers: Epilogue
    The player's character is exhausted and probably annoyed.
    They have recorded their adventure and are preparing to spend a night in the fallen city, eating the fruits of their efforts around a small bonfire with the few surviving citizens.
    Veceron tastes a sample with a judgemental expression, but emotion fills him afterwards.
    He approaches a rusted drawer, and takes something out of it.  
    "You came here to save something of what we lost, and we received you with jests and tests of character, yet you stayed. I am proud of you.
    I was a family man and the one who cooked for a household that is not here anymore, I recorded everything for my daughter. She wanted to be an expert cook when she grew up.
    She will not be able to use it, so I think this will be more useful in your country's library. It has all our traditional recipes, and a few extra of my own."
    He hands you a pile of papers bound in red thread. The cover of the makeshift notebook is a full-page kid's drawing.
    Veceron's Recipe Book by Naelin


    Cover image: Bregos Banner

    Comments

    Author's Notes

    I hope you liked this small adventure! I tried to add a little flavour from the Breguine culture in the few words available.
    If you play this adventure and want your experience featured on a related article, please write it down here in as much detail as you can. I will be glad to take your journey as an official accounting!


    Please Login in order to comment!
    19 Apr, 2022 23:41

    Fantastic!

    Here is my River Challenge Darkwater River! Come vist my world Pangorio for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! Hypnosium is my new world I will be trying to fill for Summer Camp ... perhaps even sooner if the muse sttrikes.
    23 Apr, 2022 18:26

    Thank you very mcuh!

    22 Apr, 2022 21:10

    I love this!! I had so much fun playing the mushroom identification puzzle :D and your character designs are amazing <3


    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    I also make worldbuilding resources!
    23 Apr, 2022 00:41

    I had fun reading it and trying to pass the puzzles. The mushroom identification puzzle was my favourite - shrooms and my favourite type of puzzle all in one go! :D <3   Really great job, Naelin!

    23 Apr, 2022 19:32

    Unfortunately, my normal players would be far too sensitive to bad-tempered or difficult characters for this, but I think it's a great approach. Food and recipes need to be preserved anyway and helping with that is very noble. The fact that he tries to trick the player is also a nice idea. In that sense, I really like the one-shot. Also because of the good, albeit sad, ending, which should show a player that something has really happened if it wasn't clear before.

    Welt: Yenort
    26 Apr, 2022 16:05

    I love the way this article has been put together! There are just so many things that draw your eyes to them :D