Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

The winter goddess's sweater

This is the introductory adventure at the 1st or 2nd level I ran for my own campaign. It is tweaked to better fit other games because there was a lot of homebrew related to my personal world in the original. For example, Auril is the replacement for Cailleach, who is mentioned in most of the linked articles.   The aim of this adventure is to help the players familiarize themselves with the mechanics.

Premise

A great offence has been committed and the world threatens to fall to another ice age.   Auril's favourite sweater was stolen by a lesser devil, who serves the Archdevil Fierna, in a foolish attempt to draw his mistresses attention. However, his careless touch accidentally set the thing on fire and burned it to a crisp. He then fled back to hell. Thoroughly angered by this act of disrespect Auril is raging to the skies and, accidentally or otherwise, her rampage is affecting the weather.   To appease Auril and keep her from starting a new ice age, the Snowflake cathedral is determined to knit her a new midwinter sweater and quell her anger. The former sweater was made by her earliest followers and offered during the first midwinter feast. To get a sweater of similar (emotional) worth the goddess's priests want to use the wool of Brigantia's ram Cirb for a new sweater.
The Quest notice
Name: The winter goddess's sweater.
Reward: 100 gold p.p.
Content: Find Cirb and obtain wool peacefully.
Contact: James Ballot, priest at the Snowflake cathedral

Plot points/Scenes

1. Snowflake cathedral

Player known information
The players have the following information at the start of the adventure:
  • The information that is given with the quest notice
  • PCs who come from Northbark or surroundings have an advantage on survival checks to find their way in Northbark and the mountains
James Ballot, personality suggestion
Nervous, easily distracted, forgets the topic at hand if interrupted, idolises Auril, constantly searching for information in the mess on his desk
  The adventure starts at the Snowflake cathedral where James Ballot is interviewing the PCs. He'll ask them for their name, their profession or class, if they are locals and their reason for accepting the quest. In case the PC's aren't already an adventuring party he'll request for them to travel together on this mission to make it easier for potential rescue parties.   The PC's can also ask James for additional information about the quest which he'll answer if it is relevant to completing the mission.
He'll be able to tell them the sweater was one of the oldest offerings to Auril and that it was destroyed during the thieve's getaway but he'll try to avoid telling them the thief was a devil.
On who Cirb is, James will be able to tell them that this is the name of Brigantia's Ram and that he is also known as the King of all sheep and goats as well as a minor god of protection. The players can also attempt an Intelligence (religion) check themselves which gives them the following information.
Intelligence (religion) check
                          
0-8 No information
9-14 Cirb is Brigantia's castrated Ram and the king of sheep and goats
15-18 +Cirb is a minor protection god and especially feared by devils, demons and the undead
19-22 +Cirb has the ability to speak common between dusk and dawn and has minor prophetic
abilities
23+ +Cirb is a large-sized sheep with silver, luminescent wool, aquamarine eyes and a pair of
deep-black horns that curl around his ears.

They can also visit Brigantia's temple (Spring garden temple) across the street to ask for information on Cirb. This will require them to ask after specific characteristics and to make a Charisma (persuasion) check of DC15.   Cirb is incredibly difficult to find and it is a great feat to even catch sight of him. The only information they have on where to find this King of sheep is a prophecy given by madame Poulet, the local fortune-teller. This prophecy was bought earlier this morning by the Snowflake Cathedral.
In the mountain
Way up high
A circle of rock and stone
Doth ly
Follow the path
Of sorrows deep
Find the king
Of goat and sheep
— Madame Poulet
The poem refers to an old offering altar along Gloom road, the oldest mountain path of Northbark.

2.Stalking demons

During the PC's travel along Gloom road, they encounter a small group of demons. If one of the players speaks abyssal they can inquire with the Dretch for the reason of attack, charisma (persuasion) DC11. The Dretch will then proudly inform the PC's that they were sent to patrol the surroundings of Northbark and stop any pesky adventurers that work with Auril's people. These demons do not understand why they got the order but they did overhear the other demons say something about expanding their territory.
3 players Dretch (1x), Kobold (1x)
4 players Dretch (2x)
5 players Dretch (2x), Kobold (1x)

map snowpath.jpg

by MPoel

3. The King of sheep

After 1,5 days* of travel along the mountain path Gloom Road, The players will come upon a large flock of sheep seeking shelter inside a ring of large, upstanding stones. It looks as if the area is covered by a large see-through dome that keeps out the harsh weather from a distance. A DC18 Arcana check reveals the area to be covered by the spell Hallow.
*Note
many (old) mountain roads that are used for a lot of travel or are known to lead past fields used for cattle have small and simple buildings to protect cattle and travellers from the elements. Gloom road has these shelters as well all be it in neglected states. The buildings are made of stacked stones with a simple wooden roof, small windows (without glass) to let in air and light and are simply one room. Some of these shelters may still have a second floor made of creaking wood that is just big enough for three people to sleep on.

When looking for Cirb, the King of sheep, amongst the herd a perception DC12 is enough to notice a sheep twice the size with luminescent wool.

Scenario 1

If the PCs directly attempts to capture Cirb to shave him, they'll need to roll for initiative. During the confrontation, Cirb's main focus will be on staying out of the players' hands and protecting his subjects.   The normal sheep(10) are trying to get out of the way while still trying to hide from the snowstorm. If the players intentionally pose a threat to them, Cirb will change his tactic to attacking the PC's (non-lethal attacks).   Cirb's stats HERE. Battlemap
map circle.jpg
by MPoel

Scenario 2

The players can try to approach Cirb and ask him for his wool. The King of sheep is willing to give them his wool if they agree to offer him a crown during the spring festival. What this crown is made of isn't important to him.   If they meet him between dusk and dawn, the sheep king will be able to speak common. Otherwise, the players can use animal handling against Cirb's performance checks in a round of charades. Cirb, personality suggestion
Generally easy to talk to, easy going, talks a lot when able to, has a lot of pride, has a dislike for horses.
Cirb's wool is as soft as mohair wool and emits a pleasant warmth under normal circumstances. Make sure to describe this to the PCs. Additionally, you can have them roll 3 or 4 DC10 Dex saves while shaving Cirb.
For every failed roll the light from the wool momentarily becomes more intense and it briefly takes on an unpleasant heat.
This would be Cirb's Evil Ward ability nearly activating while the players accidentally stab his skin or pull his wool.

4. Traveling back

Along the way back the players are attacked by a small group of devils who work for the archdevils opposing Fierna. The Imp is much more intelligent than the Dretch. Similarly to the demons, the players can ask the Imp why they are being attacked, charisma (persuasion) DC14. With a successful check the Imp will tell them it's nothing personal, their devil-boss just wants the animosity between Fierna and Auril to increase in hopes of it escalating and turning into a fight which will give these archdemons an opening to grab more power.   In this fight, the Imp will act the first round as an observer. It is optional to make them try and steal the wool during the fight instead of aiming to kill the party. Of course, the wool still has Cirb's Evil ward effect.
3 players Imp (1x), Lemure (1x)
4 players Imp (1x), Lemure (1x), Skeleton (1x)
5 players Imp (1x), Skeleton (2x)

map cliff2.jpg

by MPoel

5. Failure

If the players got into a fight with Cirb and were knocked out they will wake up in a mountain hut further down Gloom road. When they go back to the old altar they'll discover the sheep are gone. Due to the continuous snowfall, the herd's tracks have almost completely disappeared. A wisdom (survival) check DC15 allows them to discover the direction the sheep left in.   If it is snowing or hail is falling, see the header environment, they'll need to make two more survival checks with increasing difficulty of DC17 and DC19 to keep following the tracks. If successful they will arrive at a natural cave where the flock of sheep is seeking shelter. It is up to you to decide if Cirb is there and you'll give them another chance, or if he has left this flock and went to take care of other subjects.

6. Return

If the PCs mention their encounters with the demons and devils, James Ballot will have the enlightened realisation on why the other parties probably haven't returned yet. Finally, he'll tell one of the monks or clerics to contact the city guards and adventurers guild to set up emergency rescue parties with a panicked attitude.
He hadn't expected the demons and fiends to see this as an opportunity to take out one of their rivals.   You could have a priest from Brigantia's temple, Spring garden temple, burst in during the conversation. This person is there for the sole purpose of documenting whatever information the PCs have on Cirb. The King of goats and sheep has rarely been seen up close and this is a rare opportunity to gain first-hand eyewitness accounts.
Success
Upon returning with the wool James Ballot will be pleased with the result. He'll mostly be focused on retrieving the material and not on the condition of the PCs and their payment.   If you want to offer your players an alternative reward, don't decide for them. Instead, have James mention that they brought back more material than he had expected. He can propose to let them keep some of the wool for their own use after it has been washed instead of the promised 100 GP.
This.... is a lot more wool than I had expected. Uhm... Oh dear, it really is far too much... Our spinners would never need this much. You know. uhm... How about we change your reward to this wool? If it... yes... If it's processed correctly it would be possible to retain the wools current properties... It... It might save you if you're ever up against fiends or... uh... Undead! that was the word
Processing the wool for spinning takes roughly 3 days for the Snowflake cathedral's people who are aided by magic and then two days more for all the wool to be spun ala-mass production. Knitting the sweater itself takes another two days.   During these days the weather slowly calms down and the temperature gradually goes up. It isn't until the sweater is finished that there are days without snow or hail and the sun peaks through the clouds. A week later the snow will start to melt and normal life can continue.
Failure
If the PCs return without the wool, they naturally won't receive the reward.   The weather will keep worsening over the span of several weeks. Those who can afford it travel south to escape the cold if they haven't already and the king will send military forces to supply those unable to leave with necessary supplies.
From this point on it will become a battle for survival in the north until one of the quests for sweater materials finally succeeds or Auril has had enough of beating the hell out of the devils.

Themes

As you may have noticed, the theme for this adventure is actually fairly simple. It's very cold, there are sheep and there are annoying little demons and devils send out to stop the PCs.
Although the sheep and fiends speak for themselves and are already evident the 'threat of eternal winter' isn't there yet. That's where the next part comes in.  

Environment

Snow and hail have been falling from the skies for days. Due to that, the streets of Northbark are quiet as most people prefer to stay indoors. The thick layer of snow (3 feet) also means that the PC's won't be able to move at full speed outside the city. During fights, the terrain counts as difficult terrain.

The weather

In the past weeks, the skies have been filled with dark clouds. Although it is occasionally calm, going outside has become far more challenging. Roll a d6 to determine the weather on the chart below.
1 The skies are calm and grey.
2 A light snowfall
3 Heavy snowfall, vision is restricted to 15 feet and everything beyond seems completely white.
4 Hail storm. Roll a d20 against AC and 1d4 bludgeoning damage.
5 The wind picks up. The players' must make a DC13 strength safe or move as if walking on extra difficult terrain
6 Winter storm, both 3 and 5 are applicable.
This one-shot is published under the OGL rules for 5e. The monsters mentioned in the tables (Not Cirb) fall under their SRD content.
Northbark
Northbark was founded as a small village along the trading road used by those who lived in the mountains 590 years ago. Due to its location next to a large river, it quickly grew into a large trading post.
After a mere 175 years, it had grown to be the largest city of the kingdom Jäätälumi and the ruler officially chose it as the capital city and settled down there. This remained the same even after violent changes in sovereignty.

Alternative reward

Cirb is a massive sheep and has more than enough wool for one sweater. The wool also retains some of Cirb's abilities and depending on a craftsman's skill part of this power can be transferred to a sweater. The players are allowed to keep the surplus of wool and instead of the gold, the players can choose to have the Snowflake cathedral help them make clothes out of it. The cathedral is also willing to pay for unaffiliated craftsmen.  

Retained ability

Make a skill check to spin the wool into a threat, this is the determining step. Roll a 1d6 to see how many balls of wool they get. Roll for each ball.
Snowflake cathedral +5 , Craftsmen +3 , Players +dex modifier  
<10: It's a ball of the finest wool. Worth 20gp a piece.
11-17 : The wool has retained its luminescent (weak light aura 5 feet) properties. Worth 35gp a piece.
18-21: The wool is both luminescent and retains its resistance against necrotic damage. Worth 50gp a piece.
23-25: The wool retains its luminescence, resistance against necrotic damage and radiant damage.
Clothes made of this wool allow the wearer to use a reaction, if hit with an attack by fiends or undead, to force the attacker to make a con save DC13 and take 1d8 damage on a failure. Worth 80gp a piece.
NOTE: the worth of each wool type has been adjusted to reflect the original reward. Prices according to magic item standards can be found on Cirb's page.
Plot type
Find the thing

Bonus info

Did you know a normal sheep can produce around 4,5 kg of wool yearly? This is enough for at least 5 cosy sweaters! (Source)   Cirb is much bigger than your average sheep and magical at that. One thorough shave would give you three or four times as much wool as normal. That's a lot of super soft wool.
James Ballot
Character | Apr 6, 2021
 
Cirb King of sheep
Character | Apr 30, 2021
 
Snowflake cathedral
Building / Landmark | Mar 26, 2021
 
Spring garden temple
Building / Landmark | Apr 15, 2021
 
1. Cailleach sweater
Report | May 30, 2021

The session-report of the original campaign


Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Cover image: by MPoel

Comments

Author's Notes

Thank you for reading this one-shot article. It is part of a flash competition and also the first time I actually wrote down an adventure for others. That being the case, I would love it if you left a comment with your thoughts and tips.


Please Login in order to comment!
13 Apr, 2021 23:50

This seems like a fun oneshot! I think you explained everything very cleary here and the layout is on point and makes the text easy to read. Thanks for the bonus info since I have learned something new! :p   I actually like how a sheep is actually a minor god :) The added environment difficulties are a nice addition as well.   The story itself seems fun to play and is well written in this article here. One thing I note is that in the failure section the DC to find Cirb again is pretty high for first level players. Is this meant to be almost impossible because otherwise I think it would be better to have it a bit lower.

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
14 Apr, 2021 06:10

Thank you for the feedback! It's good to know that other people understand what I mean and like the story.   The DC is partially intentional. Cirb wouldn't want these 'dangerous' people to find the flock and harm them (the sheep)if he's not around and it is also constantly snowing.
That said I was thinking of lowering the DC, but to what?

14 Apr, 2021 07:39

I think the main problem here there are 3 skill checks with high DC after eachother. Because at level one players will have a hard time getting the higher numbers. You could make the first one lower for example to 15 but that last one 19. Or you could just use one skillcheck with a high DC depending on how difficult you want to make it.

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
24 Apr, 2021 11:14

This is a really nice little adventure. I love the idea of the sweater being stolen but accidentally burnt, the worshippers aiming to just make a new sweater, the little devilish factions...
The adventure seems written in a minimalistic style, with not a lot of direction for GMs. That said, I feel like you have covered all but potentially one thing that I need to know as a GM: what happens once the players return? what happens if the players mention the devilish factions and the information they have learnt?   I also really liked the maps, how did you make them?  

If they meet him between dusk and dawn, the sheep king will be able to speak common.
The flavour! Oh... I love it!

24 Apr, 2021 13:31

Thank you for the comment and the like! I'll add some details on what happens when they come back.
I wrote the thing more as a framework for others to use than a rigid structure because that's how I like to play myself.   For the city map, I simply used a free online map generator. [https://watabou.itch.io/medieval-fantasy-city-generator
The battle maps I made in photoshop. It's much simpler than it looks. It's really just three colours and a few scrunch brushes with noise and an overlay shadow layer. Sometimes simplicity is the key.

25 Apr, 2021 07:16

I added some stuff on how to finish the game. Could you see if that is what you meant? More pointers are always welcome.

29 Apr, 2021 12:19

Looks good :)