The Abandoned Lighthouse Plot in World of Seven Seas | World Anvil

The Abandoned Lighthouse

This is a short adventure intended for an established small party that is about level 3, but could be easily adapted for a party that hasn't already been traveling together. It is designed for the mechanics of D&D 5e and the lore of Seven Seas.

The party, hoping to catch a ship across the channel from Principality of Arion to Kingdom of Delryn, has arrived in the coastal city of Faypond. However, there is a distinct air of disquiet in the city, so they head to the place all adventurers go first for news - the nearest tavern.

The Tavern

The biggest and most inviting tavern on the main street is bustling with friendly noise and light spilling from the large front windows. The sign hanging above the door declares the establishment to be The Copper Anchor in large letters; in the middle of the sign is a depiction of a rather lopsided anchor with an octopus wrapped around it. Underneath the image it reads, Inn and Tavern.

Inside, the building is a juxtaposition of warm wood and battered metal. It is lived-in and worn but clearly well-cared for. Long tables fill the space immediately inside the door, with benches for communal seating. Tucked away in alcoves along one wall are more private tables, some obscured by heavy curtains. A huge fireplace and chimney fill the opposite wall, and an open area, clearly intended for dancing, is left in front of the hearth. Instruments are propped up there, though the musicians are currently elsewhere. On the back wall, the wooden-topped bar separates the tavern from the kitchen. A hallway leads away into the dark, presumably to the inn portion of the establishment.

It's about dinner time, and the tavern is busy. A harried serving girl makes eye contact across the room and indicates a sign propped up by the door: Seat yourself, we'll find you. Let your server know if you want a bed or a room. No fighting - violators will be jailed - no exceptions.
The party can gather information from a variety of sources. Most of the dinner crowd is fairly friendly, and from pretty much anyone the party can learn the following:

  • A couple of days ago, the Lighthouse Keeper and his family vanished without a trace.
  • The Lightkeeper is a man named Oskar Grag. He lives in the Lighthouse with his wife, Keyla, and their three children Thomas, Mila, and Vincent.
  • So far, the nights have been clear and there haven't been any accidents, but the local weather-mages are predicting fog to roll in, and everyone's a little on edge.


Some specific characters below have more information to offer.

Edith Beam
The Serving Girl
If your players take a seat anywhere except the bar, they'll be approached by the serving girl, Edith. She is a few years older than the Lightkeeper's children, and if the party gets her talking she might tell them about how Thomas has been missing a lot of school lately, and Mila and Vincent have been more and more secretive. She's friends with the two younger Grag children, and Thomas has also been drawing a lot of 'weird stuff' instead of his usual portraits of pretty girls and boys (this seems to be a great disappointment to Edith).

Anna Beam
Proprietor & Barkeep
If your players approach or take a seat at the bar, they'll be able to speak to the barkeep, Edith's mother, Anna. She makes easy smalltalk, as most bartenders do, but will be reluctant to offer anything of substance. However, with a light touch and a sense of comaraderie developed she might offer that they had some 'real suspicious' folk stay in the inn about the same time the family vanished. She doesn't know any more about them - she didn't ask.

Unnamed
The Bard
A few minutes after the party comes in, one of the people at the bar walks over to the instruments and begins to sing and play another set. PCs with a particularly high insight, perception, or training as a bard or a spy might notice that he seems a little out of place. He's a talented musician, but he's no professional bard. He also isn't talking - if he thinks you want more than a song request from him, he slips away.

Captain Clive Fellowes
Drunk City Guard
Everyone knows drunken soldiers aren't unusual, but this one's all by himself, and that is. He's easy enough to ply with food, drink, or gambling; Captain Clive will spin a tale of the Harbormaster's desperation to solve the disappearance of the Lightkeeper before the Prince gets involved, and his (unsuccessful) attempts to keep it quiet. Unfortunately, nobody else local has been able to get the Lighthouse up and running again. Some of those who've tried don't remember trying, and others will only say the whole place was 'spooky'. The Captain will tell the party that there are two rewards up for grabs - a reward for getting the Lighthouse functional again and a reward for information about the Lightkeeper's whereabouts.

Once the group has finished gathering the information they wish to gather, they should most likely proceed to the lighthouse.

The Lighthouse

by devinsxdesigns
The lighthouse rises starkly above the city's skyline. It is built out of a faintly luminous gray sandstone. Climbing vines and wear from wind and salt attest to its age. Most notably, despite the dark of the night no light crowns the structure. Even from the outside, you can tell that the first two or three stories are the residence of the Lightkeeper and his family; the windows may be dark but there are carefully tended flowerboxes below them, and a garden is laid out on the sheltered side of the lighthouse. There is a single heavy wooden front door at the end of the front path, with a heavy brass knocker in the center.
The door won't resist an attempt to open it, and it's not spelled, locked, or trapped. The party can step inside into the obvious living quarters of the family. It's totally dark inside, but as they pass over the threshold a dim mage-light will flare to life, offering a good idea of the layout of the first floor.
To your left is a fireplace and several chairs and couches. To your right is the kitchen. In front of you are two closed doors and the opening to a staircase.
It's fairly clear that the Lightkeeper lives comfortably, but little to indicate great wealth. The decor on this floor is typical of Delrynian culture. If the party investigates, they discover it appears that the family may have been in the middle of a meal. Boots and cloaks are stashed haphazardly just inside the door. It doesn't appear like they had time to grab them on their way out. However, there are no signs of a struggle. With an Investigation DC of 15, one would find a brooch under the couch. It's not dusty, doesn't look like it's been there long. Someone familiar with the Empire or perhaps skilled in history (DC 18) would recognize the arms of a minor branch of the Emperor's family.

When they've finished in the living area, players will likely choose to proceed to the staircase, the center door, or the right door.

Center Door

Investigation & perception of this door suggests it to be harmless. There is nothing of particular interest in this room except the obvious.
The door swings open easily when tried, revealing a washroom standard for those of some means. Magic provides fresh water for bathing as well as waste disposal.

Right Door

Investigation & perception of this door suggests it, too, to be harmless.
This door opens to reveal a small study. It's barely big enough to hold a sturdy desk, which is cluttered with paperwork. There's a bookcase to your left, and a window to your right. The wall behind the desk is decorated with paintings. Beside the door is an ornate grandfather clock.
  • All of the paperwork on the desk seems to be related to running the lighthouse. There are no drawers or hidden compartments. There is a cup of assorted pens, pencils, quills, letter openers, and other objects on the desk. If the desk is investigated with a DC of 20 or the cup itself is investigated with a DC of 15, they will find a skeleton key in the cup.
  • The bookshelf has a few books about lighthouses, a couple of very basic magic tomes, and a LOT of records. If the bookcase is investigated (DC 20) there is a skeleton key to be found in a fake book on this bookcase.
  • A passive perception of 13, upon investigating the small room, would notice that the room's dimensions don't match with the outer room or the building. If they looked at the outside of the building, there is an incongruent number of windows here.
  • If looking at the pictures on the back wall, they all appear to be of the ocean except one which is of an anchor. Someone with an average investigation (DC 13) and a knowledge of secret doors and traps or someone with a high investigation roll (DC 18) will notice that the three of the picture frames are deeper than the others.
    • The picture frame on the left slides on tracks to its left, but reveals nothing but a blank alcove unless they have opened the picture on the right, which slides on tracks to its right, and solved that puzzle. A third frame between them does not seem to move at all. Weirdly, that is the picture of an anchor on a rope at the bottom of the water.
    • When the picture on the right is slid open, it reveals three keyholes. Underneath the three keyholes are a word each, from left to right: Read, Write, and Wait. The keys from the bookshelf, desk, and clock fit into all three holes but will only turn if all inserted into the correct spots at the same time.
    • When all of the keys have been turned, there is a very faint grinding noise. If the left picture is still open, the party would see a slim tablet slide up into pocket, which reveals a riddle inscribed inside: "What can you keep when not needed and throw when it is needed?" The answer is, "an anchor" - the picture of the anchor can be slid up to reveal a lever now, whether the riddle is solved or not. If your players choose to do anything with this mechanism, proceed to the secret door.
  • Investigating the grandfather clock would reveal that it swings open in two places - one of the side panels, and also the face itself. If they open the side panel, they would find a key hung inside the frame.

Secret Door

Secret Door Statblock

Dart Trap

Trap Description: Mechanical trap
There is a lever here that can be moved upward, downward, left, and right. Moving the lever downward is the only safe way to trigger this mechanism. If a creature moves it upward, left, or right, a volley of darts shoot from cleverly hidden or obscured holes. The DC to spot the holes is 18. If spotted, they could be stuffed or otherwise blocked before the lever was manipulated. The darts are tipped in a strong sedative. Each creature in range (10 foot arc) must make a DC 15 Dexterity Save. If they fail, they must make a DC 22 Constitution save. With a failed save they will drop unconscious for 5d12 minutes, or with a successful save they become lethargic for the same amount of time. There are three charges of darts - one for each attempt of a wrong direction. When the correct direction is chosen, the door will swing open in the wall nearest the window and the party can enter the hidden room.

Hidden Room

At the far end of the room, nearest the wall with the window, there is an audible click and a door swings open where it was cleverly hidden. Through the door is revealed a second, larger study. The wall to the right has a window looking out into the night, and the wall straight ahead looks out into the harbor. The door on your left and the wall behind you have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves jammed with books and nicknacks. Near the harbor-facing wall is another desk, and the space in between has two comfortable chairs and a small couch. In contrast to the workmanlike feel of the outer office, this is clearly a lived-in space more reminiscent of the living room you first saw.
  • While the bookshelves in the outer office are innocuous, the books packed onto these shelves speak to someone of a more scholarly nature - there seems to be no relation behind the eclectic collection.
  • The desk at first glance appears simply cluttered with a scholar's detritus. Further investigation shows that it's cultivated to look that way - and that scattered amongst the other documents are many letters. DC 13 for a related skill check for a character to notice there is something off about the letters. DC 15 that they are written in some sort of cipher. The letters are indicipherable unless they find the cipher key or the skill check beats a DC 20.
  • There is a hidden drawer in the desk (DC 18 perception or investigation). Inside the drawer are older cipher letters. There's a false bottom in the drawer (DC 13 perception or investigation) - underneath that are maps of the Empire and Empire-governed countries. One of these maps is the cipher key; on a DC 20 history check or a DC 12 history check if the PC is from or familiar with the Empire, the PC would notice that the labels on the map aren't quite right. The spelling errors are recurring and the pattern of them creates the cipher.
  • Someone abandoned some work by the couch. It's obviously plans for building something, but there are no labels, and the sketches seem unpolished. Someone with some sort of engineering background, an Empire person of some importantance, or a shipwright, etc. would recognize that they are crude depictions of the Empire's new dirigibles.

The Stairs

A flight of stairs leads from the first floor upwards into the dark. Unlike the common area, this floor does not seem to be mage-lit, though there is a lantern and several candlesticks on a table at the top of the stairs awaiting the family's use. The second floor has four doors. Three of these doors lead into bedrooms: One larger bedroom suite clearly intended for the Lightkeeper and his wife, while two smaller bedrooms are the obvious domain of the couple's children. These doors open easily and there is little of note in these rooms.. Somewhere in the Lightkeeper's room you should seed the key to the Lighthouse stairs.

The last door is heavy and locked, and spelled to prevent magical attack. An attempt to force the door will trigger a stasis spell trap, but using the key from the bedroom to unlock the door will allow harmless passage.

Tower Door Statblock

Stasis Spell Trap

Trap Description: Magic trap

This trap is activated if an attempt to force the door is made, either by spell or by detecting the pressure of a physical attack, releasing a flash of paralyzing white light. The DC is 15 to spot the mechanism, as well as odd dust on the ground. A spell or other effect that can sense the presence of magic, such as detect magic, reveals an aura of transmutation magic on the door. The trap activates when more than 15 pounds of weight is placed on the door, or a spell attack is made, causing it to release a flash of white light. The creature that activated the trap must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be paralysed for 1d10 minutes. Wedging an iron spike or other object between the door and the mechanism prevents the trap from activating. A successful Dispel Magic (DC 15) cast on the door destroys the trap.

When the door opens, it reveals a spiraling staircase that ascends almost 200 feet into the lighthouse itself; the stairs are narrow, admitting only single-file travelers. At the top of the stairs, there is a ladder up to a hatch. It is unlocked and opens up to the glass-enclosed lantern room. Climbing through this doorway awakens the Lighthouse Guardians, and players should roll initiative and you should proceed to the lantern room.

The Lantern Room

You climb up into the lantern room unimpeded. It is about thirty by thirty feet, with huge windows on seven of eight sides. It would be incredibly dark, if it weren't for the world's moons illuminating the night. In the center of the room is a platform atop which rests the lantern itself, unlit. Your entrance is greeted by a sudden flare of light; eight glowing orbs spin out from behind the platform and coalesce into two vaguely humanoid shapes brandishing swords. A piping voice echoes around the room: "Who goes there?!"
This room is guarded by two Dracheling, who have been alarmed by the party's entrance. They are not particularly aggressive, and can be reasoned with; they will gladly help in re-lighting the lantern for the party. However, if the party chooses to attack first, they will view it as an attack on their lighthouse and respond in kind. If the party chooses to vanquish the Dracheling rather than work with them, they will have to consult the lighthouse books in the study for the appropriate spells for the lantern; it should take some time for a spellcaster to learn the correct spells.
Dracheling Statblock

Dracheling CR: 2

Tiny dragon, fae, any
Armor Class: 15
Hit Points: 14 (4d4+4) 4d4+4
Speed: 10 ft , fly: 60 ft , swim: 25 ft , climb: 10 ft , can hover

STR

3 -4

DEX

20 +5

CON

13 +1

INT

16 +3

WIS

14 +2

CHA

13 +1

Skills: Acrobatics (+5), Insight (+1), Perception (+1), Stealth (+5)
Damage Resistances: Magic Resistance. The dracheling has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Senses: Passive Perception 14, Truesight 120 ft
Languages: Understands Common, Draconic and Folk; can only speak aloud at a basic, childlike level but has limited telepathy as well.
Challenge Rating: 2

Innate Spellcasting. The dracheling’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13). It can innately cast a number of spells, requiring no components. The number of spells they can cast depends on the number of dracheling present. A domesticated dracheling can be taught different spells by a magic user, but they can only remember a certain number of spells at a time, thus will forget other spells to learn new ones.

At will: Dancing Lights

1/day: 1 Dracheling Present: Control Flames, Minor Illusion 2 Dracheling Present: Suggestion, Dissonant Whispers 3 Dracheling Present: Nathair's Mischief, Hypnotic Pattern 4 Dracheling Present: Hallucinatory Terrain, Seeming 5 or More Dracheling Present: Sunbeam  


Superior Invisibility. As a bonus action, the dracheling can magically turn invisible until its concentration ends (as if concentrating on a spell). Any equipment the dragon wears or carries is invisible with it.   Limited Telepathy. Using telepathy, the dragon can speak to any creature it can see/

Actions

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1 piercing damage.   Euphoria Breath (Recharge 5–6). The dragon exhales a puff of euphoria gas at one creature within 5 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw, or for 1 minute, the target can’t take reactions and must roll a d6 at the start of each of its turns to determine its behavior during the turn:   1–4. The target takes no action or bonus action and uses all of its movement to move in a random direction.   5–6. The target doesn’t move, and the only thing it can do on its turn is make a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success.

A dracheling is a cat-sized reptile, likely of the dragon family, but with bird-like feathered wings. In mannerisms it is a lot like a cat: they can be friendly or aloof, loyal or disdainful. They are incredibly curious and relatively harmless unless something (or someone) they have been set to guard are threatened, but they can be tricksters as well.   Invisible Tricksters. The only warning of a dracheling’s presence might be an inconvenient trap or trick, giggling from an invisible source, or signs of a very small creature nesting. Until the dracheling or whatever it is protecting are threatend they stay out of sight, watching.   Protective Nature Drachelings, like their full-sized counterparts, are hoarders. In the wild, they collect troves of treasure in their lairs. When (semi-)domesticated, a drachling will turn all of thier attention and protective instincts towards a person, place, or object.   Social Creatures Drachling tend to be encountered in flocks in the wild, and in a minimum of pairs even in domestication.

Suggested Environments

Dracheling are most often found guarding something, somewhere, or someone. If set to this guardin by a person, they are usually found in pairs or trios. In the wild, they are found in flocks and can often be guarding a vast trove of treasure.


Conclusion

If the party managed to re-light the lantern, a triumphant return to The Copper Anchor is in order. They'd be toasted by the locals as town heroes and offered drinks and a night's room for free. Even Captain Clive is reluctantly (and sloshily) impressed. Weirdly, the bard seems to have disappeared.

In the morning, a messenger arrives from the Harbormaster inviting them to call upon him at their convenience. Darrin Crane is a tall, somewhat anxious man who looks like he was probably an accountant before this appointment. He practically exudes relief at the party's success, and happily produces two bags of gold. The first, he offers freely: 250 gold pieces for the return of light to the Lighthouse, along with the city's thanks and an invitation to return any time. The second bag, 50 gold pieces, he will exchange for information on what happened the Lightkeeper and his family (this might include any of the more mysterious of the party's discoveries - the elusive bard, the strange travelers, the secret room, the brooch under the couch, the dirigible plans, etc.).


Plot type
Adventure: One-Shot
Related Locations

Legend

Text in this style of box is intended to be read aloud by the gamemaster.
Edith Beam
by devinsxdesigns
Anna Beam
by devinsxdesigns
Bard
by devinsxdesigns
Captain Clive Fellowes
by devinsxdesigns
Darrin Crane
by devinsxdesigns

Comments

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Apr 15, 2022 18:35 by Frigid_Lich_DnD

Looks great so far! I will make sure to come back and check it out once it's finished. Good work!

Apr 17, 2022 00:58 by Devin

Thanks! I'm having a lot of fun.

Apr 19, 2022 23:10 by K.S. Bishoff

This looks so sharp!

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Apr 20, 2022 01:20 by Devin

Thank you!

Apr 25, 2022 21:18 by Michael Chandra

A nice plot with a good hook for if people want to turn this into a campaign. Now I want to hunt down that Bard...


Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
Apr 28, 2022 14:11 by Devin

Thanks! I actually ran part of it as a test run for a group of friends as a very soft start towards running a campaign in this world in the future (my first thing to run at all, so they were forewarned it might go terribly) and one of them has independently chosen to make their character a spy, so I think we're suddenly invested in the suspicious bard as well!

Apr 30, 2022 17:59

Reading this had me on the edge of my seat. I was really invested in the story - my only complaint being that it had to be cut short (boo word limits :( ). Anyways, I love the setup, the NPCs in the tavern, and the clues spread through the lighthouse. If I was running this as a oneshot, I think I would modify a little to give a more thorough explanation of what happened to the Lightkeeper. What do you think? Anyways, this was a very enjoyable read and an exciting adventure, well done.

If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
May 1, 2022 00:38 by rugrat0ne

I have trouble coming up with puzzles, so I tip my hat to you. Very well done, although I, too, want to know what happened to the Lighthouse Keeper and his family!

Debating a third world. No, not that kind.