The Abandoned Lighthouse
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.
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.
- 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.
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).
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.
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.
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 DoorInvestigation & perception of this door suggests it to be harmless. There is nothing of particular interest in this room except the obvious.
Right DoorInvestigation & perception of this door suggests it, too, to be harmless.
- 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 DoorSecret Door Statblock
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.
- 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 StairsA 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
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
Dracheling CR: 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.
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/
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.
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.
ConclusionIf 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.).