Runaway Bride (3.5e Quest)
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Intended for four level 5-6 adventurers.
A young bride promised to the leader of a powerful Lizardfolk tribe has fled the village and the chief of the tribe wants her back. Who took her? How are you going to get her back? Will she believe you anyway?
- Prep Time 30 mins
- Play Time 1+ hrs
For the DM
Gerena is the daughter of the chief of the Hittani tribe of crested lizardfolk, well known for her incredible beauty (by lizardfolk standards). In lizardfolk societies, the daughters of the chief are always married off to other chiefs in order to create bonds between tribes and to create heirs. When Gerena came of fertile age (in her teens), a great tournament was held, and many chiefs came to compete in it. One particularly strong competitor, Deron, managed to defeat all of his enemies in record time; each fight lasted no more than 3 minutes. As a result, Deron won the hand of Gerena, but his bride-to-be fled at the twin prospects of what was to happen next. First, Gerena would have the magical, runed tattoos of Deron placed on her, enabling him to track her anywhere she went. Second, Deron was determined to gain... access to her. Although he was strong and brave, Gerena didn't see anything good in him, due to his cruelty and harsh, scarred appearance. Even if she didn't want to have anything to do with him, he could and would easily force himself upon her, and her father would do nothing to stop it; after all, Deron had won her in a tournament, and a promise is a promise. So Gerena took matters into her own hands and fled in the dark of night. She hasn't been seen or heard from in over a month, despite the efforts of hunting parties. Since she didn't yet receive her tracking tattoos from Deron, he was unable to find her. This is where the party comes in. The players have been hired to find and return Gerena using any means necessary; if she won't come back of her own free will, force may have to be used. Of course, the players might find that morally repulsive (and they would be correct to find it so evil), and so an alternative course of action can be taken.
Ending the Quest
Some ways to end the quest include:
- Convincing Gerena to return of her own free will.
- Forcing Gerena to return by physical might or coercion.
- Challenging Deron to a match and beating him, thus winning Gerena's hand.
- Finding a way to get Gerena out of the reach of Deron for good.
- Convincing Deron not to persue Gerena; this can be done using force, or a combination of force and diplomacy.
For the players
A lizardfolk bride, Gerena has gone missing from her village, and the party has to go find her. She was to be married to Deron, a powerful lizardfolk warrior who was recently the champion of a major competition. In this competition, Deron won the hand of Gerena, but after that, she disappeared.
Gerena: Chaotic Neutral female lizardfolk Aristocrat (Level 1)
Gerena can be recognized by her amber colored eyes, her large golden bracelets, a golden tiara with three blue gems set in it, and her personal tattoo, the description of which is up to the DM, but in no case looks like Deron's, as Gerena doesn't have his mark set on her yet.
Deron: Lawful Evil male lizardfolk Fighter (Level 10)
Gerena's Tiara and Bracelets: Worth 3,114 gold points.
Stone key: Used for opening a portal in the quest.
Upon arrival at the Hittani tribe's village, the party will be asked to find Gerena. The Hittani are a wealthy, well-developed tribe, and have access to trade routes from far away. As a result, the reward will be paid in gold, although it is up to the DM to decide exactly how much gold the party will be promised (a reward worth between 1000-2500 gold pieces.) A character with high sense motive (DC 20) skill can tell that Deron isn't so much concerned about Gerena's safety as he is for his own purposes; he won her in a fight and wants to take her back to his village even if it is against her will. The village will welcome the party in, and will be willing to trade, as well as allow the party access to Gerena's quarters.
Gerena can be tracked in one of two ways:
1. A character with the track feat will be able to find a series of lizardfolk footprints in the mud north of the village. Gerena's footprints are the smallest ones in the mud, and they lead farther north. Note that the ground around the village is soft (using a survival check DC 10 with the track feat), but it becomes very soft (DC 5 survival check with the track feat) as the party moves north into the mud.
2. Using the scrying spell. To aid with the spell, one of Gerena's loinclothes will be readily available, but if the party succeeds in a spot check inside of her room (DC 10), they will find a scale of hers, which will make scrying much easier. If this spell is successfully used, the party automatically moves on the stage two, and the adventure will be easier, although the level required for this spell is above the recommended level for the parties who go on this quest.
If the party lacks the skill to track Gerena, it can simply explore around until her whereabouts are finally determined. After a time, the party will find her golden bracelets and tiara discarded on the ground, as Gerena realized that those would mark her as a runaway daughter of a chief for sure. Eventually, her footprints can be found as part of a larger group moving through the mud. These footprints will lead to a large camp.
This stage begins when the party has determined where Gerena is located. She has been captured by a band of slavers who kidnap unwary individuals and sell them at the highest price to immoral bidders. The camp is staffed by lizardfolk and human guards, and led by a half-black dragon lizardfolk captain. There are two ways to rescue Gerena. The first way is to simply fight the guards. The guards are numerous, and it's up to the DM to determine their exact composition and armament, but they will flee once their captain is slain. The second way to free Gerena requires stealth and ingenuity. In order to get into the camp, the party or an individual member of the party must pass a move silently check (DC 15.) A spot check (DC 15) is needed to find which cage Gerena is being held in. In order to open the cage, a simple open lock check (DC 25) is needed.
Once Gerena is found and her cage is unlocked, she will require convincing that the party is indeed going to help her. First, she needs to see a sign of the party's sincerity. Giving her back her abandoned bracelets and tiara is the way to do this. Then, a diplomacy check (DC 15) is needed. The party can then sneak out with her (another DC 15 move silently check), or else fight their way out with her.
If the party used a scrying spell to locate Gerena in stage one, Deron and his forces will join the party, and launch a full-scale assault on the slaver's camp. The exact composition of Deron's forces is up to the DM, but in no case should his forces be stronger than those of the slavers. If Deron dies during the battle, but the battle is won anyway, Gerena will be found and the quest will be over.
This stage begins when Gerena has been rescued from the slavers. How this stage plays out is determined by a number of factors:
1. Whether the party intends to return Gerena to Deron or not. Although she doesn't want to go back, Gerena will submit to your party due to the fact that she is far too weak and helpless to fight back. If the party takes her back, there won't be any serious obstacles in the way, and the quest will come to a simple conclusion.
2. If the party used a vision spell and told Deron where Gerena was (and neither Deron nor Gerena died during the fight against the slavers) and whether or not the party will let Deron take Gerena back. If the party lets Deron take her back, the adventure will be over quickly.
If the party wants to let Gerena go free, they can either let her go alone, in which case the adventure ends, or they can escort her to the nearest friendly village 12 kilometers to the north. During the escort, the party will be subject to a random attack (or lack thereof) every 2 kilometers. Gerena is useless in combat, and thus should be kept protected at all times. Upon arriving at the village, Gerena will want to sleep for 12 hours. The party should let her do so, because her time at the slave camp gave her exposure to a disease, filth fever (1d3 Dex, 1d3 Con lost per check against the disease.) Allowing her to rest will lower the chance that the disease will afflict her, or else will remove the disease possibility altogether (DM's discretion.) The downside with resting is that the party will have lost 12 hours in a race for a portal which will enable Gerena to permanently escape her predicament. Note that the party can choose to leave Gerena at any time, but this will end the quest with no rewards for the party, and Gerena isn't likely to survive in the wild without the party. If the party leaves her in the village to the north, she will likely be captured by Deron.
At the village, the party will be cordially received. The shaman of the village is quite benevolent by lizardfolk standards and will tell the party of a portal which can teleport individuals to a temple on the other side of Paludia, and will give the party a key with which to access it. Individuals seeking to join the temple's ranks have often used the portal. This is an excellent solution to the problem because Gerena wishes to escape, but Deron will not wish to pursue her through the portal because it's a one-way teleporter that leaves no way to return. The life of a hierodule will be awaiting Gerena (keeping in mind that not every hierodule is a slave.) There is, however, a problem; before the party even made it to the village, an average lizardfolk hunter saw Gerena and ran to tell her tribe about his sighting. Apparently, a patrol from her tribe was just south of the slaver's camp and happened to be in an excellent position to be told that Gerena was spotted to the north, and that the party evidently had no interest in returning her. Deron has heard of this and knows that Gerena will be looking for a way out of her predicament. The only thing that can get her far away in time is the portal, and Deron knows where it is. He will be chasing the party to get what he believes is his.
If the party chooses to take Gerena to the portal, it will have a total of 3 days to get there before Deron does. If the party decides to rest for 12 hours and let Gerena recover, there will only be 2 1/2 days. The party will have to go through harsh terrain and face dangerous encounters; it's up to the DM to determine exactly what these are, but they can include, among others, quicksand, attacks by bands of lizardfolk rogues, wildlife, and maybe even a hydra. Along the way, the party will have to deal with various encounters which can slow them down if they cannot overcome them. Each time the party cannot overcome a bad event, a certain amount of time will be lost; how much time is lost is up to the DM. If the time to get to the portal before Deron and his forces has expired, they will be waiting for the party at the portal and a fight will ensue.
If the party retrieves Gerena and returns her to her village safely, the party will be rewarded and the quest will end. If the party decides to let Gerena go after freeing her from the camp, the quest will end with no rewards for the party. Neither of these ways are the best way to end the quest. If the party can get Gerena away to the portal in time, or else defeat Deron's forces at the portal, she will give the party her valuable tiara and bracelets, worth a combined total of 3,114 gold points. She will then depart for a new life, wishing the party well. The quest ends there.