Damsel in Distress (3.5e Quest)
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Damsel In Distress
Intended for four level 13-17 adventurers.
Salicia, the daughter of a rich and powerful ruler of the town of Miryth has been kidnapped by a band of brigands. Arakith, the lord of the town, has put up notices beseeching adventurers to find and rescue his daughter. It turns out, however, that more is at stake than just her rescue!
- Prep Time 30 mins — 1 hr
- Play Time 2 ½+ hrs
A spin on the old classic.
Salicia, the daughter of a rich and powerful ruler of the town of Miryth has been kidnapped by a band of brigands. Arakith, the lord of the town, has put up notices beseeching adventurers to find and rescue his daughter.
A damsel is in distress and the party must save her.
For the DM
Arakith is a mature adult Copper Dragon. Many, many years ago, he came to the area around the then tiny village of Miryth when he was still very young. After a number of years, Arakith had grown large and powerful, and made a deal with the citizens of Miryth, who were then under constant threat of Orc attack. In exchange for a small annual tax, Arakith would rule and defend the village, making life far safer there. This arrangement worked out well for many years, and under the protection of Arakith, Miryth grew larger and richer, growing from a tiny village into a moderate-sized town. But the townspeople were not content; they knew that their safety relied on the continued protection of Arakith; if he ever got bored defending the town, or decided that there was a better way to build his hoard, he might leave. To keep him in a position to protect Miryth, the townspeople decided to try to conceive children of his with some of their own willing women. This would provide a link between the townsfolk and Arakith. At the time, Arakith was still young and not nearly as wise as he would one day become; he was not at all suspicious when the townspeople included some of their most beautiful damsels and a large quantity of alcohol along with the standard tax payments. Eventually, several children were born, among them were four sons, and a single daughter. The sons all left the town as soon as they were old enough to go, but the daughter, Salicia, decided to stay with her father and the citizens of Miryth.
This has made Salicia the most popular female in town, as she is, in a sense, the insurance that Arakith (who is quite protective of her), will continue to protect the village. In order to entice Salicia to stay in Miryth, she was given privileges (such as free stays at the inn, free food, expensive gifts, etc), a cash stipend just for living in the town, and even a statue of her in the center of town (made of copper, of course.) This special treatment made a few inhabitants upset, especially when attention given to Salicia surpassed that of attention given to the merchants, who believe that taxes levied on their sales help to pay for her riotous living. Eventually, a few merchants, with some hired thugs, made a deal with the Orc tribes. Feigning respect for her, the merchants held a large party for Salicia, making sure to make her as drunk and tired as possible. When she was asleep, the merchants and their thugs kidnapped her in the middle of the night, after everyone else had gone home. The deal was that the Orcs would kidnap and kill Salicia, and leave no trace of her demise. To this end, Salicia is to be sacrificed to the Orc deities on the next new moon, which is what the Orc religion in this region demands.
Arakith is outraged that the townsfolk could let her be lost. If Salicia is not found before she is sacrificed, Arakith is going to abandon the town altogether, and Miryth will certainly fall to the Orcs if he does. Complicating the matter further is Celalla, who is the current mate of Arakith. She is an adult Copper Dragon who wants Arakith to abandon Miryth and raise their unhatched children, which she intends to raise on an isolated island, where she thinks the hatchlings will be safer. Celalla has nothing to do with the abduction of Salicia, but an unprepared or unwise party might pin the blame on Celalla.
Ending the Quest
To successfully end the quest, Salicia must be rescued. If she isn't rescued within a certain number of days, she is going to die, and the quest will end in failure.
For the players
A town's beloved damsel has gone missing and her father, the town's lord seeks to find her. Could the lover of the town's lord, who is expecting children by him, have anything to do with it? And what of the Orcs in the countryside?
Arakith: Chaotic Good male copper dragon. He watches over the town in exchange for a small tribute. Arakith's largest regret at the moment is his failure to instill good ethics in his daughter Salicia, as he believes that her hedonism and irresponsibility are to blame for her being lost in the first place. His motive is to protect the town and his daughter.
Salicia: Chaotic Good female half-copper dragon. Salicia is a level 10 aristocrat who has been held captive by Orcs, awaiting sacrifice to their gods. She is pleasant to be around and fun-loving, but she lacks responsibility or self-control; she was given everything she ever wanted in Miryth and thought of herself as the center of everything. Being Half-Dragon has given her some powers, but she is neither strong for what she is nor is she particularly intelligent for her race. It was her lack of discipline which enabled her to be drunk into a stupor and captured in the first place. If she survives this ordeal, Salicia will have learned an important lesson. Prior to this incident, her motive was to have unlimited amounts of fun, but she is being forced to rethink this.
Celalla: The current wife of Arakith, Celalla has recently laid eggs. She has since scouted out what she believes to be the perfect little island where she and Arakith can fly off to and live in what she calls "blissful isolation" for the rest of their days, and raise their children. Having been hunted by Orcs for many years, she is understandably uneasy to live in a region where so many of them dwell. Several close calls have left her paranoid of the outside world, and she spends almost all of her time in her lair. Her motive is to live and raise her children in safety, and be left alone with her Arakith and the rest of her family.
Salicia's Golden Anklets: Her most distinctive and valuable possessions, these will be found on the floor near the site of Salicia's sacrifice. If Salicia dies, recovering these is the only way to get a reward from her father as, if she has died, he will want these as a token to remember her by. If Salicia has been saved while on an altar, she will put these on as soon as she is freed from the altar she was to be sacrificed on. If she has been saved before she was put on the altar, she will still be wearing these.
Stage One: Arrival and Departure
Upon entering the town of Miryth, the adventuring party will find the inhabitants to be quite upset. A DC 5 gather information check will determine that Salicia, the daughter of the lord of the town, has been captured and that there is a reward for her safe return. A DC 10 gather information check is needed to determine that Salicia is a half-copper dragon and that her father is a dragon who has watched over the settlement for years on end. A DC 15 gather information is needed to learn that Salicia's disappearance may mean that her father, Arakith, will stop watching over the town. If the party chooses to accept the quest, they will be directed to a castle on the top of a mountain overlooking the town. If the party declines to accept the quest, the quest obviously comes to an end before it can truly begin. While still in the town, the adventurers can look at the last place Salicia was found, hoping to find a possession of hers' for scrying purposes; there are none.
Upon reaching the base of the mountain, the party will enter a cave and have to go through a long, winding, but ultimately harmless maze. This will probably waste some of the party's precious time, but have no other ill effects. After finishing the maze, the party will be inside of the antechamber of the castle, where Celalla, the current mate of Arakith, will be found resting on a gigantic rug. She will try to dissuade the party from finding Salicia, even going as far as to offer a small amount of treasure to bribe them into not accepting the quest. If the party refuses, Celalla will double her offer. A DC 15 sense motive check is needed to tell that Celalla wants Arakith to sever all ties with the town of Miryth, and he will do so if Salicia isn't found. If the party still refuses to accept her offer, Celalla will not stop them from entering the main chamber of the castle.
In the main chamber of the castle, Arakith will receive the party, and let them know of his history with the town. Arakith has not been idle during this time, and has determined that his daughter is not in the town of Miryth. His attempts to scry on his daughter have met with failure, so Arakith has determined that she is in a place that is warded against scrying. The party also learns that Salicia's possessions are here, and that her father used them as a scrying focus. At this point, the party can either go out into the wilderness to try and find Salicia, or it can go back into town and try to determine who took her and where she has gone. If the party does the former, go to stage two, if the party does the latter, some more time will elapse in the town, but if the fact-finding mission is successful, more time will be saved than lost. Two things need to be noted at this point. First, it is made clear that without Salicia, Arakith has no more desire to protect Miryth, as he will have his wife and newer children to worry about. Second, Arakith will describe his daughter, including her signature item, a pair of gold anklets that she was wearing the night she disappeared.
If the party chooses to enter the town again to find out more information, they should try searching the town square, the main inn (Salicia's Goblet), the marketplace, and the town's main fountain (the one shaped like a copper dragon spitting out water.) If the party mentions Orcs and Salicia, a rogue working in service of the corrupted merchants will ask the party if they are sent by the Orcs. If the party says no, the only chance to gain more information is lost and any more time spent in Miryth is wasted time. If the party says yes, the rogue will lead them to a hidden room in poorest part of town, where the party will encounter the corrupted merchants and their thugs. After defeating the merchant's forces, maps to the Orcs lair can be found, and the party can head straight to the lair to rescue Salicia.
Stage Two: Rescue
This stage is either short or long, depending or not whether the party knows where the Orc lair is. If the party has the map acquired from the merchants, it is a simple matter of heading straight for the lair. Without the map, the party is forced to look around the countryside until the lair is found, taking quite a long time. Random attacks will hit the party if it searches around the hazardous countryside.
It ought to be remembered that there is a time limit for this quest; if too much time elapses, Salicia will be sacrificed, and the quest will end in failure. The specifics of the time limit are up to the DM, but in no case ought to be more than a week.
A diversion is possible at this point. If the DM chooses to do so, an enemy adventuring party can show up. This group was the one actually sent by the Orcs to discreetly contact the merchants in the town, and will only appear if the party encountered the rogue in town and the DM decides to put the party in. The evil adventurers have all of the capabilities of the PC party, and are essentially the "evil opposite" sent in to steal time from the adventurers.
In either case, if the party arrives at the lair in time, they will find the entrance guarded by several Orcs. Depending on the composition of the party and the preference of the players, the party can either sneak around the front guards or it can fight through them. Once in, the party will quickly find Salicia in a cage, and will need to make a pick lock check or else have the power to break the lock on the cage. The DM chooses exactly what the cage and lock are made of, but in no case should it be simple to open.
Salicia will be found bruised and sore, but essentially unhurt. If found in a cage, she will be wearing her signature golden anklets, along with some light clothing. In a fight, Salicia isn't as powerful as any of the PCs, but her half-dragon heritage prevents her from being totally useless. Salicia is a level 10 Aristocrat, and should be given NPC stats by the DM which reflect an individual who is better at dancing and partying than at fighting. The party will be able to make it some distance into the wilderness before being attacked by a party of Orcs. Upon beating this group of enemies, it is clear sailing for the party back to town.
If time has almost run out for the party, the PCs will notice that the next full moon will be tomorrow night, and will have to move quickly or else lose. At this point, Salicia will be placed on an altar, have her vestments taken from her, and kept under watch by a Bebilith. The Bebilith will not be summoned until the night before the sacrifice, so if the party moves fast, it can circumvent this obstacle entirely. Depending on the exact party level, some Orcs might also be present in order to make the Bebilith encounter a challenge. If the DM requires, a more powerful Demon can be used, with or without accompanying Orcs.(requires at least 17th level caster to summon via summon monster)
If Salicia has to be rescued from the altar, she will bear signs of a serious struggle and beating, the results of her futile resistance. She will also need to be given a short time to find her clothing and anklets. As soon as this is done, the party will be attacked by a large force of Orcs, including at least one magic caster. Salicia can still fight in this condition, but will only be at half-health.
No matter what happens, Salicia's life is the goal of the quest. If she is rescued from the lair but dies in a fight afterward, the mission is still a failure. The only consolation prize is that of her gold anklets, which can be taken from her body should she perish and be given back to her father for a reward, or kept for the value of thousands of gold pieces. If worse comes to worse and the party arrived too late to save her, there will be no resistance at the lair, and all that will be left is her mutilated corpse. The only way for the party to identify her remains will be the anklets she was wearing.
Stage Three: Return
This stage is entirely dependent on what happened in the previous one. If Salicia lived, the whole town will turn out to cheer the PCs, but unlike the past, Salicia will not take the opportunity to indulge herself, instead requesting an escort to her father's residence. Once reunited with her father, Arakith will bestow great riches on the party, including a magic item. Celalla, by contrast, will be disappointed, and will quietly leave for the back room knowing that her plans to move away have failed. A large celebratory dinner will be held in the party's honor in town, with Arakith as host. The event will be full of rich food, goblets of wine, and Salicia's dancing (but no drinking on her part.)
The day after the celebration the party and the family of dragons will go their separate ways, although they will always be welcome in Miryth. Salicia will give the party her gold anklets as an additional reward (also complaining that they were too tight for her), and she will make good on a promise she made to herself while held captive; that if she lived, she would persue a good life marked by cleaner living and simple pleasures. Arakith will continue to live nearby Miryth and guard the town in exchange for his small tribute, and in time, his newer children would live up there as well, and in time, would drive out the Orc threat for good when they grew up.
If the party fails to save Salicia, the situation will be quite different. If carrying her anklets, the townspeople will fall silent upon seeing them, knowing that she has perished. Upon seeing the anklets, Arakith will know that his daughter is dead. He will be polite but show obvious signs of sadness. He will take the Anklets from the party in exchange for 1.5 times their value in gold, and leave them to mourn. Celalla, by contrast, will be overjoyed at the news, and offer the party one powerful magic item from her hoard for bringing the "good news." The DM chooses which item the party gets, but in no case should the item offered be as powerful as an artifact.
At this point, the party has nothing more to do in the area and departs. Within less than a week, the Dragons will pack up and leave the town of Miryth, and abandon the people there to the threat of the Orcs. A month after the Dragons' departure, the Orcs will launch a great attack on the town and raze it completely. Arakith and Celalla will live with their hatchlings on an island in a distant ocean, and will never again be seen in human lands.
For the enterprising DM, a number of sequel quests can be made. If Salicia was brought home safely, she might be the object of another adventure, or, after a good number of long years spent training, she might be an adventurer herself. In any case, her father will continue to protect the town, which will eventually grow into a city, after Arakith's other children grow up and remove the Orc menace. A far-future quest could have the present adventurers become the stuff of legend for the people of Miryth, and it is possible that statues of that party will have been built alongside the one to Salicia.
On the other hand, Salicia's death could mark a black day for Miryth, and the subsequent departure of her father will signal the start of a major confrontation with the Orcs. A high-level party could be used to aid the townspeople in a desperate defense, and possibly even spare the settlement from annihilation.