Non-Violent Adventure (3.5e Quest)
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A Non-Violent Adventure
Intended for four level Any adventurers.
The characters are just arriving at town, or possibly have just finished dinner, or are at the Tavern having a drink and relaxing. This could even start while the PC's are in the middle of an existing campaign, while discussing something important with an NPC, or in the middle of any 'town' related activities...
- Prep Time 15 minutes to 2 hours
- Play Time 1-3 hours
This is a Non-Violent Adventure in a typical farming town. There's mystery, lots of Ability checks, lots of use of non-combat skills.
DM choice. this could be a town full of strangers, or a village that the PC's grew up in. Any small farming community is acceptable.
While the PCs are in town (or approaching town) they smell smoke. Someone yells "FIRE!" and everyone starts running around.
I've listed Gladys Krumpcheck as the Innkeepers obese wife, and Lucy as the little girl who gets washed away.
There's also Jacob, a local young troublemaker.
Myra, the serving girl at the Inn.
And, of course, The Mysterious Stranger
Stage One: On Arrival
As you approach the town, you hear the church (or temple) bell clanging an alarm. Then you smell smoke, and as you race to town you hear people shouting and screaming.
The Inn is on fire! People have started lining up to form a 'bucket brigade'.
-This is where the strong heroes can carry large buckets of water, spellcasters can 'levitate' buckets and druids can 'create water' or 'summon rainclouds'.
But wait! Oh no! Someone is trapped up on the second floor! Gladys Krumpcheck, the extremely overweight wife of the Innkeeper! Weighing in at just over 300 pounds, she needs someone to scale the wall and carry her down, but the ladder will never bear her weight! Oh no! What to do?
-The players may here climb the wall (DC 15), use spells, and possibly lower her with rope (Use Rope DC 10, Strength check DC 15 to not drop her).
The wind picks up and blows around hot embers. Oh no! The fire has spread to Old Man Hosenfeffer's farm! As the sparks touch the barn roof, one lone stray slips through the open door to the hayloft and lands in the dry straw. The barn lights up like a bonfire! Mrs. Hosenfeffer races to the barn doors, throwing them wide and shooing animals from their stalls.
-The group will need to help round up the animals later, or a player with Animal Empathy can make a DC 20 check to calm them down before they escape, and just have them stand nearby.
Someone is now shouting from the water's edge! Lucy Mae slipped while trying to fill a bucket. She's only 5 years old and can't swim. She's clinging to a log and being swept (slowly) downstream. Can anyone swim?
-To swim in the river takes a DC 15 check, and once a player has her the DC is 18. Ropes may be used (DC 5 check to tie the knot, ranged attack against AC 20 to get the rope to her).
Stage Two: Whodunit?
So, once the fire is out, and the animals have all been herded back to the farm, then the mystery of "whodunit" begins. An investigation shows that the fire started either in room 202 on the second floor, or in the storage closet just below 202 on the first floor.
Myra, one of the maidservants at the inn, claims that she saw Jacob Valdermort sneaking out of the storage closet a short while before the fire was noticed. Jacob is a local troublemaker, a young man who has been suspected of stealing in the past, but nothing was ever proved. Still, he always seems to be nearby when trouble occurs. The other suspect is the stranger who rented room 202. He was last overseen going to the stables with an apple for his horse, but now, both the stranger AND the horse are missing. Three small Adamandite coins are found in the ashes. Adamandite is worthless as far as money goes, but some spellcasters like using it for enchanting, because with certain spells, it seems to hold the charge longer than gold or platinum would.
Did Jacob start the fire? Why? And where is he now?
Did the stranger start the fire? Why? Where is he now? And what happened to his horse?
The Innkeeper is shouting for Jacob to be hanged for the crime, but;
1. No one knows for certain Jacob did it
2. Even if Jacob did it, it could have been an accident
3. Even if Jacob did it on purpose, no one died, so it's not a hanging offense. The law says the penalty for arson is to rebuild the damages threefold! So since two structures were damaged, he would have to rebuild the Inn and the barn, and help at least four more townsfolk build/rebuild/repair their houses or barns.
So they have to find/capture Jacob without hurting him and find out if/why he did it. And what about the stranger? Did he do it? Was Jacob after him? Where is he now? Did he ride away or did Jacob kill him and steal his horse? Maybe the stranger killed Jacob?
To capture the badguy maybe you need to cast a special Spell of Binding with very specific material components. This leads to a side quest to find 'three hairs from a Unicorn's tail braided together and glued in a loop using silk from a Phase Spider' and whatever else you can think up.
Maybe the stranger is a Demon/Illithid/Drow who Jacob made a deal with, and now the stranger expects payment (Jacob as his slave for 2 years), and you have to save him. Jacob offered himself as a slave if the stranger could grant him something inconceivable, like bringing his girlfriend back from the dead, only the girl is now a Lich, which fulfills the contract even though that's not what Jacob expected. It could be argued that she is 'undead' and not truly alive, and the negotiations could also be part of this non-violent situation.
-The players may use the Track or Urban Tracking Feats to try and find the culprit. Gather Information, Search, and Spot may be of use too.
Stage Three: One Possibility
Jacob started the fire, hoping the stranger would be blamed, and Jacob could sneak out of town in the commotion. he wants to find a way to save his girlfriend, maybe by learning magic himself.
The stranger is a Yuan-Ti Abomination, a 'man' made up of hundreds of snakes intertwined into a 'human' form. The Yuan-Ti is a powerful spellcaster, much too powerful for the party to defeat in a direct confrontation. They will need to use Charisma, Wisdom, Skills such as Diplomacy and Gather Information, and Feats such as Alertness and Tracking. The Yuan-Ti is very old and very wise. He doesn't 'need' Jacob to be his slave, since he can create zombies and animated skeletons to do simple tasks for him. Its just that Jacob had nothing else of value to offer. The Adamantite coins that the party found are very valuable, or rather, they can be made valuable if they can be forged into something that the Yuan-Ti can enchant. The Yuan-Ti Abomination has many enemies and he needs to gather as much magical protection against them as possible. He doesn't want Jacob, or Jacob's girlfriend. He wants power/protection/magic. Maybe this can lead to another adventure? A Quest for the Magical Item that will buy Jacob's Freedom!?!
-If the players want to deal with the Yuan-Ti now, they may set traps or bargain with it, it's up to the players!
Stage Four: Other Options:
The Bad Guy can be a Demon or a powerful Necromancer or even a weak spellcaster who got lucky and found something really powerful but he can't control it, like a Cursed Intelligent Circlet of Power he's wearing around his forehead, and he needs to be freed of it.
Maybe the Bad Guy is a shapeshifting Dragon who has been 'captured' by an Orge with a Ring of Dragon Control, and the Dragon needs Jacob to steal the ring. He can't just kill the Ogre because the Ring is now magically bound to the Dragon. It will kill the Dragon also, if the wearer is killed I mean. Any harm that comes to the Orge happens to the Dragon also. The Dragon is, in effect, a 'mirror' of the Ogre.
There are lots of ways this can go down. Have fun!