View Full Version : Help/advice with a 2nd level adventure (3.5)

2010-05-19, 07:15 PM
First off, I'll be doing all the necessary DM grunt work (stats, probability chances, etc.), so that's not what I'm asking for. What I want is ideas and suggestions.

Ok, so this is the 2nd adventure of a campaign. It starts right when they leave the first dungeon (which was where the last session ended). They have to walk back to town where the 2nd adventure takes place.

Backstory The first adventure consisted of the party fighting hobgoblins, a couple gnolls, plenty of undead, a few evil summoned outsiders (fiendish vipers and vermin), some constructs (two CR 1 dread guards, and a chest full of crawling claws), a vargouille, and several traps. They went back and forth between four different locations (their hometown Hearthstone, a hidden elf village, the abandoned hobgoblin occupied village with the dungeon underneath, and the ancient abandoned shrine of a powerful outsider).

The outsider (through the shrine) hired the party to find the dungeon and return with something of importance from it. They found it (fighting through hobgoblins in the process), got through it, found the item, and escaped through a portal to the shrine, where the 2nd adventure starts.

The Synopsis This 2nd adventure will have them get back home (I'm thinking they will encounter gnolls/hyenas on the way), and over the course of about a week, fight off and ferret out goblin sappers who're weakening the town. The adventure is a mix of site based and event based, with an abandoned manor/farm on the outside of town (and a few buildings in town) and a timeline of events that will happen throughout the week (subject to pc actions). The adventure will end in success when the pcs root out the goblins and start tracking them back to their lair in the forest.

A hobgoblin warlord (blackguard) is merging tribes and fighting with local gnolls, wild elves, normal elves, and now the pcs village. The warlord works for someone higher up, but the pcs are unaware of this. A hobgoblin rogue/cleric (trickery/war) has come into town disguised, mapped it out, spied a little, bribed a shopkeeper to turn traitor, and forced a small nearby tribe of goblins into joining his tribes war effort against Hearthstone.

The Party CG Half-drow Bard 2 (Wide Repertoire), CG Gnome Rogue 1/Illusionist 1 (Improved Initiative), Human Paladin (Longsword Focus, ?), NG Half Elf Cleric (Elhonna - Sun/Plant, feats: ?)

Non of the characters are optimized, all have elite array. They each have a magic tattoo that they can activate with a move action and is good for one use. The bards' is an eagles splendor, the gnomes is a cats grace, the clerics is an owls insight, and the paladins is a bulls str. None of them have used it yet.

The bard is pretty standard, with mostly social skills. He didn't get to do much during the first adventure, most of which was a dungeon crawl full of unintelligent summoned monsters, undead, and constructs. He made two crucial rolls though, an important bardic knowledge check, and a very important diplomacy check at the end which likely saved the party. Since this 2nd adventure will be full of possible social encounters and literally every enemy will be non-immune to mind affecting abilities, I want him to get some limelight.

The rogue/illusionist is a homebrew gnome race (Int bonus, wis penalty tinker gnomes). He is proficient with repeating light crossbows and has a short sword (1d6) for melee. He has middling ranks in stealth/perception, but high totals in disable/open lock/search. He keeps dying, usually by getting critted with a projectile weapon. This player is unhappy with being a vulnerable little gnome, but I insist that his player will be powerful later on. He is going for arcane trickster. I'll advise him to pick up a cat familiar during the adventure. Should get plently of use during this adventure, with most enemies being goblins and the manor having plenty of little traps. Also, he will likely be the only character not much hampered by the goblin tunnels (small and using a crossbow).

The Paladin is also pretty standard. Longsword, breastplate, large shield, good str/cha (and a nice MW Mty Comp Longbow [+2 str]). Has ranks in sense motive, but not sure what else. Was unhappy with first part of 1st adventure, which was outdoors against unarmored, ranged weapon using enemies. Got stuck in the clerics entangle during the first fight and was totally ineffective. Was much happier during the dungeon part, which was full of close quarters melee against evil enemies. He killed a vargouille in one hit on the first turn of combat, which was the only CR 2 in the entire adventure. He will be of mixed use during this adventure, although I expect he will still like it alot.

The Cleric is probably the most powerful character in the party. She is similar to the paladin, with a breastplate, large shield, heavy mace and similar scores. Has ranks in heal and spellcraft, I believe. With the entangle spell during the first part of the 1st adventure, and the sun domain power during the 2nd part, and healing magic all the way through, she was easily the most useful member of the party and is completely happy with herself. This second adventure, however, will leave her as little more than healbot. Ideas?

The Town Hearthstone, the pcs hometown, is where the adventure will take place. Hearthstone lies on the edge of a region known as the obelisk fields, with low rolling (occasionally mesa topped) hills of dry grass/wheat, the occasional boulder (usually tall and relatively narrow), and a few shallow rocky creeks (think Rohan). The obelisk fields extend into the NE, East, SE, and South, with a North-South mountain range to the west with a forest running along its east side. Hearthstone is the southern most village of a predominantly human kingdom expanding to the north (in lusher lands).

The village is made primarily of stone, has one creek/small river running through the middle, a church of pelor, a tavern/inn (the owner is an ex-adventurer bard), a couple shops/businesses, two windmills, a water mill (which only runs half the year), a wizard with a tower just outside town, a small jail/barracks/armory, and a small series of farms extending out of town up the river for about a mile. One of the windmills is on the south edge of town, the other is north of town between the town and the wizards tower. The wizard, Arkved, made his tower out of the mesa on top of the north hill. On the SW side of town is a large abandoned manor/farm, and the buildings on the SW side of town are either abandoned or little used (like storehouses or something). The manor is rumored to be haunted, though nothing has ever happened there. The sheriff is a dwarf warrior/fighter (that is warrior, fighter, or warrior/fighter, I haven't decided).

Hearthstone is oval in shape, thin east to west and long north to south, though the west side bulges a little into the farms. To the NW and SW of town are two gently rising hills, to the east the land extends into the obelisk fields. The river runs between the two hills, west to east. A road goes from south to north through the middle of town, with another forking off in the middle of town running east along the river. There is a marketplace at the fork. There is a stone bridge where the S/N road crosses the river midtown.

What I have so far First, the pcs have to get back to town with all the crap they looted from the dungeon. It's about 40 miles, and they have to avoid the hobgoblin infested village and elude gnolls and grugach on the way back. More on this later.

The goblins have dug a tunnel into town into the basement of the abandoned manor, and from there to various basements and cellars all across town. Many of these tunnels meet under the town and all are sized for goblins.

The timeline so far is...

Day 1 - Pc's arrive in town on a cloudy day. They get to rest up, shop, craft, and explore town (they're adventurers know, you know). That evening a thunderstorm rolls in and lasts all night.

Day 2 - Depending on what the pcs do, they might hear about missing dogs. The whole day is rainy and misty.

Day 3 - More dogs are missing and blood is found near where some of them went missing. Dead rats are found in rain barrels, cellar water stores, and the well(s?). People are starting to get worried. The local garrison of king's soldiers start patrolling and investingating (not sure how many of these guys there are, or what they are composed of). That evening, an hour before dark, a small band of hobgoblins break into the south windmill, set fire to it, and bolt down any who try to douse the flames. At nightfall under the cover of dark, the hobgoblins retreat out of town. Townspeople and soldiers are able to put out the fire due to how wet the mill was from the rain, but the mill will need repairs and restoration, and all the flour within is now gone. The town leaders (head cleric of pelor, the tavern owner, and various others) muster the militia and start guarding various areas around the town. The king's soldiers patrol all night and prepare to ride out in the morning to track down the hobgoblins.

Day 4 - The king's soldiers ride out to hunt down the hobgoblins. The door to Arkved's tower disappears. People start getting sick (polluted water - disease).

Day 5 - Things turn up stolen/broken/vandalized (like the water mill). Town leaders have the militia set a cordon around town and have non-militia folk start going armed and armored (most militia wear padded armor and use very simple weapons like clubs, spears, and crossbows). That night the granary and the horse stable burn down and a stable hand is found stabbed to death.

Day 6 - Some children have gone missing. The missing dogs have been found dead, tied with a rope across the river upstream from the town. The town leaders recruit the pcs as a search party (to find who is doing this and to find the missing children). Some of the militia leave the cordon to patrol the town or guard their homes/shops. The fields/farms west of town catch fire in several places. A small band of gnolls/hyenas w/an ogre raid the NE section of town (the busiest section, also the least affected so far). That night, a shopkeeper kills a goblin breaking into his shop.

Day 7 - The town is abuzz with the news that a goblin sized tunnel was found in a basement. More turn up during the day and people begin to collapse them/close them off. The fields catch fire in several places again, but this time goblins are found doing it and a few are shot down. A traitor is suspected. The hunt goes out for the goblins and the suspected traitor.

Day 8 - Goblins are getting holed up all over town in basements, backrooms, cellars, and attics in buildings where the tunnels are collapsed, some take children hostage (they are very desperate). In buildings where they still have tunnels they set fire to the building and hold off any who try to douse the flames until they have to retreat into their tunnels (this happens for sure in the north mill). The traitor tries to slip out of town.

I'm not married to any of these events, and many will change or not happen depending on what the pcs do and when. Some I'm not sure about the placement of implementation of (like the gnolls raiding).

The following are ideas I've had and want to use, but am not sure where to place or how to use...
1. a group of militia are wounded and/or surrounded (and need the pcs to help)
2. A group of militia approach the pcs for help with a particular band of goblins
3. some shops/services lower their prices for the pcs (who or how much depends on what the pcs do), but one raises his prices (the traitor) and makes he argument that now his goods are worth more
4. A baby dragon, either connected with the goblins or not, somewhere in a basement or one of the abandoned buildings. I'm thinking the parent dragon uses somewhere in town as a secret lair for her egg (or eggs).
5. The gnolls/hyenas/ogre raiding town.

Anyways, the goblins don't try to kill anyone unless they are discovered, more so in the earlier days. Their strategy is to weaken the town for hobgoblin invasion in carefully planned and implemented steps, holding off getting discovered for as long as possible. The thing is, the hobgoblin who bribed/intimidated their tribe and who infiltrated town earlier is fairly young and inexperienced, so his plan has a few flaws, and the goblins are not the most motivated group (and so don't really think about the plans, like putting dead rats in cellar/basement water stores, making it more obvious that they are coming from basements and cellars).

The goblins are all 1st or 3rd level npc classes (including a weaker rogue type, similar to how the warrior is to the fighter) with the average array. There might be a small elite band who takes care of certain vital missions or works as a counter to the pcs. Their weapons are filthy and rusty, having a -1 to attack but infecting wounds with filth fever and tetanus (DC 14, dex damage, 50% chance of lockjaw).

Warrior goblins guard intersections in the tunnels, the basement of the abandoned manor, and a couple abandoned buildings near the manor. The rogue types do the sneaking into town at night. Both groups will have an adept or two for support, with more adepts in the abandoned manor for healing and illusions (to better hide within). The goblins keep wolves under the abandoned manor as guards and mounts for when they need to leave.

At some point towards the end of the week, a group of goblins will steal one thing of vital importance to the town that only the town leaders will know about (likely magical) that is basically the mcguffin. It has connections to the campaign as a whole and what it is isn't important to the actual adventure, but its the main reason the goblins sneak into town, all other objectives being secondary. Once they have it, a group of them will leave on wolves with the kidnapped children to their lair in the forest.

The main "dungeon" of this adventure will be the abandoned manor (which is basically a mansion) which will be secretly held and trapped by goblins and wolves. It should be at least two stories with a large basement/cellar, with its share of hidden rooms, especially in the basement. The outlying buildings, like barns and smaller farmhouses will be connected and also held by goblins. The goblins don't want the pcs to find them, so the goblins won't attack unless the pcs are close to find them/their operation. Any traps will be fairly far in, to make sure that anyone who isn't close to finding the goblins won't trigger one and investigate further. The goblins may use the wolves as sentries due to their good senses and scent (but hide once they are aware).

Anyone have an tips, advice, ideas, or suggestions?

2010-05-22, 05:01 PM

2010-05-22, 05:15 PM
Well, it seems like you've got a pretty good idea of what you want to do.

If your PCs get completely bored and are tired of chasing goblins down tunnels and such, bring in the gnolls. You said a Hobgoblin Cleric disguised himself as a human and walked around- have the gnolls know about him and mistake one of the PCs (likely the Cleric) for him. This can lead to a kidnapping and after the misunderstanding is settled the PCs will either have killed a lot of gnolls or made some new, interesting, and useful allies.

Smiling Knight
2010-05-22, 05:35 PM
Perhaps there could be a way for the PC's to find out that the goblins are being coerced and negotiate with them to leave?