Monday, January 26, 2015

Patreon Supported Adventures - The Strange Case of Tobin Jakshyd

New adventure that went up on Patreon yesterday. If anyone remembers who I commissioned for the map please tell me so I can give proper credit.

The Strange Case of Tobin Jakshyd
A Swords & Wizardry Adventure for Characters of 3-6 level

Introduction

There always seems to be a place in any long game, a place where the adventure is done, the heroes have completed their tasks, saved the princess, and collected their pay. A place in a game where everyone just mills around, doing their shopping and the Referee is desperately trying to figure out how to introduce his flock to their next employer.

That is the purpose of the five-minute adventures. A simple, quick adventure that can take place anywhere in the Referee’s world urban or rural.

These adventures will not follow standard layout for adventures or modules as they are meant to be quickly copy-pasted from the Genius Loci Blog.

Good Luck and Enjoy!
Background

Long ago Tobin Jakshyd, a mage of little power, was bitten by a were-badger during a journey to the Towers of the Magic. At first Tobin believed he was just bitten by a rabid badger and sought out traditional clerical aid. However; as these things must, when next the moon rose full and bright Tobin under went his horrible transformation for the first time.

Recently the Town has seen an outbreak in strange twisted creatures; horrible beasts that appear in the twisted vestiges of various animals and humanoids. Most of these creatures have been found to be harmless and have been easily dispatched, but some of the Malformed as the Town’s people have begun to call them have managed to kill and slaughter members of the town watch.

Tobin Jakshyd, a local mage and herbalist of some renown, has taken an interest in these malformed, and has been requesting that the corpses be brought to him for study.

Unknown to most of the town, the mayor’s daughter has gone missing. The mayor, while frantic, believes his daughter safe and most likely

The Adventure

The Tavern of Meetings

The players, recently back from some adventure or another have resupplied and should now be taking comfort in a night of ale, women (or men), good food and pure and simple relaxation. The Tavern is full, as it typically is, and music and song dance in the air.  The night is young, the moon is full and the minds and hearts of the tavern patrons are jovial.

After some time the door opens and a figure walks in buried under a thick riding cloak that hides the face. However, the cloak does not hide the fact the person walks with a twisted, heavy step. The figure speaks to no one but moves to the deepest area of the tavern, his or her head bowed.

Referee Note:  If any of the party decides to investigate the newcomer, a successful check (with a -4 modifier) will reveal that the person’s left hand looks more like a clawed paw than a humanoid hand.

A few moments more pass, and then the windows on the same side of the tavern as the door shatter as figures jump through them and at the same the door bursts open and three more figures file in.
The figures are all Malformed, each with the strange appearance of humans twisted together with mammals of some sort and avian as fur and feathers stick out in strange splotches over their bodies. The Malformed menace the tavern patrons, making demands in guttural voices for the return of one of there own.
The Malformed intruders are searching for one of their own. A female who has not yet been “educated”. They demand that she be presented to them and know that she is at the tavern due to her scent leading them to the place.

If the players decide to parlay with the Malformed they will discover that the only way the creatures will leave peaceably is with their missing female. However, the Malformed are not very patient and even if the players decide to locate and return the female to the Malformed, if they take longer than three rounds the Malformed will attempt to slaughter everyone in the tavern to get the female.

Lesser Malformed (5): HD 3; HP 14; AC 5 [14]; ATK Claws (2d4+2), Weapon (1d6+2 – Short Sword); Move 6 [30']; Save 16; AL C; CL/XP 4/120  Specials: Strong (+2 to all to hit and damage)
If the players engage the Malformed (and win), they will be approached after the battle by the cloaked stranger who entered the tavern prior to the Malformed.  The Stranger, revealed to be a woman by her voice, begs the players to speak with her behind the stables as soon as they can and quickly leaves.

If the players engage the Malformed (and lose) the cloaked figure will reveal herself to be the one the Malformed are seeking (conditional of more than one player having died). Removing her hood the tavern patrons (and possibly the players) will recognize her as the mayor’s daughter, but with Malformed traits. She will leave with the Malformed in a bid to save the players.

Word will quickly spread about the fate of the mayor’s daughter and within a day the mayor will post a reward (Referee’s discretion) for her return to him and information about the Malformed.

A Meeting at the Stables

The stables are located about twenty yards from the tavern and nearly flush with the town wall. A small space only about five feet wide exists between the stables and the wall. When the players arrive they will discover the cloaked figure resting against the wall.

Seeing the players the figure will beckon them to join her.  Approaching the cloaked woman she pushes off the wall, and slides down her hood, revealing the face of a once beautiful young girl. Long blond hair flows down from her scalp, but is interrupted by tufts of dark amber fur. One side of her mouth is twisted back with animistic lips, revealing a mouth full of sharp teeth and one of her eyes is large and bird-like in coloring, feathers sprouting where once eyebrows would have been.

The woman reveals herself to be the mayor’s daughter, Trixiani. She will explain to the players that she had been kidnapped and drugged. When she awoke she was like this. All she can remember from her ordeal is that the Malformed serve a cloaked master and that when she escaped their lair she was in the forest outside of town.

Trixiani doesn’t know where the Malformed lair is only that it appeared to be man-made and very old. Trixiani begs the players to help her find a cure for what was done to her but dares not go back herself for fear of the cloaked man.

If they players agree to help her she promises them that she will convince her father to pay them for their troubles (Referee’s discretion).

A Father’s Plea

Should the players lose their battle with the Malformed in the tavern a reward for returning the daughter will be posted the following day as well as a summons to any and all adventurers and “brave folk” to seek audience with the mayor.

When the players meet the mayor they discover a man torn by his grief. He blames himself for what has befallen his daughter and wishes her back safely. However, he dares not send the town militia into the forests for fear his daughter might accidently be killed.

The mayor beckons the players to a wide table with a map of heavy parchment unrolled and being held down by various objects. It is a very simple representative map of the area surrounding the town.  He points to an outline of a large forest to the north-east of town, away from the farms and outlying buildings.

The forest to the north-east of the Town is a thick and ancient place. The mayor informs the players that it is from this forest that all the Malformed have come from. If questioned as to why the Mayor hasn’t sent people into the forest he will inform them that militia guards had been sent into the forest after the first of the violent Malformed appeared. None of the guards returned.

The mayor will beg the players to go into the forest in search of the Malformed and his daughter. He will offer them a reward (Referee’s discretion) in addition too fifty standard currency (SC) to provision the quest.

Should the players decline, the mayor may opt to “sweeten the pot” by offering the players one of options provided on the table below. It is also possible that the mayor may simply dismiss the party in hopes of another adventuring group taking up his cause. If dismissing the players is the mayor’s decision then make it known to the players in such a way to wound their pride if nothing else.

Table 1: Quest Negotiation Table
Roll (1d6) Result
1-2 Land title
3-4 150 SC for provisions
5-6 Rank in the Militia

The Northern Forest

The forest is thick and uninviting, the trees, so close together, offer little visibility to what may lay ahead. Birds chirp sadly, and bugs move by but something else moves in the darkness of this place. It is colder in this forest then the town or the farmland nearby, one could almost see their breath.

The Northern forest is a dark forest that has been left more or less untouched by civilization for a nearly a thousand years. Locals do not venture far into it and legends about the forest state that every woodsmen who ever dared to cut a tree from the forest died in some horrible fashion soon afterwards.

In truth, the forest is home to a rather xenophobic tribe of wood elves who would rather kill intruders than scare them off. There are other threats and things that occupy this forest, some are listed below, and others are the domain of the Referee.

Being that the forest is lightly traveled there are no real trails for the players to follow.

Neither Trixiani nor the mayor knew where the Malfromed came from within the forest. In Trixiani’s case it was due to being unfamiliar with the land and the overall darkness the forest plunges into at night. This means that a lack of knowledge is the players’ biggest enemy and they may get hopelessly lost in the vast and mostly uncharted forest.
While in the Northern Forest the players have a 3 in 6 chance of encountering one of the following creature types every other turn.

Table 2: Wilderness Encounters
Dice Roll (d10) Creature type
1 Trent
2-3 3d6 Striges
4-5 3d6 Giant Spiders
6-7 2d6 Qu’tanis  Patrol
8-9 1d4 Unicorns
10 Young Green Dragon

Northern Forest Map Key

W-1 The Town

Per game world, setting or the Referee’s imagination. The town rests to the south of the Northern Forest and is in whatever economic and political shape the referee or setting has determined.

W-2 The Well on the Hill

A large well constructed of worked gray stone sits onto of this thinly forested hill. An ancient rotted bucket lay on its side next to the well, half buried in the soil and dirt of many years.

If any of the players decide to explore the well they will find the bottom to be devoid of water. The well works its way into the earth nearly one-hundred feet, its bottom made of smooth river bedrock.  To the north and the south are two ancient, but amazingly rust free grates that stand at about man height. Nothing can be seen beyond the reach of a lantern or touch’s light.

Referee Note: On one of the walls of the well is a false stone. Pressing that stone will cause one of the grates to slowly descend into the rocks.

Beyond that is anything you can dream up. From a Lich’s layer to the abode of a Dragon to a portal to another world long hidden out of fear. Don’t be afraid to completely throw a monkey wrench into the adventure and send the players off to another place or time.

W-3 Qu’tanis

Nestled among the giant, ancient trees the stairs and homes of the village blend into the forest.  As the players unknowingly approach a horn is sounded and as if from the tress themselves dozen of elfish archers surround them.

The village of Qu’tanis is home to about five-hundred wood elves. The population is extremely xenophobic and trusts no outsiders; even other wood elves from outside their community. If the players approach Qu’tanis the elves of the village will surprise them and attempt to capture them. This is atypical of the wood elves of Qu’tanis as they will typically kill all outsiders.

The players will discover (if they go with the wood elves peaceably) that the village has been raided several times in the previous month by the Malformed. While the wood elves would typically kill outsiders like the players, they have found that they are unable to route the invading Malformed and grudgingly need the players’ aid in the manner.

The wood elves will provide the players with a map with the location of the Malformed’s lair marked on it (W-5).

The only reward the wood elves offer the players is safe passage through the forest as long as the players respect the forest.

W-4 The Fallen Monolith

A giant rectangular black stone lay on its side, blocking any easy movement through the area. Trees grow and twist around it as moss and vines grow up its sides. As the players approach a flock of sparrows take flight from the monolith’s top.

The monolith is approximately thirty feet high, two-hundred feet long and ten feet thick. It is completely smooth with no etching, poke marks or any sign that it was worked in any way. In any location not covered in moss or ivy the players can see their reflections.

On a successful investigation of the monolith the players will notice that their reflections are acting subtly different than the players themselves. If touched the player needs to make a saving throw against extreme cold. If failed the player takes 1d4 damage and the part of their body that touched the monolith is in the beginning stages of frostbite.

W-5 The Ruined Keep

The blasted, charred remains of some ancient keep breaks from the ground like a jagged tooth. A single, double door stands open and dark.

If there is a dwarf in the party he or she can easily tell that the ruined keep is of dwarvish build, but not what clan. 

The Ruined Keep is further described in its own section of the adventure.

W-6 Forgotten Barrows

At first it appears to be nothing more than a group of small hills dotting the forest, but as the party moves through them the hills grow closer together and far more regular in size and shape.

None of the barrows have any noticeable entrances. The lands here are quiet with no bird song or insect noises.

While in the barrows the players have a  3 in 6 chance of encountering either a specter or group of wights.

Specter: HD 7; HP 35; AC 2[17]; ATK Spectral Weapon or Touch (1d8+lvl drain); ST 9; MV 3/6[15/30’], Al Chaos; special level drain (2 levels) w/hit; CL/XP 9/1,100

Wight (2): HD 3; HP 15; AC 5 [14]; ATK Claw (1hp +lvl drain); ST 14; MV 9[45’]; AL Chaos; Special Lvl drain (1 lvl),silver/magical dmg only; CL/XP 5/240

The Ruined Keep

As described above, the Ruined Keep is a mostly destroyed location, with worked stone strewn and scattered across the small section of the forest.

Unknown to the players there is a hidden Malformed watch around the keep. A successful saving throw will allow the players to avoid surprise. Note: If the players arrive at night the number of Malformed guards is halved.

The open double doors lead into a small alcove approximately ten feet by fifteen feet before ending abruptly in a pile of rubble. To the left is a narrow set of stairs leading down into the servants’ quarters, kitchens and eventually the vaults.

Lesser Malformed (6): HD 3; HP 14; AC 5 [14]; ATK Claws (2d4+2), Weapon (1d6+2 – Short Sword, Short Bow 1d6+2); Move 6 [30']; Save 16; AL C; CL/XP 4/120  Specials: Strong (+2 to all to hit and damage)

While Exploring the Ruined Keep the players have a 1 in 3 chance of encountering one of the following creatures.

Table 3: Ruined Keep Encounters
Dice Roll (d6) Creature
1 Giant Slug
2-3 1d6 Lesser Malformed
4-5 1d4 Malformed
6 1d2 Malformed Berserker*
     See end of Adventure for Creature stats

Ruined Keep Map Key

K-1 Lower Foyer

The small room is bare of any decoration. A single doorway stands open in the eastern wall. Behind you a light, fresh smelling breeze blows down the twisting stairwell.

The Lower foyer is a small, 10x10 room. There is a trip wire in the doorway, that when activated will sound a gong, alerting 1d6 Lesser Malformed and 1d4 Malformed to the location.

K-2 The Pantry

A long, narrow room, lined with mostly empty shelves and old moldy smelling sacks of grain.

The Pantry is a long, narrow 10X30 room. There is nothing of value for the players here; however, there is a 60% chance that a Malformed can be found sleeping here.

K-3 The Kitchen

Even from the hall the players can smell the sickly sweet stench of cooking meat and the sound of loud, off-key singing. The door to the room is closed but that does not stop the immense heat of the room from leaking out.

The kitchen is a large open room, with huge brick and stone ovens placed at even intervals. Open coal fires along the wall house giant pots and pans, each boiling over with some form of food.

Several Malformed race around the room, cutting and chopping meat of various colors. One thing remains the same though; all the meat is vaguely humanoid in shape.

In the center of the room, giant butcher knives in each hand, stands a giant Malformed conducting the workings of the others like a conductor does an orchestra.

If the players are noticed, the large Malformed will great them as a gentlemen. Informing them that dinner has not yet been prepared. As he speaks to the players the other Malformed will attempt to take them by surprise.

Lesser Malformed (4): HD 3; HP 14; AC 5 [14]; ATK Claws (2d4+2), Weapon (1d4+2 – Butcher’s Knife); Move 6 [30']; Save 16; AL C; CL/XP 4/120  Specials: Strong (+2 to all to hit and damage)

Livew (Malformed Half-Ogre): HD 5+5; HP 29; AC 3 [16]; ATK Weapon (Twin Giant Butcher Knives 2d6+4); Move 9[45’]; Save 14; AL C; CL/XP 6/400; Specials Strong (+4 to all to hit and damage)

Treasure: Livew has silver necklace around his neck worth 20 Standard currency. There is a 1 in 6 chance that one of the Malformed cooks will have a pouch with 10 standard currency on his body.

A search of the Kitchens after the encounter will reveal that the meat the Malformed were preparing was Elf and Human. They will also discover one of the following items in a pile of discarded belonging in a corner of the room.

Roll (d6) Treasure
1 -1[+1] ring of Protection
2 +1 Dagger
3 Ruby of Mage Sight (15 charges)*
4 50 Standard currency
5 Wand of fireball (5 charges)
6 -2[+2] Chainmail
*New Item is described at the end of the adventure

K-4 Servants’ Rooms 1

The door to this room hangs mostly off a single hinge, waiting for the right time to fall. The room itself is nothing more than ancient decayed bedding and foot lockers.

The room is a small quarters only 10 x 15. Broken bed frames lay scattered about. One of the two foot lockers contains 100 standard currency, the other is a lesser pseudomorph.

Lesser Pseudomorph: HD 3 ; HP 12 ; AC  4 [15]; ATK Slam (1d6+2), Bite (1d4) ; Move 3 [15’] ; Save 16; AL N; CL/XP 4/120; Special Stick – Any Melee attack has a 45% chance of causing the attacker to become stuck to the Pseudomorph.

Treasure: The corpse of the Lesser Pseudomorph will contain 1d6 gems that it had yet to digest from its last meal.

K-5 Servants’ Room 2

The door to this room seems locked. If the players manage to force the door open they will find several Malformed waiting for them in the room, looking very angry for being woken.

The door to this room is a thick, wooden door and appears to be locked through normal means. The Malformed in the room will be roused from their rest by any attempt to force the door but not if the players pick the lock.

Malformed (4): HD 4; HP 20; AC 5 [14]; ATK Claws (2d4+2), Weapon (1d6+2 – Short Sword); Move 6 [30']; Save 15; AL C; CL/XP 5/240  Specials: Strong (+2 to all to hit and damage)

Treasure: The Malformed have various bit and trinkets on them valuing 75 standard currency.

There is nothing of interest in this room for the players.

K-6 Storage Room

The room seems to have not been used in a very long time. Mold and fungus cling to the walls and ceiling. Ancient chests and shelves lay broken and decayed, and the smell of must overwhelms the room.

The door to this room is jammed and must be forced open risking the chance of alerting any of the roaming creatures that may be nearby.

A search of the room will reveal a few dry-rotted sacks containing 25 standard currency in gems and coins.

K-7 Servants’ Kitchen/Mess

The door to this room hangs open, a soft glow peaking out from inside. Four Malformed sit by a small fire rolling dice and hooting. The number of flasks and mugs around them, as well as the stench of stall ale tells the players all they need to know.

Unless approached in a hostile manner these four Lesser Malformed will leave the players to their business. If the players attempt to speak with the Malformed they will wave the players away and continue their game or offer the players the dice to join in their game.

If the players do join, follow the rules of an average craps game.

Lesser Malformed (4): HD 3; HP 14; AC 5 [14]; ATK Claws (2d4+2); Move 6 [30']; Save 16; AL C; CL/XP 4/120  Specials: Strong (+2 to all to hit and damage)

Treasure: Each of the Malformed has 10 standard currency on him.

K-8 Servants’ Room 3

The door to this room hangs open slightly and the sound of sleeping men can be heard.

Six beds, with moldy mattresses and ragged dry-rotted sheets, line the bare stone walls.

If the players decide to ignore this room the Malformed within will continue to sleep undisturbed.

There is nothing of interest in this room for the players.

Malformed (6): HD 4; HP 20; AC 5 [14]; ATK Claws (2d4+2), Weapon (1d6+2 – Short Sword); Move 6 [30']; Save 15; AL C; CL/XP 5/240  Specials: Strong (+2 to all to hit and damage)

Treasure: Two of the Malformed have scraps of jewelry on their person valuing a total of 75 standard currency.

K-9 The Cages

The door to this room is newer than any other door in the ruins. Made of thick iron it is closed tight with several locks. A barred window near its top reveals what once may have been a storage room have been converted into a prison. Several metal cages, only about three feet high can be seen and each hold three to four humans and elves.

This room is locked tight with several locks and requires a lock-picking check with a -2 modifier to be successful.

Inside the room are half a dozen cages with human and elf prisoners of both men and women.

Three Malformed guard the cages and will attack the players on sight.

Malformed (3): HD 4; HP 20; AC 5 [14]; ATK Claws (2d4+2), Weapon (1d6+2 – Short Sword); Move 6 [30']; Save 15; AL C; CL/XP 5/240  Specials: Strong (+2 to all to hit and damage)

Treasure: All three Malformed have pouches containing 1d6 gems worth 25 standard currency each.

Should the players be victorious a choice awaits them. Do they let the prisoners go or leave them in the cage? If they chose to set the prisoners free will the players escort them to safety knowing that should they re-enter the ruins the enemy shall be waiting? Or will the players leave the freed prisoners to their fate and continue on?
Referee Note: If the players had failed to defeat the Malformed in the Tavern they will find Trixiani in one of the cage, badly beaten and unconscious. If they choose too they may return the Mayor’s daughter at this point and skip ahead to the Concluding the Adventure section.

K-10 The Laboratory

The entrance to this room is guarded by two vicious looking Malformed. Beyond the double doors is a large room, lit by braziers of magical light. Several tables are scattered about the room filled with beakers and strange chemicals and even profane relics of the Outsiders. In the center of the room is a single table with a small, slight man hovering about it, poking the large, sleeping creature that rests on it.

Several cages rest against the wall, the creatures inside of them, no longer human or elf in nature. The creatures they have been blended with have taken full control.

The two Malformed guards will attack the players on sight, unlike other malformed these creatures are armored and seem to have some knowledge of martial combat.

Malformed Guards (2): HD 4; HP: 22; AC 3 [16], Weapon (1d8+2 – Bastard Sword); Move 6 [30’]; Save 15; Al C; CL/XP 6/480 Special: Strong (+2 to all to hit and damage), Parry (-2)

The man hovering of the table is Tobin Jakshyd, a local magic-user, who the party may know has had a keen interest in the Malformed from the beginning. Upon discovery, however, Tobin will drop all pretense of benevolent interest in the Malformed.

He will continue to move around the table, informing the players as to their immediate demise and will answer any questions that the players may have. If the players attempt to attack him he will mutter a single, hissing word and the cages will open, releasing the Berserk Malformed.

Malformed, Berserk (4): HD 4+4; HP: 26; AC 3 [16], Bite (1d4), Claws, (2d4+2), Weapon (1d6); Move 6 [30’]; Save 15; Al C; CL/XP 6/480 Special: Strong (+2 to all to hit and damage)

After four turns, if Tobin is still alive he will announce that he is finished, bid the players farewell, and walk quietly to the back of the room; revealing a secret door. Before moving through the door, Tobin will quietly say, with a sweet smile no less,
“Kill, Spot.”

As words leave the mad-man's mouth, a low, growl can be heard from the table and a large Malformed will slip from the table onto all fours.

This Malformed may have once been an Ogre or an Orc, but now it was something far more and far less. No soul, no mind, no sentience shone out from the large, cat-like eyes that watched the players. Twisted exposed muscle and sinew bunched and coiled and a low, bear-like growl filled the air, and the thing attacked.

Spot: HD 5+5; HP 29; AC 5 [14]; ATK Claws (2d4+2), Bite (1d4+poison); Move 6 [30']; Save 14; AL C; CL/XP 5/240; Specials: Strong (+2 to all to hit and damage), poison

Referee's Note: If the player's managed to kill Tobin before he could finish working on Spot the massive malformed will never be awakened and the adventure ends. Follow “Concluding the Adventure” ignoring the fact that Tobin is still out in the world.

Treasure: 2 flasks of Cure Minor Wounds, 100 SC and a scroll of web.

Following Tobin

If the players decide to follow Tobin though the secret path they will find their way unimpeded and the tunnel will eventually let out in a small root cellar that holds various medicinal herbs and dried plants.

The narrow tunnel of rough, packed earth and stone is dark as night save for the adventurer's light. It runs for miles before suddenly changing from a simple dug space to worked stone and walls, a few feet more and a door cut into the stone itself hangs open.

Exploring Tobin's house the player's find nothing of interest or Tobin himself. It would appear that the time it took the players to defeat Spot and the other Malformed in Tobin's lab has given the mad-mage the time he needed to escape.

An in-depth search of the small home will reveal a scrap of paper indentations on it. An etching of this paper will show the following:

Stonehold, 2-storey manor house – affordable – ruins and cave systems near mountain lake … explore aquatic applications to process?

Treasure: a small pouch of gems worth 25 SC can be found under the bedroom floorboards.

Concluding the Adventure

Unfortunately no cure either alchemical or magical can be found for the Malformed and until Tobin is found all those who have been changed by him are stuck in their Malformed state.

Of further concern is the the state of mind of many of the Malformed who were under Tobin's commend. Few show signs of their former selves and instead demonstrate altered and extremely violent new personalities. 

The Ruined Keep Map


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