Our heroes have come in possession of information that would lead them to a rune that is rumored to hold riches and powerful artifacts from an ancient time. After consulting with a sage and cartographer, they learn that they need to start looking in the small farming town of Sunny Valley. It is a well-kept and quite town that has all of the necessities that a farmer and the people that support the farmers would need, including a tavern of course.
Sven had grown old and his son, Olaf, has taken over the field work while Sven would milk the cows in the morning and then go to the tavern during the afternoon leaving Olaf to do everything else. It was the afternoon so Sven was at the tavern talking to his old friend Nils. The following could be herd in The Empty Cup Tavern.
'Now da dang kid wants to waste time diggin' dat rock up! Been dare fer ever. I telled him, 'Don't waste yer time on dat rock!' But ya think he'd listen? Noooooo.'
'What rock ya be talking 'bout?' Nils asked.
'Oh, on da north side of my plot dar is a small valley the goes up into da hills. It aint too big but its flat enough ta work and da dirt is better up dar too. Anyways, smak dab in da middle of da valley is a rock dat sticks up bout a foot er so. It only takes up 'bout 10 feet round. It aint like any rock I seen 'round here dough. It is tougher dan dragon scales and its orange with white specks in it. I just plowed 'round it an useta sit on it when I took a break.'
Nils butt in, 'Bet ya sat on it a lot den. I know how many 'breaks' ya can take Sven.'
Nils liked to prod him. Sven would turn red in the face when he got flustered and then his voice would start cracking like he was a teenage boy. Boden and Rolf were sitting at the next table listening to Sven and both broke out with a hearty laugh along with the new serving girl, Liena, as she passed by delivering food to a pair of strangers that had been in town for the last few days.
Sven, Nils, Boden and Rolf were regulars at The Empty Cup Tavern. Gerik and Halden were usually around too but lately had taken up fishing. They had found a 'secret honey hole' they said. They usually brought back more tall tales than fish though.
'Baa! Fooey on ya Nils!' Sven exclaimed knowing full well what Nils was trying to do. 'Dont ya see da wast o' time Boden? Why try ta dig it up? I just plowed 'round it like my daddy did afore me! Thought my boy was smarter den dat.'
Boden was the most level headed one of that bunch of uneducated old-timers. He always thought first and spoke second unlike the others. After a little pause Boden said, 'Now Sven. Ifin Olaf has his chores done den what can it hurt? Just goes to show, ya raised a lad dat aint lazy.'
'Dats true!' chimed in Rolf, but Rolf would agree with anyone that gave a reason, good or bad.
'Well, he could be spendin dat extra time here in town findin' a girl 'sted of waistin' time on dat rock.' Sven answered.
'Like Liena over dar?' Rolf whispered pointing toward her. She was still talking to the strangers in the far corner.
'Ya hush Rolf!' Nils scolded, 'She might be hearin' ya.' They all did chuckle though. She was a good looking girl and about the right age for Olaf.
Lost in their conversation the four old men failed to notice how hard the two strangers were straining to listen to there every word and Liena filling in details in a low voice but the heroes did take note.
As conversations do, it moved on and soon they were debating how many fish Gerik and Halden were not catching followed by how close seeds could be planted and many other mundane topics.
It was getting close to dinner time and they had not seen Gerik and Halden yet but decided to leave for home anyway, siting excuses like, 'Need to be up afore dawn' and 'Plenty of chores ta do'. In reality they were just too cheap to pay Orn, the barkeep, for dinner when there was a free meal at home. As soon as they had left the two strangers got up and left too. But, unlike the old-timers, they were in a hurry.
The heroes take it from here
It is obvious to our heroes that the strangers are very interested in the old-timers conversation about the rock. Do they have competition to reach the place first? Is this a group trying to keep the place a secret? What kind of place will they find? Is an evil cult being raised again or might a god have a different agenda for this peaceful town? These questions are up to you. I only got our heroes headed in the right direction. At least I HOPE it's the right direction!
Some background of the area
The valley was once much deeper and the structure was built for its intended purpose in this once isolated area. As these things happen though, an especially heavy rain had dumped more than the creeks and rivers could handle one spring. The raging floods brought most of the loose soil from above down and deposited it into valleys and surrounding areas. Only the top of the domed roof was left visible above ground and much of the inside was filled with soil leaving most of the buildings possessions (and people too) buried in place.
Many years later the area had become a farming community thriving under the rule of a just and well liked king, unaware of the secret that small valley held.
Things you will need to supply
Any important details or items needed for your dungeon in town.
The Empty Cup Tavern
NPC's to use as needed
Sven - Olaf's father, Nils best friend, Lazy
Olaf - Sven's son, Not married, Very ambitious
Nils - Sven's best friend, Quick with a wise crack to his friends
Boden - Wise and cautious
Rolf - Will follow anyone that speaks their mind, Low intelligence
Liena - Pretty, New in town, Serving girl, May or may not know the strangers
Gerik - Fisherman
Halden - Fisherman
Orn - Barkeep of The Empty Cup Tavern
Two strangers - Only been in town a few days
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? Responses (4)
Theres lots of dunges without 'pre-history' but there is 'pre-history' without dungeon! Good thing for module-using DMs.
or to phrase that another way...there sure are a lot of dungeons without enough history, background, proper npcs or common sense, but this here, is the history, background, npcs and common sense, minus the dungeon!!
Clever, stork. :)
A good Dungeon Hook. A nifty take on this. Good stuff!
The tag line is killer!