A simple mission for a Dragon, but of course, nothing is ever simple with Dragons.
'That damn priest,' thought the Dragon, his thoughts playing back to the oddly long struggle with what should have been easy prey.
When most priests would have been up in the thick of it, laying on hands and whatnot, this one held back, singing odd songs. It took longer to dispatch them, and the priest had had one last surprise. While devouring the unarmoured priest, he bit something unexpectedly hard. He spit out part of a tooth and a horseshoe. Why was he carrying of those?
Since then, bad luck hung like an aura around him. Adventurers taking wrong turns away from his lair, some of his Wyverns getting lost while hunting, terrible weather, and finally this unending cold. Several parties of useless adventurers had tried to find a cure, but either gave up, got lost or met other fates.
So, apparently a god had it in for him. Now what?
The dragon was able to determine that it was The God of Small Things that he offended. Knowing that he could not destroy a divinity, even one as Â‘weak' as Arkon, he sought instead to make amends and free himself from his curse of bad luck.
His wyvern servants managed to find another priest of Arkon and brought the priest before him. After long negotiation, the dragon convinced the priest to help him. Casting an augury using various random odds and ends, the cleric told the dragon a long tale regarding Chard's Folly.
Chards Folly is the name for the Farrier's nail and horseshoe that had loosened through Arkons intervention, resulting in General Chard's defeat and execution. After the battle was lost, and Chard gave his confession, a priest of Arkon was sent to the site to recover the nail, for surely it was a powerful relic. After months of searching, sifting, praying, and undoubtably, cursing, the correct farrier's nail and horseshoe were found. This relic is considered the single most important relic of the Farrian sect of Arkon - the usual holy symbol of this sect is either a ring crafted from farrier's nails, or a horseshoe. The original nail still holds a touch of Arkon's power and the bearer gains the ability to call down Arkon's favour on occasion. As the God of Small Things, this favour is very minor, being no more then what a mouse-sized being could generally accomplish. A strap could be cut, writing smeared, a candle snuffed, etc.
The price for the god's forgiveness was for this relic to be returned to the Farrian sect. After the priest left, the dragon then bent his mind towards finding the god's trinkets. Still of frail health, he would need others to help him, someone smarter then his wyverns.
Enter the PCS.
This short adventure is broken into five main parts and is of a rather linear nature.
The Offer Contacted by the wyverns (or an intermediary), who provided a token gem the value of a warhorse, the PCs meet with the dragon who will explain his predicament. He will offer the PC's a reward in return for their bringing him the relics - Chards Folly.
Vendawan Acting on information provided by the Dragon, the PCs attempt to contact the odd and reclusive mage for the secret to bypass a dangerous trap guarding the relics.
Harad Wood With secrets revealed, or bravely pressing on without them, the PCs now need to traverse Harad Wood to get to the Crypt. There they will encounter the odd being Quidly before reaching their destination.
The Crypt The tomb of a lost Ophidian priest, it is guarded by a lethal trap. The PCs had best be prepared or face crushing defeat.
The Return Relics in hand, the PCs make their way back to the Dragon, to return the Relic and attempt to claim their reward...
The Five in One Challenge. The time to honor yourself will soon be at an end...Highness--Russ Crowe, Gladiator
The idea behind this Quest is to use five random submissions and craft one masterpiece from them. The point is to celebrate some of the forgotten posts of the past, dredge up favorites, and highlight your peers and colleagues' works.
Rules - Thou shall not use any of your own submissions.
-Thou shall have 1.5 months to craft your 5in1 submission. Yes, multiples are allowed. You cannot begin, until the Quest is officially posted on the main site (any hour now).
- The Five shall be picked randomly, ideally with the aid of Murometz, who will gladly generate them for you. However, those impatient of you may choose and contact any Citadelian of your preference, who shall thence produce them for you - the 'Random Submission' link on pretty much any page of the main Citadel being a good source. Refresh and enjoy.
- The chosen submissions shall not have a higher vote score than '4.5'. Even the seemingly less perfect submissions deserve love and companionship. Please, help them shine!
- (Optional) A sixth submission may be generated if you so desire, to swap it with another that you desire less.
Other than these guidelines, anything goes. The person who wins the Quest, will be awarded a set of customized Citadel-dice in addition to the usual laurels! If you can help it, try to avoid an epic novel.
Act I: The Offer
Never dice with a dragon, and to deal with one is dangerous as well. Fortunately, this dark beast is both sick and desperate, so the dealing is less one-sided. He will meet the PC's in his false lair - earthen piles covered in a thin layer of coins, and various items dressed up by minor magics. His true lair will have been blocked off by tons of earth piled there by him and his servants. He will not reveal the true lair intentionally. The Dragon will offer up to the choice of his horde per pc, but if can get away with less, he will try, starting with 'his gratitude'. However, there are plenty of adventurers in the world, so they had best be deferential to him. He may be sick, but still is a dragon, and his wyverns could be a serious problem as well.
The task is simple - retrieve Chards Folly and bring it back. He will not elaborate on why he needs the item, other then to repay a debt. The Dragon has the following information available:
1. The relic provides good luck to the bearer, along with the ability to manipulate small events.
2. The relic was stolen from the nearby church of Arkon.
3. The relic was last located inside a mysterious crypt in Harad Wood, brought in by the thief who never returned.
4. The crypt is guarded by a dangerous trap which seemed nearly impossible to bypass (at least for his wyverns).
5. The dragon knows of someone who might know how to bypass it, a mage by the name of Vendawan. Vendawan is a scholar of the ancient cult, known as the Sha-Guthroians, which built the crypt, 6. This mage lives nearby in a well known estate. Additional information could be provided at GM's discretion, but the PCs best watch out extending the negotiations and cross examination.
Complication : As soon as the PC's accept employment with the dragon they will begin to suffer the effects of Arkon's disfavor. Arkon has no intention of making the retrieval of the artifacts easy, for the dragon, or his proxies. If they think of it, taking appropriate actions to appease Arkon themselves would greatly help them and could alleviate the effects. Otherwise, they will frequently be subjected to minor misfortunes at times which could make them members. See Table 1 for suggested misfortunes.
If they continue to interact with the Dragon after closing the deal, they could end up provoking a possibly deadly conflict. Assuming the PC's survive the encounter, and are his employ, the PCs either seek the aid of Vendawan or perhaps hurry towards Harad Wood directly..
Act 2: Vendawan
This eccentric mage had a great interest in the forgotten sect of the Ophidians, and has in his possession a prayer book which describes the necessary patterns. All the PCs need to do is convince him to let they at least look at it. Generally, Vendawan is reasonable and accommodating, so long as they let him at least examine whatever they loot from the tomb, he will be more then happy to allow them access to the book. However... Vendawan's domicile is well known to the townspeople of his village, and PCs will find it easy to obtain directions. They will of course also be warned that today is not a good day to bother him
Complication: When the PCs arrive, the mage is deep in the middle of one of his more dangerous experiments. As a result, magical defenses to deter visitors (illusions, non-lethal traps, etc) have been set out by his assistants. If the PCs wish to see him, they need either to somehow convince the extremely reluctant staff, or bypass these defenses to see him. If the PCs are unnecessarily destructive, then Vendawan will have nothing to do with the PCs, possibly teleporting them somewhere inconvenient.
It is possible - especially with Arkon's Disfavor, that the PCs will somehow disrupt the experiment in the process of contacting Vendawan. GMs are encouraged to be creative with the possible outcomes in this event.
The book is written in ancient script, and has no pictures. The PC's will need to translate it in some manner - perhaps with Vendawan's assistance. Translation errors could be dangerous... He will not allow the PCs to take the book with them.
Of course Arkon's disfavor could wreck any of the negotiations.
At least one of the pages of the book is damaged, missing or wrong. Vendawan is quite knowledgeable about many things, and could perhaps advise the PCs to petition Arkon to clear his disfavor. He does not have personal knowledge of the Crypt apart from knowing that the creation of the crypt and it's expensive defenses served to cripple the local cult and led to it's eventual downfall. He will not accompany the PCs - his current line of experimentation is important and is tied to celestial alignments.
Act 3: Harad Wood
This wild forest is largely shunned by humanity. There are legends of dangerous creatures, wild and fae, who haunt the mostly oaken forest. In truth, it is indeed the home of unfriendly Folk - no less the four separate Queendom's exist within the boughs. These realms have no precise borders and conflicts between the queens are commonplace.
It is in one of these border regions that the Crypt lies, in an area claimed by two queens, but controlled by neither. Instead, a rogue fae by the name of Quidly holds court, attended to by swarms of unusually intelligent selvaks.
Once a courtier of Queen Illsithia, Quidly was caught stealing from her. As punishment his shape-shifting abilities were shorn from him and instead he was forced into the form of a were-selvak. Banished as well, he retreated to one of the contended zones on the border of Illsitha's lands and took command of a group of selvaks in that area.
The selvaks posed little danger to most of the Folk, but have made life difficult for several villages of Glen Gnomes who live nearby. Now with Quidly leading them, the selvak ambushes have been more deadly and more then a couple of gnomes have been killed by the Selvaks. The Gnome's requests for aid from Queen Illsithia have been mostly ignored - she pays little attention to her duties as a queen - and the gnomes are bitter and resentful. If the PCs happen across the Gnomes, the Gnomes will attempt to make peaceful contact and then request aid against the selvaks. The Gnomes are aware of the location of the crypt and would be more then happy to help the PC's find the best route there if they help them against the Selvaks.
The Selvak lair is high above the ground in the boughs of oaks of unusual size. If attacked in force, the selvaks will retreat to their tree home. There they will engage the PCs in hit and run tactics, leaping from branch to branch to avoid counter attack. PCs without special skills or magic in climbing trees will be at a distinct disadvantage, especially with Quidly using illusions. Quidly will use his illusions to create false branches, distract with phantom selvaks and to hide real ones. In addition, the ground beneath the lair is seeded with many simple traps (punji-sticks, deadfalls and snares). These cannot be easily bypassed as the selvaks do not travel on the ground here - anything that does is either an enemy or prey. If the PCs do not make contact with the gnomes, then they will be blundering around a dangerous forest, tripping into the different realms of the folk. They may be subject to simple harassment - which will be very similar to the effects of Arkon's disfavor- or direct attack by the folk. They could even be captured and brought before one of the Queens for judgment.
Complication : The Selvaks posed no danger to the Wyverns, and so will not have been reported by them to the Dragon. The Dragon is ignorant of the situation and politics in Harad Wood.
Act 4: The Crypt
The Crypt is quite a simple location - from the outside, this place appears as little but an overgrown earthen mound. After clearing away some of the vegetation, the PCs can find a small passage that leads inward into darkness. Not far inside is the first of the 10 Pegoran Doors, arranged similarly to the Hall of Gods in the main submission. In this case these doors are exceptionally thick, nearly 2' thick. Unlike the Hall of the Gods, these are used in a much more deadly way. The doors are spaced barely 2' apart, so the hallway, 20' long, is filled solid with the doors. As each is successfully opened, it rolls out of the way for about 30 seconds, and then rolls back. As a result, one must be able to quickly open each door or they will be crushed as the doors roll back - apart from the first door, there is no safe place to stand. Each door has 3-5 contact points among scores of glyphs which need to be contacted in the correct order to unlock.
If desired, the 3rd door will not open if the 1st door is held open. The thief Edreal was naturally unlucky - he had stolen Chard's Folly to offset fate's heavy hand. Through its influence and blind luck, he managed to make his way through the Pegoran Doors, but ran afoul of an additional obstacle. The burial chamber at the end of the Pegoran Doors is infested with a deadly crypt fungus. It can be avoided by powerful magics which grant immunity to poison, diseases or remove the need to breathe, or one can simply wear a cloth mask of some sort. Edreal took no such precautions and quickly fell to the deadly fungus. Spores cover every surface and are kicked up easily.
The chamber is simple and unadorned - the walls are carved stone with no carvings or details of note. In the center of the chamber is a similarly unadorned sarcophagus, still closed with a heavy stone lid. At its foot are the moldering remains of Edreal. Everything organic has been infested with the fungus, leaving little intact apart from a corroded dagger, a few buckles and Chard's Folly. Fishing through the remains will definitely subject the searcher to the spores. As for the sarcophagus, it contains naught but dust and spores - the remains have long since decayed away and the cult did not believe in burying items of value.
Complication : Replace the empty Sarcophagus with an undead creature of your choice.
Complication : Add a trap to the Sarcophagus itself - perhaps the room begins to fill with sand.
Act 5: Endgame
Assuming the PCs have managed to obtain the relics, they need to make their way back through Harad's wood and back to the Dragon's lair. With the relic in hand, they will find their luck changing - the bearer will not be subject to Arkons Disfavor, especially if it is actively used.
The final negotiation with the Dragon is perhaps the most hazardous point of the adventure - the Dragon will seek where possible to twist the wording of their agreement to get out of any payment. If the Dragon is out-negotiated, the PCs still will be selecting their 'prize' from his dummy treasure room, and so are unlikely to get much of value, but... Arkon is not done with the Dragon.
If the PCs have managed to be selecting their reward Before turning Chards Folly over, then during their selection, a minor cave-in will reveal a small opening to the true treasure room, a vision of wonder with shiny coins and glimmering gemstones. His treachery revealed, the PCs will need to handle the encounter carefully to avoid a dangerous battle with the Dragon and his wyverns. The PCs may be still be able to negotiate a peaceful settlement - the Dragon will be cautious until he holds the relic. Properly handled, each PCs should be able to get away with an item of great monetary value (or other item at GMs discretion, of course). On the other hand, if they turn the relic over prior too early, they will be roughly escorted out by the wyverns with scant opportunity to pick their reward. Discovering that the items are worthless at this stage (magic, skill, etc) could easily lead to a confrontation as well.
A series of Unfortunate Events
All of these events are more likely to occur where they will cause the most damage and disruption.
1. Buckle securing a saddle releases.
2. Sheath ceases up, slowing drawing of weapon.
3. Painful migraine headache arrives, temporarily impeding spells and most skills.
4. Important item dropped while in precarious position (while looking over bridge, etc).
5. Sparks from campfire carry unusually far, possibly causing a fire.
6. Horse rears, startled by a figment.
7. Critical component (key, spell component, spare bowstring) misplaced, taking longer to find.
8. Muscle spasms kick in, making precise efforts difficult.
9. Unfortunate flatulence.
10. Meat spoils, possibly causing food poisoning.
11. A comment made is misheard, badly.
12. Beverage spilled upon something non water-resistant (books, tinder, small fire, etc).
13. Important item is misused and breaks.
14. Bug swallowed or enters ear.
15. Stinging insect randomly stings someone.
16. Sudden rainstorm.
17. An attempt to gauge direction or distance fails, badly.
18. Laces on footwear comes undone.
19. Buckle on armor releases or ceases up.
20. Visor on helmet malfunctions and blocks vision.
Systems • Divine/ Spirit • Defining
For want of a nail a horse was lost
For want of a horse a rider was lost
For want of a rider a message was lost
For want of a message a battle was lost
For want of a battle a kingdom was lost...
Which serves as a warning not to get on the wrong side of the God of Smalll Things.
Plots • Mystical • Side-Quest
A simple mission for a Dragon, but of course, nothing is ever simple with Dragons.
Plots • Discovery • Side-Quest
Jaelric the Black, Shatterer of the Countryside isn't feeling up to par. And he needs a little bit of help.
Lifeforms • Fauna • Forest/ Jungle
While Selvaks have some resemblance to their timid and weaker cousins - squirrels, they are far from cute and fluffy.
Dungeons • Any • Doors
"The Pegoran saw the circle as the link between this world and the next," the mage said. Before he could pontificate further, "So the door rolled in Raygar to send him to the next?" the rogue blathered, "What a mad peoples!"
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? Responses (30)
Thank you for creating this, I really liked it.
Mmmm... I must say that I really like this, both as a general submission, and a part of the quest. Solid integration of all submissions into the post; a well-chosen format; a good layering of detail where each submission is expanded and/or put into a new enviroment, but not changed.
wow, you're becoming the Master of Formatting, val! Thumbs up!
Besides the fact that its a Quest entry, and therefore warms my heart, this is an excellently rendered sub!
I will delve deeper into the piece, this coming weekend, but in the meantime, I believe manfred sums up my thoughts nicely!
Masterful formatting indeed. An inspiration.
It doesn't show up in the quest list when I click the link on the main page.
yeah, whats up with that?
oh, and I'm HoH'ing. These subs are not easy to do! Val did good here!
It is pending my thorough read. I agree on the HoH part. Most of us are rather challenged by this quest. I know I am.
Thanks folks! A LOT of thought went into this one. Was hard to keep it growing out of control - each Act could have been much longer....
Love dragon tales and this is a neat one. Again something I can bring to the younglings in my party. Ill need to re read and absorb the details but thats for me to do and you have already done :)
Glad you like this one - let me know how it goes!
This one came together well. The plot is coherent and develops upon the various component subs in interesting ways.
I like the way that the Dragon is used. He makes an interesting patron and encounter.
Great incorporation of all the different submissions. There are enough options to mix it up a little depending on the group. Brings me back to the old school games and that is just fun.
coming back to this one again, i just have to second Strolen's comment. A rip-roaring old fashioned adventure! And yes, nice weaving of the five subs, and the format is top-notch.
Congratulations to the winner of the "Five-In-One" Quest.
First place and 150XP goes to Valadaar and this awesome submission!
YAHOOOOOOOO!!!! Congrats Valadaar!
Yay Valadaar! You deserved to win.
You did it, Waldo! ;)
Wahoo! Thanks all!
I always fail to comment on the good ones! This is very good work Val!!! Must have taken quite some time, thank you for taking that time!
Thank you! I wanted to make full use of the odd subs that were dealt to me for this sub.
This has the 2nd highest number of XP in strolen.com. :)
I have been waiting to vote on this, maybe I will knock it up the highest Exp.
Like many plots that are fun for GMs to write, I am wondering how this one has played out. I could see a lot of players finding this anti-climatic or not providing solid enough motivation. Player want a chance to be heroic, effective, funny and clever. This certainly offers them funny and it can offer quite a bit of clever. But the chances for heroism are limited in that this seems to be a battle between egos of power elite (gods vs dragons). It is hard to have a lot of sympathy for either one. That said I like the plot, and would like to try some variation of it on my group. It is also really well written and on top contains so much information and excellent ideas that using it piece might be just as good if not better than following the whole plot as it is laid out. I have seen plots I like better but I have never seen a better plot submission.
Did you ever play this?
Sadly, no, but I would like to some day. The opportunity for heroism could arise in some of the potential battles - dealing with Quidly, or even the Dragon during the endgame.
But indeed, this adventure does not lend itself to being a heroic epic. I see it more of a low to middle level adventure, since it is possible to deal with the dragon without coming to blows.
I entered a version of this plot into my campaign world. How my campaign is set up is that player pick a chose plots from the game world based on what they encounter. Thus far the players are aware of the Dragon (and that he appears to be accident prone or at least disadvantaged), they are aware that an accomplished follower of the God of Luck and Thieves (had to use another god) has gone missing. I am still waiting to see if they take an interest in either one of these facts or if I need to drop more hints.
Awesome! Let me know how it turns out :)
Campaign ended a couple of months ago, they never took up the mystery of the sickly dragon. I just don't think they trusted dragons. I was dissappointed, should have railroaded them into it.
This is beautiful. I've always had a soft spot for dragons, and a quest that doesn't necessarily involve killing one is a treat. 5/5
Edits were restore formatting that appeared lost due to Arkon's disfavour.
Great formatting that makes it very easy to read and seamless integration of the 5 subs. A good piece of work.
*Commented on for the Commenting Challenge