This is a short game designed for players of the first level. It is designed to be short enough to finish in one game session. The game’s setting fits with any fantasy game system, so feel free to use this module with any game system that it works with. I have purposefully left the stats open ended so that you can make it work with your game. This one shot will end with a complete ending, but have a story hook in case you want to expand it to a full campaign. Now, let’s get on with the game!
In this adventure our players will have to climb Tarvyrn’s tower, solve the puzzles and disarm the traps within, and finally meet the famed alchemist himself. But is he really feeling like himself?
The town of Dranellye is a quiet one. The town is run almost exclusively by humans, but those humans welcome visitors of all races. The town boasts a powerful market in alchemy thanks to an old resident named Tarvyrn. That is until just recently. The town has run into a dry spell of potions, with no word on when they will restock. It is up to our heroes to find the source of the shortage and fix it so that Dranellye can thrive again.
When the adventure begins, our players arrive at the town of Dranellye. Each character’s reason for coming to the town can be decided by them. Perhaps they want to investigate the sudden lack of supply, or maybe they want to get while the getting is still good. No matter what their reason, each character will arrive at the town’s southern gate. This can be together or separate depending on their reasons. They will be drawn together into an adventuring party soon enough.
The town is divided into three sections. The southern third of the town holds the housing for poor families. The middle part is the shopping district, where shops do their business. The notable shops here are a tavern named Alchemist’s Ale, a blacksmith that specializes in warforged parts, a main alchemy shop, and a smaller alchemy shop that deals in potions that offer cosmetic changes. There are other shops that offer the same as any other town, but those will be the most interesting.
The northern part of town is where the rich families that have profited off of the alchemy trade live. These are fairly large houses, but nothing compared to the tower that looms over the town. It can be seen from any part of town due to its sheer height.
Allow your players to explore the town for a bit. Let them get a lay of the land and converse with the townsfolk. The shop owners are all human, but the other inhabitants can be of any race. Let this go on for however long is appropriate for your time frame; then you can begin the real quest using the story hooks.
- When visiting the main alchemy shop, the owner will take note of adventurers who look like they are capable of taking on a challenge. The owner will ask for the help of the adventurer, offering a reward of gold or choice of his stock. The owner may employ the use of several adventurers if you see fit.
- While walking around town your adventurers may come across Sam Gelly. Sam is a budding wizard and apprentice to Tarvyrn himself. Sam is worried about the disappearance of his tutor Tarvyrn, and so he is searching for able adventurers to aid him in finding Tarvyrn. He offers a unique reward: a potion from his tutor that only Tarvyrn himself has access to. Sam can be persuaded to help the party, but as a starting wizard he can only offer cantrips such as light and mage hand. He has only been in the base floor of the tower and so he cannot provide any information on the upper floors.
- (For the most stubborn of players) The owner of the small alchemy store will offer a free sample of their newest potion. Upon use the player will suffer some embarrassing cosmetic change. This should be minor enough to not be distracting, but embarrassing enough that they will want it changed back. The owner doesn’t know of the cure; only that the potion came from Tarvyrn. The owner will then suggest looking for the cure there.
The Quest Begins
Once all players have arrived at the tower and introduced themselves, they will set foot in the tower. The door is unlocked, oddly enough. The first floor is bare, save for a few wooden boxes of potions set to be shipped to the local stores. They are locked, but can be opened by lockpicking or smashing the box with a medium difficulty challenge. Inside the boxes are potions that explode in little sonic bursts to deal minor force damage. There are also potions that change hair color randomly. The colors are:
At the opposite end of the room from the door is a flight of stairs. They lead to the second floor room. The room is absolutely empty; the floor is tiled with alternating white and grey tiles like the first room. Lightly armored players can walk across the room without a problem, but heavier characters can not. For every ten feet they move, roll a dice. On a maximum roll the tile underneath their foot gives way. Underneath the false tiles are bear traps that do a moderate amount of damage and ensnares whoever falls into the trap. The trap is too big to fit through the hole caused by the player. This activates the second part of the trap where water flows in from vents at the top of the walls, filling up the room at a rate of one foot per round. The entire room will be filled in ten turns. The players must figure out a safe way to free those caught in the beartraps in enough time to get to the flight of stairs leading up. Possible solutions are:
- The trapped player can change form to escape the trap. Anything that allows them to traverse planes or turn their form into gas of liquid can allow them freedom.
- Shoot the chain on the trap. This requires a high attack roll since it is a blind shot into a tight space.
- Smash the floor open for the water to drain out and allow time for the beartrap to be disarmed. This requires three high difficulty strength checks.
There can be other solutions, so be open to any ideas your players may have.
Once the trap is overcome, players can move on to the third floor. This floor is a library full of recipes for potions. High difficulty intelligence checks will allow players to find useful recipes for potions. Have fun with these! The library holds no other value than the recipes. Across the room is the flight of steps to the final room.
The final room is an apothecary. Inside are tables with alchemy sets and shelves with jars full of alchemy reagents. Careful players can use a medium difficulty perception check to spot three glowing green jars. These jars contain a hand in one, a hand in another, and a head in the third. If Sam has been used in one of the story hooks, then he recognizes the head as Tarvyrn’s. If no one noticed the jars, they get a surprise round to attack. Each jar gets the stats of a level one controller and they shoot globs of green energy at the players, prioritizing those that are closer. The players must climb the shelves or otherwise grab the jars to smash them to defeat them.
Once the jars are smashed, the goo and body parts will come together into one floating mass of hands, head, and slime. This version of Tarvyrn has the stats of a level 2 solo bruiser. He will still cast spells of green goo at players, but will also attempt to swat away anyone who comes into melee range. These attacks prioritize whoever smashed the jars.
Once Tarvyrn is defeated they can search the room for answers about what happened to him. A medium difficulty perception check can lead players to Tarvyrn’s journal. This is a collection of his works, including a cure to the embarrassing story hook. Further reading will reveal secrets of his apothecary trade, which can be given to the main apothecary shop owner to solve the first story hook. In the last pages of the book Tarvyrn writes about the possibility of immortality. What follows is a bunch of hastily written entries that cover Tarvyrn’s descent into seclusion as he sought to discover the secret to immortality. Clearly his method did not work, and only provided an eternal torment for him that took his mind. Players will have to think on this if you decide to further the adventure. But for now, let your players turn in their findings and reap their rewards for a job well done.
Continuing the Adventure
The adventure doesn’t have to stop here. Perhaps the idea of immortality intrigued your players. If so, then Tarvyrn’s findings are a good place to start. You can use this one shot as a springboard to start your next campaign as players search for the true key to immortality. And while they play, make sure to keep those dice rolling high!