Note to all readers. This is an original adventure module designed for the Dungeons and Dragons game. This module is compliant with all Open Gaming License and D20 SRD regulations. If this sort of thing doesn’t interest you then you might want to click here.
This adventure is designed for game masters who run light hearted games, and is not intended for more serious campaigns. This adventure is best suited for second level characters.
GM Background: This adventure is set in the Dwarven cavern of Glimmer. It is recommended that one or more characters be a Dwarf.
The Dwarven cavern of Glimmer is a great Dwarven city that houses nearly 1000 dwarves. They are famous for the amount of Ale they consume and also for their annual Drink-a-Thon in which they consume all remaining ale stocks on the eve before the next year’s supply arrives from the city of Rockhome. The dwarves here are famous smiths and miners and don’t brew much ale of their own, instead choosing to buy vast quantities of ale from the neighboring city of Rockhome.
Most of the people in the Dwarven lands venerate the Dwarven pantheon, although a few dwarves worship various human gods of smithing and drinking, and some practice ancestor worship..
General Adventure Outline.
The general plot of this adventure is fairly simple. The characters are offered a job guarding the food caravan that is headed towards the Dwarven cavern of Glimmer, it is bringing the food supplies for the annual Drink-a-Thon, which many of the characters might have wanted to attend anyway.
The job pays 100 gold pieces each (in advance) and can begin in almost any city on the main continent, even in the barbarian lands, and the dwarves are shrewd bargainers and will buy from anyone if the price is right.
Text in BOLD is meant to be read aloud to the players.
Encounter 1. Caravan Duty
Caravan duty is always a boring job, but the pay is usually decent, and the posting you see up on the wall particularly piques your interest, since that particular caravan is arriving in the Dwarven city of Glimmer on the night before their world famous Drink-a-Thon. It would almost be like taking a vacation and getting paid for it at the same time.
The posting on the wall is extremely fresh and the characters are the first ones to have seen it. The job pays 100 gold pieces per character. The trading company and caravan master will have to be created by the GM to fit the region the characters are starting in. The caravan master should be a 4th level fighter of whatever race is primary in the region. The characters are expected to drive the carts, and there will be no other characters along besides the PC s and the caravan master. The caravan master fights along with the characters, and the character’s contracts stipulate that they still deliver the caravan even if he dies.
Encounter 2. Troll booth.
The caravan has come to a small bridge crossing a stream just a days travel past Northshire, a chain is stretched out across the bridge blocking your passage. The chain appears to be secured with a pair of crude padlocks.
Characters getting out of their carts to investigate the chain will be accosted by a Scrag wearing a pair of goggles. A scrag is an aquatic type of Troll, see the troll entry in the Monster Manual ™, remember that scrags do no not regenerate outside of water.
The scrag does not attack, instead he demands a toll of 10 gold pieces per cart in order to cross “his” bridge. Characters can make a knowledge: local check at this point, and they get each bit of info up to their roll.
DC 5 - Many trolls do indeed build their own bridges and charge tolls to cross them.
DC 10 - Troll bridge keepers are licensed and pay their taxes in many areas.
DC 15 - There are no licensed troll bridge keepers in the vicinity of Northshire.
DC 20 - This bridge was built 4 years ago by the government of Northshire, and collecting bridge tolls is prohibited by law on Northshire bridges.
This particular troll once had his very own bridge, some distance from here, but was driven out of business when a more powerful troll constructed another bridge a mere 100 yards from his, and started allowing passage for only a copper piece per group. Of course once he drove his competitor out of business he proceeded to tear down his competitor’s bridge and raised his rates considerably. High rolls on diplomacy, intimidate or the use of mind reading spells can get this information.
The troll only attacks if the characters attempt to pass without payment, either by breaking the chain, picking the lock, or attempting to ford the stream within site of his bridge.
The caravan master is only carrying 30 gold pieces, and was not authorized to pay any tolls, since this path should be toll free.
The troll is wearing Goggles of Minute Seeing and has a box containing 350 GP worth of assorted coins, which is located under the bridge.
Encounter 3. A thief in the night.
In this encounter a Goblin rogue attempts to sneak into the camp, locate the caravan’s (non-existent) strongbox, and make away with it. The goblin is not out to kill anyone, he is just looking for loot.
He will make his way from the rear of the caravan to the front, checking each wagon for a locked box. Use the 5th level goblin rogue listed on page 123 of the Dungeon Master‘s Guide ™. The character on each wagon will get a listen check vs. his move silently, and if they are awake they also get a spot check vs. his hide as well. There is no strongbox for him to loot, but he will also lift any valuable items the characters might have laying around as well.
Quick rules reference. Sleeping characters get a -10 on listen checks. If the goblin fails two sleight of hand checks against the same character then he will wake them up.
If faced with one or two foes then the goblin will try to fight them, he will try to flee from larger groups, although his slow movement rate may make that impossible.
Encounter 4. Dwarven Beerfest!!!
The caravan pulls into the giant cavern of Glimmer on the morning of the Drink-a-Thon. You are quickly ushered in and the dwarves begin grumbling and quickly unload the wagons. You here plenty of muttered comments about no-good caravans arriving late, but spirits seem fairly high amongst the dwarves.
The night of the Drink-a-Thon is completely freeform, but things like drinking contests, wrestling matches, dancing, singing, gambling, and the like should be encourage and played out. Have fun with this, use whatever rules you like. The actual evening stretches all night and the last mug of ale does not end up being consumed until 10 AM the next morning.
Encounter 5. The morning after
The morning after the Drink-a-Thon begins, well it isn’t actually morning, if anything it is early evening by the time the first of you begin to awaken. The great hall is littered with empty kegs and discarded drinking horns. Many of your fellow party goers are just now starting to rouse themselves. You hear a cry from down the hall, “Oy, the new Ale caravan still isn’t here yet, it should have been here well before noon.”
That little cry wakes up quite a few dwarves and the day grudgingly begins.
The mood of the dwarves in relation to the missing ale caravan quickly goes from concern to near panic. Rockhome is only a day and a half away, and it is nearly impossible to be that late on such a short journey.
Finally Dorn Wetbeard (the clan leader) calls everyone into the great hall for a most serious meeting.
You are crammed into the great hall with 1000 hung-over dwarves, it certainly isn’t the best place to be as far as smells go. The Clan leader Dorn Wetbeard climbs atop a table and begins to speak.
The issue of this missing ale goes beyond just our ability to drink. It strikes at the very heart of the issue of safety within the Dwarven homeland. Dorn is at this point completely drowned out by yelling and mumbling. "SILENCE", and the crowd goes silent. "I will need volunteers", 1000 dwarves rise to their feet as if a single man "to stay here and guard Glimmer while the rest of us go out and look for our ale." 1000 dwarves sit back down as if a single man.
Aye, I should have expected as much, you visitors there, you can certainly stay back and guard our home while we make the short trek to Rockhome to see what happened to our ale. It is a minor matter and I am certain ye are up to the task.
Without waiting for a response or a reply he continues. We leave at dawn, wear yr good clothes for this one.
A cheer goes up from the Dwarven crowd, while the characters are absolutely inundated with dwarves thanking them for the favor of watching the place while they go out to secure their ale. Most of the night is spent while dwarves frantically sharpen axes, polish armor, and make repairs to boots. They all march out at dawn, leaving the characters standing in the opening to a very empty Glimmer. As they march off, Dorn Wetbeard calls back, don’t worry lads, we will be back in 3 days, a month at the most.
To be continued….
Wrapping up the adventure.
This should be enough for one gaming session. This story is directly continued in Dwarven Beerfest Part 2.