This is the brief adventure I set up to introduce all the PCs to each other. It worked out surprisingly well, for once the players used their heads when encountering the bizarre situation with the goblins and actually listened to them rather than run with the old trope, Born Evil. It also gives the new DM a couple NPCs that can be used as recurring characters (Lady Tamilla and Lord Skeethiz) as well as a ready-made recurring villain in the Lord-Mayor of London, Angus Culvert. So without further ado here is a barebones set up for you…
Adventure One: A Lady walks into a bar…
The players meet for the first time in the Foreign Quarter of London either at the Lusty Griffin Inn or just before arriving there. While getting to know each other at a table in the common room a hooded figure walks purposefully over and takes a seat with you a few minutes before a city watch detail enters (10 1st level fighters wearing studded leather armour and bucklers, armed with Long Swords. 2 of these will be stationed outside the main door and 2 more just inside the main door.) and 6 of them will start asking the bartender (Arnulf Tuttle) about the whereabouts of the figure seated with the heroes. When Tuttle points them in the her direction they will attempt to arrest her for kidnapping and the players for aiding and abetting a known criminal (a wanted poster was up in the City Square and on the Mayor’s Palace Gate, 2 places which the players obviously haven’t visited yet). The players have a choice, either go with the guards and end the adventure and most likely their lives or fight their way out of there. This mysterious woman is Lady Tamilla Culvert (3rd level Aristocrat, STR 7, DEX 13, CON 12, INT 16, WIS 6, CHA 17), the wife of the Lord Mayor of London and she has sat down in the hopes that you can help her find her kidnapped baby boy before she is captured and burnt at the stake as a witch. She insists that the players go to the Goblin Lord and try to reason with him first, since no one was killed or hurt when they kidnapped her son and she hopes she can make a deal.
NOTE: Unbeknownst to the players her baby boy was fathered by the Goblin Lord Skeethiz, while he was under the effect of a illusion (Change Self) that made him appear to be Lord Mayor Angus Culvert. Her troubles started when her son was born and it became apparent that she had consorted with demons (i.e. humanoids). She will tell the players that her son was kidnapped by Skeethiz but she will fail to mention that he is the boy’s father. And when she goes to reason with him she will actually be going to ask for sanctuary as a means to escape her husband and to be near to her son. She knows that Skeethiz loves her and she hopes that with her religious knowledge and through her teachings she can bring him and his people around to the side of Light (surprisingly this tribe already tends to True Neutral due to the affect Lady Tamilla has already had on Lord Skeethiz’s heart).
The grate that seals off the cistern the players must enter can be lifted with a DC 20 strength check (a rope can be attached and the players can combine their Strength bonuses together by tugging on the rope together). There is a big padlock on the underside of the grate that is holding it in place (DC25 pick locks due to location relative to the players). If it somehow is unlocked then no Strength check is required.
A nest of 18 Dire Rats (5 hps each) are nest near the base of the ladder and will attack as the first player reaches the floor. Their nest will look like a simple pile of refuse and wood (a player may make a DC20 Spot check to notice the dire rats camouflaged among the garbage, this is performed halfway down the ladder secretly by the DM).
A DC15 Search check on the nest after the rats are defeated will reveal 14 GP, 7 SP and a silver-edged Seax in a rat-chewed leather scabbard. This search will take 5 minutes done quietly or 2 minutes noisily.
Goblin Lord Skeethiz’s Tribe
3 groups of 21 goblins each (5 hps each)
7 goblin watchers near entrance to sewers. If the players take more than 2 rounds to kill the Dire Rats or Search the nest noisily then they will be alerted. They will use Move Silent to get within Javelin and then through 4 and then 2 immediately afterwards, they will target the leading 1 or 2 players. The remaining Goblin will ring the bell alarm if the players engage the watch-goblins in melee combat. 2 rounds after the bell is rung the southern group will arrive 14 at a time per round. The Lady Culvert will plead with the heroes to try to get a peaceful resolution and if that doesn’t work for 3 rounds then she will toss her hood back and step forward. This will cause the goblins to cease fighting and retreat carefully out of melee range.
Lord Skeethiz’s Inner Circle consists of 4 3rd level Rogue sergeants (12 hps each), 10 Goblins (6 hps each), and Lord Skeethiz himself (4th level Illusionist, prohibited schools are Necromancy and Conjuration, Str 8, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 8, 16 hps, True Neutral, Spells Per Day: 4 – 0th level Message, Ray of Frost, Daze x2, 4+1 1st level Sleep, Charm Person, Color Spray x2, Magic Missile, 3+1 2nd level Mirror Image, Invisibility, Scorching Ray, Touch of Idiocy, Bat Familiar. Fort Save +3, Ref Save +5, Will Save +4, Wielding a masterwork dagger and wearing a Ring of Change Self Once/Day)
70 non-combatant children and 10 elder non-combatants as their caretakers.
If the heroes kill no more than the initial watch-goblins then Lord Skeethiz will declare himself in their debt for bringing his lady love to him and he will pledge to come to their aid if they ever require it, he will also give them a Claymore +1, +2 vs. Hobgoblins (it is no use to him or his tribe at their size), he will also give them his Ring of Change Self since he doesn’t need it anymore (awwwww).