The Red Dragon's Flask Edit
Created by:--ThirdEmperor 10:48, November 10, 2009 (UTC)
This adventure should be suitable for a party of 3rd to 4th level adventurers, hooking in the PCs should be easy enough as Darcal Headsplitter has had his request for aid circulated in every tavern within a hundred miles. Next time the PCs enter a tavern have the barkeep speak the following, Well there, another group of adventurers I see, if you're looking for work you could try The Red Dragon's Flask, it's a tavern over northwards, the owner is having a bit of bandit trouble, put out the word he'll pay well to have it solved.
If the PCs take the bait and head to the Red Dragon's Flask then read the following, if they don't then the adventure is over before it can begin.
After several days of traveling north you reach The Red Dragon's Flask, large ramshackle building that looks like it was made by nailing together pieces of several houses. The inn's sign is an actual red dragon head nailed to the wall and serves as a warning that the owner, a dwarf by the name Darcal Headsplitter, is not to be messed with. As you enter the tavern a drunken-looking gnome with jet black spiked hair and a goatee walks up to you and whispers "Hey there, you lot look like you've seen your share of battle, would I be wrong in guessing your swords are for hire? I can't speak here but meet me in the clearing west of here tomorrow at midnight and I think I can find you a high paying job". with that he drunkenly staggers out of the bar and by the sounds emanating from outside you can tell he's drunken more than his fill.
When the PCs speak to the tavern owner read the following: So you came about the reward on those bandits ay? Well I'm the one who offered it and the offers still good, five thousand gold pieces for the bandit leaders head, but I'm telling you here and now to forget it. I've owned this tavern for five years and fought every bandit who tried to burn it down myself and I adventured for a good ten years before that, hell why do you think it's called The Red Dragon's Flask? Seven years ago me and my crew mates stole a jewel encrusted platinum flask from a bastard of a red dragon called Aesir, hell, I got his kids head nailed to the wall. But even I can't reckon these bandits, they fight like cornered animals, I kill one and rip his head off to scare em and they hardly flinch, they just keep poring on until they're all to wounded to fight, then they run off back to their camp and come back the next week. I can hold them in a straight battle, but they're getting more desperate each day and their leader, Left-Hand Jerlin, is a slimy bastard but a smart one as well, sooner or later he'll think of a way to ace me and then I'll be a corpse and my inn will be a big ole bonfire. I need someone to wipe those bastards out before they do the same to me but I'm beginning to doubt anybody can do it, I've told three other adventuring crews the same thing and they rode off to find the bandits, never saw hide nor tail of em again pore devils, if they were lucky Jerlin just slit their throats but I doubt he let em die easy the sick bastard. If you think you can fight the bandits then feel free, their camp is some where to the northwest, but I'd hate to see another crew walk to their death.
If the PCs try to bargain with Darcal they find him a keen negotiator, if they manage to raise his attitude from neutral to friendly he agrees to throw in three bottles of fine dwarven brandy worth two hundred and fifty gold pieces each. Darcal doesn't know much about the bandits other than that they number around twenty are led by a half-elf named Left-Hand Jerlin and have a camp somewhere northwest-ish, if asked about any specific bandits of skill he responds "Well Jerlins no pushover for sure, other than that there is a particularly nasty half-orc thug I think is one of Jerlins lieutenants and a sorcerer called Ilyre, come to think of it I do remember seeing a gnome with spiked hair holding back from the battle as well."
Scenario 1: The MeetingEdit
If the PCs go to the meeting spot mentioned by the drunken gnome read the following: As you arrive at the grove you see a burning torch illuminating the gnome you met previously and two rough looking guards standing on either side of him. "Hey there, I see you're still up for hire. And it just so happens I do have a job that needs doing, my boss is the leader of the local bandits in this region and for reasons of our own we want that charming little inn destroyed and it's owner killed. There's ten thousand gold in it for you as well as anything you can take from the inn EXCEPT the jewel encrusted platinum flask you will find on Darcal, that's ours. Once you finish with the inn come find us, our camp is to the northwest, I doubt you'll find it difficult to spot. Got it?" With that the gnome and his bodyguards depart, keeping a close eye on you all the time.
If the PCs fight the gnome (his name is Reddis) they find him a far more deadly combatant than his cowardliness would indicate, his two companions fight at the front, flanking the nearest PC and sneak attacking him, for his part Reddis snipes at casters with his throwing daggers, holding his action until somebody tries to cast a spell then disrupting it. If the mercenaries are obviously losing Reddis flees, stealing any animal he can ride on the way out, if caught he begs for his life, offering a map of the bandit camp, the map however is sabotaged, the actual layout of the camp is there but the labeling of the tents are switched. If the PCS still attempt to kill him he caves in and gives the PCs the full story.
"All right, all right! No need for violence I'll tell you everything, on my word! We don't want to attack the inn, no-one in their right mind would, that dwarf who owns it is a madman. But we didn't have any choice, three weeks ago a big red dragon dragon flew down into camp screaming mad, he ate three of us, one of em my best pal Srevin, said he would kill us all and eat our corpses next month unless we killed Darcal and brought him the flask. We had no choice but to attack the inn, if we don't get the flask the dragon will kill us make no mistake, hell it could have burned the inn down itself the lazy bastard, but it decided to make us do it's dirty work. Look maybe you can work this out with Jerlin, we were alright sorts before the dragon came, we stole and murdered a good deal and all but it's not like they weren't expecting it, it's bandit country after all and anyone rich enough to have something worth robbing is rich enough to buy guards or take the consequences. So how about just letting me go now? Please?"
If the PCs do let Reddis go he immediately runs back to camp and tells Jerlin to be ready for battle. If the PCs still attempt to kill him Reddis offers them all his items of any value, should this offer be refused he makes a final attempt to run, fighting them only if cornered.
Scenario 2: The CampEdit
If the PCs hunt down the bandit camp (DC 0 Survival) then read the following The camp is in terrible disarray, several tents are overturned and scorch marks dot the landscape, sentries stand guard around the camp, glancing around fearfully as if expected to be attacked any moment. A large bonfire burns in the middle of the camp and two guards prod the meat cooking above it every few minutes with their swords. You can see no sign of Jerlin but a large tent more opulent then the others stands near the center of the camp and is most likely his. If the PCs try and sneak in they'll find it no easy task, the sentries are situated so no-one can enter without having to sneak past at least two guards, if the PCs do attempt to sneak in they must each make hide and move silently checks versus two of the sentries spot and listen checks, if any of them are spotted the sentries sound the alarm, bringing every one of the twelve bandits out into battle. Even if the PCs do manage to enter the camp it will do them little good as they must sneak past the two guards at the fire as well and any sound of battle will instantly alert everyone in the camp.
The moment they hear battle or the alarm Jerlin, Ilyre and --- come out of their tents swinging, Jerlin and --- flank whatever warriors seems strongest while Ilyre attempts to take out the casters, aiming for any healers first. Negotiating with Jerlin is impossible at first but if he is reduced to a third or less of his health or half of his bandits are killed Jerlin will attempt to parlay although neither he or his bandits will let their guard down.
"Hold on, seeing as you're obviously not helpless lets talk this out before anybody else gets brutally killed. We don't want to attack the inn, seeing as that's obviously what your here about, but we have no other alternatives. We had a deal with Darcal you see, bet he didn't tel you about that did he? Well there's a lot he didn't tell you, mainly that this used to be HIS gang, that's right, the old retired adventurer is really a bandit and this is, was, his so called "adventuring crew". He was the bloodiest bandit this place had ever seen and now that I've attacked his inn he thinks I'm trying to kill my old boss for some order or another I didn't like. Well make no mistake I'd do anything for the chance but I'm not crazy enough to try, no it's someone else who wants him dead and he's making us do it, a red dragon by the name of Neral. He flew down here three weeks ago and attacked the camp, said we had one month to kill Darcal and bring him the flask Darcal is so crazy about or he'd kill us all. We don't particularly have any real choice here, Darcal will kill us one way and Neral will eat us the other. If you kill Neral for us then we'll pay you, three thousand gold, and we'll disapear and never come back so you can tell Darcal you drove us out. Or you could kill Darcal and we'll pay the same for the flask. Deal?
If the PCs make a deal with Jerlin he gives them instructions to get to Neral's lair and wishes them good luck, if questioned about why Neral wants Darcal dead, Jerlin tells them the following, any other questions he cannot answer.
"Probably has somethig to do with Kesirin, Keserin was a red great wyrm, Darcal had us rob it's cave while it was hunting, killed its kid himself and stole Keserin's favorite bauble, a platinum drinking flask with a ruby set in it. Kesirin was furious, more about the flask then his kid, we had to haul out of there before he killed us all, I can only imagine Neral wants the flask to earn favor with Kesirin."
Scenario 3: Neral's LairEdit
Neral's lair is easy enough to find with the bandits directions or with a DC 10 Survival check without. The lair itself is a forty by forty foot oval and is largely barren except for a small pile of gold and gems occupying the upper right corner. Neral himself is asleep in the middle of the cave at all hours, being a unbelievably lazy beast. All characters in the cave must make a DC 10 Move Silently check each round or wake Neral, once awoken Neral is savage and wily opponent, using his considerable bulk to block the entrance (which is only just large enough for him to get through) and bringing his flaming breath to bear where it will do the most damage. He will only parlay with the characters if none of the has taken any of his treasure, but prefers to do so rather than fight and will do so if the PCs claim they come in peace.
So I assume you've come to help me with my little inn problem? Yes, yes praise my glory and all that rubbish, you very welcome for me sparing your lives, it just so happens I do need help with killing Darcal, I would do it myself but it would be such a waste of time and I don't foresee those bandits getting it done, I will give you three thousand gold for his head and the flask and that is my final offer. Now begone, I have no time to waste speaking to you.
Neral will grow violent if the PCs refuse to leave or try to negotiate in any way, first threatening them then attacking full force until they run or die.
Scenario 4: Attacking The InnEdit
If the PCs attack Darcal