Friday, February 19, 2010

[Labyrinth Lord] About a Boy: An Ashford Valley Adventure

I've been writing some short adventures set in my Ashford Valley campaign for my Switching to Guns 'zine and posting them when I announce the latest 'zine issue. Here's one I wrote in October last year.

About a Boy
: A Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Labyrinth Lord adventure set in the Ashford Valley

Get Ready:
While the PCs are at a rural farm, a traumatized boy stumbles through the fields, clutching a Bugbear longsword. The boy is covered in blood and because of his horrible experience is unable to talk. The farmer tells the PCs that the boy, Richard Westfield, lives about a couple hours walk away to the West. Have the local humanoids started a new campaign against the farmers in the area?

Get Set:
The PCs could have any reason to be at the farm: visiting an old friend, stopping for a drink at the well, lost after leaving the main road and stumbling upon the farm. The farmer, a Ferndok Eastfield, is friendly and invites the PCs for drinks and food, showing good hospitality. His farm is well run, with a large family and several farm hands working it.

When the boy shows up, Ferndok is noticeably concerned. If the Bugbears are raiding, his family is in danger. He's also worried about the fate of the Westfields, as they are good neighbors and his family is close to them (their ancestors settled the area together, with one family taking the Westfield name and the other the Eastfield name based on where their fields were from each other).

Figuring the PCs might help out, Ferndok has got nothing to offer them but food and shelter (plus eternal friendship). Also, the boy has a valuable Bugbear Longsword (Dam: 1d8+1) which he'll offer to the PCs. He'll keep the boy with him if the PCs don't insist on taking him back to the Westfield farm. Ferndok will give directions but if pressed will accompany the PCs part of the way to make sure they get there.

As the PCs leave the farm, people are running around, getting supplies in and arming themselves. A young boy on a pony rides out to warn other farms.

The trip to the Westfield farm is picturesque, no matter what time of year it is. Along the way, the PCs will encounter a wild boar and a roadside shrine to a local spirit.

The boar will attack without warning and should be an easy encounter for the PCs. If they hang up the carcass after killing it, they can fetch it back to the farm after the adventure and Ferndok will pay them a good price for it.

The roadside shrine is to a local spirit and is right next to a Runestone. If the PCs stop and leave an offering (a bit of food or a keepsake), then they will receive a +1 to all attack, damage and saving throws until sundown. If they deface or damage the shrine, then each PC will have a single bad event in the future (GM determines) which will bring to mind this shrine.

A cruel GM could have them run across some humanoid tracks on the path, prompting the PCs to decide whether to follow them (and get lost in the forest) or continue with their mission to the farm.

As the PCs approach the Westfield Farm, but before they see it, they hear someone chopping wood. Bugbears usually don't raid a place then stop to chop wood. Entering the clearing, they can see a rough-looking man chopping wood. He spots them immediately and stops, staring at them suspiciously and holding his axe. The farm looks completely normal, with smoke coming out of the chimney and cows making noise in the barn.

If the boy Richard is with the PCs, the man will smile broadly and motion the PCs to the house. Otherwise, he'll call to them to "come get a drink and tell me the news." Once the PCs are close to the house, the bandits will attack!

Notable NPCs:
Wild Boar; No. Encountered: 1; Alignment: Neutral; Armor Class: 7; Hit Dice: 3d8, Hit Points: 16; Attacks: tusk (2d4); Save: F2; morale: 9.

The Bandits ("Poison" and his crew); No. Encountered: 5; Alignment: Chaotic; Armor Class: 7; Hit Dice: 1d8; Hit Points: 6, 5, 4, 4, 1; Attacks: axe or short sword (1d6), dagger (1d4), bow (1d6); Save: NM1; morale: 6.

"Poison" and his crew are a bunch of lowlife bandits who've recently moved into the area to make some quick cash and indulge in their hobby of murder. They killed the Westfield family except for Richard (who escaped with his father's Bugbear Longsword) and have been living on the farm ever since. They'll try to get anyone who approaches the farm close to the farmhouse so they can attack them in force.

If the PCs manage to capture or kill the bandits, there's not much at the farm interesting to adventurers. While the farmer was prosperous, he sunk most of his money back into the farm. The local farmers around will see to it that Richard's inheritance comes to him when he's of age and they'll be glad the PCs finished the bandits for good.

If any of the bandits escape, especially "Poison," they've earned an enemy for life and they'll encounter them later, maybe with a new gang or working for the Necromancer!


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