Kassoon

No Prep Module: The Pumpkin Beholder for D&D or RPGs

This adventure can be can be easily customized to a party of any size or level, or run as a level 9 adventure for 5 players. It can work as a small side adventure in an existing campaign, as a standalone one-shot, or the start of a new adventure. Use the links to the tools in their relevant section to customize the adventure to your party.

Casstone Landscape

This can be a challenging dungeon for the unprepared. If your PCs are particularly reckless and death-prone, you may want to bump up the level.

Background

Jaxuthantern was formed when a previous beholder dreamt of a great and terrible pumpkin, only to awaken and realize his nightmare fully formed. Ever paranoid of meeting a similar fate as the beholder he killed, Jaxuthantern has ensured the nearby town of Casstone will never grow a pumpkin able to rival him.

The gloomy landscape surrounding the town of Casstone seems to shift and change whenever you're not looking. The hair on the back of your neck stands on end and you get the distinct feeling of being watched, but upon looking around you see no one. The rolling hills curl and twist in unusual shapes, and you're never really sure if they looked the same on second glance. Ruined and grim statues dot the landscape as if from some ancient civilization or artisan, and small details seem to change each time you look away.

Each year 3 villagers bring the town's best pumpkins and an offering of treasure to Jaxuthantern's cave and never return. The villagers are chosen at a macabre festival called the Hallow Harvest where the pumpkin fields are harvested and the villagers volunteer (or are volunteered) in a holy ritual.

The PCs may volunteer to go in place of the villagers, or a desperate parent of one such volunteer may beg the PCs to go and save their child. There's rumored a great many treasures kept within the cave, both from the yearly offerings made by the village, and other spoils that its denizens have collected over the years.

Beholder Lair

Beholder Lair Map

The pumpkin beholder can detect sleeping creatures within a mile of its lair, if their campsite is detected he will antimagic beam it and send minions.

Connecting tunnels are extremely steep and twisty with sudden cliffs or drops and are only big enough to fit Large or smaller creatures. Every room beyond the first is pitch-black, and around 150 feet in dimensions. Most PCs will have at most 60 feet of darkvision, meaning they won't be able to fully see the caverns.

Each room has a connecting access tunnel in the ceiling blocked by boulders or other natural feature/mortared closed that blends it in with the surrounding ceiling. These tunnels allow the Beholder access to any room in its dungeon, and are a confusing maze to deter any exploration. If the PCs attempt to long rest or set up a barricade, the Beholder can use these tunnels to gain access to the room and disrupt the PC's plans using its Antimagic Cone and Disintegration Ray, such as dispelling a Leomund's Tiny Hut. The Beholder will avoid combat outside its inner sanctum (room 17), instead summoning its minions and retreating back to its lair, and any wounds it sustains during such an outing can be healed by the potions of healing in its hoard. There are also small arrow slits along these tunnels above the rooms that the Beholder can shoot from to receive 3/4 cover.

If the PCs leave the lair, the Beholder will attempt to replace any minions that were killed with wandering creatures it can subdue with Charm or Sleep. For the sake of speed, you can assume the Beholder's lair is restocked with an Easy encounter worth of minions each day.

1

Stalactites covered in purple fungus line the ceiling of the cave, while the fungus spreads down the walls and lines patches on the floor. In the corner of the cavern stands a huge, cavernous chasm that descends into darkness. Broken stone statues of various creatures stress under the weight of the stone ceiling.

Hazard: covered in shriekers, which will alert the Beholder and its minions to intruders.

2

The bottom of the chasm is not visible as you descend, stretching down far beyond your vision. The walls are covered in slick stalactites and stalagmites as the walls undulate in and out during the descent.

Hazard (Deep Chasm). There is a deep chasm in this room, descending 500 feet to room 5 at its base, passing through rooms 3 and 4 along the way. The walls are covered in slick stalactites and stalagmites, making climbing down the walls exceptionally difficult without something like Spider Climb.

3

After another 100 feet or so of moving down, there's the sudden sound of movement from among the rocky outcroppings.

Encounter: 1 Poltergeist, 1 Quasit, 1 Piercer, 2 Flameskull.

150 feet down the chasm, minions are waiting in ambush. They will attempt to cut any ropes or throw PCs down the chasm, causing them to fall 350 feet and take 20d6 falling damage.

4

Another few hundred feet down the chasm stretches, with the faint sound of dripping. There are a few sturdy outcroppings in this part of the tunnel where it's possible to stand, where loose rock and rubble piles up in the crevasses.

If the chasm is searched at around 300 feet down, a hoard is found hidden behind a rock cache: 2500 gp in coins, gems, and art. A Potion of Greater Healing. A Helm of Comprehending Languages.

5

This cavern has wooden remains from carts splattered on the clay floor. A yellow cloth covers something atop an amber pedestal. A heavy fog clings to the floor, which is wrapped in putrid pieces of pumpkin.

Trap: Arrow Wall

A pedestal holds a gem, fitted with a pressure plate which triggers a trap when the weight upon the plate is lifted. If triggered, arrows fire from small openings in the wall.

Effect: +3 to hit against one target, 16 (2d10) piercing damage.

Countermeasures: A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to deduce the trap's presence from mechanisms in the pedestal. Placing an object of equal weight on the pedestal prevents the trap from triggering. A successful DC 15 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check makes the switch without causing the weight on the pedestal to change. Unsuccessfully attempting the swap triggers the trap. Plugging the arrow holes with cloth or other material will prevent them from firing.

6

Beyond is a corridor that opens up into a huge chamber. Stone pots, marred utensils, and baskets lie scattered on the floor and strewn across several tables. Limestone tables lie in pieces on the floor at the west end of the chamber.

Encounter: 1 Minotaur Skeleton, 1 Yuan-ti Pureblood, 1 Duergar Stone Guard, 1 Drider, 1 Assassin Bug.

7

This black passage runs for 100 feet, connecting an archway to the west with an ascending amber staircase to the east. Patches of odd fungi dot the floor, including capped stalks standing as tall as a human and glowing puffballs almost a yard wide. The ceiling here is cloaked with red crystals.

Encounter: 1 Thursir Giant, 1 Myconid Sovereign, 1 Black Dragon Wyrmling

8

The slick cavern gradually curves upward to a long tunnel that climbs sharply into the darkness beyond your vision. The walls look wet with slime.

Obstacle (Tall tunnel): A long tunnel ascends 350 feet up, with slick slimy walls.

9

A couple hundred feet up the tunnel, it narrows into a mortared ring of stone about 15 feet in diameter. Beyond the mortared ring the tunnel splits into two, both leading up into darkness.

Trap: Shrine of Chaos

Effect: About 200 feet up the tunnel, the tunnel narrows to a mortared ring of stone. The ring is enchanted with Chaos, and any Lawful creatures that touch it must make a DC 18 WIS save or take 67 (10d10) damage and become stunned for 3 (1d4) rounds. This may cause the creature to fall back down the tunnel, taking 20d6 falling damage.

Countermeasures: A spell or other effect that can sense the presence of magic, such as detect magic, reveals an aura of divination magic around the surface. A successful dispel magic (DC 18) cast on the surface destroys the trap.

10

Wide, sweltering fog whirls around the chamber. A few spiders bustle about the walls. Many tomes and quills lie spread on the floor, around two wide steel chests fitted with sturdy iron locks. Two chairs of burgundy-colored wood with padded leather seats and back cushions face a hearth. Numerous boxes and barrels are strangled with blasting powder, black powder, and other dangerously explosive materials. The furnishings are covered with moisture and gossamer strands, lying in chaos.

Encounter/Hoard: 1 Axe Beak, 1 Poltergeist, 1 Ink Devil, 1 Aphemia

Within the room is 3,000 gp in coins, gems, and art. A Trident of fish command. A Cloak of protection.

11

Pieces of rusty plate armor are sprinkled about this cavern amid the rubble of destroyed stone chairs. Two couches occupy the center of this round cavern, an extinguished lantern dangling above them.

Encounter: 1 Grimlock, 1 Nothic, 1 Kuo-toa Whip, 1 Ink Devil, 2 Gibbering Mouther, 1 Poltergeist

12

Water trickles through cracks in the ceiling, spilling down the south wall and adding to a large puddle on the floor. Restored morningstars, mended rapiers, fuzzy axes, and other ruined weapons are spread out across the floor, fallen from the empty steel weapon racks that line the walls. Alabaster tables lie in pieces on the floor at the north end of the cavern.

Trap: Collapsing Ceiling

This trap is activated when an intruder steps on a hidden pressure plate that collapses the supports keeping an unstable section of a ceiling in place.

Effect: Targets all creatures within a 10 ft. square area, DC 15 DEX save or take 23 (4d10) damage

Trigger: pressure plate, activates when 20 or more pounds are placed on it.

Countermeasures: A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check will spot the pressure plate, and wedging an iron spike or other object under the pressure plate prevents the trap from activating. The supports holding up the section can be destroyed, triggering the trap from a safe distance.

13

The smell of mold assaults your lungs. At the far end of the room stands a statue of a fierce-looking knight in heavy armor. The smooth floor is sprinkled with rubble and mold, which falls away into a foggy fissure to one side of the cave.

Hazard: This cavern is covered in yellow mold, which ejects spores when disturbed. DC 15 Con, 2d10 poison damage and poisoned for 1 minute. Take 1d10 each turn while poisoned, repeat saving throw each turn to end the effect.

14

Slick tomes and parchments outline the walls of this cavern. Shattered bed frames and torn bits of mattress litter the floors.

Trick: A cursed book that when touched casts polymorph on the creature into a random form which lasts 1 hour (DC 14 Wisdom if resisted).

15

The splashing of water deep below is barely audible. Many different materials fill this cavern, most of it disorganized and all of it clearly coming from outside the lair. The walls are adorned with bones and skulls, arranged in a morbidly decorative fashion.

Encounter: 1 Beholder Zombie, 1 Gazer

16

The floor of this massive cavern is covered in a pool of acid. Large boulders serve as small islands every 15 to 30 feet, marking the only solid parts of land within the chamber. At the center of the noxious lake is a lone rope dangling over it, which leads up into the darkness far above.

Trap: The floor of the room is covered in a pool of acid. A creature that falls into the pool takes 10d10 acid damage. There are large boulders serving as small islands every 15-30ft, but they're trapped: any creature that attempts to stand on one must make a DC 18 Dexterity save or fall into the acid as the boulder submerges into a covered pit. On success the creature needs to hop to another boulder (repeating the process) or be able to fly. There's a rope at the center of the room leading to the room above, but it's also trapped: attempting to climb the rope causes it to snap and plunge the creature into the acid. The ceiling is slick and curved, making it impossible to climb up to room 17 without something like Spider Climb. Many boulders in the ceiling are rigged to fall into the pool if weight is placed on them, requiring a DC 18 Dexterity save to avoid falling with it.

17

You gaze into the pitch black of an extremely spacious cave that sits unnervingly quiet. The ground is covered in rubble and stalagmites, which makes footing especially treacherous. Around the cavern and flitting in and out at the edge of vision are statues of all kinds of creatures: humanoid, beast, and aberrant alike. The only spot of the floor not covered is a 15 foot patch of velvet bedding and soft fur piled up in some sort of nest.

Pumpkin Beholder
Model by wekster

Encounter: Beholder (in lair).

The beholder will know the PCs are coming unless they quietly avoided every trap and encounter, so hide in darkness and attempt to get a surprise round once they're within 120 feet. Attempt to drop PCs into room 16 and the acid. The entire room is difficult terrain.

There are 3 escape tunnels in the ceiling blocked by boulders that switches direction between horizontal/vertical every 50 feet. When reduced below 1/2 HP the beholder will use one of these tunnels, taking cover behind the nearest curve to shoot at pursuing PCs. Each vertical tunnel has a collapsing ceiling trap that the beholder can trigger with an eye beam to drop on PCs. These tunnels also branch off to previous rooms of the dungeon, as mentioned above. If the beholder is forced to escape its sanctum, it will attempt to rally minions and reclaim its lair as soon as possible.

If Jaxuthantern's lair is searched, they'll find 4,000 gp in coins, gems, and art. 2 Potions of Superior Healing. A Ring of Spell Storing. A Staff of Charming.

With the beholder defeated, the town is able to put an end to its ghoulish yearly ritual. The gloom hanging over the landscape slowly fades over the course of the week, and the PCs are honored as heroes with a great harvest feast. The town's ruling cabal declare the abolition of the Hallow Harvest and implement a new holiday in its stead to celebrate the PC's courage, a happy Hallow's Eve.

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