Kassoon

No Prep Module: Quickling's Gambit (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 1 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 [Customize] links to the tools in their relevant section to customize the adventure to your party.

Dwarven City

1

The cool, crisp mountain air surrounds you as you take in the sights and sounds of this bustling underground metropolis. The city's walls are rough-hewn from the solid dark stone, lined with glowing torches that illuminate the path ahead. The sounds of clanging metal and voices speaking in a foreign language fill your ears as you make your way deeper into the city. You see small homes and businesses built into the walls of the tunnels, and dwarves moving quickly and efficiently from one task to the next, giving you a passing glance and nod as you walk by.

You may want to do some downtime activities and choose something from each PC's backstory to advance and connect to the adventure. A relative, contact, or rival could be involved, or something pertaining to one of their character's goals can be progressed by something in the adventure. If a PC has no hooks in their backstory, use the downtime to establish what one of these might be instead: have someone ask about a relative, introduce a rival, or ask about their character's goals.

Explore: if the PCs want to do some additional exploration and city events, go to #12

Continue: when the PCs are ready to continue, go to #2

2

You're walking through the busy marketplace of the dwarven city, where you notice a cart being offloaded with various valuable items. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a blur of motion catches your eye, and you see a small, wiry figure rush in and snatch a handful of items from the cart before disappearing into the crowd. As you turn to follow, you catch a glimpse of the thief - a miniature elf with feral features and cold eyes that gleam like jewels. It moves so quickly that you barely have time to process what happened, and the dwarf unloading the cart shouts, "stop! Thief!"

Skill Challenge. The Quickling is lightning-fast and difficult to pursue, especially through the busy streets of the city (Athletics or Acrobatics DC 10, any other solution DC 15). On fail, they smash into a cart and get a minor injury, giving them disadvantage on Str/Dex skill checks for 24 hours. On complete success, they cause the Quickling to drop 50gp in coins. If the coins are returned, the grateful merchant gives them a Potion of Healing.

Chase: after the skill challenge, go to #3

The Quarantined Infestation

Enemy Patrol: 1 Swarm of Beetles (CR 1/2: Monster Manual pg 338), 1 Young Kruthik (CR 1/8: Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes p. 211), 1 Gray Ooze (CR 1/2: Monster Manual p. 243) (Hard, 45 XP each) [Customize] here.
Chance of Encounter Per Hour: 25%

3

The bustle of the city thins as you reach the outskirts in pursuit, until you arrive at an abandoned part of the city. Everything is completely covered with cobwebs, and insects scuttle around on the ground. Spiders the size of your hand hang from the ceiling, and you can hear their many legs tapping against the stone walls. It's completely pitch-black beyond, with only the occasional glow of some phosphorescent bug in the distance.

Encounter. There's 1 Swarm of Beetles (CR 1/2: Monster Manual pg 338), 1 Young Kruthik (CR 1/8: Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes p. 211), 1 Flying Snake (CR 1/8: Monster Manual p. 322) (Medium, 30 XP each) [Customize] here.

West: leads to #4

North: leads to #2

South: leads to #8

4

This section of the city is teeming with signs of infestation, with webs spun in corners and piles of debris strewn about the area. You spot a chamber that stands out from the rest, with a 90-foot-high ceiling towering above and a large red desk that looks out of place. Attached to the east wall are two torch sconces, with the nearest one holding a torch with a complicated metal base that looks like it's been tampered with. The benches scattered around the chamber are coated with centuries of dust, and the confined passageways leading off to the west and the east seem to be crawling with insects.

Trap. The tampered torch has a stored within that's released when someone gets close.

Effect: DC 15 Wisdom save or be polymorphed into a giant spider for 1 hour, as if by the Polymorph spell.

Trigger: searching the chamber or otherwise getting close to the torch.

Countermeasures: Casting dispel magic (DC 14) on the trap will cancel the stored spell. [Customize]

West: leads to #5

East: leads to #3

5

The rocky floor is coated in a thick layer of dirt and dust, with numerous shelves housing weapons and tattered clothing. The ground and walls are thick with crawling mites that seem to cling to everything. The walls are lined with armor stands, and great iron gates hang on the stonework, creaking in the drafty tunnels. Narrow corridors twist off to the south and the east, leading deeper into the infested city.

Event. Gain a random magic item but biting mites infest your clothing. Any creature wearing medium or heavy armor has disadvantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws for the next 24 hours. [Customize]

West: leads to #9

East: leads to #4

South: leads to #6

6

The walls of this narrow alleyway are covered in a thick layer of dark, slimy mold that gives off a nauseating smell. The ground is littered with debris, and a pile of bones lies scattered nearby. Suddenly, the ground trembles and cracks open, revealing a writhing boil of termites that swarm out hungrily. Insects skitter across the walls, while oozes drip and ooze from the ceiling. To the east, a pair of leaded glass doors stand open, revealing paintings of dwarves, while to the west, a set of iron doors loom ominously closed.

Encounter. There's 1 Young Kruthik (CR 1/8: Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes p. 211), 1 Oblex Spawn (CR 1/4: Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes p. 217), 1 Gray Ooze (CR 1/2: Monster Manual p. 243) (Medium, 35 XP each) [Customize] here.

East: leads to #7

North: leads to #5

7

The narrow corridor is dark and damp, the sound of buzzing and fluttering fills the air. As you move forward, you begin to see small lights darting around in the darkness. As you come closer, you realize that the lights are coming from thousands of bio-luminescent flies swarming in the area. The walls and ceilings are covered in a thick layer of glistening mold and fungus. The smell of decay and rot permeates the air. The passage splits off to the east and west, and you can barely see beyond the buzzing swarm of flies.

A swarm of bioluminescent flies converges on a random PC. For the next minute, the creature sheds dim light in a 10-foot radius, any attack against it has advantage if the attacker can see it, and the creature can't benefit from being invisible.

Encounter. There's 1 Clockwork Beetle (CR 1/2: Tome of Beasts p. 60), 1 Swarm of Mechanical Spiders (CR 1/2: Waterdeep: Dragon Heist) (Medium, 40 XP each) [Customize] here.

West: leads to #6

East: leads to #8

8

A narrow passage leads to a cramped chamber in the city, the walls slick with a thin layer of slime. A small cluster of faintly glowing grubs wriggle in the corner, their slick bodies barely visible in the dim light. Old wooden crates and barrels litter the floor, some broken open and spilling their contents. The only exits are narrow tunnels leading to the west and north.

A cluster of 1d4+2 faintly glowing grubs can be found here. Any creature that consumes one of these succulent grubs receives the benefits of a potion of healing.

West: leads to #7

North: leads to #3

9

The buzzing and grinding noises in this 45-foot-square chamber are almost unbearable, making it difficult to focus on anything else. The walls are coated with a thick layer of dust and cobwebs, and the air is thick with the smell of oil and metal. A set of iron doors to the noth leads to a dimly lit hallway where the noise seems to be coming from. The maps and quills on the walls shake with the vibrations, and you can feel the ground beneath your feet tremble. A single door on the south wall leads to an unknown destination, while a flight of crystal steps to the east leads down to another iron door.

Encounter. There's 1 Swarm of Spiders (CR 1/2: Monster Manual pg 338), 1 Giant Wolf Spider (CR 1/4: Monster Manual p. 330) (Easy, 30 XP each) [Customize] here.

East: leads to #5

North: leads to #10

South: leads to #13

10

The chamber's walls are draped in cobwebs and the moist, musty smell of decay permeates the air. Scattered around the room are small wooden crates, some of which have been torn open and their contents spilled out onto the ground. Faint scurrying sounds emanate from the shadows, and the occasional glint of light catches the movement of tiny arachnids. Above, the ceiling is cracked and crumbling, with webs and nests of spiders dangling precariously from the rafters. An iron door on the south wall creaks slightly in the draft, and to the east, a faint glow emanates from a rusty metal stove. A pair of glass doors to the north stand closed, and strange scratching noises can be heard from beyond.

Event. Roll a d6 for random: 1: 12 gold, 2: magic item, 3: 1d10 (4) healing, 4: 24h Charmed (random monster), 5: lose a magic item, 6: take 1d10 (4) damage. Offered by crates filled with spiders. [Customize]

North: leads to #11

South: leads to #9

11

You push through the thick cobwebs, feeling them cling to your face and hair. As you step into the room, you are surrounded by a sea of thick, sticky webbing. The room is completely dark, but you hear a scuttling sound, and you spin around just in time to see a giant spider looming over you. More spiders crawl out of the shadows, completely surrounding you.

You can run a hopeless encounter with giant spiders for a round (focus on webbing instead of attacking), or ask the PCs for their reactions, before they're rescued:

You hear the sound of footsteps echoing in the distance as you struggle to fend off the massive spiders that surround you. Suddenly, the room grows silent as a figure emerges from the shadows. It's a short, stout dwarf with wild, unkempt hair and a long beard. He carries a staff in one hand and a pouch of mysterious powders in the other. With a quick flick of his wrist, he scatters the powders, causing the spiders to writhe and retreat.

Adrik Torunn, Male Dwarf

Description: He is a small man, but exceptionally muscular. He wears clothing that is held on in multiple layers but all of it is in poor condition. He has golden hair. His face is half hidden by a wide-brimmed hat that has a red vulture perched on it.

Personality: He is quite gentle and does not know the full extent of his strength. He works very hard to maintain that gentleness. He is underhanded and not above using his wealth and body to get others to do his bidding.

History: He was banished from the main city for selling dangerous potions. He has been living in the infested part of the city to avoid authorities while still being able to use the unique properties of the insects and spiders to create powerful potions and poisons.

If asked about the Quickling, Adrik is familiar with the fey creature (and can tell the PCs that it's a Quickling if they haven't figured it out). Additionally, Adrik knows where the creature's lair is and can lead the PCs to it.

Lair: Adrik can lead the PCs to the Quickling's lair at #14

12

You walk through the narrow stone alleyway, flanked by carved columns and torches that cast flickering shadows on the rough walls. The air is thick with the smell of forge smoke and earth. Ahead, you see a modest building, the sign above reading "The Elegant Remedies" in bold dwarven runes. As you approach, you hear raised voices coming from inside, and catch a glimpse of two burly thugs demanding payment from the owner. The overgrown hedges that once marked the entrance are now trampled and broken, a sign of the recent rough treatment.

Encounter. Some thugs are collecting protection money from the owner. If the PCs intervene there's 1 Thug (CR 1/2: Monster Manual p. 350), 1 Battlehammer Dwarf (CR 1/2: Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden pg 107) (Medium, 40 XP each) [Customize] here.

Treasure if the PCs defeat the thugs, the owner rewards them with Potion of healing, Spell Scroll (cantrip), Potion of Climbing, 25 gp valuables (100 gp total): Gold locket with a painted portrait inside, Cloth-of-gold vestments, Silver ewer, and Embroidered silk handkerchief [Customize].

Return: leads to #1

13

This cramped and eerie chamber is swarming with discarded cicada-like shells, crunching loudly underfoot with each step. The walls are slick with moisture, and a putrid smell lingers in the air. A rusted anvil and charred forge occupy the center of the room, surrounded by discarded metal scraps and tools. A narrow passageway leads back out to the north.

A cricket-shaped creature (use cat statistics) bounds up to a random PC and follows it like an affectionate pet for the rest of the adventure.

North: leads to #9

14

Quickling

You find a lair filled with stolen treasures. The room is chaotic and messy, with no clear organization to the piles. The small fey creature spots you and frantically searches for something, grabbing the first object in reach: a small, ornate box. Without hesitation, the fey opens it and pulls out a small, glowing orb. You can feel the magic radiating from it, and the air around you starts to feel heavy. Suddenly, you hear a deafening roar from outside, and the entire building begins to shake. The small creature panics and tries to escape, but it's too late. Something smashes through the walls, and the building collapses.

The PCs can make a DC 15 Dexterity save to avoid being buried in the rubble. Anyone that fails will be trapped underneath and need to be rescued. Let the PCs play out their reactions and perhaps make some skill checks to save themselves or others from the rubble before continuing:

You emerge from the rubble to find yourself in a ruined street, the remnants of collapsed buildings and shattered cobblestones surrounding you. You see the small fey riding atop the shoulder of a towering golem, directing its movements with wild gestures. The golem's eyes glow with an otherworldly light as it tears through the city, leaving destruction in its wake as it starts moving towards you.

Encounter. There's 1 Quickling Thief (CR 2: Kassoon's Monsters) (Hard, 90 XP each) [Customize] here.

You can run this encounter as a chase, allowing the quickling to make an attack against PCs that fail their check, and allowing PCs that succeed to make a ranged attack. Or if you prefer it can be run as a traditional combat, but getting too close to the golem will cause PCs to become subject to attacks and get pushed 20 ft.

Conclusion

With the quickling finally brought to justice and the massive golem returned to its slumber, the city is safe once again. The stolen goods are recovered and returned to their rightful owners, and the people of the city are grateful for the return of their items and the narrow avoidance of destruction. This could lead to further adventures in the city where the PCs investigate the origin of the golem.

In the rubble of the quickling's lair (or as a reward), the PCs get 1800 cp, 1600 sp, 90 gp, Pipes of haunting, Cloak of elvenkind, Staff of the adder, Medallion of thoughts, 25 gp valuables (75 gp total): Silver ewer, Cloth-of-gold vestments, and Small mirror set in a painted wooden frame.

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