Free D&D Session: Chaos Erupts

This adventure can be run as a level 1 adventure for 5 players, or can be easily customized to a party of any size or level. 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.

If running for a group of level 1s, you can optionally have everyone start with a healing potion and point of inspiration if you need to make it a bit easier, or give those as a reward for completing a challenge during the adventure if they need them.

Redlodge is a fairly bustling city, divided in half by a large river that's used for trade. The river is spanned by a large curved bridge that allows all the various trade ships in the water to pass underneath. The city is renowned for its artists and writers, and you can see ships being loaded with artistic works to be sold elsewhere.


At the tavern will be a theatre troupe playing cards that invite the PCs to play. You can either play a round of your favorite card game, or have everyone roll a DC 10 Deception check for poker. If the PCs win a couple hands then the troupe will offer to triple their winnings if the PCs can also improv a scene where they're at a Cheese Factory and there's an argument between the architects and the owners who wanted it to be made of literal cheese. Partway through the troupe will announce that they all switch characters with each other.

Volcano eruption

A huge earthquake hits, causing many buildings to crumble and be torn apart. A volcano is erupting next to a city and there isn't enough time to save everyone.

Suddenly the ground begins to rumble and shake, it's an earthquake! The shaking continues to intensify as items fall from shelves and smash on the floor. Cracks form in the walls, and parts of the ceiling start to collapse!

Ask the players what they want to do to during the earthquake, but then things just keep getting worse.

A thunderous explosion is heard far off in the distance, and (as you glance out a window) you can see in the distance a volcano erupting, sending great plumes of smoke into the sky as magma explodes out the top and flows down towards the city!

The players will need to escape the city before the magma overtakes it, but the city itself has become dangerous and many citizens have become trapped. If the players attempt to rescue anyone they'll need to pass a challenge to do so, and failure will result both in them getting harmed and the citizen getting killed.

Traverse the crumbling city

The streets are a hazy mess of rubble, dust, and black smoke. Lava begins to flow into the streets as buildings crumble around you. People scream and flee, while others try to save their loved ones that have gotten trapped under collapsing buildings.

Buildings have crumbled into the streets, making the only way through a door that's locked and barred. Someone is shouting for help on the other side, but the walls and floors are still crumbling. The lock will need to be picked (DC 10 Thieves Tools) or smashed (AC 15, HP 15) to get through it, but once done dealing with the door they'll discover it's also been barred by a fallen pillar that needs to be lifted (DC 10 Athletics) or smashed (AC 17, HP 30).

On the other side of the door a sinkhole has formed under the floor, and will collapse if stepped on. It's a DC 15 Perception check to spot the crumbling floor and pit. Anyone stepping on the weakened floor falls down into the pit, taking 1d6 bludgeoning damage. If the players get through quickly enough, they can save the trapped citizen.

Haywire Lab

In one collapsed lab a person is trapped under a magical tesla coil and needs to be rescued before a canister of gas explodes. However, if they don't properly deal with the tesla coil they'll discover that it's actually a magic missile coil that activates a magic imbued trap that casts magic missile at the target.

Effect: One target, 5 (1d10) force damage

Trigger: removal trigger, activates when the coil is disturbed.

Countermeasures: A successful DC 10 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to find a wire attached to the item which triggers the trap when pulled. A successful DC 10 Dexterity check using thieves' tools disables the trip wire harmlessly. A character without thieves' tools can attempt this check with disadvantage using any edged weapon or edged tool. On a failed check, the trap triggers. Casting dispel magic (DC 10) will prevent the missiles from firing.

Magma Mephits

As lava starts to flow into the city, deadly monsters emerge and attack people. A group of villagers is cornered by some Magma Mephits and Giant Fire Beetles, and the PCs need to save them while also traversing the dangerous environment. Lava flows creates a series of disconnected islands that need to be crossed. The ground is unstable and the lava is hot, so jumping across is dangerous. It's a DC 10 Athletics check to jump, or the players may come up with other ideas.

2 Magma Mephits and 5 Giant Fire Beetles

You can use the encounter above for a group of 5 level 1 adventurers. To customize for a different group then set your party size and level and choose random deadly from the dropdown.


Lava hits water

Anyone the party managed to save will ferry the river with them, following it out of the city walls and to safety.

You make it to the river only to find the bridge collapsed. Most of the docked boats have either launched or are currently doing so while people desperately try to scramble aboard.

Let the players decide how they want to get passage on a boat or how they want to ford the river. They'll be able to get onto a boat if they try, and will make their way up the river and out of the city.

You make it out of the city and come to the shore on the other side of the river. There's a loud hissing noise as the flowing lava comes into contact with the river. The cool water causes the lava to harden and stops it from flowing past it. However as you're watching, a creature made of fiery smoke coalescing into a vaguely humanoid shape emerges from the lava. As it moves it seems to guide the lava, directing it over the crumbled bridge in a continuous stream that creates a hardened crust over the water to continue flowing across to the other half of the city.

If the party seems hesitant to go back in, one of the rescued villagers (or if no villagers were rescued by the party, then someone else that managed to escape the city) will say that the Firegeist is directing the magma and needs to be stopped to minimize the damage and save everyone taking shelter in the other half of the city.

A carriage that escaped the city will offer to quickly get the players back in (since the magma has made returning by boat impossible). As they re-enter the city, the Firegeist appears and throws a bubble of magma, which destroys one of the wheels on the carriage and spooks the horse, sending the carriage hurtling out of control. Roll initiative!


Burning city

The cart will move in a straight line 60 ft every turn on the horse's order in initiative. The horse can be calmed with a DC 15 Animal Handling check, if the horse dies or fails to be calmed within 2 rounds it will crash, throwing everyone from the cart in random directions into walls, rubble, or lava. Anyone that fails a DC 15 Reflex save takes 1d6 damage from the fall.

Anyone that wants to move on the carriage must make a DC 10 Acrobatics check to avoid falling down and wasting their move. Jumping from the carriage while it's out of control is a DC 15 Acrobatics check to avoid being thrown from it as above.

Firegeist and Giant Fire Beetle

Scatter rubble, lava, and collapsing buildings as obstacles in the terrain to traverse or use as cover. The rubble is difficult terrain, and climbing a collapsing building is a DC 10 Athletics check to avoid fall damage.

With the firegeist defeated, the flow of magma stops spreading outwards. Trenches are dug by the survivors to redirect the flow and save the remaining parts of the city. The party is rewarded for helping save the city and become local heroes.

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