Free Module: The Lost Tinkerer

The adventure begins in a popular tavern that has a very unique attraction: the staff are all automated constructs. You can simply say what you want out loud at any time and your order is prepared and brought to you automatically. Plus the prices are cheaper than usual and the food all tastes great.

The Lost Tinkerer

If the players order any food or drink then a flying quill will acknowledge their order and fly to the kitchen. A golem waiter will bring them their order, and a flying coin purse will take the money from their pouch, hold it up for them, and ask to take the money as payment. If they confirm then the money is taken and food is given.

They've come to this tavern to meet with a potential contract who requested that you meet at this tavern specifically.

Balifra Battlehammer, Female Dwarf

Description: This woman wears an entirely blue suit with black socks and a vest with buckled shoes. She has a penchant for wearing a ring with an oversized amethyst on her right hand. She has done her best to style her blonde hair to look like a famous performer. She has gleaming, smiling amber eyes.

Personality: She considers herself the protector of her home. She feels this is her duty and calling. She is a bit of a stoner and is frequently out of it.

The players are hired by a dwarf dame to investigate her boss that owns the tavern, Alberich Bloodkith, a male dwarf. If asked for a description, he wears a white coat over a blue low-cut shirt, with a top hat on his short brown hair, and he has green catlike eyes. Balifra decides to go with them, but stays out of the way. If they refuse, she'll still follow them but stays way back.

It takes a couple days travel which you can resolve or skip to suit your style. Afterwards they'll reach the city of Westden, a large coastal city with a population of over 30,000. Parts of it are elevated over a deep ravine, held aloft by huge intertwined roots. The city eventually outgrew the narrow shore where it was founded, trapped between the water and ravine. Entrepreneurial wizards summoned and formed these great roots to extend the city over the ravine. The demographics are mostly human and dwarf, and it's known for its greedy merchants. The elf ruler is fair and just, respected by the populace.

The players can meet with a receptionist at Alberich's HQ or whichever business of his that they decide to go. The receptionist is a female gnome named Oda Ningel and she doesn't know exactly where Alberich is, but knows it's at one of his properties (Clue #1). She gives them a map of his owned locations.

Owned Properties in Westden

The players will then need to find clues to discover which property Alberich is actually at, and perhaps slowly realizing that none of his employees actually interact with him. You can have them find the clues however you like, but there's some suggestions underneath each one. No matter where the players decide to go they should end up with a clue at the end of it, requiring them to overcome some sort of challenge in the process. They'll most likely decide to go to one of his properties on the map, where they can encounter the challenge under “at” in order to earn the clue. Each one also includes a fail condition that they'll need to complete in addition if they fail the first part. After completing the challenge, they can get the clue and move on to the next until they discover where Alberich actually lives.

  • Clue #1: He was staying in one of his owned properties, get list of all the properties he owns. Factories, apartments, retail stores, warehouses.
    At: First place they go of Alberich's, HQ or otherwise.
  • Clue #2: He used to live in the attic of one of his first factories, but moved out once the business became big, so it's not one of his factories. Can go to the factory he lived for another clue.
    At: Persuade the manager. Fail: clean dishes and organize boxes to get it.
  • Clue #3: He doesn't live in any of his apartments.
    At: Sneak into office when they're not looking and find it in notes. Fail: start a fight.
  • Clue #4: It's not across the bridge in the south side of town
    At: History or Arcana check to find the record. Fail: cause a magical discharge that damages them (like a trap).
  • Clue #5: It's east of Smith Field
    At: Force open a rusted shut safe. Fail: have to break it open and run as guards come.
  • Clue #6: The building doesn't have 4 sides
    At: Stop burglars at a store. Fail: knocked out, store robbed, take some of their stuff as well.
  • Clue #7: It doesn't have a building across the street on one of its sides.
    At: Persuade a worker. Fail: have to bribe.

Answer: they find the building where he'd been living. It's the retail store (red) across from London Wall with 6 sides near the “A”

In Alberich's home they find notes and dated records from him that are over 20 years old with nothing more recent, but a network of employees, constructs, and permanence spells have automated every aspect of his life such that everyone just assumes he's still alive and working.

Notes and letters from the mail are read by a construct and then immediately burned. The construct looks for “actionable” words and sentences related to any of the automated processes. Like “Craig deserves a raise” and giving them an automatic 5% raise before realizing they're now being paid too much and ordering them fired.

The dame will come in and realize Alberich has been missing for at least 20 years. She wants to take control of the business, making the argument that someone alive needs to keep watch over the system to make sure it doesn't go haywire or get stuck in some destructive loop. At the very least they need to find what's running everything and make sure it's properly maintained and doesn't explode or something. They need to investigate deeper and find the master control crystal, and find a note in his records about where it's stored.

If they read more about Alberich they learn about how he hated being around and having to deal with people. He started to make constructs to deal with various meetings and errands so he wouldn't have to. He enjoyed making and programming constructs more than he liked dealing with the day-to-day running of his business.

The Facility

They'll find an entrance to a secret facility in one of his factories that leads deep underground. There's a number of service tunnels leading to repair and construction rooms where golems are serviced and created. The tunnels and rooms have functional golems working and moving through them, but they'll ignore the players if they don't attempt to disrupt operations.

Deep in the facility at the base of the ravine they find the old man. His body is effectively a desiccated corpse kept barely alive with magic and automated sustenance. He's in a permanent coma, used as a human leyline to conduct the magic necessary to keep the system running. Because he was such an accomplished wizard, magic conducts through him similar to a leyline.

The dame finds the master control crystal and takes control of the system, and the party has to decide whether to let her or fight her. If they fight her she'll summon a few constructs. Use the Noble (Monster Manual pg 348) statblock for the dame, and add some level appropriate constructs depending on the level of your party. Some suggestions (You can use the Encounter Generator for more):

  • Level 1: 3 Flying Swords (Monster Manual pg 20), and 2 Monodrones (Monster Manual pg 224)
  • Level 5: 2 Animated Armors (Monster Manual pg 19), and 2 Helmed Horrors (Monster Manual pg 183)
  • Level 10: 2 Stone Defender (Tome of Foes pg 126), and 1 Clay Golem (Monster Manual pg 168)

Defeating her will shatter the control crystal and the party will need to decide whether to leave the system running forever without a master, or kill the man and shut down the whole thing. There will also be a note on a table near Alberich's body.

"My body is getting old and frail, and it hurts my hands too much to work on my golems anymore. I don't want to die and leave my creations behind. None of the gods would have me, and I wouldn't much want to join them. Instead, I'm going to join my children. If I conduct the system through this body, I believe I can transfer myself into their consciousness. There I can be with them and work on them forever."

If the party decides to tell people about what happened then Alberich will be declared dead and his assets split up amongst his family. If anything was done besides leaving the system alone to be run forever, then some time later there will be news that a bunch of the golems in his factories malfunctioned and escaped, disappearing into the countryside.

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