Free module: Smuggling Into Prison (for D&D or RPGs)

This adventure can be run as a level 5 adventure 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.

Dragon Point

Dragon Point is built upon an isolated peak, that can only be accessed via a rope bridge that sways uncomfortably in the wind as you cross. The other option was the cargo lift, where crates are secured with rope and lifted up the craggy cliffside. On your way in you see one such container being lifted, and as it scrapes and crashes roughly against the stone, the rope bridge doesn't seem so bad.

You can use this to flesh out Dragon Point further if needed: Dragon Point

Dragon Point has some very patriotic humans, who conquered this town during a previous war. This is currently a point of contention in the town now that the current ruler on their death bed. Claimants are competing for power, with a couple human factions wanting to continue to remain in control, albeit with their guy as the next ruler. Elves and halflings have also formed their own factions, thinking power should return to the original inhabitants now that the war is over.

As you enter into town, you see that the way into the interior fortress has been blocked off by a large angry mob. The crowd looks to have separated out into groups, with a couple human groups, an elf group, a halfling group, and a general group of mixed races that seem to be just watching. They're all shouting over who should be the next to rule, and caught in between all of them is a woman dwarf dressed like a doctor frantically trying to get through it all.

Anbera Silveraxe, Female Dwarf

Description: She is a husky woman, who wears doctor clothes. Her red hair is drawn into a tight pony tail with a dagger scrunchie. Her face possesses mild wrinkles. Her smile is extraordinarily sincere though she does not smile often.

Personality: She goes out her way to put a smile on everyone's face. There's no-one she won't accept into her heart. To her fellows she is seen as friendly and intelligent, but is angry and unforgiving to the so called fatcats and any who do and have associated with them. Voice: Low and grunting.

Here's some NPCs you can use for the faction leaders, and you can use the NPC Generator to quickly generate any additional NPCs you may need.

  • Halfling - This halfling is sick of their human conquerors and wants powered restored to him. He's a man of the people, and touts the rule of the people over the whims of a bloated military that doesn't care about anyone they subjugate. Very popular amongst halflings and even some elves and other races.
  • Half-Elf - While this half-elf doesn't want the humans gone completely like the other faction, he does think that compromise can be met and the two races can co-exist in harmony. Courageous and self-confident, he can't be easily intimidated.
  • Human - This human believes that fair governance of humans is the best for everyone. He'll talk about the great deal of corruption that was present before human rule, and doesn't take other arguments very seriously. A bit sarcastic and self-deprecating, he thinks everyone should calm down and get over it.
  • Human - This human greatly enjoys the comforts of rule and is not eager or willing to give any of it up no matter what. Will attack the character of opponents relentlessly, trying to weaken their position to make them irrelevant.

The doctor approaches you, "please, you're adventurers right? I need to get this medicine to Trym before it wilts, but they won't let me through. He's the ruler here but is very sick, this medicine is specially prepared but won't last very long. Those bastards think if they hold me up here long enough he'll die, and they may be right."

Anbera isn't lying about the medicine not lasting very long, it's a rare herb that only blooms for a couple hours, after which its medicinal properties are useless. The factions are all busy fighting about if Trym is still fit to lead and who should be next in his place. They're aware that the medicine is time-sensitive (because Anbera told them repeatedly) and think a little harmless filibustering may just seal the deal and get them in. They would never admit to this of course, and none of them are willing to commit actual murder.

Let the players decide how they want to approach this, and let it all play out however you and the players (and the dice rolls) deem it. If Trym dies, one of the other factions can claim power and give the party the quest instead. Some persuasion, deception, intimidation, stealth, acrobatics, or straight-up combat can help resolve the situation and get the party through the blockade. Don't worry too much about the details, improv the characters and let it all resolve however it does. Reference the skill information and DCs for the appropriate skills to use and how hard you think it would be for whatever the players decide to do.

After the brief power struggle is resolved and the ruler delivered his medicine (or not), then the adventurers are hired by the ruler to rid the Orc Quarter of a magical weapons smuggling ring. If Trym survives, you can use his NPC statblock

"You've proven yourselves to be quite capable, so I was hoping I could hire your services for a far more dire matter. An illegal magic weapons smuggling ring has started operating out of the Orc Quarter. I need you to find it and dismantle it by any means you wish and will pay you well to do so. However, you're not the only ones on this mission. The spymaster has discovered that another adventuring party was hired to find the smuggling ring, but I do not know who did or for what purpose."

Offer them a level appropriate treasure hoard for their services. You may want to convert it all to gold or change out the magic items as appropriate. The magic item prices can help you find some appropriate equivalents that are suitable for your party.

The other adventuring party was hired by a local crime lord who wants a bigger piece of the action, and hired the other party to set up trade with the smuggling ring. They would prefer that it not be dismantled.

If the party asks around in the orc quarter, they will eventually learn that there's a man in the slums who knows about the smuggling ring. The "man" is a kenku that lives in a rundown shack infested with rats.

You come to a small shack in the slums, it's about as ratty as living gets in the slums. The door is open, long since broken off its hinges, and you realize just how literally "ratty" the shack is as you see rats scurrying along the floor and on the roof. A small black kenku sits on a bed of straw, and looks up at you as you approach. "Hello. Hello." He squawks at you, curling up a bit as he sees how well-armed you are.


He knows a few simple words and phrases, but relies mostly on mimicing the words people say to him in conversation. He can tell the party where the smuggling ring is located, but he wants them to clear out the rats in his shack since they eat his food and bite at him when he sleeps. The players will have to figure out how to communicate with him enough to learn what he wants and what he knows. Pay attention to what your players are saying during this interaction, and try to repeat back to them what they say when they're on the right track. Kenku can only communicate in mimicry and gestures, but if you (or your players) get really stuck, you can put on any random voice and say a simple phrase to point them in the right direction.

Once the players have dealt with the rats, the Kenku will be willing to tell them the location of the ring and how to get in. The smuggling ring is in the prison in the orc quarter, it's a well-guarded and secure building, and has a strict no-visitors policy. However, there's a secret passage in the sewers that the ring uses to ferry supplies into and out of the prison, behind an eastern wall that opens when the right brick is pressed.

The sewers stretch and twist under the town, carved out of the rock in the mountain. The passageways are cramped, and you can barely keep your footing on the walkway. The walls are slick with a slimy residue, and running next to your little path is a murky, foul-smelling liquid that slowly oozes in its trench.

Once the players know of the hidden wall in the sewers, it won't take them long if they look. If they manage to figure out its exact location from talking with the kenku then they can find and open it easily. Even if they only got vague instructions, they can still find it after a bit of searching.

Within the sewers are 2 combats. Here are two you can use for 5 players at level 5, but you can quickly change the combat to any level by setting the party size and level, set the environment to swamp, and choose Random Hard to generate an encounter for your party.

The sewer has "water" in it, but swimming or submerging yourself in it requires a DC 10 Constitution save to avoid becoming poisoned for 1 hour.

Once they've gotten through the sewers, they find their way into the prison but have one last problem to deal with.


As you get to the end of the sewers, you find a ladder leading up to a drainage ditch in a prison bathroom. The bars are loose and easily removable, and it seems possible to squeeze through the opening. Inside the bathroom are a couple prisoners, and outside the bathroom you can see a guard keeping watch along the corridor.

The party will need to figure out how to get past the guard. The prisoners in the bathroom are aware of the smuggling route, and are easy to convince that the party are just smugglers (the party is certainly dressed for the part). They'll need to either convince the prisoners to cause a distraction, cause a distraction themselves, or somehow get the guard to not notice them so they can continue on into the prison.

As they make their way through the prison, a gang recognizes that the party aren't smugglers and stops them. They're extremely hostile, and unless the party pulls off something really impressive, a fight is likely to break out. Here's another encounter you can use, or you can generate your own using the same technique. Whatever encounter you end up with, try to reskin most of the combatants as humanoid (with some interesting exceptions as you wish).

You make your way through the prison, getting the side-eye from every inmate in there. A broad-shouldered man with a scar over his eyes points and shouts, "hey! You ain't the smugglers, they just came through!" The other inmates start to close in around you.

After dealing with the gang and making it farther into the prison, there's a closed door with a meeting going on the other side with the leaders of the smuggling group. This chamber is normally off-limit to prisoners, but the smugglers managed to grease a few palms to use it. Since the area is normally off limits, there's a trap.

A doorknob is trapped to activate when it's turned the wrong way, which causes large scythe blades to emerge from slits in the wall and swing across the area.
+7 to hit against all targets within a 5 ft. arc, 7 (2d10) slashing damage, activates when the doorknob is turned the wrong way.

Countermeasures: A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to deduce the trap's presence from alterations made to the mechanism to accommodate the trigger. A successful DC 10 Dexterity check using thieves' tools disarms the trap, removing the trigger from the door. Unsuccessfully attempting to pick the door triggers the trap.

Once they get through the door, they find the smuggler leaders discussing a deal with the other party to finalize trade with the crime lord.

You enter into a large meeting room that's normally used by guards and officers, but it currently appears to be for a magic item trade with a much rougher looking clientele.

Here's an encounter you can use for this last showdown.

During the fight, one of the combatants will attempt to grab the magic item on the table and use it, only to have it backfire. Once this happens, then roll for wild magic surge effects (PHB pg 101) at various points during combat. The surges target everyone indiscriminately, and the party will need to destroy the item to stop the storm while random prisoners also get zapped. You should also describe the damage that the wild magic surges are doing to the prison itself, with holes getting blasted in the walls while parts of the ceiling collapse.

Once combat is over, they're not out of danger yet. The magical backfires from the wild surges has critically damaged the prison, and it will collapse if nothing is done to stop it. Prisoners and guards will also be falling victim to falling debris during this time, and the party can choose to help or leave them, and will also need to choose what to do with the smugglers. They may try to repair the collapsing prison, or escape, or something else, and will need to deal with the consequences of whatever they choose. If they want to actually prevent the prison from completely collapsing then they'll need to think quickly, plan well, and roll even better.

As the fighting ends, you realize that you're not quite out of danger yet. The powerful backlashes of wild magic surges has done grievous damage to the prison, and the structure is beginning to fall down around you. Parts of the ceiling collapse, and a wall falls over. Some of the debris falls onto the guards, prisoners, and smugglers alike, and the prison erupts into a panic.

Regardless of what happens at the prison, the smuggling ring will have been dealt with and the party will be given their reward. You can either continue their adventures in Dragon Point, dealing with the political fallout of a town on the brink of civil war and a criminal boss angry about losing his magic item smuggling ring. Or this can be a simple stop on the road in part of a grander adventure.

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