Adventure Hook: The Ego Maniac

An adventure hook for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons
By Mark-Alexander Cross

Ego can be a very powerful thing for both good and bad purposes but it is always driven by the desire of one who is trying to show off their station. The question is, as adventurers how far will you go to meet the needs of one’s ego and what will you do for your own?

Players: 2-6 Level: Variable Goal: Dungeon Delving

Read this aloud to your players:
“You have been hired by Benjamin Tiddle from his family’s very lucrative store Tiddle & Him, in order to gather some magical items so he can meet his targets and stop himself from being fired by his father Benjamin Tiddle Snr.

Despite not being THE man in power you would not think that by way he struts around the store and commands those around, including yourselves and you are just the hired help!”

Role-play the scene with Tiddle in order to set up the adventure and the reward, adjusting all to the level of the party for balance and fun.

Here is my personal setup that I ran for this adventure:

  • Level five party with four players in total.
  • The dungeon map in page 311 of the Dungeon Masters Guide.
  • A final battle against 3 Displacer Beasts (page 81 in the Monster Manual).
  • Magical item goals of this adventure, one per member of the party, randomly rolled from Magic Item Table F in the Dungeon Masters Guide (page 146) after the boss battle.
  • A random encounter rolled every 5 minutes of real world time (except when battles and encounter situations happen)
  • Random encounters rolled the Underdark Table in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything on Page 107.

A pretty standard dungeon crawl but the main purpose of this adventure hook is how the players will react to one Benjamin Tiddle and what they do in response. Will your players do the job, get paid and move on, or get so annoyed by him (like my players did) and keep the items for themselves and call off the deal with him?

Use Benjamin Tiddle to setup the tone of your adventure and what it could lead to in the future if you plan to turn this into a campaign or a series of one-shots, maybe make him the main antagonist of your entire game or a hapless fool.

Here is stats on Benjamin Tiddle:

  • His alignment is Chaotic Neutral
  • Use a Commoner’s stat block from the Monster Manual (page 345) but increase the Intelligence score to 12 and drop the Charisma score to 6.
  • Personality Trait: Money and profit are the only things in life that give me position and respect.
  • Bond: All those who are in my world are beneath me and are tools to use to pursue my ends.
  • Flaw: I fear those above me and losing everything that I have gained, I will beg and plead to prevent that from happening.

Side note: The fallout from my players ignoring him and taking the items resulted in them being hunted by a criminal organisation and mercenaries hired by Tiddle, which has now lead into a campaign.

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