Designed for 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons by Mark-Alexander Cross.
Continuing on the theme of introductory adventures, today we shall be using the tools you can find in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and I hope to show newer Dungeon/Game Masters one way to use them.
Note: This hook will require use of the 5th edition Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual.
Players: 2-6 Level: 1 Goal: Utilising Source Books.
The Dungeons Master’s Guide (which will be further referred to as the DMG) can seem daunting to read with the sheer amount of information within. Do not be put off however as the DMG is a tool and not the definitive way to play DnD; it is there to pick and choose for inspiration, ideas and even spur of the moment games with various plot hooks, themes and even battlemaps to take from.
He who wants the land
Read this aloud to your players but feel free to change names and locations in whatever way you see fit:
“You have been asked to the home of Christop and Carina Fairfield who along with their children, the twins Aiden and Kellan are the local farming family. They produce and sell high quality farm goods which have earned them land and a nice but not rich sum of gold.
Christop is standing by the fireplace and is addressing you all clearly distressed.
‘Thank you for coming but let me get right to the point for there might not be much time. I would like to hire you all for the sum of 50 gold pieces each for protection against the foreign baron Payton Kayron. He has recently come to this country and has been “acquiring” all the farmland in this area, for what reasons I don’t know but his means and methods are often violent when he does not get what he wants.’
It is then Carina who speaks up with tears streaming down her face.
‘We have told him several times now, we have no intention of selling but two days ago he cornered myself and the children in the town market with a group of thugs and threatened us to reconsider. The bastard has even paid off the town guard from getting involved so please you are the only ones who can help us, please protect us and our children.’
The tools at your disposal
Baron Payton Kayron is a Neutral Evil half-elven male who uses the Noble stat block found in the Monster Manual (page 438) and his goal is to acquire land by any means for potential future profit. This does not just have to be his main or only motivation but if you are stuck or need inspiration for ideas then chapter 4 of the DMG Creating Nonplayer Characters (Page 89) can be a great help from page 94 onwards. There is a large villains section with scheme and method tables followed by Villainous Class Options if you want to put a nasty spin on the Baron himself.
Chapter 3 of the DMG Creating Adventures (page 71) does a pretty good job of providing you with information on ideas with where to take this adventure but the reading is quite a handful. To prevent overloading yourself pages 73 through to 76 have these great tables of different goals, events and outcomes that could even happen at a roll of a dice if you want your session to go crazy.
What I did with the above tables in my early days was look over them and inspire me to ideas both simple and “out there”. In the case of the Land Baron I am going to set up an opening battle encounter as the Baron’s men will storm through the main door and attempt to raid the house. For a battlemap I will, and haved, use the three-floor house map on page 310 of the DMG and use Bandits from the Monster Manual (page 343) with a number that matches each member of the party.
How the fight concludes and where the story goes after this is up to you but I hope the resources I have referenced can help you. Personally I would take this story in the direction of what would happen and what would follow if those bandits kidnapped the children… Have fun.