Adventure Arc 2 - Stop the Poaching

Amalthea of the Fey Council tasks the party with traveling to the northern part of the Feywood to root out a smuggling ring that is capturing and killing the lesser Fey.

This arc consists of three adventures designed for a party of Level 2 characters. It will provide enough experience to bring the party to Level 3 at the end of the arc. It is designed to be as "sandbox" as possible, with several options for the party to choose from at various junctures during the arc. It is inevitable that many of the encounters presented in this arc will not occur in any given game situation, but this will hopefully avoid the "railroading" feel of the adventure series.

Arc Structure

Dryad - Amalthea.png
Amalthea the Dryad

Adventure 1 - The Journey to Spirit Lake

The party is given their task by Amalthea the Dryad. They must journey to Spirit Lake, where the poaching operation seems to be based. They have two basic options for travel plans:
  • They could use the roads, visiting the village of Feybridge Crossing, then the larger town of Dryad Falls, and finally coming to the village of Spirit Lake. This is a somewhat circuitous route, but it stays on the roads. Travel is easy, there are towns of various sizes along the way for them to explore. If they choose this route, there will be an interesting diversion of a tavern brawl encounter in Feybridge Crossing. In Dryad Falls, they will have the opportunity to interact with members of the Traveling Troupe. This interaction will give them the opportunity to collect useful information, and may even provide them with some contacts they can use in their upcoming investigations.
  • They could take the direct route through the Forest. If they do this, encounters will have to be with "wildlife" in the forest. There will be one interesting encounter with a stronger Gremlin - more formidable than the Mitflits and Jinxkins they have encountered before. If they choose a route through the Lizard Fens (following the rivers), they may discover remnants of the pre-Strife Lizardfolk temple and city; an encounter with human poachers raiding the temple should be included. Finally, as they near Spirit Lake, they should encounter a poaching crew out in the forest.
It will be necessary to plan Encounters for both possible routes. These should be granular so that when the party inevitably invents a third option that is a hybrid of the two, individual encounters from the two "planned" routes can be used in game.

Adventure 2 - Uncovering the Poaching Ring

sprite.png
A Sprite from the Feywood
The party should start this adventure having just arrived in Spirit Lake. They'll need to investigate the goings on by whatever means they choose. This Adventure should offer several options to the party:
  • They could attempt to join/infiltrate the poaching ring as willing hunters. This will require social interactions with poachers, but should not introduce the party to the head of the operation too quickly. A recruiter lieutenant will be employed to offer this opportunity.
  • They could attempt to stake out an area of the forest to try to catch the poachers in the act. (Hopefully, they would question their captives to discover the leaders of the ring.) This requires an encounter with a poaching group. The encounter from Adventure 1 could be used if the party did not already play through this, but if they did, a second poaching group encounter will be needed.
  • They could attempt to employ additional lookouts - possibly playing off contact information they got from Elannia if the party interacted heavily with the Traveling Troupe in the first adventure. This may lead to a poaching group encounter.
  • They could invent an entirely unforeseen approach that will have to be dealt with on the fly. C'est la vie!

Amaric Duncanson.png
The Ringmaster

Adventure 3 - The Ringmaster

This Adventure should bring resolution to the arc. The party should have determined who the ringleader of the poaching operation is and should confront him. But they should also discover the relationship between this ring and the larger operation that is based out of Endmere which is responsible for other illicit trade in questionable luxury goods as well - particularly Lizardfolk artifacts.

Components

Goals

The party must meet certain milestone objectives:
  1. They must accept the task to deal with the poachers.
  2. They must travel from the Bugbear's Head Inn to the village of Spirit Lake
  3. They must uncover the operations of the poaching ring.
  4. They must discover who the mastermind of the poaching operation is, and bring them to justice
  5. They must return to the Bugbear's Head Inn to report on the results of their effort and collect their gold reward

In addition, the party may also...
  • ...determine which merchants are trading with the Poaching Ring and either shut them down or report them.
  • ...discover that, in addition to the poaching, there is a smuggling ring taking Lizardfolk artifacts out of the swamps.
  • ...decide to contact the Iruxi and inform them of the Smuggling Ring

Rewards

Treasure (coin)
Total planned coin reward for arc is approximately 18gp per character in the party.

Amalthea will offer a reward of 15gp per character at the beginning of the adventure, plus an additional 10gp each for "expenses". The party should have the chance to collect the additional 3gp or so per person as incidental loot along the way.
Magic Items
Over the course of the three adventures, each party member should have the opportunity to obtain a level 2 or 3 permanent magical item.

There should also be consumable magical items acquired - approximately 3 for every 2 party members, varying from 1st through 3rd levels of potency. These should all be obtainable as incidental loot that the party has a chance to collect.

Hooks

Helpers for the Investigation
In Adventure 1, regardless of the path the party takes to get to Spirit Lake, they should acquire the ability to enlist help from the local fey creatures when they reach Spirit Lake and begin their investigation. This could be information provided by Elianna of the Traveling Troupe if the party travels by road and goes through Dryad Falls, or it could be an encounter in the forest with the potential helper fey themselves if they travel through the forest directly.
The Bigger Picture
In Adventure 3, even as the party is putting the poaching ring out of business, they should come to realize that the poaching ring is just one part of a larger illicit operation running out of the northern Feywood region. Other bad things are happening too -- including the 'acquisition' of artifacts sacred to the Lizardfolk.

Stakes

It needs to be clear to the party right from the beginning that the disappearance of the lesser Fey is a serious problem. This can be reinforced by meetings/encounters along the way. The party - especially those not from the Feywood and not of Elven heritage - should come to learn of the true place of the Fey creatures in the greater scheme of things.

Moral Quandaries

The party will almost certainly have to deal with a group of poachers in the wild. The poachers themselves aren't really bad people -- they're poor folk looking for a way to make a living. While some of them may have a cruel streak (and would deserve to be disliked and treated accordingly), most are just doing a job that will pay them well. Assuming the party tries to capture and question poachers to learn who their boss is, they will have to decide how to perform the questioning and what to do with their captives when they're finished.

Cruel Tricks

Just for interest, if the party takes the over-the-road route, they're going to get involved in a good, old-fashioned tavern brawl in Feybridge Crossing. Depending on how they handle themselves, there may be long-term repercussions regarding their future welcome in the town.

If they do not take the road route in Adventure 1, they should have a random encounter with gremlins, and possibly even some of the "good" fey, that offers some sort of difficult challenge or question of morals.

Red Herrings

Anything stemming from the Tavern Brawl will be in this category. The antagonists in the brawl may appear to be important NPCs - but they won't be.

Credits

Banner Image generated by RPGDinosaurBob using Flowscape.

Articles under Adventure Arc 2 - Stop the Poaching



Cover image: The Inn from the Bridge over Daphinia's Stream by RPGDinosaurBob (with Flowscape)

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
3 Jan, 2021 21:36

Bob, I really like this arc structure! I love how you've outlined the different ways you envision things to go and have notes of what to include. Consider using spoiler tags to include some of the encounter specifics like stat blocks, items, and so forth. I love this article. It's actually given me a bit of a spark to get back into prepping my own DnD sessions. Always impressed at your thoroughness.

5 Jan, 2021 12:40

The stat blocks will go in the encounter-specific pieces... it's a 3-layer structure: the arc describes the overall objectives of the entire sequence of adventure sessions. The Session describes all of the potential encounters for that single gaming session; then the Encounter-level "plots" have the dialog, statblocks, detailed instructions for GM, etc.

Powered by World Anvil