by Bryan Fazekas
published in & Magazine Issue 1 in May 2012
One page dungeons fit on the front and back of a single sheet of 8.5x11" paper. These adventures are small, designed to be completed in a single session of 2-5 hours.
This adventure is for a 1st level party of 4 to 8 characters. There is no map, just a description of terrain and encounters, so the DM may place the adventure as fits their campaign.
The story: Bandits have plagued the area, robbing and killing travelers. The bandits attacked those they could safely rob, evaded pursuit, and avoided traps. This pattern continued until a local noble's son was waylaid and badly hurt.
The noble hired mercenaries kill the bandits who proved smarter than the bandits, luring them into attacking a poorly guarded wagon full of luxury goods. Taking the bait the dozen bandits attacked, only to discover that in addition to the six visible guards another six were hidden beneath the fake luxury goods.
After a short and brutal fight the mercenaries killed 6, captured 5, letting 1 sorely bandit to escape. The mercenaries suffered enough wounds so they could not safely pursue him. The noble was satisfied with the result, rewarded the mercenaries well, and amused himself with hanging the living thieves.
The authorities placed a bounty of 25 GP on the head of the surviving bandit. In addition, rumors abound that the surviving bandit escaped with a bag of gold coins, numbering from 50 to 5,000 depending on who told the tale.
age 1 green dragon
4 carrion crabs
5 farmers (0 level)
giant snake (3 HD)
The party may encounter monsters while tracking. Roll an encounter check (1 in 6) every 6 hours. Each monster will be met once unless conditions of the initial encounter indicate a second encounter is likely. Re-roll anything that does not make sense.
3 orcs: These are travelers and will avoid antagonizing the party if they are outnumbered. They will want to join the party for a full share of treasure, and will try to get ahead of the party if rejected. Each has 12 SP.
3 kobolds: These belong to a local tribe. They will avoid the party if they can, and will be evasive in answers if they can't. If they believe the party weak and (to them) rich, they will locate the larger band of kobolds and return to attack. Each has 5 CP.
12 kobolds: This band is trying to find the bandits' lair so they can steal from it. They will attack the party if they believe they can win, but will flee if 25% of their number is wounded. Each has 7 CP.
Dragon: The dragon will be sighted at a distance of at least 200 yards and will not initially see the party. The party can successfully avoid him if they try. If he sees them he will attack, but will flee if he sustains 25% damage or more. He has no treasure.
Merchant: The 0-level merchant is driving a wagon of fresh food and wooden goods along the road. He has three men@arms. He has seen nothing and will move on quickly.
Treant: The treant has seen a human who was obviously injured an hour or two before.
Carrion Crabs: They will avoid a fight but will fight back if attacked.
Farmers: They are walking along the road and have seen nothing.
Centaur: This creature is traveling through, knows nothing, and will be snotty to the party. He wants nothing to do with them.
Snake: This constrictor is hungry and will attack the smallest PC. If hit for 25% or more of its hp it will flee.
The distance from town to the site of the battle is 4 hours travel. This assumes the party does not have mounts and is on foot.
The battle occurred mid-afternoon of the day before the party hears of it. They hear the story at dusk and can travel the next morning. If they try to travel at night they are 50% likely to miss the site and travel beyond it. It will take 1d4 hours to realize they missed it and back track.
At the battle site the party can easily find the blood trail of the wounded bandit. He straggled along the dirt road that meanders through grassland, scrubland, farmland, and light forest. Out of sight of the mercenaries he bound his own wounds. He is still leaving a blood trail for those who are looking but outside of initial blood loss is not bleeding to death. If the party includes anyone with tracking ability, use the rules for that class.
If the party tries to follow him in the dark they will be 75% likely to lose the trail during each hour of travel. Once lost it will take 1d4 hours to find signs of the trail.
The bandit staggered along the road for 6 hours, which in day time will take the party 4 hours to travel. He discarded his scale mail armor and his broad sword, neither of which has value.
In heavier forest the bandit turned off the road and collapsed for 6 hours, leaving a heavier blood trace. Later he ambled along old game trails. The trails fork periodically and there is a 25% chance of choosing the wrong path each hour. Once lost the party will take 1d2 hours to determine this and backtrack. Tracking in the dark is not possible -- if the party is determined to try it they will lose 1d4 hours for each hour traveled.
The bandit managed to make his way along the animal trails through mixed forest for 8 hours, which the party can traverse in 4 hours if they do not lose the trail.
The party will encounter rough terrain and find more blood. After an hour of rough terrain the party will encounter a rocky cliff. To climb party members will each make a dexterity check (roll Dex or less on 3d6) to safely climb the cliff. The cliff is 30' high and falling characters may suffer some damage, depending on if they fall or slide down the cliff. For each 10' fallen roll 1d6: 1=1 hp damage, 2=2 hp damage, 3-6=0 hp damage. Use of ropes and
other safety measures will reduce the chance of falling or sliding by adding 1 to 6 points (DM's discretion) to the dexterity check.
Two hundred feet from the top of the cliff is a rocky bluff with a visible cave. A trail leads to the cave, passing through some large rocks. About half way the party will pass a 10' rock and see the bandit lying on his stomach on the trail about 50' ahead of them.
The bandit is obviously dead and is surrounded by 11 carrion crabs, who are greedily consuming the body. The party will notice he still has a dagger on his belt along with a small sack that shows the outline of coins.
If the party waits for 1 hour the crabs will finish stripping the bones and depart without a fight. If the party attempts to drive the crabs off they will hiss at the party. Any PC approaching within 10' will suffer a leaping attack, and the crabs will fight back if attacked. Once 4 crabs are wounded or killed, the wounded ones will flee the fight. If the crabs are reduced in number to 4 or less the survivors will flee.
The bag contains 27 PP, 123 GP, and 45 SP.
The cave opens up into a large (40') cavern, the bandit camp. In the bedding they will find another 633 CP, 483 SP, 47 GP, and 15 Lunch Tokens. Trade goods line the walls, including:
12 boxes of cloth worth30GP each (bulk 500 gp each).
3 boxes of good quality weapons (10 weapons per box, DM's choice).
2 barrels of dried meat (25GP value each).
other local trade goods the DM chooses.
The goods are bulky, and if returned to town the original owners will offer 25% of the value as reward.
Copyright 2013-2014 Bryan Fazekas