Search for the Sage

A town sinks slowly into the sea and only the power of an ancient sage can save it. But can the sage be found in time? There's only one way to find out.

This is a short D&D adventure for 4-7 Player Characters (PCs) of 2nd level. This is written for the Dungeon Master. The basic D&D rules are available at 🔗 • Payton Swick © 2017 CC Attribution:


A famous town, Tzimarel, floats mysteriously on the water of a bay surrounded by mountains. The town harvests and trades the magical coral that grows beneath its wooden streets.

Recently the coral has begun to die and the town is sinking. The monks who maintain the village can not stop the decay. They hire the PCs to find the legendary sage who once enchanted the coral that supports the town. The sage is said to live on a cloud-wreathed island in the center of the sea.

Scene 1: at the docks

The PCs will need a ship, but the monks have very little to offer. There are three ships at the docks, and it's up to the PCs to find a way to get access to one. This will likely require Charisma skill challenges, but there are other options. Allow the players to come up with ways to beg, steal, borrow, or barter passage.

  • The Sun Chaser, a big three-masted barque under the Human ex-pirate Rika Tenfingers. She is greedy and never backs down from a challenge. The ship is 100 ft. long with a crew of 15. (AC 15)
  • Forest's Honor, a thin two-masted schooner under the High Elf Lucien Feldor. Lucien is haughty and loves prestige. The ship is 120 ft. long with a crew of 20. (AC 13)
  • The Seahorse, a small single-masted cog under the heavyset Dwarf Karl Dugger. Dugger has a hearty laugh and loves food. The ship is 50 ft. long with a crew of 5. (AC 17)

Scene 2: aboard ship

The monks provide an ancient map to the island. As the ship sails along its course, the sky begins to darken. Suddenly there is a clap of thunder, pouring rain, and a huge wave which hits the ship, knocking the captain and many sailors unconscious. The ropes that hold the sails are torn loose, and the wheel spins out-of-control.

Fighting the storm will work like an encounter, with the storm and the ship as creatures. As the storm takes "damage", the ship moves toward a distant wall of mist.

  • Ship If the ship takes 40 damage, it is destroyed and the PCs will wash up on the hidden island with one point of exhaustion (disadvantage on all skill checks).
  • Storm If the storm takes 40 damage, the ship sails through a wall of mist to where the island lies.
  • Sailors Five sailors are injured and unconscious. PCs can use an action to try to heal an injured sailor with magic or a DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) check. Healed sailors can use their turns to try to secure ropes or hold the wheel.
  • Ropes The ship has 10 unsecured ropes. PCs and sailors can use an action to attempt to tie a rope to a cleat with a DC 15 Dexterity (Slight of Hand) check or secure a sail by climbing the mast with a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check. There may be other ways to secure ropes.
  • Wheel The ship's wheel is spinning wildly. Anyone attempting to hold the wheel rolls to attack the storm; the roll gets a bonus equal to the number of secured ropes. On a hit, the storm takes 10 damage.
  • Water If any creature falls off the ship, they must make a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check to swim back and climb aboard (if they are thrown a rope, no check is required).

Living Storm

  • HP 40; Initiative +4


Multiattack. The storm makes a Smash ship attack and then makes either a Lightning explosion, Wave, or Freezing wind attack.

Smash ship. +6 vs. the ship's AC. Hit: the ship takes 10 damage.

Lightning explosion, 10 ft. radius: DC 12 Dexterity save, 7 (2d6) lightning damage on a failed save or half damage on a successful save.

Wave, 20 ft. radius: DC 12 Str save; targets are pushed 15 ft. and knocked prone on a failed save.

Freezing wind, 100 ft. radius: DC 12 Con save or take 4 (1d6) cold damage.

Scene 3: exploring the island

The sage's island is draped in a heavy mist, making it impossible to see very far. It is a jungle island, surrounded by a rocky beach.

In order to navigate the island, the PCs must make several skill checks. Use any of the following or similar checks at a DC 12. After about four checks they will find the sage's grove.

  • Wisdom (Perception) or Wisdom (Survival) to avoid brambles. Failure causes 1d6 piercing damage.
  • Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Nature) to avoid a volcanic steam vent. Failure causes 1d6 fire damage.
  • Dexterity (Acrobatics) or Constitution to avoid a venomous frog or snake. Failure causes 1d6 poison damage.

Scene 4: the sage's grove

The grove of the sage lies in the center of the island, where all the mist is strangely absent. There is a large clearing where a 30 ft. diameter shallow bubbling pool of water glows in the sunlight. Touching the water causes 1d8 fire damage. Growing out of the pool are graceful arches of white coral that wind their way around the clearing. Supported in the center is a low pillar, atop which sits a person cloaked and hooded. Behind the person floats a large bubble of dark water.

The person atop the pillar is at first totally silent, but soon laughs horribly. They stand and declare, "soon all the towns of the east will drown!".

At that point, a pulse of blue energy will fly from the water bubble in the back to the robed person. The person will reveal itself to be a fish-headed djinni surrounded with a glowing barrier of energy. It will immediately summon three steam mephits and three water elementals to attack.

When the djinni draws power for its magic, the PCs will also notice a moan of pain coming from the water bubble in the back (this is where the real sage is trapped).

To defeat the djinni they will need to disable its shield by striking the bubble where the sage is trapped. The bubble has an AC of 10.

Water Djinni

Medium elemental

  • Armor Class 17; Hit Points 60; Speed fly 30 ft.

18 (+4) 12 (+1) 14 (+2) 17 (+3) 10 (+0) 15 (+2)

Energy shield: while active, the djinni is immune to all damage. If the water bubble where the sage is trapped takes any damage, the djinni's shield disappears.


Slam: melee attack, +5 to hit. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Water jet: range 60 ft., all targets in a line. Targets make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failure, a target takes 6 (2d6) bludgeoning damage, is pushed 30 ft. and knocked prone.

Restore shield: As a bonus action on its turn, if the energy shield has been disabled, the Djinni can attempt to restore it. Roll a d20; the shield is restored on a roll of 10 or higher.

Minor water elemental

Large elemental

  • Armor Class 14; Hit Points 20; Speed 30 ft.

18 (+4) 14 (+2) 10 (+0) 5 (-3) 10 (+0) 8 (-1)


Slam: melee attack, +4 to hit. Hit: 8 (2d6 + 2) bludgeoning damage.

Steam Mephit

Small elemental

  • Armor Class 10; Hit Points 21; Speed fly 30 ft.

19 (+5) 9 (+0) 5 (-2) 5 (-2) 13 (+2) 1 (-4)


Claw: melee attack, +2 to hit. Hit: 3 (1d6) slashing damage plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.

Steam breath (recharge 6): Each creature in a 15 ft. cone must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw, taking 4 (1d8) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Scene 5: the real sage

Once the djinni is destroyed, the bubble prison will collapse and any summoned creatures will be banished. The freed sage appears to be an old woman in brown robes with metallic silver braids. She will thank the PCs for stopping "that evil creature". She will then transform into a silver dragon and cast a spell on the coral in the grove. This will cause all of the coral to light up with magical energy, and the sage will tell the PCs that the town is now safe.

She will explain that she had been caught unaware by that djinni and it was draining her power to create an army of elementals for its own use.

As a reward, the dragon will give them each a small piece of coral which glows with a blue light. The coral may be fashioned into weapons or magic items.

The dragon will even fly them back to Tzimarel if they request it, where they will be showered with praise for their heroics.