Nothing much happens in the mountaintop town of Hawkurns, where the populace mines magical crystals and their kids to get into all kinds of mischief. Recently, however, people have been disappearing, and no one knows why. Rumors of unusual things are everywhere. Can you help solve the mystery before something worse assails this small town?
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 http://bit.ly/dnd-basic-rules 🔗http://payton.codes • Payton Swick © 2019 CC Attribution: http://bit.ly/cc-by-4
The Constable's Story
The PCs have traveled to the mining town of Hawkurns, a source of crystals which can be used to craft magical items. Constable Jareth Dunrock has been investigating the recent disappearance of five people, but as the number of the missing has continued to increase, the Mayor has demanded that Jareth bring in outside help. The Constable reluctantly agreed, but doesn't think anyone can do a better job than him.
The PCs may introduce themselves to one another in the Constable's waiting room. Soon they are called into the office and Jareth explains that starting three weeks ago, the following people have vanished (in this order).
- Gavin Barrelhorn: Miner working an extra shift in the mines by himself, but no one knows exactly where.
- Mirra Silvercrow: Eccentric schoolteacher and collector. She was not well-liked except by children.
- Beth Azer: Former miner with an injury that forced her to work at the mining office preparing shipments of crystals.
- Nigel Broombellow: Retired soldier who was rude to everyone and kept to himself.
- Maz Heronbone: Teenager who vanished while picking apples in the grove of the nearby forest.
The PCs can visit any of the following six locations to look for clues and ask questions. The goal will be to find the secret entrance in the mines. Meanwhile the Mind Flayer is preparing to collect its sixth victim (who might be Maz's mother but could be anyone).
The four other office workers knew both Gavin and Beth, but they distrust outsiders and will lie saying they don't know where Beth disappeared. A DC 14 Charisma (Persuasion or Intimidation) check will prompt one of them to reveal that Beth was heavily in debt and on the night she vanished she was at the mine preparing crystals to sell to smugglers. Evidence might also be found in the office's records.
Maz's father Brent is distraught and all he knows is that his son's school friends said that he had gone apple picking and never came back. Maz's mother Shelby left recently ask more questions at the school.
The grove of apple trees in the forest is just at the edge of town. However, it's quickly apparent that the season is wrong for apples. None of them are even close to ripe. A DC 12 Wisdom (Survival or Perception) check shows that there's also no recent tracks here.
The other teachers didn't like Mirra and think she just left town. Her young students, if they can be convinced with a DC 12 Charisma (Persuasion or Intimidation) check, had followed Mirra as she went to the mine at night to look for pretty stones when a horrible monster appeared. The monster did something to stun the teacher and she followed it into one of the tunnels. The children can tell the PCs exactly where they went.
A DC 12 Wisdom (Insight) check reveals that Maz's teenage friends are lying about his disappearance and can be convinced with a DC 14 Charisma (Persuasion or Intimidation) check to reveal that he didn't go apple picking. He had actually gone into the mines on a dare.
The old soldier Nigel had a small log hunting cabin just by the forest on the edge of town. The door is locked but can be picked with a DC 14 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check or broken down with a DC 14 Strength (Athletics) check. A DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation) check in the cabin will reveal Nigel's journal where he writes that he wants to solve the mystery of the disappearances himself. He found clues which led him to believe the people all disappeared in the mines so he gathered his gear and went to search there alone.
Near the entrance to the mines, the air temperature will suddenly get very cold. Asking on the street about this reveals that a group of wizards are in town doing research on the weather. They live in a rented house beside the mine. The house is magically locked, but a DC 14 Intelligence (Arcana) check will reveal that knocking with a particular pattern will open the door or it can be broken. One wizard returns to the house several times per day to receive a delivery of food. She will try to escape by turning invisible but can be forced to reveal the Labratory Entrance.
Inside the house, there is no sign of anyone living there except for a blue cloak on the wall and a bag. The cloak is magical and grants Resistance to lightning damage. The bag contains three Potions of Healing (2d4 + 2).
The mine itself is vast. Without information from the children, the wizard, or another source, there's no way to find anything.
The wizards have created a secret entrance in one of the mine shafts. It is hidden with an illusion, but the town children followed the monster and know the place. They might also be led there by a wizard. Beyond the illusion lies a furnished resting room for the wizards. At the far end is an empty elevator shaft which drops deep underground. A strange humming magical device stands next to the hole.
If they have a wizard guide, a dark smoke will blow in from behind them and fill the room, blinding everyone. They will hear foosteps move through the room and then the smoke will vanish down the elevator shaft, taking their guide with it.
A large painting rests on the wall showing a beautiful fig tree over a garden where many people are having a picnic. There is nothing unusual about the painting, but a small note will be tucked into the corner of the frame that reads, "In the middle of the fig is hidden the three keys".
On the magical device is a alphabetic keyboard and a lever. If the letter "i" is pressed three times followed by pulling the lever, a platform of energy will appear and carry the PCs down the shaft to the Real Laboratory. If the wrong password is entered, a burst of energy will explode from the controls causing 3 (1d4) lightning damage to the person using the device.
At the bottom of the elevator shaft is a magical laboratory set up by the wizards for their actual research: crafting a portal to another dimension. It contains many strange devices and bubbling potions. However, it has recently been attacked and a path of destruction leads from the elevator to the far wall, in which are set large glass windows. A heavy door, damaged and ajar, leads through the wall into the Portal Chamber.
All three of the wizards are in this laboratory, injured from fighting the monster that just passed through with its victims, who all walked on their own. The wizards will reveal their actual research and that they have created a portal in the next room. They did not know about the monster.
The room contains a giant spinning crystal crackling with energy surrounded by arcane machinery, a portal, all the missing people, the Mind Flayer, and four Abomination Hounds. Three of the people are already dead (DM's choice), lying in pools of blood around the machine. The remaining people stand very still, mentally controlled by the monster.
The PCs can either destroy the Mind Flayer or destroy the machine which keeps the portal open. If all the missing people are sacrificed, the Mind Flayer and the Abomination Hounds will melt into slime as an Ancient Horror emerges from the portal and then the PCs must destroy that. The Horror uses the same stats as the Mind Flayer but its size is Huge and its attacks are claws.
The arcane machine has an AC of 15 and 30 hit points. Every time it takes damage, everyone within 10 feet / 3 meters must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failure, the target takes 4 (1d6) lightning damage.
The Mind Flayer
Mind Flayer Summoner
Medium aberration, lawful evil
- Armor Class 15 • Hit Points 60 • Speed 30 ft. / 10 meters
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA 11 (+0) 12 (+1) 12 (+1) 14 (+2) 17 (+3) 17 (+3)
Multiattack. The Mind Flayer makes two Psychic Blasts.
Psychic Blast. Ranged spell attack, +7 to hit, one target within 30 feet / 10 meters. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 2) psychic damage.
During its turn, the Mind Flayer can use its action to either attack, or to sacrifice one of the remaining victims. Each time a sacrifice occurs, the portal will grow larger and pulse with a strange energy. The pulse will cause one of the following effects (DM's choice) to all the PCs in the room.
- DC 10 Strength saving throw. Failure causes the target to be slowed for one turn. Slowed creatures move at half speed, and can use either an action or a bonus action on their turn, not both.
- DC 10 Constitution saving throw. Failure causes the target to become blind for one turn. Blind targets make attack rolls with disadvantage.
- DC 10 Charisma saving throw. Failure causes the target to be only able to speak in rhymes for 1 minute.
Medium aberration, lawful evil
- Armor Class 12 • Hit Points 6 • Speed 40 ft. / 12 meters
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA 12 (+1) 14 (+2) 6 (-2) 6 (-2) 13 (+1) 6 (-2)
Bite. Melee weapon attack, +6, one target within 5 feet / 1.5 meters. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 3) piercing damage.
If they survive, the wizards will be arrested and the Constable will thank the PCs for saving the town; gruffly admitting that perhaps he was wrong about outsiders. The Mayor will reward the heroes handsomely for their work, but the biggest thanks will come from any survivors of the Mind Flayer's ritual.