Written with thanks to Scott Garibay for his Five Page Tabletop RPG Adventure Design
Ducknapping, Nanny Nibbling and the Governor’s Goods
D&D 5e, SRD compatible adventure.
Launch and Locations
In the aftermath of a raid on the town by strange cultists with giant lizards and kobolds, the characters scouted the raiders camp. After returning from scouting the raiders’ camp, where the characters freed several enslaved townsfolk, their breakfast the following morning is interrupted.
- Green Rest Inn (Where the characters are eating breakfast after a long rest)
- Featherend Farm (Duck Farm of small repute for winning ribbons in the fair)
- Swardheart Farm (Goat Farm run by two halfling females)
- The Governor’s Manor (The Governor has retired here, delegating oversight to proper carpenters)
- Snoutslap Sties (Pastured swine farm, the furthest of the three farms from the Governor’s Manor)
- Dora Fairbairn, Female, 40, Halfling, Rogue, conflicted manipulative love interest of Veneranda Gammidge, she had a bounty on her head, but that man has since been murdered
- Sandford Porteus, Male, 40, Human, good hearted swineherd which took the injured Tucker Duffus in
- Tarbaw Nighthill, Male, 55, Human, Governor, collects art objects
- Trom Stonesworn, Male, 50, Human, duck farmer
- Tucker Duffus, Male, 27, Human, Cultist Spy feigning amnesia, naivete and clumsiness, he was knocked out during the raid and found by Sandford Porteus
- Veneranda Gammidge, Female, 32, Halfling, goatherd whose heart fell to the manipulations of Dora Fairbairn
- Green Rest Inn – Trom Stonesworn runs up to the characters during their breakfast and
breathlessly exclaims “Them kobolds what ransacked the town done come back and raided my farm! The varmints run off with my Maggie and I don’t know what else!”
- Discovery – Trom will also impatiently explain that Maggie is a duck and she won first place at the fair this past spring.
- Conflict – Tucker will be present, having been sent to deliver an extra ten pounds of bacon to the inn by his thoughtful benefactor, Sandford. He talks over Trom’s news, saying he wished he was a duck with nothing to do but paddle in the pond all day.
- Choice – Tucker will “accidentally” be in the way as the characters attempt to exit the inn, pretending to be clueless and asking how they liked Sandford’s bacon. Public opinion of Tucker is that he is well meaning and hard working, if rather simple. If he is treated poorly witnesses will stick up for him and accuse the characters of intolerance.
- Featherend Farm – A little away from the farm in an open but secluded spot six to eight kobold deserters have started a cook fire and are preparing to roast the ducks. They have snapped the neck on one so far. Maggie is standing a little to the side looking unruffled as she continually preens and primps herself. The other ducks wander about getting in the kobolds’ way, but won’t leave the area where Maggie is.
- Discovery – one duck in particular is a large white male duck called Max. Max is busy singling out one kobold and beating him, completely berserk with wing buffets, beak attacks and what little effect he can have with webbed feet. (Three attacks all +2 to hit, if two or more hit the target takes 1 HP of bludgeoning damage, is disadvantaged to attack Max and can’t take reactions. Max has 3hp and has resistance to bludgeoning damage. Max will pursue anyone other than Trom Stonesworn that touches Maggie.) The other kobolds are teasing the beleaguered kobold.
- Conflict – Trom tries to help stop the kobolds but is hindered when Tucker appears, asking “what are kobolds?” Kobold slingers will also target these NPCs in the fight. Tucker seems oblivious to the danger, but a DC15 Insight will clue a character in that Tucker knows how to handle himself. Additionally several ducks will be roaming underfoot making the area difficult terrain, anyone attempting a dash action needs to make a DC10 Dexterity save or trip on a duck and fall prone.
- Choice – during the encounter the players will have a chance to see cultists sneaking around the governor’s manor (Perception DC17), and hear the sounds of panicked goats and snapping planks coming from the nearby goat farm (Perception DC15). By the end of the fight it is too late to notice the cultists, and feminine screams add to the noise of the goats and breaking fence boards.
- Swardheart Farm – several giant lizards whose handlers were slain during the raid have not been rounded up and taken back to the raiders’ camp. They are hungry and have demolished the paddock fence in several places. Dora Fairbairn is clad in leather armor and wielding a short sword (use the Spy listing) making a grand, but largely ineffective attempt to run the giant lizards off. Veneranda Gammidge is watching from the farmhouse porch. Goats are going everywhere.
- Discovery – characters succeeding on a DC 12 Insight check notice that Dora Fairbairn is mostly just putting on a show for Veneranda Gammidge. She can be goaded into fighting for real if this claim is made. Characters succeeding on a DC 17 Perception check notice several cultists hiding in tall grass a distance away, they are waiting for the giant lizards to eat and become sluggish to make recapturing them easier.
- Conflict – goats are everywhere. If a character moves either towards or away from a goat that is within 20 feet of the character it will charge and butt the character. This is not malicious, they are either terrified, excited or playing. The lizards are hungry, after killing 1d4 goats each they will depart unless further provoked. If Dora is slain, Venerada Gammidge will be outraged and will berate the characters. If the giant lizards are defeated quickly the cultists will realize they are outmatched and depart. If the lizards appear to be winning, they will join in to finish the fight.
- Choice – During the fight, one of the Governor’s servants will fall out of a window of his nearby manor, the sound of breaking glass and scream will be clear. The Farm is also now in poor repair and goats are wandering everywhere.
- Developments – If Dora was killed, Veneranda will fly into a rage because while sorting through Dora’s possessions she will find a sack of stolen goods and her diary which describes in clear detail the thefts and murders she’d committed, including her gloating over how easy she’d manipulated Veneranda. Veneranda will miss the last several entries where Dora writes about her mistake of falling in love with her own cover and becoming conflicted about how to come clean and confess. If Dora was not killed, as the characters dash off to rescue the Governor, the characters will overhear a partial confession from Dora to Venerada: “I know my past is a great shadowy mystery. I’ve done a lot of bad things, but all I want now is to frolick with you and play tag with the goats.” She will quietly return her recently stolen goods and contentedly live her days as a goatherd with Veneranda.
- Swineherd’s Swindle – Tucker Duffus is a cultist spy searching for more loot. He has decided at
this point enough is going on that he can make a clean run for it, so he returns to Snoutslap Sties, retrieves his sack of stolen goods and leaves town. He’s been planning for this for a while and covers his trail well. He goes to get his sack when the characters leave Featherend farm, and waits for the next fight to be well under way before leaving town. Because of prior interactions the Insight DC should be 15, but to notice him leaving is Perception DC 15. Unless both checks are successful the characters should be none the wiser for If or Why Tucker has left. Later in the evening, Sandford Porteus will make inquiries, and if the characters treated “poor simple Tucker” badly, may be accused of foul play. Tracking Tucker is DC 20 unless the characters saw him leave and noted what he had for footwear. He is heading for the raiders’ camp, and doesn’t see a need to cover his trail after the first quarter mile. The camp is six hours away on foot. Once there, the camp guards will have full descriptions of the characters.
- Governor’s Manor – A cadre of cultists including one acolyte, two guards, a Giant Lizard and a fanatic as a leader have broken into the Governor’s manor. They have slain nearly all his servants and guards, tortured his mistress while he watched and finally took to ransacking the place and torturing him. They are after the town’s coffers which they realized no one found in the initial raid. He is holding up, but will eventually lose. However, the cultists discover a false bottom in the bottom drawer of the Governor’s desk, remove the heavy iron box from it and begin to leave when the characters arrive. The manor can be any large townhouse floor plan desired. If the characters are still going strong, use a multi floor map with cellars and run this encounter as a dungeon crawl, playing hide and seek with the cultists. Sprinkle unconscious, bound servants here and there with strange stories of robed figures speaking in a weird language. Some of the Governor’s art objects have strange histories and there is at least one in every room above ground.
- The strongbox in the desk was just the “petty cash” and was weighted with lead bars.
- Under the Governor’s bed is a loose floorboard, another iron strongbox is hidden there.
- Behind a plank in the wall of the cellar is the true coffer.
- All three coffers use the same key and are Perception DC 20 to find unless the drawer is removed, the bed is moved or wall planks are tapped on, then the DC is 10.
- The true coffer has a false keyhole, which when used triggers a secondary lock. The real keyhole is in the top of the lid under a movable decoration which is so finely fitted it is DC25 to discover. The secondary lock is automatically disarmed when the proper keyhole is used.
- One of the art objects the Governor has collected is a statuette of a red dragon. However it is somewhat contorted and under close examination it is apparent that it is a part of a larger sculpture. A hidden trigger makes the mouth open and it breathes a small flame sufficient to light flammable objects. It radiates evocation magic. The Governor bought it at an estate sale five years ago while on holiday. He has been having dreams about the statuette lately which disturb him, so he’s been considering selling it. He knows that the statuette may be part of a larger sculpture and about the trigger. He keeps it on the mantle and lights the fire with it. The statue is part of a set of five. A blue one was at the same sale, but he lost the bid on it.
- Conflict – The Fanatic has a garrote around the Governor’s neck and will either hold him hostage or murder him based on character actions. The Fanatic wants all the characters’ valuables and weapons, and thinks they are too dangerous to leave alive. He will murder them once they are unarmed and tied up, though he will leave the Governor alive as promised.
- Choice – the characters must choose what to negotiate for with the cultists, or to go in and slay everyone. The governor is severely beaten and will die in 2d4 rounds of the garrote being tied.
- While rescuing ducks may not be all that necessary, nor are kobolds in this setting a difficult challenge, saving the ducks and interacting with Trom Stonesworn is. He doesn’t quite buy Tucker Duffus’ act. If the characters bully Tucker where there are witnesses Tucker will break down and cry and wail about how he always tries and never gets anything right. The witnesses will take Tucker’s side in nearly all cases. Trom has seen a few inconsistencies and will take the chance he’s right if someone else starts in on Tucker, especially if it’s one of the characters that saved his ducks.
- Dora Fairbairn is a rogue from another town who got on the wrong side of the head of the local thieves’ guild. She left and later heard he was murdered by his own lieutenant. She considered going back, but by then she’d already starting falling for Veneranda Gammidge. Old habits are hard to break, but being with Veneranda makes life really easy so she’s ready to give up on her past and spend the rest of her days raising goats. If she’s accidentally killed, Veneranda will be enraged to find out she’d been duped, then she’d nearly lost everything when the Giant Lizards treated her farm like a buffet. Once she calms down she may ask to join the party, provided there are no female halfling rogues, at least as far as the next town where she’ll try to start over.
- After Tucker Duffus takes off with his loot and Sandford Porteus misses him at suppertime, he makes some rounds and inquiries. He’ll quickly learn the last ones to have words with Tucker was the characters. How the characters treated Tucker will determine how Sandford approaches the characters. Tucker did a good job of endearing himself to the townspeople and they’d be pretty angry if they believed the characters did something to Tucker. Trom Stonesworn can defuse this conflict. Alternatively the characters can try to clear their name and track Tucker down. The raiders are aware adventurers are in the area and are moving camp to a safer area. In two days, only a few stragglers and deserters will be in the area.
- The Governor has already rewarded the characters’ bravery in the earlier conflict and scouting mission. He is uncertain why this last conflict occurred, but won’t jump to a conclusion that the characters stirred them up to attack again. He is thinking of it, however. He can be approached by the characters for a loan to restore Swardheart Farm. Veneranda Gammidge is too proud to do so on her own. He is also aware he directly owes the characters for his life, but won’t risk the town’s sake for them. He would gift the dragon statuette to one of the characters, and should the characters show great interest mention where he had seen another. He would also consider them as his intermediates to an art dealer in a city. The town was heavily damaged in the raid by the cultists and the coffers are not unlimited, however the Governor does have several pieces of rare art he is willing to sell to help the rebuilding efforts. He is also looking for masons, preferably dwarven, to do repairs to the keep and prepare other defences.
A former toolmaker he has learned to adapt to where life takes him. From blacksmithing to wine delivery, whatever the profession, he has tackled them with aplomb. Throughout all, he has logged his time on both sides of the Game Master’s screen in dozens of game systems and taken time for other creative pursuits. For the past several years he has been an indistrial printer working with diverse clients producing major catalog and magezine publications. Now he believes it is time to once again take up the reins and devote his time in meaningful ways to develop his creative pursuits. Out are coming the old notebooks, sketchpads, journals, and libraries of photographs. With the aid of technology they are being refreshed and built on with fresh creative impulses.