25 July 2020

A (Kob) Old Fashioned Haunting - Free D&D 5e Adventure

So before I get properly into the adventure, I want to make a few points about this one. This is very different from all of my other adventures, in that it is not actually dungeon crawl/fighting themed. This week's adventure is a mystery! As such, I have written it to take a certain amount of time, no matter what, and hopefully give your players a good time.

This adventure starts off with a relatively serious tone, but that is by no means how it will likely end. It is not designed to be a combat based adventure, but we all know what players can be like (indeed), so I’ve provided statblocks for the Kobold Thieves and Kobold Illusionists, should your players decide that peace isn’t an option. That said, I really like these little guys… It’d be a shame if anything happened to them.

The Build Up

To build up to running this adventure, you actually have nearly nothing to do! You can run this game as a one shot, as part of a larger campaign, or even as a great first session for a new group. If you want to build up, I would recommend the following:

When the party arrives in the town/village where you will be running this adventure, let them hear the rumour that a local homeowner is struggling to sell his house, and that he recently had the local priest over for tea, only to have a large argument with him, as the two parted ways. If you want to build further, you could always let your players see the house, describe the place as a very pleasant looking place, with a “For Sale” sign outside. If they want to look at the place, let them see something move in one of the windows, but don’t let them know what.

The “Quest”

Depending on the level of the party you are running this adventure for, you will have to present it in different ways. Below, I will include three different ways of introducing it, and how to approach the PC’s about it.

Intro Session - If you decide that this is how you want to begin your campaign, then amazing. There must be tonnes of better ways, but I appreciate your trust in my work! Before the game, let the players know that an NPC, who knows all of them from different walks of life, has gotten in touch about a favour they owe him. He will gather them all in a (heaven forbid I’m saying this word) Tavern *shudders*, and ask them to investigate his house, and see what the hell is going on. (followed in the cont. paragraph)

Established Party - If you are slotting this adventure into your campaign, then great! It should be a good laugh for players of most levels, from really low (1-3), to mid-high (8-9). Either have the party find a poster on a local jobs board “Help Needed - I’m Desperate” or be asked by a friendly NPC or local authority of some kind to give their aid to a local landowner. When the party meets this man, he will tell them all about his problem. (followed in the cont. paragraph)

One Shot - If you want to simply run this game as a one shot, the best possible premise (as far as I’m concerned) would be to ask the players to put together either individual characters, or a team, who work as “Ghost Hunters” or similar. They will have been approached about the job below, and smelling a quick buck to be made, immediately headed over to take it. They will meet the homeowner, who will tell them his plight. (followed in the cont. paragraph)

Cont. - When the party meets the homeowner, he will tell them that his house (which has been in his family for years), has become infested with ghosts. He will tell them that he brought in the local priest, who told him that there were no undead entities in the building, despite the fact that he (the homeowner) has seen them. He has reached the end of his tether, and needs someone he trusts (or at least trusts will work for the right price) to investigate what is going on.

He will offer to pay the party an amount of gold equal to 100 x the average party level, payable after their investigation, if they take the job. He will give them a set of master keys, but tell them that he cannot find his key to the Cellar, but believes that there is a spare in one of the bedrooms upstairs in the property.

If the party wants to ask him more questions, he will offer them the following information. Some of the rooms have been getting hotter and colder at random times. Sometimes he can hear scratching from empty rooms. He has seen a ghost in at least two of the rooms. There are drafts coming from areas there shouldn't be any air. That he has found things in different places, where he didn’t leave them. And that he really just wants to sell the place, as it has been uninhabited for about 5 years, and he’s only in the area for a few days (after he inherited it, he wasn’t able to make the journey).

The Mystery

The issue I have with a lot of mystery themed adventures, is that players never follow a set path. They will not find some clues (some of which might be essential to the solution), and sometimes they will go straight to the room with the solution in it. Either way takes away a lot of the fun of discovering what is going on, and unraveling the mystery slowly.

My solution to this is that each room in the map provided has been given a basic description below, and most will have either the word Event or Clue somewhere in them. For either, when the condition to trigger either is met, you will use the next item in either list (below), that you haven’t already used. This way, it guarantees that the party will search a good amount of the building, as well as start to put ideas together regarding what is going on.

For Event rooms, most of the time there will be a specific trigger. Say a player investigates a certain item, or walks to a certain area within the room, that will cause whatever the Event is. When players trigger an Event, work your way down the event list (below) to determine what will happen.

Similarly, when players are in a Clue room, it will give a specific area within the room, as well as a description of where the clue will be hidden. When a player decides to investigate the area in which the Clue is located, work your way down the Clue list below. 


Clue 1: Some scratch marks on the floor. If the players are in a room in which the clue is hidden in a high place, or inside something, give clue 2 instead, giving this next time they find a clue. An intelligence (nature) check (DC 13) will reveal these to have been made by a reptilian creature (if they rolled higher than an 18, let them know that it was a Kobold).

Clue 2: A couple of bits of wire, some screws, and a tool used for tinkering (your choice). If the players have already triggered a trap of some kind, they will realise that it was made from bits like this (unless it was a magical trap).

Clue 3: A fragment of a red scale, knocked off due to some kind of scuffle. An intelligence (nature) check (DC 14) will reveal this to belong to a Kobold.

Clue 4: A key to the cellar. This will be left by itself, as if accidentally dropped, along with some pocket lint.


Event 1: A ghostly apparition appears in the centre of the room, and wails loudly. Each player must make a DC14 wisdom save, taking 2d4 psychic damage on a fail, and none on  success. Any attempts to interact with the ghost will pass straight through it, as if it were an illusion (which it is). It will disappear after 1 minute, and in the meantime, it will bob around awkwardly, occasionally wailing (but dealing no further damage).

Event 2: The players will hear a scratching noise from the room directly above/below them (depending on the floor they are on). It sounds like claws scrambling over a wooden surface. Whilst the players are distracted, a Kobold Thief will sneak in and try to steal something from one of their packs. The players can make a wisdom (perception) check (at disadvantage, due to the distraction), DC 17, to see if they notice this.

Event 3: A glyph of warding in this room will trigger, casting the spell Fear on the party. The save DC for this is 14.

Event 4: The item stolen in event 2 is left in this room, in plain sight. It is placed on a pressure plate (wisdom (perception) or intelligence (investigation) check, DC 16 will reveal this) that is connected to a series of bottles of Liquid Ice (description below), which will all open, dropping the temperature of the room by 15 degrees, and a windbox will make a “whooshing” sound, like a gust of wind blowing through a tight space.

(if the players spotted the item being stolen, there will instead be an item of mid value (25-50 gold) on the pressure plate)

The House

The house itself is a relatively normal looking building. It is built in an L shape, and looks to be on the more expensive end of property in the area. There are two entrances, the main door at the front, through the Garden, and a small door around the side, leading into B1 and the cellar.

The door to the front of the house is locked, but the party will have been given the key by the homeowner. The door to the Cellar, also, is locked, but the party do not have a key. The cellar door lock can be picked, but the lock itself is trapped. If anything other than the key is used, a poisoned needle will stick out into the hand of whoever is trying to pick the lock. The needle deals 1d4 piercing damage, and the player must make a constitution save (DC 14) or take 1d6 poison damage as well (half as much on a save). A player can investigate the lock, and with a DC 16 intelligence (investigation) check, they will see that the lock is trapped (and be able to work out how the trap works). This trap cannot be disarmed from the outside.


The players will begin in the garden of the house, whilst here, the player with the highest passive perception will notice some movement behind one of the windows, but be unable to see what the movement was. They will also hear a scratching noise from within the house, being caused by a Kobold running to hide (but don’t tell them that bit, okay?).

The door will be locked, but the set of keys they have been given will open the door easily. When it opens, it will do so with a creaking sound. 

G1 - The Entrance Hall

When the party first enters the house, they will find themselves in the Entrance Hall. The room itself is pretty simplistic, and small, containing a simple rug by the door, for people ot wipe their feet on, a door to the north, leading to G2, a few pots along the walls, one containing an umbrella, and a set of stairs to the east side of the room, leading up to F1.

When the players enter, they will hear a moaning/wailing sound all around them (this is caused by a glyph of warding triggering the cantrip “Minor Illusion” (spell save DC 14). The wailing will slowly become the words “Leave this place!” screamed at the party with a ghostly voice. Nothing else will happen in this room.

G2 - The Corridor

The corridor is a small room, 10x15 ft. with doors that lead into 3 different rooms. The door in the western wall leads into G3, the door in the north leads to G4, and the southern door leads into G1.

Event - When the party enter this room for the first time, please refer to the Events table above for whatever event you next need to trigger. (Most likely Event 1, but they players may have headed upstairs first)

On subsequent entrances to this room, nothing will happen.

G3 - The Living Room

The Living room is the largest room in this house. As the players enter, the first thing they will notice is the dining table, set with 6 chairs, in front of them. To the north of this room, there is a couch and chair, sat around a coffee table. The room doesn't look very lived in, and looks more like it belongs in a show home. It looks like all of the furniture in this room has been placed here by the homeowner, in a bid to sell it for a higher price.

Clue - If the party investigates this room, they will be able to find a clue underneath the table (DC 14 intelligence (investigation) check to find).

There is only one door into/out of this room, to the east, which will lead the players back into G2. There are a couple of windows looking out of this room that the party can look at. If they do, they will see the door to the cellar swing shut, and see the lock turn in it. 

G4 - The Kitchen

When the party enters the kitchen, they will see that it has been very recently cleaned, and had a lot of new equipment brought in. Opposite the entrance, the party can see a fireplace. It seems to be relatively new, if not recently cleaned, and even has a brand new spit inside it, for roasting. Around the corner, the room has been laid out with rows of pots and pans, underneath a preparation station, with a new looking kitchen knife and a chopping board on top. The owner was clearly looking to sell to human sized occupants, not gnomes/dwarfs/halflings.

Event - The party will trigger the next event from the events list above after they are all in the room.

There are two exits to this room, one in the south, that leads to G2, and another in the south east (around the other leg of the L) that takes the party into G5.

G5 - The Parlor

The parlor is a very neatly kept room, with shelves, boxes, barrels and more inside. The room seems to be well stocked, but as the party looks closer, a lot of the boxes and barrels are actually empty. There are a few meats hanging from a drying rack to the south east of the room, but other than that, there is little in the way of edible food in here.

Clue - The clue in this room can be found inside one of the crates. Should the players investigate the room as a whole, it is a DC 15 investigation check to find this, whereas if they specifically investigate the crates, the DC is 10.

The only door into/out of this room is to the north, and leads into G4. If the players investigate the rest of this room, they can find grains and dried meats enough for 5 days worth of rations.

F1 - The Hallway

As the players ascend the stairs, they will find themselves in a long hallway, stretching around the whole floor. Along this hallway, there are a number of doorways leading off to other rooms. Despite the good condition of the house and the flooring, the floorboards will creak when the party walks over them. 

When the party first enters this room, a gust of wind will blow through from one end, all the way to the other. As it does so, the temperature will drop by about 5 degrees, and the players will feel a chill. Following the gust, there will be a whisper on the air, saying “Get. Out.” This sound is created using the spell Minor Illusion, and a successful investigation check (DC 14) will reveal it to be so.

The doors in this hallway each lead into a different bedroom on this floor, so please refer to the map above for the layout.

F2 - The Master Bedroom

The largest of the bedrooms, the master bedroom is kitted out with all of the necessities. Towards the centre of the room, there is a lush carpet, spread out to cover a large portion of the wooden floor. Around the walls of the room, there are dressers, a vanity table, and a bookshelf. The beg itself is a large queen size, and unlike a lot of the rest of the house, looks lived in. The covers are pulled back slightly, the pillows are disorganised, and the sheets are ruffled.

Clue - The clue in this room is inside the bed itself, hidden between the covers and the mattress. Players searching this room will find it with an intelligence (investigation) check, DC 15 (or DC 10 if they decide to investigate the bed specifically).

The only way into and out of this room is the door to the north, leading the party back into F1. If the party wishes to look through the dressers/vanity table, they can find some simple jewellery worth 45 gold, and two sets of fine clothes.

F3 - The Guest Room

Probably the first room upstairs the party will investigate, the guest room is nearly spotless. Well kept, and with expensive looking sheets on the bed, the room is clearly kept only for important visitors. Along the walls are a number of bookshelves, stocked with novels and other books that look untouched. As well as the shelves, there is a vanity table built on top on a dresser (the dresser section is empty, but the party can find a fine bone hairbrush on the vanity, worth 15 gold).

Event - When the whole party have entered the room, trigger the next event from the list of events above.

The only entrance into this room is to the south, leading to/from F1.

F4 - Single Bedroom 1

To the north west section of the building there are two rooms that are identical in size. The southernmost of these two rooms is the single bedroom 1. This room is clearly set up to accommodate an intellectual child or young teenager. The bookcase in this room contains books on alchemy, science and more, and the open book on top of the dresser contains information on illusion magic (it looks recently read).

Event - When the whole party have entered the room, trigger the next event from the list of events above.

The only entrance to this room is the door leading from F1. If the party investigate the room, they will find the books, and a lantern, half filled with oil on a reading desk.

F5 - Single Bedroom 2

To the north west section of the building there are two rooms that are identical in size. The northernmost of these two rooms is the single bedroom 2. Upon entering this room the party will see that it is done up for a young girl. The walls have a faint shade of pink paint, and there is a small vanity table set up with some cheap looking makeup and perfumes. In the north east corner, there is also a piano set up,covered in a thin layer of dust.

Clue - The rug in the centre of the room is slightly rucked (the players will notice this if they have a passive perception of 14 or higher, or with a wisdom (perception) check of 14 or higher. Underneath this rug there is the next clue from the above list.

The only exit to this room is back through the door leading from F1. If the players look around the room they can find some makeup/perfume, as well as some books of musical score. These are not worth any money, but might be interesting curios for them nonetheless.

B1 - The Cellar Entrance

The first room the players will find upon making their way down into the basement, will be the cellar entrance. This small room contains a couple of barrels filled with grains, and a crate, which is currently empty. There is a door to the north east of the room that leads into B2

On the floor in this room, the players will see a set of tracks, leading from the door they came from to the next room in. An intelligence (nature) check, DC 13, will reveal these tracks to belong to a Kobold. The door leading into B2 will be shut then the players enter this room, and the handle will be heated from the other side, via a small magical fire underneath the handle on the far side. A player who investigates the door will be able to notice the heat with a DC 12 intelligence (investigation) check. Touching the handle with bare hands will deal 1d4 fire damage to the creature that touches it, though this can be circumvented by opening it using a layer of cloth (clothing, hempen sack, etc.) to open the door.

B2 - Box Room

The tracks from the previous room lead towards the stack of crates, and then into the door to the north, which leads into B3. To the south of this room, there is a small stack of crates, the topmost of which is open. Next to this stack is another open crate, which is completely empty.

Inside the top crate of the stack, there is a phrase written in draconic: “Knock here thrice, to proceed safely”, under which there is an X shape. If the players cannot read draconic, this will mean nothing to them, and they will simply see the X shape. There is a glyph of warding in this room (DC 14 intelligence (investigation) to spot this, which is triggered by a creature walking through the northern door without knocking on the panel in the crate three times.

If a player tries to walk through the door to B3 without meeting the conditions for the Glyph, an alarm will trigger, and the spell Sleep will be cast on the party, at 3rd level (9d8 hit points are affected). If this happens, two Kobold Thief’s will come out of the tunnel into B3 and they will look to see who was affected. If the whole party is put to sleep, the thieves will descend upon them, stealing 1 item of value from each player, but if there is even 1 player still awake, they will run back and alert the other kobolds in C2 about the incoming humans.

There are two doors out of this room, one to the north, and one to the west. The western door leads into B1, where the players will have entered the cellar, and the northern door leads into B3.

B3 - The Big Room

When the party enters this room, they will notice that it does not line up perfectly with the layout of the floors above, being too short horizontally. They will also notice two other things, firstly; there is a carpet in the room, that seems to have had the western wall built over it, blocking the edge, and secondly; that there is a faint draft emanating from the western wall.

The wall to the west of this room is actually an illusion, an intelligence (investigation) check, DC 14, will reveal it to be as such, as will any attempt to physically interact with it.

On the other side of the illusory wall there is a missing section of wall (the real wall) with a tunnel dug into (or out of) it. The tunnel is only about 4 ft. tall, and 3 ft. wide (meaning medium creatures will have to treat it as difficult terrain (it becomes wider and taller at the fork inside, and medium/smaller creatures can move freely from that point).

Along the walls in this room are a number of barrels, most of which are empty. The ones that are not, contain wine (1d4+1 barrels are still full) which could theoretically be sold to a tavern at 2 gold a barrel. In a box to the eastern side of the room, the party can find a collection of brewers supplies, clearly belonging to the previous owner, and the reason there is so much wine in the cellar.

C1 - Pit Room

This cave is relatively large, and is mostly dominated by a 25 ft. deep pit. Along the south west wall of this cave, there is a thin pathway leading to another tunnel. A medium or larger creature trying to cross this path must make a DC 14 dexterity (acrobatics) check, whilst small or tiny creatures make this check at advantage, or fall down to the bottom of the pit.

If a creature falls, it takes 2d6 bludgeoning damage from the fall, and must spend 1d6+2 minutes climbing out with the aid of the rest of the party.

The exit to the south of this room leads the players into C2.

C2 - Campfire Room

After the pit room, the party can find their way into a smaller cave, in which the Kobolds can be found. In this room there are 3 Kobold Thieves (see statbock below), 1 Kobold Illusionist (see statbock below), and 2d3+2 Kobolds (basic rules - p142). 

The Kobolds will be sat on the logs around the dead campfire, drinking wine from a barrel. If the kobolds were alerted by the alarm before, the thieves and illusionist will be standing in wait, watching the entrance to the room. Otherwise they will be sat with their backs against the walls, in conversation. When the players enter, they will be surprised, and draw their weapons (but only in a defensive manner, not to attack).

The Thieves and Illusionist will try to reason with the party, explaining that they were cut off from the rest of their tribe, in a rock-slide. The continued digging, in the hopes of finding a safe passage back to their kin, only to find their way into the wine cellar. Seeing a chance, they made a home for themselves, and tried to make the most of their situation, whilst they tried to mine the way back through the rock-slide. When the new owner began to make renovations, they became scared they would lose their new home, and tried to scare him off using illusion magic and clever traps, never wanting to hurt anyone, just to scare people away from their new home. They will also apologize for any harm their traps and tricks have caused the party. They will beg the party to spare their lives, if they can come to some arrangement.

If the party chose to help them, check the Epilogue section below, otherwise, combat will break out. There is little to no loot to be had in this area, and the party can feel bad for killing a bunch of lost, scared kobolds.

C3 - Cave-In Room

There is a tripwire in the entrance to this room. A wisdom (perception) ro intelligence (investigation) check, DC 13, will reveal this to the players. Tripping it will cause a chain of events that will do nothing for 60 seconds, after which a net attached to the ceiling of the room (in the centre) will swing open, dropping rocks and boulders in a 15 ft. radius of the centre of the cave. Players in this area must make a DC 14 dexterity save, taking 3d4 bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much on a success.

The room itself is a large open space, with little inside it. To the south, there is another cave opening, blocked by fallen rocks. There are two pickaxes left against the rock pile, clearly having been used to try and dig to the other side. The pickaxes are small, as if designed for humanoids of a smaller size than usual. 

If the players did not trigger the tripwire, they can look up and see the net of rocks, and an intelligence (investigation) check of D 12 will reveal to them that it would have been triggered by the tripwire at the entrance. If they did trigger the tripwire, they can also see it, but with a wisdom (perception) check, DC 14, giving them advantage on the dex save, as they know it’s there.


If the party killed the kobolds, then great. They are monsters, and deserve to feel bad. On the bright side, the homeowner will pay them, and thank them for dealing with his problem, job done!

Maybe he could even offer to sell them the house for a reduced price, after the service they provided?

If, however, your players have hearts, the kobolds should be alive and well. The homeowner, conveniently, owns a mine! If the players approach him about the problem, without taking combative action, he will agree to make a deal with the kobolds for free lodging, if they agree to work in his mine for a reduced wage. 

Alternatively, the party can clear the rocks blocking the kobolds way home, by spending 2d2 days working underground. Thankful for the help, the kobolds will offer the players a small amount of “shiny stones” (gems) worth a total of 100 gold, as well as their heartfelt thanks. Who knows, maybe one day the party will need a favour from a bunch of kobolds?

Either way, I really hope you enjoy running this adventure, and I hope your players have fun. And I really, really, hope they didn’t kill the kobolds…

Liquid Ice

Wonderous Item, Uncommon

The pale blue liquid in these vials is created through a complicated alchemical process. When uncorked and exposed to the air, it will instantly evaporate, lowering the temperature in an enclosed space by up to 5 degrees. If this liquid comes into contact with exposed skin, it deals 1 cold damage, and if drunk will cause 1 level of exhaustion, until the next long rest.

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