26 September 2020

A Hairy Situation - Free D&D 5e Adventure

Another week, another adventure! I will readily admit that a lot of my adventures aren't very serious. This is, frankly, by design. I enjoy writing adventures with an element of comedy to them (which is why I love Boggles, Nilbogs and that whole vein of creature). I do, however, also enjoy pushing my players in a moral sense on occasion. This adventure is a great example of that, as I hope you will realise by the time you reach the epilogue. This can be a really interesting beginning to a longer story, or be played as a dark standalone adventure, and I really hope you enjoy running this for your groups.

The Build Up

Whilst the party are first beginning to investigate a new town/village, let one of the rumours they hear be that a family were attacked nearly a month ago, on a full moon, by some unknown creature. No one survived the attack, and all of the bodies were covered in scratch and bite marks. Every couple of days, in game, have the party overhear worries about the same happening again, this month. The party will, of course, assume a lycanthrope of some variety, and this can be easily confirmed by asking any of the locals what they think - a Werewolf is living somewhere in the area.

If the players ask about the state of the moon during the evenings, let them know that it is nearly full, probably only 2 or 3 days left until the next full moon. The day that the full moon is due, have them approached by a relative/friend of the deceased family.

Another fun rumour to plant is that the woods in the north have recently become more hostile, with dangerous creatures/plants becoming more commonplace.

The Quest

The relative will ask the party if they can investigate the area. He/she will ask the party to stand guard in the town, preferably near their house, and keep watch after dark. In exchange for this service, they will offer to pay the party 100 gold (obviously, the party will want to haggle - the NPC will offer to throw in a family relic, a necklace worth 75 gold).

Regardless of whether or not the party accepts the quest, the next part will happen almost exactly the same (except they won’t get paid).

In the Village at Night

If the party agrees to the job, then they will likely be stood guard outside the relative’s house when this next part happens. If they do not, then make sure to ask them whereabouts in the village they are when the sun sets.

After the sun has gone down, and the moon is high in the sky, the party will hear a howl, coming from the opposite side of town. Shortly after hearing the howl, they will hear a scream, seemingly having come from a fully grown human man. If (when) the party investigates the scene, they will find a villager/town guard (your choice) dead on the ground. The body will be covered in bite and scratch marks, and there will be a trail leading away from the settlement, into the woods to the north.

If the party asks around, any villager they talk to will comment on having seen something/someone running away to the north, holding what seemed to be a child. If the party doesn't ask, they won’t know. So hey, either works! Either way, the trail will lead the party to the woods in the north, where the adventure will begin for real.

The Area

The Map (labelled)

The Woods

The woods at night are considered to be in a permanent state of dim-light, and players without darkvision will have reduced line of sight for the whole adventure. The areas underneath the trees are considered to be in darkness, and even players with darkvision will struggle to see through the trunks. The trees are home to a number of different creatures that will remain unseen in the adventure, but which will regularly move around creating rustling sounds and casting occasional shadows (which will be easily noticed if the party approach the treeline at any point).

The Cave

If the party asks about the woods at all, the locals will talk about a cave deep in the woods that is home to a pack of wolves. “Wolf Cave” (or similar, less crap name) is a local landmark, but not one the locals go into/near, due to the violent nature of its inhabitants. 


W1 - Woods Entrance

When the party first enter the woods, they will hear a howl coming from further in. A wisdom (survival) check, DC 12, will reveal that this sound came from the west side of the woods. The sound will echo slightly, as if coming from within a cave. About 2 seconds after the initial howl, a number of other howls will join in, as if in response to the initial call. This sound is coming from inside the cave, C2 for the initial call, and C1 for the responses.

This area has two exits; one to the north west, and one to the south east. The south east exit leads back towards the town, and off of the map, whilst the north west exit takes the party to W2.

W2 - Fork in the Path

When the party enters this area, they will find a dead end straight ahead, and an exit either side of the clearing. Whilst there is no howling this time, they will be able to hear the wolves barking to the west.

The pathway to the south west of this clearing leads into W3, and if the players look that way, they will notice a fine coating of webbing across the floor and trees leading down that path. The sound of the barking seems to be coming from this rough direction (if not a little more north).

To the north east, the path leads towards W4. Down this pathway, the party will begin to see occasional fungi growing underneath the tree cover. This pathway also seems to have more tree cover, and becomes quite dark as the party looks further down it.

The final exit to this area is to the south east, and takes the party back to W1, where they can exit the woods.

W3 - Spider Den

As the party enter this area, they will find themselves in a large clearing, surrounded on all sides by trees. A creature with a passive perception of 13 or higher will notice that the trees in this clearing are all covered in webbing, creating a wall around it. There are 2 Giant Jumping Spiders (see statblock below) and 2d2+2 Giant Jumping Spiderlings (see statblock below) living here, which will be hiding in amongst the treetops (DC 15 wisdom (perception) check to notice).

If the players spend more than a minute in this area, the spiders will attack; one of the Spiders will jump to the exit, blocking the path out, whilst the rest will descend on the party. If the party decides not to investigate, and instead try to leave, two of the Spiderlings will jump to block the path, whilst the adult Spiders will approach the party from behind.

After dealing with the spiders, the party will be able to hear the barking of the wolves coming from the north. Between the sound and the party, however, will be a dense treeline. The space between these trees will be filled with webbing, and any creatures approaching will notice movement in the shadows behind the web. A player can destroy this webbing by dealing 5 or more damage to it through either slashing or fire damage, and doing so will cause 2d3+1 more Spiderlings to come through the hole made.

The only exit to this room is the pathway leading to W2, to the north east.

W4 - Violet Fungus Den

As the players work their way towards W4, the amount of mushrooms will begin to increase, becoming denser around the treeline. The majority of these mushrooms will be a brownish-red in colour. The exception to this will be 2d2+2 Violet Fungi (basic rules - p309) growing in the main area of W4. These will attack any living creature that enters their range, and will attempt to incapacitate the party in order to feed off of their rotting flesh.

If a player decides to interact with any of the other mushrooms in this area, please refer to the description of the mushrooms in the W5 section below.

This area has two different exits, one to the northwest, and one to the northeast. The northeast path will lead the party onwards to W5, and the mushrooms will start growing more densely down this path, with the tree coverage becoming thicker too. The other exit is the northwest path, which will lead the party back to W2

W5 - Mushroom Clearing

The clearing the party will find themselves in has complete tree coverage from above, with next to no light being able to come in from the sky. Inside this area, the party will find the woods floor almost covered in these small brownish-red mushrooms. The mushrooms themselves will not move, as they are not creatures, but they will be surrounded by a thin cloud of spores. Any player walking through this area will need to make two checks: a dexterity (acrobatics) check, to see if they disturb any of the mushrooms, and a constitution saving throw.

The first check is the dexterity (acrobatics) check. The DC for this is 13, and passing will mean they can cross to the other side without touching/disturbing any of the mushrooms. Failing this check will result in one (or more, depending how badly they failed) of the mushrooms letting out a larger cloud of spores, filling the clearing. Touching or attacking any of these mushrooms will also have the same effect, but without the dexterity check.

The next roll is the constitution save. If all of the party pass through this area without disturbing the mushrooms, this can be made at advantage, but if any of the party fails, it is made normally (and at disadvantage by the player who failed the acrobatics check). The DC for this is 14, and passing means the spores only deal 1d4 necrotic damage. Failing this check deals 2d4 necrotic damage, and the affected player will feel their strength drain from their body, giving them disadvantage on all strength checks/saving throws until the next time they take a long rest.

There are two pathways into/out of this area. One to the south, and one to the west. The south pathway leads the party back into W4, and the western pathway leads to W6, where the tree cover begins to thin, and the party can see the cliff face.

W6 - Tripwire Corridor

Finally out of the tree cover, the party will find themselves in a corridor, walled on one side by the sheer face of the cliff, and on the other by a near solid wall of trees. The moon is directly visible above the area, and illuminates the pathway well. There are three tripwires in this area, each of which is connected to a pulley that will cause a small pile of rocks to fall from the top of the cliff face onto the party below. These tripwires can be noticed with an intelligence (investigation) check, DC 13, and can be avoided by simply walking carefully over them.

If the party does not investigate for traps, and walk through the area without care, ask each player to make a dexterity (acrobatics) check, DC 13, to avoid accidentally tripping one of the traps.

If the party triggers one, rocks will fall from above. Each player within 10 foot of the tripwire will have to make a DC 13 dexterity save, taking 2d4 bludgeoning damage on a fail, and none on a success. If there are any un-triggered tripwires around when one is set off, roll a D6 for each one; on a 1-5, nothing will happen, on a 6, a rock from the previous trap will trigger it. If a second tripwire is tripped through a rock falling on it, players in this area will have to make another dexterity save, but this time at advantage.

These tripwires can be disengaged too, through a successful dexterity (thieves tools) check, DC 14. On a success, the trap is disengaged and safe, but on a fail of 5 or more (lower than a 9), it is triggered. 

This corridor leads between W5 and W7. It is a straight pathway between the two, with the path leading to W5 being covered with a thicker layer of foliage above.

W7 - Cave Entrance

The clearing at W7 is a small area, with two exits. The area is just outside the entrance to the “Wolf Cave” (or whatever you call it), and the party can hear the barking coming from inside very loudly. The area smells like dried blood, and damp fur, and the moon is clearly visible above the clearing. If the party wants to take a short rest, this location is the last chance they’ll get (though they don’t know that).

The exit to the east of this clearing takes the players back into W6, whilst the cave opening to the north will take them into C1. The cave entrance has a number of bones from various creatures scattered around it, and the party cannot see much beyond the entrance, as the path inside curves round to the east quite quickly.

C1 - Wolf Pack Base

The path into C1 from W7 is quite long, and curves partway down, blocking the view in/out. Inside, a pack of 1 Dire Wolf (basic rules - p123) and 2d2+2 Wolves (basic rules - p159) can be found. These Wolves are loyal to the Direwolf pack leader, who is in turn loyal to the Werewolf in C2. They will do anything to stop the party from gaining entrance to the second half of the cave, and will fight with their lives to keep the party out.

There are two cave paths out of this cavern. The first is in the south, and takes the party back out W7. The other path leads deeper into the cave, to C2. Down this path, the party cannot see the next area, due to the curvature of the tunnel. The players will see a faint glow coming from the other side of this tunnel, and if they listen, will be able to hear the crackle of a fire.

C2 - Werewolf Den

As the players make their way down the tunnel to C2, they will be stopped before exiting to the room by a human male. He will be a 30-something year old man, wearing very tattered/torn clothes, and will approach the player with his hands in the air, showing empty hands. If the players give him a chance to talk before killing him (and we all know what players can be like…), he will explain that he is not the werewolf.

He will ask the party to put down their weapons, and follow him. If they do so, he will guide them further into the cave, into C2, where they will see his set-up. Just inside the entrance, there is a tattered rug, on which the man has placed a sleeping mat and pillow. Just a little further in, there is a campfire, crackling away, keeping the room warm, with a couple of sausages on sticks cooking over it. At the far end, there is a dirty pile of hay, upon which a young looking werewolf, only about 4 ft. tall, is sleeping, chained to the cave wall.

The man will explain that his daughter was cursed with lycanthropy, two months ago, whilst they were travelling. Her mother died in the attack, and she became afflicted. She is not aware of her own condition, and cannot control herself whilst transformed by a full moon. He had set this cave up as a place to hold her during her transformations, after she escaped last month (he was not aware of her condition until then). As he was trying to bring her here this month, she transformed earlier than he had planned and managed to escape his grip and attack the man in town. After the attack, he drugged her with a sleeping dart, and brought her here to keep her (and everyone in town) safe.

He will beg the party to help him. Whether this be by sparing her life and lying to the townspeople, or by helping him find a cure to her condition (ooh, possible storyline in the future?), he doesn’t mind, just so long as they agree to spare her life.

If the party refuses to spare the girl, the man will run to her shackles, and try to unlock her, and then wake her up (risking his own life in the process). He will fight alongside her (if he does not die before getting a chance), and the two will fight against the party. The child will use the Werewolf Child statblock below for this fight.

If the party does not place down their weapons, he will refuse to let them into the room. And if they try to push past him, he will draw his dagger, and threaten them. The man uses the Commoner statblock (basic rules - p163), with the club replaced with a dagger (same damage and attack roll, just with piercing damage instead of bludgeoning). When the party enters, they will see the scene described above, but without the exposition the man would have provided. Maybe put a child's doll next to the young werewolf, to give it some context?


So how did your party do? Did they spare the girl? If so how did they handle it? This could easily be the start of a longer story within your campaign, should you want that. If they simply lied to the village, will she escape again? If they look for a cure, how will they find it? Will they need a priest? Do they need to track down rare ingredients? The options are endless. And don’t forget; when a lycanthrope dies, they revert to their original form. Make sure to describe the lifeless body of a 6-7 year old girl, lying on the cold cave floor, should they pick the violent end. Remember, not all stories have a happy ending.

The Map (With Grid)

The Map (Without Grid)

Jumping Spider Statblock

Jumping Spiderling Statblock

Werewolf Child Statblock

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