In my last post, I talked about running a one-shot for six complete newcomers using an extended/modified version of Dyson Logos’ Goblin Gully one-sheet dungeon. I added some stuff to it, mainly to give a bit of an introduction to the core mechanics (with a straightforward battle against some bandits) and a chance for a bit of out-of-dungeon roleplaying (by interacting in the town before venturing to the dungeon).
It worked really well as a 1st-level introductory game. The dungeon is just complex and multi-layered enough to give a chance for tactical decisions, and the final encounter really emphasises that sometimes you don’t have to defeat the enemy, just capture them. My notes that I used, in addition to the original dungeon, are below. And check Dyson’s stuff out! There are loads of really good maps, geomorphs, and adventures on his website.
The PCs are young, thrusting adventurers out to earn their fortune. They have recently taken their first, exciting, job – escorting the merchant Donia and her husband Reaghan through the High Forest to the village of Stone Stand.
They are attacked by bandits, and Reaghan is wounded before they are able to chase them off, and they learn that there is much increased bandit activity – linked to the goblins near the Kalil Slave Pit. At the town, Donia and the innkeeper Jarrod engage them to investigate the Slave Pit and drive off the goblins.
Donia is an able and capable merchant, middle-aged with a steely stare and an eye for business.
Reaghan, her husband, is a feckless idiot, an ex-adventurer who doesn’t see why the PCs should have been hired since he can easily deal with a few bandits.
Jarrod, the innkeeper of the Wyvern’s Rest, is a stout and hearty barkeep who just wants the best for Stone Stair.
Scene One – Ambush!
As the players round a corner in the depths of the High Forest, less than a day’s travel away, their cart sticks in the mud – closer inspection (DC 10 perception) shows that a groove has been hollowed out in the road deliberately to trap them. As they inspect, Spencer and his Bandits approach – Reaghan immediately challenges them, and is seriously wounded by an arrow for his troubles.
There is one Bandit for every PC, plus Spencer, the leader. They attempt to flee if the battle starts to clearly go against them, which it probably will.
Spencer: As a normal Bandit but hp 18.
Searching the bandits they find two potions of healing (regain 2d4+2 hp) and a map showing the details of the Kalil Slave Pit, with scrawled notes on it – Keep Adventurers Away from Stone Stand, and from the Pit – Maglubiyet will reward you (10 gp/adventure head – double if alive!).
Reaghan can be stabilized with a Wisdom (Medicine) DC 10 check, or any healing that restores even 1hp. If there isn’t a cleric or paladin in the party, consider them finding an extra potion of healing – maybe on Spencer. Once he is stabilized they can continue to the village.
Tracking the bandits
If they are keen to track them, they can make a Wisdom (Survival) DC 10 check to show that they have a basic camp about half a day’s march away. There they may be able to ambush the remaining bandits, or question them about the goblins
Questioning the bandits
Spencer and his men are opportunists – they dug the hole in the hope of a cart coming along because they’ve tracked the PCs for the past day. The goblin bounty has made ambushing carts much more lucrative as there are often adventurers amongst them. They will plead with the PCs to let them go, or failing that to at least take them back to town – Wisdom (Insight) DC 10 will reveal that what they are really scared of is being sent to the goblins.
Scene Two – Stone Stair
Stone Stair is a picturesque village in the middle of the wilderness, nestled on either side of stone steps up a hillside, making it very defensible but also reliant on imports for food. The one tavern, the Wyvern’s Rest, is run by Jarrod, a retired adventurer. As they are settled and rested, they will learn that Stone Stair has been beset by bandits – none have dared attack the village itself yet, but many supply carts have gone missing, and there are rumours of goblins abroud in the hills to the north as well.
Jarrod and Dorian will offer the PCs 200 gp to clear out and/or investigate the old Kalil Slave Pits – a mysterious wanderer, Kras, will tell them that he has seen the bridge has been restored to it.
They can question any of the NPCs around town about the Slave Pits – on a successful DC 10 check of an appropriate skill they receive a True rumour from the Goblin Gully sheet, on a failed on they receive a False one – but will know it is questionable.
Scene Three – Goblin Gully
The PCs can make their way to the Kalil Slave Pits and explore Goblin Gully as per the one-sheet. Additional notes for each location are below.
By investigation, the goblins believe the black pudding to be an avatar of Maglubiyet, and have been throwing sacrifices in. They have been running short, so last week two goblins were pushed in, and their claw marks are visible on the walls as they tried to escape.
- Entrance – two Goblins up a tree. They attack with their shortbows.
- Grand Hall – four Goblins guard here (or one per PC) (Passive Perception 9 if sneak)
- Bridge Room – two Goblins will attempt to support combat in 3 – but not leave their posts.
- Bridge – to cross quickly is a DC 10 Dex save or they will be left hanging off a thread, a further save or they fall for 1d6 damage
- Gully Floor – the bodies carry a Scroll of Bless
- Empty Room – goblin in 8 to surprise
- Contains Graz’tur, a goblin boss, and three Goblins (XP 350)
- Secret Chamber. The door is trapped, and secret (DC 10 to find, DC 15 to disarm – or DC 15 Dex save or 1d10 damage from a dropped rock)
- Secret Storage. There is a +1 Longsword here, but if it is disturbed then the Animated Armor at the back of the room attacks with its ornate two-handed sword – this sword detects as magical.
- Four goblins, can be ambushed easily
- The Pit. Contains a black pudding. Required DC 15 Wisdom save to flee and shut the door. The door to the Pit is barred by heavy wooden bars, and the sword in 10 can be used to seal the portal permanently.
So, there are my notes for Goblin Gully (posted with Dyson’s permission, I should add). What are your favourite short dungeons to introduce D&D to newcomers?
Next post, I’ll talk about prepping one-shot games for D&D.