I wrote this adventure to use as a oneshot for a group of beginners. It has a very simple, linear structure and the combats are designed to be relatively easy. At times I have included lists of checks to get information, these are just suggestions so feel free to use different difficulties/skills depending on your party.
The story follows a group of adventurers hired by the city guard to investigate some caves after the baron’s son disappeared. They will need to fight through the caves to discover a crazed druid using fungal spores to create an army of mind-controlled servants. The statblock for the Mad Druid Mycologist can be found at the end.
Read or paraphrase
The natives of Waterbright know to avoid the east bank of the river at night. Stories are told of those who went for walks after dark and were never seen again. Fisherman say that sometimes you can hear the scream of the dead coming from the caves by the river and that on days like that the water is filled with the corpses of strange, mutated fish. Most dismiss this as mere rumours but with the disappearance of the baron’s son from the riverside the guard have been forced to act. Captain Nicholas Daer has contacted your group and asked you to search the caves for the missing boy. You meet him on a cool, foggy morning two nights after the baron’s son disappeared.
Information the Captain has
The captain knows a bit about the case and is happy to share his information with the players.
- Several people really have disappeared from the area at night
- First disappearance was a botanist from the university who was there to study unusual, mutated plant life in the area.
- Roughly two people disappear every month although the rate isn’t constant, seems to be increasing.
- Loud, inhuman screaming is heard two days after each disappearance.
- Already sent in some guards to look for the baron’s son but they haven’t reported back yet.
- Once the baron’s son has been found return with him to the guard house to receive your pay.
Clues on the riverbank
- The ground is trampled with several sets of tracks
- One person entered alone then several people with boots entered later (easy survival)
- One set of bare footprints exiting cave (moderate survival)
- 3) No signs of struggle (hard survival)
· Mud around the caves is covered in vegetation and the streams are chocked with algae
- Nature DC 5: Many of the plants are not native to this area
- Nature DC 15: The plants that are growing here suggest the water is unusually nutrient rich
- Nature DC 18: This kind of plant life is usually seen around sewage pits, heavily fertilised fields and mass graves
The caves are dimly lit by phosphorescent mushrooms and the water underfoot creates large areas of difficult terrain with narrow (5ft) channels of dry land.
Encounter 1 – The missing patrol
Read or paraphrase
The stone of the caves is slick with water, and it is hard to maintain your balance as you walk. Along the walls of the tunnel mushrooms thrive in the dank, dark environment, giving of a sickly green light. Small side tunnels join the main cave system, filtering down through the cliffs above you.
After a few minutes of walking the players come across several guards stood stock still in the centre of the tunnel.
If the players get withing 60 feet they see that the guards armour, weapons and skin are covered in a rust-coloured fungus. The guards will not respond to the characters in any way, nor will they acknowledge their presence.
If the party has any light sources or are speaking or travelling normally, then at 30 feet the mushrooms on the walls begin to emit a loud shrieking sound and the guards will stiffen up and raise their weapons. If the party has no light sources and are attempting to sneak past the shrieking will activate if anyone gets less than 12 on a stealth check (passive perception of guards is 12).
If the shriekiers activate and the characters continue to approach, they will be attacked by the three guards aided by a violet fungus. The guards have no survival instinct and will fight to the death. If killed the guards have 2 gp in small change between them.
The map Sewer Tunnel can be used for this fight.
Clues from the battle
- The guards are completely covered by rust coloured fungus, their eyes are also rust coloured and fungus can be seen inside their mouths.
- Nature DC 15: Some fungi exist which can control the minds of small animals to help spread the spores
- Medicine DC 17: There are signs of damage to the mouth and nose which suggest the guards were forced to drink something.
- Survival 14: The shrieking mushrooms are alerted by light and heavy vibration. Moving carefully without light would allow you to avoid detection.
Encounter 2 – The mad mycologist
Read or paraphrase
Continuing down the tunnel after around half an hour you hear chanting. Ahead of you the tunnel opens out into a large chamber filled with various kinds of fungi planted in rows. At the centre of the room is a barefoot gnome dressed in rags. He dances around a chair placed in the centre of the room chanting. In the chair you can see an unconscious boy, various tubes have been inserted in to the boy’s nose and mouth. In the shadows around the room other figures can be seen standing perfectly still.
The central figure is a Druid Mycologist (see end for stat block). He is assisted by two commoners. The chamber entrance is surrounded by camouflaged shriekers (DC 25 perception to notice them). If the shriekers are alerted by light or open movement they will scream and alert the druid who will attack starting combat (DC 6 stealth check to avoid the shriekers noticing the party).
If combat starts the druid and the two commoners will attack. The commoners have no survival instinct and will willingly die to protect the druid. The druid will try to surrender or flee if he is reduced to less than one quarter hit points.
If the players try to reason with the druid he will be willing to talk. He will happily reveal his plan (use his fungi to mind control people, build an army then seize the city) but cannot be convinced to abandon his plan. If the players can convince him, they are on his side then he may be willing to accompany them out of the caves but will attack the second he suspects a trap.
If they kill the enemies, they find 3 gold in small change on the bodies. Both commoners are covered in the rust-coloured fungus like the guards. The druid is clear of fungus but his eyes have a rust-coloured tinge to them showing he is beginning to succumb to the fungus. The druid also has papers identifying him as Warcorin Lightfen – a mycologist from a nearby university who vanished several years ago. The druid has a bag containing a few magical items: 1 potion of healing, a staff of flowers, and an immovable rod.
The boy can be identified as the baron’s son from the fine clothes he wears. He is unconscious but stable. The tubes connected to his mouth contain a mix of water and rust-coloured spores. As long as the tubes are removed the boy will recover.
Collecting the reward
If the characters return to the guard house with the baron’s son the captain will ask for a summary of their activities. He will dispatch a squad of guards to recover the bodies and destroy the fungi if any remains. He will also pay the characters 80 gp each. If for some reason the baron’s son died the players will only receive 40 gp each.
Guard: Basic rules pg 163 or monster manual pg 347
Violet fungus: Monster manual pg 138
Commoner: Basic rules pg 163 or monster manual pg 345
Mad Druid Mycologist
Small humanoid (gnome), Neutral Evil
Armor Class 10 (16 with barkskin)
Hit Points 33 (6d8+6)
Speed 25 ft.
STR 11 (+2)
DEX 13 (+1)
CON 12 (+1)
INT 11 (+0)
WIS 14 (+2)
CHA 9 (-1)
Damage Resistances poison
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Druidic, Gnomish
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
Spellcasting: The Mad Druid Mycologist is a 3rd-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks). The Mad Druid Mycologist has the following druid spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): druidcraft, poison spray
1st level (4 slots): entangle, goodberry, thunderwave, charm person
2nd level (2 slots): locate animals or plants, barkskin
Club: Melee weapon attack +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit 2 (1d4) bludgeoning damage.
- None Found
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "A Fungal Foray: A beginner friendly oneshot for 3-5 lvl 1 characters" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
- The Cayce’s Guide On How to Encourage Players to Improve!
- Three key takeaways from the recent thread on house rules
- original fishing system for a campaign im doing around fishing
- To all those seeking questions regarding their worlds hoping to make some new Canon.
- How do I encourage players to take notes?
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