I have never DMed before nor participated as a player. I'd like to start learning, and I imagine a one-shot would be a good place to start.
The below scenario would ideally be 1-2 combat encounters if the players behave. From your experience does this sound like a viable amount of content? Would it likely need to be shortened or lengthened? I envision this as a level 1 thing. I would have to make battlemaps/encounters for the following in my mind: interior inn, exterior town, interior overseer building, frenzied wildlife encounter/woods, druid construct and cult lair. Can you think of any others that would likely pop up?
I imagine the scenario could look something like this: https://imgur.com/a/f1J9GEN
A Creative Title For An Adventure (Night of the Living Trees?)
Instructed by employer/patron to investigate drop in productivity in remote mining town. Reports suggests an outside influence might be at play, but the reports are possibly deliberately vague. Town has light contingent of guards, but they are occupied with the shipment of the mining product.
Town contains inn, where the party's stay is prearranged. There is a large house that looks like it houses leadership, contains offices for guard captain and operations overseer. Billets for workers in mine, as well as haulers. General store with independent merchant. Stocks contain potions, food rations, arrows/bolts, magical components.
The overseer is adamant that nothing is amiss in the town, is concerned about production quota. Tells the party that their employer need not worry about the quality of his leadership but welcomes the extra security nonetheless. Skill check (Persuasion/Intimidation?) could reveal what other residents would otherwise provide.
Residents are reluctant to admit that they believe the trees are moving in on the town. They hear odd noises in the night. Pained creaking from heavy movement of something wooden, animal sounds accompany. Town likely afraid of reporting accurately for fear of disbelief or ridicule. Scouts have discussed trying to track the source of the sound, but have been unable to work up the nerve to seek it out. Whole town is on edge from their experience, trouble sleeping etc. Definite cause of drop in productivity.
The first night the party is awakened by the noise the townspeople describe. Skill check (perception?) could reveal the direction the sound is coming from. If the party decides to pursue the sound that night, an encounter with frenzied wildlife could ensue. Whether that night or the next morning the party could find the site of a wild-magic ritual. A skill check (Survival?) could make the journey quicker.
The ritual site looks to be the nexus of twisting roots emerging from the ground to form a giant hollow obelisk or other structure. A skill check (perception?) could reveal labored breathing from inside the structure. The party finds a grief-stricken druid. Speaking with the druid reveals that he believes the mining operation is the cause of a great sickness spreading in the forest. If the party manages to overcome their blood lust, he might ask for their help in curing the forest.
If the party agrees to help the druid they return to the town to ask for directions to the mine itself. They are readily given instructions for how to make it to the mine. The residents of the town remark that the party should stay away from a specific evil-sounding landmark on the way to the mine (The Screaming Hills, The Crimson Falls, Razor Edge Crest.) Hopefully the party finds the name too interesting to not stop by.
An event at the landmark spurs the party to investigate further (Malevolent feeling, fleeing animals, ominous sound .) Closer examination reveals a cult of low-level monsters trying to enact a ritual for their god that saps the energy from living things in the vicinity. Defeating the cult would make the druid sense the ceasing of the spread of “sickness.”
Thank you for reading!
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