This time of year due to the passing of a very closer family member, I find myself on an endless loop of listening to Johnny Cash's cover of Hurt. While listening to it today the video inspired me to create a very simple but emotion quest for my table.
Id suggest reading over the ideas I am presenting down below and then watch the music video for Cash's cover of hurt. From my ideas, the song and the video you should be able to adapt the premise of this quest/mini adventure to however best fits you table or players.
The adventure starts with your players crossing paths with an assumedly abandoned dilapidated manor (myself have put this estate on the edge of a town – you can place it however best suits your narrative). Have a haunting but beautiful sound of music faintly reach the players ears, the sound of course becomes louder the closer they get to the manor. If you wish have a light be visible through a window, the idea is to make the player curious enough that they wish to investigate the estate.
When they enter the building they will find a old man (human) playing a piano (or suitable instrument of your choice), who allows the song to fade off as he greets his unexpected guests. The bard is dressed in all black (much like funeral attire but try not to foreshadow that to much) instead of using a cane, he relies on a very old walking stick to hobble himself to the dinning room where he invites the players to join. You can describe the stick to be old, broken and splintered, its light color darken in spots from blood that has soaked into it. The staff is to help represent his life as an adventurer and traveler in his past. Feel free to have him tell tales, stories or allude to his adventuring life, even relate it to the party. How they remind him of his old friends now long gone.
He offers the players a feast in thanks for the company of listening to an old man and wishes to make a request of the party. The anniversary of his wife death is in a "X" amount of days, you can set it to as many or little as you like, it really doesn't affect the outcome of the story but this is more for you to plan the distance of the quest item/location you wish to force the players to undertake.
*The Bard casts the spell "Heroes Feast" for the players to have dinner with him. The manor has no servants, the old man is alone.
From here you can really give the players any takes or items to find its really just a simple fetch quest. For my group I am having the bard send them to find his wife's favorite flowers that blooms a night in a nearby cave. I am calling it "a Moon Lily", the old man wishes to lay fresh flowers on her grave. He offers the adventurers a rewards giving them a pouch of gold and silver as an advance for doing the job for him with promise of another reward once the quest if complete.
For this part use your freedom to create whatever small quest you wish, mine will be a small dungeon and depending on the level of the players a suitable nasty monster making the room before the flowers its den.
The room inside the cave(dungeon) that contains the flowers has the moonlight coming down from the ceiling on a pair of two pure white lily's with a blueish glow. From here they simply collect the flowers and journey back to the old bards estate. This time when they arrive, there is no music, no light… no life.
When the party returns to the estate, they find the bard has passed sitting in same place they left him at the dinner table. He passed shortly after they left. In the conversation with the bard offering them the quest have him mention that his wife was buried under a tree behind the estate. Knowing my players themselves, they will take the time to give the man a proper burial with his wife and place the flowers on top of the grave.
The players can be free to loot the manor for anything left of value by the bard, you can give as little or a much as you want. If the players have been gone for few days you can say the house has been robbed, leave signs of others in the house (depending on how emotionally invested the players are to the bard this very well might start another more personal quest to discover who had stolen from the man. If you wish you can have him murdered in his chair – again offering the players another questline to follow).
*Suggestion if you have a bard in your group – or just thematically appropriate some sort of magical instrument to find here. Could also old bards stories and saying how the party reminded him of his former group of friends, have items relating to each of the parties class. This can be magic or mundane items, but give sentimental value to them.
The idea of the small adventure is a melancholy tale for your group, and in a sense an old adventurer passing the torch to another generation. This should be pretty RP heavy and story telling adventure with combat only showing up during the fetch quest for the item. I recommend doing this for a lower level party.
There you have it a rough outline for an adventure. I highly suggest watching the music video for hurt and enjoying the lyrics when coming up with your bard and setting for it. So take these ideas and create your own story. If you wish comment below with your own ideas and changes. So that others may use them or take inspiration from it or let me know if this is something you would like to run.
Edit: let me know if there is interest in this small quest/adventure ideas. If there is i can post more similar types in the future.
- The Great Betrayal aka How I learned to not tolerate first-time bullshit
- (very light spoilers) Rosa var Attre gullible and transparent or cunningly deceptive?
- Making a Coraline-Inspired One-Shot Adventure?
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "The Bard (Mini quest/adventure for your table)" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
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