Dungeons & Dragons Online

The Fat Wyvern – A Heist Adventure

I mentioned this on the very excellent Fantastic Beasts and How to Eat Them post, and was asked to share what I had. This was set up for a party of 3 level 4-6 characters, with a requirement that they all have at least one level in Rogue (the whole campaign was heists), but this is all very loose (no floorplans, few DC's, no combats explicitly planned out aside from one) which was somewhat due to my experience at the time, and somewhat by design.


Background

The Fat Wyvern is the exclusive restaurant. It can be in a big city, or somewhere harder to get to, but either way, the waiting list for a reservation is measured not in years, but in generations. An entrée costs a month's salary for the nobility. The restaurant has been in the Le Doux family for ten generations, and the eleventh Le Doux, a halfling called Festen is the current owner.

The characters have been tasked with stealing the ancestral Le Doux recipe book, kept on premises on one of the lower levels. In our campaign a dwarf called Loren delivered the request, on behalf of a peeved restaurant guest whose reservation was bumped indefinitely. It's assumed that without the book, the restaurant will falter and fail, and the guest can then start ransoming back the book page by page. Doesn't matter to the characters, they just have to steal the bloody thing. As a secondary goal, the guest can ask the players to find out what led to the reservation being bumped.

If your players decide to ask around about the restaurant beforehand, they might hear the following:

  • 'A friend of my cousin studied there to become a chef, but he never came out. No one really mentions him any more, but his family moved into a nice big house a while back.'

  • 'That restaurant was here before the castle was, town grew up around it.'

  • 'I hear the head chef is a frothing madman, and they keep him chained up in the basement, only to let him loose in the kitchen after closing.'

  • 'No staff ever come out, apart from the Maitre-D, and only then very rarely.'

  • 'My master had a meal in there and said the waiting staff were all ghosts, the food appeared and floated to the table.'


Preparation

The actual visible part of the restaurant is fairly normal looking. A small thatched cottage with white limewashed walls, extended out one side and a glass door. A foyer, with a white Dragonborn Maître d'hôtel, and a room with 20-30 tables. A dumbwaiter in the back of the foyer, and 15 waiting staff ready to serve any need a customer might have (per the rumour above, though they are currently visible, they only serve guests while literally Invisible). The players will not get in here, try as they might, and trying would blow the whole heist anyway. The Maître d'hôtel and staff have wards protecting them against charm and sleep magic, and are all trained in defending themselves and the restaurant (and escorting out the rare unruly guest). There is also a lounge and bar for aperitifs and dessertifs, as well as the ability to provide almost any drink you can name owing to the vast array of glinting bottles on the wall.

Having said that, at 2pm there is an entourage of halflings being admitted entry as the players survey the scene. Insight checks reveal merriment, excitement but also pride and a little sadness. One of the halfling party is a new employee of the restaurant, and due to their rules about staying on site, won't be seeing their family for some time. To make this a more enticing prospect, new staff are given one meal at the restaurant, along with their family and friends, gratis. They are then tested on this later, however. Sneaking in with the halfling party is a possibility, and while it'll let the players have probably the best meal of their lives (if they can keep up the pretense), it's not likely to be a plan that gets them where they need to go.


Pulling it off

Vents can be found leading down to the first level (at unbelievable distances from the visible building, almost a football field away). It's tight for big folk, but there's enough room to get most down there (except maybe a centaur), and enough tree and leaf cover to do so safely. It will take a successful Strength check (DC15) to haul away the massive metal grate, and then it's a 30ish foot drop down to the bend in the vent, which is a slanted slope down to:

Level 1: Kitchens and Prep Kitchens

Very brightly lit, and very busy. Prep kitchens have many junior and journeyman chefs cutting vegetables, tenderising and seasoning meat, cooking sauces. All watched over by Maurice, a huge orc in pristine chefs whites. Not shouty, but quietly judging of peoples work. Will dismiss for the day if substandard. Kitchen is furiously busy, chefs shouting back and forth, in a sort of chef's cant, only certain words are familiar. DEX checks to avoid bumping into chefs carrying huge stacks of ingredients/spices (who are too busy to notice or report anything, plus they may just assume the players belong to an in-house team from the Menagerie). Some of the spices they carry are magical and will prompt roll on Wild Magic table. Spare prepped ingredients go into the fridge, a cupoard that opens a gate onto a demiplane of cold. Head chef in Kitchen is Talyn Morris, a nimble Drow. Despite his slight frame, he throws his weight around and shouts. He will occasionally try to berate one of Maurice's prep chefs, only to be gently stopped by the big Orc. At either end of each level is a staircase going down to the levels below. These are regularly used by all staff to get from level to level. There is also an elevator, which is used to transport larger pots of food or heavy ingredients, but this only goes between subterranean levels. Dumbwaiters go between all levels, a tight squeeze, and may lead to discovery. There is a single Service Dumbwaiter from Level 1 to the restaurant floor.

Level 2: Pantry, Menagerie & Butchery

The Pantry is a single small room, containing a meditating wizard and huge stacks of empty sacks, barrels and boxes. The wizard is attended by several apprentices, who are all armed adventuring types. There is a clerk by a desk, with scrolls lined up on reading stands that have quills all writing furiously on them (on their own by magic). He's calling out ingredients 'Treant shavings! Strong white flour! Ironbeard ale! Pixie dust!'. At each call the wizard points one hand towards an apprentice and another to an empty space which opens into a portal. The whole thing is fluid and continuous, containers being grabbed by the apprentices as they're called. 'Powdered black dragonscale! Beholder eye! Flumph gas! Baking soda! Chateau Lysander, 1215, two bottles!' Apprentices congratulate each other on safe returns, and take swigs from water flasks before reassuming a ready position. The portals here lead to extradimensional storage spaces, but occasionally these get occupied or ingredients are improperly stored, hence the weapons.

Menagerie. Uses the rest of this level. Huge, almost two football fields long (bigger as it goes down). Cages are lined in several rows, varying from tiny glass bottles to huge containers of shimmering force. A muscular, horned tiefling with a game wardens hat marshalls a large group of well armed men and women of various disciplines. 'All right, you know why I've gathered you all here today. If we do this well, and do it clean, the drinks are on me tonight. She's an old one, but I know you all can do it. Remember your training! Bring her out!' A huge force cube comes forth from a dark recess, inside is an adult green dragon. Muldoon raises his hand. 'Butchers, ready! Steel your nerves, check your respirators!' and blows on a battle horn, which reverberates through the chamber, deep and low. The cage drops and the dragon seems stunned when the sound hits it. The Butchers swing into action, dropping from a gantry with ropes, and hemming the dragon in with pike and shield. Muldoon reaches down, and pulls up a rotating clockwork mechanical saw (feel free to replace with something else if that doesn't vibe with your setting). He and another Butcher run for the dragons back once it's tied down, it's posion breath making details hard to see. Something happens, a rope snaps, or is let go, and the dragon rears up, snapping at Muldoon on her back, who raises the saw to block. The other Butcher drives a slim longsword in just under her jaw, and when she spins around (the Butcher swinging away on a hanging rope), Muldoon drives the saw into her neck. The blade snaps off on her scales and a chunk goes flying, smashing into a cage nearby the characters, and releasing some wyrmlings who spot the party (1x Blue 1x White. An additional 1x Black can break out of a second damaged cage if it's going too easily). The fight continues behind them, masking any sounds the players make, and the billowing poison clouds obscure them further. A huge tunnel extends west, towards the city walls, with rails and large platforms. This is likely where they bring in big prey like the dragon, and also would be a secret that would quite likely get the restaurant shut down, if the king or governing bodies knew about it.

Level 3: Old abandoned living quarters.

Buildings crushed by falling rock, huge caves and tunnels dug out of natural stone. Claw marks around edges. Emaciated tribe of chefs rules here, fallen to cannibalism. (8 emaciated people in smocks and 1 portly boss ). If that's too dark, it could be a tribe of goblins that the builders just built around while they were constructing.

Level 4:

Living Quarters. A full recreation of a city street, with houses, shops and carts, parks and ponds. All lit magically on a day/night cycle. Accomodation for all staff.

Level 5: Ovens, Bakery, Stews and soups.

End of room near dumbwaiters (to Level 1) is dominated by huge vats and pots, many times bigger than a person. Powerful flame jets shoot out in a low trench underneath, chefs stand on ladders in protective gear at the rim, or there is a gantry crossing over the tops of all of them. Stifling heat through this room requires protective gear, or CON saves at DC 10 to avoid exhaustion. Players can either go over the top on the gantry (adding saves for other magical ingredients and spices wafting up from below), or risk the trenches and try and dodge the flames underneath the pots. Heat exchangers in the ceiling provide heat to the staff accomodation and the rest of the restaurant.

Level 6: HR & Office.

A room full of clerks, humans, gnomes and halflings (predominantly) are finishing up for the evening. Books of payment, staff records, injuries and compensation to families. One very very old halfling has on their desk the book with the reservation details. It's full of scrawls going back years and generations of footnotes and paper inserts. Reading through it, people have duelled over a place, and the results recorded. Family dynasties and their fortunes are tracked through it's pages. It shows that a rival had called in favours among the elite, through several noble families, to get the heist requester's appointment bumped, purely out of spite, it seems. Bonus points if the risk of retaliation might complicate things for the players.

In the very back is a separate office. It is locked, but only simply (DC10) since they didn't expect anyone to get this far. Inside is the book of recipes, but also there is Festen Le Doux himself, softly crying under his desk. He is being harangued by the spectres of his entire family, all of whom were involved with the Fat Wyvern, and all of whom died here. He would like to be rid of the book, but the weight of expectation means that even though he's distraught, he's not quite ready to just hand it over. In theory the players could grab the book and run, taking the spirits who are bound to the book with them (attacking them as they go). My group talked to Le Doux, and convinced him to give them the book willingly, and pursue his own dream of retiring to a small cottage in the countryside, and having nothing to do ever again with restaurants or fine dining. They might decide to fight the spirits to get them to admit their respect for Festen, or just to kill something. It's all up to you!

Boy that was a long one. It feels fitting to post this here, considering I came here for advice when I was planning this monstrosity. Hope you enjoyed!

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