The Wererat Den
Last Thursday I posted a piece about tiny dungeons and I promised you an example of one of these bad boys. I’ll have the dungeon on Tuesday next week. Right now I’m going to show off some hooks, and random encounters for the area surrounding the dungeon and on Thursday I want to show off some of the new monsters I’ve designed for the dungeon.
The Wererat Den is a short fifth edition adventure for a party of four to six fifth level characters. This adventure takes place in the campaign setting of Exploration Age, but can easily be adapted for any setting you choose.
In the elf and halfling dominated republic of Taliana, a band of terrorist lycanthropes known as the Brotherhood of the Moon have a covert cell hiding at the Dromadas Inn, a roadside establishment halfway between Waynana and Pricillia in The Great Wood on the East Bank of the Vumba River.
The lycanthropes haven’t always run the Dromadas Inn but they recently infected the establishment’s proprietor and staff. Their plan is simple. Infect any who stop to rest at the inn with lycanthropy and then let those unfortunate souls carry the disease to their final destination.
The leader of the lycanthrope gang is a elf wererat mage, Alcaeus Branthom. Alcaeus is working his way up the ranks of the brotherhood and hopes his triumph at Dromadas will catch the eye of the organization’s leaders. The mage is never without his halfling wereboar bodyguards, Reconda and Elvani Iustabar, the howling sisters.
Recently a group of halfling and elf adolescents were making their way along the road from Pricillia to Waynana. These children are the sons and daughters of some of Taliana’s wealthiest and most influential merchant families. They were headed to Waynana to learn more about Taliana’s bustling lumber economy and enjoy the nightlife the party city has to offer. Along the way the group stopped at the Dromadas Inn.
The lycanthropes seized the opportunity, killed or infected the adults and guards within the group and imprisoned the children in the inn’s basement. Now Alcaeus is torn. He is unsure if he should infect the adolescent children or use their imprisonment to blackmail their powerful parents into becoming lycanthropes. He is using the Brotherhood of the Moon’s complicated channels to ask leadership about what he should do with the children and is currently waiting for a response.
Brotherhood of the Moon
The Brotherhood of the Moon are a band of lycanthropes who believe lycanthropy is the next stage of humanoid evolution. These lycanthropes view their curse as a gift and constantly scheme to inflict lycanthropy upon others. They have a long history of operating within Taliana in Exploration Age, but the Brotherhood of the Moon can easily be brought into any campaign setting.
Using one of the hooks from the Hooks section of this adventure or by some other scheme you cook up, the characters arrive at the Dromadas Inn. They have a chance to interact with the incognito members of the Brotherhood of the Moon who try to asses if the PCs might willingly join the operation or if they’ll need to be forcibly infected. The characters can then work their way through the inn either by force, stealth, or bluff. They eventually learn the children of some of Taliana’s influential merchants and political figures are being kept as prisoners in the basement of the Dromadas Inn and must decide what to do about it.
The characters begin the adventure in Waynana.
Waynana (City Population 50,000) Waynana is one of three sister cities, the other two being Pricillia and Fraya. The lumberjacks living in The Great Wood bring their hauls to Waynana so they can be transported to Pricillia and Fraya for travel. Waynana is a testament to Talianan woodworking skill. Beautiful log and wood carved buildings line the streets, giving the city an inviting and rustic feel.
Waynana parties harder than any other city in Taliana. The lumberjacks love to blow off some steam and often get into rowdy drinking contests with one another. Bar fights are a common occurrence in the taverns and seem to occur just for the fun of the participants at times. Waynana is home to several breweries, distilleries, and vineyards that are all proud to have the elves and halflings who call the place home imbibe their products.
For all its partying Waynana is a bit short on law enforcement and the citizens know it. It’s not that the city doesn’t have the coin, it’s that the city council has trouble convincing folk to sign up. They always have a backlog of cases and solicit adventurers to investigate crimes for a reward.
The following adventure hooks can be used to get your players to the Dromadas Inn.
Save the Children
Dreas Mercor, the proprietor of the hugely successful Mercor Lumber Company in Waynana, contacts the adventurers because he has heard of their past deeds. The purple-clad, mustached halfling is a nervously fidgeting as he tells the characters that he has been waiting for a wagon train of friends’ adolescent children to come from Pricillia as he is supposed to be their caretaker during their stay. The wagons were supposed to arrive five days ago and he hasn’t gotten any word since hear they had left Pricillia. He’s sure everything’s fine, they were traveling along the road after all, but Dreas would like some people he can trust to look into it. He offers to pay the adventurers 200 gp each plus the cost of food and lodging expenses to search along the road to Pricillia for the children and escort them to Waynana safely.
Attack of the Lycanthropes
The beleaguered Waynana police force has recently noticed a pattern of increased lycanthrope attacks. Over the past few months several travelers coming by way of Pricillia into the city have suddenly transformed and violently attacked the citizens of Waynana. Police investigator Mira Ventulos approaches the characters based on their reputation for past deeds or the characters see a posting advertising the job directing them to Mira. She offers the characters 100 gp each plus the cost of food and lodging expenses to search along the road to Pricillia for any signs of lycanthrope activity and to report back when they learn. She offers them an additional 10 gp each for every lycanthrope they slay.
A Stay at the Dromadas Inn
If the characters are journeying along the road to Waynana to Pricillia for any reason they might stay in the Dromadas Inn. If they stay here the characters are attacked by wererats in their room at night.
The Road to the Dromadas Inn
The road from Waynana to the Dromadas Inn is contained within The Great Wood. Within these woods halfling and elven lumberjacks roam, cutting lumber for the cities of Taliana and exporting boards and wood across Canus. Of course the woods have hungry beasts and vicious monsters who might see a few adventurers as an easier target than a troop of lumberjacks.
Taliana’s roads are lined with magic speedy cobblestones installed by The Arcane College. These roads allow for fast travel between towns and cities when using special swifty boots, swifty horseshoes, and swifty wheels. The speed of the traveler is tripled when using these items along the special roads. Travel along these roads is safe, thanks to the swift speed. If PCs are traveling quickly along the road at tripled speed, there is no need to roll for random encounters, until they stop to rest. Prices for the swfity gear is below.
|Swifty boots||50 gp||Pair of two|
|Swifty horseshoes||200 gp||Set of four|
|Swifty animal shoes||400 gp||Customized for mount of choice|
|Swifty wheels||500 gp||Set of four|
While traveling in The Great Wood the characters may encounter all sorts of people and monsters. Roll a d20 three times for each day the PCs are traveling in the forest, once for morning, once for afternoon, and once for night. On a roll of 18-20 a random encounter occurs.
Use the table to determine what type of encounter occurs. For encounters marked with an asterisk use the descriptions provided after the tables.
|d12 + d8||Encounter|
|2||1 fleeing wererat victim*|
|4||1d4 giant boars|
|5||1 green hag and 1d4+2 giant poisonous snakes|
|6||1d4+2 dire wolves|
|7||1 shambling mound|
|10||1 bandit captain and 2d6 bandits|
|11||lumber merchant caravan*|
|15||1d4 + 2 giant spiders|
|16||1d8 + 7 wolves|
|17||1 hill giant|
Fleeing Wererat Victim
On the road the characters run into a disheveled, starving elf woman named Betra Closo. She is half mad, raving about being in the Dromadas Inn when she woke up to a strange creature gnawing on her shoulder. She pushed the creature away and fled the inn, but is afraid that whatever the thing was that bit her is still after her. If the characters approach her she is cautious but trusts them out of necessity.
Betra is infected with wererat lyncathropy, but doesn’t know it yet. If she stays with the adventurers, during the next full moon she transforms into the hybrid form of a wererat and attacks the adventurers.
This band of four wererats were infected at the Dromadas Inn and now stalk the road for potential prey. If they are overwhelmed they try to flee back to the inn, but if captured and interrogated, only a successful DC 20 Charisma (Intimidation) gets them to reveal the location of their base. The wererats fear the wrath of Alcaeus and in most cases would rather die than give up their brethren.
Lumber Merchant Caravan
The characters pass a caravan of lumber merchants resting along the road. If they stop to talk with the merchants, the characters learn the merchants are looking forward to reaching the famous Dromadas Inn on the Vumba River because it is famous for its suckling wild boar and soft feather beds.
The characters pass a group of druids meditating near the road. These druids are friendly and if the characters seem to be respectful they offer them a chance to meditate and commune with nature with them. Any character who spends an hour meditating gains Inspiration.
A unicorn passes by the road and touches a random good-aligned character with its horn gently. That character gains the Charm of Beast Speech. The unicorn then runs off into the forest.
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