Adventurers of Sharn
Kyber's Harvest - Encounter 1
Encounter Level 1 ( 525 XP )
This skill challenge represents the player characters’ search for clues regarding the disappearance of Doria and her family. By talking to the people of Blackroot and investigating the Veledaar dwelling, they learn that Doria and her family were kidnapped. The party can then trail the cultists to their lair.
Searching for Doria
Doria Veledaar was supposed to be staying with her family in Blackroot, but the Veledaar household has been abandoned. However, there seems to be more to the family’s disappearance than the reeve Toraash lets on.
Setup: While the PCs can learn a little from talking to the villagers, the critical clues to Doria’s disappearance are found in the Veledaar household.
Complexity: 3 (8 successes before 3 failures).
Primary Skills: Arcana, Insight, Perception.
Arcana (DC 17): The PC senses the ambient mystical energies that surround the village, and recognizes a powerful concentration of arcane energy somewhere close by. With a second successful check, the PC notes its general direction. This skill can be used to gain 2 successes in this challenge.
Insight (DC 12): The PC discovers that there is more to Blackroot and the Veledaar family’s disappearance than meets the eye. This skill can be used to gain 4 successes in this challenge. With each successful check, the party gains another piece of information as presented below.
✦ The villagers the PC encounters are tense and hostile,
but you sense that this tension is due to more than the
presence of strangers.
✦ Many of the folk of Blackroot seem fearful, as if anticipating some imminent challenge or threat.
✦ From the condition of the Veledaar house, the PC finds it unlikely that Doria’s family left to seek new lives. A number of useful or sentimental items that would likely have been taken on an extensive trip were left behind. This check can be made only after a successful Perception check made to search the house.
✦ A fourth success provides the same result as a successful Streetwise check (see below).
Perception (DC 12): In the village and within the Veledaar house, the PCs can seek clues to the family’s disappearance. With each successful check, the party gains another piece of information as presented below. This skill can be used to gain 4 successes in this challenge.
✦ As the party makes its way to the Veledaar house, the
PC notes that a number of other houses in the village
seem to be standing empty.
✦ The PC finds no signs of forced entry in the Veledaar house, but uncovers hints that a struggle took place there. Broken furniture has been hastily put back together, and faint drops of blood are scattered across the dirt floor.
✦ Trampled into the dirt of the floor, the PC finds the broken tip of what appears to be a dagger blade crafted from volcanic glass.
✦ The PC finds a necklace with its leather cord snapped as if by force. It is a pendant formed from strands of volcanic glass set around what looks like a mummified eye. Once the pendant has been found, the PCs can make a Religion check to identify it (see below). The pendant allows the PCs to attempt to bluff the guards in Encounter 2, and proves useful in Encounters 4 and 5.
Secondary Skills: Diplomacy, Intimidate, Religion, Streetwise.
Diplomacy or Intimidate: No villager will speak with the PCs long enough to make use of Diplomacy, and any attempt to intimidate the folk of Blackroot quickly escalates to conf lict unless the PCs back off. A Diplomacy check automatically earns the PCs 1 failure in the skill challenge, but the PCs gain a +2 bonus on the next Streetwise check made in the challenge. An Intimidate check automatically earns the PCs 1 failure in the skill challenge, and makes it impossible to make a Streetwise check.
Religion (DC 17): A successful check allows the PC to identify the pendant found in the Veledaar house as a holy symbol of one of the Cults of the Dragon Below— worshipers of the powers that lurk within Khyber.
Streetwise (DC 12): Despite the wariness of the villagers, a successful check earns the PC the following information. An old orc pulls you aside. His skin is weathered and he’s lost his teeth and tusks, but his eyes are still sharp. “It’s the Harvest,” he mutters. “Sowing the new crop. This night, with three moons in the sky and darkness below. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll be out of here before it comes for you, too.” If the PCs try to get more information from the old orc, he acts as if he has forgotten the past few moments and does not speak to them. No amount of cajoling or intimidation will sway him.
This check does not earn a success or failure in the challenge, but the PCs are more alert to small clues after the stranger’s warning. A successful check grants a +2 bonus to all subsequent checks made in the challenge.
Success: The PCs discover a blood trail or follow the ambient arcane energy in the area (your choice, depending on the successful checks made in the challenge). This takes them to Encounter 2. Because the characters have managed to not attract attention to themselves, the guards in Encounter 2 are not immediately hostile to the party, and are even susceptible to being bluffed.
Failure: The PCs’ actions in the skill challenge draw the attention of an angry villager, who quickly gathers a crowd demanding that the party leave town immediately. During the altercation, one of the PCs notes two armed villagers slipping away along a hidden path at the far side of the village. By pretending to leave Blackroot, then doubling back, the PCs can find the path leading to Encounter 2. However, the guards there will have been warned of the party’s presence in the village. They attack with surprise when the PCs approach.
The PCs can choose to attack the villagers, but any such fight is a one-sided affair (treat the villagers as minions; +4 vs. AC; 3 damage). Moreover, while the villagers are uniformly fearful of the cult, they are not active cultists. All the ranking members of the cult have already gone to the caverns in preparation for the Harvest about to begin.