I’ve had the rough outline for this oneshot for some time, but it wasn’t until I saw the encounter “The Minotaur Bridge (pdf)” on Runehammer’s Patreon (that I can highly recommend btw), that the pieces fell in place. The adventure is made for D&D 5th edition for a lvl 2 party of 3-5 players.
I’m going to break the 4th wall (or the DM screen) a bit here by giving you the full DM outline. Afterwards there are photos and comments from the two first time’s I’ve run it. One with adults at Bad Moon Cafe, the other with 2 of my regular D&D players and their children.
- The lovely town of Winterbloom is being forced to pay “protection” money to a gang of Goblins.
- An 8 year old magically inclined girl has decided to take matters into her own hand as she finds a formula summoning a demon.
- However, as the demon dispatches of the goblins, the girl does not know how to send it back and instead it, and it’s cultists, drains her of energy to open a portal to bring more demons into the material realm!.
We set our scene
- The goblins collect the money from “The Witch’ Neighbour” the only tavern in town.
- The name comes from the fact that a good hearted Sorceress Esmarelda Villalobos who used to live next door. She passed away 2 years ago at the age of 92l
- To the west of Winterbloom is Dunkelwood forest where the goblins have their hideout,
- Further to the west is the coast line. There is a large stalagmite cave by the coast line.
- The party is sitting in The Witch’ Neighbour, with 3 goblins showing up to claim the protection money.
- If the party starts a fight, one of the goblins will shout “DOOR!” and the front door while burst into splinters after which an Ogre with an actual door as a shield will come in followed by more goblins… This fight should be tough, but even if the party is knocked out they will be saved by local townsfolk.
- Later on, a woman bursts into the tavern. She is distraught and is looking for her 2 children. the youngest daughter is magically inclined. They have disappeared.
- Local man with severe burn scar says the girl is more than capable of taking care of herself. He was burned by her when she was little as she got scare of his beard.
- Other locals suggest they have been taken by the goblins.
- Drunk man at bar suggests they are int he stalagmite cave for some obscure reason.
- And finally there is the suggestion the children may have hurt themselves in the old Sorcerer’s abandoned house.
- The Sorcerer’s house has a book open with left page saying “Summon Ghost” and right page saying “Dismiss Ghost”, if players flip through the book they will see similar pages through out “Summon Unicorn”, “Dismiss Unicorn” until they come to a left page missing with the right page saying “Dismiss Demon”. The Ghost of the Sorceress is lingering in on first floor as the girl has summoned her to learn about how to summon a demon, but she has forgotten to dismiss the ghost.
- The Goblin’s lair is found in the forest. It is guarded by a couple of goblins with bolt throwers.
- Once the party attacks the goblins will fight and blow a horn to call the rest of the goblins, but D4 rounds into the battle the other goblins does not show. Instead terrifying screams and roaring laughter emerge from the lair and the goblins outside flee. The demon has arrived and killed the goblins. The party may hear an argument between the girl and the demon, in which the girl realises she cannot dismiss the demon and has lost control. The party may see the demon disappear in a portal.
- The Stalagmite cave is scene for the main conflict, which is based on “The Minotaur Bridge (pdf)” from Runehammer’s Patreon – In short it is a fight over a bridge with a horned demon (aka Minotaur with some demonic abilities added). The opposite side of the bridge has a cage with the children, a cultist syphoning magical energy from the girl to open a portal and some other cultists as protectors … again 2 with bolt throwers.
That’s it! Fun game. Can be made very deadly, which is always good fun in a oneshot.
4th April 2019 – First time running “Shakedown in Winterbloom”
First time playing “Shakedown in Winterbloom” and first time i’ve had a full complement of quite experienced D&D players around the table at Bad Moon Cafe and it was very clear in the interaction and amount of roleplay.
Funny voices and quirky character personalities (A Mousling who wanted to be paid in cheese, an Orc Druid who constantly tried to keep naughty Elves in place… and vice versa Elves tried to teach the Orc how to sneak).
We even had a “party is splitting” moment which is never a good idea.. especially in a oneshot… but given the experience of the table, I let it happened and it wad great fun.
20th July 2019 – Running “Shakedown in Winterbloom” with children
I actually cranked up the difficulty level on this one. And one of the modifications I did was give the Devil the ability to shoot energy beams like a Cambion as one the heroes can fly.
Some really create creative thinking in this game. One of the children snuck behind the goblins and locked the door … which would have been a great idea if the ogre hadn’t been present in the game.
Good conversation with the ghost and loved the fact the party decided to find the page to dismiss the ghost in the book to give her peace.
The party went straight for the stalagmite cave as they got a ton of info out of the conversation with the ghost. good overall roleplay there.
Battle of the bridge was lethal! And I think the players even gave up thinking they wouldn’t win, but some creative play really played in their favour:
- A Dragonborn Rogue convinced the devil he was switching side, which meant he ended up on the opposite side ready to backstab all the cultists… which he tried by toasting them with his breath! almost downing 2 and a third was hurt too.
- A Monk climbing under the bridge and in doing so bypassing the devil.
- Great tanking by the Paladin too holding the devil for a good portion of the game.
- And once the the devil was down, the paladin asked if he could jump over the downed Monk AND in the process touch him to heal him, which I allowed followed by a Nat 20!… Epic move and given the 3 cultists blocking the bridge where the ones wounded by the Dragonborn’s flame, I let the Paladin swipe with his Maul knocking all three off the bridge and thus ending the game!
…but not quite! As the players celebrated their victory the youngest boy of the group (I think he is 8) came over and asked me if he could continue to play as he wanted to run up to the girl to ask why she summoned the devil. brilliant! I told him, while the others were padding each other on the backs :).. I see a great DM future for this young player!
And one more thing…
I got this in the post today by one of the boys 🙂