Dungeon Crawl Classics #29:
The Adventure Begins
An Adventure Compilation for Character Levels 1-2
Remember the good old days, when adventures were underground, NPCs were there to be killed, and the finale of every dungeon was the dragon on the 20th level? Those days are back. Dungeon Crawl Classics don't waste your time with long-winded speeches, weird campaign settings, or NPCs who aren't meant to be killed. Each adventure is 100% good, solid dungeon crawl, with the monsters you know, the traps you fear, and the secret doors you know are there somewhere.
Let the adventure begin! This compilation of twenty all-new 1st-level adventures is especially designed to kick-start new campaigns. Written by experienced adventure authors, these stand-alone modules will challenge your heroes with war-worms, hang-gliding kobolds, a hundred-foot-tall colossus, giant bees, an ancient wizard's tower, trained monkeys, dangerous mushrooms, a gigantic white salamander -- and more!
- All-new cover art by legendary TSR artist Jim Roslof!
- TWENTY adventures for 1st-level characters, every one of them suitable for kick-starting an entire campaign
- A wide variety of plot hooks and unique encounters to spice up your game
Rules Set: d20 v3.5.
Áereth Map Grid:
- Tower of the Black Pearl: MM3 (in the Straits of Ymtal).
- Old Feodol's Basement: MM3 (city of Veltos).
- Lair of the White Salamander: TM8 (city of Kassantia).
- The Golden Auroch: MM10 (southeast of Punjar).
- The Forgotten Sentinel: MM8 (northwest of Kassantia).
- Well of the Worm: MM4 (west of Ilnoth).
- The Plague Wight's Revenge: MM4 (south of Longdale).
- The Stench of Death: MM8 (at the Bay of Asur).
- The Fate of the Vigilant: MM4 (south of Fair Haven).
- When Kobolds Fly: TM13 (west of the Witch Wood).
- Chilled to the Bone: TM12 (north of Wellwyn).
- The Isle of Fury: MM2
- The Beast of Barren Hill: MM4 (northwest of Woodroe).
- A Question of Morels: MM5.
- The Black Larder: MM8 (city of Dhavosin).
- Mage Maze: MM3 (north of the Great Swamp).
- By Invitation Only: MM3 (north of Garland's Fork).
- Hive of Villainy: MM8 (north of Saltmoon).
- The Crystal Shrine: TM13 (south of Chael Lake).
- The Dripping Temple: TM13 (south of Cillamar).
- EN World Fan Review: 5 stars. "The Adventure Begins is a good collection of fun and easy to use low level adventures. I found myself wanting to use many of the adventures so I came up with different plot hooks and introduced them to the campaign. The players choose some and ignored others but it was great to give them options and let them choose were to go."
Writers: Bret Boyd, Michael Ferguson, Andrew Hind, Phillip Larwood, Jeff LaSala, Brendan LaSalle, Jason Little, Rob Manning, Greg Oppedisano, Adrian Pommier, George Strayton, Harley Stroh, Michael Tresca, Dieter Zimmerman
Front Cover Artist: Jim Roslof
Back Cover Artist: Brad McDevitt
Cartographer: Jeremy Simmons
GMG5028, 264 pages, hardback, $34.99.
Table of Contents and Preview of Adventures
|Tower of the Black Pearl
||Once every decade, the tides of the Empyrean Ocean recede far enough to reveal the highest eaves of a mysterious undersea tower. Long ago this was the eldritch fastness of a powerful mage, but now the tower is known simply as the final resting place of the fabled Black Pearl -- an artifact rumored to bring doom upon all who dare to posses it. Tonight the moon nearly fills the sky, and the tides have already begun to recede. The PCs have 8 short hours to explore the tower before the dark waters return.
|Old Feodol's Basement
||Old Feodol the miser has been dead less than a day. His two greedy children have approached the PCs, each seeking to cheat the other out of an inheritance. They ask the PCs to venture into their recently deceased father's basement to retrieve his will in the hope they can forge a different one. Unknown to the siblings, their father's basement has a few secrets...
|Lair of the White Salamander
||The PCs must enter the basement of an abandoned wizard's guild to discover why the city of Thelport is sinking. There they discover a passage that leads to a series of sea caves located beneath the city. Within the sea caves they find crazy cultists and a horrible giant salamander that possesses the brain of an evil transmuter...
|The Golden Auroch
||The city-state of Akkad is in the midst if a drought of unimaginable length and intensity. Not a single drop of rain has fallen for three years. Wells bear no water, the rivers have been reduced to cracked gullies, the lands are drying up, and animals literally turn to dust. The only hope for salvation lies in traveling to the cursed ruins of Ur, braving the Tomb of Nicrotis located below them, and returning with the Golden Auroch.
|The Forgotten Sentinel
||The heroes are hired to find an eccentric sage named Desiderius Merope, who was last seen in an abandoned town guarded by a giant statue. The silhouette of the giant statue blots out both sky and sun. Though ancient, rusted, and ravaged by the passing centuries, the Sentinel is still an impressive sight ñ standing almost two hundred feet tall, the twin swords of this giant metal warrior still appear ready for battle, and the face of the statue still remains proud and defiant. Next to one of the Sentinel's massive sandals is an open trap door...
|Well of the Worm
||At the request of village elder, the heroes find themselves before an abandoned well. Once the plains were home to fertile farms, but years of succeeding wars have poisoned the well and reduced the surrounding fields to a barren wasteland. Giant worms, with the tortured faces of fallen warriors, have been emerging from the well to terrorize the nearby villages...
|The Plague Wight's Revenge
||The heroes encounter a stream that is carrying deadly diseases through the wilderness and into civilized lands. It is obviously not a natural phenomenon. Following the stream to a cave in the hills, the heroes encounter crazed and diseased wildlife, and a clan of diseased orcs, and minotaurs infected with a magical plague. What could cause such things?
|The Stench of Death
||The PCs are braving the darkness of Cold Harbour's dockside district when they happen to stumble upon a bloody trail, evidence of a recent murder. An investigation reveals that the crew of the Narwhal is to be targeted that same evening. But before the information can be acted upon, the PCs are caught in a deadly trap ñ the only escape from which lies in entering the foreboding sewers of Cold Harbour...
|Fate of the Vigilant
||A fishing ship comes to port in the sleepy coastal village of Lower Innis, several miles south of Fair Haven. The crew tells the tale of a royal frigate that ran aground on a spit of rock a ways up the coast. The PCs are sent in a fishing vessel to investigate and possibly render aid...
|When Kobolds Fly
||War! Or at least the closing of a major embassy and a full ban on imported spirits. Elmot Kinfeld, renowned inventing genius and experimental engineer, disappeared during a visit to the player characters' home kingdom. Kinfeld's home kingdom believes that this was no random act of savagery; they accuse the PCs' home kingdom of kidnapping him and forcing him to create new weapons of war ñ weapons that could be used in an aggressive campaign of expansion. They demand his immediate return, and promise swift retaliation if he is not. And then the characters discover a man who claims to have been robbed by a squad of flying kobolds...
|Chilled to the Bone
||The farmers of Open Hearth begin to grow concerned as the unusually harsh winter has yet to yield to spring. Fields lie frozen when crops should be planted, and a deadly chill preys on the farmers nearest the Weeping Forest. Some say the farmers have angered the guardian spirit living deep in the Weeping Forest, but no one dares set foot in the Guardian's domain. The adventurers are hired to save the farmers of Open Hearth and find out why winter refuses to release its icy clutch on the land.
|The Isle of Fury
||The party is hired by the elderly druid HrÛaldr to travel to the runic circle on the Isle of Faroe. He asks them to gather rubbings on large sheets of parchment from the towering rune stones of the Scandi tribesmen that once inhabited the isle. Upon arriving at the island, the party discovers that the search for the Scandi rune stones leads to a slumbering dragon-ogre and more...
|The Beast of Barren Hill
||The tales of the Beast of Barren Hill have spread far and wide -- stories of its attacks on men, women, and children can be heard around firesides for miles around. Villagers rush in from their tasks at night and armed guards watch over livestock. The Beast has shown no fear of fire or blade and has an uncanny ability to avoid traps. You have pieced together the Beast's appearance from eyewitness reports, but even that is fragmented. What you do know is that it is at least as large as a man and covered in black fur, with huge teeth and claws. You've seen the aftermath of one of its attacks first hand. There were not enough pieces left to identify the bodies. And now you must slay the Beast...
|A Question of Morels
||An eccentric herbalist is looking for certain rare mushrooms to craft valuable elixirs. In exchange for obtaining these reagents, the herbalist offers a generous reward and a portion of the powerful potions he intends to brew from these fungal specimens. Why doesn't he simply gather them himself? Ah, well... you see... the hollowed tree where the mushroom grows is rumored to be haunted...
|The Black Larder
||By different roads you have all come to the same fate. At night, each of you lay down in an inn, then awoke to find yourself blindfolded and gagged, chained by your wrists to a cold stone wall. You had been stripped of all your belongings, but a strange amulet had been placed around your neck. You could hear the muffled complaints and clinking chains of other prisoners, and you each were visited by a fearful presence that would draw near and grasp at your very soul, wrenching pieces of it away with a slobbering cry of joy. How long you have languished in your cell, visited only by the gluttonous being that uses your spirit for food, you cannot say. This monotony of horror was recently ended, however. The chilling spirit had come to feed again, but as it slavered over you, there was a tremendous crash that almost shook loose your teeth. In an otherworldly, feminine voice you heard it speak for the first time, ìWhat has strayed into my larder, I wonder?î Suddenly, it was gone, and the cell shuddered as the wall behind you buckled and split. With a metallic clatter, the chains have fallen to the floor. You are still blindfolded, manacled, and gagged, but free once more...
||The characters have heard rumor of an ancient tower deep in the Great Swamp, a single-storey, stone structure once occupied by a strange, extra-planar necromancer. Supposedly, the tower now lies abandoned, but an unknown magic caused it to vanish from the prime material plane nigh on a hundred years ago. It reappears in its original position only on misty, moonless nights like tonight...
|By Invitation Only
||The heroes are invited to a remote mountain dwelling where a dying adventurer wants them to take his treasure. But to gain the treasure, the heroes must first beat his dungeon and thereby prove their worthiness
|Hive of Villainy
||A local beekeeper has gone missing! After some preliminary investigation, the characters enter the caves below town where they discover the giant blister beetle colony responsible for the much of the evil that troubles the community. Exploring deeper into the caves, the PCs happen upon the beetle colony's mutated queen, a monstrous mass of chitin and fungus, part insect and part plant. This hints at something unnaturally evil at work...
|The Crystal Shrine
||Word has reached the PCs of a deposit of unusual rock in a region of the underdeep. A city of svirfneblin, it is said, will pay well to learn the location, dimensions, and particulars of this curious locale. Investigating the deposit, the heroes learn they have attracted an assortment of rare creatures and their current master is a slavering lunatic...
|The Dripping Temple
||The characters come across a cleverly hidden entrance to a topaz mine. Inside they find a forsaken derro outpost with dark secrets...
|Appendix I: New Monsters
||21 new monsters.
Watch out for the war-worms!
Oh, and the giant squid, too.