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A Series of Unfortunate Events

by Sean Meaney from Threshold Magazine issue 12


An Adventure for two Characters of first level

By Sean Robert Meaney


This is an adventure set in the year AC945 in the village of Threshold. It is designed as an opportunity for the players to test their basic skills:

For the Dungeon Master

The village of Threshold has for some time enjoyed the residency of an elderly wizard named Bargle. The old fellow lives in a tower on Fogor Isle overlooking the Windrush River. This is not the monstrous wretch who murders Aleena. This is his great uncle… A rather pleasant fellow… ìwho has unfortunately fallen down a flight of stairs and broken his neck. This has in turn led to his goblin assistant Hurrk being trapped in the tower for the last two weeks. The food has run out and Hurrk has been forced to cook Bargle's remains — rotten as they were. He has burned scrolls and books to feed the cooking fires, and is just on the verge of contemplating falling on his own sword. Unfortunately he is delirious and insane and will attack intruders while wearing his ring of Invisibility.

A harpy with a ring of Shapechange is passing herself off as Inetina, the granddaughter of Bargle the Elder. She is interested in looting the tower, and having noticed that the old wizard has not left it in a week, has decided to employ adventurers to breach the tower. If he is alive… it doesn't fall back on her, but if he is dead she can loot the tower. Inetina will confront the PCs in the Great Hall attempting to charm the PCs out of any magic items. She doesn't know of Hurrk the goblin.

Blue text below can be read directly to the players.

Players Introduction

You are approached by a young girl who asks you to check on her grandfather. She tried to enter but the door is locked and no one is answering her knock. His name is Bargle, and he is a wizard who lives in a small tower on Fogor Isle. She offers five gold pieces in payment. She seems quite distressed.

Exploring the Tower

The exterior stairs climb to the entry which is Area 9 leading directly into Area 7.

The tower of Bargle the Elder isn't very tall. Stairs hug the outer wall climbing to an entrance at the second level.

Area 1: Bottom of the Stairs

At the bottom of the stairs is a door. It is not locked. Any noise here alerts Hurrk in Area 2.

At the bottom of the stairs is a door. It is a heavy timber door with iron hinges. It looks quite solid.

Area 2: The Well Room

Hurrk the goblin is currently in this area resting on his cot. If someone opens to door from Area 1 Hurrk attempts to sneak past them to the upper levels without alerting them using his ring of invisibility. He will then confront them upstairs in the great hall (area 7).

2a: This is a pit trap which is triggered by anyone attempting to open the false door dropping them down a ten foot deep pit for 1d6 damage.

2b: This is a well that drops fifty feet down to water. A thief might climb the brickwork of the well to climb out.

This room smells like a mix of sweat and urine. There is a well shaft to the right and two doors on the walls opposite the entrance. Immediately to the left around the corner is an empty cot covered in recently cleaned bedding.

Area 3: The Secret Laboratory

This is the Wizard’s secret laboratory.

Beyond the secret door is a chamber that contains a collection of strange and wondrous things. A green sludge has erupted from a large jar and spread across a counter top in the wizard's absence. A bowl of powder is every so often erupting in a tiny flash and puff of smoke.

The green sludge is in fact a diseased green slime, and will infect anyone making physical contact with it with a nasty disease that causes a rather foul body odor until a cure disease is applied. There is a small ceramic lid on the floor. This will cover the powder that is every so often attempting to explode and arrest the problem. If anyone with a burning torch comes too close (the use of a burning torch on the green slime should do it) it goes bang in the face of the PC for 1hp damage (describe a big flash of light and a giant puff of smoke and everyone in the room is deafened for the next 1d6 turns meaning they cannot hear any noise that might be a vital clue). The player who puts the ceramic lid on the jar earns 1 XP. The various liquids and powders in jars and flasks are worth a hundred gold pieces to another wizard, although bundling them into a sack would be rather dangerous. Anyone foolish enough to mix these substances will cause an explosion that affects the whole room. All metal in the room is reduced to a powdered state.

Area 4: The Store Room

This was a store room where food and drink was kept.

This room has a number of empty sacks piled up and smashed bottles scattered about. It is otherwise empty.

The food and drink that was here has been consumed. Any barefoot players take 1hp damage from tiny glass shards. There is a secret door here that leads into the secret laboratory (Area 3). Anyone looking for secret doors might find it on a 1 in 6 (2 in 6 for elves).

Area 5: Spiral Stairs

The stairwell leads upward and downward from this point. The door here is reinforced heavy timber and requires a key (though it is currently unlocked). Any loud noise here alerts Hurrk in area 2.

There is a narrow spiral staircase here.

Area 6: The Clean Room

Entering this room and closing the doors triggers a volley of spells where the PCs are cleaned and refreshed, their belongings and person. The only thing that will prevent this from occurring is a protection from magic effect.

This room is white. Spotless to the insane.
[Once the doors are closed] A strange blue aura bathes the room and you quickly feel devoid of grease, grime, sweat, and odor.

Area 7: The Great Hall

One side of the Great Hall is occupied by a long table extending from fireplace to the tower entrance. There are two chairs — one at either end (the rest of the chairs were used in the fireplace). In the ashes of the fireplace is a selection of burned bones (previously Bargle the Elder) and burned paper fragments. There is a key here in the ashes. It can be found if the ashes are searched. It seems burned but is otherwise undamaged.

There is a particular smell in this great hall… One of cooked and burned meat.

Area 8: The Pantry

This small room normally contains a selection of pots and knives hanging on hooks on the wall. Currently there are a number of pots with leftover scraps on the floor that look like gnawed on bones.

There are amongst the cutlery (4) daggers each in need of a cleaning.

Area 9: The Entrance

At the top of a curving staircase is a balcony, five feet wide and ten feet long, some fifteen feet above ground level. From here you can see a rather nice view of the village of Threshold. There is a slight recess into the tower wall which ends at a rather heavy timber door.

9a: A stone pressure mechanism trap which must be detected by a Thief or Dwarf to avoid a falling iron ball (1d6 hp damage) that drops from above. Unfortunately the door is wizard locked to prevent intruders and must be opened by the destruction of the door (50hp).

Area 10: Top of the Stairs

At the top of the stairs is a door - unlocked. There is a problem with the step here. A detect traps will reveal the step is loose - anyone climbing the step will not particularly notice the problem - however anyone descending from the top most floor will cause the brick to slip and topple down the stairs. A Dexterity check is required to avoid breaking a neck. Bargle the Elder was conducting an experiment to grind down a gem by placing it under the brick of a step. The gem is worth 30gp.

There is a door here at the top of the stairs. It appears, much like the other doors in the tower, to be of heavy timber with iron hinges.

Area 11: The Wizards Bedchamber

Bargle the Elder spent a lot of time in this room. There is a fine leather seat by the fireplace and a crystal sphere on a small table by it, a large comfortable bed, several other doors, a desk, and a bookshelf. The room is spotless clean, the bed made.

This chamber appears to be a wizard's apartment with a bed, desk and a cozy leather seat by the fireplace. There is even what appears to be a crystal ball on a stand.

A few anomalies exist:

11a: The Crystal Ball has an indiscernible crack (Hurrk knocked it off its stand after Bargle's death but replaced it). Any magic user or elf attempting to use the crystal ball will cause it to explode for 1d6 damage.

11b: A locked drawer under the desk which is a needle trap guarding a pouch of fifty gold pieces. The needle can be detected with a successful detect traps and avoided or the PC takes 1hp damage.

11d: The desk and the bookshelf are devoid of any kind of paper documents (There is a Map Scroll dropped down behind the shelf. The DM is encouraged to use this as that next adventure hook).

Area 12: The Toilet

This chamber hangs out over the river - projecting out from the building. The bench seat in this room conceals a toilet. There is a tiny poisonous spider (1hp) hiding under the lid of the toilet. It bites anyone sitting down here (1 hp + Save v. poison or take health damage - constitution reduced permanently by 1).

This chamber has a beautiful view of the river as it hangs out over the water. The windows are glass. There is also a bench here.

Area 13: Potions

The door to this chamber is heavy, reinforced and locked non magically. It can be opened with a key… Found in the fireplace in great hall (Area 7). Bargle the Elder kept a selection of cursed magic items in this room. There is also one of every type of magic potion from the Basic Dungeon Master Guide except poison. The potions all have a flaw: anyone drinking one experiences an upset stomach for 1d6 turns causing diarrhea (and setting in motion an event that will cause the PC to sit on the toilet in Area 12).

There is a huge selection of potions here.

Area 14: The Bathroom

This chamber is positioned over the entry. The room is occupied by a fine timber bathtub hand carved by elves from Radlebb (value 200gp, 1,000cn weight). Behind the tub, concealed from view is a collection of large metal balls and a mechanism designed to drop one through a hole when the trap near the entrance (9a) is triggered.

This chamber narrows toward a window. It has a fine bathtub of carven wood sitting in the splay.