The Lost Boy Scout
Author: John C. Walborn
System: d20 Dungeons and Dragons
Requirements: For a group of 2-4 characters, levels 1-3
Deurn Throm, mounted archer of the Emporer's Red Cavalry, disappeared from his patrol group and has not been seen since. His father wants to know where he is and is willing to pay for his return, dead or alive.
Deurn Throm, graduate of the prestigious Pellor's Adventurer Guild warrior's school, worked years to be accepted into the Emporer's Service as a mounted archer in the Red Cavalry. His primary peacetime duty was to patrol the farm lands Northeast of the city in command of a small group of scout footmen.
One night, approximately a week ago, Deurn spotted an odd rustling in a wheat field and lead his group into the area to investigate. They found themselves among a group of a half-dozen kobolds, killing two before the rest fled. They chased them, but it was difficult as the short kobolds could dodge around stocks whereas the scouts had to wade through the wheat.
Deurn realized the kobolds were getting away, so he gave the order for his men to stand down and he pursued the creatures on his horse, confident he could take them on his own. He chased them through a section of the field and out onto a small dirt road where he picked up the pace, tracking them by watching the crops bend and shake above their heads.
Unfortunately, in the darkness of night and with the fact that he was not watching the road on which he was riding, Deurn's horse struck a rather large boulder meant to mark the end of the road. The horse broke both front legs instantly and tumbled over the top of the rock, throwing Duern thirty feet through the air and into the field.
While he lay dazed (with a broken right arm he did not know about yet), the kobolds seized their opportunity to overwhelm him. Deurn tried to draw his short sword, but his arm was painful and useless. The last thing he saw was a small mace-like weapon impacting the bridge of his nose.
Deurn's men, too far to hear or see the calamity, waited for some time before returning to the city to report the incident. Another scouting group was sent out at daylight when Deurn had not returned. They tracked his flight to the spot where he fell. His horse was still alive, but too mangled to save. The only traces of Deurn himself were a large, tacky pool of blood and his broken shortbow.
The four kobolds Deurn was chasing were part of a larger group. They dragged the human to their leader, a kobold fighter (level 2), who ruled that he was better kept alive until they could question him about the city's patrols.
Bug (the fighter) and his group of 16 kobolds carried Deurn several miles into the hills to their cave-in-progress - so far, little more than a recess in the side of a hill, where they bound him and waited for him to return to consciousness. Unfortunately, the blow to his face was severe enough to cause a nasty concussion and send the human into a coma in which he will die if not treated soon.
So Bug's kobold's have been filling the unusual role of nurse maid, tending to Deurn's wounds and making feeble attempts to mend his broken arm. Still, Deurn is badly dehydrated and slowly starving and will die before he recovers at the hands of the kobolds.
THE QUEST & REWARD
Deurn's father, Emek Throm, a successful textile merchant, is growing increasingly worried and agitated. He's heard the reports from both scouting groups and he's frustrated with the fact that Deurn's commanding officer Leiutenant Ticer has written the boy off as orc food and does not plan to send more patrols. He's tried to pull political strings, but it seems Ticer is quite a popular officer in the Red Cavalry, and he's gotten nowhere.
So he's decided to offer a reward of 50GP to anyone who can bring back Duern's remains and an explanation of what happened. The reward is 100GP if Deurn's can be found and retrieved alive. Emek can describe the basic location, as he understands it, of where Deurn left his patrol route.
He can provide a little information on where his pool of blood was found. He will most likely suggest, if the party wants more specific information on where Deurn fell, they speak with Footman Oughold, a Southron Half-Elf who was with Deurn that night.
It will be difficult to track the kobolds back to their lair. It's been a week and it has rained since then. Two tracking (Wilderness Lore) checks should be made at DC 12 and two at DC 16 if the party wishes to follow the kobolds over the hills and rocks all the way back to their cave. More likely, they will have to wait a day or two until Bug's party comes back in an attempt to catch farming houses empty and loot them.
Through one method or another, the party should eventually find the lair and Deurn. If the quest took more than 3 days to complete, Deurn is dead. Otherwise he is barely alive. At least half (8) of the kobolds will guard the cave at any one time and there's a 75% chance Bug will be there.
Scale the encounter for the effectiveness of the party. Typically, more kobolds would be guarding the lair in the day than at night, but use enough kobolds to make it interesting even if you have to exceed the number previously listed (16).
Aside from the agreed upon price for quest completion, Bug, if they encounter him, will be using a heavy, broad-bladed Dwarven dagger with razor sharp blade. It is a masterwork weapon. Also, in the lair its self, the party will find 2 bags containing a total of 19 copper and 34 silver pieces.
THE HOOK (optional)
If you want to tie this quest into something larger, then, along with the dagger, Bug is wearing a heavy, gold, Dwarven signet ring around his neck with a bit of twine as a chain. The ring is molded with the symbol of a forge hammer with a Dwarven "H" at the head. There is a tiny bit of blue wax wedged in the smaller crevices of the emblem. The ring is worth 10GP.
With some research, the party should be able to learn that this ring probably belonged to a Dwarf named Hamol of the Clan Silversmelt, not a group that frequents the area of the Imperial City.
With deeper research, they may discover that he visited the City not quite six months ago to speak with the Emporer, but was turned away without an audience.
I'll leave the rest of the hook up to you... There are several quest possibilities there.
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