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Saving Sprig Valley: Episode 1

Updated: Mar 29


This adventure is designed for four characters of level 3.

This adventure begins in The Shortstack, a humble tavern just outside Sprig Valley in a border town known as Chest Depths. A little further east between Chest Depths and Sprig Valley, a trail wide enough for a horse and cart passes over the Contact River by bridge that connects the two municipalities. Adventurers will have found themselves in this small, out-of-the-way corner of the world where hills replace cities and herds of animals replace crowds by any means. It is mid evening at this point and the sun is a few hours from setting. 

It seems as if by magic that industry and politics have been prevented from trespassing here, but in reality it is simply a matter of resources. That is, Sprig Valley doesn’t have much in the way of precious metals or rare wildlife to exploit for capital gain and thus does not attract the attention of those types that would develop here.

Adventurers can be of any race, but humble gnomes and dwarves are the most prominent demographic in the region of which Sprig Valley is a part with the ladder living deep under the rolling hills within which the former build their cozy homes. 

Before the adventure begins, each adventurer should decide whether they are from Sprig Valley before the events of the campaign or if this is their first time here. If they are from Sprig Valley originally, adventurers will need to decide where and why they’ve been for an amount of time equal to at least five years!

Regardless of their origin, the party is here now, perhaps summoned by family living locally in the valley to attend a grand ceremony set to take place in the next few days celebrating Creaton’s Comet – a massive comet that passes over the valley every 500 years. 

Otherwise, they may have heard talk that adventurers are headed to Sprig Valley for work to be paid by new, wealthy people who have come in the last five years to make the valley their home. If these hooks are not motivating enough, adventurers may be aware of a rumor that a magical component of great power has been spotted within the Valley’s city walls.

The Shortstack

The Shortstack is a comfortable tavern that signals to travelers that they are close to the gates of Sprig Valley. It is a popular stop in and out of the city, with many locals flocking to it for evening meals after a hunt or camping trip. Our heroes, en route to the valley proper, will begin here, having been spotted by Hulbury Till and offered a free refreshment.

As the party enjoys their visit at the Shortstack, they are gifted pleasant conversation by a friendly gnome, the tavern's owner, named Hulbury Till. He is very friendly and readily provides one free refreshment to each good aligned creature. Hulbury is accompanied by a very friendly pet Mylox named Pointer.

The following side quests are available at The Shortstack before the encounter with the debt collectors:

Wing Competition. A group of locals is having a hot wing competition in the tavern. To win, be the last one standing after all the wings are eaten. This encounter starts with a DC 2 Constitution save. Every round, characters eat a wing and roll. Those who fail can’t stand the heat. The DC for this save is increased by 1 at the end of every round. Competitors can Dip in Ranch a number of times equal to their constitution modifier to reduce the DC by 1d6 for the round for themselves. The winner gains the Burning Lips ability for one hour. 

Burning Lips: You can use your action to exhale the strong scent of hot sauce in a 30 ft. line.

When you use this ability, each creature in line  must make a Dexterity saving throw. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. A creature takes 2d6 fire damage on a failed save, and half as much damage on a successful one.

Haul from the Hunt. Some locals arrive at the tavern with a prize specimen, a Noddler they downed on their most recent hunt. The noddler is strapped by rope to their carriage but twitches as they go to weigh it outside the tavern. The noddler jumps up, alive, and begins to attack! There are three young hunters amongst the crowd paralyzed with fear. Saving them is the priority over killing the noddler which uses every action to attack the children – so just doing damage wont be enough.

A DC 13 Animal Handling check can distract one of the noddler’s attacks away from the youth. Beating this animal handling with a 20 or more three time in a row calms the wounded noddler enough to scare it away or kill it.

 An older hunter takes the final blow on round four. For every young hunter that is downed, adventurers gain one level of exhaustion flavored as guilt. Saving the young hunters is rewarded with one ration of Noddler Meat for each adventurer.

Noddler Meat

Tough to chew and not very tasty. What this barely edible meat lacks in anything resembling cuisine, it makes up for in its ability to ‘put hair on your chest’ literally! When you eat this tough jerky, you choose from one of the following effects: 

  • you instantly grow hair all over your face and body for one hour. If you are covered in hair in this way, you resemble a bear and have advantage on any persuasion and performance checks made to appear like a bear. 

  •  Or you gain the ability to breathe underwater for five minutes.

Back at the Tavern. After some pleasant conversation and/or side questing, the tavern is chilled silent as the front gates swing open and in walk three elves.They’re wearing gauntlets made of gold coins and their weapons seem to produce a brilliant, golden glow. These are Elvan Debt Collectors and they are here as if they own the place to demand payment from Hulbury. Hulbury quickly abandons his guests and walks over to the elves as they approach the bar. 

A DC 13 History check will reveal these elves are not native to this part of the world and an equally successful Insight will reveal they are not friendly. Hulbury can be overheard pleading with them saying: ‘wait until after the celebration of Creaton’s Comet. I’ll have the money then. I just can’t keep up with these price increases Lorik keeps demanding!’

The debt collectors grow more aggressive before saying to Hulbury: ‘Lorik don’t much care for your particular finances. Pay up or we’ll need collateral’

Any attempts by PCs at this point are met with curt responses and dismissals before ultimately ignoring them outright. Debt collectors will defend themselves if necessary but don’t instigate a fight at this juncture. After some more arguing and pleading, Pointer walks around the bar – having sensed Hulbury’s distress – and begins to glare at the collectors. 

Seeing Pointer, the collectors surround the dog and say the following: ‘you know the rules, collateral needs to be collected. A strong, young guard Mylox such as this oughta be worth something.” With this, they scoop up the mylox in a spell that traps the beast in a ruby vessel. The vessel floats and follows the collectors who attempt to leave despite Hulbury’s tearful begging to leave Pointer. Attempts to break the ruby fail save for critical successes that crack the magic. Three critical successes in this way break the ruby there and then.

Otherwise, the debt collectors head out the door. If adventurers have not already, Hulbury asks them for help to stop the collectors. He says: ‘to the ninth hell will Lorik and Hordewell Bank! Taking my gold, that’s one thing, but Pointer…unforgivable!’

When adventurers initially approach, the collectors try to wave them off but ultimately address them.

‘What? Do we got some good samaritans here?’ They say. ‘Get lost before it aint worth your time.’

The fight begins and the collectors are able to shape the gold coins into weapons and spells. When two of the three collectors fall to less than 25% – or if one falls to under 6% – they each produce a scroll and teleport far away as if by some powerful teleportation spell. Pointer is observed crying to be rescued before disappearing with them. 

To Sprig Valley

Hulbury howls with grief. ‘It was quite neighborly of you to help me out like that.Wish more visitors round here shared that quality. I know I can’t ask you of much, but I’d be happy to give you a lifetime supply of drink, food, and rest at my tavern if you would take after them into Sprig Valley and save Pointer for me!’

Hulbury goes on to describe Lorik Stalks and his influence on Sprig Valley. He complains about lorik ruining Sprig Valley ever since he arrived with his Hordewell Bank and wishes there were more people like the adventurers in the world. ‘People’ve become too obsessed with gold these days’. 

Hulbury explains how Lorik has become more than just a businessman in Sprig Valley and that he has his hands in the pockets of the local government there. Among his many atrocities he had cordoned off access to Oakay Doakay, the city’s spiritual and historic center piece! There are plans for him to open it up during the celebration of Creaton’s Comet but Hulbury is skeptical that he will allow that. He invites the heroes to join the festivities. ‘Might do the locals good to see some neighborly faces’.

In addition, we learn the following things:

  • Lorik is an elvan banker from the far western coast of the Creaton Kingdom.

  • Lorik arrived about five years prior to the events of the game and founded Hordewell Bank with an amount of gold the valley had never seen before.

  • He has since risen up socially to serve on the city’s council that meets with the city’s political leaders. 

  • He claims to be fond of the city’s motto: ‘one good soul can change the world’ and to want to help the good people of Sprig Valley.

Before leaving, Hulbury gives each adventurer a Pack of Brews -- a set of three ales -- and allows them to purchase anything his tavern might reasonably have. He tells them to do whatever they need to get ready before heading out to rescue Pointer.

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