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Saving Sprig Valley, Episode One

Updated: Apr 4

Hello Dear Reader,

With my community RPG program to begin as soon as April, I have started work on a brief, short-form adventure to offer my first group of teens! This adventure is designed for four players of level 4.

Below is the first chapter followed by a free, downloadable PDF of the adventure with statblocks!

Sign up with to leave feedback and where you think the story should go next!

Thank you – as always – for your time to read all this, and please continue writing your own story, and being well!

Matthieu A.F. Fortier


Episode One: A Humble Farm

Into Sprig Valley

This adventure starts on the Contact River Trail, a road that enters Sprig Valley from the west and – on the opposite end of the trail – passes over the Contact River by bridge. Having been dropped off at a small port on the Contact River and made to travel the trail for the rest of their journey to Sprig Valley, adventurers will have found themselves in a small, out-of-the-way corner of the world where hills replace cities and herds of animals replace crowds! 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 gone for an amount of time equal to at least five years!

Regardless of their origin, the party is here now either as summoned by family living locally in the valley to attend a grand ceremony set to take place in the city in the next few days celebrating Creaton’s Comet – a massive comet that passes over the valley every 500 years. This celebration is known as The Festival of Creaton's Comet. Otherwise, they have heard talk that many adventurers are headed out here for work to be paid by new, wealthy peoples 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 evil entities have been seen here (vampires, liches, werewolves) which is suspicious considering all official news from within the valley has been positive.

Down the Contact River Trail

As the party travels down the trail, they are about one hour's trek from the western gates into Sprig Valley with about that same amount of time until early evening. En route, they pass many gnomish farms operated by individual families that are set far off from the road. It would take nearly an hour one way to walk out to one of these farms, and there is no apparent value to doing so.

Ultimately, the party comes upon the classic tree-in-the-road scheme and is ambushed by Four Thugs who aim to kill if the party cannot be convinced to give them their gold. Any characters attempting to deal with the log in the road – or are actively attempting to go around it – are surprised by the ambush.

Two thugs move in to attack with their hatchets and two stay behind to make shots with their crossbows. If the thugs with hatchets die, the two with crossbows dash away.

This encounter is not intended to be deadly, but any adventurers who die may be revived by a local farmer who saw the commotion and ran to help with the aid of a revivify scroll they acquired from a recent inheritance of which the scroll was the only magical item.

Further down the trail, the dirt path turns to worked stone and cobblestone – indicating we are nearly to Sprig Valley and likely out of the way of any more thugs. Any characters who are from Sprig Valley can tell right away that things have changed since they left. That is, things seem to be going well for the small community and in fact all the roads and architecture seem to be new, upgraded – unlike the worn and ancient architecture they knew when they left. If no member of the party is from Sprig Valley, they might glean from the quality of the newly paved road over the worn road that makes up the rest of the trail that this is not the quality that has defined this place for very long.

A DC 15 History check will reveal that the town has been overseen by a currently unknown benefactor who is rebuilding the small community and that this likely accounts for the elevated condition of the road and infrastructure. This information may be part of the rumors described above or just information gleaned prior to the events of the campaign.

A Humble Farm

Eventually, just as the gates of Sprig Valley become visible in the distance, the party comes across a construction site just a few feet off the trail. This site is composed of a completely erected animal barn, a partially built workshop, and the foundation of what anyone would assume is a home. This property belongs to Hullberry Till, an adult, male gnome artificer who is actively at work building up the workshop.

As adventurers walk by, they will notice the sound of large animals bustling within the barn. In the field, members of this same species, Canishawks, will be grazing and hunting, lethargically, small animals like rabbits and mice. A DC 13 Nature or Arcana will reveal that a CanisHawk is a hybrid product of commercial artificing that has spliced Wolves with Hawks to produce hearty eggs high in protein and fat that sell well among adventurers and laborers. These animals are very cute!

If he sees them, Hullberry will offer the adventurers a kind greeting, but does not seek a long conversation save for a warning to ‘be mindful of thugs and wolves around here.’

If the party seeks to engage him further, we learn the following things:

  • He is a native of Spring Valley, and he has recently received a loan from Hordewell Bank to begin this farm. His Hordewell representative is an elvan man named Lorik Featherfall.

  • The thugs we ran into are part of a growing problem around Sprig Valley, even though the city has improved tremendously and he is not sure why this is the case.

  • The benefactor - whoever it is - is a powerful druid who was able to tap into a font of power in the center of Sprig Valley and make the soil supernaturally ripe for farming – more powerful than any other druid who has ever worked the land before. We also learn a temple dedicated to no god has been built in this central place.

  • Regarding the benefactor, Till says: ‘It’s the best thing that has ever happened to this community!’

If the party stays and chats, eventually a pack of five Dire Wolves creeps out from the woods towards Till’s new farm. If they’ve walked away, they hear the shrill screams of a desperate gnome begging for help from behind them on the path! Either way, the wolves – which are bigger than the Canishawks – circle the barn with the intent of hunting the animals and Till who strikes the wolves as an easy meal.

To this end, a DC 19 Animal Handling can scare or otherwise redirect two the massive wolves away. A success by 24+ while offering food wins the friendship of one wolf. Hullberry will stay and help if the adventurers have engaged with him kindly, otherwise, he simply offers them 12 Gp to rid the animals. This combat sets the stage to explore one of this adventure’s themes: a strong community works together to protect itself! That is, our heroes will be better off if they have befriended Till and work with him to protect his farm!

During combat, three direwolves attempt to keep the party busy while the other two attempt to get into the barn and steal a mouthful of canishawks. It takes one round for a wolf to move to the barn, another to enter, a third to collect the canishawks, and a fourth to leave and try to dash.

If any number of wolves escapes with a canishawk in its mouth, the wolves attempt to escape thereafter.

After three wolves have died, a mysterious, hooded figure moves from the egd of the forest far behind Till’s farm towards the combat. If the wolves escape before three are killed, the party is confronted by this hooded figure who bares a righteous fury and asks ‘what right have you to try and kill these animals?’

This is Gnarl Emeraldo, a young female dwarf, and she spends her first turn tangling the party in place and attacking the PC with the lowest health. Every turn after that she helps the wolves to escape.

We learn from Gnarl - who makes half attempts to reason with the adventurers thinking they are thugs themselves – that ‘the animals, they know more than we can glean from them, and they regard our valley as poisoned now. To harm them is to harm the innocent.’ She then tries to escape, but can be killed.

If Gnarl is killed, she has no worldly possessions, her staff and cloak dissolve into soil, and all she has on her is simple cloth robes and a piece of paper with a name ‘Lorik Featherfall’.

If adventurers talk with Gnarl in a way that aims to befriend her, we learn that she is supposed to be on her way to ‘speak with Lorik’ – aka kidnap Lorik though she doesn’t share this detail – but she was distracted to defend the wolves. She ends her time with the party by saying ‘I’ve told you more than I should, and more than you’ll hear anywhere else,” before disappearing with "Pass Without Trace”.

Episode One_ A Humble Farm
Download PDF • 1.52MB

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