The Orb of Power
A “One-Shot RPG Adventure” written by
Thomas “Ultra9” Berge
For use with Dungeons & Dragons? 5E?
I give the reader of this adventure my express, written permission to edit, reword, or otherwise copy this work, as long as myself, Thomas Berge, is adequately credited in the edited version.
Read everything highlighted in yellow aloud to the party.
Keep anything in blue to yourself unless it is revealed.
Anything in red is critical, and should be noted, or made clear to the party.
Use any other information at your own discretion.
??ver since you were a child, you always heard stories of adventurers. Their mysterious quests haunting your dreams, as you waited until someday when you were prepared enough to venture forth on your own. That day has come. But first, you must prove your worth to the count of your town, Arnehof, for adventuring is expensive, and you will need him to sponsor your adventures if you want any hope of succeeding.
Tales of a rogue necromancer entering an old, forgotten fort and terrorizing locals with the remains of skeleton soldiers and other unholy arts reach you. You decide to gather your friends to venture forth to slay this necromancer and gain favour in the eyes of the count.
You now stand in front of the forest, a days journey ahead of you until you reach the fort. You have all the supplies you need, and the town guards have already locked the wooden doors to the town. It is now, or never.
The players should now choose to enter into the woods. There is a forest path that will take the party about 20 hours to make, provided they go at the normal travelling rate.
At a normal pace, the party will get to the fort in about a day.
At a fast pace, the party will get to the fort at nightfall on the same day (15 hours), but suffer a -5 to their passive perception.
At a slow pace, the party will take a day and a half to reach the fort, however, they can use stealth. The party is not equipped for camping, and will thus suffer under the open night sky.
After you walk forward for a while, you notice a small bridge crossing over a stream. The bridge is made of wood, is 10 feet (3 meters) long, and has 2 foot (? meter) high railings on either side. The path continues on the other side.
Ask for your players' passive perception (remember to subtract 5 if they are moving fast) and act as follows
If the party has a member with a passive perception over 15, they notice a skeleton in the brush just in front of the bridge, and describe it as so: “You notice a skeleton in the bushes, however, it isn't a normal skeleton. Its eyes glow with a purple shimmer, and it moves slightly with the breeze.” Then announce to the players that it spots them, and attacks, while another skeleton exits the bushes on the other side of the bridge, and begins to cross it toward them.
If the party all has a passive perception lower then 15, and the party doesn't check for anything (or fails its check), describe the following: “As you cross the bridge to continue your way, a ragged figure walks out of the underbrush in front of you, blocking your path. Its wearing a military uniform in ragged repair, and it shambles toward you. You then notice its eyes shimmer with a purple mist, and it has no skin, only bone. It is at this point that you notice another one of these skeletons behind you, trapping you on the bridge. You ready your weapons…”
For this encounter, we will not be using the Skeleton stats found in the Dungeon Masters Guide?, instead, we will edit it slightly. Anything in the following that is coloured red means it is different from the default stats.
Medium undead, lawful evil
AC 13 (armor scraps)
Hit points 8 (2d8)
Str: 10 (+0) Dex: 12 (+1) Con: 15 (+2) Int: 6 (-2) Wis: 8 (-1) Cha: 5 (-3)
Damage Vulnerabilities: Bludgeoning
Damage Immunities: Poison
Condition Immunities: Exhaustion, Poisoned
Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 9
Languages: Understands all languages it knew in life but can't speak
(For the purpose of the game, assume these all know common.)
Challenge: ? (25 XP)
Shortsword. Melee weapon attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit 3 (1d6) piercing damage.
After the battle, the players find nothing of value among the remains of the skeletons, and should thus choose to either continue on their journey, or take a rest. (Note that this rest is required if the party has been travelling at a slow pace.)
Finally, after your long journey, you reach the fortress. Surrounding the fort is about a 10 foot (3 meters) clearing without trees or bushes, and the path you are on leads into the gate off the fort, its door long missing. The crumbling walls are about 10 feet (3 meters) tall and have many large holes and missing pieces from over 100 years of neglect. On the opposite end of the fort from the gate is what looks to be the only building part of the fort, a circular tower.
There are no guards on the outside, so the party can enter the fort, and the tower unopposed.
It might be a good idea to encourage the party to rest here if they didn't after the bridge incident.
The tower has a rotting wooden door that is locked. The lock has a DC of 5 to pick. Inside the tower is a spiral staircase going 2 floors up (20 feet [6 meters]) and quite aways down (50 feet [15 ? meters])
If the players go up one story, they can exit onto the walls. They find nothing of value here.
If the players go up to the top story, they find an archer tower, along with a dormant skeleton. This skeleton is wearing a magical necklace that grants resistance to lightning damage. At its side are a bow and a quiver of 10 arrows. If the players do not destroy this skeleton, nor take its weapon or arrows, it will awaken for the final escape.
Once the players go down the stairs, describe how the old wooden steps creak and shudder at the weight of living creatures as their surroundings get dimmer. Make each party member make a dexterity saving throw with a DC of 10.
If they make it, nothing happens.
If they fail, the player(s) that failed slams through the stairs below, barely hanging on to the next set. All other players after them must make an athletics check, or else take 1d4 damage.
Once the players make it down the stairs, describe the following: “As you reach the bottom of the stairwell, the old wood turns to cold stone. The hallway in front of you is surprisingly well lit, with an ominous purple glow casting a dim light on the cobblestone. The hallway is narrow and long, with a single door at the end.”
The hallway is 5 feet (1 ? meter) wide and 50 feet (15 ? meters) long, meaning the party will have to go single file down it.
About halfway down the hall is a pressure plate that, if activated, shoots a bolt of lightning from the ceiling. The character must make a dexterity saving throw with a dc of 15, taking 1d4 damage on a failed save, and half as much on a successful save. The dc to spot the trap is 10 perception, but remember that players get disadvantage on their perception checks due to dim light. Also remember that if they picked up the amulet, they get resistance to lightning damage. It is possible for the players to plug the hole that the lightning comes from if they so wish.
At the end of the hall is a wooden door that isn't locked. If they listen at the door they hear someone muttering, but can't make out any words. Once they open the door explain the following: “As you open the door, you see a robed figure turn to look at you, he is an old man with a scraggly beard and wrinkled face, he is also very hunched over and is leaning on a stick. Behind him is a pedestal containing a large orb encased in an iron cage. The orb is made of hard rock like obsidian and surrounded by a purple mist. Once he realizes who you are, he yells ‘AH! HELP!’ as two skeletons animate and start shambling towards you.”
The room is 40 feet (12 meters) in length, 60 feet (18 ? meters) in width, and has 15 foot (4 ? meters) tall ceilings, propped up with wooden poles here and there.
The warlock is in front of the pedestal, which is in the center of the room, while the two skeletons are up against the back wall, but still central. Next to the pedestal is a sleeping bag, along with a journal filled with gibberish.
Medium human, chaotic evil
AC 15 (cloak)
Hit points 12 (6d4)
Str: 8 (-1) Dex: 12 (+1) Con: 10 (+0) Int: 12 (+1) Wis: 12 (+1) Cha: 6 (-2)
Senses: Passive Perception 14
Challenge: 1/4 (50 XP)
Dagger. Melee or Ranged weapon attack: +1 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit 4 (2d4) piercing damage.
Lightning Bolt. 3rd-level invocation: Once per combat, Warlock can cast this, dealing 5 (1d10) lightning damage to any target in a 100 ft. line.
Fire Bolt. Evocation cantrip: Once per turn, Warlock can cast this, dealing 4 (1d8) fire damage to any one target within 120 feet.
Invisibility. 2nd-level illusion: If Warlocks health at any point drops below half (rounding down), next turn it will cast this on itself in an attempt to hide. Players can make a dc 10 perception check (with disadvantage due to dim light) to attempt to reveal him. Can cast twice in total.
After the battle
After the battle, the players will find a key on the corpse of the warlock, which opens a secret hatch on the pedestal. Once they open it, read the following: “On the inside is a wall with three holes in it shaped in a triangular pattern. The top hole is already filled with a purple ball. In the bottom is a drawer filled with three balls that would fit into the holes, their colors being red, green, and blue.”
The key to the puzzle is to put the blue and red balls into the two remaining holes, since red and blue, when mixed, create purple.
Once they’ve figured it out, the iron case surrounding the orb releases, and can thus be pulled off to reveal the orb.
If the party touches the orb, a large pulse erupts out from the orb, and the fortress begins to crumble. Any more attempts to pick up the orb deal 1d4 lightning damage to the player who touched it.
The party must now hurry to leave the fort as it collapses behind them. Remember to make acrobatics checks if they broke stairs on the way down. Aswell as make sure the skeleton in the tower fires upon them as they run from the fort.
Once they make it out of the fort, describe the following: “Just as you make it outside the fort, the walls cave in on themselves as the tower falls. Out of the rubble, a small puff of purple smoke exits from the rubble. The Orb of Power is gone, and with it, your childhood dreams. But will you continue to adventure anyways? The count is sure to be impressed with your work here, and would most certainly be willing to sponsor your adventures, or will you go back to town and live your life out as any other peasant would? Only you can decide. With friends by your side, you march ever onward, not knowing what will happen next.”
Feel free to continue this campaign, as this is meant for 1st level characters in a party of 3-4, it should give you plenty of groundwork to start adventuring. Thank you for reading! -Thomas
Written July 11th, 2019
Thomas “Ultra9” Berge