RPG: Adventure Hook – Fallen From Grace

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This week…a band of fallen rogues, a relentless pursuer, and a plan that goes off like clockwork…

The forest was burning–but only a little. Here and there at the crater’s edge were only a few small, dying fires that threatened to die down to mere embers as the minutes passed. The old tree would never be the same. Whatever crashed into it had pulled five of its massive roots up from their earthen cradles. They hung in the air, skewed like wooden lightning. Fragments of…something…littered the area around it. Sprites or Pixies or both milled around their ruined homes…

After a strange ship crashes in a sleepy forest, disrupting the local wildlife, the PCs are approached by a pair of mechanical managers who demand their assistance in retrieving/returning/repairing/rewriting/rerighting a band of rogues who have fled their homelands for high crimes. They are ordered to pursue–a task which leads them to an old forest, a crashed vessel, and more marvelous Modrons.A few days prior to the start of this adventure, a band of rogue modrons manage to abscond with a vessel meant for traveling between the planes and use it to escape the Clockwork Plane of Mechanus and make for whichever Prime Material Plane seems most convenient. They are pursued by a pair of Pentadrones who are bent on returning these miscreants to their home, to be brought before their superiors so that they may answer for their crimes.

It is possible the Pentadrone Pair meet the party first, where they will attempt to discover what the party knows about their quarry–and presuming they know nothing, then demands their assistance in capturing the rogue modrons. They will not take no for an answer (mostly because they cannot comprehend anyone saying no for an answer) and will harangue the PCs until they begin work on this task.

The PCs investigate the forest and find signs of the crashed vessel, coming to a small crater in the forest where the rogue modron’s ship has crashed headlong into an ancient tree and tilted it on its side. This has disrupted the homes of many of the forest folk–sprites, pixies, etc. who are currently trying to clean up the wreckage as best as they can. The tree was home to a village. The PCs learn that the modrons were indeed here, and have left to try and find a way to repair the damage they have inadvertently caused.

The modrons are experimenting with individuality and have scattered through the forest, trying to act as best as they can. As the PCs track them down, they learn that there was something else beneath the tree–an evil spirit that has since been freed and which now stalks the forest. In order to make it out alive, the PCs will have to find a way to work with the disparate groups (modrons, rogue modrons, and faeries) or be swallowed up by an ancient evil…

Read on for more info, or skip to the end for all the stats you’ll need!


One Fine Day in the Forest

It all begins on the Clockwork Plane of Mechanus. There an intrepid band of rogue Modron (5 in all) make their escape from the rigid order and structure of their society. One was a scout, whose last mission ran too long. Another a scribe who imprinted on “visiting” adventurers, yet another became fixated on solving problems with mathematical precision, and the fourth just dared to dream. For these “crimes” they were cast out and they banded together to steal a vessel capable of traversing the planes.

Unfortunately making it work was about as far as their rudimentary planning had gotten them. They didn’t know how to pilot it, nor how to cover their tracks. So upon arriving on the Material Plane, they promptly crashed into a large tree, half-uprooting it and destroying the community of Pixies and Sprites that dwelt within.

And of course, they left a massive trail, which two Pentadrones from Mechanus have been pursuing. The Pentadrones have come hunting these rogues, seeking to bring them to justice for their flight.

This adventure begins with either one of the faeries OR the Pair of Pentadrone Pursuers contacting the party. If you go with one of the faeries, it is likely a Sprite scout who has been sent to find aid–for the rogues have been trying to “help” their village but it is not actually helping them rebuild, and perhaps the PCs can help them either get rid of the “visitors” or at least actually fix their homes.

If it is the Pentadrones, they will identify themselves as Pursuant 5-1783-AX and Pursuant 5-1783-HM, and demand the PCs assistance in tracking down the Rogues. This is not from any malice, but because they are simply used to their orders being obeyed. It is their station in life, and if the PCs should refuse, they will attempt to use their paralyzing gas to restrain the PCs and get them to comply. The Pursuants will not yield, if defeated they have been empowered by Primus to reassemble themselves every five days and they will seek out their slayers and try again. And again. And again.


The Village People

Whichever the case, whether because a Sprite is leading them, or because they have been tracking things with the Pentadrones, the PCs come to the crater and bowled over tree that once was home to Sprites and Pixies who live in the forest. Now it is full of wreckage that is still burning, ash, and the ruins of an ancient tree.

Underneath the tree is a great hollow pit, a yawning maw of darkness that reaches deep into the earth below. It is framed by the forked roots of the tree that hang over it like twisted leafless branches. Here and there some of the fae wander, shocked, trying to put out fires, trying to make sense of what happened. Something terrible was once imprisoned here. It has since been freed.

If asked about what happened they will reveal:

There was a great noise–like something tearing, then where there wasn’t something before, a strange object appeared. Like a small whale that had extra fins. It flew about as well as one, too, falling almost immediately into the tree. Afterwards, some creatures crawled out and promised to undo what they had done. They then promptly left for the deeper parts of the forest.

The wreckage itself is an inscrutable hodgepodge of Modron technology. It is clearly a vessel of some kind–but how it is meant to work requires a DC 18 Arcana check. And repairing it is another matter entirely.

However the Rogue Modrons themselves aren’t difficult to track–a simple DC 6 Nature check will provide all that is necessary to find them. This is a check the Pentadrones are incapable of making–they cannot comprehend the organic forest and are incapable of distinguishing the obvious modron tracks on the ground from the other plant matter. It disturbs them to no end.


Modron Art Exhibit

There are four Modron all in all. A Monodrone, a Duodrone, a Tridrone, and a Quadrone (see below for more info).

They have set off to try and repair the damage they caused–however each has interpreted what it means to “repair the damage” in their own way. PCs will need to track down each of the four in order to help them figure out how to actually help. As mentioned above, a single DC 6 (which is why the Pentadrones can’t comprehend it) check is needed in order to track down a particular Modron. They have scattered in four directions.

To the northeast is Mo, a monodrone who went rogue after being given a coded message to deliver from one adventurer to another. Mo became convinced that bravery and heroism were its true calling. Thus Mo has set out in pursuit of the evil that was accidentally unleashed when the Modron ship crashed, an evil known as Ahnzhar of the Dark, a powerful fiend (see below). Unfortunately, all Mo has been able to find is a nest of 4 Darkmantle, which it is currently trying to fight when the PCs happen upon it. Mo will imprint (see below) on the first hero to attack a Darkmantle within 10 feet of it.

In the northwest is Twos, a duodrone who went rogue after being put in charge of an unimportant, understaffed construction project on Mechanus. It took pride in its work–work that took forever to accomplish. It felt safe and secure as a result–until the work was nearly done. Then it became a panicked mess, fearing what it would do when it no longer had work to give it a purpose. Hoping to find purpose in “rebuilding” the village, Twos has been trying to collect Workers to help it rebuild the faerie village. So far, it has found an Ogre, who is playing along in hopes that it will get to eat an entire village.

To the southeast is Designate Ix, a tridrone who became convinced that mathematics was the supreme power in the universe and has set out to prove it through violence. Fortunately Designate Ix is also meant to be a personal assistant functionary…and thus has channeled its violent impulse to the benefit of the pixies. It has tracked down a band of gnolls (6 all in all) that have threatened the village in the past–it seeks to stop them before they multiply enough to divide and conquer.

Finally, in the southwest is H, a quadrone that has become excited at the prospect of trying to learn magic. It sought to help the pixie village by acquiring magical items and found an abandoned wizard’s hut. Inside it found the place was protected by animated objects–it wishes to understand and/or communicate with them more than to fight them. PCs can try and negotiate–but will need to pass a DC 12 Persuasion check in order to open a dialogue with the animate objects.

While the PCs are tracking down and helping the Modrons, take the time to have them question the PCs. This is their first brush with adventurers, and they are curious. They wish to know what and why they are heroes. This is also a chance for the PCs to try and convince the Modrons to rejoin modron society. Depending on how the PCs help them, they may have an opportunity to convince them that it is because they work together that they accomplished their goals, and that being part of many more will help–or alternatively the PCs could encourage the modrons to explore their own nascent personalities. They should have a profound impact on the development of these four mechanical minions.

Once all four modron have been found and helped, the Pentadrones will try to take them back to Mechanus–but before they can, the village is attacked by Ahnzhar.


Squaring off

Ahnzhar does not approach alone. He is flanked by 4 shadows and 2 orcs. During the fight, the Modron will attack to the best of their abilities. Even so, this may be a hard fight. Feel free to tweak the numbers to find what works best with your party–but regardless, Ahnzhar is defeated (or at least driven off, he may retreat if reduced below 25% hp and given the opportunity). Now another big decision moment has come to the players–as the rogue modron (those surviving anyway) bask in the appreciation of the village, the Pentadrones approach demanding that they be handed over.

They must decide whether to try and help the modrons keep their freedom, or rejoin their society. If the PCs wish them to be free, they’ll need to convince the Pentadrones that they would bring too much of an impact to modron society if returned. They might cite the tasks they’ve been performing–a DC 10 Persuasion check is your baseline, but feel free to modify the DC up or down based on PCs arguments.

The same goes for the reverse, should they try to convince the rogues to rejoin their society.

Either way, the PCs are given a reward: 500gp worth of exotic metal (from the wreckage), and a scroll of Magnificent Mansion. If the PCs convinced the Modrons to return, they are also given an Immovable Rod from the Pentadrones as a way of saying thanks.

If they convinced the Pentadrones to let the rogues go free, the band of plucky modron offer their allegiance to the PCs as well as a Brooch of Shielding. The rogue modron may appear later, either as allies, or in need of help depending on how the PCs treated them. If they were treated well, they could be allies for life.


Ahnzhar, the Spirit of Darkness

Large fiend, neutral evil 

Armor class 18 (scale mail)
Hit points 68 (8d10 + 24)
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
18(+4) 18(+4) 16(+3) 14(+2) 12(+1) 16(+3)

Saving throws Str +6, Dex +6, Int +4, Cha +5
Skills Deception +5, Intimidation +5, Perception +3, Stealth +5
Damage resistances
 cold, fire, lightning, poison
Senses darkvision, passive Perception 13
Languages Abyssal, Common, and Infernal
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Fiendish Blessing. Ahnzhar’s armor class includes his charisma bonus.

Innate Spellcasting. Ahnzhar’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 13). Ahnzhar can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At will: detect magic, alter self, command

Actions

Multiattack Ahnzhar makes two melee attacks or uses Fire Ray twice.

Spear. Melee or Ranged weapon attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage or 1d8 + 4 if used in two hands to make a melee attack. Plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.

Fire Ray. Ranged spell attack: +7 to hit, range 120ft. Hit: 10 (3d6) fire damage.


Mo

Small construct, neutral alignment 

Armor class 15 (natural armor)
Hit points 5 (1d8 + 1)
Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
10(+0) 13(+1) 12(+1) 8(-1) 12(+1) 10(+0)

Senses truesight 120 ft.,, passive Perception 11
Languages Modron and Common
Challenge 1/8 (23 XP)

Imprint. Mo is an impressionable young monodrone and can Imprint when it sees something particularly exciting or heroic. This lets it gain a measure of the creature’s power, granting Mo a weapon based on the character that triggered the imprint, at the DM’s discretion. Weapons include: 1-handed javelin, 2-handed hammer, dual-wielded daggers, or arcane lance (if imprinting on a spellcaster of any kind). The weapons are pulled from somewhere inside the monodrone’s mechanical framework, like unfolding pieces from a puzzle-disc.

Actions

Imprinted Attack. Mo makes an attack with the weapon(s) currently equipped. The player that Mo has imprinted upon gains advantage to their next attack roll made against a target hit by this attack.

Javelin. Melee or Ranged weapon attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) piercing damage.

Maul. Melee weapon attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d10 + 1) bludgeoning damage.

Dagger. Melee weapon attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 +1) piercing damage.

Arcane Lance. Melee or Ranged spell attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., or range 30ft., one target, Hit: 5 (2d4) cold/fire/lightning/thunder (depending) damage.


Twos

Medium construct, neutral alignment 

Armor class 15 (natural armor)
Hit points 11 (2d8 + 2)
Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
11(+0) 13(+1) 12(+1) 8(-1) 12(+1) 10(+0)

Senses truesight 120 ft.,, passive Perception 11
Languages Modron and Common
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)

Purpose. While in pursuit of a task (and Twos can attempt two tasks at once), Twos gains advantage on all Intelligence and Dexterity checks made while in pursuit of that goal. Once the task is accomplished, Twos must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or spend its action on having an existential crisis, meaning all attacks against Twos have advantage until the end of its next turn.

Spellcasting. Twos is a spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11, +3 to hit with spell attacks). Twos has the following cleric spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): light, sacred flame, thaumaturgy
1st level (3 slots): bless, cure wounds, sanctuary

Actions

Javelin. Melee or Ranged weapon attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) piercing damage.


 

Designate Ix

Medium construct, neutral alignment 

Armor class 15 (natural armor)
Hit points 16 (3d8 + 3)
Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
12(+1) 13(+1) 12(+1) 14(+2) 9(-1) 10(+0)

Senses truesight 120 ft.,, passive Perception 9
Languages Modron and Common
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Mathematic! Designate Ix can spend a bonus action to distribute a +1 bonus to attack and damage to one, two, or three creatures it can see.

 

Actions

Multiattack. Designate Ix makes three javelin attacks.

Javelin. Melee or Ranged weapon attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) piercing damage.


H

Medium construct, neutral alignment 

Armor class 16 (natural armor)
Hit points 22 (4d8 + 4)
Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
12(+1) 14(+2) 12(+1) 10(+0) 10(+0) 12(+1)

Skills Perception +2
Senses
 truesight 120 ft.,, passive Perception 12
Languages Modron and Common
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Sneak Attack. Once per turn, H deals an extra 7 (2d6) damage when it hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of the assassin that isn’t incapacitated and H doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

Actions

Multiattack. H makes either 4 short sword or 4 javelin attacks.

Short Sword. Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Javelin. Melee or Ranged weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

  • Tyler Swires

    I love this adventure idea but I just want to point out that Ahnzhar is not CR 3. If his AC includes his charisma then it should be 19 and his overall CR would be 5. Also H would be a CR 1 not 1/2. Other than that this is great. Totally using it in my campaign!