A Candid approach

Hello all, welcome to the ‘Saturday special’ where this week we are looking at another 30 minute adventure challenge with the supplied word (thanks reader!).

Now true to word I haven’t started writing or thinking on what I could do with this adventure, well, thinking about it is hard to reign in but I will do my best to handicap myself by throwing away the instant thoughts I had on this – but more on that in a moment – you will just have to trust that I am telling the truth on this one.

Just like last week I will have the same, mostly, set of restrictions to make it a challenge for me – well attempt to.

  • Single word randomly provided
    • Initial first and second thoughts are to be ignored – To make my imagination actually work for it for a change.
  • 30 minute timer, start time recorded.
  • Must be a playable adventure
  • Must have at least one driver (antagonist/protagonist)
  • Must be D&D centric and attempt to be of the fantasy variety.

And that’s the rules, deciding to remove the first two thoughts that came/come into my mind should make it a bit more challenging. So the clocks set, the word Candour (Candor) provided last week – thanks for the suggestion!

Right lets get on with it,.

Time: 8:52:15

A Candid approach

Well the first idea that came into my head was a King who is normally open, honest and truthful with everyone he works with being cursed to only lie, but the enchantment makes other spells and attempts to work out his situation come back with the resounding truth. He believes what he is saying. The story would go on how he knows he is cursed and he is trying to cry for help by wearing a red leather glove and openly declaring that its blue.. But – that may be for another time, who knows.

The second thought was just a stone throw away really – A crime boss has suddenly started telling the truth and he abducts the players. Any spell or affect will determine he is 100% telling the truth on anything he says. He believes that some of his own subordinates has betrayed him (note the words used) and he implores the party to do their best to flush out the culprits so he can revert the enchantment. There are no spells cast upon him but he is candid to a fault including his multiple affairs (if questioned in front of his wife) – Well that ones gone too – this one was different – he is just simply telling the truth to flush out the rot in his crew. Its all a farce but because he speaks the truth and speaks with conviction (and is careful with his words) to all that know him or hear him speak he is 100% truthful – ah goodbye Liar Liar spin off.

Ok the real on, third off the rank is a no-name merchant who starts to advertise his truth potion – any one dose will make the consumer hear only truths for the next day. This obviously goes nuts in the small city that they are in (a fringe city that isn’t really known for much other than its large livestock market and export via its very small dock.

Soon accusations of unfaithful ness, business cheats, charlatans and all manor of wrong doers are being exposed and this small time merchant strikes liquid gold – his her truth potion. (changed to a female antagonist). The party are called upon, to help sort out what’s going on here.

So this leaves me with a question – is the potion real or a trickery and I think the only path I want to go down is its real! (makes it harder for me). Now, sorcery or alchemy – my first instinct was sorcery to be frank but with the late addition (as I was typing) of the large livestock market its feasible that something rare, exotic or unusual may have come through there so I will say that it’s Alchemical.

So, a lady alchemist who uses, err, liquid from a creature that was acquired from the local livestock trade to distil a potion that makes the consumer hear only truths.

So how did she know about it, lets make it easier for me as my mind went with squids. Yup. Tentacles, beaks and odd eyes. So a land squid. Yep. That’s weird. Found in a cave to the north that happens to lead down into the underdark. This gives us a few things.

  1. The merchant to sold the squid would be visiting the underdark or paying someone to to bring back the gross critter.
  2. The alchemist would need to know what it is. Either she is Duegar, Drow or spent time amongst them. I tend to stay away with slavery so lets go with.. half drow? – Mother was particularly thorough in her prayers to Lloth and fell pregnant which created a half-elf – she cant even remember the sire. (no hate here – spent a bit of time reading war of the spider queen and it only seems fair that they would partake in these displays of excess…)

So the half-drow, Amalica, was spared because of her gender (extreme matriarchy down in the dark) and spent some time with a lesser family – a relative (cousins)- before she went in search of what lies above the earth.

Ok – so squid’s tentacles and beak secrete a poison that allows the squid to take control over the bitten and use their body as an all terrain vehicle, nice. Because she is half-drow she knows of the squid from her family and her cousins taught her to complete alchemy and limited sorcery that comes with the elven blood.

The created potion when it’s distilled correctly and mixed with certain mushrooms doesn’t open the mind fully for invasion but gives a strong temporary psionic ability to the consumer which enables them to read minds, well surface thoughts and limited ability to manipulate those thoughts to reveal the truth – all subconsciously.

Since her endeavour has taken off she has been searching for another squid but her supplier has gone quiet. Currently she is just keeping up with demands but has made enough gold that her little cart is now upgraded to a large shop front and her neighbours don’t like it so much.

So the party, where… called upon by the businesses near by, a mercantile body of them in fact who govern the commerce in the city – yeah. They are worried about the legitimacy of the potion as well as, if questioned or poked, worried about their own business secrets, deals, plots and ploys being revealed to their competition. The board has all agreed upon pain of ostracisation from the city and all the benefits of working for, as part of and within the city offer.

Part 1 – Finding out.

The party would need to find out how Amalica does it – they could sample the potion, perform their own alchemical wonders, cast spells or such but they all come back with that its not really a spell or enchantment but a drug.

If they break in and look through the store they find only meagre supplies and too many orders for what is there – they find the underdark mushrooms though and if one of them has knowledge of either the underdark (Ranger, drow, duegar, or svirfneblin) or a high survival check they would be able to determine what it is.

Maybe they would notice the merchant dropping off the mushrooms and tail him?

Part 2 – Confrontation?

The party would confront Amalica, the merchant/s etc. to find more info.

Part 3 – Discovery

Either the merchant body, or better yet people who tracked the merchant selling mushrooms find where she is keeping the Squid and kill it – leaving behind a Drow dagger (a spider motif on the handle) – she talks openly with the party and ask about what’s next – she thinks her merchant had found another two of the squids but she worries he was ambushed at his place.

And time…. well being candid it was over by 1 minute over as I didn’t want to finish mid sentence (must add that to the rules for next time…)

Closing thoughts

Hmm – taking the time to get some notes out this time for part 1,2 and 3 helped this time so I could go into those sections and tidy them up. I probably spent too much time on the setting as opposed to the actual content and flow.

I would change part three to a either or. Kill the squid if the Drow, or, if the merchants she becomes a fugitive as the merchants and their guards go after her – accusing her of dark magic. The Towns guard are on her side but its a bit out numbered – the party has a choice to either help her and/or the guard or the merchants.

Part 2 is also, well, merely a thought here – Talking to her, the merchants or the mushroom man to get more info. If confronted directly and approached with empathy and genuine concern (she would drink her own potion and know if they were lying) she would explain to them her background – the abridged version – and then explain that she is an alchemist and found a non-lethal non-malicious way to distil her potion. This is what the party want to be aware of – the other merchants would merely point at her and say that she is behind it (and may reluctantly tell truths of double dealings, black books, illegal trade and the like)

I think next time if I do this again I wouldn’t write the two stricken out entries until after the time is up – as they were thought up and discarded quickly, could have saved around 5 minutes.

The conclusion would be the the half-Drow alive – sorry for those who didn’t want that! but she would be tried for a witch if captured by the merchants and then found innocent, but the merchants would then ostracise her from the merchants network which would make it nearly impossible to keep running her business here – she would then leave.

If the merchants don’t catch her then she would flee and pass a large sum of gold to the party if they were with her when she left – else the mushroom merchant would find them and bring them gold from her if they held back the merchants and guards but didn’t help her personally escape

Thanks – I hope you enjoyed tonight’s writeup! I, honestly, failed tonight – The clock bet me tonight but I will endeavour to try again if its a format that people like!

So – if you’ve got a word for next week feel free to comment below and I will select one that has been provided, if you have some reasonable restrictions, rules, or “at minimum you must have…” then please put them down – I am doing this to, really, train my brain to be better at planning adhoc one shots and be better and creating short adventures on the fly.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for more Brazen Wolfe Tabletop content and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe