30 minute challenge – Caravan

Hello all, welcome to Saturday nights writeup where this week we are looking at another 30 minute adventure with a randomly generated word.

Just like last week I will have the same except for one additional set of restrictions or rules to make it a challenge for me – well attempt to.

  • Single word randomly generated
  • 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.
  • Can finish the sentence I am writing when timer goes off (I dislike half-written sentences)

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 is Caravan provided by https://www.shortstoryideas.co.uk/random.htm

Right lets get on with it,.

Time: 9:32:13

Caravan – Precious Cargo

Initial thoughts – Caravan is an interesting one, relatively easy and not too hard to implement a three stage approach. You have departure, conflict (mid way) and then the Coast (what happens at the end – the coast into town). So this was probably an easy one to write through tonight so let’s see how we go!

Ok tonight is inspired by the one of the first novels I read when I was probably eight or nine (will touch on it in the closing thoughts). The party has been approached by a well respected caravan company to help beef up their protection of a caravan train that is leaving two days from now. The man seems to be skittish and paranoid as if reaching out to bigger mercenary companies or even posting the job at the normal job boards would draw too much attention and the party seems to be just the right mixture of unknown but capable.

What the caravan owner doesn’t reveal to the party is that the luggage is a princess who has been put under an enchanted sleep as a method of getting her out of her home city without drawing attention or raising suspicion. The other caravans in the train, the more impressive ones, are filled with spices, silks and goods that will fetch a good price regardless of where they are sold.

The princess, err, Claire, is the last heir to the throne for the kingdom of Wellhurst, once a prominent family which has had a string of bad lack with keeping their heirs alive whether it was illness, accidents or assassinations and despite the kings best efforts in hiring the caravan (people that he would never associate with normally – people smugglers, illicit traders etc.) and hiring a mage to sedate his daughter the caravan still has still been marked and those who would wish the princess ill are close behind.

The Caravan is currently settled in a small town called Hensroost, a small town that is normally known for its agriculture and the mines to the north which supply them with a supply of wealth its lately been seeing roaming bands of gnolls on the horizon which has kept the city on high alert and as made the caravan owner anxious to get going.

The Princesses family, the uncle in fact, made a pact with a devil to wrest power from his older brother allowing the devil to take what ever price it deemed equal. When the deal was done the price was called, the uncles children (Princess Claire’s cousins) were found dead within a day and the curse spread to make it so the uncle, although currently the ruler, would be the last of the line to rule the city. Despite his greed he couldn’t watch more of is family die due to his curse so he abjugated to his younger brother (Claire’s father) and revealed the curse.

The Devil itself cares not for the power of the kingdom but doesn’t like being cheated out of a deal and to make a statement he is sending some of those who also owe him a debt to retrieve the princess alive.

The gnoll’s are also drawn to the curse but because their demon lord – Yeenoghu – holds a special hatred for the devil who seeks the princess and wants to cause the devil as much grief and upset as possible without a direct confrontation.

The party will need to manage vehicle movement (caravans), travel by horses as well as fatigue on the animals if they are to get to the safer city where a Cleric of Tyr will look at breaking the deal by exploiting how it was written and signed.

Part 1 – Flight

As they leave the city on their four day journey all is well, the horses are pushed but not over worked. The party would notice though on the dawn of the second day that there are horses approaching quickly from the city. They can either stand and fight or flee.

If they stand and fight 7 ‘bandits’ and 1 ‘bandit captain’ attack them targeting the fancy caravans and managing to torch 2 of the 3 decoy caravans and ripping open the caravans to search them while they burn – announcing loudly that “SHES NOT HERE”. Any party member near by would hear this with ease, the Princesses caravan takes off as soon as the bandit attacks leaving the burning wreckage and the decoy takes off after them.

If they flee instead of fight then they have to try and outpace the bandits, which wont happen, and will end up fighting on horse back – at which point the bandits wont set the caravans on fire but will try and board overpower the driver and guards to get in.

Part 2 – Contact! Gnolls!

After escaping the raiders they may find out that the real purpose is the Princess – this would take the form of the main caravan wheel breaking and having to move the princess to a new caravan. The horses would have a level of exhaustion and would be getting fatigued by now.

Sounds like a great time for a dusk ambush by gnolls on day 3 – 1 day out from the city but the horses pulling the caravans may not make the ride in with how fatigued they are. Which means they would need to carry the unconscious princess on horseback!

A pack of gnolls and hyenas, maybe one giant one -a hyenadon) would be enough. Just enough to make it feel urgent to leave quickly but not enough to stop them there dead in their tracks.

Part 3 – Betrayal in the Caravan

So as they reach viewing distance of the walled city they would have what ever caravaners (not the main guy) turn on them – demanding the princess be handed to them so they can claim a bounty on her head. The party, since she will likely be on one of their horses, can take off for the city or stand and fight – I’d have about 8 “guards” as the statistics.

Once into the city the party make it to the cleric who removes the enchantment and begins to research into how to remove the curse. The Cleric produces a chest of gold (1000gp) as payment from the king and thanks them – the wards of the church to Tyr, and the sheer volume of knights and paladins in the vicinity should be enough to protect her until the deal can be broken.

Time: _10:03:30_

Closing Thoughts

Close! ran out of time and I finished the sentence I was writing when my alarm went off. A few moments I was pausing to make sure that I was happy with the direction I was going but overall I am happy with what was here. I even managed to get a few stat blocks called out in the adventure to hopefully help with the encounter.

Now higher level parties are easy to adjust – instead of hired thugs (bandits) chasing them you could have lower level devils such as imps or spined devils attacking the caravan, Volo’s guide to monsters and mordenkainans tome of foes both being excellent sources for alternative fiends as well as some great options for gnolls for that second encounter.

Really that’s about it – I tried to not follow the story line of Master Wolf (The third book in the Greyhawk series by Rose Estes but there are a are few elements through most of my campaign that are inspired by this series – being the first novels I read (then I went onto such books as Deltora quest etc.)

Thanks – I hope you enjoyed tonight’s writeup!

Come back tomorrow for the end of week write-up and don’t forget to let me know what you thought of tonight’s adventure challenge so I can keep creating more Brazen Wolfe Tabletop content that you want to read.

And finally, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe