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Looking for a low-level "PCs are hired by NPC" type adventures

NewJeffCT

First Post
As you know, there are many low level adventures/modules out there where the players are hired by an important, and seemingly good, NPC: wealthy merchant, local nobility, etc) to go on some sort of quest – rescue his kidnapped child, recover stolen goods, retrieve some mythical item, map a trail through the haunted forest, etc . I was looking for some of the better ones to get an idea to start a campaign. (And edition of D&D or Pathfinder is fine.)

Also, are there any with a twist – the players find out later on that the important NPC is really the Big Bad Evil Guy (or a main lieutenant of the BBEG), and whatever the players had been hired to do has greatly helped out said BBEG? I know the old adventure Apocalypse Stone has that twist in it, but that's more for high level PCs to end a campaign.

I was thinking of something along the lines of the players retrieving a lost item, only to find out it was a key to a powerful evil artifact. (The BBEG needed some good-aligned types to obtain the key, possibly due to the magical wards in place and/or maybe some prophecy?)

But, are there many published adventures that have this kind of betrayal from an NPC? If not, what are some good low level “NPC hires the PCs to find something” adventures?

Thanks
 

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Gilladian

Adventurer
Hmmm... as part of the 'dungeon-a-day' site, there was an adventure called "Temple of the Black Goat". The whole adventure was a sort of bait-and-switch in which the PCs come to Cold Comfort Ford - a small, isolated village - where adventurers are being hired by a group of halfling archaeologists to dig out the ruins of an old temple. The twist is that the archaeologists are were-rats, who are on a quest for a specific item in the old Temple of Asmodeus. Most people have forgotten or no longer care who the temple was dedicated to, but there are some villagers who are still devoted to the gods of their grandparents, and there are some folk who think digging up the temple is a BAD THING. Of course, they're right...

The village is nicely written-up, and there's room to add a lot of your own material to stretch out what is otherwise a fairly straightforward dungeon crawl.

The only problem would be getting hold of the PDF because the subscription site is no longer active, as far as I know...
 

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
Also, are there any with a twist – the players find out later on that the important NPC is really the Big Bad Evil Guy (or a main lieutenant of the BBEG), and whatever the players had been hired to do has greatly helped out said BBEG?
Isn't this every adventure of this type--or, at least, every Shadowrun adventure of this type? (Of course, I can't think of any right now).

Honestly, in my experience, players are expecting whomever hires them to betray them. So I tend to make my NPC employers as sketchy and suspicious as possible--then not betray the PC's. But then again, I like surprises.
 

NewJeffCT

First Post
true, I understand that most players are suspicious of these things. However, I think I've built up enough credibility over the years with this group that they'd probably be surprised if the helpful NPC turned out to be the BBEG or the right hand of the BBEG. I mean, Darth Vader was a great villain and everybody knew he was the villain from the moment he appeared onscreen in A New Hope. No twists and turns with him until the end of Empire and then in Return of the Jedi.
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
For Pathfinder and for 5th level (so it might not be low enough level for you), The Curse of the Golden Spear trilogy of modules as an introduction to the Kaidan setting of Japanese horror (PFRPG). A party "western" PCs are hired by a merchant to deliver a gift intended as a bribe to a local lord, with the first module called The Gift.
 

NewJeffCT

First Post
For Pathfinder and for 5th level (so it might not be low enough level for you), The Curse of the Golden Spear trilogy of modules as an introduction to the Kaidan setting of Japanese horror (PFRPG). A party "western" PCs are hired by a merchant to deliver a gift intended as a bribe to a local lord, with the first module called The Gift.

Thanks - it's low enough that it might work. You can possibly intro the NPC earlier to build up some trust.
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
Plot hooks are included for each PC, but the meeting with the lord (BBEG) is the start of the second module intended for 6th level Dim Spirit.

Also, the party will be staying at an inn, at the end of the first module, which is sort of hand-waved, however, I wrote a detailed encounter/mini-adventure called Haiku or Horror: Autumn Moon Bath House, which serves as an inn and fits well as a one-shot between the first and second modules. This site is heavily infuenced by The Grudge movie. I'm the primary author/designer for this one, though I created the outlines and development for The Gift and Dim Spirit.

If you decide to get the third module, Dark Path, for 7th level to end the short campaign (and then the party can go "home"), there's a one-shot module called Up from Darkness that works well as an opportunity the players get to play the 7th level NPCs bad guys that are hunting the main PC party in the third module, for an interesting twist. If you run it, do so between the second and third modules. Not to make you spend more money, but altogether the 3 modules and 2 one-shots make for an epic short AP.
 
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religon

First Post
There are a pair of old D&D Basic modules that could be altered slightly and meet the parameters. B11 & B12... King's Festival and Queen's Harvest. Run B11 straight... rescue the cleric. Sort of routine dungeon crawl ends with clue of a rising evil Warrior-Queen. It also builds trust from the PC's in the module pair. For the second module, the PC's journey to find an elderly wizard who has recently died. They find his adopted son (4th-level Fighter). He asks for his newly acquired wizard's basement/laboratory be cleared of hazards that his adopted father placed there. The PC's accept and while clearing the dungeon they bump into enemy NPC's. In the module as written, the NPCs are evil and Lord Penhaligon is good. Flip it but don't let the PC's in. CLues from the dungeon demand the PC's journy to teh evil Keep to dungeon-bash the Warrior-Queen's evil humanoid forces.

The change: Rather than opposing the Warrior-Queen, the final Big Bad, Lord Penhaligon is her lover and the PC's are being setup to fail and clear the path for the pair to usurp the Queen's half-sister from her throne in the town of Penhaligon. By the end, the PC's gain evidence to stop both.
 

NewJeffCT

First Post
There are a pair of old D&D Basic modules that could be altered slightly and meet the parameters. B11 & B12... King's Festival and Queen's Harvest. Run B11 straight... rescue the cleric. Sort of routine dungeon crawl ends with clue of a rising evil Warrior-Queen. It also builds trust from the PC's in the module pair. For the second module, the PC's journey to find an elderly wizard who has recently died. They find his adopted son (4th-level Fighter). He asks for his newly acquired wizard's basement/laboratory be cleared of hazards that his adopted father placed there. The PC's accept and while clearing the dungeon they bump into enemy NPC's. In the module as written, the NPCs are evil and Lord Penhaligon is good. Flip it but don't let the PC's in. CLues from the dungeon demand the PC's journy to teh evil Keep to dungeon-bash the Warrior-Queen's evil humanoid forces.

The change: Rather than opposing the Warrior-Queen, the final Big Bad, Lord Penhaligon is her lover and the PC's are being setup to fail and clear the path for the pair to usurp the Queen's half-sister from her throne in the town of Penhaligon. By the end, the PC's gain evidence to stop both.

good ideas! Thanks for sharing.
 


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