The outskirts of a big city are usually crowded. The massive consumption of dairy products demands an equal production of them. Therefore, entire farming communities content themselves living under the watchful eye of the city walls. These people benefit from the freedom of nature and the freshness of the morning breeze. And since some travelers and adventurers prefer that to the busy streets and rooms of the city, a few lucky individuals who managed to succeed in their entrepreneurship have the nicest places to stay.
Dewey Fink is a gnome who saw a nice business opportunity and grasped it. He made a large investment and acquired the rights to an enormous lodge house that belonged to a wealthy farmer. The place is spacious and it has many rooms. He had to refurnish and redecorate some of it, but in a couple of months Dewey inaugurated “Fink’s Hacienda”.
The place was a complete success. Dewey, Halfred, and the rest of the staff do an amazing job to keep the guests happy and entertained. The word about this new fancy location spread quickly and Dewey has never worried about his business going bankrupt. However, whenever someone or something becomes the conversation subject of a whole city, unpleasant surprises tend to occur.
Two weeks ago, Fink’s Hacienda was attacked by a group of brigands and thugs. These men destroyed the wooden fence at the entrance and smashed the main door in. They threatened everyone present and stripped them from their belongings. After the attack, all guests left except for one. Dewey reported this with the city guard and they opened an investigation. Halfred, the butler, doesn’t think the guard can help.
Due to the commotion and the monetary losses, Dewey offers the next group of adventurers he sees to stay at half price, as long as they can help him with a little job inside the Hacienda. If they accept, he puts them in the guests’ room (area 11). At supper, he describes the recent attack and how it affected his business. He introduces Halfred to the group and he shares his distrust for the guard’s efficacy. Both explain to the adventurers this is why they would like them to make a bit of investigation and inquiries. If there is some way to obtain crucial intelligence on the author of the attack, Dewey’s losses could be diminished and the culprit imprisoned.
The Hidden Enemy
Garret is the only guest that stayed after the attack. He even paid for another week. His apparent good demeanor and well-spirited behavior is just a mask to his real self. Garret is a sneaky bastard. He is the one who organized the recent attack in Fink’s Hacienda. He studied the place and called the shots when the right time to attack presented itself. He believes the scene of the crime is the last place they would look for the culprit so he decided to extend his stay.
During the attack, Garret took advantage of the chaos and saw-cut a secret access from his room (area 5) to the Hacienda’s office (area 4). He intends to obtain more information about the business’s transactions and squeeze more gold from it. He plans to attack the place again and raid it completely before he leaves. Garret doesn’t feel intimidated by the presence of more guests since he believes his goons can pull the coup like last time without trouble.
Halfred and Dewey tell the adventurers all they know about the day of the attack. They apologize if their information doesn’t result helpful, but they can point out the names of some of the previous guests, the ones who left after the incident.
The adventurers learn the following information after speaking with Dewey and the rest of his staff:
- The large room was occupied by a group of dwarf miners.
- There were about ten people having drinks and food in the Main Hall (area 7).
- Dewey recalls the bad guys did not bother Larry, the bum. Larry comes whenever he manages to get enough copper pieces to pay for ale, and that day, the brigands did not even look at him.
- The double bedroom had a merchant couple who sadly lost everything.
- Fink’s Hacienda was attacked by brigands. They made everyone leave and took their belongings.
- The name of the criminal faction that attacked is called “The Big Gut Guys” or the BGG.
- The BBG is known for hiring young men and their siblings.
- Although they aren’t very powerful, people in the small villages outside the city are no match for the BGG.
- One of the people who was drinking in the Hacienda that day might have more information about the BGG. His name is Guy Meurret, and he was a former detective for the city guard. He lives near Fink’s Hacienda and is a regular weekend customer.
Guy’s home is a few hundred feet from Fink’s Hacienda. When the adventurers talk to him, he agrees to tell them what he knows under one condition. He challenges one of the adventurers to beat him at exercising and training. Guy claims he can beat any of them at any physical and stamina game or competition. Guy offers to tell them one piece of information for each time they beat him, but if he wins, the adventurers must pay for the information they want with gold.
Guy challenges one of the heroes in three different activities.
Running Contest. The runners must do laps around the Hacienda until one of them cannot run anymore. It is a stamina test. A character who agrees to run against Guy can, with a successful DC 14 Constitution check, beat him. If Guy loses, he stops and justifies his loss saying he needs to keep his shape for the other two games. However, he keeps his word and tells the adventurers the first piece of information. He tells them that he doesn’t remember seeing Garret around when the attackers broke in. If Guy wins this competition, he asks for 15 gold pieces for this information.
Push-ups Competition. Guy claims he can do the most push-ups without taking a break. A character who competes against Guy can, with a successful DC 16 Constitution check, beat him. If Guy loses, he stops and stands up to retch his breakfast. He justifies himself and says he ate something bad that ruined his routine. However, he keeps his word and tells the adventurers the second piece of information. He tells them that it is already suspicious enough that Garret didn’t leave after the attack, but it is even weirder that the brigands entered the Hacienda and went directly for Dewey’s, Halfred’s, and the guests’ rooms as if they knew where they were. Guy says that if his years as a detective taught him something, this whole thing smells like an inside job. He believes someone was working as a spy for the criminals. He suspects Halfred could have done it, but doesn’t know his motive yet. It could also be Garret. If Guy wins this competition, he asks for 20 gold pieces for this information.
Arm Wrestling. The last test is Guy’s specialty. No one in the village, nor the city, he claims, can beat him. A character who arm wrestles against Guy can, with a successful DC 18 Constitution check, beat him. If Guy loses, he grabs his wrists and says he felt a cramp. However, he keeps his word and tells the adventurers the third and last piece of information. He tells them that he heard one of the attackers say the name “Garret” while they were threatening everybody, and he also recalls one of those guys and Garret looked alike. Guy adds that the BGG is known for hiring whole families and pairs of brothers to their ranks. Guy explains it doesn’t seem odd to him that Garret could turn out to be one of their members and a relative to one of the attackers. If Guy wins this competition, he asks for 30 gold pieces for this information.
Guy tells them these are all his theories. He emphasizes he is a retired detective who wants to help. But he doesn’t want his name mingled with anything that happens because of what he shares. However, if Guy losses all three competitions, he feels surprised and humbled. His detective flame is reborn and he asks the adventurers if they would let him accompany them to solve the rest of the case. If the adventurers agree, Guy (scout) confronts Garret in the Hacienda along with them.
Garret is no fool. He knows that sooner or later his presence in the Hacienda is certain to raise suspicions. Plus, Guy’s stupid competitions are hard to go unnoticed. Garret knows the adventurers are staying at the Hacienda at the time so he knows he needs to be fast. While the adventurers have fun competing against old Guy, Garret’s goons enter the Hacienda as customers and some of them pretend to have some drinks in the Main Hall (area 7) while the rest play cards in the game room (area 2).
Two BGG infiltrators sneak into the kitchen and enter the cellar. Their main objective is to steal the expensive loaves of meat with ease with the second attack happens. Garret also wanted a couple of his men hiding in the cellar as a backup.
Whenever the party decides to confront Garret, they find him playing dumb in the Main Hall drinking with some friends of his. Follow the encounter shown in the Main Hall (area 7) in Area Descriptions.
Neutral good gnome (age 187)
Dewey is chubby and stout. His prominent belly battles against the buttons of his shirt and pants every day. He loves meat, all of it. Dewey is a real connoisseur and knows everything there is to know about meat and what wine goes best with it. Because of this, he considers himself a collector, and he keeps many different kinds of meat in his cellar. He understands much of the meat he stores is lost or spoiled since it cannot be consumed on time, but he says this is the price to pay to adapt your palate to greatness. After a meal, he likes to eat berries and his fingers always have a rosy glow because of it. He is going bald so he covers his head with a straw hat a bit too large for him.
Personality Trait. “Sarcasm and insults are my weapons of choice.”
Ideal. “I have faith in good deeds. If I do good, things will go well.”
Bond. “My family is the most important thing in my life, even when they are far from me.”
Flaw. “I’m a sucker for a pretty face.”
Halfred, the butler
Chaotic neutral human (age 49)
Halfred looks venerable but his physique is well-preserved. He runs almost all of the Hacienda’s errands and always seems to be on the move. He works doing a bit of everything but mostly, helps Dewey run the place. Halfred has his room in the Hacienda and he lives there. He likes to look neat and presentable for guests and he enjoys when people compliment him or the place.
Personality Trait. “I have a proverb for every occasion.”
Ideal. “If I dishonor myself, I dishonor the people around me.”
Bond. “I work to preserve Fink’s Hacienda.”
Flaw. “I’m quick to assume that someone means harm to me.”
Chaotic neutral human (age 53)
Guy is a human marvel. Most men his age have difficulties doing the same physical effort than in their thirties, but Guy is an incredible exception. He loves to exercise every day and it is common to see him run in the mornings showing off his strong torso while flexing his arms. Half the town admires him; the other half abhors him. He wears a full-grown beard and a bushy mustache.
Personality Trait. “If someone says something cool they did, I mention something cooler about myself.”
Ideal. “Perseverance is the key to achieve your goals.”
Bond. “My body is my sanctuary; I must nourish it every day.”
Flaw. “I turn tail and run when things go bad.”
Chaotic evil half-elf (age 51)
Garret acts aloof and distracted since the day of the attack. He is polite and gentle. He exaggerates a little when saying hello or taking his leave. A passive Insight score of 15 or higher reveals Garret is not being honest when expressing himself. Garret wears dark brown robes and leather boots. His long wavy black hair covers his semi-pointy ears.
Personality Trait. “I hide my real intentions almost all the time.”
Ideal. “I never target people who cannot afford to lose a few coins.”
Bond. “I owe my guild a great debt for forging me into the person I am today.”
Flaw. “I smile and my voice cracks when I’m nervous.”
The following descriptions of areas 1 through 20 correspond to Fink’s Hacienda and its cellar.
Terrain. All the Hacienda features wooden flooring. Dewey made the necessary repairs before opening the place and the floor is in good shape. However, the irregular ground and low temperatures in the cellar have cracked some of the stone tiles in there.
Doors. All the doors in the Hacienda are oak wood. They have low-quality locks. Characters using thieves’ tools can pick any lock with a successful DC 14 Dexterity check.
Light. The large fireplace in the Main Hall illuminates well the largest area of the Hacienda. The rest of the rooms have oil lamps or candles to illuminate at night.
Smells and Sounds. The Hacienda has a nice and welcoming smell of homemade food and jerky. The Main Hall has a heavy herbal odor due to the number of smokers daily. Sometimes, the voice of a singer and the sound or a lyre fill the busy nights in Fink’s Hacienda, while a score of people enjoy drinking ale and sing along the popular songs.
Fink’s Hacienda has a small wooden fence surrounding the porch. Part of the fence was destroyed in the attack and whole chunks of wood of the main door still lie on the floor. There is a round table with four chairs that work as a waiting room. The chairs look immaculate since hardly ever do people sit here.
2. Game Room
This room is reserved for dart and cards players. Dewey charges an extra fee for the use of this room. A round table with chairs is the only pieces of furniture in here. Paying for the room includes food and ale. Dewey has a set of dice and a deck of cards but people bring their own since Dewey’s is missing some of the cards.
3. Meeting Room
This room is not used often. People have to pay an extra fee to use this room. There is a long wooden table with fancy red velvet chairs. Important people have sometimes held assemblies and private talks in there. Whenever the room is busy, Dewey and Halfred do their best to provide a good service without seeming nosy.
Dewey wanted to have room to think and be alone. He is the only one with the key to the two doors. There are a desk and a chair. There are several papers and scrolls with information about the Hacienda on top. Invoices, accounting logs, registries of gold transactions, shopping orders, and other important paperwork lies on the table. These are the documents that Garret is using to know how to proceed. A passive Perception score of 15 or higher reveals a section of the wall has the shape of a square outline. Removing that part of the wall shows a the hole that Garret cut from his room (area 5).
5. Garret’s Room
Garret keeps his room shut at all times whenever he is not inside. There are a bed, a small wooden table, and a wardrobe. Garret doesn’t spend much time in here. A passive Investigation score of 14 or higher reveals Garret has a traveling backpack under his bed. He keeps 25 gold pieces, some dried rations of food, and a dagger in it.
Secret Passage. A passive Perception score of 15 or higher reveals there is a secret passage behind the wardrobe to access the office (area 4).
6. Double Bedroom
There are two individual beds and a bookshelf in this room. The room also has two wooden stools. This room is currently vacant.
7. Main Hall
The main hall is always warm and cozy. Halfred never lets the fire from the hearth die. The three wooden tables can sit up to fifteen guests. All tables have white cloths with pretty red embroidered decorations. There is a door on the east wall of the room to go to the outhouses with ease.
Whenever the adventurers confront Garret (spy), he waits here drinking with three of his buddies (bandits). He replies with an acid tongue if they accuse him of anything. However, a successful DC 14 Charisma (Intimidation) check allows a character to break him. He admits his role in the attack. However, Garret doesn’t know what to say to clean his name and violence is the only thing left for him.
If Garret is not intimidated, that gives him the upper hand. He yells “Is that your best hand and poker face?” which is the signal for two of his men in the game room. A passive Perception score of 14 or higher reveals the presence of Garret’s men. One is behind the west door of the game room and the other hides most of his body using the east hallway wall. The two bandits aim crossbows and are ready to fire. Failing to see the shooters causes the adventurers to be. The two men that were supposed to wait in the cellar were forgotten. They couldn’t hear Garret’s signal on time. They come up because of the yelling and noise but they are too drunk to swing their swords (see area 20).
Garret and the group of bandits all carry low-quality weapons and armor. If the adventurers loot their bodies, they find 62 gold pieces among them.
There isn’t any food stored in the kitchens. The cook and Halfred use this area to prepare all food and dishes. It is practical since the real pantry is not even in the same building. There are a couple of wooden boxes with spices and dried fruit.
Trapdoor. The trapdoor is locked. Only Dewey and his staff have keys for it. A character using thieves’ tools can pick the lock with a successful DC 14 Dexterity check. There is a hand ladder that leads to a corridor underground (area 18).
This is Dewey’s private bathroom. There is an iron tub and a toilet. Halfred brings water in wooden buckets whenever Dewey wishes to take a bath.
10. Dewey’s Room
The large bed has sophisticated linens and feather-stuffed pillows. Dewey isn’t organized or clean but Halfred does an amazing job at hiding that fact. This room is always locked and only Dewey and Halfred have a key for it. There is a wardrobe full of gnome-sized clothes. A passive Investigation score of 15 or higher reveals there is a secret compartment in the wardrobe. Inside it, there are two leather pouches with 25 gold pieces each.
11. Guests’ Room
This is the adventurers’ room while they complete Dewey’s job. There are four identical beds in this room. The bedsheets aren’t high quality but they are enough. The north wall of the room has beautiful paintings of forest landscapes and fascinating views.
This room is rarely used in the summer, but the low temperatures of winter have everyone wearing coats. Halfred takes care of the coats in here. He is the only one with a key to the armoire. Fink’s Hacienda has a set of small coats that belong to Dewey. They sometimes lend coats to freezing customers.
The amount of food present at the Hacienda is too much for the kitchens to store (area 8). Large loaves of meat and dried meat are kept in here. Halfred sometimes helps the cook to season the meat and store it. There are a couple of wooden tables and some butcher tools to cut meat and tender it.
Trapdoor. The trapdoor is locked. Only Dewey and his staff have keys for it. A character using thieves’ tools can pick the lock with a successful DC 14 Dexterity check. There is a hand ladder that leads to the cellar (area 19).
This room keeps grains and other dried foods apart from the meat. There are three wooden tables. Baskets brimming with rice and beans are on the tables. There are some written records of what Halfred has bought and paid for during the last twenty days.
15. Halfred’s Room
The butler doesn’t need much. Halfred contents himself having a warm bed and a roof on it. His door is always closed. He has a couple of wooden boxes with some of his belongings and a wooden chest. The chest contains a set of fine clothes and a small leather pouch with 5 gold pieces.
Secret Exit. A passive Perception score of 15 or higher reveals a section on the wall can be removed. It is a wood plank that perfectly fits the narrow opening. Halfred makes use of it whenever he needs to enter his room without disturbing people working or moving stuff in the pantry.
There are three separate privies. Dewey’s staff features an errand boy. His name is Mickey. Besides the usual errands which require him to go here and there, Mickey cleans the privies. Dewey has an agreement with the boy. Mickey earns a copper piece for every time he cleans the privies, and he does so three times a day. Mickey’s parents couldn’t be more proud.
The stables are large enough to accommodate almost ten mounts. Dewey doesn’t know much about horses, and Halfred either. But they think horses can take care of themselves. “It is good enough already that they have a roof to sleep under”, Dewey says. He apologizes to their customers and asks them to see their animals in case they need anything.
18. Passage Underground
This access to the cellar did not exist before. But the constant coming and going from the pantry (area 13) to the cellar (area 19) showed that second access was needed. It is a recent addition. This is why the small tunnel is irregular and some sections of the floor are missing tiles.
There is a ridiculous amount of meat and food stored in here. A 40-feet-long metal rack on the south wall holds about 100 pounds of beef, pork, and mouton meat. Dewey knows it is not practical or prudent to have so much meat. But he is crazy for it, and Fink’s Hacienda is well-reputed for its variety in exotic and expensive meats. Dewey’s reserves comprehend pork, lamb, veal, venison, hare and rabbit, and even boar and snake meat. There are a few wooden boxes with salts and seasoning herbs. A small wooden table displays kitchen and butcher knives.
Dewey’s parents were biologists and scientists. One of his father’s fields of expertise was fungi. Hence, since he was a child, Dewey learned about all kinds of flora and fungi. He has known about brown mold all his life and remembers its properties well. He didn’t think twice to grow lots of it in his cellar, causing a cold temperature inside the cellar to help keep edibles for longer periods of time. The room is at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius.
Brown Mold. All molds belong to the kingdom of fungi. This is a living organism that depends on organic matter, water, and oxygen to survive. Brown mold grows in closed, humid, and warm places. Brown mold feeds on the humidity and water in the air and atmosphere of the place where it grows. This causes a chemical reaction in the air and warmth in which brown mold lives. The more brown mold grows in a certain area, the colder it gets. This is why Dewey doesn’t mind about the two massive spots of brown mold in his cellar, he grew it.
20. Wine Cellar
This is Dewey’s pride and joy. He cherishes this place. Dewey and Halfred are the only ones with keys to open the door. Several kegs and barrels with different brews of ale and beer are placed on wooden racks on the floor. A large set of shelves keeps bottles of various spirits and alcoholic beverages. There is a small wooden table in the middle of the room. Dewey likes to create crazy cocktails combining what he has. Whenever he is satisfied with a mix, he writes it down in his repertoire drink book and gives shots to everybody upstairs.
Garret completely forgets about his two men (scouts) in the cellar. These two break into the wine cellar and decide to drink some wine to kill the time. When they hear the commotion upstairs, they run to help Garret. But they are too drunk to fight properly and just make a fool of themselves.
The adventurers can bring Garret to justice or kill him, either way, Dewey doesn’t have the words to thank the adventurers. He doesn’t charge them anything for their stay, contrary to what they had agreed at first. And he gives them 100 gold pieces (Half of this money is the gold in his room, area 10).
Guy also expresses the adventurers his gratitude for the opportunity to help. In case he also confronted Garret, he handles his arrest personally and brings him to justice if Garret survived the confrontation. If it is Guy who did not live to fight another day, Dewey tells the adventurers he can handle that situation.