404 A Draconic Dilemma

How to Use

This adventure is a great quest to test the heroes’ moral compass. The adventurers are asked to help a village get rid of some kobold pests. The kobolds messed with the farmers only because they have a larger problem on their hands. Will the heroes intervene and try to help all parties? Or will they murder everything in their path as long as it earns them some gold? This is a 2nd level adventure.

Background Lore

The village of Blos is a farming settlement with a population of about three hundred people. For years, this village has provided neighboring towns and larger cities with great produce. Its people are hard-working and perseverant. Working the land gives the people of Blos a meaning, and they do it gladly.

Life is calm and quiet in Blos for the most part. The farming settlement is surrounded by larger towns and communities; problems usually stay there. However, wild beasts and monsters sometimes emerge from the forest to the south or the mountain path north. Even though these situations never pose a real threat, the village of Blos doesn’t have local heroes so they rely on outsiders.

The last time they hired a group of adventurers, it was to deal with a couple of owlbears who attacked farmers. This situation was sorted out when one of the heroes noticed some owlbear cub tracks. The tracks led to a barn where two young girls had kept the little owlbear. They had adopted it as a pet because they thought it was cute. When the cub was returned to its parents, the owlbears left the farmers alone.

The Current Problem

This time, the village of Blos is having trouble with a community of kobolds. The sneaky little lizards come at night and steal the villagers’ food. At first, they only targeted dried fruits, bread, and jerkies. But for the last two weeks, smalls calves, pigs, and hens have disappeared too. The villagers realized they needed help from outsiders after all this happened. The townspeaker is certain that killing the kobolds is the only way to get rid of them for good. They offer a bounty of 250 gold pieces.

However, Moise Kein thinks otherwise. He believes kobolds are interesting creatures. And that they aren’t evil deep inside. He is aware of the situation and plans to join the hired adventurers. When the adventurers arrive in Blos, they may stay in the Wiped Cream Inn. Moise is present when they check-in and buys them a round of ale.

Moise believes this situation can be solved without harm like the last time the village hired outsiders. He tells the heroes about the time that two little girls kidnapped an owlbear cub. When the cub was reunited with its parents, the owlbears stopped harassing the farmers and returned to the woods. He is sure something must have startled a community of kobolds in the mountains, forcing them to look for food here.

Moise (guard) tells the adventurers he can fend for himself and that he wishes to go find the kobolds too. He claims he speaks the kobold tongue, Draconic, and can help to translate as well. He wants 15 gold pieces from their pay and a portion of any treasure they find. If the heroes refuse his help and company, he follows them in secret anyway.

Draconic Dilemma

Moise is somewhat right. The kobolds are indeed forced to steal from the village. A lamia came out from the depths of the caverns and found its way to the kobolds. The poor reptiles don’t have a choice but to comply or be killed and eaten. However, it is not on Moise’s hands to handle this situation. The heroes must decide if they accept his help and advice or deal with the kobolds themselves.


Moise Kein

Lawful neutral human (age 31)

Moise is a tall and corpulent man. His size grants him sufficient strength to lift a sword and fight, though he is not very apt. He has curly short hair and dark skin. His green eyes express wisdom and kindness. He studied the Draconic language when he was young; his mom was an intelligent scholar who taught him. Moise loves to think outside of the box. He always believes problems can be solved in ways that benefit all involved.

Personality Trait. “Compromises must be done to reach total tolerance.”

Ideal. “I won’t leave this world with my conscience dirty.”

Bond. “All conscious creatures deserve a fair trial and treatment.”

Flaw. “My point of view tends to be subjective regardless of the proof shown.”


The following descriptions of areas 1 through 10 correspond to the kobold’s caves and some ancient ruins.

Area Descriptions

Terrain. The kobold’s cave is dark and humid. The forgotten throne room features stone flooring and walls.

Doors. There are two oak doors in the ruins. Each has a beautiful stone, arched frame made of square stone blocks. The door next to the throne has an illusion spell on it (see area 7).

Ropes. The kobolds set ropes to climb to area 3, area 5, and the platform in area 2. The ropes are held by heavy rocks placed on them. The ropes can hold small creatures with no trouble. However, if a medium creature uses any of the ropes to climb up, there is a 50% probability that it breaks. Creatures that fall take 1d6 bludgeoning damage. If the heroes are hostile to the kobolds, the reptiles attempt to cut the ropes while they climb, if possible.

Light. Both caverns and ruins are completely dark. There aren’t any light sources here.

Smells and Sounds. The caverns smell of rotten meat and dead animals. Kobolds aren’t clean and their urine has a strong ammonia stench. The ruins have a smell of dust and stone. Area 10 reeks of death due to all the animal carcasses that the lamia has left.

1. Getting to Know Kobolds

The mountain path is a couple of hours away from town. The heroes need to step off the path to find the kobold hideout. It is not difficult to see their three-pronged footprints on the ground and track them to the cave. The kobolds placed a piece of wood to cover the entrance of the cave. A 20-feet-long corridor leads to a large area. The dark cavern has several boulders scattered all around. To the south, there is a 15-feet-tall natural rock balcony. To the northeast of this area, a set of stairs leads up to area 2. A hole on the east wall, about 12 feet above the ground, leads to area 5.

There are two kobolds on the balcony. They throw rocks with their slings the moment they see the heroes. Four more kobolds engage in melee combat with their daggers, two of them hide behind large boulders. If two or more kobolds are reduced to 0 hit points, the rest retreat to area 3. These kobolds do not speak Common. They are afraid and driven by the heat of battle; it is not possible to reason with them.

If Moise accompanies the heroes, he begs them and tries to convince them to not harm the little reptiles. He agrees to use non-lethal force to knock them out of combat if necessary. Moise trusts his gut and believes the kobold chieftain might be willing to parley. If the heroes refuse to listen to Moise or kill a kobold in his presence, he turns against them. He (guard) cannot allow them to kill innocent sentient creatures like this.

If the heroes refused Moise help from the beginning, he steps in the third round of combat. Regardless of what the heroes did before he arrived, he attempts to convince them to not harm the kobolds furthermore. If he fails, he takes the kobold’s side. The kobolds fight along Moise without question after he yells in Draconic that he’d die for them.

2. Kobold Treasury

This area features two large stalagmites. Hard soil has solidified on them, creating a sort of platform 15 feet above the ground. The kobolds use this place as storage. A large quantity of food rests on the platform. Dried fruits, jerkies, and other spoiled goods. Two kobolds are on the platform with their slings ready.

Moise notices the leader of the kobolds is not here and presses the heroes to leave and look for it. He stands between the heroes and the kobolds if they mean to harm them. The kobolds flee if an intimidating character scares them (DC 13 Intimidation). Otherwise, they throw rocks but flee if one of them is reduced to 0 hit points.

Treasure. The dried food here feeds a group of five medium creatures for a week. A box of expensive spices can be sold for 35 gp.

3. The Kobold Truth

The kobolds gather in this area if the heroes force them to retreat. Thrak, the kobold chieftain, wears feathers and strings of bones attached to necklaces and bracelets. A group of six kobolds stands in front of him to protect him. Eight non-combatant kobolds eavesdrop from the edge of the corridor to the south.

Thrak can speak the common tongue and negotiate with the heroes if Moise isn’t present. However, speaking in Draconic increases the chances of a diplomatic solution. Moise or a character with good diplomacy skills (DC 11 Persuasion) can explain to the kobolds that they are there to talk and understand why they are stealing from the village now. If the negotiation is had in Draconic this check is made with advantage.

If the kobolds are convinced, Thrak tells the adventurers about the monster from the caves in area 10. The kobold explains they discovered the ancient ruins not long ago. But their tunnel not only led to the ancient ruins, but it also connected their cave with a different cave system of unknown underground tunnels. This is how the lamia found their hideout. Now it asks for food and tribute, otherwise, it descends from its lair and attacks the kobolds instead.

The kobolds agree to stop harassing the village and its people as long as the heroes get rid of the monster. The heroes can convince Thrak to spare some of his soldiers for the cause if they’re persuasive enough (DC 13 Persuasion). If they do, four kobolds follow the heroes in their quest to kill the monster.

If the heroes ask the kobolds about the monster, they say the following:

  • It is a four-legged beast with huge paws.
  • It has the torso of a woman.
  • It has magical abilities that manipulate the mind.

4. Kobold Refuge

The floor is littered with furs and pelts. Most of the kobolds sleep here. This is the last stand for the non-combatant kobolds if they are driven to retreat. They climb down the balcony and exit the cave if necessary.

A hole on the north wall leads to the small balcony that overlooks area 1. Two small piles of small rocks lay at each side of the balcony.

5. Tunnel to the Ruins

This tunnel is 25-feet-long. It looks recently dug.

6. Throne Room

Six tall columns adorn this large, two-leveled throne room. There is a wooden door with a stone frame to the south and a set of stairs to ascend to the throne area. The walls of this hall have old engraved murals. Only a few of them are in good enough condition to distinguish anything. The murals portray a short stout humanoid hitting a sword with a hammer on an anvil, some sort of old dwarven runes, and half the picture of a powerful individual sitting on the throne.

Kobolds came here in great numbers and scared a couple of darkmantles. The blind flying monsters stay away from the kobolds since. However, if the heroes enter this place without the company of the kobolds, two darkmantles attempt to ambush them unless one of the heroes is perceptive enough (DC 13 Perception).

7. Forgotten Throne

A beautiful throne with bronze and silver arms and decorations stands by the north wall, covered with dust in the darkness. The throne is on a three-step dais. The dais shows remnants of what once were beautiful carvings that drew dwarven traditional patterns toward the legs of the throne. A spider swarm lives under the throne. Any creature that sits on it, startles the swarm. It attacks. If the throne isn’t manipulated in any way, the spiders remain hidden.

Secret Door. There is an illusion spell on this door that makes it look like the wall. The illusion stops working if the heroes touch it.

8. Treasure Room

The walls of this small room feature engraved murals. These are in better condition. A dwarf covered by a pompous kingly cloak holds a chalice with both hands, covering his face with the ruby-encrusted golden container. The chests in the room are fixed to the floor.

Treasure. The room contains two stone chests with the following items: a durable soapstone goblet (50gp), a pair of ornamental fur gloves (30gp), an embroidered silk ribbon (25gp), a collection of silver utensils (30 gp), a silvered jug of exotic dwarven wine (20gp), and a +1 shortsword.

9. Antechamber

This area smells of death. The animal carcasses in area 10 reek and their stench reaches this area. The west wall of this area collapsed a long time ago to reveal another cave. Rocks and boulders are scattered all around. If the kobolds are present, they say this is where they leave the farm animals they steal. The monster takes them away and eats them in area 10.

10. Deadlier than Kobolds

This cave is full of rubble and rocks. A small tunnel to the south leads to more underground tunnels. They aren’t relevant to this adventure and their destination is left to the DM’s discretion.

The monster (lamia) eats the leg of a goat when the heroes arrive. Lamias are clever creatures. It cast the spell scrying long before the heroes arrived and it is aware of anything that happened with the kobolds. If the reptiles betrayed her, the lamia uses its claws to reap apart the kobolds first. The lamia uses its Intoxicating Touch on Moise and casts geas on him if he is present. The lamia then orders Moise to kill the kobolds. If this happens, Moise fights against the impulse and battles his own mind, dying in the process. If Moise is not present, the lamia uses the spell on the toughest hero.

If the lamia is reduced to half its hit points, it flees through the south tunnel. It casts major image to create an illusory landslide on the tunnel and cover its retreat. If the heroes manage to see through the illusion and pursue the lamia, it casts disguise self to become a weak, dying, wounded woman. She tells them a story of how she got lost and ended up here.


Here are some of the possible outcomes for this adventure.

If the heroes listened to Moise and accepted his help and advice, the kobolds fulfill their side of the bargain and stop harassing the village. The kobolds give the heroes food and the spices in area 2 as a reward. Back home, the heroes earn their pay, and Moise gifts them his books and notes with which he learned Draconic. Any creature that uses these documents to study and has access to practice with other speakers for a minimum of two years, can learn to speak Draconic.

If the heroes didn’t accept Moise’s help, he ends up dead or arrested for going against the village’s hired adventurers. This doesn’t mean they can’t parley with the kobolds but it makes it more difficult unless one of the heroes speaks Draconic. This also makes the confrontation with the lamia deadlier. If the heroes fight the lamia without help, it is a lethal encounter with low chances of success.

In case the heroes entered the cave with a kill-everything-that-moves attitude and kill all the kobolds and the lamia, they earn their gold and a bonus of 300 gold pieces if they bring the lamia’s corpse as a trophy. They still have to deal with Moise’s wish to protect the kobolds. Nevertheless, if the heroes only get rid of the kobolds but leave the lamia alone or alive, the four-legged monstrosity attacks Blos at night. How this confrontation is handled by the villagers and the heroes is left up to the DM’s discretion.

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