737 Gray Bison Manor – Lv-4 Adventure

 There is more to the Bisons than just wealth and influence. We’ve all heard that they are somehow behind most of the assassinations and attacks lately.

Concerned Innkeeper

In the shadowed outskirts of Ardennia, a city famed for its majestic architecture and bus­tling marketplaces, lies the foreboding estate of the Bison family. Gray Bison Manor, sur­rounded by thickets of dark woods, serves as a facade for the dark secrets harbored within. The Bisons, a seem­ingly noble and esteemed family of five, are the clandes­tine puppeteers of the city’s underworld, orchestrating a web of crime that ensnares the city in fear and mystery.

The head of the family, Lord Victor Bison, is a man of charisma and ruthless intellect. With his wife, Lady Elara, they exude the charm and grace of high society. Their three children, each skilled in various forms of combat and deception, play crucial roles in the guild’s operations, from espionage to assassination.

For the past six months, there have been a series of as­sassination attempts and mysterious abductions of key political figures. These crimes have left the city’s leader­ship in a state of paranoia and the populace in fear. The Bison family is behind these heinous crimes. Beneath Gray Bison Manor lies their grim dungeon. Those ab­ducted by the guild end up here. The dungeon is a place of torment, where the abducted are held for ransom, in­formation, or worse, never to see the light of day again.

Nature Revealed

Despite their secrecy, many nobles and politicians already suspect foul play on the Bisons’ side. However, due to their strong grip on key figures and diplomats, it is not easy to act against them. The few who oppose the Bisons and still remain free to do so consider acting out­side the confines of the law to bring them to justice.

Adventure Hooks

Covert Investigation. Bailiff Lockhart wants to inves­tigate the Bisons but fears immediate retribution since the family has ties with his superiors. He summons the characters covertly and tasks them with investigating Gray Bison Manor to find evidence of wrongdoing. They are even authorized to arrest the Bisons if undeniable evidence is uncovered. Should the heroes fail, the Bailiff Lockhart shall disavow the operation (1,200 gp, 6 XP).

Level 4 Adventure

  • Danger. Unsafe. Check for a Random Event every 3 crawling rounds and after loud noises (4-in-6 chance).
  • Light. Oil lamps hang from sconces throughout the manor. They last for 4 crawling rounds before one of the two servants comes around to refill the oil font.
1 A cloaked man (thief) arrives seeking an audience with Lord Bison. He bears an incriminating letter sent by a city official.
2 A troupe of four entertainers (guards), under the guise of performing for the Bisons, secretly scouts the estate for weaknesses, hired by an unknown benefactor. They are allowed into area 6 to audition. They may join the characters (Reaction check).
3 A mysterious merchant offers a rare artifact to the Bisons (crystal ball). He claims it is imbued with dark magic.
4 A knight disguised as a tax collector arrives with probing questions and a keen eye. He may join the party (Reaction check).
5 A repentant assassin (thief), once a Bison goon, seeks redemption by offering evidence of the family’s crimes.
6 A mysterious alchemist (apprentice), bearing nearly undetectable poisons, requests an audience with Lady Elara Bison. With a stern gaze and expressive eyes, he hints at knowledge of her darkest desires of power and greed (eliminating her husband).

1. Manor Outskirts

A stately two-story manor stands on the city outskirts, its stone facade weathered yet dignified. Over the ebony door, a majestic gray bison is emblazoned, symbolizing the family’s strength and resilience.

Knocking on the front door causes a servant, Milli (thug), to attend. Milli invites the characters to the Grand Hall (area 3) where they are to wait on Lord Victor.

Alternatively, the characters may choose to infiltrate the manor. They can circle around the edifice to the veranda (area 8), where Lady Elara drinks tea with a friend. Or they can climb either side of the building to reach the second-story balconies (25 feet climb, DC 14 STR check). They lead to area 10, or areas 11 and 12.

2. Entrance Hall

The hall contains two statues of Victor Bison in armor with spread arms, as if welcoming visitors. The double doors to area 3 bear the family sigil, a gray bison charging forward. If the characters come here, Milli (thug) takes their coats and requests them to leave their weapons here but does not insist much if the characters refuse.

3. Grand Hall

There are thirteen seats and a king-worthy banquet spread across three tables. If the characters come here, Milli asks them to wait on Lord Bison here. Two servant girls, Agara and Irma (bandits), serve wine and allow the characters to partake in the feast. Alas, the wine is poisoned. Characters who drink it fall unconscious for 1d6 hours (DC 16 CON check). If all characters fall for this ruse, they are stripped to their undergarments and moved to a cell in area 15. Their belongings are stored in area 14 for review. Regardless of what happens, Lord Bison never comes to speak with the characters here.

4. Kitchen and Larder

Four cooks work tirelessly here to provide the Bisons and their guests with all manner of delicacies of high cuisine. The cooks are Diana, Barbara, Valner, and Gord (peasants). They are aware of the Bisons’ criminal ac­tivities but are afraid for their families should they act against the Bisons. The bravest of them, Barbara, may offer incriminating evidence against Lady Elara if the party inspires enough trust in her (Reaction check).

5. The Den

The chamber contains two rocking chairs by the hearth and twelve hunting trophies hanging from the walls. The trapdoor in the middle leads to the basement (area 14).

  • The Senator. Oliver Garl (peasant), a prominent poli­tician in Ardennia awaits Lord Bison here. His son, Carl, is a prisoner in area 15. The senator has come to make a deal with the Bisons. He wants to believe in the party but remains fearful (Reaction check with disadvantage).

6. Art Room

This room contains an assortment of fine musical instru­ments and a small library of contemporary music. The long piano and harp are the most prominent. A troupe of musicians may be here (see Random Event 2). Their leader, Gustaff, had a sibling abducted by the Bisons a fortnight ago. He wants to find the dungeon’s entrance.

  • Treasure (2 XP). The lute and violin are of fine crafts­manship and can be sold for 20 gp each.

7. First Story Landing

The room contains a wooden bookcase, a fine velvet couch, and the wooden stairs to area 9.

  • Treasure (2 XP). The bookcase contains three Wiz­ard spell scrolls written by Linda Bison. The spells are hold person, levitate, and detect thoughts.

8. Veranda

Lady Elara Bison and her dear friend Dianora (peas­ants), a wealthy merchant, drink tea and relax in the sun­lit veranda. A servant named Vinna (thief) is nearby.

  • Treason. Lady Elara plays the part of a concerned housewife and a lady in distress unless she infers the characters’ foul intentions against the Bison family. In that case, she offers a deal. She can provide documents and contracts that incriminate her husband while keep­ing herself and her children seemingly innocent. Greed and thirst for power are her main motivators.

9. Second Story Landing

Meant to cater to guests and associates, the landing fea­tures ample space to sit and banquet tables filled with exotic delicacies and the finest wines in the region. This area hub connects with all other second-story rooms.

10. Master Bedroom

Victor and Elara’s room has been scrubbed clean of in­criminating evidence. The bookshelf has been carefully picked to favor the fine arts and philanthropy.

Treasure (3 XP). A locked safe (DC 14 DEX) under the bed contains a bag with 400 gp and a kytherian cog.

11. Linda’s Room

The family’s spellcaster, Linda (mage), is Victor’s favor­ite. She works with her father in the basement (area 14).

  • Treasure (3 XP). Linda’s spellbook is on a side table. It contains four random Wizard spells of tiers 1-2.

12. The Twins’ Room

The Bison twins, Varle and Harold (knights), rest here when the characters explore the manor. They are expe­rienced combatants and are well-connected in the city’s underworld. People fear their father more than them.

13. The Study

The door to this chamber features a high-quality lock (DC 18 DEX check). It contains a bookshelf and two desks.

  • Trap. The desk drawers feature poisoned needle traps. Opening them to retrieve the evidence within caus­es the person to be pinched by the needle. Victims of this poison drop to 0 HP and start dying unless they receive an antidote or magical healing (DC 17 CON check).
  • Evidence. Inspecting the documents here for 1 crawling round yields several hit contracts and evidence of corrupt dealings with senators and nobles. The evi­dence implicates all members of the Bison family.

14. Basement Landing

The ladder in area 5 is the only way to get here. Lin­da (mage) and Lord Victor (knight) study a construction contract facilitated by a corrupt deal. It would allow them to expropriate several noble manors in the city’s out­skirts, leaving the tenants homeless and dispossessed.

  • A Truce. Before combat ensues, Lord Victor offers the characters to become their patron and bolster their adventuring lives. He claims to be the benefactor of many adventuring parties because of his interest in magical relics. Should the characters accept, Lord Bison is true to his word and becomes a generous, yet corrupt, patron. Bailiff Lockhart shall not take such treason lightly.

15. The Dungeon

The six cells are littered with the bones of Grandfather Bison’s victims who were left to die of dehydration in the cells. Five prisoners still live. Carl, the senator’s son (see area 5) as well as Gustaff’s sibling (see Random Event 2) are among the prisoners. All of them are starving.

16. Dead-End Library

The hallway leads to a dead-end with two bookshelves filled with literary classics and ceramic trinkets. Pulling a miniature effigy of Lord Bison causes a section of the wall to move sideways and reveal area 17 (DC 14 WIS).

17. The Bisons’ Vault

The dark chamber contains four wooden chests filled to the brim with the Bison family’s ill-gotten riches.

  • Treasure (8 XP). The chests contain 8,750 gp, two potions of healing, two diamonds (100 gp each), and a +1 dagger. Factions opposed to the Bisons shall hunt the characters if they take this ill-gotten treasure hoard.

18. Ancient Crypt

Behind a wall of rubble are funerary plinths where Lord Bison’s ancestors lie. Linda practiced necromancy on these remains, awakening seven aggressive shadows. The hallway was demolished and closed off after Linda Bison proved unable to control the undead spirits.

Interested in our catalog of full adventures? Check out these awesome goodies here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *