In the spirit of “you can never have enough five-room dungeon posts,” here’s a 5-step mini-quest using the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual.
For reference, check out these past posts by myself and Matthew J. Neagley on the utility and craft behind the five-room dungeon. This one will use the Moose layout, though it can be adapted to the Evil Mule.
Family and friends of Dionysus worshipers approach the PCs, requesting they intercede in a planned bacchanal, orchestrated by wicked maenad Calepida.
They beg the PCs to rescue their mothers and daughters before they are transformed into murderous maenads through the manipulations of Calepida and her rumored ally, an incubus called Tomestedes.
(The villagers have a secret motive: they don’t want to have to fight off their own daughters and mothers if, in their berserker rage, they storm into village looking for sacrificial victims).
A brief investigation reveals the bacchanal will be held in a glade beyond a wild vineyard in the nearby countryside.
1. Entrance. The Vineyard.
Calepida doesn’t want the bacchanal interrupted, so she’s awakened the rows and rows of small viney plants and employed a scarecrow as guardians. Lurking in the vineyard is a more lethal vine blight.
Awakened shrubs (2d12).
Vine blight (1).
2. Satyr’s Riddle
Daladex, a satyr, was the leader of this Dionysus sect until displaced by Calepida. Because he thinks she is distorting worship of the agricultural mysteries, he is relegated to the periphery.
Daladex has the means to counter the charm Calepida has woven on the adult females of the village, which causes them to go into a murderous rage. His panpipes can, one at a time, undo the frenzy spell that turns them into murderous berserkers. But he hasn’t the courage or the means to confront Calepida directly, nor her incubus ally.
The goal of this encounter is to use persuasion or other social skills to either have Daledex join the party or allow a PC with musical talent to borrow his pipes to play the charming melody themselves.
3. Forest Maze
The straight lines of the vineyard’s fences and posts give way to wild forest, a veritable maze of greenery, shrubbery and trees. It is possible to follow the traces of the Dionysus worshipers.
The real threat in the maze of forest overgrowth is the minotaur skeleton that roams the area.
Minotaur Skeleton (1).
4. Incubus on Watch.
Tomestedes enjoys the revels for what they are, but does not participate. He will wait until after wanton destruction to select a victim from among the charmed females to bestow a draining kiss. For now, he takes up a position near the entrance to the glade, guarding against interlopers.
Tomestedes, incubus (1).
5. Bacchanal feasting grounds.
The glade is a place of music, feasting, dancing and frolic. By the time the PCs arrive, Calepida has worked the women into a berserker frenzy and is prepared to unleash them to attack the village (and anyone who gets in their way).
Calepida, druid (1). Wears ring of protection +1.
Berserkers (2d12). (When not berserking, they revert to commoners).
Reward: 450 gp worth of gold, equipment and supplies provided by the village in gratitude for neutralizing the maenad threat and returning proper Dionysus worship to the satyr.
This is great, thanks!
Hope you enjoy running it or find inspiration in it for your own 5-room dungeon.
That is a great plot, and I love the Ancient Greek theme woven throughout.
All the best
Thanks! I can never get enough Ancient Greece in my game. Glad it hit the spot.
What inspired you to add the skeletal Minotaur in the forest maze? Does it have a story, or has it been here before this whole cult thing started?
I was just looking for a monster that fit the Ancient Greece theme. Maze = Minotaur. Making it a Skeleton just means it died but its spirit compels it to continue as a guardian long after its body wastes away.