Dear Jon: A small adventure and how to run it

Dear Jon,

Happy Birthday. Wish I could be there to help. Or at least that you got someone to fill in. But if you haven’t, and your heart is still set on D&D, well, here is something that’s close-ish to D&D without all of the rules, and a small story to go with it. As a Gamemaster, you’ll still have to do some of the heavy lifting, but I’ll make it wasy as I can.

Adventure Synopsis

Alexander Greebo, once called Greebo the Great, retired from a profitable circus career a wealthy man. He bought a villa on the edge for Gardenal, a moderate sized city with good climate. There he resides in his old age, with a servant or two and his magical giant tortoise, Ziggy.

This morning, the maid went in to feed Ziggy and the majestic tortoise was gone! So Greebo called in the party to solve they mystery.

As the investigation unfolds, it turns out Kobolds have stolen the tortoise, as they worship is as some kind of god. The players will need to either fight or talk to the kobolds to recover them.

Mechanics Synopsis

The simplest game to play, especially if the players have never played D&D before, is just going to be d20 rolling. Provide each player with a d20. When they attempt to do something that could fail (not anytime, just when they could fail) they roll a d20. (it also need to be something that’s possible to do. Jumping to the moon is tricky)

If you’re just using the die roll, than an 8 or higher means a success.

You can add complexity, if you want. Ability scores and Skills make the characters more interesting. If you know enough of D&D to really understand those, than go for it. Abilitiy scores means players want a 10 total, and skills mean you want a 12.

There are four possible results.

  • A Major Success: A result of 18 or higher, they succeed in a really cool way! Expand on the idea and make their character awesome!
  • Normal success: The range depends on your exact rulesas I said above, but what ever the player was trying generally worked.
  • Minor fail: They didn’t make it, but the situation doesn’t change.
  • Major fail: a result of 4 or less, the player fails in a way the complicates matters in a comical way. They drop their sword and a kobold picks it up, maybe. Or they try to cast a spell and a fish lands in their hair instead.It shouldn’t really suck. You’re playing for laughs here.

Combat is simple. Major success means they knock out 2 kobolds, normal succes one kobold, minor fail no change, and a major fail either makes it hard for the players by changing the situation (like the sword thing) or adds another kobold.

Go around the table in a circle during combat, allowing players to do whatever. at the end of their turn, roll the same numbers to attack them with kobolds, keeping in mind what the players did to try and keep things from happening.

Kobolds have a -2 to whatever you roll. Players have 10 hit points, kobolds have 1.

The Adventure

These are the rough descriptions. imagine them in your head and describe them from there. Don’t trust me to have all the information, build up from it.

Room 1 The Villa

This is a few rooms of moderately nice house. There is a maid named Matilda May, and a butler named Arthur Stemflower. They are innocent, and they don’t know what happened.

Room 1a: Zippy’s Room

Zippy has a room that feels like a green house. Lots a greenery, with some bites taken out. There’s a large nest in one corner. As the players explore, they find a tunnel down under the nest.

Room 2: The Tunnel

The tunnel is wide, and there are occasional lettuce leaves that point the direction. The tunnel is met by other tunnels and it seems there is a large secret underground network under Gardenal.

They players get to a large room, where all of a sudden, they’re met by kobolds wearing policeman hats and carrying wooden sticks.These kobolds ask the players what they are doing. The policemen are suspicious, but they aren’t that bright. they can be lied to or fought

Room 3: the Warren

As the players move through, there are still occasional lettuce scraps on the floor. The party gets to see kobolds in little miners hats digging a new tunnel, a kobold maid sweeping the tunnels, and a kobold minstrel , wearing a hat with a large chicken feather, strumming a very out of tune ukulele.

Most of these don’t bother the party unless bothered.

Room 4: Zippy’s shrine

A large room, has a tortise on one side. He’s in a bed of greens and looks happy. The chief kobold is here, wearing an old top hat and a mayor’s sash. Two kobolds are move a lettuce that is bigger than they are. A kobold in a chef’s hat stirs a large pot. it’s lovely.

The chief had the turtle stolen, so they could make soup and steal it’s power. But he knows the players won’t like that, so he lies and says the turtle was unhappy up there and is happy now. A look at the turtle has it reveal no emotion.


Greebo would be satisfied to know that Zippy is happy, and he’ll pay the party 50 gold and a handful of trick arrows if there is an archer in the party. Returning with Zipppy is easy if you lead him with lettuce.  The pay is the same either way.

That’s all of the adventure


There’s a lot to being a GM. Being able to turn all of this into an hour of fun is tricky, but it is doable. Remember, when in doubt, do something that sounds fun.

Happy regards of the day


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