Karen lives in Jackson, MS with her husband and son, and works as an accountant. She enjoys writing, reading, and D&D role playing game.
Hidden Vale of Breoria - A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure
Dungeon Master's Notes: The Backstory
Breoria is a small vale of halflings in the Blackstone Mountains. About 70 years ago, the entire vale was attacked by a band of roaming goblins. Some of them, led by a dark elf goblin king named Earthslaver, discovered a nearby cave and decided to make their home there, imprisoning the halflings within the walls of the vale. The halflings had put up the walls themselves to keep their livestock and smaller children from roaming out too far, in fear of Romos, an ancient black dragon. Romos leaves the tribe of goblins alone in exchange for Star Rose quartz, which they have found in a pit near the cave where they live (an old Yuan-ti stronghold dungeon called the Prison of Gothmog of Udun.)
They use the halfling men of Breoria, to mine the quartz. Occasionally the old dragon will come to collect.
When the goblins began to mine quartz, they decided to use the men of Breoria to do the labor.
An old halfling woman named Hildove has worked out a way to polish the Star Rose quartz to a beautiful bright red, unbeknownst to her captors. Her gem-tumbling device is well hidden by her fellow tribesmen and she has trained a few youngsters how to work the contraption. They run it night and day but it still takes several weeks to polish just a handful of the precious gems. The men who work the mine are only able to smuggle small gems from the quarry. Still, in the past months she has managed to gather a nice sized basket of polished quartz and has hatched a plan. She knows the deal Earthslaver has with Romos, and figures with her more beautiful stones she can “one-up” them and perhaps earn their safety by tempting the dragon to protect them. She has gotten his attention by using the polished gems to reflect the sunlight on clear days when she sees Romos flying overhead. She spoke with him once, and he seemed interested, but made no promises. The quartz he gets from the goblins is much larger, and though it is raw, Romos enjoys heating the crystals with his fire at night and watching them glow.
Map of the Area Around Breoria - Western Dolori - one hex = approx 5 Kilometers
You are a group of adventurers in the world of Dolori who have been asked by anthropologist Finy Corby to interview with his client. Corby has been working with a young halfling man, Digo Midge, who wants to find his long lost family and halfling tribe - somewhere in the Blackstone Mountains. However, these mountains are only a couple of days travel from the Fortress of the Dragon Warlord, Romos. The Warlord is a greatly feared ancient black dragon who has claimed a territory of about 150 kilometers around his keep for the past three hundred years or so. In addition to keeping your distance from the ancient dragon, there are other wild things in the area along the way that must be dealt with, especially in the Scarwood forest and the Desolation of Bhharsudea. You meet with Finy and Digo in Gothrothel, the City of Crowns, three days travel south of the Blackstone Mountains.
Finy Corby: Male Human Anthropologist, Unaligned. Str 10, Con 12, Dex 9, Int 7, Wis 12, Cha 13
Digo Midge - Male Halfling Mercenary, Unaligned. Str 12, Con 8, Dex 11, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 12
You meet in a Tavern
The Meeting Goes Like This
Your party meets in a tavern called The Western Trumpet. The place is fairly small, but well kept and airy. There are a few other patrons, but you spot the two men right away. Finy is a human man with a round face, silver hair and amber eyes. He wears modest garments and a dragon-scale cloak. Digo is a fairly young halfling man who has matted black hair, brown eyes and large ears. He wears chainmail armor and wields a long-sword nearly as tall as he is. They both stand to greet you and introductions are made. What follows is a sample conversation – as the DM, it is absolutely your prerogative to change it up as you see fit!
Digo tells his story:
I grew up in the Kuli Plains, with adopted human parents, but I originally am from a small vale near the Blackstone Mountains called Breoria. I have not found it on any map, but I am sure it is there, at least it was when I left. I was around 7 years old when I escaped. I do not remember much, except for my mother, and my older brother, whom I adored. He was kidnapped by goblins on the night we left. He went through a big stone door. I followed him and saw the goblins grab him. I was pretty small and was able to hide. I don’t think any of them ever saw me. I was so frightened, I could not move for hours, maybe days. When I finally did I just wandered, in a daze. I barely remember that time. I only remember the Midges finding me and taking me home with them, bringing me into their family.
Finy breaks in:
Digo contacted me to help locate this hidden vale and his kin. Based on where he thinks it is, I informed him that it was too dangerous for the two of us. In addition to what may lie in our path to the Blackstone Mountains, there is a rumor of an ancient black dragon who claims part of the Blackstone as his territory. What we need is a group of adventurers to go in and clear out a safe passage, and gather what intel you can about the hidden vale & the tribe of halflings as well as the goblin clan. Do you think your group can do this for us?
Digo: I have some money saved up from my parents. They knew one day I would go searching. As soon as I told them I was going they gave me this (a pouch full of gold – 600gp). It is yours if you take on this adventure. I can pay you 200gp now and the rest when you return.
After negotiations ( they can go however you like, or you can roll for outcome) and assuming the party is game, plans are made and any necessary gear is purchased.
Forest or Desolation?
As your adventure begins, the group must first decide on a route. Your best guess from Finy & Digo’s notes is that the hidden vale is toward the western edge of the Blackstone Mountains. To get there, you must first travel through the Scarwood Forest or the Desolation of Bhharsudea. Each has it’s own set of dangers. The most direct route is through the Forest, but you will go right through the middle of it. The other option is to skirt around the Forest by taking the south side of the lake , which puts you in the vicinity of the Desolation of Bhharsudea, along the western edge. The desolation of Bhharsudea is a larger area, and more difficult terrain.
(DM note – your rolls for Bhharsudea could be with advantage – but you could offer more encounters, whereas if the group chooses to go through the Forest, maybe only one encounter but with no advantage rolls. Also travel should be slower through Bhharsudea. Might take them an extra day, due to the difficult terrain.)
As your party sets out, have them roll once or twice for a stealth and/or perception check – initially they are plenty stealthy and get the all clear, but maybe on the third perception check, someone notices a large black dragon high above, seeming to fly in a circular pattern. A good roll (10 or more) keeps them stealthy, 1 to 9 the dragon “might” have seen them, they are not sure. (This is a low level adventure and they're not going to be attacked by a dragon, but they don't have to know that. Let the threat loom.)
How long does it take to get to the Blackstone Mountains?
If the party takes the Scarwood Forest route, they should reach the foothills of the mountains by the end of the first day. If they decide to go around and pass through the Desolation of Bhharsudea, their terrain is more difficult. If you are pressed for time and want to finish in one shot, you could just have them roll their way across and have "wink wink" all good rolls - otherwise if you have the time, let them camp one night in the Desolation and reach the base of the mountain range by noon the next day.
(DM note: You may want to add some encounters in their travels to the mountains. You can combine the two snakes and have them attack the group at once for additional xp, or add a 2nd encounter. Suggestion: Giant Frog - stats here - would be appropriate for either the forest or the desolation)
Encounter in Forest - Constrictor Snake
If The Party Takes the Forest Route
After a couple of stealth and perception checks, as they are walking along, A Constrictor Snake falls out from a tree and attacks one of the players (perhaps whomever rolled the lowest stealth) in a surprise attack.
STR 15 (+2), DEX 14 (+2), CON 12 (+1), INT 1 (-5) WIS, 10 (+0) CHA 3 (-4)
This is a fairly easy monster to beat, so it's good for a first encounter. The Constrictor Snake is a large unaligned beast:
- Armor Class 12
- Hit Points 13 (2d10+2)
- Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
- Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
- Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: (1d8 + 2) bludgeoning damage. The target is grappled (escape dc 14) Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the snake can't constrict another target
Once they beat the snake, have them roll for perception again. For rolls over 10, they notice a second snake slithering down the same tree in their direction and manage to escape a second attack. If everybody rolls low, they don't see him. If you have time, you might throw in a second attack here. Otherwise, he slithers away.
If the Party Takes the Route Along the Desolation of Bhharsudea
Encounter in the Desolation of Bhharsudea; Gnoll Hunter
Again, after a couple or three stealth and perception checks as you move through the desolation, have them come across this dude. This Gnoll Hunter can optionally be accompanied by a Gnoll Witherling, if time allows, or you might, if the party is too small to fight two monsters at once, have the witherling (undead version of the Gnoll) come up after you defeat the Hunter.
Medium humanoid (gnoll), chaotic evil
- Armor Class 15 (Hide Armor, Shield)
- Hit Points 22 (5d8)
- Speed 30 ft.
STR 14 (+2), DEX 12 (+1), CON 11 (+0), INT 6 (-2), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 7 (-2)
- Senses Darkvision 60 Ft., passive Perception 10
- Languages Gnoll
- Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
- Rampage. When the gnoll reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack on its turn, the gnoll can take a bonus action to move up to half its speed and make a bite attack.
- Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.
- Spear. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (1d8 + 2) piercing damage. two handed
- Spear. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
- Spear. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
- Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: (1d8 + 1) piercing damage.
(Optional ) Gnoll Witherling
Armor Class 12 Hit Points 11 (2d8 +2) Speed Base 30 ft. STR 14 +2, DEX 8 -1, CON 12 +1, INT 5 -3 CHA 5 -3, WIS 5 -3. Damage Immunities: Poison; Condition Immunities: Exhaustion, Poisoned, Rampage
When the witherling reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack on its turn, it can take a bonus action to move up to half its speed and make a bite attack.
Multiattack - The witherling makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its club, or two with its club.
Bite +4 to hit D4 + 2 piercing damage, 5 range; Club +4 to hit D4 + 2 bludgeoning damage, 5 range Vengeful Strike
In response to a gnoll being reduced to 0 hit points within 30 feet of the witherling, the witherling makes a melee attack.
(Withering stats: https://bluedragon.io/monster/628)
The Goblin Guard(s)
Encounter With the Goblin Guard(s)
As the DM, Hopefully you realize by now that this adventure is more of a map than an exact how to. You may want to throw in more than one guard here. My husband DM'd on our trial run and used three, one of which ran off to try to warn the rest of the goblin party.
Your party continues through the Forest (or the Desolation) reaching the grasslands and Hyada Vale. Once your party has some time to recover from previous battles, either with a night's rest (accommodations easily found in Hyada) or perhaps a short rest. You now begin to enter the foothills of the Blackstone Mountains. After x number of hexes(roll for number of hexes 1-20), roll for perception: rolls over 10 notice the Goblin guard before he sees you. You may choose to "stealth" around him and try to follow his tracks back to the goblin dwelling, or engage in battle - Either way, the party should now know they are getting close to the goblin clan's hideout or he would not be patrolling (and he obviously is).
Small humanoid (goblinoid), neutral evil
- Armor Class 15 (Leather Armor, Shield)
- Hit Points 7 (2d6)
- Speed 30 ft.
STR 8 (-1), DEX 14 (+2), CON 10 (+0), INT 10 (+0). WIS 8 (-1), CHA 8 (-1)
- Skills Stealth +6
- Senses Darkvision 60 Ft., passive Perception 9
- Languages Common, Goblin
- Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
- Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
- Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (1d6 + 2) slashing damage.
- Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
So, What did Your Party Decide to Do?
I realize if rolls were low, they may have been forced to fight the goblin guard, but otherwise, they had to make a decision. Here are some suggestions, depending on what they might have done:
- Did they decide to follow the guard? So they waited until he was relieved from his post and followed him back to their dwelling place? See the next module.
- Did they have to kill the guard? If so, they could hide the body and wait for his replacement, then follow him, or, capture and torture his replacement. If they do this, see next bullet... Alternatively, they could try to trace the guard's trail. If they do this they need to roll nature checks, etc and remain stealthy all the way to the goblin lair.
- Did they capture and torture the guard (or his replacement)? Let them play this out and make them roll for persuasion, etc. in order to get the guard to talk. He answers in simple common but with as few words as possible. Pointing or shaking head instead of talking, etc. Eventually, the group should be able to get the location of their lair this way. They may also try to ask about the hidden vale, but he seems very tight lipped about that.
On your way, as you track or follow or follow directions, a perception check of 10 or higher notices that there is something following the party. Further investigation reveals this is a Wererat. Optional encounter ensues (roll for it?), or it skitters off. If your party is strong, have them fight him in his hybrid form. If on the light side, he is in rat form.
The Old Prison of Gothmog of Udun
You Find the Goblin's Cave - an Ancient Prison
Your trail has led up steep terrain, into a mountain pass. You are now about halfway to the peak of one of Raven Black, part of the Blackstone Mountains. Here you notice a fairly wide entrance into what looks like a cave. This is the Ancient Prison of Gothmog of Udun.It is actually a dungeon, which was created by Yuan-ti hundreds of years ago as a stronghold. The walls are made of hewn stone and floors are smooth. From goblin footprints going in and out you can tell this is probably where they live.
Remember your actual orders are to create a safer path, find out where the goblins live and if and where the hidden vale of Breoria still exists. You have found the goblin cave, so technically, your pc's need not go further unless trying to extract intel about Breoria. However, I presume most groups will want to explore anyway and face the monsters, come what may, etc. Therefore, here is what you encounter if your group is "all in"!
5. As you enter, via area 5, you immediately come across a Bullywug scrambling around looking for something. He thinks the goblins stole it. There are no goblins in this entrance, and the bullywug does not seem interested in fighting - he will if provoked, however! Actually, unless you fight it, he is a little taken aback by your party and wanders on out anyway. Moving down the hallway toward areas 1 and 2, is a Chain Flail Trap: If someone steps on the trigger, a bowling ball sized metal ball with metal blades all over it attached to a heavy chain comes tumbling down from the ceiling. DC 13 to find, DC 12 to disable.Roll for hit against the nearest person or persons: give the flail a plus 5 to hit within 5 feet. It deals 2d10 bludgeoning damage.
1. If the party goes this direction, have them roll a stealth check to be sure nothing from area 2 notices them. (If they triggered the Flail trap, have them do so with disadvantage). This room appears empty. However, if someone does a search and rolls a high perception, say above 12, they find what the bullywug was looking for - a Staff of Bird-calls. ( a wooden staff decorated with ornate carvings of different types of birds) This is a magic item (common) with 10 charges. The holder can use a charge as an action, which creates the call of a bird the holder has heard before, out to 60 feet, and regains 1d6 + 4 charges with each dawn. If all charges are spent, roll a d20. On 1, the staff is lost forever in a harmless cloud of bird feathers (source).
2. Area 2 has some barrels and boxes lying around and has 2 goblins, fairly easily spotted, who are supposed to be guarding the dungeon but appear to be engrossed in a game of some sort involving throwing a handful of bones on a surface somewhat like dice. Your party can attempt to sneak around if coming from area 1, but if they go directly into area 2 first, they are spotted and immediately attacked. If engaging with the goblins, use the same stats as for the goblin guard above.
6. A rope ascends to a wooden platform in the south-east corner of the room, and a group of demonic faces have been carved into the south wall. These carvings appear very old, and are too ornate for the goblins to have done them. No goblins appear to be in this area, but if you have fought the goblins in area 2 you definitely hear a ruckus from deeper in the cave, as if there are goblins coming. In other words, the alarm has been raised. If the party was able to sneak by the goblins in area 2, they hear nothing. An exploration of the platform reveals it opens into a small cave that leads out into the mountainside. There is a makeshift "throne" there, but no one is present at the moment. If anyone goes out to investigate this opening, you realize you can see down into a small vale, about 120 feet down and to your east. The area is surrounded on one side by a steep cliff, and on two sides by a tall fence which is in pretty bad shape, made of wood and stone. You see two goblins guarding the fence and another on the north end, which appears to be a tall makeshift stage with an altar and a large dark stone wall behind it. You can barely make out a few shapes moving around in the shadows.The area in view is probably about 10 acres, but it seems to go further back beyond the cliff face on the south easterly corner. The party has found the Hidden Vale of Breoria.
Goblins. Oh My!
If you fought the goblins in area 2
If you fought the goblins in area 2 - and "sounded the alarm", upon hearing the goblins coming toward you, the party may decide to escape out that platform, not knowing what is on the other side. If that's the case, have them roll athletics checks to get out, 10 is successful, less than that requires help, a roll of 1 is gonna get stuck in the rope, etc. If all get out safely, the group of goblins run right past and out the front to chase you down once they discover their fallen brethren. This in turn raises the alarm of the guards below, so your group has to get out of there quickly. They may consider going back down, but if they do they hear footfalls, and realize someone else (the Goblin King) is coming around from area 4 to see what the fuss is. However, lucky for your party, this Goblin King is very old and not able to get up through that hatch without help. All his servants are out chasing your party, or think they are, and he is alone. You could attack/kill the Goblin King or go ahead and try to get away. You quickly find a ladder going down to the base of the mountain from the throne area but your party would be in full view of the guards below. There is only one guard remaining, however. The other two have joined the search party. So each person descends with advantage on stealth and anyone over a 9 is stealthy, There is also a very steep decline which is another way down but looks more dangerous and would take much longer, but it is less risky as far as being seen. If someone rolls poorly, this might be the best way to go because you'll be out of site of the guard, who is not supposed to leave his post since he is the last one there. It takes the party a good two hours to come down this way. The ladder takes a matter of minutes. If you have to fight the guard, again use the same stats as the goblin guard above.
If you decide to attack the Goblin King, here are his stats:
Elderly Goblin King (Dark Elf)
Armor Class 15 (leather armor)
Hit points; 50
Speed 30 ft
Str 10 (+0); Dex 14 (+2); Con 8 (+0); INT 18 (+3); WIS 16(+2); CHA 15 (+1)
Skills: Stealth +2
Senses - Darkvision 60 ft, Truesight, Passive Perception 9
Languages: Common, Elvin, Goblin
Spells: Cantrips: Mage Hand, Minor Illusion; 1st Level: Charm Person & Thunderwave
Actions: Quarterstaff (Melee) +4 to hit, reach 5 ft, Hit: 5 (1d8+3) bludgeoning damage; Shortbow (Ranged) +4 to hit, range 80/320 ft, one target Hit: 5 (1d6+3) piercing damage
While in his lair: he can call 1 goblin soldier to his side every 3rd turn.
If Your Group is Still Stealthy and No Alarm has Been Sounded
You make it out the cave to the overhang and notice the guards, & halflings, etc. Do you:
a) go ahead and attempt to get down the rope ladder here, since you've (most likely) found Breoria and managed to avoid the goblins thus far,
b) make note of what you see but go ahead and investigate the remainder of the cave?
Another scenario - the PC's do not notice the platform in the ceiling, or if they do they do not explore it. What do you do then?
if a: use the same sequence as above, rolling with advantage for stealth to get down the ladder/ or taking the longer trail.
If b) or "another scenario", see below: The Rest of Gothmug Prison
The Rest of Gothmug Prison
Room #4 is rather tricky. As the party comes down form area 6, the room with the wooden platform leading to the ceiling and out is to their right, then there is another little alcove before they get to the main room. If they explore it (and everything has been quite thus far) it contains two sleeping goblins.
As they get into the main area of Room 4, they can see on one wall hangs a faded and torn tapestry. Someone has scrawled "Sharpen thy axe and ready shy shield" in blood on the opposite wall. There are several candles scattered around the room. This room contains 3 goblins. One is resting on the floor under the tapestry. The other two seem to be arguing quietly about something. It is obvious they are trying not to to disturb whatever is in room 3. They frequently look in that direction as they are talking.
There really is no way to get to area 3 without fighting these goblins, unless you can put them to sleep or someone in the party rolls extremely high on stealth.
Area 3 is all about the Goblin King, Earthslaver. He rests in a frame bed with furs piled about 3 feet high under him. There are two goblins with him. One is a female, hand feeding him food, the other is another guard. There are bits and pieces of tin and other metal items piled in one corner. These seem to be "gifts" from the goblins to earn his favor. The two alcoves are full of other junk, but near the old elf on a side table is a spell book, which looks ancient, and his quarterstaff rests against the wall where he lies. The staff is wooden, polished black with an ornate carving of a demon at the top. In this room is also an unlocked wooden chest that takes a DC 18 to find. It contains the following: 1600 cp, 1200cp, 90 gp, and various gems worth a total of 400gp.
If you made it this far without any of the goblins noticing you, it was because he wanted you to. Earthslaver is most definitely aware of your presence. He does not attack you right away, however. In fact, he holds back the guards. He is interested in what you want, and why you are here. If your party can negotiate a way back out of the cave, expect to be followed by a goblin guard (or 2) for the remainder of the time the party is in the Blackstone area, and attacked by them if they see you attacking one of their own or trying to help the halflings escape.
Getting into Breoria
Everyone, should wind up outside the gate of Breoria, no matter which route you have taken thus far. You either hear goblins scrambling around, but not near the gate, still searching for you, or you have one or two accompanying you, watching you at all times. Obviously with goblins tailing you, you'd have to kill them before attempting to break in to Breoria.
If you decide to try to breach the gate, which is locked and has a heavy door into the stone wall at the back of the vale (dc12 to pick the lock, dc 18 to break in the door), or the fence (can be climbed over with a rope and athletic check of 8 or higher), which would be easier but also more visible. Roll with disadvantage for stealth before attempting to climb the fence. Less than 10, (I'd say on average for the party), and you have to run back around to the gate. The longer this takes the greater the chance of the goblins finding you. They are in one group and make plenty of noise, but you can't tell exactly where they are. At the same time, if old Earthslaver is still living, he makes it to the mouth of Gothmog and hails a guard to his side with a shrill whistle.
Hopefully by this time, your party is safely inside the gates of Breoria and are informing the halflings that you are trying to rescue them. The old woman tells the party about her hopeful deal with Romos and the gems.
Speaking of Romos, Earthslaver's whistle has waken him and he flies around to see what is happening. If the old Goblin King was already dead, then the goblin search party stirs up enough of a fuss to get other animals worked up, and the disturbance makes it's way to the dragon's attention.
At last, the goblins figure out you have sought refuge with the halflings and begin to storm the gate. If your party has plenty of fight left and time allows, let a few goblins in and let them fight. Eventually, Romos flies down and incinerates the remaining goblin party, and if he is still there, though he tries to command the dragon with his spell, Romos takes the Goblin King in his mouth and flies away.
The Hidden Vale of Breoria
© 2019 Karen Kay