Skill challenge scenarios: Poisoned! (part one)

The group has earned the ire of a local underworld boss. Not one to be sparse with cruelty, he’s decided not only to take care of the adventurers but also send a clear message to any merchants and commoners in the town. If you support these type of heroes, you’ll be punished. He has arranged one of his stealthy assassins to slip into the inn where the players are resting and poison a keg of popular ale.

Skill challenge goal: Find a cure for the poison.

The Setup: The group of players are resting comfortably for the night at an inn, famed for its amber brown ale. The quiet evening is shattered as a serving maiden steps into the kitchen and screams. The players jump into action to see the cook unconscious in the floor and a window ajar. Rousing the cook, he will claim someone crept into the kitchen and sapped him. 

Why would someone do such a thing? The answer comes as the adventurers and patrons are suddenly wracked with pain (losing a healing surge). A large barrel of ale appears to have had the lid pried open, its tap protrudes on the other side of the wall into the adjoining room. Clearly someone has put something into the ale that everyone drank. If it is poison, can there be an antidote?

Skill Challenge Rating: 2, moderate DC.
  • Complete Success (6 successes) – The players manage to find an antidote for the poison. They are able to revive the patrons that were also injured. As a plot point, they also discover that the poison was very unique, concocted from a root extract not found in this region. 
  • Partial Success (4-5 successes) – The players manage to find an antidote for the poison. Yet, the process is slow and tedious. Several patrons have succumbed to the poison and died. This brings some negative light to the adventurers presence in town.
  • Failure (3 failures before either success condition is reached) – Each player is inflicted with the filth fever disease (MM pg 180). Many of the patrons have died. The inn has lost popularity, and the inn keeper will likely have to close down. Most of the people in town will react very coldly to the group, seeing them as the cause to much of the ordeal. The local noble might even pressure city guards to ‘assist’ the characters in moving on to the next village.

Primary skills: Healing (+1 to rolls) as the players will likely be able to recognize the symptoms and find a way to circumvent the effects of the toxins, possibly even create an antidote.

Secondary skills: Nature (+1 to rolls, cannot be assisted), granting players the ability to deduce what type of root or plant would cause such a thing. Knowing the toxin source would help immensely in rapidly finding an antidote.

In the next post, we’ll see how this played out (DUN DUN DUN….)

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