This one-shot adventure is designed for Old-School Essentials, but can be easily adapted to other fantasy OSR systems, targeting low-mid level characters. The party doesn’t need to be explicitly wilderness focused, there are potential NPCs that can be hired for the purpose of tracking.
Iko Bifun, The Mud King, a merchant known for trafficking in material that is generally viewed as the best for the making of the finest ceramics in the region, is planning a celebration to celebrate his retirement and turning his financial empire over to his eldest child, Hedny. Hedny Bifun is a sharp witted woman with a sharp tongue, and according to rumor has convinced her father that his mind is failing and that it is time for him to leave the business to her (it is possible to bring this into play, or not, depending on the PC’s behavior). To celebrate his retirement, a grand celebration is being planned to send Iko off in style. As part of this celebration, requests have been posted around the city for wilderness inclined adventurers to find, and return with a feast creature of legend, the turkey hydra. The first to bring one back for the celebration, will receive 2,000 gp.
Scattered about the city, the PC’s can find a posting with the following text:
I’m leaving the date of Sunday, but the referee should feel free to tailor to their adventure world. Probably should give the party a couple of game days to attempt to complete this adventure, but adjust as you see necessary for your party’s capabilities.
If the party attempts to contact Bifun Manor prior to acquisition of a turkey hydra, they are met at the manor by a very dour and humorless Mr. Azot, the half-orc steward of Bifun Manor. He will grudgingly answer any simple questions regarding the posting, but he doesn’t supply much information beyond what is in the posting.
If the players ask around about Bifun manor, and the family behind it, here are some rumors for them to learn, just to make things interesting (of course, if your players are prone to be easily distracted, you may want to skip the rumors):
- Hedny Bifun, the daughter of the Mud King Iko Bifun, has been using an illusionist to mislead her father that his grip on reality is slipping and that he needs to retire.
- Iko Bifun really got the epithet of “The Mud King” because he poses as the respectable front for the thieves guild Night Fortunes, as well as the person who made sure unwanted corpses disappeared.
- Hedny Bifun plans to use her father’s celebration to permanently get rid of her father, as well as any other person who she feels is deeply aligned with him.
- Hedny Bifun deeply loves her father, and is genuinely concerned about his deteriorating mental health.
If the party doesn’t have any characters capable of tracking their prey, there are two options. One, give them a base 5% chance of tracking, and modify using the tracking modifiers listed under the ranger class in the advanced ruleset. Two, make available to them the ability to hire a ranger. Below are a few randomly generated rangers that are available for hire initially, but if the PCs take too long, they may be hired by other parties.
Gubro Oznil – Level 2 Ranger (NPC)
AC 7  (leather armour), HP 19, Att 1 × staff (1d4+1), THAC0 19 , MV 90′ (30′), SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16, AL Chaotic, STR 15 INT 13 WIS 10 DEX 11 CON 17 CHA 10, Items Staff +1 (Growing) [See Advanced Fantasy]
Pesu Saawu – Level 4 Ranger (NPC)
AC 6  (leather armour + shield), HP 23, Att 1 × war hammer (1d6), THAC0 17 [+2], MV 90′ (30′), SV D10 W11 P14 B15 S16, AL Neutral, STR 15 INT 13 WIS 12 DEX 11 CON 13 CHA 9, Items Bag of Holding, Potion of Delusion
Jiha Yedrih – Level 2 Ranger (NPC)
AC 6  (leather armour), HP 14, Att 1 × two-handed sword (1d10), THAC0 19 , MV 90′ (30′), SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16, AL Lawful, STR 15 INT 13 WIS 12 DEX 15 CON 11 CHA 11, Items None
Any NPC not hired could appear in one of the competing NPC parties. Additionally, keep in mind that there is the possibility that if they hire Gubro, he is likely to betray them when it is most advantageous for him to do so.
Recommend using the Old-School Essentials wilderness encounter generator for any random encounters. Below are some additional encounters that could happen, and probably should.
Spoor of the Prey: This could be anything ranging from prints, to droppings, to the occasional feather, or even just a broken branch. A potentially useful bits of trivia: turkey hydras will eat just about anything, they are omnivores; the droppings of males is long and somewhat shaped like a J, while the female’s droppings is more like a spiral in shape; the larger the diameter of the dropping, the older the turkey hydra.
Uncommonly Knowledgeable Commoner: An encounter with a local farmer or woodsmen who happens to know a lot about the territory range of the local turkey hydra. This encounter is likely only going to happen during the daytime, since the commoner isn’t likely to be out roaming around at night.
The Pretty, Pretty Princess: A small group of goblins are fighting over a soiled, lacey, white dress. If left to their own devices, the goblins will continue the fight until there is a clear victor, who gets to proudly wear the soiled garment with pride. The goblins are keeping the battle surprisingly subdued by not using any weapons in their battle for the dress. This encounter is likely only going to happen during the nighttime, since goblins aren’t likely to be out roaming around during the day.
The Competition: An encounter with one of the other competing groups who are looking to get the reward first. Some of these groups may not be above sabotaging, or outright attacking the party. A sample party is displayed below, needing only one of the rangers that were available for hire.
Level 3 Gnome (Adventurer)
AC 7  (leather armour), HP 9, Att 1 × short bow (1d6), THAC0 19 , MV 90′ (30′), SV , AL Neutral, STR 6 INT 11 WIS 8 DEX 12 CON 15 CHA 13, Spells dancing lights, wall of fog, blur, [See Advanced Fantasy] Items None
Level 2 Fighter (Adventurer)
AC 7  (leather armour), HP 12, Att 1 × polearm (1d10), THAC0 19 , MV 90′ (30′), SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16, AL Chaotic, STR 11 INT 7 WIS 10 DEX 11 CON 7 CHA 10, Items None
Level 3 Thief (Adventurer)
AC 6  (leather armour), HP 8, Att 1 × mace (1d6), THAC0 19 , MV 90′ (30′), SV D13 W14 P13 B16 S15, AL Neutral, STR 14 INT 13 WIS 11 DEX 15 CON 10 CHA 10, Items None
Level 2 Half-Elf (Adventurer)
AC 5  (leather armour + shield), HP 10, Att 1 × short sword (1d6), THAC0 19 , MV 90′ (30′), SV D12 W13 P13 B15 S15, AL Chaotic, STR 16 INT 17 WIS 12 DEX 15 CON 15 CHA 17, Spells read magic, Items None
The Big Hunt
Eventually, the party may actually meet up with the subject of their hunt. Recommend that they encounter either a young adult jake or jenny turkey hydra, that was probably separated from the flock when a competing adventuring party disrupted their foraging.
AC 5 , HD 5, HP 40, Att 5 × bite (1d10), 2 x claw (1d4), THAC0 15 [+4], MV 90’ (30’) / 420’ (140’) flying, SV D10 W11 P12 B13 S14, ML 6, AL Neutral, XP 300, NA 1 (1), Powers sleep gas, Items None
This young turkey hydra will likely only have incidental treasure.
The turkey hydra will try to avoid the party if possible, forcing them to actually track and hunt it. If they manage to confront the turkey hydra, it will expel its noxious sleep gas and attempt to escape. Use the morale test as a means to determine if the turkey hydra will fight, or attempt to flee.
Sharp-eyed players may note that the posting does not explicitly require the delivery of the turkey hydra to be dead or alive. So, those of a more chaotic nature may decide to take advantage of providing a live turkey hydra, assuming they’re capable of capturing one alive.
If the party arrives with a dead turkey hydra, Mr. Azot will provide reward upon reception of the carcass. If they arrive with a live turkey hydra, Mr. Azot will react with astonishment, but he will eventually accede that the posting did not explicitly state the condition of the living status for the turkey hydra and he will provide payment upon completion of the transaction.
The party should receive XP for their encounters, the reward, and a bonus if they were particularly creative in their solution, especially if they managed to bring in a live turkey hydra.
Enjoy this adventure, and game on!