Patreon Suppported Adventures - The Owl Bear's Cave for 5Next

The final One-Page-Romp for the month of February has been up over at my Patreon for about 48 hours which means it is time to let the rest of the world see it. This adventure is a straight forward romp that leaves enough breadcrumbs to the broader Lands of Usarm or to have more fun in the Apegia Mountains region of Usarm.

For anyone who follows my adventures the Apegia Mountains are the site of the 5-minute adventure "Frigga's Chosen" and the One-Page-Romp "Trouble at Apegia Station". With one exception that has yet to be published, the Apegia Mountains have been my unofficial 5e section of Usarm (Assault on the Southern Horn not withstanding) and will most likely continue that way. After another Two Adventures I plan on updating all the Apegia adventures and releasing them in "Stoneheart Valley" style anthology. For anyone wishing to know how this could fit in the larger Usarm world this adventure can serve as a prelude to "Under the Horn" due to an object found in the Owlbear's bone-pit.

As always feedback is greatly appreciated and helps both morale and the continued improvement of these adventures!

The Owlbear's Cave
A CR 2 Adventure for 4-6 players

The steadholders on in the foothills of the Apegia Mountains are a strong and hardy people. Some say to move to the foothills is to either be insane or suicidal. For some that is true, for others the steadholds are an opportunity at freedom away from the Northern city-states of Newrk and Scran. It is not often that a people used to horrible weather, wild magics, goblin raids, and the occasional werewolf would come seeking aid at the Waylaid Inn ... this was one of those times.
The old Dwarven Innkeeper watches as four steadholders approach the party.  They seem like good people, but the shared look belies a fear bordering on hysteria. The kind of hysteria that ends will a lot of good people dead and a lot more bound for a hell they may not have otherwise earned.  One of them a large man who looks to be in the twilight of his years takes charge.
The Steadholder's is Brime and he holds the most land and political sway in the area. He is less worried about the happenings in the foothills and more about the ramifications if it isn't solved soon. He explains the problems to the party plainly and tersely and will get upset if spoken over or interrupted.
  • For the past six fortnights something has been stealing livestock from the steadholds.
  • Two days ago, Holder Queensland's youngest boy went missing after he went out to milk the cows. The boy's clothing was found in a small wood on the border of another Holder's land.
  • Queensland believes the other Holder at fault since the man had once been a slave trader before supposedly joining the Cult of the Fallen God who abhor slavery.
  • Several Holders, including Queensland's eldest son followed tracks from several Holds to the small wood but lost the trail in the dense wood.
  • Queensland has changed the other Holder to a trial by combat which is scheduled for the following day.

Brime is a wealthy man and offers the players a sum of 100 gp. His only caveat is that the players must prove they have completed the job. 
The Small Wood
The small wood that lay at the edge of several Steadholds is around ten acres in size and packed with dense, old trees and other foliage. A few narrow game trails crisscross the wood but there is little sign of recent activity to the untrained eye. A DC 15 Wisdom(Survival) check will reveal a newer trail to the searcher that looks recently used. The trail leads to a small rise of rocks that form a natural entrance to a small underground cave.
GM's note – If you would like to add more risk and more time to the trail one simple way is to add in Wisdom (Survival) Checks to the journey. For the purpose of this adventure every failed check add fifteen minutes to the player's journey and opens them up for more random encounters.
While in the Small Wood the players have a 17 out of 20 on a d20 chance of encountering the following
Roll (1d8)
Giant Boar (MM pg 323)
2 Swarm of Wasps (MM pg 338)
4 Elk (MM pg 322)
Sprite Colonists (MM pg 283)*
3 Swarm of Wasps, 1 Giant Wasp (MM pg. 329)
*The Sprite Colonists are peaceful and will not attack unless provoked. If anything they are curious of the going ons in the area and can be rather helpful to anyone they like.
The Cave
The entrance to the cave large but low, requiring anyone going through it to crouch. Moss and wet rock make the foot precarious and easy to slip on requiring a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) Check to keep from falling.
The interior of the cave is dark save a few rays of gray light that filter down from holes in the ceiling. The soft drip of water on stone is the only sound save the players. Anyone wanting to move silently needs to succeed a DC 20 Dexterity (Stealth) check in order to avoid the ancient leafs, sticks and bones on the floor.
While Area 1 is empty, Area 2's floor is a mess of torn clothing, bloody sheep wool and bones. Anyone brave or disturbed enough to search such a place needs to succeed a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) Check in order to find a small purse with 10 silver and a signet ring(worth 5 gold). There is also a chain with the Queensland family crest emblazoned on a pendent.
If the party was silent they'll find a huge monster of an owlbear asleep in Area 3 granting them surprise in combat. It they were not quiet the blood covered creature will rush at them from the darkness of Area 3 when the approach the area possibly granting it surprise over the players.
Owlbear (MM pg 249)
Concluding the Adventure
Brime will be waiting for the players at the Waylaid Inn when they return. If the players have secured proof (Either the Queensland crest or the Owlbear's head) he will gladly pay them and rush off to stop the trail by combat. If the players failed to secure proof he will refuse to pay them, not trusting the “lying tongues” of adventurers. Through intimidation or bodily harm he ill quickly give up the requested gold before running away in fear of his life. Threating Brime can have long-term repercussions. Brime's son-in-law is one of the lesser Merchant Lords of Newk who will make it his personal mission to see the players pay for the embarrassment they caused.
If the players found and present the signet ring they found in the Owlbear's cave to Brime or the Innkeeper they will be told that it is the Signet of the Horn, something not seen since the time of the Usarm Gods. A DC 20 History (Intelligence) Check will remind the player that the Horns are strange constructs that dot the land in several places, most famously outside the turn of Hornburg near the Mage Academy of Coralius.


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