Something Amiss in Hogwash (DnD Campaign)
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part of any adventure. With this in mind, here is a short single-session quest you can have your party of fresh-faced adventures journey on based on the location created in our Where to Begin Your Dungeons and Dragons Campaign blog. The battle maps can be made using a Squire Dungeon Set along with a few pieces from the Palisades Kit. All story aspects have included enough information to build off of, but have been purposefully left vague enough to allow you to weave the adventure into your own broader story. There are stats for both Boars and Giant Boars in the “Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Monster Manual” though the stats and numbers of the monsters are simply suggestions. If your party is finding battles or challenges too easy or difficult, simply adjust the numbers as needed!
A Dungeons and Dragons Journey Begins...
Having received word that the village of Hogswatch, located in the Bluestone Valley, is hiring hunters and mercenaries to aid in their wild boar problem, our party has set out to the remote location with hopes of easy gold on their minds. The road is long and seldom traveled, but after many days the party has dropped into the deep valley between towering mountain ranges that Hogswatch, and the surrounding swamp, call home. The stagnant smell of decaying vegetation quickly replaces the fresh air of the flatlands and the constant drone of biting and stingy insects is a reminder of the unpleasantness of this place. It does not take long for boots to become soaked in the soggy ground, and mud quickly coats everything below their knees. As the heat of the afternoon makes everything that much more uncomfortable, respite can be seen through the drooping and vine-covered trees as the village of Hogswatch begins to come into view. Quickening their pace with the promise of solid ground beneath their feet, the sounds from the surrounding bushes nearly catches them unaware. Bursting forth from a long-abandoned building are several large wild-eyed boars! Obviously upset with the party for interrupting them in whatever activity they were engaging in, they charge the interlopers with bloodlust and rage in their savage eyes.
The party will be thrust immediately into combat with 3 boars. The marked path serves as normal terrain while stepping off of it will serve as difficult terrain for the party.
The Village of Hogswatch
The village of Hogswatch is a dirty place, where most of the stone structures built on the ground seemed to have been abandoned in favor of wooden homes erected on stilts to help with seasonal flooding. While there are roads through the smattering of homes and businesses, they serve little more than muddy paths with only the barest of upkeep performed on them. Pens dot the small settlement with pigs of a more docile sort rooting around in the mud. A few rough-looking individuals mill about doing their best to cope with the heat and bugs and paying little attention to the new arrivals. The information the party was given was to seek out the local leader of the Tradesmen’s Guild, Rhin Valum. A large building near the center of town with the Tradesmen’s Guild symbol embossed above the door would probably be a good place to start.
The Trade Hall
The building is large and open, with sealed crates marked with the Tradesmen’s Guild crest painted on to each. A few workers are milling about as a well-dressed man seems to be taking inventory. This is Rhin, the man responsible for the village’s trade delivery as well as the export of Twilight Mycelium on behalf of the guild. The Trade Hall serves as the warehouse and staging location for all the Twilight Mycelium leaving the city, along with most of the trade caravans bringing goods into Hogswatch. Rhin’s position of leadership within this crucial part of the village's economy has made Rhin the de facto mayor of Hogswatch.
Rhin will tell the party that the wild hogs have grown even more aggressive this year, even going so far as to attack Twilight Hunters, and their numbers are starting to become a problem as they are consuming so much of the Twilight Mycelium that it is becoming harder and harder to find. Instead of having the party go on a boar hunting expedition and simply thinning the passel as has been done in the past, he asks the party to wipe out a particularly aggressive sow that has been reported at a nest some miles into the swamp. The larger-than-average beast Rhin believes may be the root of the newer and more aggressive variant boar. He wants it and any offspring it may have killed and is willing to pay 200 krowns to any one person or group that can bring him the head of the matron. They can gather supplies from Kursh, from the general store in town, or ask around town for any information about the Boars.
About Rhin: A middle-aged human with jet black hair, and a handlebar mustache. He is a shrewd businessman with little patience and even less humor. He cares deeply for his appearance and wishes to project authority, so he stands out in the squalor of Hogswatch with his polished boots and expensive clothes. While Rhin has no love for the town of Hogswatch, wishing to be promoted to a position of more opulence within the Tradesmen’s Guild, he takes his duties very seriously.
The Empty Satchel General Store
The Empty Satchel General Store is a simple building packed full of everyday commodities. The shelves are tall, and no space is wasted in the cramped shop. The owner, Kursh, carries mostly necessities for the villagers, but he may have a few weapons and low-quality armaments that other adventurers have left behind he can offer to those he likes. Given the size of the town and its location, it is best not to stock Kursh’s shop with more rare or magical items, though he may have a simple enchanted sword or ring that he has procured. Balancing magical items and trinkets can be tricky, and until you understand what your players may need, want, or require, sometimes it is best to hold back a bit.
About Kursh: Kursh Mossfoot is a halfling merchant with curly brown hair, a bright smile, and a peg leg. He is an open and friendly guy that will happily tell the party if asked about how he lost his leg fighting off an attacking goblin war band that ambushed one of the trade caravans he was escorting. He was brought to Hogswatch where the alchemist Aldria was able to patch him up. Seeing as he was out of a job having only a single leg, he eventually ended up opting to stay within Hogswatch and serve as a liaison between the locals and the Guild.
Though most of the hundred or so people that call Hogswatch home make a living out of the Twilight Mycelium trade in one way or the other, you can create locations that would make sense for the setting, such as tanners, butchers, and woodcutters. It is best to keep the amenities simple and location-specific. A skilled blacksmith would not open up an armory in a place that he was unlikely to get any business.
Asking around, and with an investigation roll of 12 or better, the party can be led to Aldria the hedgewitch, an old elven woman who lives just outside of town in a treehouse and has a great deal of knowledge about the surrounding area.
Aldria the Hedgewitch
Aldria the Hedgwich lives in a rough home built directly into the massive branches of an ancient tree. There is no ladder to her door, and instead, a brass bell on a poll will be sticking out of the muck and mud a dozen feet away. If the players ring the bell, Aldria will emerge from the small home looking a little annoyed. Inside her home, the space is cramped and dark, though it smells of spices and herbs, as Aldria seems to be an accomplished alchemist. She can offer the party herbs and tonics, for a price, and if befriended can serve as an information source about the area, perhaps granting advantage on navigation rolls while within the swamp. If she is told what the party is up to, she would be willing to provide the party with special herbs that, when burnt, will emit smoke that blinds the local boars. In return for the herbs, she asks that the party bring her back 2 of the wild piglets so that she can study their change in behavior.
About Aldria: Aldria is a wizen elven woman with platinum hair and sharp green eyes. While she appears disheveled and wearing rough clothes, somehow she still manages to carry an air of importance about her. Her past seems to be something she is unwilling to talk about, even reprimanding the party if they press too hard. She only really deals with the local village out of necessity and convenience as opposed to any real love of people.
Navigating the Swamp
A swamp is an inhospitable place, and you should reflect on the dangerous nature of the journey without making it so deadly that you will likely kill your players. While traveling through the area, the one leading the group should make a survival check DC of 13. If they succeed, they manage to find their way through the terrain with an only marginal difficulty. On a failure, however, they become lost in the twisted trees, hidden pools, and biting insects. Not only does it take longer to reach their destination than they had hoped for, which can be demonstrated by making them arrive either in the morning if they were hoping for a nighttime ambush, or in the late hours of the night if they were hoping to catch the swine in the daylight, but also each should make a DC 10 Constitution Saving Throw or suffer a point of exhaustion, as they have had to dig deep to keep moving forward.
*If you feel like being even crueler, you could have them be ambushed by several of the aggressive hogs as they begin to draw closer to the nest, or you can even be totally merciless and have them blunder blindly into the nest itself, putting them in a disadvantageous position for the showdown!*
Camping in the Swamp
If for any reason the party elects to camp in the swamp, they are required to make a DC 10 Constitution Saving Throw or receive only the benefits of a short rest for the evening.
The Swine Nest
The swine nest is nothing more than a clearing in the center of an ancient structure long since toppled over. The place is littered with debris and bones, a stark reminder that these wild boar have moved beyond being simply feral, and become carnivorous. Dilapidated walls litter the place with only what looks to be the lowest level of a tower still showing any structural integrity. There appear to be two of the boars outside either sleeping or milling about depending on what time of day the party arrives, though a perceptive member of the party might be able to catch a glimpse of movement from a third boar laying in the mud. Though the matron does not seem to be visible, a collapsed sanction of the tower wall leads into the darkness where muffled noises can be heard. It is now up to the party to handle the situation in whatever way they see fit. If they decide to deal with the three hogs outside first, give a turn or two before the matron emerges, as to not overwhelm the party immediately. The matron should be a massive creature, with matted hair, wild eyes, and meat from a fresh kill still hanging from its tusks. This is a creature that will show no mercy! If you want to add an additional element to the encounter, you can make the ground difficult terrain for the players, reducing movement speed. Inside the dark tower, the party can find some loot from the matron’s kills along with several piglets to slay or return to Aldria. If the party tries to keep one of the piglets as a pet, you may wish to stress that these are not friendly animals, and even in their infant state will attempt to bite the party.
Aldria’s herbs - If the party acquired Aldria’s herbs, they can use them before the fight to disorient the boars. By setting the herbs alight and letting the smoke waft across the camp, they will lose the element of surprise, but boars will be affected by the odor, becoming blinded and disoriented. They will have disadvantage on all attack rolls and perception checks for the next 10 minutes.
With the sow dead the party returns to Hogswatch to collect their reward from Rhin, and possibly make an ally in Aldria if they completed their end of the deal. This is where you as the Dungeon Master can begin to weave other quests into your story. What drove the local boars to turn so savage? What does Aldria want with the piglets? Who did the ruins in the swamp once belong to? Did they find something of interest in the nest? This quest has simply served as a launching point for a larger adventure, and from here you can come up with as many adventures within the Bluestone Valley and the village of Hogswatch as you would like!