Last week, I ran a one-shot for my D&D group. I wanted to give the DM a chance to play and have more time to iron out the kinks from our last adventure. I also just wanted to DM again, because I was sketching campaign ideas.
One of which was quite simple–what if players were monsters? Looking through the Monster Manuel you see a slew of humanoid looking foes. Many players have already created homebrews allowing you to play a centaur or an azer. I wanted to create something allowing players to become more familiar with monsters by being one against other monsters. I came up with a scenario where a group of Greek myth-based heroes (a pixie, a sprite, a satyr, a centaur, and a cyclops) journey out of the feywild to rescue an unicorn from a cult of dark druids serving a medusa. Another had a party of yugoloths raiding a cultist tower to do battle with devils for possession of a cult relic. But what I ended up playing with my friends was an adventure where the players were a group of mercenary lycanthropes taking a job from a dwarven city to retrieve a relic from an efreet lord in his desert pyramid.
I tweaked the variety of lycanthropes from the Monster Manuel (werebear, wereboar, wererat, weretiger, and werewolf) and added a wereraven letting players pick which were-creature they wanted. It struck me that a mercenary party of lycanthropes who have embraced their ‘curse’ would be a really cool opportunity to roleplay and could make for a fun campaign. First, however, I needed to try it out.
If this night hadn’t just been a one-shot but the start of a campaign, I think players would have rolled their own characters and then just add their chosen lycanthrope abilities. For their foe, I chose a fire genie–an efreet–who had stolen an item from a dwarven community. Mountains to desert. Placing the efreet lord in a pyramid, I used the maps created by Dyson’s Dodecahedron—Great Pyramid of Tauneskalis III, Part 1 and Part 2–has my basis populating it with some traps and Salamanders.
Treating the Salamanders’ weapons as magical, the fire creatures made formidable foes for the party of five (bear, tiger, rat, raven, and wolf) as they traveled up through the pyramid. On the second floor, I had the party encounter a nest of obsidian spheres–Salamander eggs from which hatch Fire Snakes. At the very top of the pyramid, the group faced off against the efreet (who I had summon a fire elemental).
The adventure was meant to be a challenge–can the players get the item without all of them dying. Turns out, they could with only two of them having to make death saves. As a break from our main story, I think it worked well, and I would still like to have a lycanthrope campaign. It also succeeded in exposing players to monsters they had never seen before and playing a monster hopefully gave them a better understanding of the creature should they ever face one. Over the week, I tweaked the adventure and tried to make into a proper module. I think, for a first attempt, this is fair one-shot.
If you’d like, you can run it. I hope to have it up over at DriveThruRPG.com as a pay what you want download–
I’d love to hear suggestions for how I can improve for future adventures.