Heroes of Butterpond Castle

A Risus adventure by Kung Fu Space Barbarian [4]


Quick background info

You are fey creatures, little blue goblinoid beings who live in harmony with nature. Your tribe lives in Butterpond, a magical forest paradise ruled by a benevolent fey king. The forest trees are so high and the canopy of leaves so dense that only strange, eerie sunlight penetrates down to the forest floor, casting everything in a mysterious and magical glow.


When new fey creatures are born, their spirits are tied to new trees. Thus, the fey and trees grow and age together. If one becomes ill, the other withers as well. These sacred trees grow in Butterpond Grove, a hidden garden protected by the Watchers. Becoming a Watcher is one of the highest honors that a fey creature can know. Watchers keep the tribe safe by ensuring that the trees remain healthy and strong.


Starting the adventure

Have your players create fey characters as part of this tribe. Feel free to name the tribe and come up with interesting NPCs- maybe there’s an elf merchant who brings a cart of supplies to the village once every two weeks, or a shaman healer who lives in an incense-filled hut, or a friendly moon dew farmer who sneaks little sips of moon dew to the players (a potent liquor for such tiny beings!).


The players are all coming of age, and while they don’t have full jobs yet, they are apprentices in training. Have them choose a profession to apprentice under- hunter/gatherers, healers, basket weavers, moon dew farmers, etc. Nobody can be an apprentice Watcher.


Tell them they’ve known peace all their lives, but recently a sickness has befallen the land. The trees have begun to decay and the ground is beginning to rot. This sickness has spread from Outside the forest and is now creeping into the Secret Garden, but the Watchers are unable to stop the spread of this disease.


Many fey creatures are becoming sick and more than a few have died already. Someone must investigate this sickness.


The Council

The fey king called for a council tonight in Butterpond Castle, a spire of twisting trees, rope ladders, and rickety bridges stretching up high above the forest floor. All members of the tribe are welcome to attend council meetings, and tonight is especially crowded.


The village Elders have decided that someone must venture forth and discover the cause of this plague. However, the village is operating at half capacity. All available Watchers are on constant alert, many villagers are sick or dead, and anyone with healing skill has been summoned to the sick houses. The rest of the adults are needed to attend their normal jobs, lest the entire village crumble into chaos.


If the players don’t volunteer to go themselves, have a village Elder suggest the younglings venture forth as they are on the cusp of adulthood, and this mission could serve as an alternative to the normal coming of age ritual. If they do volunteer, a village Elder can agree that it is a good idea and give the reason above as to why.


Leaving the forest

The players have never ventured outside of their village before so everything they encounter will be new and wondrous. For combat scenarios in the forest, they can encounter a Hungry Bear (3) or A Group of Giant Spiders (4).


They may also encounter friendly creatures, such as Cute Forest Critters (3) or Singing Elf Children From Another Part of the Forest (3).


Feel free to build on interactions and explore the relationship with the elves- is the cart driver a part of this elven tribe? Why have the players never met these elves before? Is their home being plagued by this mysterious disease as well? Are the elf adults as friendly towards fey creatures as the children?


Beyond the Forest

When the fey creatures leave the woods for the first time they are blinded by the brilliance of the sunlight. When their eyes adjust they catch their first glimpse of human civilization, a small village on the edge of the woods. Whether they enter the village or not, have them run into a human who doesn’t seem to mind their strange appearance and tells them about his farm- it is his livelihood but this disease has killed his crops, and if he has no crops to sell his family will starve.


Mysterious chanting

Whether you use this human or another along the journey, have someone tell the players that shortly after this disease struck the land they began to hear creepy chanting in the night coming from the ruins of an old temple in the distance. They also say that is the direction this disease seems to be spreading from, but the village has no warriors to investigate because they’re all out fighting a civil war in another part of the country. This should be enough to compel your players to investigate the ruins since that’s why they left the forest in the first place- to find the source of corruption!


The human village

If the players explore this village, treat it as a sandbox. Let the players explore where they want and talk to anyone willing to talk to them. Maybe some humans are scared of them, or others are prejudiced against them. Some humans will be friendly hippie types who love all of nature’s creatures, and maybe a few people will even accuse the fey creatures of causing this blight.


Feel free to include combat encounters with Distrustful Villagers (4) or Dirt Poor Bandit Jerks Who Prey on the Weak (4). Plenty of room for fun random adventures and side quests in the village!


The ruins

When they players approach the ruins they do indeed hear strange chanting. When they investigate, they will actually find that the chanters are friendly- not evil cultists summoning a demon and desecrating the land.


The chanters are a group of druids called the Greensingers (5) and their mission is to preserve ancient ruins and the sacred lands around them. The druids will tell the players that a sick old green dragon named Stinkwings has taken up residence in the ruins and is spreading disease around the land. They ask you to help find a way to drive off Stinkwings so they can restore the land to health once more.


You can create a labyrinth for the players to navigate (Labyrinth (5)) or have the ruins simply be a single crumbling room.


Stinkwings (6) is a decrepit old dragon covered in sores and disgusting orange fungus. He talks in a wheezing voice and whenever he coughs a Putrid Smog (2) ejects from his body and scatters poisonous spores around, which quickly turn into Nasty Little Mushroom Monsters (3) that immediately attack. The dragon himself is not particularly evil, just sick. The players may find a way to persuade him to leave peacefully- but they must be careful! Even though he is old and sick, he is still a clever dragon!


If they can’t convince him to leave, beating him up could always work too, though you’d gain the respect of the Greensingers if you can drive him off or cure him instead of killing him.


Conclusion

Once the dragon has been killed, cured, or driven off, the diseased land slowly begins to heal. By the time the players return home, the land has been completely healed in their forest and the tribe cheers their heroic deeds, granting them all the esteemed title of Watcher. You are all true heroes of Butterpond Castle!


Quick note: If at any point it seems like the adventure is getting too easy, always remember that the life trees are in extreme danger! Who’s to say one of the players’ life tree won’t become sick next? And what will the consequences of that be? Losing a cliche dice every 20 minutes until they die? Making the player roll with half dice? Higher TNs? It’s up to you...


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