Roaming through the plains just past [town name here] the party comes across a large river where a man is screaming. The man begins sprinting up the river as the stream burbles and explodes with hundreds of quippers swimming upstream. With sharp teeth and a nasty disposition, the quippers eviscerate anything that stands in their way.
“They’re gonna end us all!” the man yells as he continues sprinting up the riverbed. “I’ve been following these creatures for weeks, studying their patterns. Each generation is stronger and faster.”
The man introduces himself as Oxidian Diemond, a great fish detective…and biologist. “I’ve never seen anything like this, the fish are born, swim further upstream, and die in the same day, repeating the cycle the next.”
He is unsure how the quippers started this cyclical event, but is sure they are headed for [wherever the party needed to go] that is built on top of the water. If the quippers make it there, Oxidian fears they will destroy the city from below, taking out the structures that support the city. In each cycle they evolve, growing larger and nastier.
He insists the party must determine a way to stop the quippers and protect the city.
Once There Was Always Dark
Oxidian explains to the party that a bridge about a mile up the road would be a great place for their first stand.
This will be the first primary battle with the quippers. Oxidian notes that most quippers are fragile and only take one hit to kill, so this should be a piece of cake for the party. He offers to stand aside as the party does their thing, grimacing and shaking nervously.
As the party prepares, they will see the quipper swimming rapidly toward them. Amongst them are three Giant Quippers, that stick out as larger than the rest. Oxidian begins blubbering and burbles, “they’re still evolving, we’re doomed!”
The three Giant Quippers are placed sporadically amongst the rest of the small quippers, with several swarms (think swarms of rats), placed in the river as well. If inspecting the Giant Quipper afterward, they will learn of a vulnerability to piercing damage.
It is unlikely the party can defeat everything at this point and many of the quippers will swim away by the third round. As night falls, Oxidian will answer any questions the party may have about defeating the quipper, though they are only theories. It’s possible the fish are an alien race, from another plane of existence, or are being propelled forward by some form of magic.
DM Note: This is a great chance to tie in something with your BBEG if it makes sense, otherwise you can treat it like a way for the party to get to their next stop.
I Don’t Sleep; I Just Stream
With the quipper advancing and night falling, Oxidian urges the party to head closer to the town and prepare for the next day’s stream. He notes the eggs are under rocks and there’s no way the party would be able to destroy them all.
While the next area has no bridge, Oxidian declares that it is the best area to get all of the quipper in one area.
He is sure the party can wipe them all out here, and will join the fight, the he is fairly weak. In this batch of quipper, the party notices two quipper that are even bigger than their last fight. These Behemoth Quipper are huge creatures and take up much more space in the river. Oxidian shrieks as he notices them.
One note on the Behemoth Quipper (up to the DM), they are susceptible to piercing damage because, after all, they’re fish.
If the party inspects the quipper at this point, they’ll note that a large group appears to be surrounding something under the water, almost as a protective barrier. If they hone in no it, they will uncover The Bellow King, otherwise they swarm will speed past them in two rounds.
With the party preparing to defeat the Behemoth Quippers, Oxidian yells. He is in the middle of the river doing his best to fight.
As the quipper circle the great fish detective, he gulps, “it’s as I feared, the quippers created time to grow the things that it would kill. You must save the city!” He grimaces, and hundreds of quipper surge and swarm. Oxidian disappears in a cloud of scales and pink.
The Bellow King
Regardless of if the larger quippers are defeated, a final evolution awaits the party in town. It will take another cycle of night, but the city is about 3 miles away from the spot in the river they were just in.
As the party reaches the city, the folks living there are frantic. A messenger Oxidian had sent has them in a panic, some packing up their things preparing to leave. The party will need to do some crowd control with the town guard, or just let the people run away.
The town guard warns the party of four primary structures central to the city that if destroyed will cause the entire city to collapse. If Oxidian was right, the quippers will aim for those structures.
Whatever they choose to do, the swarm of quippers will soon begin approaching, as the party looks at the group, they will notice another Giant Quipper, with something riding on its back. Unless the party is already attacking, the Giant Quipper will pause just within earshot of the cityfolk and party.
“People of [city name], I am The Bellow King. Long have you laid waste to our kind, but no longer! Today is your day of reckoning.” He coughs up some water and apologizes under his breath. “Give us all of your scale mail, and she who creates such monstrosities, and you may go freely.”
The quipper stir themselves up at the mention of scale mail, circling rapidly around the Giant Quipper and The Bellow King. The speed of their circling raises him up to the eyeline of the party. “I will give you a moment to think it over, as I am a reasonable fish man.”
If the party asks anyone in the city what he means, they will inform the party that they are home to the greatest scale mail crafters in the realm. The town’s armourer, Scartin Blaart, is a Kua-toa that abandoned her people and found a home in [city name]. Her technique of using quipper scales to outline the armor gives the wearer better buffs.
DM Note: If the party determines to offer Scartin to The Bellow King, he will retreat with his fellow quippers, leaving the town in peace.
Should a fight ensue, it will be against The Bellow King, two Giant Quipper, and additional swarms of quipper.
As noted, The Bellow King and Giant Quippers will target four Large columns (10×10) underneath the city and attempt to destroy those. Each has an AC of 17 and due to its thickness, each has HP of 75.
Defeating The Bellow King will calm all the remaining quipper other than the Giant Quipper. Any that remain will swim back downstream, seemingly relieved of their duties.
If still alive, Scartin will thank you for your service and offer you his finest Quipper Scale Mail.
Quipper Scale Mail
This intricately, though inhumanely, crafted armor is made of tough Quipper scales, making it more impenetrable than typical scale mail.
- Armor Class: 15 + Dex modifier (max 2)
- Stealth: Advantage when swimming, Disadvantage any other time
- Blood Frenzy: The wearer has advantage on melee attack rolls against any creature that doesn’t have all its hit points.