“Bring your clothing here! Full-refund! This recall is for your own safety!”
The party hears a city guard ringing a bell and barking these commands to passerby. A court wizard stands at the ready with a fire spell prepared. A third man, a merchant, looks greatly embarrassed and is holding both a ledger and a coin purse; on his head, he sports a flamboyant fuzzy pink hat. A townsperson steps up to the three and nervously hands over a pair of cargo pants and a jacket in exchange for a handful of gold. The wizard carefully inspects the pockets of the clothing before incinerating the items on the spot, reducing them to ash.
If the party wanders over to ask what’s going on, the merchant explains the situation.
“I’m a vendor for Weave the Door Open. You’ve probably heard of us. We are the realm’s leading provider of Bags of Holding, Handy Haversacks, and other pocket-dimension products.”
Another townsperson comes forward with a bathrobe that’s promptly disposed of. The merchant continues.
“We tried to expand our line to wearable clothing. We thought people would enjoy having the extra-dimensional spaces inside the pockets of their pants and coats. Unfortunately, something went wrong. Instead of harmless and empty pocket dimensions, we somehow opened tiny gates into a strange alternate reality.”
Another customer comes forward and hands the wizard a pair of slacks. The merchant checks the name/sale off the list, and passes the customer a handful of gold pieces. Suddenly, the pink hat atop the merchant’s head begins to stir; two little eyes appear, then two large ears. It becomes apparent to the party that this “hat” is actually a sleeping creature curled atop his head.
“That’s the last of them.” The merchant sighs to himself, jotting something down in his ledger. “Fortunately,” he says, returning his attention to the party, “the pockets weren’t big enough to allow any sizable extradimensional monsters into our world, but we have had a few…unexpected consequences.” He glances up at the adorable creature on his head, now yawning and stretching its tiny legs. “For most customers, it was just complaints about creatures nipping at their fingers or snatching their house keys whenever they dipped their hands into their pockets. However, we had three instances of monsters that have fully escaped. They’ve probably left the city by now. If these invasive species, these ‘Pocket Monsters’, get too far, heaven knows what they’ll do to the ecosystem.” The merchant stares off into the distance, some panic returning to his eyes, “or worse…what they’ll do to our reputation.”
At this point, the merchant closely examines the party. “You know, I’ve never been much of an adventurer. You, on the other hand, look far more capable of hunting down a target. Weave the Door Open took a big financial loss with this blunder, but we are still in a good place financially overall. If you go out and help us reclaim these escaped creatures, we promise to reward you handsomely. You’ve just got to catch them all.“
If the party agrees, the merchant relaxes a little again. “I’m pleased to hear you say that. I can make sure you are equipped with a few things to help you.”
The merchant reaches into his own backpack and hands the player two items. The first is a thin sketchbook. Opening the book reveals drawings of the three creatures, complete with names and some scrawled notes (the testimonials of the pour souls who found them in their pockets). The second item is a metallic sphere.
“That right there is a Banisher Ball. It contains exactly 3 charges of a low-grade ‘Banish‘ spell, specifically designed for these creatures. Just throw the ball at a creature, and it will be safely teleported back to its native plane.”
The small pink rodent’s eyes widen at the sight of the sphere. It sniffs the air, as though it can somehow smell the scents of its home world emanating from the glowing orb.
“And of course,” he continues, plucking the the creature off his head and holding it out to the party. “This little guy can help you too. He’s very tame. His sensitive hearing and smell can help you track down his friends.”
Once the party has the sketchbook, the Banisher Ball, and the small pink mouse “Pinkachu”, they can leave the city proper and begin their search.
Target #1: Dirtle
The first drawing in the sketchbook shows a small tortoise-like creature captioned “Dirtle.” The scrawled notes written alongside the image provide the following info:
- Practically tore the seams of my pocket trying to force its shell through
- Immediately started burrowing into the ground and kicking dirt everywhere
- Not fast moving, but it snapped at me when I tried to pick it up
As the party leaves the town, there should be a rocky, mountainous area nearby (survival or nature checks help the party spot small round footsteps in the dirt leading toward the mountain). Once the players ascend into the mountainous, hilly region, they stumble upon a clearing with various small stones wedged into the ground, jutting up here and there. The Pinkachu begins to twitch its ears and make a tiny mewing noise.
At this point, the players need to find which of the rocks is actually just Dirtle hiding in its shell. They can try for an investigation check with a DC 15 to distinguish the shell pattern from typical rocks, thereby skipping any unwanted battle, or whatever other clever ideas comes to mind. If all else fails, then they can attempt to pick up the stones, one at a time, to see if they can unearth the reptile. If they need to rely on the latter method, have them roll a d8. Depending on the roll, this is what they uncover:
- d1-4: It’s just a harmless rock
- d5: It’s a rock…that is also being gripped by the hand of a buried Xorn. The Xorn ascends from the ground and attempts to fight the party. Once defeated, all subsequent d5 rolls will reveal only a harmless rock.
- d6: It’s not a rock at all…but the head of a Galeb Duhr. The creature is agitated at having its nap disturbed and attempts to fight the party (it needs to first use an action to rise from the ground). Once defeated, all subsequent d6 rolls will reveal only a harmless rock.
- d7: It’s a rock, but flipping it over reveals a geode of sparkling gems. It can be sold for 50 GP. Once collected, all subsequent d7 rolls will reveal only a harmless rock.
- d8: It’s Dirtle! Have the player roll a Dex save to determine whether or not they are nipped by the creature for 1d4 piercing damage. If they are nipped, the player drops Dirtle, which then starts to (slowly) crawl away or rebury itself in the earth.
Throwing the Banisher Ball at Dirtle immediately sends him back to his home plane of existence with a satisfying “pop!”
Target #2: Nullbasaur
The second sketch shows a strange creature that is incredibly dark, almost like its body is just an empty void of space. The drawing is captioned “Nullbasaur” and includes the following notes:
- Whipped me with a vine attack when I tried to get too close
- Ate my houseplants before climbing out through a window and escaping
- Produces a sweet, fragrant smell that made me feel pretty sleepy
Searching nearby forests/flower fields will allow the pink rodent to twitch its ears and sniff the air. Those with high enough passing perception can also notice a heavenly floral aroma in the air, a sweet smell unlike any flower that exists in this world.
Following the scent leads to a clearing a little ways into a forest where the players spot the Nullbasaur happily playing with three vine blights. The Nullbasaur is using its vines, and the vines of a blight standing across from him, to create a long jump rope. While they swing their combined vine ropes, the other two blights giggle and hop in the middle.
If the players throw the Banisher Ball immediately (provided they can get within throwing distance), then they will catch the Nullbasaur but also trigger a battle with the three agitated vine blights who are now down one friend.
Alternatively, the players can try to play nice and ask to participate in the activities. If a player chooses to give the jump rope a shot, then they must make the following rolls:
- Roll an acrobatics check with DC 5 while the rope swings slowly. If they’re successful, then…
- Roll an acrobatics check with DC 10 as the vine rope begins to swing faster. If they’re successful, then…
- Roll one final acrobatics check with DC 15 as the vine swings incredibly fast.
If any players succeed on all three of the above skill checks, then the Nullbasaur will be impressed with their abilities and defer to them; it will grumble a vague “goodbye” to the blights before voluntarily allowing the players to catch it with the Banisher Ball.
If all players fail the sequence of three skill checks, then the Nullbasaur will want to continue playing with the blights. Catching it now will trigger a battle with the blights, who will attempt to ensnare the party and not let them escape.
Target #3: Starmander
The final sketch in the book shows a lizard spitting fire and walking on two legs; the image is captioned “Starmander.” Beside the image are the following notes:
- I smelled smoke, and the creature just fell out from a burned hole in my pocket
- It spit a few small fireballs from its mouth when provoked
- Its body sparkles with a starry pattern, and it too is attracted to sparkly things
Tracking down this creature leads the party to the mouth a forest cave. As soon as the party begins to enter, the Pinkachu’s ears begin twitching wildly, no doubt hearing the noises of its friend echoing and reverberating off the cavern walls.
Descending further into the cavern, the party arrives at an opening where they spot the missing reptile curled up and sleeping alongside a young red dragon; it appears as though this dragon has adopted the Starmander as its child.
The players can attempt to wake up/lure the Starmander away without disturbing the dragon before catching it, but waking the dragon (either by capturing the Starmander right from under its nose or doing something else that’s noisy) will trigger a battle.
After all three extradimensional creatures have been sent back to their realm of origin, the players can return to the city. The merchant for Weave the Door Open is waiting, sipping an expensive ale, at whatever tavern/inn the party is staying at (unless he told them to meet him elsewhere). He has a backpack sitting on the chair beside him.
“Thank you so much,” he says, collecting the Banisher Ball and allowing the Pinkachu to climb back onto his shoulder. “I’m sure this little guy is about ready to return home himself. Once the ball charges, we will send him on his way. As a reward, my company thought it would be best to give you this. I assure you that it’s a completely normal Handy Haversack. Absolutely zero risk of unwanted creatures crawling out of its pockets. It also comes stocked with some extra goodies for you.”
If the party reaches into the center pocket, they can pull out the following items from the void:
- Two Escape Ropes. These items are single-use and allow the party to magically teleport to the entrance of any cave or dungeon that they are in the midst of exploring (or lost in).
- Two Rare Candies. These items are single-use. Consuming the item grants a permanent +1 to any ability score.
- Two cans of Repel Spray. These items are single-use. Once its contents are sprayed on the players, all non-humanoid creatures will avoid the party and attempt to stay at least 50 feet away from them for 1 hour. The chemical is odorless and undetectable to humanoids.
- 100 GP (or however much you, as DM, think the party deserves based on how much combat they faced during this encounter).