When the party arrives in a particular neighborhood of [City Name], they smell smoke in the air and hear an excited commotion up ahead.
Roll a dexterity saving throw or else be struck by an errant fireball, dealing 8d6 fire damage.
After the fireball has made contact (or been successfully dodged by the party), a man comes running up to the players. He is a simple laborer, dressed in casual, modest clothes, but his hands are glowing with powerful fire magic.
“I am so, so sorry about that!” he cries out earnestly, although he’s still oddly beaming from ear to ear. “I’ve just never had magic before, and I’m still trying to get the hang of it. It’s so much fun!”
A whistle is blown, and the man scurries away into an alley as a city guard jogs up to the party from behind, trying to catch his breath.
“This is madness,” the guard says, panting heavily, “I don’t understand how everyone is suddenly able to cast Fireball at will. Maybe this sounds crazy, but I think it has something to do with that new restaurant: Minced Words.”
If the party decides to investigate, the city guard will point them into the direction of the new restaurant.
While walking toward Minced Words, the party observes a couple other townsfolk, totally average in appearance, launching fireballs up into the air, dangerously raining down sparks on thatched rooves. Despite the obvious dangers, the townsfolk seem unfazed, drunk with their newfound power and the novelty of their fireball-casting abilities. Others from the neighborhood have gathered to watch the spectacle, some gasping in fear and others cheering in delight.
When the party finally reaches the front door of the restaurant, they find a mob of townsfolk eager to get in, demanding to try the featured dish: a spicy curry that has, apparently, given the power of Fireball to their friends and family.
Some young people dressed as wait staff are preventing anyone from coming inside.
“For the last time, it was all a mistake!” one shouts over the din of the crowd. “We are closed. Please go home and, if you could, make sure you keep a bucket of water handy.”
If the party pushes their way past the mob and talks to the wait staff, offering to help, a persuasion check (DC 12) will give them admittance into the restaurant. You can drop the DC if players provide a particularly convincing argument of who they are/their past accomplishments.
The interior of Minced Words is charming: it looks like a quaint café/bistro, illuminated by floating arcane lights. The walls are lined with shelves of various books that the customers are encouraged to peruse while they have a bite to eat.
In the back of the room is an open-concept kitchen where the party can observe a young chef frantically mixing something in a bowl.
“Who let you all in!?” he shouts angrily, “can’t you see that I have my hands full with something at the moment!?”
The chef is clearly at his wit’s end. If the players approach him with an earnest desire to help, he will stop what he’s doing and tell them his situation.
The Main Course…of Action
The young man introduces himself as Charmy, “The Owlbear” (nicknamed for his keen senses and strength in the kitchen). He’s a human chef who dabbled in magic at university before realizing that his true calling was being a restaurant owner.
“The vision for Minced Words was simple,” Charmy says, escorting the party back into his kitchen. On the counter’s cutting board, the party sees a bizarre combination of diced produce and chopped up leatherbound books.
“I wanted to nourish people’s bodies and minds. Therefore, I devised a magical way to combine books and food together to create dishes that teach people things. For example, last week, during my soft open, I served a salad with shredded herbology pages, and everyone left knowing how to better care for their gardens. My Beef Wellington gave them insights into their wellness, and my Sweetheart Soup let them experience the ups and downs of a romance novel with each slurp. Everything was going so well…until I messed up.”
He touches a burn mark on his arm tenderly. “I wanted to grind up a tome on fire safety and cook into a spicy new curry. However, I was so distracted with the chaos of running a kitchen that I accidentally chopped up a Scroll of Fireball and served it in the curry instead.”
“I’m sure the spell’s potency is limited and will…pass,” he continues, resting a hand against his stomach, “but I fear the entire town might be burned to the ground before that happens. If you could help me, I think I have whipped up a solution.”
If the players agree to help, Charmy gives them servings of Forget-Me Flan.
“This delicious dessert is infused with a scroll of Modify Memory. If you can force-feed this slimy, sweet treat to my customers, they will forget ever learning the Fireball spell. Not to mention a few laxative properties should help to “clear out” my mistake sooner rather than later.”
Charmy hands them the receipt that shows 5 townsfolk had purchased and eaten the curry (DM note: consider tailoring the number so there’s 1 affected townsperson for each player; that way, the upcoming struggle can be a fun one-on-one challenge).
Get Your Just Desserts
When entering the town square, it doesn’t take long to find the people who are affected. They are still blissfully parading around, showing off their new magic by launching fireballs into the air.
The players need to force-feed the flan to these people. Of course, it is up to them to decide how they want to do it. Note that these townsfolk do not want to just “give up” their magic powers, but they are also not deliberately wanting to hurt anyone either. They might try hurling fireballs at the ground to create impromptu “walls of fire”, keeping advancing players at bay, but they won’t deliberately try to incinerate them. Of course, if you want full-on combat, then their errant fireballs could always accidentally burn down the wrong person’s cart (maybe a shady rogue who is fencing stolen goods), who then decides to trigger combat and unleash an all-out city brawl that needs to be suppressed.
Here are some possibilities of getting the townsfolk to eat the Forget-Me-Flan:
- Grapple and force-feed: This will require some checks. If the player creeps up on their target and succeeds on a DC 12 stealth roll, then they can try to grapple them with advantage. However, if they fail stealthing, then the grappling will happen at disadvantage, since the townsperson will now be on the defensive and flailing around with their flaming hands. Of course, flan is slippery, so it should easily go down once you pry open their mouth.
- Launch flan from a distance: You can certainly slingshot flan into mouths, but this would happen at disadvantage since your target is (probably) moving, and flan (probably) does not keep its shape well as it’s zipping through the air. If the townsfolk are looking up in awe at the bursting fireballs above them, their mouths might be hanging open and making for better targets
- Deceive them: If a player approaches a townsperson, pretending to be in awe, they could lie about the flan, claiming that it’s called “Flaming Flan” or something and will give them even more fireball magic (or some other super-cool magic). This strategy requires a DC 15 deception check; these people lead simple lives, but they aren’t simple.
Once each of the fireball-slinging townsfolk are taken care of, the party can return to Minced Words.
Charmy is most pleased that you have saved the reputation of his business and protected the town from unnecessary harm. He swears that he has already sealed away his spell scrolls from his university days so they won’t accidentally find their way into his cooking ever again.
As a reward, you as the DM can choose one of the following objects that would be best considering the amount of time/effort spent on this encounter (and knowing what lies ahead for the party in their main campaign).
- The Magic Melting Pot: This small cooking pot can be used to share the effects of magic scrolls. It can only be used during a short rest, over an open fire, and takes the entire 1-hour period to complete: prepping, cooking, and consuming. The party can take 1 magic scroll and throw it into the pot. This action destroys the scroll. However, every player who drinks from the stew gains the ability to use the effect of that scroll (once) in the next 24 hours. After 24 hours, the spell’s powers are totally digested, and the player can no longer cast it.
- Michelle Lin’s Throwing Stars: Charmy will explain that these throwing star weapons, made of magic cast iron, were gifted to him by the famous chef Michelle Lin while in school. They operate the same as darts but look like shuriken (throwing ninja stars). On the first successful strike, the target feels satiated. On a second successful strike, the target feels pleasantly stuffed and falls backwards prone, as though needing to rest after a big, filling meal.