While sitting in a tavern and enjoying an otherwise quiet evening, the party is startled by the front door being forcefully swung open. Standing there in the doorframe, his pale face illuminated by the lanternlight, is a disheveled farmer. He stumbles into the tavern and, after a few weary steps, collapses onto the ground. Other townsfolk immediately rush over and help the man to a nearby chair. The tavernkeeper hands the man a large mug of ale and encourages him to gulp it down in an effort to relax.
“I swear to everyone in here,” the farmer says breathlessly, choking down some of his drink, “I saw it with my own two eyes!”
“What did you see, Ross?” a neighbor asks.
The farmer, a down-to-earth gentleman in his 40’s named Ross Wells, pauses for a moment before finding the words. “It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It had…” he stares off, eyes widening, as though envisioning the creature for a second time. “A pronounced forehead…large glowing red eyes…and green skin.”
“Green like a goblin?” a bar patron chimes in.
“Or an orc?” asks another.
Ross vigorously shakes his head no. “It was something like I’ve never seen before. Also, it came crawling out of a…a…ship. Yes, some sort of ship that came crashing down from the night sky. I think…” Ross carefully pauses to catch his breath, understanding the gravity of what he’s about to say. “I think…it was an alien.”
Cue collective gasp from the crowd.
“An alien!?” a woman shrieks.
“That means our village is in danger.” A young man says.
“That means our world is in danger.” An older woman corrects him.
“We have to do something about this!” A burly gentleman shouts, throwing back his mead before slamming the empty mug down onto the table. He stands, his chest puffed out authoritatively. “We have to find this creature and destroy it before it destroys us. Who’s with me!?”
Various cheers erupt from the crowd. Villagers begin to run home to grab pitchforks and torches before meeting up to sweep the neighboring forest. Ross Wells also says that he will finish his ale, collect himself, and lead the rest of the townsfolk to where he encountered the monster.
At this point, the party can choose to join the angry mob and investigate the neighboring forest. When they reach the forest’s edge, many men and women from the village have already gathered there, holding lanterns and an assortment of impromptu weapons. Ross Wells is also there, no longer looking pale but very rosy-cheeked and blissfully drunk. The burly man is also there. He walks beside Ross as they lead the mob, and the party, into the dark, dense forest.
The Hunt Is On
Eventually, the group arrives at the clearing where the ship crash-landed. The ship itself is more or less intact, but its wooden frame is scorched in places, and pieces of its metal paneling have started to fall off. The field around the impact site is also filled with flowers which cause a few townsfolk to sneeze or scratch themselves itchily.
Searching the ship will reveal nothing. Whatever mechanism was used to make this vessel fly is no longer in/on the craft. Similarly, there is no alien technology onboard or anything that looks otherworldly.
With few clues, the townspeople decide to fan out and search the surrounding wooded area in small groups. Your party will be one of these groups and head off on their own.
Successful investigation checks allow the party to detect small traces of residual magic and follow broken branches through the dense forest, as though they were tracking an animal.
Suddenly, they see a humanoid creature in the distance, the moonlight shining off its green skin. However, it is not alone. It is being surrounded and, apparently, stalked by a pack of wolves. The “alien” is brandishing what looks like a small shortsword to keep the pack at bay, but he is severely outnumbered and outmatched.
The party can choose to come to his aide and help fend off the attacking wolves. Depending on the level of your party, you may choose to have the enemies be wolves (for lower levels) or dire wolves (for higher levels). The skills and attacks essentially stay the same, but the skill modifiers and hit points are obviously different.
Once the wolves have been defeated or scared off via other means, the party can approach the “alien.” A closer look reveals that this “alien” is no alien at all. Rather, it is an elderly halfling.
He introduces himself as Neville Armstrong (if the party completed one of our earlier encounters called Lift: Shoot for the Moon then they will already be acquainted with Neville and his misadventures).
Neville explains that he was trying (yet again) to fly to the moon. This time, instead of using bottled Air Elementals to propel himself, he attempted to use a combination of spells like “Fly” and “Reverse Gravity.” Unfortunately, the combination proved disastrous and made the vessel impossible to control, leading to his crash.
Note: If the party remembers Neville spending his life-savings on his earlier adventure and asks how he was able to acquire these new spell scrolls/materials, he can simply explain that he came into more money by selling the patent for his earlier craft alongside other various inventions of his.
“The crash itself wasn’t so bad,” he claims, although he rubs a large goose egg on his forehead, a swollen bump that makes his head look bigger than what’s expected. “It’s where I landed that was troublesome.” Neville rubs his eyes as they continue to water. “See, I’m very allergic to [name of flower], and that field was full of them. I stumbled out of my rocket and, immediately, my skin broke out into hives and turned green. My eyes got itchy and red. Someone did come rushing out from the forest who I thought would help me, but my tongue was so swollen at the time from the allergic reaction that I couldn’t communicate. Anyway, that guy just screamed and ran away.”
At this moment, your party can try to heal him, but it appears as though his allergies will need to just sort of settle down on their own.
Suddenly, the party sees torchlight in the distance. The approaching group of villagers shouts, “I hear talking that way! Quickly, let’s go!”
This next encounter with the angry mob can be played a variety of ways.
- The party can avoid the battle entirely by using the E.T. method and disguising Neville in some way, trying to pass him off as someone (or something) else.
- The party can try to convince the mob that Neville is, in fact, a halfling and that it was all a misunderstanding. However, this persuasion skill check should have a high DC. These villagers are hopped up on a confusing cocktail of adrenaline and booze, meaning they’re more likely to think that your party has been brainwashed by the alien or, even worse, has been in cahoots with the alien the whole time.
- They can engage the mob in battle.
- They can play up the alien angle even more, making Neville appear truly powerful and dangerous, causing the mob to drop their pitchforks and run away in fright.
Once the party has helped guide Neville out of the woods, his allergies will improve considerably, and his skin will return to its normal tone.
As a reward, Neville will take off the battered piece of metal that he wore as a flight helmet and hand it to the party. He will say that he’s not quite sure, but that he thinks the awkward mixture of magic spells and the crash have imbued the item with some unexpected magical properties.
When identified, the party will learn that this item is called The Tin Hat.
When the hat is worn, it has a variety of positive and negative effects:
- Provides resistance to psychic damage.
- Provides resistance to any mind control spells like “Charm Person”, “Dominate Person”, or “Suggestion.”
- Forces disadvantage on all charisma-based ability checks: persuasion, intimidation, etc.
- For flavor: If the hat is worn continuously for longer than 24 hours, the character will begin to develop paranoia and think that everything happening around them, no matter how normal or innocuous, is somehow related to a conspiracy. They will become suspicious of everyone, even other party members.