While strolling through the market, your party smells an alluring floral aroma. If they choose to follow their noses, they arrive at the small storefront for Ye Ol’ Factory: Fine Fragrances and Foul Funks.
Despite the delicious cloud of vapors hanging around the shop, the man standing at the counter looks depressed and is pointlessly spinning a small empty perfume bottle on the countertop, sighing melancholically.
When the party approaches, he apologizes for not being more excited for potential customers. The sad truth is that his perfume shop is going under due to a very poor business decision.
“I mean, just look at this stuff. I can’t even give it away.” He says as he reaches behind the counter and drops handfuls of small blue bottles in front of the party. The little bottles are labeled “Smell of Defeat.” Uncapping one and getting a whiff reveals a musty and stagnant odor.
“I’m very much aware of the irony,” he comments, now cradling his face in his palms despairingly. “Why on earth did I think people would want to smell like failures? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Now, my business is totally ruined.”
Suddenly, he pauses. “Wait a second.” He lifts his face from his hands, his eyes twinkling with renewed vigor. “That’s it!”
Ignoring the party for a moment, the perfumer withdraws behind the counter once again, but this time he retrieves a piece of parchment and a pen. He begins jotting down words and little bulleted lists, muttering to himself all the while and nodding approvingly.
Finally, he drops his pen, looks down at the paper, and smiles.
He now returns his attention to the party. “I know what just might save my business…the smell of victory!” He glances around and then gestures to those walking through the marketplace. “Do you know what all of these people have in common? They’re ordinary. They lead ordinary, repetitive, and unexciting lives here in town. But, if I can bottle the feeling of victory on the battlefield, these people can get a taste for that sort of glory. I will manufacture the heroism that they themselves will never pursue or experience directly!”
At this point, Oliver eyes the party. “You all, however, are clearly not ordinary. Perhaps you could help me with this project? Please. This is the last chance for Ye Ol’ Factory to stay afloat.”
If your party agrees to assist the perfumer, he will clap his hands delightedly, smooth out the parchment against the counter, and gesture you all to look closer.
From Battle to Bottle
The man introduces himself as Oliver N. Hale if he has not done so already, although he pays little mind if the party attempts to introduce themselves in return.
“I need things from the heat of battle: elements that I can distill down to make potent and powerful perfumes. I would try to gather these items myself, but I certainly wouldn’t last long in a tussle. You all, however,” he stares appraisingly at the party with dollar (GP) signs in his eyes, “certainly would. This task would be nothing for you. Just carry on with your skirmishes and adventures, as you normally would, but do this for me along the way…”
He hands the party 4 glass vials and asks for the party to collect the following ingredients (all of which are written on the parchment like a grocery list, which he also passes to the players):
- Blood-From slaying a monster, beast, or demon (Oliver will insist that human blood is a no go and has zero place in a classy establishment like his). This will be the easiest ingredient to attain and can be extracted from a fallen enemy.
- Sweat-From giving the opponent a true workout. To properly attain this, the party must force their opponents to run back/forth across the battlefield. If a creature covers 200+feet of movement, it can achieve the status of “sweating profusely”, allowing for its sweat to be “harvested” so long as its alive.
- Tears-From bringing an opponent to tears. This can be done through intimidation and threats (especially if the opponent is grappled, weakened, and the only enemy remaining) or through offensive insults and mockery for those skilled in such things.
- Saliva-From the roaring battle cries of the victors as they chant “huzzah!” This is gathered from the party themselves following a successful fight.
What makes this sidequest nice is that it can happen concurrently with whatever else your party is doing at the time. They can collect all of these ingredients from a single battle or space the collection process out over various encounters (although, there should still be some time limit…maybe 7-14 days until Oliver’s business goes totally bankrupt and shutters its windows).
Collecting any of these items, because it needs to be done delicately and carefully, requires a full action. For collecting sweat and tears, since the opponent is alive and likely not eager to have you bring a bottle to their face, consider a sleight-of-hand check with an easy DC of 10 or 12.
Oliver is thrilled when you bring him the ingredients. He sets to work right away, mixing, burning, bubbling, decanting, and whatever else. In addition to your gathered ingredients, the expert perfumer uses an assortment of other twigs, herbs, and flowers, attempting to recreate the earthy smell of the battlefield along with giving the concoction a sweeter aroma.
Once he has completed the serum (which you can decide happens instantly or, more realistically, by the next day), Oliver N. Hale will give the party the very first bottle of The Sweet Smell of Victory.
This special commemorative bottle will contain 3 uses. Once applied in a generous cloud around the player, the perfume has the following effects for 1 hour:
- Advantage on all charisma-based checks (e.g. intimidation) and saving throws
- +1 bonus to all attack rolls and damage rolls
- If an opponent is battling within 5 feet of the affected player for more than 3 turns, the smell of victory is so overwhelming that the opponent becomes frightened.
- Disadvantage on all stealth checks (you are heavily scented, after all)
The party can continue to frequent Oliver’s shop following the successful completion of this task, earning a discount on all subsequent purchases, including more bottles of The Sweet Smell of Victory (although these will come in smaller bottles and be single-use items).