While out traversing, the party stumbles across a dark pit (10-foot radius, 60-foot depth). Looking down into the pit, players see only shadows and hear only silence.
Thankfully, there’s a wooden sign posted, the lettering of which is conveniently written in Common in a tidy and elegant script:
Bree’s Underbright Bakery
All are welcome! <3
Just drop right in 🙂
If the players decide to take a literal leap of faith, they will plummet 60 feet into shadow but land, comfortably, on a pink gelatinous cube and bounce to their feet. A perception check reveals pretty easily that this gelatinous cube is not a threat. Additionally, it is not made out of acidic ooze like other gelatinous cubes: a whiff or even a daring taste will indicate that this cube is made entirely of strawberry jelly.
At this point, a young drow girl, dressed in a baking apron, comes over to the party.
“Welcome to Bree’s bakery, home of the finest confections and oven-baked bread in the Underdark,” she says, smiling warmly. “I see that you’ve already met Angelica.” (really stress the Ann-JELLY-ca).
Other than her composition, Angelica is like any other gelatinous cube in that she shows zero sign of understanding language and cannot speak.
The girl walks over and gently scrapes some of the jelly into a small jar that she then returns to the pocket of her apron.
“Okay then. If you would follow me please,” the girl says, gesturing for the party to join her.
As the party walks down the corridor, they see charming lanterns lighting their path. Additionally, after a few minutes, the damp, musty smell of the earth is replaced with the warm aroma of freshly baked bread and sweet pastries.
The tunnel soon opens up into a sizable cavern. Looking around, the players see a number of other creatures: not only drow and other Underdark dwellers, but also a halfling, a tabaxi, and others that must have also “dropped in” from the upperworld.
Everyone is engaged in light, friendly chatter, sitting around little round café tables. To one side is the kitchen area along with a crystalline display case, showcasing an assortment of bread rolls and sweet desserts.
As the party takes their seats, the young woman begins her friendly, but clearly well-rehearsed, introduction to the restaurant and takes their orders:
“Welcome to Bree’s Underbright Bakery! A rosy retreat from the dark and damp. Can I start you off with some Underdark-roast coffee? We also have just about anything you could want in terms of baked goods, including a Faux-Coccia for those in your party who may be gluten-intolerant.”
Suddenly, the sweet serenity of the café is rudely interrupted by a beholder who comes barreling in through a door on the opposite side of the cavern.
“Enough is enough!” it howls.
Up in Smoke?
“What now?” asks an unamused drow woman from the kitchen. She’s a bit older than the waitress and wears full cooking apparel. She dusts off her hands, sending up a small cloud of flour.
“Bree Oash,” the beholder growls as it floats closer to her. The chatter of the café falls completely silent; some patrons even scarf down their last bites before stealthily slinking away. “I represent all my fellow beholders, and we demand that you shutter this establishment. It has no place in the Underdark.”
“No place!?” Bree asks, incredulously, “I think my clients here would beg to differ.” She takes a moment to gesture at whomever is still seated in their chairs. “The Underdark was such a sad place before this bakery. Aren’t these tunnels smelling wonderful now with all the freshly baked bread?”
“We don’t have noses!” The beholder roars. “However, we do have eyes, and there rests our biggest complaint. All this wood-burning and baking is filling the Underdark with smoke! This non-stop watering and itching of my eyes is driving me and the other beholders crazy. You have 24 hours to close this place up, or we are coming here to close it for you.”
With that, the beholder turns to float away, awkwardly bumping into a wall before it can accurately spot the door through its tearful eye.
Bree looks stunned and crestfallen as the hush of the café continues. The waitress walks over to pat her on the back. “It’s okay, sis,” she consoles, “we will think of something.”
No Half-Baked Ideas
The party can approach Bree and offer their assistance.
“I just wanted to create a warm and happy place for people,” the drow woman says, her eyes scanning the delightfully frosted goodies on display beneath the crystal. “Maybe even bring the upper and lower worlds together through their collective love of sweet rolls, you know? Well, it looks like that dream is toast now…”
At this point, the party can help her find a solution to the problem. There are a variety of options.
- Option 1: Help her build a better ventilation system. (Level 1-3) This would involve exploring a long-abandoned tunnel/shaft that leads up to the surface. It’s been partially caved in/is not longer in use. If the party can clear out the rubble and eliminate any evil creatures that might be nesting there (such as giant cave spiders), then the smoke can be pushed up through it like an exhaust port.
- Option 2: Find a better cooking system. (Level 4-6) Rather than burning wood, Bree will suggest that an imprisoned fire elemental could be harnessed for its heat and used as a smokeless alternative. A wizard customer will pipe up and say “Oh! I’ve got an elemental gem you can have. I love these lemon-blueberry muffins so much, that I would hate to see this place go. Let me do my part.” The party can then go searching for a fire elemental, probably accessible through one of the adjoining tunnels, and capture it Pokémon-style.
- Option 3: You do nothing and fight the beholders in 24 hours. (Level 10+) If you choose this plan, know that this will not be a cake walk; beholders’ have a very high challenge rating of 13. To make the battle a bit more manageable though, the beholders would still be struggling with bleary eyes, making their attacks rolls, especially when trying to use one of their many eyebeams, happen at disadvantage.
If you help Bree Oash and save her bakery, she will whip up something extra special for the party as a reward. The item that she will hand the party (smelling absolutely heavenly, by the way) is called the Thumpernickel.
This light hammer is made from a hardened loaf of bread and has the following attributes:
- Deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage and can be thrown (same characteristics as standard Light Hammer).
- Any creature that comes within 5’ of the holder of the Thumpernickel is momentarily distracted by the smell of tasty bread, breaking their concentration and causing them disadvantage on any saving throws until their next turn
- At any point, the party can choose to eat the Thumpernickel bread. This destroys the item, but allows everyone who partakes to recover 1d6 HP.
- If the Thumpernickel is ever dropped into water, it falls apart and is destroyed.
Some other bread-based rewards could be…
- Magic Scones: Can be thrown like Magic Stones.
- Tuffins: Muffins that, when consumed, add +1 to strength for 1 hour.
- Baguette of Holding: A carved out bread bowl with a pocket dimension baked inside.