“You can’t keep doing this to us Wordle!” The party overhears a man yell as they wander through [location]. “This is the fourth time this month, you just get so darn caught up in your word puzzles!”
If the party checks out the commotion, they see a male dwarf shouting at an elderly Tortle decked out in armor. “This next job better have no issues. No one else will sign up for it, so you’ll have to do.” The dwarf storms off and the Tortle hangs his head. He looks up to see the party watching and hobbles over. He has a noticeable limp in his right leg and the clanging of his armor makes him sounds like a strange construct.
“I’m sorry, but might you be able to help me? I don’t know if you overheard, but things have been a bit tough for me lately. I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee and haven’t been right since.”
He explains that a group of thieves have been preying on him and his posts over the last few weeks, tricking him by distracting him with word puzzles. “I just LOVE word puzzles. Four-letter words, five-letter words, multiple words stacked on top of each other, all of them. The thieves found out and keep bringing me stumpers. While I try to figure them out, the thieves steal whatever I’m protecting. It’s like my brain just shuts off.”
The next job will be standing guard at a dungeon that holds the expensive crowns and belongings of a group of six nobles and lords passing through. The nobles will be out skinny-dipping in the town’s cleansing ponds [on X day] and Wordle will be protecting the stash. “It should be pretty easy, there’s lots of traps and warnings. If you can help I’ll give you my pay for the day, I just need to keep this job.”
A Shell Of My Former Self
If the party agrees to help, Wordle will show them a map of the dungeon, which is 4 floors in total. “The nobles keep their things in lockers on the first Level, I’ll be at the top of the steps.”
“There IS an entrance on the 4th level, but you’d have to be crazy to go down there. We keep a Giant Ape down there for protection though. His name’s Drango if you want to say hey.”
Wordle goes more in-depth about the thieves and the dungeon. Things to relay to the party:
- There are five of them, of mixed talents and abilities
- Two are the muscle, moving the goods
- Two are more nimble, moving stealthily around
- The puzzlemaster is a female gnome named Rhubarbara
- Amongst the lockers, there’s about 1500gp, fancy garments, a gold crown, a few potions, a Hat of Vermin, and one diamond
- Wordle also notes that the 2nd and 3rd levels are pretty much vacant but have several traps throughout, with only Drango’s handlers knowing how to navigate them appropriately.
“My post is at the top of the stairs, so I’ll be there. I trust you all to sort out the rest. This will all take place at [convenient DM time], if you have no other questions I’ll meet you there.”
DMs Note: At this point, let the party plan a bit about how they’d like to proceed. Obviously they could just go in and steal the loot themselves, but then Wordle would lose his job and be exiled to [some scary place]. They could also stop the thieves in which case they will get Wordle’s pay for the day, which is 2gp. There are a lot of options here, so we won’t get very prescriptive. We’ll give one possible outcome below, but seriously it’s hard to think of what the players will want to do in this situation. Oh well, can’t predict em all!
A Tortle’s Chortle
Depending on what the party decides to do the day of, the following will transpire. The scenario is as if the party is not there, so any of the actions can be interrupted.
In the midday sun, six nude nobles and lords sprint out of the dungeon, brushing by Wordle who guards the top of the steps as promised. He looks extremely nervous.
A female gnome approaches him and displays a word puzzle for Wordle. His nervousness fades as his face turns into a gigantic smile, excitedly, though slowly, talking through the potential options and giggling as he does so. The gnome dances wildly, repeating the first line of the puzzle over and over.
As he leans further into the paper, the muscle and the others jump down to the primary door, sneaking right behind Wordle who is lost in thought. One appears to be carrying a gigantic banana with them.
The thieves take about a minute at each door to get it unlocked, then they make quick work of the inside of each locker. They move to the next until they have looted all six rooms.
If left to dig through the lockers, they will move down to the lower levels, leaping over the traps. From this, the party can surmise that these are Drango’s handlers. Once in the 4th level, the handlers give Drango the banana, give him some scritchies and then make their way out of the underground entrance.
If stopped at any point in the first level, the thieves take on the following stablocks:
Based on the choices made, the party will have to deal with the consequences or rewards of their actions. They can find some good loot on the bodies of the thieves if they kill and loot them, but past that the above outlines the scenario.
What do you think your party will do in this situation? Let us know below!