A kidnapping at the Gala – a Heist one-shot
Hello! Here I wanted to present you my first adventure, based on an article I wrote some weeks ago on my other blog before being given a weekly column here in Tribality. I’ve always loved heist moments in gaming, films and literature, and wanted to show how I would bring something like that to D&D. That’s why I made what I like to call a skeleton of an adventure, as I wanted to give freedom to the DMs running it by letting them easily adjust what’s going to happen for their players group, depending on their tastes and character levels.
Every single enemy can be replaced by a tougher one (maybe orcs, ogres or trained knights), every single DC can be altered, as well as the amount of gold the players find, depending on the party level, and every name or mansion room can be changed or added if you want to. I’m just going to offer you the essential things for the adventure to make sense and be enjoyable (I hope). Take into account this adventure was thought out for 1st or 2nd tier characters, as higher level ones would be able to finish this in a snap of fingers.
As an extra side note, I would also like to recommend reading this other post before running this one-shot adventure, which helped me when building this out: THIS ONE (Shawn’s How to Run a Heist)
And with that, let this adventure begin:
Tomorrow night, at 21:30 Emilia Rosetti, daughter of one of the biggest underground crime lords will be attending Jinn’hel’s gala, in where only the biggest names can get in. Your job? Kidnap her, while surviving to tell the tale. Do you have what it takes?
Emilia Rosetti is the daughter of the Dragonfang clan’s leader. You will never see her wearing a dress below the price of 700gp, as she has a taste for what the common folk could never even dream to acquire. She has been seen dating both guys and gals, as long as they are to follow her orders. That might be why no person has lasted more than half a season with her on a relationship. Her favorite drinks involve many types of exotic beverages, even though she doesn’t know any by their names. As long as you bring her a nice looking drink you will surely be able to get to exchange some words with her.
Tomorrow she will be wearing an ostentatious red silk dress with a red hat, as she is telling all her friends, including our contact. You will surely distinguish her on the spot.
Korgraz is our contact, and also one of Emilias’ best friends. Male drow fellow. He’s been an infiltrated member of the Dragonfang clan for over three months, gaining an excellent reputation between his coworkers on his time there. He is supposed to give us the exact location of Emilia, as well as the place where the Great Dragon Orb is located within the facility.
Have one or more of your players know Korgraz beforehand and let them invent some kind of code message or handshake to let each other know they are on the same side to exchange information. Korgraz can also be given some tasks to fulfill while the party go do the mission. Won’t do anything that would ruin his life or reveal who he really is to the Dragonfang or the rest of the invitees.
Great Dragon Orb
The stars aligned and we have ourselves the crystal Great Dragon Orb our family has been looking for centuries almost at our grasp, residing in the same place where we were going to carry out our mission. This 14 inches’ diameter sphere once belonged to our great great grandfather, tasked to custody it before having it stolen and sold by a group of adventurers.
The orb weighs 4 pounds and could get broken upon impact with a hard surface as it is made of crystal.
Even though this is not the true motive behind our heist, you will be highly rewarded with piles of gems and gold pieces if you are to bring this back. You should take into consideration it glows in the dark.
This adventure can be as difficult or as long as you want depending on how big and complex you design the place to be. I will detail some things I would do, but feel free to alter them as you wish.
Have both objectives be on two totally opposed sectors, making the players have to decide if they want to split the party, or focus on the kidnapping, losing the chance to come out with hoards of treasure.
Taking into account your players may charm Emilia or hide the orb while getting out you should have both of them located on places that are deep inside the mansion. That way they will have to get through more rooms and avoid more guards in order to get out, or at least have to deal with more complications until they get out safe.
This party is important. Jinn’hel is going to announce he just proposed to his dear life companion Malindra Silvermane, and held this party to celebrate. It also works as an excuse for the biggest clan leaders to spend some time together and plan out future deals.
Because of this, security is of utmost importance during the gala. Take a look at the different places within the facility and think where would wizards be located if they wanted to stop someone from escaping (probably near the balconies). Guards with dogs or wolves should be standing on the outside perimeter as pets aren’t normally allowed in this kind of parties. These canines could be trained to detect hidden weapons between the guests before they enter the mansion.
Have places like vaults or entrances to private rooms heavily guarded by two or three guards, or if you think the host is clever enough, with some Glyphs of Warding (or other similar spells).
The gala is supposed to last for about 5 hours, so plan out beforehand some repositioning from the guards at a specific time, which can also be told during the preparation to the players. While repositioning, some guards might go get something to drink or go to the bathroom. One less guard is all your players may need for a silent assassination.
As the central areas in the mansion will be filled with people, give the guards disadvantage on their perception rolls when trying to detect the players in the crowd. Same goes for the players trying to find guards. This should not be done if it’s a dog or wolf searching for them.
The great room
This place is going to start filling with people the more time passes. Increase the DC on the Wisdom (Perception) rolls while in this crowded room as time passes, starting with DC14.
A huge candelabra covers most of the ceiling, as golden paintings and tapestries cover the walls. Whoever this Jinn’hel is does love luxurious surroundings. People dance with elegant dresses and suits to the rhythm of the violin bards, while what appear to be some servants go bringing food or drinks to everyone who asks for one.
In the room right next to the great room is the bar from where servants are coming with the drinks. Numerous tables fill in the room, as smoke covers most of the ceiling from the cigars being lit. Standing next to the bar talking to a dwarf lady is a dark elf, who really stands out from the rest.
It is known guests normally come here to play some cards or dice while enjoying a drink. Have one of them grab a player by the shoulder and invite him/her to play one of these games. Players here deal with high amounts of money when they bet, but you can have the PCs bet information or favors instead of gold pieces with a high enough Charisma (Persuasion) check.
Korgraz is in this place asking for a martini while having a conversation about the trading routes and guilds to the dwarf, who if asked will present herself as Torvia Gembottom, leader of the merchants’guild. If any word of the mission is told aloud, some eyes may start taking notice of the players, and one of the invitees may go get a guard if they talk long enough. Korgraz will only share information if he knows nobody else can hear them.
This area is restricted and can only be accessed by lockpicking the door with a DC16 Dexterity (Thieves tools) check, by breaking it down (Wooden door AC 13, 7hp) or with its key. The key to the room is on Jinn’hel’s possession.
A fine looking, elegant bedroom can be seen at first glance. A queen sized bed with silk dropping by its side and a tiger skin rug covering most of the floor. At the side of the bed there’s also a bedside table with an open book over it, an orange and purple rug covering the floor just next to it. Looking at the walls there’s two animal heads, most probably embalmed. A deer and a zebra. Finally, an oak wood bookcase stands beside the window, with two little golden idols and some other books.
The orange and purple rug is a Rug of Smothering, who attacks any other creature who isn’t its master that step over it. If combat ensues, nearby guards may hear them. Secretly roll by the end of each round for nearby guard’s perception, reducing the DC depending on how far away they are, and increasing it taking into account how much noise the players are making with their attacks. For example, a firebolt does much more noise than a dagger.
The book over the bedside table is a simple novel with no interesting things on it. However, one of the many books on the bookcase, whose green spine says “The coded message”, despite also looking like an ordinary history book, has some words underlined in some of its pages. This can be found with a DC13 Intelligence (Investigation) check. The words appearing on it, if read in order say “right left right left right right”.
A private section where private conversations are held, and the most important people in the party and city are in is guarded by guards who are controlling which people can get in. This guards are heavily armed to look more intimidating and are harder to persuade (unless they are replaced by other ones during the repositioning time).
Once inside, you find yourself with a big space with magical lights illuminating the room mostly with red lights while special drinks are being served of the highest of qualities by a great number of servants. Most of the people are accompanied by what seem to be bodyguards or knights. A scenario fills in a big size of one side of the room, having an elegant bright white haired woman singing in a yellow dress while another person is playing a piano next to her.
If inspected, the guy at the piano seems to be the high elf Jinn’hel, accompanied by his fiancée Malindra Silvermane. Jinn’hel is dressed in a black suit with a white flower showing off from his pocket. He has black straight long hair that surpasses his shoulders and as the host of the party, wants everyone to have a good time. However, he is very cautious and won’t talk more than needed.
Great Dragon Orb’s Vault
A metal door guards the room located at the end of a pathway. A single guard stands in front of it. Next to the door is a lever which seems to be able to be moved up, down, left and right.
This door can be opened by moving the lever in the pattern shown in the book from Jinn’hel’s bedroom. If not used properly, it won’t do anything.
Inside the dark room (there’s no lights in it) is a silver wire cord surrounding the whole place that can be seen with a DC16 Wisdom (Perception) roll. In a red pillow on top of a pedestal is a 14 inches’ diameter, green crystal sphere that glows in the center of this dark vault.
The chord in the room has been added for the Alarm spell to take effect. This spell has been casted so that if any object or creature other than Jinn’hel touches the floor in the room, a bell sounding alarm will resonate that can be heard in a 60ft vicinity. Moreover, a poison gas is released from a duct on the ceiling*. Guards have been told to alert all other near guards if they are to hear that noise and apprehend the one who caused it.
The vault’s interior can be accessed either from the door, or by a duct on its ceiling from where the poison gas is released. This duct can only be accessed from a trap door located in the storage room.
* The damage this poison gas does can be altered depending on how high leveled your players are. The suggested damage can be seen on page 116 of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
The storage room
This place is locked by a wooden door that can be opened with a DC14 Dexterity (Thieves’ tools) check, by breaking it down (AC12, 6hp) or by using a key in one of the guards’ possession.
This place is used for storing the weapons the guards are using, chests with gems and one of them with gold pieces. With a DC14 Intelligence (Investigation) check, the players can see a trap door underneath the gold chest. This leads through a narrow passageway that can only be traversed by crouching, leading to the place specified in “Great Dragon Orb’s Vault”. If the gas hasn’t been released by triggering the alarm, it will be placed inside an iron locked cube on the ceiling of the passageway. It seems this place was used to refill the trap after its use.
- As I only detailed some specific things from the mansion, make sure to add more to make it look more realistic, or to suit your players’ tastes.
- Emilia Rossetti could probably be located in the private room talking to some important person about something this person owes to her clan and family. This makes the players have to make a plan on the spot to get her away from sight. However, this is your and your players’ adventures so if you want her to be stealing the dragon orb when you find her, or in a totally different spot from the mansion, you can totally do it!
- Be sure to create complication tables and roll from time to time while the heist is going on
- Being the drow he is, Korgraz Favaris could betray the party at some moment, revealing their positions to the guards or trying to get the orb or Emilia away from them during the heist. You could even invent some romance between Emilia and him if you liked.
I will probably make this adventure in a better format, with some images and a suggested map, as well as some complication tables in the future, but for the time being, I hope you like this first try for me of a short adventure. Be sure to comment any suggestions about things you would add to this adventure, or what you liked/disliked about it. I’m always open for constructive criticism
The featured image used for this post was created by The Spoils Art Team.
You can find more of his art HERE