Remember: Don’t just jump from encounter to encounter! Your games will be significantly better if you allow everyone to act and speak in-character, wander and explore a bit, ask questions and try creative things. Keep things moving of course, but don’t shoe-horn the players to “follow the script” if doing so is jarring or uninteresting. If the group gets completely off track, that’s fine! Just so long as you keep it flowing and players get to try out their neat ideas, fun will be had.
The local barkeep has hired you to wipe out an infestation of giant rats in his basement. Cats haven't worked; the rats are bigger than cats!
After their eyes adjust to the light, rat swarms attack the party. Subtract 2 from the number of heroes to determine how many rat swarms there are (there will be at least 1 swarm, of course). About halfway through combat or a little more, their mother arrives – a Dire Rat!
Once the rats are dead the barkeep pays 10 gp to each hero. Impressed with the group, he gives directions to the house of a friend who is looking to hire an armed escort for a 3-day trip.
The barkeep’s friend turns out to be a mystic who researches the occult for a living. He informs the group that he has found an artifact after many years of research and searching. He shows the party the item, proudly (GM can describe anything they wish), but refuses to discuss its operation or purpose.
To work further on unlocking the artifact’s secrets, he needs the assistance of a colleague wizard who lives on the opposite side of the bandit-infested forest. He offers 50 gold pieces to each hero to escort him – half now, half upon safe arrival.
The Bandit Forest
As the group passes through a lightly wooded area, they are promptly ambushed by brigands (Average). At the end of the fight, one of the ambushers escapes off through the woods.
If the party gives chase, they encounter the bandit camp. They discover a princess is being held captive here, and may fight to free her (Average). If the party doesn’t give chase, they shortly meet the princess anyway as she flees through the woods with her captors in pursuit.
Sometime while still in the forest, the escorted mystic is killed. He is incapable of fighting, so bump him off however you would like - either during a fight with bandits, or some danger of the forest such as a pit or snake bite. The mystic’s body holds the balance of their pay. The party must decide if they want to take the artifact and complete the delivery themselves.
Should she be rescued, the princess clings to a party member and proclaims to have fallen in love with her “champion”. The party may escort the princess to her castle (coincidentally just outside the forest in the direction the group was heading anyway). Further travel through the forest is uneventful. At the castle, drawn swords suddenly surround the heroes. They are mistaken for the kidnappers! Even if the princess is not with the party and they decide to not enter the castle, about a dozen soldiers on horses ride out to apprehend them.
Despite any protestations and cries from the princess should she be present, the soldiers try to cart the heroes off to the dungeons. If the heroes comply, the king frees them a few hours later with deep apologies and a 50 gp reward for each of them. Otherwise, they can fight for freedom - a Hard encounter, with the soldiers possibly using hounds.
Regardless of the outcome, the party has a chance to rest and buy equipment (even if they slaughtered the castle guard, they can still patronize the local market, including castle artisans and researchers for magical items).
By now one full day has likely passed, and the party might spend the first night at the castle. The wizard awaiting delivery of the object lives in a tower two days' journey past the castle, over some farmland, hills and grassy plains. This journey is mostly uneventful. However gargantuan spiders (Average) try to sneak up on and eat the party in their sleep between days 2 and 3. If the party did not fight the castle guards, this fight should be made a Hard combat; add some spider swarms if needed.
The Wizard’s Tower
Once they finally reach the tower, an old man answers the door. He is cheerful and very grateful. He dismisses news of the death of his friend as irrelevant as he lustfully examines the object. He welcomes the heroes in and offers them refreshment, then shows them his workshop. It is covered in bizarre sigils and talismans, and he reveals that the item they delivered is the last key to opening an inter-dimensional portal to summon a demon he plans to command in order to take over the kingdom! The wizard promises they will be richly rewarded for their assistance in bringing about the new reign of darkness.
If the party decides to stop him he turns violent and maniacal – the final “boss” encounter (Deadly). If the heroes don’t intervene, the wizard performs an appropriately dramatic ceremony, opening the portal. The instant it opens, a Tentacle Horror (Deadly) tries to enter the mortal realm. The wizard is caught unprepared, and realizing his mistake frantically calls for the heroes to beat it back while he works to close the gateway.
He won’t close the portal in time; the heroes must kill the beast or perish. Once it is destroyed, the portal begins to finally close but something goes wrong. At the last second the wizard is sucked in with a terrible shriek. All is suddenly silent.
The heroes now own a wizard’s tower! There is a kitchen, small dining hall (seats a dozen people), and enough bedrooms for everyone to have their own. There is a magical library and laboratory, which anyone with Mind 3D can use (up to the GM what effect this might have). In addition the tower is full of goodies, some magical: Have each hero choose 200 gold pieces worth of equipment! The adventure is at an end.