Scavenger hunt for the Swallowtail Festival


Rise of the Runelords


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At the Swallowtail Festival, I ran a scavenger hunt for my players, to help introduce them to Sandpoint. I think it was received really well! Overall it took 1.25 hours with 3 PCs, just about where I was aiming for pacing. They had fun with it, and it got them a bit acquainted with the city (and with their character sheets!)

Other mechanics:
I used the chase mechanics (slightly modified - if you attempted both checks and passed both you moved two spaces, if you failed either check you don't move at all, but you never lose an entire turn.) Sandpoint non-locals got a three-round head start (this was mainly so I could justify why the PCs have a chance of winning against scores of other contestants.) For the opponents, I just put three Varisians on the map that started simultaneously with the PCs, and for them I just rolled a d6 each round and moved them on a 5 or 6 (I didn't feel like drawing up character sheets for them and rolling the actual skill checks.) The prize for winning the scavenger hunt was 50 gp which was the grand prize of the day (I think it was good to offer such a large prize because two of my PCs talked about "using the time while people are distracted with the scavenger hunt to snoop around looking for anything strange," but once I reminded them "The prize for the scavenger hunt is 50 gold pieces!" they got in line to join.)

Welcome to Sandpoint!

Travel through the town and pick up the bold items on the list.

Note, each time after moving the leader must make a DC8 Survival or Knowledge (local) check to avoid become disoriented. If they fail, they take a -2 penalty to all their checks for one round.

1) The Way North

Receive a scavenger hunt map

Bearing a sign that says “The Way North”, this cramped building is festooned with nautical charts and maps, and through the windows you can see much more of the same, with barrels of rolled up papers, maps on the walls, and shelves and shelves of books. The far side of the room is dominated by a large work table with a half-completed map of the region.

An aged but spry gnome with white hair and only a few teeth left is handing out maps as fast as he can, but he's mobbed by scavengers grabbing their maps. Make a DC13 Intimidate check to get the others to move aside, or a DC11 Sleight of Hand check to snatch a map out of his hand.

2) The Old Light

Get a worked stone

Like a spike driven up into the sky, this ruin towers over the city, sitting atop the sea cliff that forms Sandpoint’s northern boundary. A cylindrical base of 40 foot diameter indicates this was once a towering structure, though time has taken its toll. The eastern side stands five stories in height, while the western edge has just 15 feet of height remaining. Archaic runes adorn parts of the existing facade and seem strangely well preserved, considering the extent of erosion on the rest of the structure. Large chunks of worked stone lie on the ground, but up on a low ledge you can see smaller pieces of rubble as well. Your nose fills with the smell of sea spray, and you feel a light mist on your skin, as the gulls circle and caw overhead. The bluff affords a stunning view of the Varisian Gulf, as the famous mists of the Lost Coast are just receding from the shore.

Make a DC7 Strength check to pry loose a large rock (this weighs 20 lbs, and if it encumbers you then you take a -2 to subsequent checks for the hunt.) Or, make a DC12 Climb check to scramble up and find a smaller stone.

3) Town Hall

Pick up a bank deposit slip

This two-story stone building is impressively large, although not even a quarter of the size of the new cathedral. Upon entering you find yourself in a large empty meeting hall, with the chairs currently stacked off to the sides. A sign instructs you to head downstairs to the bank for the scavenger hunt.

To find a bank deposit slip among the various paperwork in the town hall basement, make a DC10 Profession or Knowledge (local) check, or make a DC12 Linguistics check to rapidly scan the forms and find the right one.

4) The House of Blue Stones

Find a painted blue stone

Inside this stone building is a large open floor covered in polished round blue stones. The air is thick with the resinous tang of burning incense. Reed mats on the floor form winding walkways, and they rustle gently as you walk over them. Several round cushions are placed sporadically across the floor. Besides a spiral staircase leading down in the far corner, the only other feature is a reflecting pool in the center of the room. A dark-skinned woman watches observantly from near the door.

While the floor in this large hall is covered with smooth blue stones, the ones for the hunt are painted blue, not naturally blue like the rest. Make a DC14 Perception check to find a painted stone, or a DC10 Wisdom check to instinctively determine which stones are out of place and were recently placed here for the hunt.

5) Kaijitsu Glassworks

Grab a pinch of soda ash

This large stone factory’s impressive facade is brightened by five colorful stained glass windows, each masterfully worked in the Eastern style. They depict scenes ranging from travelers on a snowy field, to a fiery portrayal of the process of glassblowing.

Out in the yard under an awning lie three large piles of white powder. To distinguish the soda ash from the limestone and the mature sand, make a DC9 Appraise check or a DC12 Knowledge (engineering) or (nature) check.

6) Turch’s Fishmarket

Find a cockle shell

As you rush along the boardwalk overlooking the harbor, the smell of fish is overwhelming. A large sign proclaims “Valdemar Fishmarket”. Under the roof are many stalls with fish, crabs, eels, mussels and other shellfish, and even a large octopus out on display. You can hear the waves gently lapping at the rocks

Under the boardwalk is all manner of discarded shells and fish skeletons, but the hunt is specifically calling for a cockle shell. Make a DC9 Knowledge (nature) or Profession (fisherman) check to pick out a cockle shell, or make a DC12 Diplomacy check to ask someone to help you identify one.

7) Meat Market

Get a chicken shinbone

The smell of blood and fresh meat is thick in the air, and the counter display shows cuts of pork, venison, beef, pheasant, chicken, mutton, and rabbit.

Outside the back of the market is the bone heap. To identify a chicken shinbone among the heap, make a DC10 Heal or Knowledge (nature) check, or a DC8 Profession (cook) check.

8) Goblin Squash Stables

Take a handful of hay

A painted sign over the door of these stables depicts a goblin being trampled underfoot by a horse. Enhancing the motif is a grisly display on the entrance to the barn, which bears three rafters covered with dozens of goblin ears that have been nailed on. Many of the ears have a name branded on, presumably that of the dead goblin itself. The scent of hay and dung fills the air.

The horses are getting antsy at having so many visitors, and the hay is behind them. Make a DC12 Handle Animal check to calm them down so you can grab some hay, or else make a DC13 Stealth check to sneak through without them noticing.

9) Valdemar Shipyard

Get a bit of rope

This long building has no wall along its southern facade, allowing easy movement between the workshop and the four large dry docks that lead out into the harbor. One dry dock holds an almost-completed galley bearing a dozen oars on each side, and another holds the skeleton of a larger carvel in the early stages of construction. There are enough tools lying around to support a small army of shipwrights. You can smell the sulphurous scent of the boggy water.

Some of the bollards on the docks have knotted rope ends tied on, that seem to have been hacked off by hasty departing sailors. To untie a rope, make a DC13 CMB check, or a DC11 Escape Artist check.

10) Two Knights Brewery

Find some bitter hops

This stone building greets you with a life-size painted wooden cutout of two knights in full armor, toasting each other with brimming-over mugs and holding swords in their off hands. At the feet of one of the cutouts is a fresh wreath of flowers. The strong scent of beer wafts from the building.

The storehouse is open, and several barrels hold different brewing ingredients. To distinguish the bitter hops from the other ingredients, make a DC9 Profession (brewer), Knowledge (nature), or Craft (alchemy) check, or a DC13 Perception check to find the bitter hops by its odor.

11) Scarnetti Mill

Grab a pinch of grains

You see a large water wheel turning behind this old wooden building, and you can hear the low scraping sound of the grindstone before you even enter into the building. The interior bears the subtle aroma of fresh flour.

The gristmill is running. To grab the grains, make a DC13 Climb check to get up to the hopper, or, to safely grab grains from the mill, first shut the sluice by making a DC10 Disable Device or Knowledge (engineering) check.

12) Sandpoint Lumber Mill

Get a piece of driftwood

The wood of this long building seems old and weathered, in stark contrast to the freshly cut red-blonde surfaces of the lumber lying in huge piles all around. The scent of fresh pine mixes with the brackish odor of the river.

There are plenty of branches floating in the water, along with an abundance of larger logs. Make a DC10 Swim check to get in the water and grab a branch, or use a lasso to grab one by making a ranged attack against AC12.

13) Carpenter’s Guild

Pick up a nail

It looks like every square foot of this large building is being well-used for all manner of construction projects, some of which have spilled outside. A red-bearded dwarf watches hawkishly but with a smile, seeming to enjoy the ruckus of the day.

Various odd bits of discarded lumber are strewn about, and while lots of nails are visible, all are embedded in various bits of wood. Make a DC9 Profession (carpenter) or Knowledge (engineering) check to locate one that looks loose, or make a DC12 Strength check to pry one free.

14) Sandpoint Theater

Receive a playbill

This huge wooden building well outsizes the town hall, and once you enter you can see an auditorium that could sit 250 in its stuffed red folding seats. On the stage is a mustachioed man wearing a feather cap, and holding a stack of playbills for the upcoming show, The Harpy’s Curse.

Cyrdak Drokkus demands a performance before he gives you a playbill. Make a DC10 Perform check, or make a DC14 Knowledge (local or nobility) check to make a witty observation to make him smile.

15) Sandpoint Cathedral

Rush back to the new cathedral with all the listed items!

Here's the map I used for Roll20 (turn grid off while using it.)

To make it look pretty I used The Homebrewery with the following code:

Homebrewery code:
# Scavenger Hunt

## Welcome to Sandpoint!
Travel through the town and pick up the bold items on the list.

*Note, each time after moving the leader must make a DC8 Survival or Knowledge (local) check to avoid become disoriented. If they fail, they take a -2 penalty to all their checks for one round.*

### 1) The Way North

***Receive a scavenger hunt map***

Bearing a sign that says “The Way North”, this cramped building is festooned with nautical charts and maps, and through the windows you can see much more of the same, with barrels of rolled up papers, maps on the walls, and shelves and shelves of books. The far side of the room is dominated by a large worktable with a half-completed map of the region.

*An aged buy spry gnome with white hair and only a few teeth left is handing out maps as fast as he can, but he's mobbed by scavengers grabbing their maps. Make a DC13 Intimidate check to get the others to move aside, or a DC11 Sleight of Hand check to snatch a map out of his hand.*

### 2) The Old Light

***Get a worked stone***

Like a spike driven up into the sky, this ruin towers over the city, sitting atop the sea cliff that forms Sandpoint’s northern boundary. A cylindrical base of 40 foot diameter indicates this was once a towering structure, though time has taken its toll. The eastern side stands five stories in height, while the western edge has just 15 feet of height remaining. Archaic runes adorn parts of the existing facade and seem strangely well preserved, considering the extent of erosion on the rest of the structure. Large chunks of worked stone lie on the ground, but up on a low ledge you can see smaller pieces of rubble as well. Your nose fills with the smell of sea spray, and you feel a light mist on your skin, as the gulls circle and caw overhead. The bluff affords a stunning view of the Varisian Gulf, as the famous mists of the Lost Coast are just receding from the shore.

*Make a DC7 Strength check to pry loose a large rock (this weighs 20 lbs, and if it encumbers you then you take a -2 to subsequent checks for the hunt.) Or, make a DC12 Climb check to scramble up and find a smaller stone.*

### 3) Town Hall

***Pick up a bank deposit slip***

This two-story stone building is impressively large, although not even a quarter of the size of the new cathedral. Upon entering you find yourself in a large empty meeting hall, with the chairs currently stacked off to the sides. A sign instructs you to head downstairs to the bank for the scavenger hunt.

*To find a bank deposit slip among the various paperwork in the town hall basement, make a DC10 Profession or Knowledge (local) check, or make a DC12 Linguistics check to rapidly scan the forms and find the right one.*

### 4) The House of Blue Stones

***Find a painted blue stone***

Inside this stone building is a large open floor covered in polished round blue stones. The air is thick with the resinous tang of burning incense. Reed mats on the floor form winding walkways, and they rustle gently as you walk over them. Several round cushions are placed sporadically across the floor. Besides a spiral staircase leading down in the far corner, the only other feature is a reflecting pool in the center of the room. A dark-skinned woman watches observantly from near the door.

*While the floor in this large hall is covered with smooth blue stones, the ones for the hunt are painted blue, not naturally blue like the rest. Make a DC14 Perception check to find a painted stone, or a DC10 Wisdom check to instinctively determine which stones are out of place and were recently placed here for the hunt.*

### 5) Kaijitsu Glassworks

***Grab a pinch of soda ash***

This large stone factory’s impressive facade is brightened by five colorful stained glass windows, each masterfully worked in the Eastern style. They depict scenes ranging from travelers on a snowy field, to a fiery portrayal of the process of glassblowing.

*Out in the yard under an awning lie three large piles of white powder. To distinguish the soda ash from the limestone and the mature sand, make a DC9 Appraise check or a DC12 Knowledge (engineering) or (nature) check.*

### 6) Turch’s Fishmarket

***Find a cockle shell***

As you rush along the boardwalk overlooking the harbor, the smell of fish is overwhelming. A large sign proclaims “Valdemar Fishmarket”. Under the roof are many stalls with fish, crabs, eels, mussels and other shellfish, and even a large octopus out on display. You can hear the waves gently lapping at the rocks

*Under the boardwalk is all manner of discarded shells and fish skeletons, but the hunt is specifically calling for a cockle shell. Make a DC9 Knowledge (nature) or Profession (fisherman) check to pick out a cockle shell, or make a DC12 Diplomacy check to ask someone to help you identify one.*

### 7) Meat Market

***Get a chicken shinbone***

The smell of blood and fresh meat is thick in the air, and the counter display shows cuts of pork, venison, beef, pheasant, chicken, mutton, and rabbit.

*Outside the back of the market is the bone heap. To identify a chicken shinbone among the heap, make a DC10 Heal or Knowledge (nature) check, or a DC8 Profession (cook) check.*
\page
### 8) Goblin Squash Stables

***Take a handful of hay***

A painted sign over the door of these stables depicts a goblin being trampled underfoot by a horse. Enhancing the motif is a grisly display on the entrance to the barn, which bears three rafters covered with dozens of goblin ears that have been nailed on. Many of the ears have a name branded on, presumably that of the dead goblin itself. The scent of hay and dung fills the air.

*The horses are getting antsy at having so many visitors, and the hay is behind them. Make a DC12 Handle Animal check to calm them down so you can grab some hay, or else make a DC13 Stealth check to sneak through without them noticing.*

### 9) Valdemar Shipyard

***Get a bit of rope***

This long building has no wall along its southern facade, allowing easy movement between the workshop and the four large dry docks that lead out into the harbor. One dry dock holds an almost-completed galley bearing a dozen oars on each side, and another holds the skeleton of a larger carvel in the early stages of construction. There are enough tools lying around to support a small army of shipwrights. You can smell the sulphurous scent of the boggy water.

*Some of the bollards on the docks have knotted rope ends tied on, that seem to have been hacked off by hasty departing sailors. To untie a rope, make a DC13 CMB check, or a DC11 Escape Artist check.*

### 10) Two Knights Brewery

***Find some bitter hops***

This stone building greets you with a life-size painted wooden cutout of two knights in full armor, toasting each other with brimming-over mugs and holding swords in their off hands. At the feet of one of the cutouts is a fresh wreath of flowers. The strong scent of beer wafts from the building.

*The storehouse is open, and several barrels hold different brewing ingredients. To distinguish the bitter hops from the other ingredients, make a DC9 Profession (brewer), Knowledge (nature), or Craft (alchemy) check, or a DC13 Perception check to find the bitter hops by its odor.*

### 11) Scarnetti Mill

***Grab a pinch of grains***

You see a large water wheel turning behind this old wooden building, and you can hear the low scraping sound of the grindstone before you even enter into the building. The interior bears the subtle aroma of fresh flour.

*The gristmill is running. To grab the grains, make a DC13 Climb check to get up to the hopper, or, to safely grab grains from the mill, first shut the sluice by making a DC10 Disable Device or Knowledge (engineering) check.*

### 12) Sandpoint Lumber Mill

***Get a piece of driftwood***

The wood of this long building seems old and weathered, in stark contrast to the freshly cut red-blonde surfaces of the lumber lying in huge piles all around. The scent of fresh pine mixes with the brackish odor of the river.

*There are plenty of branches floating in the water, along with an abundance of larger logs. Make a DC10 Swim check to get in the water and grab a branch, or use a lasso to grab one by making a ranged attack against AC12.*

### 13) Carpenter’s Guild

***Pick up a nail***

It looks like every square foot of this large building is being well-used for all manner of construction projects, some of which have spilled outside. A red-bearded dwarf watches hawkishly but with a smile, seeming to enjoy the ruckus of the day.

*Various odd bits of discarded lumber are strewn about, and while lots of nails are visible, all are embedded in various bits of wood. Make a DC9 Profession (carpenter) or Knowledge (engineering) check to locate one that looks loose, or make a DC12 Strength check to pry one free.*

### 14) Sandpoint Theater

***Receive a playbill***

This huge wooden building well outsizes the town hall, and once you enter you can see an auditorium that could sit 250 in its stuffed red folding seats. On the stage is a mustachioed man wearing a feather cap, and holding a stack of playbills for the upcoming show, The Harpy’s Curse.

*Cyrdak Drokkus demands a performance before he gives you a playbill. Make a DC10 Perform check, or make a DC14 Knowledge (local or nobility) check to make a witty observation to make him smile.*

### 15) Sandpoint Cathedral

***Rush back to the new cathedral with all the listed items!***


Quite like this idea! I'm going to run this (slightly modified) for my 5 player TT group next week. Thanks for posting it!


Cool, please post an update on what you change and how it all goes! AFAIK you'll be the first one besides me to run it, so I'm interested to hear your suggestions and feedback.


I am quite interested too. Out of curiosity, how did you introduce it to the characters? They are given told where to get the map and then follow it in order to get things at different locations?


Kendra Deverin gets up on the stage and makes an announcement - everyone who wants to participate should gather by the steps of the cathedral. When she announces the reward is 50 gp the crowd oohs and aahs, and someone shouts out "Forget about the cathedral, now we know where our tax money went!" getting some laughs from the crowd. (But, Kendra has been planning this as a way to introduce visitors in town to what Sandpoint has to offer, so for her it's worth the gold.)

My players considered using the "distraction" of the scavenger hunt to go around sniffing for trouble, so I prodded them by saying "The reward is 50 gold pieces" and they got the hint, hahah.

At the cathedral steps, the hunters are separated into Sandpoint natives and non-natives, and the non-natives get a three-round head start (after all, the mayor's goal is advertising the town to the visitors.) Everyone is pointed in the direction of The Way North, and then a whistle is sounded, and the non-natives are off. Three rounds later, the natives are released, and now there's a mad scramble to The Way North to pick up the scavenger hunt maps.


Thanks RumpinRufus, I am going to play a slightly modified version tomorrow and I will let you know how it goes!


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Spoilers ahead!!!!

I did the scavenger hunt Wednesday and it well very well! After the game my players commented on it saying that it was lots of fun and that it was a great way of getting to know the town and its people. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting such a good reception and thought that my players might be bored because it would put off the fight with the goblins. Actually, doing the general introduction followed by the scavenger hunt took around 3h (1h30 for the hunt) and allowed to finish the session with a nice cliffhanger: the arrival of the goblins.

I modified the hunt slightly to have my players look at the map of the city and choose where they wanted to go next (no itinerary). The goal was to get the players invested and forcing them to plan a bit. That also allowed me to have them “study” the map, so that they got a better idea of the layout of the town. I put the full description in the spoiler below.

Modifications:

Signing-up

None of the characters knew each other, so I had a table with a sign saying: Sign-up for the Scavenger Hunt, up to 100 gp in price! At the table there were pens and papers for people to write down their names (and someone to write it down for them if they did not know how to write). To further advertise the hunt, Cyrdak Drokkus mentioned it in his speech.

After an hour or two, someone walks to stage and calls out the teams (basically putting the characters together). Since one of the characters was from town, I organized every team to have one resident with then.

Instructions

The person on the stage tells the team that they have to get all of the items on a list. He gives one such list per team. The 100gp prize is only given if a team does this in record time (no failed checks). Otherwise, the winning team gets 50gp instead of 100.

  • Receive a scavenger hunt map

  • Get an ancient worked stone

  • Pick up a bank deposit slip

  • Find a painted blue stone

  • Grab a pinch of soda ash (industrial colorant)

  • Find a cockle shell

  • Get a chicken shinbone (Avoid private properties!)

  • Take a handful of hay

  • Get a never used mooring cable

  • Find some bitter hops

  • Grab a pinch of grains

  • Receive a playbill

  • Rush back to the new cathedral with all the listed items!

    I removed some items because I felt it would be too hard for my players to guess their locations.

    After that, the person giving the instructions pointed all the teams toward the Way North where he says the maps can be found. When the character visited the place, I gave my players a physical copy of the map of Sandpoint as well as a list of the main public places of town. (The characters actually received something that looks a bit like a pamphlet for tourists and which highlighting the main stores and public places of the city. It’s the map in the AP with a few private homes not been identified such as the estates of the noble families.)

    Note that the map does not have an itinerary, the players had to guess where to go to find the various objects (that’s why I removed some from the original list).

    Rules

    Players had to pick the next location they wanted to visit on the map. They would get there without any problems. Once there, I used the same challenges as you RumpinRufus. Regarding the exact rules, I did not follow those of a chase. Instead, I calculated how long it took them to find items with the following rules:

  • Succeeded challenge at location: 1 round

  • Failed challenge at location: 2 rounds (a failed roll still leads the characters to recover the item, but it takes more time).

  • Go to a location lacking the object: 1 round

  • Go to a distant location instead of going to a close one: 1 round

    If players succeed in 12 rounds, they are awarded the 100gp.

    If players succeed in 18 rounds, they win

    If players finish in more than 18 rounds, they do not arrive first.

  • I also added to following rules to make sure they stuck together: If players get separated to be more efficient, the non-native run the chance of getting lost, they need to make a DC 10 int. check. If they fail, they increase the time of the hunt by 1 round. They have to roll until they succeed. However, once they reach their location, subtract 1 from the time in round they stay there (success = 0 round, failure = 1 round).

    It would probably be interesting to try this with the real rules of a chase, but I did not want to bother rolling for the other teams.

  • Anyone interested in more feedback or a French version of the locations and objects to find, please PM me.


    I love this idea and am going to be doing this for my session 1 with some of the modifications listed above with the added, "The winning team will be announced at the Swallowtail Release!"

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