The Great Masquerade
These are the side quests that will be short, and each side quest will be in only 1 arc. The endings of all of these will lead back into the main quest/story. There will be a minimum of 10 side quests of this variety per arc.
Many of these will be taken from the DMG and altered for conveniency purposes.
Arc 0: This arc will have only 5 side quests in order to get the party into their character’s and roles in the team. There will be no long-term quests introduced to the campaign at this point, however the acts of the players in these side quests will introduce them to some characters later who may provide quests for the player.
Side Quest 1: Local bandits have joined forces with Bugbears, this is threatening frontier towns, while most cities remain unharmed. If the characters are from frontier regions then the leaders of those frontier towns have contracted the players to deal with them, whether they were contracted individually or together isn’t important, as when the players eventually reach the main bandit camp, they will arrive to the same camp at the same time. The job of the party members is to find the camp, kill the bandits, and find out how the alliance was formed. The frontier where this is happening is in the newly conquered country of Kovaria, former soldiers and some angry citizens have come together to form these new bandit groups. (This will not be revealed to the party until later in the quest) These bandit groups only prey on towns where the majority of citizens are from the Drelan Empire, however they are not necessarily supported by Kovarians who live in these towns. The party members will begin in the city of Oslav, as it is the largest city which is closest to a nearby town, which was recently attacked. The party travels to that town in order to investigate, they are traveling in a wagon, which is going to collect the grain from the farms of that town, and then take that grain to Oslav. When they arrive, they find the eastern part of the town (named Pennville) has been heavily damaged, if they travel to one of the farms to the northeast, they find it has been burned down. From witness accounts (gather information dc 10) they find out that many of the bandits were Kovarians. They can then ask the Kovarian town members what they know (gather information dc 15 if outsiders, 10 if from frontier, 8 if of elf descent, 5 if they are Kovarians, auto-success if elf-descended and Kovarian.) They will tell the party if they have a friendly attitude towards them, their initial attitude is unfriendly, unless they are elven, in which case their attitude is indifferent. Will a sufficient amount of money to bribe them, they will also tell. 20 sp or higher is acceptable. Retries will be allowed on the gather information check, with a cumulative +1 to the dc. An intimidate check of 10 or higher can also get the information, however, if they fail then future intimidate checks will be made with a +1 to the dc, +2 to the dc for gather information, and +3 to diplomacy checks.
(the party will get the same amount of exp from beating the ambush +100, if they complete the investigation, rather than encountering the ambush described below.)
Regardless of how they find out information, the party learns that the bandit group was primarily lead by former members of the Kovarian military. With a successful knowledge (history) or (local) check, bardic lore check, or something similar (dc 10) they find out that a strategy commonly used by the Kovarian military, before their conquest, was to move around the front of a target to the side, similar to a fish hook held up, with the point lowered and pointing left. (If the target is in front of them, they move to the side of said target, then hit them.) During more covert operations. This way, if the enemy tries to track them, they should be misled. If the party members just track the bandit’s trails to the east, they will end up in a forest, where they will lose the trail, not near the bandit’s camp at all. If they try to find them there, they will be ambushed by a small group of bandits, consisting of 2 bugbears, and three humans (2 with bows, one with a sword, the bugbears are both armed with axes) When/if the party defeats them, they can demand to know where their camp is (if captured alive) or they can search their corpses to find written orders. The party learns from these orders how to reach the main bandit camp, which is really to the northwest of the village.
It will take the party about 2 and a half hours to reach the bandit camp on foot. Adjust accordingly if they manage to acquire mounts.
The bandit camp.
(do this later, include layout of camp, should not be really hard to beat the bandits)
The bandits have set up a camp in a valley between two hills, one of which is close to the nearby road, blocking the camp from view. It is an open-air camp with no large structures, all that comes close is a small wooden tower built in the center of the camp. When viewing from the top of the hill near the road, there are 6 tents around the tower in a circle, the two tents to the top right of the tower contain two bugbears each. One of these tents has the head of a cow on the top of it, and the other has the head of a bull mounted on it. (That one has horns) The rest of the tribe of bugbears is wary to be so close to the humans. This tribe is camped a little ways to the east of the bandit camp, as the CR of this encounter would be too much for the party to handle, they will never go there. However, while the tribe’s chieftain is not at the bandit camp, his son is, he occupies a the tent with the skull of a bull on top of it. The son of the chieftain is a level 2 warrior, if the party kills him then they will dissolve the tribe’s alliance with the bandit camp, while they have an alliance, it is a shaky and uneasy one, the death of the chieftain’s son should be more than enough to break it. Killing the entire bandit group will not be required in order to complete the quest however, all that’s neccesary is to break the alliance and to give the location of the bandit camp to the nearest imperial outpost. in the other 4 tents there are 3 humans each, all but one of them are level 1 warriors, the only one of them who is not is their leader, a level 3 elf rogue. Killing their leader will also dissolve both the alliance and the bandit group, with the alliance gone the other bandits will be too afraid to continue fighting the Drelan Empire, and the death of their leader is also enough to demoralize them so that they surrender. Both of these courses of actions will be suggested by the party’s employers. Regardless of which leader they try to kill, there will be a letter addressed in the tent addressed to either the chieftain’s son or the bandit leader, respectively. The letter will be a short one , saying "I can understand the grievances you hold with the bugbears, I expect you to continue working together regardless, as I am sure you’ve realized by now just how much more you are accomplishing by working together. If you wish to rework the terms of your alliance then please make sure to include me in any meetings you might have. As the third-party organizer of this alliance, you can trust me to remain impartial. -January
If they get this letter from the tent of the Chieftain’s son, then they will also find another letter, this one is unfinished. “FATHR, GETIN BETR AT RITIGN, GRONK FND LETR FRM MASK MAN TO BNDT LEDR, WILL SND CPY TO U” -YOR SON. A small splatter of blood is visible next to the “signature”.
These letters will serve as the link back to the main quest, if the party gives the letter to their employers then they will get a small (10% or 15% with DC 15 diplomacy check) bonus to their pay. For their services the party will be awarded a free carriage ride back to where they came from.
Side Quest 2: DETC merchants accused of browbeating local merchant groups into accepting unfair agreements
Side Quest 3: Local mayor’s son is kidnapped.
Side Quest 4: Bounties put out for ‘fugitives’, but ‘fugitives’ are escaped slaves.
Side Quest 5: Mages are going missing near a major road.