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Adventure Jigsaw: What Lies Beneath

Adventure Jigsaw: What Lies Beneath

It’s Midgard Monday! Each week, we visit a corner of the wide world of Midgard. Look for standalone content you can drop into your campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration each Midgard Monday!

An adventure jigsaw is the pieces you need for an adventure . . . but unassembled. It’s not a full adventure, but it’s got a lot of pieces you can put together for your own game. We provide an inciting event, a friend, an enemy, a treasure, and some parameters. You provide the players and the action to finish the adventure!

This adventure jigsaw involves an unearthed dragon scale, said to be a scale of Veles, the World Serpent, and the consequences of digging it up.

Inciting Event

Parthia is a small vassal state to the east of the dragon-ruled Mharoti Empiure. It is technically governed by humans but utterly controlled by the dragons.

Outside of Isphahan, capital of Parthia, across a nearby river to the east, is an unusually bountiful and prosperous apricot orchard known as The Tranquil Grove.

Donya, the owner’s wife, was assisting workers in planting new trees when she discovered an enormous shield-shaped wyrm scale with golden writing on the back. After Ghazi, her husband, uncovered the entire relic, they removed it from the ground and he took it to his temple. There, they discovered the writing was in Draconic.

Vahid, a dragon cleric of a local temple, asked to study it for a few days, and Ghazi was obliged to leave it with him. When Ghazi got home, he discovered Donya in tears walking through the apricot grove. The trees were suddenly dying. Then it got worse.

Vahid believed it was a scale of Veles, the World Serpent, who is a god to the Mharoti dragons. A relic such as this belonged with the church. He informed Ghazi and the church elders that he would keep it. Then he demanded the whole orchard as church property so that he could look for more relics and wyrm parts.

Ghazi asks the PCs for help to retrieve and replace the object, known now as Orchard Scale. Not only is the orchard dying without it, but stranger things are happening in the Tranquil Grove. This requires speedy negotiation with Vahid to return Orchard Scale and to let the orchard continue to grow, serving the locals and the Empire.


Ghazi Heavyshade, a 40-year-old human, recently inherited the shady and verdant Tranquil Grove from his extended family. His wife, Donya, and their three children: Mina, 5, Pardis, 4, and baby Yazdin live in the lavish family mansion. Ghazi is tall and has a wispy beard and slightly crooked teeth. He wears conventional farmer’s clothes except on Khorsday when he and his family, dressed in traditional finery, walk through town on their way to the local temple.


Vahid Flameworx, a 120-year-old dragon, is a cleric of Azuran, dragon god of wind. He is tall, golden, and has horns and a short snout. He has a commanding presence, and most people adore his deep, resonant voice. The devout Vahid constantly looks for ways to advance his god’s cause. Vahid is friendly with the Governor of Isphahan and has friends on the council.


Orchard Scale is a large kite shield, trimmed in brass and fashioned from a trimmed, enormous, slate-colored draconic scale. The scale seems still alive, growing and repairing damage to its surface. A prayer for victory, destruction of enemies, and long life is inlaid on the back of the shield in flowing, archaic Draconic script.

Left unattended for long periods, the scale develops a crusty coating, making it appear to be a large, rough, but naturally faded grey-brown dragon scale-turned tablet. Several hard strikes with a blacksmith’s hammer can free the object within.


Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)

This shield is the equivalent of a +2 shield but has no encumbrance when wielded. Three times a day as a reaction, you gain the ability to reflect a spell targeting you back at the caster or alternately, have advantage on a saving throw against an area of effect ability or spell. A successful DC 13 Wisdom save sends the reflected spell affect back at the caster. Failed saves do not count against the total number of reflections per day.

In addition, you gain 10 rounds of regeneration per day, as the spell effect. This ability activates automatically if you are reduced to 0 hit points. Once per day, you may transfer up to five rounds of your regeneration effect to a creature by touching them as a bonus action.

Story Seed: What Lies Beneath

Orchard Scale was the anchor of a ritual binding a void-tainted creature in a hill beneath the orchard. With the removal of the shield, the creature’s warped nature began corrupting the fruits and plants and corroding the magic imprisoning it. Trees have become weeping treants, asp vines, duskwilts, and other strange creatures.

A plunging depression formed at the orchard’s center, and at any time the captive monstrosity might burst free to threaten the surrounding area. Or is there something unkillable within the earth here, like a portal to the vast emptiness of Ginnungagap, requiring more elaborate measures to resolve the situation?

Get into Midgard with the Midgard Worldbook! This acclaimed campaign setting is rich and deep, with a decade of support from Kobold Press. Find out about the Mharoti Empire, Parthia, the dragon gods, and more fantastic places and people in wide world of Midgard!

about Heleen and Andrew Durston

Heleen and Andrew have been happily gaming for their entire 30+ years of married life. They each have a focus in their co-authored articles: Andrew is all in on settings and Heleen is all about the characters. They hope their imaginations spark yours.

about Ben McFarland

Ben lived on a desert island for two years while serving as an officer in the US Air Force. He likes sushi, worldbuilding, and magic systems, and spends way too much time at a pool. He’s been freelancing, playtesting, and editing RPGs since 2005. While D&D’s a first love, Ars Magica is his greatest love and Cthulhutech his secret mistress.

7 thoughts on “Adventure Jigsaw: What Lies Beneath”

  1. This is terrific! I love Midgard Monday. This article shows how much creative space there is in between the established lore from the books and is a great model for DMs to follow in being creative with that space. Thanks!

  2. Absolutely loving this series, I regularly check this every week and have used this stuff in my campaign as we play. Anything to do with Midgard Lore has my automatic vote and desire for more.

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