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Click image to download this free TTRPG battlemap of this Farmstead on the Styx, then keep scrolling for the detailed adventure prompt written for it.
One day while looking at very expensive but high-quality magical ingredients from a small stand at a market, you get into a conversation with the retired adventurer who runs it. He is middle aged, with a grey beard and short hair, and wearing light leather armor with some weapons on his belt.
He explains that, of all his products, his favorites are the chilies. He tells you he grows the hottest chilies in all the planes of existence—and that he sells each one with a true resurrection spell, because they will kill you, he laughs. It’s a big hit with the wizards, he finishes with a shrug and a grin.
Then, after eying you, your clothes, and your weaponry a bit better, he’ll mention that he actually has a bit of a problem with his farm, and would be happy to give you the goods you need if you were to help him out in exchange.
If you ask what the problem is, he’ll waive his hand nonchalantly and say just some trouble with neighbors. But, it just so happens his neighbors are well armed and have sent him a threatening letter saying they will attack his farm if he doesn’t leave, and given him a deadline.
You can come with him to help out once he’s finished packing up his stall, if you like?
Should you ask where his farm is, he’ll say it’s not a long journey from here at all, in fact you’ll be there quite quickly. He’ll then check a watch and say that whelp, sales haven’t been too good this morning so he might as well pack up early. Then he’ll step on something at the base of the stand and it will begin folding up on itself, growing smaller and smaller with each fold. When it’s the size of a folded pocket watch he’ll pick it up from the ground and drop it into a pocket on his chest.
Then he’ll pull out a scroll from a different, too-small-for-a-scroll pocket and read over it with a hurried, mumbling breath. Then suddenly the world will spin into a spiral, like running ink in a bucket of stirred water. You’ll hear a loud pop and the world will untwist itself in new shades of reds and browns.
You’ll find yourself in a high-walled garden next to the river Styx. Spirits in the river wail in distress as they are pulled along by the relentless currents beyond the farm, and the large house that sits on it. Over the sounds of the wails are strange, high pitched singing that comes from the plants, who are swaying and dancing merrily.
The retired adventurer will dust his hands off cheerfully, before chuckling and explaining that one of his customers only ever pays with interplanar travel scrolls, so he has more of them than he knows what to do with! He’ll then turn out one of his small pockets and at least five scrolls too large to fit will fall out and tumble on the ground. He’ll gesture to them to emphasize his point, laughing and shaking his head, before opening his pocket and whistling. All the scrolls but one will then jump obediently back into his pocket on their own. The adventurer will point at the last and threaten it, and it will jump back into his pocket with a shiver and a squeak.
If you ask him why the plants are singing, he’ll laugh heartily and say that the souls from the river make the best fertilizer for his plants, but they have unintended side effects. But the conditions in the Underworld are ideal for his chilies! Can’t grow them anywhere else.
He’ll point over to an inlet on the river Styx where it stretches into his fields, calling it “The Well” and saying he often pulls up souls from there once they’ve had long enough to “marinade”. But you don’t want screamers, oh no those souls are hard to deal with, I just throw those ones back in, he’ll say with a shake of his head.
Then he’ll start and say that amidst all the excitement he forgot to introduce himself! His names Rex, the man says, shaking your hand warmly. If you ask who Rex’s angry neighbors are then, noting that the farm seems awfully well fortified, he’ll grin and say they’re devils. They want to keep all the souls to themselves, he’ll chuckle. Their parents never taught them to share growing up, so we’ll have to teach them instead!
He’ll point out the statues on the walls, saying that the fires they hold will ignite and form a wall of flames if a devil should attempt to cross the barrier. The biggest risk will be if they manage to break the gates down and also defending the banks of the farm from the river. You have two days to figure out a strategy and get ready before then, as that was the deadline they gave him to leave.
You’re welcome to borrow some of his old equipment, he offers. Oh, and dinner’s served when the plants go quiet and fall asleep, come inside and join him then! He cooks a mean pot of chili, if you know what he means!
Once the devils attack, they’ll break the gates down, and some smaller imps will come from the river Styx rowing small dinghies. There will also be some winged devils that come over the flaming walls.
If the devils get too far into the garden, some of the plants will uproot themselves and begin fighting back angrily, throwing punches and kicks. Rex will also come out with you, in his old adventuring gear, and have a wonderful time slicing up devils with his old broadsword.
Should you succeed at fending off Rex’s angry “neighbors”, he’ll chuckle and say that was the best fun he’s had in a long time, and that it makes him feel young again! Then he’ll go grab you any of the magical herbs you were looking for and gift them to you as thanks.
He’ll also throw in a few extra interplanar travel scrolls, saying that you’re welcome to stop by for another pot of chili whenever you feel like it!
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LUKE: The founder of Seafoot Games, Luke's been making maps and RPG games since he was a child, and spent over a decade creating his own game systems from scratch to play with his brothers. That was before he discovered other TTRPGs existed. Now, he paints the realistic grimdark fantasy battlemaps we're known for, helps write adventures as needed, and spends his free time printing and painting 3D minis, as well as working on his forever in-development TTRPG system.
BEB: Luke's wife, Beb's been writing, painting, and graphically designing things her whole life. She published her first book when she was 20, alongside a handful of sci-fi short stories, and was responsible for writing almost all of our adventures until mid 2022 when Steve joined the team. Now she mostly creates the outlines for the adventurer's guides with Luke, graphically designs documents, handles the bookkeeping (or as she likes to call it, bureaucrat wrangling), and manages the website—but she is slowly delegating these responsibilities, so she can focus on raising her and Luke's beautiful son.