While walking through a village, you hear a woman’s loud crying coming from one of the houses. As you pass it, an exhausted, pale-faced looking man with dark circles under his eyes opens the door and steps out. His face lights up when he sees you, and he beckons you over hopefully, asking if you might be a mercenary. He explains that his wife is pregnant and that he desperately needs you to catch a rare kind of fish from a run in the nearby mountains, because it’s their spawning season and his wife craves it desperately, he finishes with a sigh.
If you ask why he doesn’t just buy the fish, he explains none of the local merchants sell it at the moment, because the spawning season attracts owl bears. He begs you to help him, saying that his wife’s mood swings have been insane and between working to provide and coping with her demands he doesn’t know how much more he can take, pleading that he’ll pay you well for the risk if you please just get him the fish she wants.
Should you agree, he sighs in relief and the tension clearly comes out of his muscles. He thanks you heartily, promising to buy you a stiff drink when this is all over because he could certainly use one himself, before describing the fish to you. After that his wife sobs from the house that she can’t put her shoes on because her belly’s too fat and she’ll never make it out to the garden, and the man hurriedly asks you to return here once you have the fish before excusing himself.
The journey up to the fish run in the mountain takes about a day by foot, and when you arrive there are three owlbears hunting the large, oily fish while they frantically spawn in the river. The monsters are territorial, and if they notice you they attempt to defend their patch of the riverbank.
Once the owlbears are dealt with and you have your fish, a nature spirit appears as the glowing form of a naked, horned woman and admonishes you for disrupting the natural balance. Due to the death of the owlbears, too many of the fish will spawn, and begin dying of starvation from overpopulation. They’ll strip the river of smaller fish and bugs which other life forms rely on, while herbivores that the owlbears usually hunt in this area will also increase and do irrevocable damage to the forest and underbrush.
The nature spirit says that this must be put to right, and as the one responsible you must fix it. She then tells you how you can find a nature temple on a nearby mountain, and that once there, you must perform a rite so that the magic of the temple can rebalance the ecosystem. It involves donating a few drops of your blood as a show of apology and reverence to the nature gods.
Should you go, the path to the temple is steep and treacherous along the mountain’s peak. The journey all up takes an extra couple of hours from your fishing trip, but once there you see it is a small ruin large enough for maybe a handful of people inside. Within it is an ancient statue of a nature god, with a stone bowl in their hands. If you cut yourself and preform the rite as the nature spirit suggested, the blood bubbles and clears into water with a lotus seed, which grows and blooms in front of you while you watch. The nature spirit appears then, and thanks you for setting things right, before vanishing in a puff of sparks.
Once you return with the fish to the village, the man answers the door excitedly, but when you try to give the fish to the man his wife–behind him–disgustedly exclaims that she doesn’t want the fish anymore and dry heaves, urging you to get it away due to the smell. Her husband winces and apologizes, handing you the promised pay and explaining that her cravings seem to have shifted as happens a lot, but now she wants this rare type of mushroom that only grows in a distant cavern–
As you walk away he begs you to wait, saying he needs your help surviving this insanity! His wife immediately begins berating him, saying compared to her he’s got it easy and she only wishes she could give him a taste of all the aches and pains she’s gone through!
If your players don’t want to perform the rite for the nature spirit, the spirit grows insulted, and attempts to impart the seriousness of your players’ treaspasses in the spirit’s forest. Should your players still refuse, the spirit summons swarms of wasps, living thorns, and packs of wolves to attack them until defeated. When killed, their body explodes in sparks of light, and where the sparks land wildflowers grow and bloom.
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