Fresh off The Drunken Dwarf in the town of Knor and with a good chunk of their cash having been taken by the Elven hottie, the party wondered what to do next. Suddenly a little ragamuffin child appeared, pulling at their cloaks: "What say, guv'nors? A bit o' lunch? I know a place not far from here. I'll take 'ee!" The boy led them to tavern that had a barrel over the door, funneling rainwater from the roof down through a hole in the bottom. "The Leaking Barrel." As they headed inside, the nasty little brute manage to snatch some of their coinpurses. Unlucky adventurers! Several lost half their gold from the little thief!
Inside, they were seated to feast upon some cheap mutton, spoiled onions and potatoes and some tepid ale. A mousy looking man in the corner stood staring at them, trying to size them up. Foo Foo went to relive himself and was joined by the man from the corner. "I have a proposition. You lot look like you want some riches and fortune! I've got an offer to make." Back at the adventurers table, the smiling man introduced himself as Pilzo. He had a map that claimed to show a spot of vast riches. Sir Orik, his flashing smile flashing, negotiated 15% for the man and the rest for the party. And then they were off. They found "Captain's General Store" and spent some time buying some basic supplies and they headed out for fame and fortune.
It was to be a two day trip to the east of Knor. Off they went and camped at the end of the day. Fred was nearly bitten by a large spider. During the trip the next day, Knick Knack was surprised by a nasty scorpion which bit him. Being a tough guy, he was all right, but quite sick for the rest of the day. Near the end of the day, they found a large pile of rocks. A large chunk had an opening visible from 20 feet below on the ground. The party climbed their way to the top and Sir Orik threw in a torch. They went in but the chamber was empty except for a chest which contained a scroll and key. They searched in vain for a keyhole until they were aided by Sillypants' magical help. They found the tiny keyhole which triggered a door in the floor revealing stairs down into the dark.
Down the steps, along a hall and into a wide chamber. In the torchlight, gold and silver glittered, covering the floor, surrounding a huge serpentine dragon skeleton. Purple glow told Sillypants the gold was enchanted, confirming his feeling that there was some bad magic here. That didn't stop the whole party from cramming their sacks and packs with as much coin as they could. But in order to make sure the dragon wouldn't be disturbed, they spent a few moments smashing it to bits and tossing the bones around the chamber. But Pilzo found three keys. Sam Urai began searching for a door. He found a secret one in the far wall, revealing a low corridor leading off the room. Packs stuffed with gold, the party scooted down this new hallway, ending at a large meteoric iron door with three keyholes.
Pilzo had a key to the words above the door: "Awaken the wyrm, invite death." After puzzling out the locks, (three keys all turned clockwise), the door was open and they went in. There was nothing there but a chest and and altar with a dragon statue on top, eyes gleaming rubies. Inside the chest were a short sword and pair of gauntlets. A false bottom that Knick Knack discovered revealed a dragon-shaped mithril dagger! After some arguing over who would get the dagger (boy, what a greedy lot!) they grabbed the dragon statue from the altar. A blast of poisonous gas let loose from the altar and the party hacked and coughed in painful spasms. They searched all over the altar but found nothing else. They headed back up the passage.
As they came through the small doorway, they were greeted by a blast of poisonous breath! The wyrm was alive. Fred, choking on the vapors, dropped to the floor unconscious. The party, weapons drawn, attacked. There was a good deal of vicious fighting. Sir Orik managed to flip up onto the dragons head, riding it like a bull and stabbing away. Sillypants slashed with his dagger. Knick Knack's warhammer brought crushing blows to the creature's ribs. With a roar, the beast let loose another vaporous cloud of death, felling both Sillypants and Sam Urai. Dorik slashed viciously, the dragon dagger causing horrid shrieks from the wyrm. With a well placed thrust toward the wyrm's heart and Sir Orik sliding down the creature's back, slicing it's scaly flesh as it went, the dragon fell. Almost immediately, the wyrm began to crumble and was soon a serpentine drift of dust. It was then they saw the shredded body of Pilzo and the green gleam of twenty or more emeralds lying in the dust. These were packed up and the unconscious members of the party dragged back up the stairs and into the warm outside air.
After they revived a bit, the party began its journey back to Knor. After just an hour or so in, the party was beginning to feel weak, every member. Fred and Sillypantswyrm's lair and drop everything they had taken from the lair, except the emeralds which they supposed were not cursed.
But it was all to no avail. They continued to drop, Knick Knack and Dorik finally falling in the scrub land. Soon it was just Sam Urai, who was feeling slightly better and didn't seem to be getting worse and Sir Orik whose solid constitution was rapidly fading. As they came within sight of the city, weakness and finally death overcame even Sir Orik! Sam Urai, who had collected what remaining equipment he could manage from the dead took the emeralds that Sir Orik had and heading into town...
This was a "Five Minute Fortune" which is one of the great little GM shorts found at the Hobgoblin's Tavern. It was meant to be something of a diversion but it ended up being a nice two and a half hour adventure. We laughed at how much fun they seemed to be having just trying to get some equipment. This is a well-written short adventure which draws on the greed of the characters (and players)! The curse was on the gold and they should not have left the cavern with it.
The kids were humorously annoyed that they died. They complained that the campaign was ridiculous, being just two weeks but I told them it was hardly MY fault. "You're not supposed to kill the characters," Josh told me. "You're right," I said, "You guys were plenty dumb enough to get yourselves killed!" Ben made his cursed disease luck roll which is why he survived. But the kids had a lot of fun and that's what counts.