Cursed Helmet

D&D Campaign: The Cursed Helmet

The following adventures are loosely based on a campaign I'm DMing with some of my closest friends – so far we've all had quite a few good laughs. It has been a silly riot with plenty of intense moments, complete disasters, and an epic struggle of good vs evil. I try to balance an overarching storyline with lots of good distractions and random side quests. Feel free to copy, borrow, steal, etc.

Hopefully these adventures inspire you to create your own or can work directly for your party. Have fun modifying and molding these into something useful and specific to your characters. You can mix and match these quests and fine-tune them for your party's level, or you can run them in order and play out this loose storyline.

Checkout the full resolution version of this campaign's World Map. You can find names of the numbered location names at the bottom of How To Draw D&D World Maps article.

Adventure 1: Goblin Dungeon

Prep: Draw a map of a goblin dungeon with a magic stone hidden within.

The characters meet at a wizard's tower in a small town, Gill (#22). The wizard, named Mezandriel (Mez for short), sends them on a fool's errand to retrieve a magic stone from the dungeon of a goblin city to the North East, called North Tower (#46).

Adventure 2: Tricked By A Wizard

Prep: Draw a map of a cave full of traps and creatures with an ogre and an underground river at the end.

After the characters give the wizard the stone, politely asking for payment, he betrays them and teleports them to an unknown location.

The PCs find themselves in a dark and wet forest (near Skytop Heaven #45) with a mean looking storm moving in. A bear chases the characters into a nasty looking cave and a trapped portcullis triggers and drops behind them, saving them from the bear but locking them in! The PCs must navigate the cave, battle nasty creatures, and defeat a boss, the ogre named Bone Crusher, at the end.

In the boss's treasure hoard they find an intricately jeweled staff – it must be magical. The players escape the cavern via an old rickety boat and an underground river. As they surface the river becomes treacherous with rapids and the boat shatters on a rock. They wash up on shore to find the wizard Mez has claimed the staff and explains that it has powers of mind control, which is amplified by the magic stone (from Adventure 1). He is off to find the third artifact in his devious scheme to control all races in the land.

Adventure 3: Race To The Helmet

Prep: Draw a map of the Seven Lakes area on a piece of cardboard then cut it up into small pieces. The players will have to assemble the puzzle when they visit the magic shop Bits and Pieces. If you want to make it extra hard, draw a different map on each side and cut the pieces in identically sized squares.

One of the characters has a vision of an elf maiden who invites them to the Blue Wizard's Tower (#42) for answers and direction. They travel to the tower, which is on a small island at the center of a circular lake. They meet Ben, the Blue Wizard, who tells them about Mez's evil plans. He is trying to uncover an ancient and powerful helmet that is guarded by a giant in an underground cavern, deep below an area known as Seven Lakes (#16). Seven Lakes is surrounded my mountains and virtually inaccessible. If Mez gets the helmet he will become virtually unstoppable.

To get to the underground cavern the characters need a magic Flute of Underwater Breathing. They must travel between cities gathering information about how to get into the underground cavern by visiting the following magic shops: You Break It You Buy in Bellister Province (#10) it – where inevitably someone breaks something in the shop; Alice’s Poodles & Magical Items in Rivershire Harbor (#12) – who's poodle Muffin Top has gone missing; and Bits and Pieces in Gilldor (#21) – where the players must solve the puzzle that reveals a map to the magic flute. With this information Ben sends them on their way with magic beans that will teleport them back to his island.

Once they gain the map to the flute, retrieve it, and head back to Ben's, he has figured out a way to get them into the Seven Lakes area. With flute in hand the players catch a Goblin Zeppelin over the mountains into the Seven Lakes area. The players are unexpectedly strapped with crude Goblin parachutes and pushed out of the Zeppelin. Roll a die to see if they deploy – if not the players better hope someone has a feather spell.

In the Seven Lakes area the players can battle, avoid, or befriend the native races while they search for the giant's cave. Once located they can sneak past the sleeping giant, play the flute, and swim into the underground cavern. The underground cavern is crisscrossed with rivers and waterfalls that must be carefully navigated, with nasty things to battle on the way. The helmet can be seen at the top of a spire. Mez is seen in the cavern going for the helmet and they must race him to it. Once they claim the helmet they can eat their beans and get teleported back to Ben's tower.

Adventure 4: Siege On The Blue Wizard's Tower

Prep: Plan several waves of enemy attacks; pre-roll hit dice and note weapons and armor.

Back at the Blue Wizard's Tower (#42), Ben is troubled, and goes out mushroom hunting to think. He returns yelling warnings from across the lake and starts frantically paddling across in a boat. An arrow soars through the air and catches him through the heart. The players swim out to rescue him (hopefully) and with his last few breaths he tells the players that the helmet is an ancient and evil artifact with a demon trapped inside it. The helmet will attract all nearby evil to it now that it has been awakened.

In less than a day the edges of the lake are surrounded by orcs, gnolls, goblins, ogres, and more. They are setting up camps and crafting crude rafts. Soon they attack, drawn by the power of the helmet. The players must fortify the island and tower, protect the helmet, and survive wave after wave of frenzied enemies.

Furthermore, to spice things up, anyone in possession of the helmet must periodically make a saving throw vs spell to resist its power, or succumb to its control and turn on the other players.

Adventure 5: Escape The Island

Prep: Draw a map of an underground passageway that runs under the lake. The passage contains giant spiders, skeletons, a magical lamp, and rivers of lava.

The players awaken and dimly remember an epic battle that raged through the night. As they get up they start to discover the devastating aftermath. The island is now surrounded by thousands of enemy encampments completely encircling the island. The inhabitants of The Blue Wizard's Tower mention to the players a rumor that Ben had a secret underground passage that leads out of the tower and under the lake. Rummaging through Ben's personal chambers for clues and/or searching for secret doors will reveal the passage at the back of the massive fireplace in the tower's common room. The party gathers supplies, the locals, the helmet, and descends into the dark underground in hopes of escaping the blockade and their inevitable slaughter.

The passage obviously hasn’t been used in dozens of years and is covered in dust and cobwebs. The players must navigate an underground maze full of giant spiders, traps, and puzzles involving a magic lantern that reveals secret passageways and invisible bridges over rivers of lava, while slaying zombies and crushing skeletons. At the dungeon's exit, a giant fire breathing lizard emerges from a pool of lava and blocks their escape!

Adventure 6: A Magical Forest

Prep: Draw a map of a forest with a Mushroom City, a Massive Stump, a Dryad Tree, an Old Battle Field, a Cave, and some Ancient Ruins.

Note: This quest was whipped up because a few of our regular players couldn't make it and a few guest players were invited to join. This is a fun way to accommodate missing players into the story line or add new players to the campaign while pulling a fast one on the rest.

Escaping the dungeon into the dark of night, the PCs find themselves in a thick forest filled with the noises of animals and crickets (Forestbrook #25 – which means the underground passage from the Blue Wizard's Tower must have teleported them half way across the world). The townsfolk of the Blue Wizard's Tower that followed the players through the underground dungeon leave in various directions, headed for cities and farms in search of their families and friends.

Suddenly giant hairy spiders attack out of the forest and start climbing all over the characters! The regulars that are attending the session lose track of their companions. When the battle is over they catch a glimpse of gnolls dragging the ambushed party into the forest. A sprite named Joel pops out of the woods and encourages the players to chase after their friends. The players catch and kill the gnolls and find their companions tied up and stuffed into large sacks. Except upon opening the sacks, the other regulars are nowhere to be found! Instead out pops the new and/or guest players.

The forest search to find their friends is on. Some of the local forest features include:

  • A Mushroom City full of fairy folk (Joel's home).
  • A Massive Stump with a dragon roosting on it.
  • A Dryad Tree with a city of wary dryads.
  • An Old Battle Field full of bones, rusted armor, and broken weapons.
  • A Cave that leads into the Ancient Ruins.
  • Some Ancient Ruins encamped with orcs, gnolls, and ogres.

Upon investigation of each, the players discover the following:

  • At the giant mushrooms, lead there by Joel, they are asked to defeat the ogre Crunchy and Munchy and free the kidnapped fairies imprisoned at the Ancient Ruins.
  • At the Massive Stump or the Dryad Tree the players learn about a tragic love story between the dryad princess and the shape changing dragon of the Stump. The dryads have discovered the dragon has been shape changing to walk among them and has seduced the princess. Resolving the conflict will cause the dragon to give the players a key to the Cave's entrance which can be used to gain stealth access to the Ancient Ruins.
  • The Old Battle Field is simply a distraction, full of dredge skeletons for bashing and extra XP.
  • The Cave, blocked by a locked sturdy metal door (bend bars lift gates anyone?) leads to a secret underground passage ending in the inside of the Ancient Ruins. The key will be needed from the dragon to open the door unless other less conventional methods can be used to gain access.
  • At the Ancient Ruins the player's friends are being held captive in the ogre camp. Access can be gained without the secret passage, however they better be ready to take down or sneak past an army.

Adventure 7: A Town Under Spell

Prep: Create several dream cards that hint at the overarching conspiracy and give clues to how to reverse the wizard's spell and defeat the giant. The cards can be specific to each character.

Wandering out of Forestbrook (#25) the players find themselves in a small valley featuring a small lake, called Emerald Lake (#24), at its center. The road runs north to south and a small farming town lies in the distance. As they walk towards the town they encounter a sleeping farmer off to the side of the road. Entering the town the players slowly discover that the townsfolk are mostly asleep and under a spell. Food and livestock appear to be plentiful but people in town look pale and hollow. Everyone is tired and looks sickly and scared.

The players learn of a nearby hill giant, Big Boots, who demands that the town provides him with a daily fief of produce, livestock, and sometimes even townsfolk who are never seen again. Big Boots commands two ogres and about a hundred orcs who he uses to “keep the peace” in the valley.

The characters are given rooms to sleep in the town’s enormous wooden mountain lodge. The townsfolk are lethargic and don't ask for help or really seem to notice the players. That night each player has a different dream specific to their character, revolving around the Wizard Mez, the ancient helmet, or the sleepy valley. Hand out dream cards that the players can choose to tell each other about or keep secret.

The players can investigate the sleepy town or the valley. Traveling east towards the giant's den requires each player to make a saving throw vs sleep every mile. At the end of the day the townsfolk can be seen giving food and livestock to a group of orcs. The orcs can be followed back to the giant's cave if they don't fall victim to the sleep spell first. The second night, players again have a different dreams revolving around the Wizard Mez, the ancient helmet, or the sleepy valley. Hand out more dream cards.

The players must figure out how to break the wizard's sleep spell, releasing the townsfolk who will then help them. Then they may attack or sneak into the giant's den, past his army of orcs and ogres. There they must poison or defeat Big Boots. Once the giant is defeated the relentless wizard Mez reveals himself, upset they killed his pet giant, and reveals that the be-spelled town was a trap he laid to try and take the helmet from them. After a short conflict, Mez vanishes with the words, "We'll meet again soon!" reverberating around the cavern.

Adventure 8: Storm The Castle

Prep: Draw a map of a city with a large keep at its center.

The characters are approached by the Nomad Bear People Tribe who are a race of bear tamers. They have heard of the siege on the Blue Wizard's Tower (Adventure 4) and know the players carry the demon-helmet-artifact. The Bear People explain that their tribe once possessed a magical healing crystal that may have the power to rid the helmet of the demon's presence. However the crystal was stolen from them during a raid on their tribe by their rival, Gilldor (#21), the kingdom to the north, that hunts the Bear People for sport. The players are asked to help the Bear People by retrieving the crystal and in turn they will preform a ritual and attempt to use it to exorcise the demon from the helmet.

The players must devise a plan and storm the castle to regain the crystal for the Nomad Bear People Tribe. However the wizard Mez has learned of the plot through his crystal ball and has used his staff of mind control on select individuals in the city guard. The players unknowingly are walking into a trap.

Final Thoughts

That's as far as we made it in this campaign. This was one of the most fun D&D games I've ever DMed (and I've been DMing since about 1995). I was mostly making things up as we went along, doing last minute late night prep the day before each session. I found this to be a really fun storyline to DM and I think the players enjoyed most of it too. Feel free to use any or all of these ideas in your sessions. Happy hunting! If this was useful to you, leave me some feedback in the comments!