Here is a little D&D plot idea that I came up with for a party of first-level adventurers. Feel free to use it for your next gaming session if you want.
This adventure begins in the civilized territory of Westhaven, which is marked by five sizable dwellings (Applegate, Darrow, Kielport, Millsend and Thornberry). The small town of Millsend is located on the river Vinewater, north of Spirit Lake. The inhabitants of Millsend, which include several hundred families, are predominantly agricultural laborers. Recently, the town’s tree cutters have reported sightings of strange creatures in the woods surrounding Spirit Lake, causing them to abandon their logging sites. Since Millsend depends on the regular flow of logs to the other towns to sustain its economy, the town is in need of someone to investigate the woods and hopefully rid them of any unwanted visitors.
Spirit Lake sits at a higher elevation than the surrounding countryside, resting just above the base of the mighty Slumbering Hills. Very few people have ever wandered up into the hills and returned to tell about it. However, the lower region, including Spirit Lake, has been considered safe until the recent sightings. The lake is virtually surrounded by forest, with some obvious logging activity creating an opening to the south, where the Vinewater flows down into the lowlands.
The creatures which have alarmed the loggers are satyrs, which have come down from the mountains to the south. If any of the loggers is asked for information about the creatures, their reports will vary from seeing strange lights or devil-shadows to hearing strange voices or even sweet music. The satyrs are not hostile, but do not wish any interaction with people. However, it will be the task of the adventuring party to make contact with the satyrs, and see if a solution to the logging problem can be reached.
Farther up the hillside, the woods turn faerie in nature. It’s quite possible that anyone adventuring up the hills south of Spirit Lake will encounter other fey creatures such as pixies, dryads or sprites. However, the players should be discouraged from adventuring south until they are at a higher level. Encountering the satyrs will reveal that they have been temporarily exiled from their woods for excessive revelry. The satyrs are not allowed to return (by the centaurs who exiled them) until they obtain a special magic artifact to prove their worth. The magic item will have to be located by the adventurers to rid Spirit Lake of the satyrs.
The magic artifact that the satyrs require is a red crystal ball, which was mischievously taken from the centaurs by a couple of pixies, and thrown into the waters of Spirit Lake. Finding the crystal ball would be nearly impossible, but the pixies finally revealed to the chief centaur that they saw it float down the Vinewater, into the lowlands. The crystal ball is but one of a pair that can spy on each other. So, the person who peers into one crystal ball would be able to peer out of the second, and vice versa. The satyrs are in possession of the blue crystal ball, but will not offer it freely to the adventurers. Instead, they will ask the party to bring them some fine wine as compensation for loaning out the blue crystal ball. Once the satyrs have their wine, they will hand over the blue crystal ball so that the party can use it to find the other one.
The fine wine can be purchased at various shop locations in Westhaven, although it would be quite expensive. The wine can also be acquired by thievery, or from Vinberry Cellars, outside the village of Thornberry. The Vinberry winemaker will give a few bottles in exchange for ridding his wine cellar of a few beasties, namely giant spiders and rats. If the party tries to give the satyrs cheap wine, they will reject it after inspection (opening the bottle).
Once the adventurers have the blue crystal ball from the satyrs, they can peer into it to try to locate the red crystal ball. However, since only the red ball’s surroundings will be revealed, they will have to piece together clues to determine its whereabouts.