**Caution this post contains spoilers for Children of the Red Rose!**

When I was a child, I had no one to play Dungeons and Dragons with, it being the 80’s and the game not being popular here in the United Kingdom. Now as a father in my 40’s, I have been finally able to play as a dungeon master myself, directing the campaigns of my own children. There is something truly magical in playing DND with kids. Their wide eyes, their laughs, their emotions upon a hero in danger – it really brings the story to life.

Yes – I built my own players!

Our players: the piplins!

After a 6 month break, the D&D returns with the famous “one shot” adventure:

“Children of the Red Rose”

This is a part of the fantastic module pack, “The Ruins of Grendleroot”

Two assassins come to Deepdelver’s Enclave seeking revenge. The hero they hunt, Ruth Willowmane, leads
them to the Den of Bones, where monsters and heroes alike come to die…


This interesting adventure challenged the players to delve deep within a deadly cave and prepare it for the arrival of a team of assassins.

Beginning in their homes, our returning heroes are now LVL 5 and in possession of some terrific equipment. Sophia loves to roleplay and so has taken more spells that trick and confuse her opponents, while Samuel’s samurai has now got a mighty Nodachi (Greatsword), with which he is able to deliver massive damage and a swirling attack once per encounter.

A message arrived inviting the two adventures to a celebratory party in Phandalin for the end of the Giant’s Ordning crisis, or “War of the spears” as the humans know of it, which was solved by the “dragon’s bane” team (see here).

Our duo agreed to attend and spent their remaining time baking various cakes to donate to the celebrations.

Zarmeche, Human ranger

Glittering Diamond. High Elf wizard

Ruth Willowmane – a lawful good female human veteran

The map of the Den of bones (low res because it’s a paid-for map). The numbers are the locations of mobs and a little “puzzle” for the players. The veteran is at (7).

Upon arriving at the event, Samuel’s keen-eyed ranger spotted some troublemakers in the crowd and intervened before they could start their rampage.

His swirling two-handed attacks dispatching two thugs in one round!

Once all six were defeated, they discover that two senior assassins from the Children of the Red Rose are tracking local veteran Ruth Willowmane, who killed an assassin called “Gloom”.

In fear, the whole town was placed in lockdown and that night the veteran slipped out of town to draw the killers away from the townsfolk and towards the monster-infested Den of Bones.

Our heroes followed her in the morning and had two hours to explore the Den of Bones before the assassins’ party arrived.

Carefully they picked their way through the Den, opting to convince which creatures they could to aid them.

In the first area, they quickly convinced a dying troll to help (using a potion from a prior game), then in the second, they cast “dominate monster” (a single shot gift from town) on a tentacled beast residing in the tar pit.

They then crept past the burrowing creature guarding the giant’s bones, before encountering the silver dragon’s remains and spying a ring. Samuel is very wary of cursed items, after many times falling prey to avarice in haste. So Sophia took the dragon’s ring and gained the single-shot “Cone of Cold” spell, which she was warned to use only on evil.

Finally, having arrived at the strange mound, they found the veteran “Willowmane” and joined forces for the battle ahead.

Through investigating carefully, they discovered that within a mound resided a sleeping Purple Worm, which would awake if more than one area of effect spell was cast nearby. Samuel managed to brew a single dose of poison from its dripping tail and coat his sword.

The enemy entered the cave.

Their progress was slowed within each room as the co-opted monsters attacked and devoured the interlopers. The player’s great work here earlier meant that only eight enemies made it to the final battle.

Sophia started it off by immediately casting the cone of cold spell from the dragon ring. This high damage breath weapon wiped out two thugs and injured the rest of the killers.

Samuel strode forwards and slashed with his whirling blade, killing one of the assassins directly (even with evasion saving for half damage!) and near-killing the other. But, he paid the price when the remaining assassin managed to drop him to below zero hit points in a rage over his dead apprentice.

Saving Samuel took Sophia’s only health potion. Willowmane stood her ground and managed to drop the assassin to one hit point.

Trying to make an escape, the assassin cast a fog cloud over the room, thinking to sneak away. However, this area spell woke the worm!

The Purple worm is a mighty monster from DND 1st edition. It has an enormous 240+ hit points and can do serious damage to anyone standing nearby, and this cave is small.

The team were in big trouble.

It failed around in anger and caught the remaining thug with its poisoned tail. It then ate Willowmane. Or tried to – Samuel was able to strength check its swallowing action and pull the lady from its mouth with only a dozen health points left.

Realising that they must flee, they all jumped down from the ridge, leaving the thrashing worm barely visible in the fog cloud and making an enormous racket.

The two assassins

The lethal Purple Worm!

The loot!

As they made to leave via the entrance, the assassin suddenly leapt from the shadows and plunged his blade with a sneak attack into Sophia’s back.

The veteran screamed and stabbed him dead. Our team were all now in low health when suddenly the footsteps of the last Spy from the enemy could be heard. He had made it past the worm and he tried to flee the cave. They captured him and dragged him back to town to face justice.

In the loot from the assassin, they found a multifunctional baton, which went to Samuel and a truth stone, which Sophia took (grumbling it’s not as good – we shall see how well she uses it).

Victory! Thanks to their efforts they gained a new friend in Willowmane, who they may call on in future games.

**Dungeon Master Module Notes**

  • I loved using the worm as a Deus Ex Machina – the last battle could drag if not and the players could get wiped.
  • Players who like to talk their way out of problems will do very well here. Killing the monsters gives no loot and means facing more enemies in the final battle.
  • I allowed the players to take it in turns to control the veteran.
  • Samuel was able to “cure” to troll in the first room using a potion from a prior adventure.
  • I always use a D100 random loot generator now. I make sure nothing gained is OP, and love it when it is interesting. I have multiple books and links to create such items.
  • My players are children, sometimes they need help with remembering how things work, etc. This is the DM’s job.

Buy the module (and the others it comes with) here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/296843/Fantastic-Adventures-Ruins-of-the-Grendleroot-for-5e