A modest estate within the city, the Yew Lane Estate is a small walled estate with three buildings. The main building is the estate house proper – two-storied stone construction with a small (unmapped) attic and servant’s basement, topped with a gently sloped slate roof. Attached to the estate wall is a small gardener’s house (lower left) and the carriage house (upper right) also made of local stone although with a lot more wood than in the main house.
When the church of Zollis the Untouched was disbanded, the high deacon left the holy city and moved here to get away from the old church’s flock and the many troubles that still dogged it. With funds most likely funneled from the old church’s coffers, she bought the Yew Lane Estate and restarted her life as Lady Delles. Of course, she likely still has a fair amount of church funds to her name, and definitely is still in possession of a few “no-longer-sacred” artifacts that could attract the attention of many an adventurer, sage, or thieves’ guild.
Running the Adventure
Yew Lane Estate can be placed within any large city or town in your campaign. In addition to the roleplaying opportunities presented by the NPCs here, it can also be run as a classic jewel heist, kidnapping, or just even a “raid the compound” event for the NPCs.
Unlike a typical adventure, there is no set level for characters. The adventure can be played by characters of 1st – 15th Levels. Rules for scaling the adventure are included in the article.
Unless otherwise stated, here are the general features for Yew Lane Estate.
- Outer Walls. The walls of Yew Lane Estate are 15 feet high and made of massive limestone blocks topped with lush, green ivy. The guards who keep posts at areas #U1b and #U2b can see over the wall. Climbing the walls require a DC 12 Strength (Athletics) check to get over. Thanks to the thick ivy, ropes aren’t necessary.
- 5th Level and up. the ivy is enchanted and attacks any intruder that tries to enter the complex. Noticing that the ivy is alive requires a DC 15 Intelligence (Nature) check. Any creature that attempts to climb the wall must make a DC 13 Strength saving throw or become restrained by the ivy (escape DC 13). Dealing 5 slashing damage to the ivy (AC 11) also frees the creature without harming it. If the ivy takes fire damage, it automatically releases the creature. The guards at #U1b and #U2b notice when the ivy moves and alert Alzan and the other guards.
- 11th Level and up. If a creature is restrained by the ivy mentioned above, at the start of its next turn, it must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the creature takes 6d8 poison damage and is paralyzed for 1 minute, or half as much damage and doesn’t fall unconscious. A paralyzed creature can repeat its saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself with a success.
- Main Gate. The largest entrance into Yew Lane Estate is the wrought iron fence and gate on the north side of the estate. The gate is kept shut at all times and the two guards that keep watch over the gate are well-trained, allowing access only to those who have an invitation from the Lady of the Estate. Their Wisdom (Insight) checks made to overcome Charisma (Deception, Intimidation, or Persuasion attempts are made with advantage.
- 5th Level and up. The gate has an arcane lock spell cast upon it that prevents uninvited guests from entering unless one of the guards specifically asks it to allow access. If an uninvited creature attempts to enter. The DC to break it open when shut is 22.
- 11th Level and up. In addition to the arcane lock spell, a glyph of warding has also been cast upon the gate, triggered when any creature that is uninvited or unemployed by the Lady attempts to enter. A creature that passes through the gate without permission must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 5d8 lightning damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.
- Outer Doors. In addition to the gates, there are two more ways into the wall. There are the carriage house doors (area #C1) and the side door leading into the gardener’s house (area #G3). These doors are kept locked and guarded. One guard guards the door into the gardener’s house and two more guard the carriage house. These doors are thick, wooden doors, kept locked at all times. The DC to break these doors open or pick the locks with thieves tools is 15.
- 5th Level and up. Arcane lock spells are cast on the doors and can only be opened by employees of Lady Delles. Those who have access can welcome anyone through. The DC to break open the doors or pick the locks with thieves tools is 25. In addition, these doors are glamoured with alarm spells that telepathically alert Alzan (see the Appendix) should a break-in occur.
- Estate Walls. The estate’s outer walls are made of large, limestone blocks. The windows are made of leaded glass. Also, the carriage house and gardener’s house have a lot more wood than the estate does.
- Estate Doors. The heavy wooden doors leading out into the courtyard (including those in the gardener’s house and carriage house) are kept unlocked during the day but locked at night. The DC to break these doors open or pick the locks with thieves tools is 15.
- 5th Level and up. Arcane lock spells are cast on the doors and can only be opened by employees of Lady Delles day or night. Those who have access can welcome anyone through. The DC to break open the doors or pick the locks with thieves tools is 25.
- Interior Doors. All of the interior doors are made of lighter wood than the outer doors. During the day, most are propped open allowing air and heat from the fires to flow without obstruction.
- Ceilings. The ceilings in the main manor are 15 feet high. In the gardener’s house and carriage house, the ceilings are 10 feet high. Murals, tapestries, paintings, bas-reliefs and other lavish decorations adorn nearly every inch of wall space, putting the Lady’s wealth on full display.
- Floors. The floors of the house are laid tile and exquisitely decorated. Imported rugs are a common feature in every room.
- Light. There are lanterns cast with continual light in each room. Most of the lights automatically dim in the late evening. In addition, the fireplaces in each of the rooms are usually lit shortly after sunset.
Here are the descriptions of each of the locations in the Yew Lane Estate. Some of the areas have scalable features, meaning that they change depending on the level the characters are when they encounter them.
The grounds of the Yew Lane Estate are well-cared for by Lady Delles’ gardener, Tommen and his assistants. Multiple paths curl and dive through the lush trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses of the estate, demonstrating the care and expertise of the gardening team.
No matter the time of day, three pairs of guards regularly walk the premises. They’re well-paid and extremely professional. Each round during their patrol, they spend it surveying the grounds. Assume the guards have proficiency in Perception even their stat block says that they don’t. Furthermore, the constant alertness provides a +5 bonus to their passive Perception checks.
The courtyard is divided into three main areas as detailed below.
Area Y1 – Main Entry
The main gate is a wrought-iron fence that opens outward onto Yew Lane. A cobblestone path connects the lane to the front of the house. During parties and gatherings, Goller and the servants take the reins of the horses and carriages and park them in either the main carriage house or a reserved spot off premises.
Two guards wait by the gates (see the Appendix). They confront anyone who approaches the door requesting proof of invitation or a statement of affairs. They never leave their posts unless they are relieved by one of the patrolling guards from within or the next shift.
More details of the front gate are provided under the general features description.
Area Y2 – Eastern Gardens
The grounds to the east between the carriage house are filled with all manner of vegetation. Multiple paths wind and cut their way through these lush gardens.
Area Y3 – Southern Gardens
A small gazebo overlooking a koi pond dominates the gardens at the rear of the house. Lady Delles and Sir Reginair sometimes have an early dinner here.
Estate Lower Level
Yew Lane Estate is a sight to behold. Lady Delles’ wealth is immediately apparent to any who enter the estate.
Area L1 – Foyer
This lavishly decorated entryway with 30-foot ceilings is worthy of awe. Alzan and his men (see the Appendix) are usually posted here, staying just out of view of those who enter. They stay to the left, although a guard stands at the door to Lady Delles’ chambers by area #U3d.
Treasure. This room contains 3 art objects. The value of the objects depends on the character’s levels: 25 gp each (1st-4th), 250 gp each (5th-10th), 750 gp each (11th-15th).
Area L2 – Alzan’s Office
This room was once the Lady’s solarium, but as she grew more paranoid and hired more security, she allowed Alzan to take over the room. A large, wooden desk faces the double doors into the room. The doors are usually locked. Only Delles and Alzan have a key.
Treasure. Alzan keeps a hand crossbow in a false bottom within one of the desk’s drawers. Finding the crossbow requires a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check. The hand crossbow is magical; its bonus is determined by the character’s levels when they find it: +1 (1st-4th), +2 (5th-10th), +3 (11th-15th).
Area L3 – Main Lounge
Comfortable couches, armchairs, and other luxuries fill this room.
Area L4 – Kitchen
The kitchen is constantly staffed, even late in the evenings. When the Lady turns in and Reginair (see the Appendix) can’t sleep, he can sometimes be found here snacking. The stairs lead down to the servants’ basement which has the stores and cleaning supplies for the house, laundry facilities, and a lounge for the workers. There are cots, too, in case workers need to stay overnight.
Area L5 – Library
This is the Lady’s extensive library. There are nearly 4,000 books here on all subjects. A character that makes an Intelligence (Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion) check in the Lady’s library does so with advantage as long as the topic’s DC is 12 or less. Each book weighs 5 lbs. and can be resold for 13 gp each. The sales price is fixed regardless of the character’s levels. It’s simply a matter of figuring out how to get all the books out of the library.
Area L6 – Dining Room
This formal dining room has a massive 20-foot long mahogany table that can comfortably seat 16 guests.
Treasure. The Lady’s silverware and stoneware are imported and in very fine condition. The sets weigh 100 lbs all together and its value depends on the character’s levels: 100 gp (1st-4th), 250 gp (5th-10th), 2,500 gp (11th-15th).
Estate Upper Level
The upstairs are divided into two distinct areas. The western wing are for the Lady’s guests. Typically, Reginair beds here (Lady Delles, being old-fashioned, won’t allow him to sleep in the same bed as her) when he visits, which is often. The eastern wing hosts Lady Delles’ chambers.
Area U1 – Guest Lounge
This is a comfortable seating area for the Lady’s guests and includes a large bathtub in the northeastern corner. Reginair often naps in one of the chairs here. A guard stands watch on the balcony (area #U1b).
Area U2 – Guest Chambers
A massive bed fills this room in addition to an empty armoire and dresser; it’s a guest room. One of the Lady’s guards surveys the northern end of the Estate from the balcony (area #U2b).
Area U3 – Lady Delles’ Chambers
Lady Delles’s chambers are truly the lap of luxury. The chambers are divided into 4 main areas: the bedchambers (area #U3a), the Lady’s balcony (area #U3b), the bath and privy (area #U3c), and the Lady’s lounge (area #U3d).
A single guard guards each door. Interestingly, Lady Delles doesn’t allow a guard to stand on her balcony.
Lady Delles retreats to her chambers a few hours before midnight every night. After a bath and some light reading, she turns in and sleeps until sunrise. If the characters are 4th level or higher, Lady Delles uses a guardian of faith to protect her while she sleeps.
Treasure. Lady Delles’ chambers have a wide variety of art and jewelry, the value of which is determined by the characters’ level: 350gp (1st-4th), 1,000 gp (5th-10th), 10,000 gp (11th-15th).
In addition, the Lady Delles hides the Vestments of Zollis (see below) in a secret compartment in the fireplace in the bathroom. Finding the secret compartment requires a DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) check. If the characters are 5th level or higher, the compartment is trapped. Disabling the trap requires a DC 16 Intelligence (Arcana) check. Otherwise, the box creates a burst of lightning, dealing 5d8 lightning damage to each creature within 20 feet of the compartment.
The Vestments of Zollis. At the end of her reign as the high deaconess of the church of Zollis the Untouchable, Lady Zollis made off with valuable artifacts from the church. But what are they? Of course, that’s up to you and your plot, but if you need a few suggestions, here are some ideas that can help depending on the characters’ level.
- 1st – 4th Level. Art objects worth 125 gp or a robe with light armor sewn into it that acts as mithril chain mail (it only weighs 20 lbs).
- 5th – 10th Level. Art objects worth 1,250gp or a robe of evasion (works like a ring of evasion, but is a robe instead).
- 11th – 15th Level. Art objects worth 3,750 gp or a robe of scintillating colors.
The Lady’s carriage is here, along with her two draft horses and her riding horse Galavas. The horses are all in exceptional shape and have maximum hit points, 33 hp, and 22 hp respectively. Reginair stables his old warhorse, Otis here, too.
C1 – Stables
Goller’s often found here, caring for the horses and sneaking drinks. Despite being a stable, it’s relatively clean. Fresh seasonal herbs and potpourri keep the smell of horse dung at a minimal.
C2 – Food Stores
This room is filled with food for the horses.
C3 – Maintenance Room
The tools necessary to perform regular maintenance the estate are kept here.
C4 – Smith
This room itself is filled with all the tools necessary to do smith work. There isn’t always a smith on site as Goller can do a majority of the necessary work for the horses and Alzan outsources the work for his men’s weapons. At any given time, the weapons that the guards use (depending on their level) are found here.
Lady Delles’ loyal gardener, Tommen, lives here. He’s an old man and keeps quiet, doing his job and keeping his nose out of the business of others.
G1 – Entry
This small tidy entry has a small kitchenette and dining table for Tommen to prepare himself meals when he doesn’t wish to bother the staff.
G2 – Bath and Privy
This is where Tommen washes up.
G3 – Tommen’s Bedchambers
The northern half of the room is a seating area for Tommen to read books borrowed from the Lady’s library. The southern half is his bed. Tommen keeps a stash of coins in the hollow of his mattress. Finding it takes a DC 11 Intelligence (Investigation) check. There is 25 gp in the pouch, regardless of the characters’ level.
Appendix: Important NPCs and Encounters
The Yew Lane Estate has a number of important NPCs that the players can encounter on the grounds in addition to trained guards and servants. Here are their statistics along with scalable statistics for each.
Lady Delles (LN female human)
Formerly High Deacon Onus of the Church of Zollis the Untouched, Lady Delles quietly moved to the city and purchased the Yew Lane Estate. The few who have met her remark that she’s friendly if quiet, with an air of mystery to her. Those who work for her know that she can be somewhat paranoid and often cold in her instruction. Recently, she’s taken on a lover in Sir Reginair, the famous retired knight.
She can usually be found in her chambers (area #U3) or in the gardens (areas #Y1-3). Chester and Bert are two her vigilant bodyguards that are at her side at all times.
Scaling Lady Delles
Should the characters challenge Lady Delles, her statistics change depending on the average level that the characters are when they meet her. Use the following guidelines to scale Lady Delles and her guards:
- 1st Level – Lady Delles is a priest but cannot cast spirit guardians and is a CR 1 (100 XP) challenge. She is always accompanied by two guards.
- 2nd Level – Lady Delles is a priest. She is always accompanied by two guards.
- 3rd Level – Lady Delles is a priest. She is always accompanied by two thugs.
- 4th Level – Lady Delles is always accompanied by two thugs. She is a priest, with the following changes to her stats:
- She wears breastplate armor (AC 15).
- She has 44 (8d8 + 8) hit points.
- She is an 8th-level spellcaster. Her spells remain the same, but she has 1 additional 3rd level spell slot, and can also cast the following 4th level spells (2 slots): banishment and guardian of faith. She always casts guardian of faith in her bedchambers before bedding for the evening.
- Her challenge is CR 3 (700 XP).
- 5th Level – Lady Delles is a priest, but with the same changes as noted above for 4th level. She is always accompanied by two knights.
- 6th Level – Lady Delles is a high priestess. She is always accompanied by two thugs.
- 7th Level – Lady Delles is a high priestess. She is always accompanied by two knights.
- 8th & 9th Level – Lady Delles is a high priestess. She is always accompanied by two helmed horrors.
- 10th Level – Lady Delles is a high priestess. She is always accompanied by two gladiators.
- 11th Level – Lady Delles is a war priest (VGtM, p218). She is always accompanied by two gladiators.
- 12th Level – Lady Delles is a war priest (VGtM, p218). She is always accompanied by two gladiators.
- 13th Level – Lady Delles is a war priest (VGtM, p218). She is always accompanied by a shield guardian (she stores a 4th-level cure wounds spell within it that triggers when her hit points drop below half) and a mage.
- 14th Level – Lady Delles is a war priest (VGtM, p218). She is always accompanied by a shield guardian (she stores a 4th-level cure wounds spell within it that triggers when her hit points drop below half) and a diviner (VGtM, p213).
- 15th Level – Lady Delles is a war priest (VGtM, p218). She is always accompanied by a shield guardian (she stores a 4th-level cure wounds spell within it that triggers when her hit points drop below half) and a champion (VGtM, p212).
Sir Reginair (LG or LE male human)
Sir Reginair is a retired soldier and well-known around the city. He is also the romantic interest of Lady Delles (although, she’d prefer people didn’ t know about it). Reginair is suave, well-spoken, and a charmer. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit a gambler and owes money all over town to numerous bookies.
If it’s daylight, Reginair is probably somewhere on the estate, lurking. As a regular guest, he could be found anywhere including speaking with the gardener, driver, or even the captain of the guard, Alzan.
Should Lady Delles’ life be in danger, he’ll tell her to return to her quarters with her guards. She, of course, argues with the old charmer but knows he’s too stubborn to ever take “no” for an answer and will eventually concede, despite being more than capable of handling herself.
Should the characters challenge Reginair, his statistics change depending on the average level that the characters are when they meet him. Use the following guidelines to scale Reginair:
- 1st Level – Reginair is a noble, but with the following changes to his statistics:
- He has 39 (6d8 + 12) hit points.
- His Constitution score is 14 (+2).
- He has multiattack, which allows him makes three melee attacks as an action.
- He is CR 1 (200 XP).
- 2nd Level – Reginair is a swashbuckler (VGtM, p217), except he only makes two attacks with his multiattack (one rapier and one dagger) and is CR 2 (450 XP).
- 3rd Level – Reginair is a swashbuckler (VGtM, p217).
- 4th Level – Reginair is a swashbuckler, except he has 99 (18d8 + 18) hit points and is CR 4 (1,100 XP).
- 5th Level – Reginair is a gladiator.
- 6th & 7th Level – Reginair is a gladiator, but with the following changes to his statistics:
- Reginair has the Indomitable trait which he can use twice a day to reroll a failed saving throw.
- Reginair has the Second Wind trait. As a bonus action, he can regain 20 hit points. This trait recharges after a short or long rest.
- His CR is 6 (2,300 XP).
- 8th, 9th, & 10th Level – Reginair is a champion (VGtM, p212).
- 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, & 15th Levels – Reginair is a warlord (VGtM, p220).
Alzan (LN male human)
Alzan is the loyal captain of Lady Delles’ guard. While young (late twenties), he’s already seen a few ugly wars. He’s also very quiet, preferring to keep to himself. Like the other guards of the manor, he doesn’t live on the premises. Regardless, he works long hours and is almost always found on site. It’s not uncommon to find him napping in the servant’s basement after a long shift.
Typically, Alzan is found in the estate’s entryway (area #L1) along with a retinue of guards.
Should the characters challenge Alzan, his statistics change depending on the average level that the characters are when they meet him. Use the following guidelines to scale Alzan:
- 1st Level – Alzan is a thug and is accompanied by two guards.
- 2nd & 3rd Level – Alzan is a thug and is accompanied by six guards.
- 4th Level – Alzan is a bandit captain (his alignment is lawful neutral) and is accompanied by two guards.
- 5th, 6th, and 7th Level – Alzan is a knight and is accompanied by three spies.
- 8th, 9th, and 10th Level – Alzan is a knight with 80 hp. He is accompanied by two more knights.
- 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th Level – Alzan is a knight with 80 hp. He is accompanied by five more knights.
- 15th Level – Alzan is a champion (VGtM, p212) and he is accompanied by four knights.
Tommen (LN male human commoner or ghost)
Tommen has been the gardener at the Yew Lane Estate since before even Lady Delles was its proprietor. Now in his seventies, he’s not as effective as he once was, and is often helped out by a pair of younger assistants who he constantly grouches at. If its the day time and the weather is good, he’s out in the courtyard (areas #Y1-3). At night, he returns to his home in the gardener’s house (areas #G1-G3).
As an option, Tommen can be a ghost that continues to manage the grounds. He will not attack the characters outright but will defend himself if pressed.
Goller (N male halfling commoner)
Lady Delles has had a run of bad luck when it comes to someone filling the role of driver and stablehand. Hopefully, Goller, a halfling with a slight stutter is the solution to her problem. Goller lives on the far end of town but has avid experience with horses. He’s a great driver, too, except when he’s drunk, which, unfortunately, is often. Tommen and Alzan have discovered Goller unconscious in the carriage house on more than one occasion. Or even worse, Goller’s wife, Myca (NG female halfling commoner) has discovered him there and given him a tongue lashing. Thanks to that, the guards often mock the poor driver.
If it’s the day, Goller is tending to the horses in the carriage house (area #C1). There’s an old cot in the smith shop (area #C4) which he’s been known to pass out in.
Servants (any alignment, sex, or race commoners)
In addition to Tommen and Goller, there are 11 total servants who work in the Yew Lane Estate. Their roles are as follows:
- 2 gardening assistants (found in areas #Y1-3).
- 1 chef with 2 assistants (found in area #L5).
- 2 handmaidens to Lady Delles (found in area #U3).
- 2 housekeepers (can be found anywhere in the main estate)
- 2 assistant stablehands (found in areas #C1-4).
Guards (any lawful alignment, any alignment, sex, or race)
Lady Delles keeps a number of guards on the premises in addition to Bert and Chester and Alzan and his retinue.
The guards can be found at the following locations:
- 2 guards stand sentry at the front gates (area #Y1).
- 1 guard keeps watch on each balcony (areas #U1b and U2b). Both of these guards are armed with ranged weapons.
- 6 guards walk the outside premises (areas #Y2-3).
- 2 guards stand by the doors to Lady Delles’ chambers (area #U3a and #U3d).
- 1 guard keeps watch at the entrance to the gardener’s house (area #G3).
- 2 guards keep watch at the gates to the carriage house (area #C1).
Scaling the Guards
Depending on the level the characters are when they enter the Yew Lane Estate, the guards have different statistics. With a few exceptions, the guards are usually found in pairs.
- 1st & 2nd Levels – The guards are scouts armed with short bows.
- 3rd & 4th Levels – The guards are bandit captains armed with short bows. Adjust their multiattack so that they can only make two melee attacks, both with their scimitars. Their CR is 1 (200 XP) each.
- 5th, 6th & 7th Levels – The guards are veterans.
- 8th, 9th, 10th, & 11th Levels – The guards are gladiators. They are armed with short bows. One or two of the gladiators may also be mages (with 10th or 11th level characters).
- 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Levels – The guards are assassins.
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Art by Fantasy Faire 2015.