Adventure Hooks: Quicklings

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on April 19, 2014

a-to-z-2014-qQuicklings are an evil race of Fey sprites who are very fast, very mischievous, and very dangerous. It’s believed that they were once Brownies, but through their own misdeeds were transformed into Quicklings. This might have happened when they tried to master magic beyond their control, or it might have happened when they were punished for stealing a rare magic book from an Arch Fey queen, or some combination of the two tales – the stories vary depending on who you ask. What’s important is that adventurers realize just how dangerous these little buggers are and not to underestimate them.

Throughout April Dungeon’s Master is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge is to write a new article ever day in April, excluding Sundays. That’s 26 articles over the course of the month. To make things even more interesting the title of each article will begin with a different letter of the alphabet. This year we’ve decided that every article will provide our readers with new adventure hooks. Today “Q” is for Quickling as we share some adventure hooks featuring one of my favourite monsters.

quickling-01The description of what Quicklings look like has changed with each new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. They first appeared in the original AD&D Monster Manual 2 and have appeared in every edition of D&D since. Most accounts describe them as small and slender, similar in proportion to Elves, just a lot shorter. However, in the 4e Monster Manual they have grey skin, sharp fangs and look menacing and scary. As the DM you can have them look however you like, taking whatever form best suits your campaign. Just be consistent or have a good explanation for why their look changes.

I’ve been a fan of Quicklings since I first read about them in the MM2 and in my mind they’ll always look like little Elves. In the adventure hooks we share today I’m assuming that the Quicklings wear clothes and look normal, not like the naked gray horrors shown in the 4e MM.

Regardless of how they look, Quicklings are always described as highly intelligent and cunningly devious. In terms of game mechanics, this means they should have high Intelligence and high Wisdom scores. Make sure that you keep this in mind when you use them in your game – they’re smart and dangerous.

Adventure Hooks: Quicklings

1. The Forbidden Book

One of the stories about how Quicklings came into being is that they were Brownies who stole a spellbook from an Arch Fey queen. When the Brownies tried to master the powerful magic they found within, it tainted their souls and transformed them into what they are today. But that’s just a legend, isn’t it? If it’s not, what did the Quicklings do with the spellbook? It just so happens that a pair of Quicklings knows where the book is hidden and they’ve made a deal with a Drow priestess to show her where it is now. Can the PCs take the chance that the book is real and it fall into the hands of an evil Fey spellcaster who may actually be able to use it?

2. It’s In the Blood (Part I)

The next time the PCs seek potions they run into an opportunistic potion maker who is willing to give them potions at a substantial discount if they help him acquire some rare ingredients he needs. In order to make the best Potions of Speed he needs some Quickling’s blood. If the PCs can bring him back enough blood he’ll make it worth their while.

3. It’s In the Blood (Part II)

quickling-02When the PCs visit the potion maker’s establishment to purchase some consumables they hear the sounds of whimpering coming from the basement. Assuming they find a way down there they eventually discover two Quicklings chained up. They explain that the bad man is drawing their blood and using it to make Potions of Speed. If they free the Quicklings the poor little guys will be eternally grateful. Of course, the Quicklings act friendly and innocent but as soon as they’re freed they take off and murder the potion maker. What’s worse, they leave evidence to suggest it was the PCs who did it. If the PCs got into the basement by assaulting the merchant or breaking into his shop, the murder charge is further compounded by these actual lesser crimes.

4. I Want to Live

While traveling through the wilderness the PCs are assisted by a Quickling. His actions are not typical for one of his race so hopefully the PCs hear him out. He explains that his race lives very short lives. Their quickened metabolism burns up their bodies much more quickly than other Fey races. He knows he’s got less than a year left and he doesn’t want to die. He begs the PCs to help him find a way to prolong his life. It’s up the DM to decide if the Quickling knows of a solution and guides the PCs, or if the PCs will have to first find out what might do the trick. The more emotionally vested the PCs become to this strange little creature the more devastating his eventual death will be to the PCs if they can’t find a way to help him.

5. Will Work for Food

Quicklings need to consume a lot of calories every day as their fast movement expends a lot of energy. Normally they steal and hunt to get what they need, but a Quickling recently broke his leg and can’t run. The PCs happen upon the wounded creature and he begs for their help. If the PCs agree to keep him fed until his leg heals he’ll serve them willingly and loyally for 90 days. Can they trust him to keep his word? And why won’t he tell them how he broke his leg?

6. You’re Lucky You’re Funny

The PCs meet a Halfling comedian and take a shining to him. He asks them where they’re headed and what a coincidence that’s where he’s headed too. He asks if he can travel with them, promising that his jokes and funny stories will make the days on the road go by faster. If the PCs agree they soon discover that he’s a real practical joker. At first his practical jokes are amusing, but as the journey continues they get more elaborate and annoying. If the party tried to get rid of him he agrees to tone it down. After all, the roads are dangerous for a lone Halfling so they can’t just abandon him.

[Unbeknownst to the party, the Halfling partnered with a Quickling a few months earlier. It was mutually beneficial for a while but the Halfling eventually took the pranks too far and really angered the Quickling. Realizing that the Quickling might actually kill him, the Halfling’s been on the run ever since. His hope is that the Quickling might try something while the PCs are around and they can kill the troublesome Fey for the Halfling.]

7. I’ll Be Good, I Promise

One of the Fey members of the party (ideally an Eladrin or Elf) is approached by a Quickling. The PC recognizes the Quickling and knows that they’re evil creatures. The Quickling asks for a chance to speak. He wants to make friends with the other Fey races but realizes that it’s impossible to be accepted in the Feywild as a Quickling. He believes if he repents the Arch Few queen who scorned his race might forgive him. He has a list of six tasks he must compete. The last task is to serve a Fey who is pure of heart. By doing this the Quickling may demonstrate that his heart is as pure as the Fey PC’s. Will the PC and the party give him a chance?

[The DM can take this in one of two ways. The first and easiest is to take the story on its merits and have the Quickling’s tale be genuine. The second is to have the Quickling be a spy who’s trying to infiltrate the party of have the party vouch for him so he can get somewhere he’d never get on his own. Both options work.]

8. How Do We Get Home?

The PCs come across some ancient Eladrin ruins in a wooded area. Maybe they find this place randomly or maybe they’ve been searching for this place as part of a quest. In either case when they find the ruins a group of Quicklings are already about, although they’re being careful to remain hidden. The Quicklings have been stranded in the PCs’ realm since accidentally crossing over from the Feywild a year earlier. Now they just want to get home. They believe that there is magic locked somewhere in the ruins that will open a gateway to the Feywild and they can use it to get back. They see the PCs as a threat and will actively try to get them to leave. However, if there are any Eladrins or Elves in the party they may try to solicit their help to find and activate the gateway. The gateway won’t stay open for long, so if the PCs planned to use it as well the two groups will be at odds once it opens.

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1 Joe April 19, 2014 at 11:16 am

Not so much an adventure hook on its own, but the most visceral description of Quicklings I ever experienced was in a game where we were in a realm devoted to the worship of Torog, the torture god. The reason the quicklings moved so fast was that they had been equipped with special boots that had blades which would cut them if they stopped moving. Therefore the quicklings HAD to move each turn or take damage. The mechanics of the encounter hardly mattered, though, as the torture aspect was what stuck with us.

2 DayDreamer April 19, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Quicklings sound like how I imagine sprites to be. Interesting that the look of them has changed over time in the manuals, wonder why people always want to ‘improve’ on things when there was nothing wrong in the first place.

3 J Lenni Dorner April 19, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Great post. A rarely discussed creature. I like it.

Stopping by from the #atozchallenge !

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