While I named the key item in this side quest the Paci Fists(pounced the same as pacifists), choosing a non-comical name won’t change the plot for your game. As always, you are welcome to change any elements or ideas to better suit your table, though I do try and make each idea work well without any changes. In addition, all NPCs are labeled as she, but you can make them to better suit your game.
Your players come across a person tucked away from the kerfuffle of the town/village/city where they currently are. After approaching the distressed-sounding person, they find a heavily armored person with their head drooped down. The person’s elbows rest on their knees while their hands hang slack.
The person will take note of the players and apologize and introduce herself as Joral.
Joral is an adventurer who focuses on healing rather than dealing damage. Joral is a faithful person and believes her magic comes from a divine source (cleric class for Pathfinder/D&D, equivalent or similar for other systems). Joral’s faith believes that killing must be rare. Violence should be a near-to-last resort. However, Joral knows violence can be necessary.
Hoping to avoid it, Joral purchased a magical pair of gauntlets that were supposed to keep her from ever killing anything. Unfortunately, those gauntlets were cursed. Worse, the gauntlets fused to Joral’s hands and she does not know how to remove them.
Joral purchased the Paci Fists from a mystical trader named Cocoux. Cocoux told Joral the gauntlets would never allow the wearer to kill anything, which is due to several effects:
– Any weapon Joral uses deals non-lethal damage (subdual damage/non-lethal/equivalent) instead of whatever damage the weapon should deal (slashing, bludgeoning, piercing, etc.). The Paci Fists themselves also do the same, as do other attacks such as kicks and headbutts. A creature cannot die from reaching 0 HP from any spell or weapon Joral uses, but they will go Unconscious.
– All spell damage is also non-lethal. Unfortunately for Joral, this affects healing spells as well, meaning Joral can never heal anything, only cause non-lethal damage.
– All spells that cause any sort of damage or healing deal non-lethal damage to Joral, leaving Joral with no way to heal other than naturally.
Joral wants help finding Cocoux (the merchant who sold the gauntlets) to have them removed. Joral knows where Cocoux is and will ask or beg the players to help.
Cocoux is a kobold merchant with a lot of connections. Cocoux loves chaos, one of the reasons she sells magical items, some of them cursed. Cocoux deals with unsuspecting adventurers and those that actually want to purchase cursed items, so place Cocoux in an appropriate place related to where your players are at the moment.
Fighting on the Way to Cocoux
If you want to complicate the situation with an encounter, Joral will do the heroic thing and risk her life to save another if necessary. Joral fights with a mace and shield, focusing more on defense than dealing damage, protecting and taking blows for her companions than dealing damage. Though given the curse, Joral can only effectively use damaging spells and non-damaging spells.
Since Joral cannot heal and the players are helping her, Joral will obey their commands on whether or not to back away from a situation that could get her hurt. The players are helping, and Joral will do what she can to help the party.
Cocoux is a crafty kobold. Surrounded by goblin bodyguards, she is not easy to intimidate or interrogate, though Cocoux is chatty and always willing to have a conversation. Cocoux’s dramatic flair and love for the chaotic seeps into her speech and mannerisms, often causing her to increase her volume or perform quickened gestures without warning.
Cocoux is not hostile. When asked about the gauntlets, Cocoux is willing to remove them, but not for free. There are two things the players could do that would make Cocoux agree to remove Joral’s gauntlets.
If each of the players purchases something from Cocoux, Cocoux will remove the Paci Fists. Cocoux has a host of magical items for the players to choose from, all slightly cheaper than what they would normally go for (the discounted amount is left to the GM to decide).
While the players shouldn’t know the details, they should know that there isn’t a guarantee that the item purchased will contain a curse. However, the GM knows that each item has a 30% chance of being cursed. In addition, this 30% chance increases each time a player purchases an item and the previous item isn’t curse. For example, the first player as a 30% chance of the item they want having an unwanted curse attached to it. If the d100 roll is greater than 30, the item is normal. However, the second player to purchase an item has a 60% chance for the item to have an unwanted curse attached to it. Once a player gets a cursed item, the rate drops to 30% again. This curse rate maxes at 90%, giving players a slim but possible chance of not owning a cursed item.
The curse won’t kick in until the next day, allowing the players to use it without negative effects for one day. In addition, there is no reason the players have to use the item purchased.
Cocoux will remove the Paci Fists for one other thing: if the players offer something of worth.
Cocoux is a merchant, so if the players offer an expensive, rare, or unique item (or several of them), Cocoux will consider it a fair trade for removing the gauntlets.
Cocoux will also consider valuable information. Any lofty connections or deals that will significantly further her business (and cause at least a decent amount of chaos on the side) will make her consider removing the Paci Fists.
Cocoux will only agree to any of these terms if she is convinced the players won’t attack once she removes the Paci Fists.
Fighting Cocoux and the Goblin Bodyguards
Fighting Cocoux will not guarantee that she will remove the gauntlets upon defeat.
Cocoux is a spell caster that focuses on spells that disrupt her enemies rather than damaging them. Cocoux prefers spells that separateplayers (walls), disrupt movement (changing the ground or player’s footing), or effects like blind and confuse. Cocoux will do some damaging spells, but Cocoux will leave most of the damage to the goblin bodyguards.
The total number of goblins depends on the level of the players. The goblins use either a serrated sword and shield or a two-handed spear.
The goblins are well-paid and will fight for and with Cocoux until it seems like victory is completely impossible. Then they will flee to try and save themselves. Likewise, Cocoux will fight until victory seems impossible. Then Cocoux will do whatever she can to flee, including leaving some or all of the goblins behind.
What happens to Joral and Cocoux is up to you. Joral could become a mercenary, hired by the players for the most dire of situations. Cocoux could become an interesting vendor, offering strange wares for good prices. If they get on her good side, there might even be a smaller chance of them being cursed.
Paci Fists as a Non-Cursed Item
If the players can remove the curse that binds the gauntlets to Joral, the Paci Fists can be a useful item. They work just as listen above (including not allowing the user to heal magically), but they do not bind to the user. However, given the buckles and straps used to secure it, the gauntlets take 1d4+1 full rounds to remove and 1d4+3 full rounds to don. Having another person use their whole turn to assist cuts the time in half.