The adventurers come upon a rough, one-room cabin in the woods. It is ramshackle, about to collapse by the look of it. From outside the cabin, the party can hear a woman screaming in pain. Her agony will continue until the party intervenes. The door of the abode is unlocked and falls off its hinges if opened. Inside the shabby dwelling is a man and a woman. The woman lies on her back, atop a blood soaked bed. She is in labor, in the midst of a difficult delivery. A wide-eyed man in a worn tunic stands over her, moving from side to side, unsure what to do. A few chairs in the room look to have been shattered against the walls.
Some kind of rupture has occurred, the adventurers can see serious blood flowing from the woman. She is in deadly danger. Between screams she will implore the party to help but won’t say how.
The man will start to cry and say, “My lady, your fruit has fallen from the tower, and the ostrich has yet to return.” He will continue to flutter around in anxiety. He can not lend a helping hand.
No form of healing will halt the woman’s blood loss. Her turmoil can be soothed by party members if they are willing to help in the delivery. If they don’t help then the woman will die without giving birth. At least three adventurers need to help in order to save her, weather trying to comfort her or helping with the actual delivery. Anyone that helps will get splashed with or covered in blood.
If the party helps then a baby will be delivered. Immediately afterwards the man will scream and run outside the house, unless stopped – not that it matters. If he is retained, he will babble, “Aid only comes from the blue, the hue that is true. I’m so, so sorry. The ravens have eaten all the breadcrumbs.”
The woman will smile with relief after the delivery, shortly before dying. Then, while the infant is held by a party member, the woman, man, the very house will all vanish. The party will find themselves in a small clearing in the woods, where the cabin was. The sights, smells and sounds are all gone without trace. The blood remains, however, and in the place of the baby is a blood-covered book. If the party doesn’t help then the cottage will still disappear within two rounds of the woman’s death.
The book is large, containing several hundred pages, and it is locked closed with an ornate golden lock. It has no sigils upon it. It will radiate magic if checked, as will the lock. Where might the key be? Is there a magical means to open the book? These are for the DM to determine.
The entire scene is actually the dream of a sleeping god. The party can interact with it but nothing physical will come from it save the blood and the book. The blood can be wiped away normally but it does mark the PCs as participants in the dream. This is a side-effect of the god waking up. The god will bestow a blessing on those PCs that helped it’s dream end well, with the woman delivering. Likewise the god will curse those that failed to help. The blessing is that the first successful attack given by each marked PC, in their next fight, will deal an extra 3d8 damage.
They will also have the book, which, if they manage to open it, will contain a research spell of the DM’s devising, or five fifth level spells (three Magic User, two Cleric.) These can be determined randomly. They represent some aspect of the god’s knowledge, locked away deep in the god’s mind.
The curse is for the whole party, as the god did see them all fail to help in its dream. All of the party members will gain acid for sweat. This acid will destroy non-living material such as clothing and non-magical armor within five rounds. If members strip naked within 3 rounds and remain so for 1d6 hours, then the acid will become normal sweat again, and their equipment will be saved. The acid will not harm the PC it comes from but touching another person will inflict 1d6 damage.