This is another one of those encounters with a strange combat hook – I won’t spoil anything here but I’ve been wanting to make this one for a while, and it’s one of my favorites already. :) I’ll be running this as part of a larger adventure this next week for some friends, it’s pretty easy to fit into any campaign as a one-night side trek.

A Life, Deconstructed is a standalone encounter designed for five 9th to 11th-level adventurers. The rural farming village of Casai was not prepared for Movasi and his Magnificent Mechanicals of Mind and Iron, automated mechanisms that have begun replacing the villagers, one by one. The players must confront Movasi and his automatons and rescue the missing farmers before they’re assimilated into Movasi’s stock.

The farming community of Casai is a long way from the modern cities of the world in both distance and mind-set; the lavish comforts of such ivory towers and luxurious markets are of no concern to those living off the land—survival is their only self-indulgence. All alone in the rural wilderness, each day brings a new difficulty that threatens to snatch away the fleeting and precious lives of the vulnerable villagers; packs of wild animals, inclement weather, and disease could deal irreparable damage to a community reliant on every last body to survive. Without enough farmers, ranchers, or guards, the community would starve or fall to predators and be wiped out, making procreation an urgent necessity in Casai; each child works to take over the duties of their family until they have children of their own.

Although life is tough in Casai, the community is at least free from the troubles of the modern world. There are no power struggles or mindless wars; any loss of life would slow down crop and livestock production and cause a famine  that few would survive. But regardless of the dangers, those in Casai serve themselves and no other master—they work their own fields, grow their own food, and spend their nights together in song and dance, free from the greedy and oppressive grasp of kings and their titles. The children are taught this early and often, and even though passing travelers and their stories pique interest in the pleasures found in the outside world, few are willing to leave their families behind, unprotected. After all, there is joy to be found in a simple life.

However, the simple life of Casai has suddenly become a little complicated with the arrival of a mysterious merchant promising the end to all worldly inconvenience. The trader, an eccentric eladrin artificer named Movasi, has come to Casai to set up his unique shop: Movasi’s Magnificent Mechanicals of Mind and Iron, a magical emporium of custom-designed automated machines, capable of everything a human could do—and more. Isolated from guild laws and prying eyes, Movasi has replicated a girl from the village and sent back a magical automaton in her place. Now, his deception in the open, the villagers seek help in finding the girl and bringing justice to Movasi for his crime, and, more importantly, protecting their beloved children—the future of Casai depends on it.

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