Campfire Tales

Posted on Apr 3, 2022 by Admin

5E Adventure

Campfire Tales Image

This one shot adventure was written by Donoven Chase and prepared for The module is a 5th-level 5th Edition adventure intended for 4 characters. It can be played as the kickoff for a larger adventure setting or as a one-shot adventure for your players.

The session was originally planned for DnDCampaignPlanner’s game world. However, it can just as easily be inserted into any other forested area in a world featuring high magic stories. 


This oneshot story is not connected to previous adventures or lore. Its intended purpose is to fill a stale camping encounter with something exciting. Regardless of how you bring your characters into this encounter, consider giving the players a cursory inspection of the location. Ideally, the party should discover setting appropriate victims lying around the campfire, which may be connected to in-game lore. 


This encounter takes place at a campsite just beyond visual sight of roads or other frequented areas. The party sees firelight in the darkness as they begin to rest for the night. When the party goes to investigate, they discover a cozy campsite equipped for a group of four. Once there, the party discovers the remains of several long lost travelers. An especially clever mimic attacks the party. 


After a hard day’s journey, your adventurers have begun to settle in and make camp. Ask your party what steps they take to make camp that night. For those who try to start a fire, tell them the night is especially cold this evening. Any fire worth sitting around will require extra attention and kindling, forcing your players to go venture into the wilderness. If they do not set out to build a fire, then allow them to describe their processes to you or roleplay normally. After a small lapse of time (an hour or two is sufficient) allow the group or their first sentry to notice a fire-light bloom to life in the distance. If the adventurers went to gather wood, have them stumble upon the flare mid scavenge.

When the party moves towards the warm beacon, read the following out loud:

“A warm, red burst of light glows off the nearby trees rustling in the midnight breeze. As you move through them, you place a hand over the top of a bow and push it inwards. The cold dissipates from your body as you make your way into a small clearing lit by a welcoming fire. Your ears are greeted by the sound of crackling wood as a small campfire sits at the very center. Around it are four cozy tents in a semi circle facing across from small logs used for seating. Each tent appears equipped with bed rolls, blankets, and enough gear to feed four.”

The campsite is unattended by any owner, though it does look as though users must have been here even a few moments ago. It is up to your party to discover what happened here. 

Rules of Engagement

There are plenty of ways to discover what has happened here at the campsite. The location is a campfire mimic pretending to be a rest suitable for enough guests as there are tents. The mimic grows with each victim it has consumed, leaving additional tents as well as small mementos of their memory. The party cannot successfully identify the campsite as a mimic so long as it does not move. It is indistinguishable from a normal campsite. There are, however, plenty of signs that what is happening here is not normal. A player may deduce that the campfire mimic is indeed a monstrous entity with an intelligence check of 16. 

If the party makes the decision to sleep inside one of the tents or wait until it's occupants return, then they will be surprised with combat. The campfire mimic reaches up from beneath them and begins it's assault with stabbing pseudopod-like legs coming out from where the tent poles enter the ground. Individuals sleeping inside of the tents have a one in four chance of sleeping inside a tent that contains a bedroll of smothering.

The items around the campsite are made from a very soft, yet pliable substance similar to felt or a fine wood. The longer an occupant touches these objects, the more they are inclined to feel safe and secure in  the area. Start off by describing the touch of these objects as reminding the players of home, or other friendly concepts. Each time an item is subject to an aggressive act such as an angry kick or excessive rubbing, describe the item as recoiling away slightly, ascribing the appropriate damage to a monster if necessary. Creatures who witness this happening can make an investigation check with a DC of 14 to figure out that the items are alive. 

After the players have engaged with the materials more than three times, have them make a wisdom saving throw, but do not reveal why they are making this throw. Players who do not pass a difficulty class of 12 become overwhelmed with their exhaustion and succumb to one of the four beds prepared for them. Players that succeed on this saving throw are immune to the effects of the alluring items for the next 24 hours. 

The Investigation

Each of the tents are outwardly the same, though their insides differ. The far left tent, hereafter referred to as tent one, has a red interior with flashy sequined walls. A few small strings of pearls decorate the roof of the interior, and the bed inside is made from lavish black pillows with golden tassels along the side. At the back, a portrait of the campfire your party is at rests inside. This portrait accurately shows the party moving around the campsite, showing their actions slightly before they occur. If a player regards this portrait while they rest, they will see the mimic attack the party right before it happens, no longer being surprised by the creature. 

Tent two and three are very similar. Both have blue interiors, lined with a thick gray insulating material around the outer edging that makes the tents very cozy. Each contains a small locket with an image of a man (tent 2) and woman (tent 3) facing opposite directions. Both figures are armorclad paladins. At first glance, the images appear to be calm, reflective of their warrior’s position. Upon closer inspection, however, the faces appear terrified of something behind you. Taking the lockets out of the tents make the soldiers stand on guard, ready for battle with their helms lowered. While the lockets won’t engage with the player, any party member can make an intelligence check with a difficulty class of 14 to understand what the images are reacting to.

Tent four is most similar to your own. Inside, there is enough adventuring gear to supply a group of four individuals for several days, as well as gear for mountaineering. The tent is a rough, sandy color with distressed markings along the back. A bedroll is laid bare in the middle of the tent. (bedroll of smothering) One of the packs inside the tent contains the scrap of a journal page which reads:

“Day 127

Tonight I sleep in the company of a stranger's tent. A small campsite was built just a day's travel from my little cabin. I couldn't believe it at first. It's been forever since I last saw anyone out here. Still haven't seen them, really, but I couldn't go home alone being so close. Sitting next to their warm fire, I'm starting to wonder if they aren't at my home in front of my fireplace, whoever they are. Can only hope that they're kind to the prospect of a body keeping warm if they do show up. 

Place is real nice, though. Whoever owns these tents must have some of that big city money. Thinking maybe they can tell my story back in town. Nobody will believe the majesty of the mountain back home, nor the peace I've found. Still, all the peace in the world can't get me a little conversation to pass the time. Sure would be more entertaining than writing to you all the time. No offense, you just never respond. Maybe I can give you that chance. Maybe I'll leave with this stranger back to town. Their stuff is really strange, though. It's like the tent is….breathing? The mountain wind is still cold as ever…it's always so cold out here…"

The letter is a magic object which contains the final memories of its last occupant, a woodsman who lived a solitary life in the mountains. A player who writes onto the back of the note page and turns it over will see the woodsman’s memories writing back to them. The woodsman was killed by the mimic while fighting it and can help the party fight it more effectively. 

The Fight

When the fight inevitably breaks out, the campfire mimic has few tools in its arsenal to attack the party besides physical damage. The bedroll of smothering will attack creatures inside its tent, but it will not venture outside. The campfire mimic will attack everyone in the area with its fire attack and choose one person in particular to damage with its melee attacks. At the beginning of combat, read the following out loud:

“The ground rumbles beneath your feet while the tents around you vibrate with the menace of some living creature. Just as your eyes widen in sudden understanding, a long slender arm reaches out of the dirt with a strange, twisted stabbing motion in your direction. The fire crackles and roars with the hunger of some large beast…a beast that you happen to be resting over.”

Each round of combat the mimic takes damage, it will burrow under the ground beneath one of the three tents which do not contain a bedroll of smothering. Roll 1d4, where a four is treated as a reroll. The players will have to guess which tent contains the true mimic or wait for the creature to attack them first. 

The Aftermath

When the mimic is eventually defeated, the fire goes out in its center and the tent’s coloration fades to a dull gray tone. Each of the magic objects inside will retain their magical properties, allowing the adventurers to keep a memento of their fight. Should the party lose the battle, any slain characters will have their own tents created and personal objects left behind. Discuss with your players what their tent would look like. 

The content above was provided by Donoven Chase, and can be found on Fiverr.

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Campfire Tales follows the 5E Ruleset, the 5E SRD OGL can be found here