Idea: Miners have dug too deep, unleashing kobolds who have been hibernating for centuries in a sealed off cavern, which are now thirsty for blood. The miners call the beasts knockers or tappers for the distinctive tapping sound they make with their pick axes on the walls.
Hook: More and more accidents have been happening in the local mine, and survivors have claimed that small, reptilian humanoids have been seen lurking in the shadows and tapping on the walls. The foreman will pay anyone who is willing to either prove that there are no such creatures, or exterminate them once and for all.
1. The room is quiet, except for the drip-drop of water condensing from the ceiling. It is dark, and there is a broken lantern on the floor. (The lantern has blood on it, as if it was used as a weapon, causing it to break.)
2. There is suddenly a tapping sound, followed by eerie giggling, as parts of the ceiling behind falling down! (During the collapse, if one looks and listens carefully, they can hear the tapping of clawed feet and see a small figure dashing away into a tunnel which is soon buried by rubble.)
3. There are some tapping sounds coming from below, along with more giggling and some hissing whispers. (There is a small hole in the wall, that, if looked at, one can see a red, reptilian eye peaking through before the hole is plugged up with a rock.)
4. A beam of the mine has fallen down, and there is the body of a miner trapped under it. (Upon closer inspection, the miner is not dead. If she is awakened, she will say that her name is Helga, and she was attacked by the tappers. Helga has a broken leg, but is otherwise unhurt, theorizing that the tappers must have thought she was dead.)
5. There is a shiny golden brooch in a pile of coal on the far side of the room. (There is a tripwire across the floor. If tripped, a pick-axe swings down on a pendulum towards whoever triggered the trap. In addition to the normal damage caused by the pick-axe, it is also coated in a thin layer of poison. The brooch is authentic and expensive.)
6. There is a faint hissing laughter, followed by a cold wind coming from seemingly nowhere. Icy hand prints begin appearing on the walls, and a whispering voice that seems right next to everyone’s ear says “Go back, surface dwellers.” (There are a series of runes carved into the wall, that, if properly assessed by someone with magical knowledge, can be determined to be some form of ancient illusion spell.)
7. The more artificial and structured mine ends, giving way to the chaotic pseduo-architecture of caves. Stalagmites and stalactites fill the room like the columns of an ancient temple. (Hiding behind the rock formations are a band of kobolds, some armed with slings though most wield pick-axes.)
8. The floor is splattered with dry blood, and in the center of the room is a dead miner with a pick-axe driven through their skull. (The miner’s right hand is closed, concealing a beautiful jewel.)
9. The room is still obviously natural, but it appears that it has been modified to be lived in. There are shelves carved into the walls, and the floor seems less irregular. On the far wall is a stone chest, and there is some pottery in the corner. (Kobolds with ranged weapons, including molotov cocktails, lurk behind the pottery. Within the stone chest are ancient coins and a magic shield that has has a 3 in 6 chance of reflecting back projectiles that are successfully blocked by it.)
10. A vast pit descends deep into the Earth. (If one shines a light into the pit, they will find countless eyes staring back at them, as a swarm of kobolds awake from hibernation and begin clawing their way up out of the pit like spiders, cackling and screaming.)