Apprentice Exchange

A Family-Friendly D&D Adventure for 1 to 5 Players

Wizard's apprentice with backpack on the road to the castle.This adventure is intended for up to 5 characters of 1st to 4th level. This adventure relies heavily on exploration, role-playing, and problem-solving and has several opportunities for combat. This is an escort quest with overland travel and multiple skill challenges.  Numerous random encounters are available in addition to combat, survival hurdles, and role-playing opportunities.

This adventure can be played solo or in a group of up to 5 players. It is recommended that the total party levels don’t exceed 15.

Adventure Hook

Humphrey the Gray needs his apprentice Knox and a couple of rare items escorted to the castle of the legendary wizard, Broadrell Pradler. This is a 5-day journey, mostly along a well-established trading road. The road is patrolled by the local noble’s guards, but bandits are known to attack small parties and lonely travelers.

Some Adventure Options

Depending on the makeup of the party of player characters, there are a few variations on how the adventure could be run.

  • If one of the player characters is a low-level wizard, they could be the apprentice that is transporting the items. I have provided Knox’s character sheet and NPC stats below.
  • If you have an established group of players, they could be hired as an escort for the apprentice.
  • If you need a way to introduce a new player to an established game, they could be the apprentice and the rest of the group could be hired to escort them on this adventure.

Party Goals & Rewards

This is a straightforward escort/delivery quest. The goal is to get the apprentice and the items to the wizard’s castle intact/alive. Humphry offers three times the going rate for this quest, which may make the characters suspicious. The reason for this is simple; Humphry has raised Knox since she was an infant. She is like a daughter to him and she’s the most skilled wizard he has ever met. Humphry realizes she deserves a mentor far more knowledgeable than him.

Rewards for completing the quest depend on which adventure option you chose. Here are some suggested rewards for successfully completing the adventure.

  • The adventure was a test for the apprentice. For passing this test, they get 1 wizard level, the spellbook, and one of the mimics.
  • The wizard rewards the party with the gold they were promised and compensates them for any expenses they had along the way such as healing potions, lodging etc.
  • A letter of recommendation – The wizard presents the party with a letter of recommendation that they can use to influence an NPC in the future. The letter would serve as a one-time use item that grants advantage on a persuasion role under the right circumstances.
  • If there is a wizard in the party, they may be allowed to copy 1d4 spells from the spellbook. All materials/inks provided by the wizard as partial payment for a job well done.


A group of adventures has been hired to intercept the apprentice and steal the objects they are transporting.

A local group of bandits is operating in this area and they may set up an ambush or just try to sneak into camp one night while the party is sleeping.

The characters will also face a set of exploration and skill challenges to enter the wizard’s castle. There are three challenges that need to be overcome and three sets of clues were provided to the apprentice before they left on the journey.

Overland Travel & Amenities

For the majority of the 5-day travel, the characters will be on a well-established trade road. While the local noble provides regular patrols, bandits are known to ambush small groups of travelers.

There are several small inns and established campsites along the road. These are spaced about 7 miles apart providing one inn and two campsites for each day’s travel. 

The trade road is well used and the party will encounter at least one large trading caravan as well as several smaller groups along the way.  

Castle Pradler

Along the trade road, the party will find a private gated road leading into the thick forest. A small sign hangs on the gate that reads, “Trespassers may be fed to my spiders.” A lot of spider webs can be seen hanging in the trees and any character that investigates will spot a set of 8 glowing eyes staring at them from deep in the woods. This is a permanent illusion placed on the entrance to the castle ground by the wizard to keep salesmen and pesky travelers from knocking on his door.

For the more determined trespasser/visitor, Pradler has setup three obstacles that anyone wishing to reach the castle must overcome.

Spider Maze

HINT(s): Getting turned around is the point of this maze. Solving it is as easy as 1, 2, 3 even when you can’t see. Sometimes going backward is the only way forward.

You will find several good maze maps on my Pinterest D&D Maps board. You don’t necessarily need a map if you use method #2 below.

Giant spiders live in the maze and have built webs in the hedges and over the pathways. The “friendly” spiders will entangle and return characters to the beginning of the maze if they try to fly or go through the hedges.

There are three ways to get through the spider maze.

  1. At the maze entrance, turn around, close your eyes and walk backward 3 steps into the maze. When you open your eyes, you will be on the other side.
  2. Wilderness survival checks to navigate through the maze. I recommend a 5 out of 8. Failure finds the characters back at the beginning of the maze.
  3.  Turn-by-turn exploration of the maze will eventually get the players through. If they reach a dead end and turn around, they will find they are back at the beginning of the maze. 

Gummi Garden Party

HINT: Some days it’s eat or be eaten.

This encounter was inspired by the garden tea party in Allice in Wonderland and the awesome Gummi Creature created by Noblecrumpet.

The players exit the maze into a large clearing where a group of Gummi creatures are frolicking.  These Gummi monsters are guardians of the castle and the players will have to battle them to get past.

Seven Thousand Stairs

HINT: I climbed the sacred mountain, up the seven-thousand stairs, on that peaceful day in autumn when the sunset sang to me.

The stairs to the castle act like an escalator or treadmill, keeping the characters from progressing closer to the castle doors. Characters who continue to climb the stairs will eventually find that there are seven-thousand steps. Climbing this way will take up to 2 hours of steady climbing.

Any character that sings as they walk up, will find that there are only seven stairs.

Appendix: Character Sheets, NPCs & Names

Broadrell Pradler

Pradler, as he is known to most people, is the headmaster at the Pradler College of Magic. In my campaign, I play him as a cross between Dumbledore and Professor X. He has a friendly demeanor and would do almost anything to protect the school and its students.

Pradler is expecting Knox and will gladly pay the characters whatever fee they were promised by Humphry. See the Goals & Rewards section above for more on this.

The PCs will be offered overnight lodging, dinner, and breakfast, which is served by the castle’s unseen servants.

Pradler is a primary quest giver and can be a great source of knowledge, should the players engage him in conversation.

Appendix: Random Encounters

You should roll for random encounters for every 4 hours of time spent traveling. Roll a 1d6, when you roll a 6, roll 1d20 for the encounter table below.

1D20 Qty Name Award XP Each Total XP
1-5 1d10 Merchant Caravan
6-7 1d4 +1 Bandits + Bandit Captain 25/450 *
8-12 1d6+1 Guards 25 *
13-15 1 Travelers / Farmer
16 1d4 Boar 50 *
17 1 Giant Boar 50 450
18 5 Swarm of Rats 10 50
19 4 Giant Rats 25 100
20 2 Brown Bear 600 600
All creatures are also taken from the basic rules and/or Monster Manual.

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10 Responses

  1. These resources are awesome! I need one with a script for the DMing MOM who likes the idea but doesn’t really have time for this lol

  2. I’m currently getting my two daughters and wife to try and play with their Nerdy Dad. This is so awesome, I have enough knowledge of the game and DMing to take this module and make it ours. I really appreciate the time and effort you’ve put in here! Cheers

  3. I started playing DnD with my sons the other week. We have done variations on your Labor Day: Gold Digger, Momma wears combat boots, and the apprentice exchange. I tweaked them to loosely tie them together for our setting. The boys have been having a blast. My 11 year old solved the Spider Maze, my 14 year old the Stairs… but both tried eating the gummies until they were hit. That fight was funny. Thank you.

      1. Today I am running Pheonix Rising for my boys with my DM from a different group as a guest playing with them. Every week I’m bringing in one member of my other group to play with the guys. It’s been a blast.

        Yes! Keep writing. We love them. I mentioned the cockatrice one to a buddy and he called dibs on coming over that weekend.

  4. Do you have a recommended list of rare items or should DM’s make their own? I’m planning to run this for 3 or 4 kids with 1st en 2nd level characters.

  5. New DM Mom here. I am concluding session 3 of a campaign I built based off your Holliday adventure with my sons (9 and 11) and my parents (72 and 74). Think I will make this one work for our next adventure. I really appreciate the loose path you give us so we can really make it our own. Thank you!!!

    1. That’s great to hear. Wow three generations at the table! It’s feedback like this that keeps me doing this.

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