Let me get right to it: below is my entire 3rd level adventure for my adventure path! I'm 1/20th of the way done! It's right near 1,500 words, and therefore my target length. I dropped this text into my layout program (a free product called Scribus) and see that it's just a few lines shy of 3 pages. That seems perfect. Here it is!

Chapter 3: The Cat’s-Paw Deception (3rd)

The heroes returned the missing scholar Gendal to his home in Fallinghollow, but the forest town of Fallinghollow has troubles of its own. A gang of redcaps is capitalizing on the discontent spreading among forest denizens to compel a band of catfolk and their feline companions to assault the town. The redcaps stole the sacred cat’s-paw amulet (a choker of eloquence granting the catfolk language) from a large catfolk tribe and pinned the theft on Fallinghollow. A catfolk war-leader named Aslam came with his warband to recover it. The heroes must uncover this malicious deception and confront the redcaps to save the town.


Part 1: Assault on the Village

The heroes confront strange attacks on Fallinghollow and defend the town. Any town map will do for this part.

Encounter 1a (Moderate 3)

While the heroes are in the bustling town square, two lions leap from a nearby alley to attack, causing a panic. The heroes can stand up to the lions, but the rushing townspeople make the square difficult terrain for the first 2 rounds of the fight. Each lion bears a silver collar marked with a paw rune worth 15 gp, so they’ve plainly been trained by someone. The heroes hear cries of other attacks at the mill and the village stable, and can address these in either order.

Encounter 1b (Moderate 3)

Three leopards are menacing workers in a grain mill. The workers have been keeping the cats at bay, but can’t do so for long. These leopards also wear silver collars.

Encounter 1c (Moderate 3)

Whinnying of panicked horses fills the stables, as a tiger and a leopard work together to slaughter the horses here. The riding horses lash out indiscriminately in their panic, and heroes moving next to the horses might receive a hoof attack. These cats also wear silver collars.

Encounter 1d (Moderate 3)

After the heroes complete the prior two encounters, they are attacked by a tiger and a catfolk pouncer. The catfolk doesn’t parley, but calls the heroes “killers” and “thieves” as it fights. The catfolk bears a simple map to the town from a thicket in the forest about 30 minutes away. The catfolk’s defeat puts an end to the attacks for now. Fallinghollow’s mayor and chief priest, Jennda Ghive, rewards the heroes with a staff of healing and encourages the heroes to investigate the thicket the following morning.


Part 2: The Catfolk Thicket

Aslam’s catfolk are encamped in the thicket temporarily, as they are using it as their headquarters to make forays into town. The thicket is, in essence, a dungeon made of thorny walls; anyone forced to move into one of the walls (such as by a successful Shove) takes 1d6 piercing damage. A forest map with some hastily-constructed thicket wall works well for this part. The catfolk in this part are convinced the heroes are evil thieves (or thugs in the employ of evil thieves) and, except for Aslam, fight eagerly and to the death. Talking down these catfolk should be difficult but not impossible for exceptionally diplomatic heroes.

Encounter 2a (Moderate 3)

As the heroes travel to the thicket along a forest trail, a lion and two catfolk pouncers on their way to harry Fallinghollow set up an ambush. Characters who aren't expert or better in Perception are flat-footed during the first round of this ambush.

Encounter 2b (Moderate 3)

Four catfolk pouncers guard the entrance to the thicket. They aren’t expecting a counterattack from the town, and so the heroes might take them by surprise.

Encounter 2c

One empty room in the thicket fortification is a storeroom with some supplies brought by the catfolk. These include several days of food, two more silver collars, a jade cat, an obsidian panther, and a barkskin potion.

Encounter 2d (Severe 3)

An intelligent smilodon named Crookfang stalks the thicket and fights the heroes as they travel through it. Crookfang is evil and pleased to have an unfettered opportunity to slate its bloodlust. Crookfang knows the thicket well, so might attack and retreat several times to harry the heroes. It tries to take advantage of the heroes’ assumption that it’s only an animal by using tricks or distractions. The biggest clue that Crookfang isn’t a mundane feline is that it doesn’t wear a silver collar, as all the other catfolk pets do.

Encounter 2e

The catfolk war-leader Aslam is in a planning room deep in the thicket. When the heroes reach him, he realizes he’s probably outclassed and unlikely to win a fight. He therefore parleys with the “thieves,” attempting to shame them and insisting that a larger force of catfolk are coming to avenge the theft and destroy Fallinghollow. When the heroes express ignorance, Aslam says someone wearing heavy boots stole the sacred cat's-paw amulet from the catfolk tribe. The thief's trail led right to Fallinghollow. Aslam believes the heroes’ protestations of ignorance, but knows that other catfolk won’t. He will convince his tribe to hold off their attack for 3 days, to allow the heroes time to find and return the sacred amulet to him.


Part 3: The Redcap Thieves

The heroes follow clues in Fallinghollow to the Rusty Gorge outside of town and confront the redcaps and their leader, Rinda Rustboots. A mountain pass or gorge with several caves leading off of it—at least six—works well for most encounters in this part. The gorge should have only one entrance. An encounter map of a city street works well for the first encounter. 

Encounter 3a (Moderate 3)

When the heroes make their investigations around Fallinghollow, they don't find anyone with knowledge of a stolen amulet. But while traveling an isolated street they come across a redcap dragging the corpse of a catfolk it killed hours earlier to help frame the townsfolk. The redcap fights to the death to silence the "witnesses." Afterward, townspeople drawn to the sound of the fight share rumors that malevolent red-clad fey like this one inhabit Rust Gorge two hours outside town.

Encounter 3b (Moderate 3)

The heroes make their way to Rust Gorge. Tracks of metal boots are common throughout this area. At the gorge’s entrance stand two animated statues of soldiers from a long-vanished kingdom. Rinda has altered their magic so they don’t attack redcaps, so the fey rely on the statues as guards. Any character adjacent to a statue can attempt a DC 20 Arcana check as a three-action Interact activity to force the statues to stand down and let the heroes pass.

Encounter 3c (Moderate 3)

The gorge has several caves leading off from its rocky valley floor. One of the caves closest to the gorge entrance is the home of an ill-tempered redcap who attacks the heroes and shouts a warning. This redcap wears a mangy coyote cloak pinned in place with a viper arrow.

Encounter 3d

Another of the caves is a corpse pit, with the bodies of three dead adventurers: a fighter with broken full plate that still bears a dragon turtle scale, a bard with a lesser maestro's instrument, an alchemist with a satchel containing a moderate alchemist's fire, a moderate quicksilver elixir, and formulas for both of these as well as for lesser bomber's eye elixir and stone fist elixir.

Encounter 3e

Still another cave is blocked with barred wooden door; moving the heavy bar requires a successful DC 18 Athletics check. Inside is a lizardfolk stargazer named Lex; she's a companion to the now-deceased adventurers whom the redcaps captured several days ago. The redcaps keep Lex captive as a healer, as they like that her magic is primal instead of hated divine magic). She’s overheard the redcaps and their leader, Rinda Rustboots, talk about a “prank” they’re playing on the nearby town of Fallinghollow to get all its inhabitants killed. Lex had just about given up hope of escape or revenge, but she eagerly joins the heroes if they free her.

Encounter 3f (Moderate 3)

At some point during the heroes’ exploration of the gorge, Rinda Rustboots releases two cockatrices into the gorge. They soon find the heroes and attack.

Encounter 3g (Severe 3)

The gorge’s rearmost chamber is the lair Rinda Rustboots a cunning redcap with Arcana +12 instead of Nature +10. A filthy stream flows through her chamber, which is part of a drowning pit trap at a chokepoint the heroes must cross. On her worktable are the cat’s-paw amulet, a +1 striking longsword that formerly belonged to the fighter in the corpse pit, and notes from someone named Nelthek Sharpleaf in a place called the Wailing Grove. These notes are in Sylvan, and promise rewards to Rinda for eliminating Fallinghollow; clearly, the redcap was working for someone else. Gendal in Fallinghollow can translate these notes if the heroes can’t read Sylvan.



With the cat’s-paw amulet returned, Aslam calls off the pending catfolk assault. The heroes can rest up for now, but their next clue leads them deep into the forest, to Wailing Grove.