With all the "just throw more monsters at 'em" quests popping up, I think it's high time to hit the Sleeping Spell Inn with a third round of Xoriat zaniness. Perhaps it could launch a new story arc into the Shadow Marches. Or it could be a stand alone, either way it could be fun.
The quest begins as all other quests begin - some NPC is in trouble and needs some assistance. This particular NPC has procured a strange magical weapon - a silver greatsword, with a style and make they are unfamiliar with. Before they could study the weapon, they were pursued by strange beings. The NPC has stashed the weapon someplace safe while they escaped their pursuers - and that place just happens to be the Sleeping Spell Inn. The NPC is looking for a few people to watch out for peculiar individuals, so they can study the item in safety.
Upon entering the inn, everything seems normal for once. People are enjoying their drinks, maybe have a flag that if you complete Delirium and/or Acute Delirium, they have some extra dialogues and flavor things. Maybe even get a free drink out of the deal, too or something. Eventually you head up to the NPC's room, where they retrieve this silver sword. Of course, as soon as the NPC places the weapon on the table, a number of githyanki plane shift into the room. They demand the sword, and aren't afraid to kill to get it. The objective turns to "Protect (NPC)" - but before the fight can get underway, the NPC uses another magical item they had found. And of course, it opens a portal to Xoriat. A being named "The Recruiter" steps through, and decides the NPC is a good candidate. The NPC - and their magic items - is whisked away into Xoriat, and the Recruiter mentions something about looking for other auditions before teleporting away. The protect objective gets a strike through it, and a new, more proper objective beside it. Because a fun quest shouldn't be about protecting someone.
The githyanki hold off their attack to let you take care of things. Going through the inn has only a few fights, introducing some of the other races in Xoriat, such as dolgrims, dolgaunts, and dolgrues. There are also a few novelty scenes, like the bartender grumbling, "Not again," while tending to a few wasted beholders. The adventurers have to work their way to the back room, but have to make a detour through the kitchen and into the basement to procure the key. Perhaps another novelty scene with Knizzlenak blocked off in his room, lamenting that all he wanted to do was play with a puzzle... ultimately, into the back room the party goes, where the Recruiter awaits to speak with them.
The Recruiter wonders if the adventurers are up for the challenge. Dialogue leads to the Recruiter spawning a wave of dolgrims and a few xoriat hounds. After that, further dialogue leads to a fairly simple puzzle. Solving it convinces the Recruiter that you'll suffice, and to talk again when you're ready to depart. Speaking with the Recruiter again brings only an obscure reference to possibly winning fabulous prizes, and the party gets transported to Xoriat via a fade-to-black.
The scene fades back in at what appears to be back-stage of something. Various Xoriat beings are hustling around, getting ready for something. A Beholder named Backstage Director addresses the party as new contestants, and explains a little more of what's going on - the party has just been recruited for a Xoriat game show. Out front is an Akleu (or maybe another beholder) with a bow tie, called the Game Show Host. There are a few podiums with an illithid, a taken, and some other Xoriat creature standing behind them, and one open podium. Opposite of the game show is a series of stands filled with other beings. Off to one side is a cell where the story NPC is being held; the NPC explains that they and the magical items are being held as part of the prizes.
If the players want to skip the game show segment, they can opt to just go ahead and take the item causing all the problems. This is noted to be an extreme challenge however, and will aggro all of the monsters, including those in the stands. Going this route, the Game Show Host and the Backstage Director are necessary kills, and both are red name. The host drops a key that frees the NPC, and the director's death opens a portal that leads back to the Sleeping Spell Inn.
If the players are willing to participate in the game show, there are three roles they can adopt: Contestant, the Penalty Box, or harassing the other contestants.
--- Contestant - This is a necessary role. One character steps into the last open booth, which shuts and locks the door behind them. This also opens the Penalty Box area. The contestant has to confirm twice that things are ready; the first seals the Penalty Box and opens a few side-objectives for the Harassing roles, while the second confirmation kicks the show into motion. The Contestant then faces the three challenges, which are described further below.
--- Penalty Box - This is an optional role. After the Contestant enters the booth, one or more characters can enter the penalty box. During the show, if the Contestant fails a challenge, enemies spawn in the area, which can be killed to get another shot at bonus chests.
--- Harassment - Anyone who doesn't go into the Penalty Box can complete side objectives to harass the other contestants. This includes disabling one of the contestant's buzzers, distracting the illithid, using the Concentration skill to "think" the wrong answer at the illithid, and sneaking to poison the Taken's foodstuffs.
The first challenge is a quiz of 5 random questions, and they do not repeat during a session. Each question requires a particular mental stat check. There are 5 Int-based questions, 5 Cha-based questions, and 5 Wis-based questions; it is possible, but not probable, that all five will use the same stat. Additionally, the questions may also work off of various Lore feats, providing them as a correct answer without the stat check. This starts with the optional, "Don't fail fail any questions." If you succeed, you get some bonus EXP and drop a chest that has slightly higher level goods then the quest. If you fail a question, the optional becomes, "Pass the Quiz" - you need at least 3 correct answers to pass, which nets you a chest with slightly lower level loot. Failing spawns monsters in the penalty box, and moves things on to the next challenge.
The second challenge allows the Contestant to take on a large puzzle with a short timer. The illithid will fire mind blasts at Contestant. Anyone not in the penalty box can attempt to distract the illithid, or to tamper with the timer boxes. Successfully disabling a timer box grants an additional 10 seconds to the timed puzzle, while failing incurs a 10 second penalty. Successfully completing the puzzle in time grants a bonus chest with higher level loot. If you fail the puzzle, monsters spawn in the Penalty Box; killing these monsters can get a consolation prize of an at-level chest.
The third challenge is a Xoriat pie-eating contest. The Contestant has to get through ten Xoriat pies before the other contestants can. Like the Xoriat cider from Delirum, these cakes cause damage and requires a fort save or be stunned; however, these also have a nasty side effect of adding a 10 second debuff that negates healing. The illithid automatically opts out, since it's not brains. If the Taken is not poisoned, it eats at an alarming rate, requiring some really good fort to keep up the pace; if the Taken is poisoned, it, too, is out of commission, leaving the Contestant to compete with the last xoriat entity, who eats at a much slower pace and has double the stun duration. Succeeding in eating all of the cakes first grants a bonus chest with higher level loot. Failing the challenge spawns monsters in the Penalty Box; killing these monsters can grant a consolation prize of an at-level chest.
After all three challenges are complete, the Game Show Host selects a contestant "at random" to participate in the Super Bonus Round. Surprise, surprise, it's the character. This unlocks their chamber, and teleports any characters in the Penalty Box just outside of it. The party needs to meet up in the Bonus Circle; when they have, they get teleported to the Super Bonus Round. It's either some underwater fight against one or more Aboleths, or running around an arena, trying to grab greased kobolds while waves of xoriat monsters spawn periodically. Open to suggestions for some other awesome "Super Bonus Round" for the fun of things.
Completing the round teleports you back, where there are cheers and a grandiose return. You're allowed to collect your prizes; any optional chests you obtained are present for the looting. After rescuing the story NPC, they explain that the Recruiter took the silver sword, and you'll have to talk to the Recruiter in order to get it back. A portal allows you to hop back to the inn, and the story NPC is all too eager to depart for the room they had rented. Speaking with the Recruiter, they offer a trade - the party gets the sword in exchange for the item that opened the Xoriat portal. After some dialogue, the trade is made, and the Recruiter vanishes into the portal - which closes thereafter.
All that is left is to talk to the story NPC again. Except, the githyanki are in the main barroom, waiting your return. They demand the sword back. Giving them the sword ends the mission, but no end chest. Refusing instigates a fight, after which you take the sword to the NPC, where you get an end chest and complete the mission.