The earthquake toppled several houses in the city. The loss of life and resulting injuries have been tragic, but there are still opportunities to help.
No. 4 Shelton Street was seriously damaged by the quake. The two residents, Marshall and Clara Crooke are seriously injured and need rescue. Neighbors can see Marshall's limp body on the second floor and have heard him moaning softly. If someone can get to him, perhaps he can be saved. Meanwhile, Clara Crooke is trapped in the cellar.
The Player Characters have 10 rounds before the house collapses. Anyone in the house at the time of collapse will suffer 5d6 points of damage from falling debris. A DC 15 Reflex save can reduce the damage to half. Anyone in the cellar will also be subject to this damage. The groaning and creaking of the house should hint at the looming disaster.
Below are a few guidelines that might be helpful.
Listen (DC 15)
This is a free action that should be taken when the PCs arrive on the scene. Success indicates that the listener hears the muffled cries of Clara Marshall in the cellar.
The door to the cellar is buried under fallen wood and stone. It will take five rounds for one man (three if he receives assistance) to clear the rubble, one round to enter the cellar and another round to emerge with a half-conscious Clara. (Five to seven rounds total.)
Marshall is barely conscious on the second floor. He is bleeding profusely from a head wound. Technically speaking, he is at -1 hit points and will lose 1 hit point per round until stabilized. (DC 15 Heal check) It will take one round to stabilize Marshall. If a PC stabilizes Marshall, he will manage to utter, "Clara....cellar..." before passing out.
If the Climb (see below) and Heal checks are successful, it will require a total of four rounds to ascend the stairs, stabilize Marshall and descend the stairs.
The stairs are the most direct way to reach Marshall. They are unstable and require a DC 12 Climb check to ascend. If the Climb check is successful, it will take one round to reach the second floor. A failure means the PC had to stop as the stairs began to shift and sway. Descending the stairs with Marshall is a DC 15 Climb check and requires two rounds. Again, failure means a round is spent regaining one's balance as the stairs sway and shift.
It may not be possible for one PC to save Marshall and Clara in the 10 rounds allotted. Therefore, the PCs may have to split up. Also, the DM should keep track of each round, noting the loss of Marshall's hit points and how long each action takes. Try to build a sense of urgency so that the PCs know that a bad situation can - and will - get much worse through delay!
The PCs should receive 25 xp each for saving Clara and 25 xp for Marshall.