Useful OS X Commands

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Useful OS X Commands

Here is a list of a bunch of potentially useful OS X Commands. These are going to be mostly for power users, system admins, OS X hackers, and programmers. Normal users will likely never need these, thus they are presented without use directions.

Commands were gathered via the .OSX group on GitHub. Please feel free to comment below and add any other useful commands you find!

Most commands are set to enable the action with the -true flag. Disable action by replacing it with -false.

Stop the creation of .DS_Store and AppleDouble files on USB Drives
defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteUSBStores -bool true

Stop the creation of .DS_Store files on Network Drives
defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true

Show hidden files in Finder
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

Prevent MDS from attempting to Index
sudo touch /Volumes/your volume name here/.metadata_never_index

Disable Indexing and Searching of Volumes
sudo mdutil -i off -d /Volumes/VolumeName

Delete existing Spotlight Index
sudo rm -rfv /.Spotlight-V100

Enable full keyboard access for all controls
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleKeyboardUIMode -int 3

Enable subpixel font rendering on non-Apple LCD Screens and non-Retina Monitors
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2

Show the ~/Library folder in GUI (Can be used to show other “hidden” folders that some Applications add)
chflags nohidden ~/Library

Enable the 2D Dock
defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -bool true

Turn Dock autohide on
defaults write com.apple.dock autohide -bool true

Remove Dock display delay
defaults write com.apple.Dock autohide-delay -float 0 && killall Dock

Show Dock icons of hidden applications as translucent
defaults write com.apple.dock showhidden -bool true

Show iTunes track notifications in the Dock
defaults write com.apple.dock itunes-notifications -bool true

Disable menu bar transparency
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleEnableMenuBarTransparency -bool false

Show remaining battery life as percentage
defaults write com.apple.menuextra.battery ShowPercent -string “YES”

Show remaining battery life as time
defaults write com.apple.menuextra.battery ShowTime -string “YES”

Always show scrollbars
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleShowScrollBars -string “Auto”

Hide desktop icons upon quitting Finder
defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem -bool true

Disable get info and window animations in Finder
defaults write com.apple.finder DisableAllAnimations -bool true

Show all filename extensions in Finder
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleShowAllExtensions -bool true

Use current directory as default search scope in Finder
defaults write com.apple.finder FXDefaultSearchScope -string “SCcf”

Show Path bar in Finder
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowPathbar -bool true

Show Status bar in Finder
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowStatusBar -bool true

Expand save panel by default
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -bool true
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode2 -bool true

Expand print panel by default
defaults write NSGlobalDomain PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool true

Disable dialog box: “Are you sure you want to open this application?” (Note, this disables OS X Security and anti-malware features)
defaults write com.apple.LaunchServices LSQuarantine -bool false

Disable shadow in screenshots
defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true

Enable highlight hover effect on Dock for the grid view of a stack
defaults write com.apple.dock mouse-over-hilte-stack -bool true

Enable spring loading for all Dock items
defaults write enable-spring-load-actions-on-all-items -bool true

Show indicator lights for open applications in the Dock
defaults write com.apple.dock show-process-indicators -bool true

Don’t animate opening applications from the Dock
defaults write com.apple.dock launchanim -bool false

Display ASCII control characters using caret notation in standard text views
(Try e.g. `cd /tmp; unidecode “\x{0000}” > cc.txt; open -e cc.txt`)
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSTextShowsControlCharacters -bool true

Disable press-and-hold for keys in favor of key repeat (enable key repeat)
defaults write NSGlobalDomain ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

Set keyboard repeat rate
defaults write NSGlobalDomain KeyRepeat -int 0.05 (Fast)
defaults write NSGlobalDomain InitialKeyRepeat -int 15 (Slow)

Disable auto-correct (Does not impact MS Office)
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticSpellingCorrectionEnabled -bool false

Disable opening and closing window animations
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool false

Enable AirDrop over Ethernet (also works for Lion)
defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces -bool true

Disable disk image verification
defaults write com.apple.frameworks.diskimages skip-verify -bool true
defaults write com.apple.frameworks.diskimages skip-verify-locked -bool true
defaults write com.apple.frameworks.diskimages skip-verify-remote -bool true

Automatically open a new Finder window when a volume is mounted
defaults write com.apple.frameworks.diskimages auto-open-ro-root -bool true (Read-only)
defaults write com.apple.frameworks.diskimages auto-open-rw-root -bool true (Read-write)
defaults write com.apple.finder OpenWindowForNewRemovableDisk -bool true

Display full POSIX path as Finder window title
defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool true

Increase window resize speed for Cocoa applications
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSWindowResizeTime -float 0.001

Disable the warning upon changing file extension
defaults write com.apple.finder FXEnableExtensionChangeWarning -bool false

Show item info below desktop icons
/usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c “Set :DesktopViewSettings:IconViewSettings:showItemInfo true” ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist

Enable snap-to-grid for desktop icons (Same as OS 9 GUI command)
/usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c “Set :DesktopViewSettings:IconViewSettings:arrangeBy grid” ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist

Disable Empty Trash Warning
defaults write com.apple.finder WarnOnEmptyTrash -bool false

Empty Trash securely by default
defaults write com.apple.finder EmptyTrashSecurely -bool true

Require password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins (reduces the normal delay)
defaults write com.apple.screensaver askForPassword -int 1
defaults write com.apple.screensaver askForPasswordDelay -int 0

Enable tap to click on Trackpad
defaults write com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.trackpad Clicking -bool true

Map bottom right Trackpad corner to right-click
defaults write com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.trackpad TrackpadCornerSecondaryClick -int 2
defaults write com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.trackpad TrackpadRightClick -bool true

Disable Safari thumbnail cache for History and Top Sites
defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugSnapshotsUpdatePolicy -int 2

Enable Safari debug menu (most useful for Web Developers)
defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu -bool true

Remove useless icons from Safari bookmarks bar
defaults write com.apple.Safari ProxiesInBookmarksBar “()”

Add a context menu item to web view for showing the Web Inspector
defaults write NSGlobalDomain WebKitDeveloperExtras -bool true

Only use UTF-8 in Terminal Application
defaults write com.apple.terminal StringEncodings -array 4

Disable the Ping sidebar in iTunes
defaults write com.apple.iTunes disablePingSidebar -bool true

Disable Ping in iTunes
defaults write com.apple.iTunes disablePing -bool true

Make ⌘ + F focus the search input in iTunes
defaults write com.apple.iTunes NSUserKeyEquivalents -dict-add “Target Search Field” “@F”

Disable send and reply animations in Mail Application
defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableReplyAnimations -bool true
defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableSendAnimations -bool true

Disable Resume system-wide
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false

Disable the “reopen windows when logging back in” dialog box (Leaves default to reopen windows)
defaults write com.apple.loginwindow TALLogoutSavesState -bool false
defaults write com.apple.loginwindow LoginwindowLaunchesRelaunchApps -bool false

Enable Dashboard Dev mode (Keeps widgets on the desktop)
defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode -bool true

Reset Launchpad
[ -e ~/Library/Application\ Support/Dock/*.db ] && rm ~/Library/Application\ Support/Dock/*.db

Disable local Time Machine backups
hash tmutil &> /dev/null && sudo tmutil disablelocal

The Net Book of Plots Archive – RPG Fantasy Plots

Magic Bookshelves from The Last Bookstore

The Net Book of Plots Archive

The Net Book of Plots Archive is a six “book” selection of random plot points that can be used for just about any Fantasy RPGs. Mostly meant for AD&D (Second Edition,) these plots are generic enough that they can be used for any version of Dungeons and Dragons, even 5th edition! Reading through these brings back many memories, and lots of ideas for new games!

Like all Net Book posts on this blog, this is merely a backup of the original files. No copyright is assumed by posting here. Email contacts for the original authors are in each folder.

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6

Also check out the Dungeons and Dragons Random Encounters Netbook

Magic Bookshelves from The Last Bookstore-The Net Book of Plots Archive
Photographer Rick Hamell

The Net Book of Plots – Volume 1

The Net Book of Plots

Volume 1

Editors Note:
This book was converted to a new format, made for conversion to HTML
and for indexing. My enormous thanks go to Alexander Forst
(alex@complang.tuwien.ac.at) and to Soh Kam Hung (h.soh@trl.telstra.com.au)
for their dedicated efforts in designing this tagging scheme and help in
tagging and editing the plots. I hope all enjoy this new collection and
dont forget to tell the authors how it went if you run a plot.

———————————————————————–

One-Liners
Authors of Volume 1

One-line
Fantasy
Any
Any
Lich
Dragon -Help the local good, but dying, wizard to attain lichdom.
-Prevent evil nasties from overcoming the local good lich.
-Find the lost good lich and get help to cure a generic plague.
-Go to kill the lich only to find it’s actually good.
-Save the Dragon from the Evil Princess.

=========================================================================
The Bankrupt Alchemist
Authors of Volume 1
One-line
Fantasy
Quest
Any An alchemist hires the party to recover a shipment of supplies that
was hijacked enroute. If he doesn’t get them back, he faces bankruptcy.
=========================================================================
The Punished Thief
Authors of Volume 1
One-line
Fantasy
Quest
Affliction
Any Caught while stealing from a mage, the thief in the party is sent on a
geas to steal an artifact from a colleague as punishment.
=========================================================================
Unknown Protection
Authors of Volume 1
One-line
Any
Guarding
Any You are assigned to protect a person, but don’t let them know you’re
protecting them. Defer to them in all things, but don’t let them know
you’re deferring to them.
=========================================================================
What have you got?
Authors of Volume 1
One-line
Any
Fantasy
Investigation
Affliction
Any An obscure sect of a dark church is seeking the eight necessary
parts/items used in summoning a sleeping demon. Just so happens that one
of the PCs inherited one of the items (it should be something innocuous
like a simple pendant with inscriptions) from a dead relative.
=========================================================================
Who is Who?
Authors of Volume 1
One-line
Any
Investigation
Intrigue
Any
Doppelganger
Shapechanger The party uncovers a plot to replace high-ranking officials with exact
lookalikes (shapechangers). Nice little conspiracy theory action. Which
one of your trusted patrons is really an evil doppleganger? Who can you
trust? Who will believe you? Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean
someone ISN’T out to get you.
=========================================================================
The Renegade Wizard
Authors of Volume 1
One-line
Fantasy
Quest
Any The party is hired by the local Mage Guild to find and capture (and/or
kill) a renegade wizard who is breaking Guild laws (selling magic items
to criminals, assassinating the previous Guildmaster, attempting to
assassinate the current Guildmaster, etc.). Local law enforcement is not
involved because the Guild likes to solve its problems internally.
=========================================================================
Good Lich vs. Evil Lich
Jeff Vogel
One-line
Fantasy
Investigation
Quest
Urban
Lich There’s a battle going on between a good lich and one or more evil
liches. The players have to protect a town that’s caught in the
crossfire. The lich need not even appear in the campaign; you could just
have dark noxious clouds blotting out the sun, undead armies marching
back and forth, dragons eating the livestock, and other bits of large-
scale magical fallout. Or, if you want to bring the lich in personally,
you could send the party on a quest to plead with the lich to stop the
war, or to fight elsewhere.
=========================================================================
Improvised Defenses
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Short
Any
Any
Guarding
Castle
Dungeon
Cave PCs get caught in hole (old castle, cave?) with overwhelming numbers
against them. They have some warning and a time period when they will be
relieved if they can hold on. Idea is that PC improvise with what is
around and hold out for siege. Turns the GMing on its head. They have a
plan of defenses, not the GM, and GM leads his baddies against it.

Players spring their surprises in traps etc. Must have a map agreement on
what can be done in time available. Players tend to cheat outrageously
but great fun for all concerned with a change of pace for both GM and
players. =========================================================================
Collection of VERY short descriptions
Authors of Volume 1
One-line
Any
Any
Urban Here’s a bunch of REAL short descriptions of adventure ideas that work
well in a city:

Second-story jobs, picking a pocket and finding a map, searching the
tunnels under the city for a tomb or catacombs, competing with the
Thieves’ Guild, smuggling arms into the city, spying on foreign
officials, helping an orphan fight against cruel thugs, racing another
party in a city-wide search for a magical artifact, investigating a
corrupt church, wooing a noble lady, searching for your weapons
instructor who has been abducted by a rival, trying to get apprenticed to
a truly weird mage, etc. =========================================================================
The False Good Lich
Jeff Vogel
Short
Fantasy
Investigation
Urban Invert the “bad-lich-turns-out-to-be-good” idea: A really sinister
lich would probably love to have people convinced that he’s just a
kindly, helpful old gent. Suppose one such lich has been working hard on
his image for a century or two…he saves people from natural disasters
(which he created himself), gives out magical gifts (which are cursed in
some nonobvious way), kisses babies, the whole shebang. The players come
to suspect him of actually being evil (“Hey…two centuries old? That’s
before Second Edition came out! He must be evil!”) and have to stop him.
But first, they have to convince the locals, who love the old guy, that
they’ve been wrong about him all this time. (“Gandalf? The old coot with
the fireworks? Evil? Get outta here.”)
=========================================================================
The Absent Minded Wizard
Jeff Vogel
Short
Fantasy
Quest
Any
Lich Go to kill the evil lich, get captured and put at his/its mercy only
to have it ask “Why are you bothering me?” Apparently it was/is a good
wizard who got kind of absent minded as he died and sort of drifted off
into lichdom without noticing. Since he’s quite powerful, none of the
various local monsters that he’s geased into serving him have given him
any trouble, nor have they pointed out the problem of his lichdom…

Play the lich as an absent minded old british gentleman, sort of
surprised that anybody would want to kill him and having considerable
trouble grasping the idea that he’s a lich. A few accidental pats on the
back while the players are held by some sort of spell should be amusing.

P.S. If you can’t figure out how to set things up so a lich can
capture and hold helpless a bunch of PCs, SHAME on you! Liches are
something like 30th level M-U/Clerics, not to mention the hordes of
followers, servants, summoned monsters and demons and elementals and the
like… =========================================================================
Find the Right Man
Authors of Volume 1
Short
Any
Quest
Guarding
Wilderness
Desert A caravan is travelling through the desert. The party is hired to
capture a man who is in the caravan, and it must be done quietly, so that
nobody else knows. They are given the man’s name, and the fact that he
is a mage, but no other information about him. The catch is that the
caravan consists of ten wagons, with at least thirty or forty guards
(when I used this adventure, the caravan was travelling through Brin
Pass, a VERY dangerous area), and everyone’s wearing the standard desert
gear: a white robe, with a hood and a veil. This makes it very difficult
to tell who’s who. The party should investigate the wagons. If they do,
they will find that only one wagon doesn’t have an obvious reason for
existance (i.e. belongs to the caravan master, carries supplies, or
carries cargo). A man is living in that wagon, and only comes out to get
food. Raiding the wagon will obviously cause noise and commotion, two
things to be strenuously avoided. This is a very difficult scenario;
I’ve run it twice, and both times the party failed. Once the guy got
killed and the party was arrested and held in custody by the caravan
master, and once the guy ran away and the party lost him.
=========================================================================
The Insane Dragon
Authors of Volume 1
Short
Fantasy
Quest
Startup
Any
Dragon
REWARD
(very large sum mentioned – for your world)
BRAVE Adventurers Needed!
To Kill the DRAGON of Eastmark, Kingdom of Arcadia.
(fill in location and kingdom name as necessary).
Apply at the Royal Palace.

All that made that adventure interesting (aside from the nearly 1000
mile overland journey, differing cultures, side-adventures, et al) was
the fact that the “DRAGON of Eastmark” was a golden dragon, and the party
was mostly Good characters. The Gold had become insane when humans had
attacked and slain his mate, and spent his time laying waste to the local
kingdom, which finally began posting notes (after the first three
expeditions failed) to hire outsiders to come in and try to destroy the
genius-intelligence, magic-using and physically awe-inspiring dragon.
Since the tattered posting does not mention that the “DRAGON” is a Gold,
the party had already travelled the very long way, and then had a lot of
discussion before finally deciding that grief did not excuse the dragon’s
excesses, and that he must be destroyed. =========================================================================
The Election
Authors of Volume 1
Medium
Any
Intrigue
Urban Most campaigns have a player who loves to play politics, involve her
in this. Assume for the sake of argument that the goal is the office of
district attorney. Enigma has ambitions to be the DA, the chief force for
justice in Gotham. He is opposed by Buck Stevens, son of the founder of
Stevens Brick Co., which is the second largest employer in Gotham. Darla
Stevens is in love with the Enigma’s alter ego, Bing Strawberry, and
keeps telling him he ought to get in politics and make sure her slimy
brother doesn’t achieve political office … etc etc etc you get the
idea.

Some complications that suggest themselves are: a) Enigma discovers that candidates must turn in petitions with 1000
names in order to register for the election, and he blew it off so long
that he needs to get them all *tonight*, to be turned in at 8 am tomorrow
morning (where do you get 1000 valid signatures at this time of the
night?)

b) the primaries are a good time for enemies to show up with
embarassing photos in hand

c) election season can be complicated by reporters who circle,
vulture-like, over the troubled campaign HQ, and by a televised public
debate between the candidates

d) the election and the aftermath — did the PC win? What will happen
to the party now? What if the press finds out about the vampires the
party staked a few years ago in the abandoned buildings in the ghetto?
what about the crook who recognizes Enigma’s voice and threatens to
publicise his secret identity? =========================================================================
The Lich vs. Evil
Jeff Vogel
Medium
Fantasy
Investigation
Urban
Dungeon
Lich The lich is a good wizard who was forced to become a lich in order to
remain around to counteract some powerful evil force. He/it spent the
last years of his life directly restraining some powerful evil demon
(make it something not quite physical, for example a demon of madness
that manifests by making victims psychotically insane…evil human
sacrifice cults start springing up all over the place and random people
on the road start attacking out of the blue with no provocation, sort of
like…gasp! PCs!)

So the Lich is at the bottom of some dungeon complex using spells and
powers that are so far beyond the party’s understanding that they can’t
perceive them, to hold the evil imprisoned. He/it is also keeping random
strangers from wandering in and interfering. After so long a time, the
lich just sort of drifted into undeath without really noticing (keeping a
set of spells up constantly for years will do that to ya). The PCs
manage to get the drop on the Lich when he’s weakened and…

a) the evil gets loose.

b) the good lich’s wizardly spirit manifests before it moves on to
another, higher plane, and commends them for their actions in releasing
him from his unwitting servitude to to undeath. He also says, “Well, I’m
off to my retirement in elysium, the job’s all yours, boys!”

c) If you’re feeling charitable, give the players an inkling of what’s
going to happen, or some magic to help them to combat the madness demon
(personal protection against the madness would be nice, although you
could have lots of fun with blackouts and sleepwalking and the like if
the PCs were as susceptible as anyone else). If you’re not feeling
charitable, have them find out the HARD way what the ol’ spook’s
mysterious comments were in reference to. Maybe stick a scroll (that
must be laboriously deciphered) in with the treasure, describing the
madness demon and perhaps some ways that it can be fought. =========================================================================
The False Vampire
Authors of Volume 1
Medium
Horror
Quest
Investigation
Affliction
Urban
Vampire The party is on some sort of extended vacation, staying in an inn/bar.
A frequent visitor is a tall, dark, suave, charming man dressed in formal
evening wear, accompanied by a different woman every time. He comes in
every 2nd or 3d night. He always orders bloody marys and doesn’t drink
them. He is quite wealthy and very pleasant. There is something almost
magnetic about him. He has fascinating eyes. (DM should do everything
he can to make it believable that he could be a vampire, despite the
unusual setting (city)).

Either he charms (charm gaze) a female party member and takes her
away, or a beautiful dancer comes in looking for her missing sister, who
was last seen coming to this bar with the tall,dark gentleman. She tries
to convince a party member to help her look for her sister being
seductive about it. Both are eventually charmed by the Gentleman. In any
case, make a party member disappear into this Gentleman’s lair.

He has a gothic style house in a nice part of town. There is nothing
obviously amiss here. If the party asks around, this guy is a pillar of
society, a kind, philanthropic fellow, well respected by his peers. He
runs a magic shoppe. He is a mid-level wizard with a head for business,
who gave up adventuring to start a business.

His house looks just like a vampires house might look (black velvet
curtains, etc). He has a private sanctuary inn his basement, the only
entrance to which is a rune-encrusted door (trapped or enchanted in any
way appropriate to the party). He supposedly has a chapel down there,
but really has a large complex, where various vampiric rituals, and all-
night parties take place. All of the missing people have been charmed
into believing that they have been turned into slave vampires. They will
aid their master if at all possible.

The party must break in and forcibly take their companion away from
this place. Again, make the evidence somewhat contradictory whether the
Gentleman is a vampire or not. Most evidence should say yes, but make
some things contradict this.

The gentleman has a cursed ring of the vampire, a powerful evil
artifact which makes him believe he is a vampire and gives him many of
the powers of a vampire, as well as some of the drawbacks. Make him
dislike things that cause a vampire harm, but don’t make it obvious
whether is works. Make him have a reflection, but have a dead vampire
victim show up. Etc. At the end, have the party realize that he is not
a vampire at all but rather is a cursed fellow with an intrinsically good
nature. =========================================================================
The Magic Dwindles
Authors of Volume 1
Medium
Fantasy
Quest
Magic
Any
Dragon The magic energies (derived from outer space :-)) are dwindling,
slowly but surely. At this time only the most advanced magicians have
noticed that their most powerful spells are beginning to fail more and
more frequently.

My explanation is that there is three kinds of magic in the world:

1) White magic: creative magic, healing, alteration. The white-
magicians are generally the good guys, mostly elves, priests (Gods of
Light) and fairies.

2) Black Magic: Necromatics, destructive magic, summoning. The black-
magicians are generally the bad guys, mostly humans, black-elves, trolls
and the demons & devils.

3) The Old Magic: The magic that rules it all; but now almost a
forgotten art, only used by the extinct race of Wizards (yes, wizards are
a distinct race in my world) and the dragons.

Unfortunately the magic energies are only dwindling for the white-
magicians, since the black-magicians derive their power from the negative
dimension and have opened the gate, so that negative energies flow freely
into this dimension blocking the white-magic.

The objective is to close the gate, before even the simplest white-
magic is rendered useless and impotent. This cannot be done with the use
of white-magic, but only with the use of the Old-Magic (use of black-
magic will only worsen the situation).

The problem is to find someone or something that have access to the
Old-Magic and is sufficiently skilled in this art, to reverse the
situation. (this is what the players must think is the objective for them
or initially be let to believe).

The real problem is that the division between black- and white-magic
is artificial, and will always lead to this problem sooner or later, and
only the Old-magic can prevail (since the white- and black-magic is
derived from the Old-magic, but the separation will corrupt both
branches). So the players are to be the prophets of the new world order
of magic (or front-runners), after being taught the basics of this by the
only Wizard left on the planet (unless they destroy him in their
folly!!!). But to find the information that there is such a creature
alive should be very difficult and only referenced by vague hints in old
legends etc.

My suggestion for the Wizard is that the group can find (after lengthy
research) the place he is rumored to live (e.g. inside a volcano). And
when they arrive he is there, but frozen inside a huge iceblock, by a
pair of Ice-Dragons that he once forced to humiliate themselves to assist
him, and this is their revenge. Once every 100 year they let him free
for a day to scorn him, and then deep-freeze him again. And they will
not take it lightly if the players are to take away their sweet revenge.

Long Summaries
—————
=========================================================================
Traders
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Long
Any
Any
Guarding
Exploration
Any In my experience, PCs will guard a hundred caravans before it occurs
to them that trading on their own account could be more fun and
lucrative. Part of this is I guess a lack of interest in the “tie-downs”
that trading could imply and in the boring detail of buying and selling.
There are however some good advantages. It encourages a sense of group
identity – all partners of Fast and Risky Quality Merchant Co. – and can
have some great “plot lines”. It also changes the world outlook when
strangers are first thought of as “Hey CUSTOMERS!” rather then “Arm up,
enemy approaching”. If you ever need to lure your players in a
particular direction then a rumour of profit should be easy to manage.

PCs can be tempted into the business a bit at a time. For example: At
conclusion of other business a friendly tribesman notes “Your people make
good iron. If you are back this way, bring us one of your fine steel
blades and I’ll trade two snow leopard skins for it”. $$$$ in characters
eyes! The trick is to avoid the boring bits.

1) Give them good NPC warehouse men etc that they really can trust
except perhaps once, later rather than sooner, for a plot. If they feel
they can safely leave a load in trusted hands for a fling then so much
the better.

2) Have NPC’s offer to retail so they are doing the wholesale transit
stuff and dont get lost in selling detail. “Hey, I’ll take all of this
stuff you can get here at xxxx – leave you free to get another load
moving eh?”. Failing that declare, “after 2 hours you are sold out for
xxxx reward”. Forget detailing trading except for casual encounters with
a train.

3) Forget the unwieldy caravan bit – encourage them into the small
mule train style. They’ll have more fun. “Yup, de mules certainly de
way. You see dat caravan train – takes 2 month to move dat round de Gap.
Sheez dat costs! I ken move dis stuff over Hawk Pass on mules in meebe
tree weeks on a good run.”

4) Emphasize the exploratory opening up of new country rather then the
big-haul routes. If they start into going back and forth on the same
lucrative route too often, send in a big merchant with a massive caravan
to drop the prices. They’ll thank you for it in terms of game interest.

Some typical sorts of plots. -Guarding the goods train. They’ll really do it in earnest.
-Spying on the side under their legit cover.
-Involvement in local politics
-Exploration
-Building of fortified outposts and defense thereof
-Very dangerous goods! (i.e. magic)
-Recovery of stolen goods
-Dealing with a protection racket
-High risk winter route to relieve a starving outpost.

One potential problem is the possibilty of too much coin. Relax.
Early in their career get them used to the idea that high profits come
from real high risks and sometimes its better alive poor then rich and
dead. (“You are surrounded by 20 young mounted warrior louts looking for
trouble. They request ‘presents’ with broad grins. All are bow armed
(and they’ve been training since 3 years old)”. Remember that elaborate
trading has high overheads in paying NPCs etc. If there is somehow got a
money excess then introduce credit offered by bankers – on risky routes
they will sooner or later lose a train bought on borrowed money and the
overheads will put them on the back foot! ========================================================================
The Wizard’s Game
Authors of Volume 1
Long
Fantasy
Exploration
Startup
Dungeon A powerful wizard and his apprentice (also powerful) are after an
artifact which is carefully guarded (by various traps, magics, etc) in a
labyrinth. Put in there years ago by various leaders and since
forgotten. They cannot think of a brute force way to get it, but they
are clever enough to have figured out some loopholes which will allow a
low-level bunch of adventurers with various characteristics (tailor to
your players, one obstacle per player or combination of players) to get
in safely and escape with the artifact.

The wizard cooks up a long term plan (perhaps he is an elf) to obtain
such a party of adventurers. This plan is subtle and tricky as that is
the style of this wizard (he likes to manipulate and deceive people, like
a game). He has his apprentice disguise himself as an old
storyteller/bard who takes a liking to a young pc or npc and tells
stories of the PC/NPC’s grandfather who stopped a great evil by
sacrificing himself, sealing the evil and himself into a labyrinth (yes
THE labyrinth). The grandfather was lost with his family sword and more
importly an amulet which signified the family’s power and destiny as
heroes of the realm. Various stories of the grandfather, sword, and
amulet should convince the PC/NPC to go after this stuff.

The storyteller also tells of the PC/NPC’s family talent for dowsing,
and helps him cut a dowsing rod and casts various covert magics to make
the character believe he has such power. Eventually he replaces the
dowsing rod with an identical duplicate which is set up to find the other
characters who are needed to get the artifact back (yes, the party). The
character recruits or finds the party and they go and get the amulet
back.

The wizard and apprentice appear at the exit from the labyrinth and
reveal the hoax (part of the fun), demanding the amulet. The apprentice
is either given or takes the amulet for the wizard, then gets a greedy
look in his eyes and makes to put it on. The wizard vaporizes the
apprentice and takes the amulet.

You might want to put some sort of treasure in this labyrinth so the
party won’t be too pissed that they have been deceived.
The wizard invites the characters to join in his “games” (see below).

If they decline, he does various things to convince them to comply. If
that fails, he cooks up another complicated deception to get them to join
in. He will not force them to join, unless he feels that he has
sufficiently deceived them.
————————————————————————-
The party is asked to go on a quest by an older man, a merchant, to
save his daughter’s life. She has the dreaded Indigo Flu, usually fatal.
The only known cure is to make a medicine out of the Caiman stone, an odd
fruit that grows out of a mineral/plant hybrid only in the most obscure
places. The party is referred to the sage who told the merchant of this
cure, for more info. The sage is of course an agent of the Wizard of the
previous segment.

He cooks up a quest designed to bring the party eventually to a spot
at which the wizard has planted a “Caiman Bush”. The Caiman stone and
the Indigo flu are complete fiction. The party will not find anybody
else who knows about these even if they ask around. The Caiman Bush is
an elaborate magic item, which will teleport the party into the Wizard’s
lair. The wizard will then inform them that the only exit from his lair
is to win the game.

The game is versus another party which has been in suspended animation
waiting for opponents. (Losers of the game are suspended and continue to
play until they win, whereupon they are released). Make the game
whatever you wish.

You should maybe allow the party to acquire some limited magic items
from the game, so they won’t be quite so pissed to have been manipulated. =========================================================================
Riddle Maps
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Long
Any
Any
Any Riddle-maps (idea based on “song-maps” that the old time Maori people
used to describe journeys).

Basically sage-type person translates a song-map that someone earlier
had written down in its original form. Lots of scope for errors. It’s a
translation so no need for poetry. Sage identifies one point in song as
being nearby and wants the map followed. Fit into your world. The
characters can only “see” what you describe so very careful descriptive
work is necessary but red herrings can be fun.

An example of full riddle map.
“here the VALATAS people live above the halls the congress of tide and
land, thence two noon suns cross your face and take you to the silver
path. Up the path you onward go past three cold threads in summer still,
then into the shadows of RAMATIS realm till the path is crossed at the
weeping rock. Shortly the path splits at last, so turn your face and
walk two sunsets till RAMATIS greets with open arms again. The laughing
braid just in the shades, leads high to towers of earth, and there above
the last falling tears, find the gates of night. No moon to light the
halls of night but ochre stars will mark a path to those who walk in
here. Pity you who have no meat to sacrifice to the Old Ones hidden
within. Once met and your offering received dash for life to the halls
of teeth. Beyond there lies the ribbon of red, rushing fast to meet the
sun again, then bounding down past flaxen steps, to greet the ghost in
its bed of gold.”

Translation:
Capitalized bits are phonetic translation of unknown words. The sage
has identified VALATAS so begin here.

The party walks towards the noon sun for 2 days and finds…
GM: “Towards end of second day you climb to top of ridge and look down
on large river valley with the river glistening in the sun.”

Following it upriver past three side-creeks that would wet you even in
summer you get to woods. RAMATIS is the old people’s God of forests but
the PC’s or sage wouldn’t know this. They should easily guess though
when you announce forest in the way. The river hits a gorge and a
crossing is forced where a waterfall comes down a cliff face. After that
the river divides at two big tributaries and you take the west one for
two days. Should encounter woods again…however, the puzzle can be
sharpened by woods that are no longer present (keep talking about NEW
building in the area – ruins of a saw mill ??? etc). A quick flowing
tributary is traced up into the mountains and above the top waterfall is
a cave mouth. A path through the cave is marked by ochre crosses on the
floor but it is also the lair of monster worms that fall on any meat.
The travellers of old would carry a sheep up and run like hell for the
cave of stalagmites (which block the worm) while it is devoured. Hope
the PC have something ready…torch light will shortly show an
underground river flowing the other way (no more ochre) which will lead
to high mountain basin. Geologically an inlier of gold-bearing basement
capped by limestone. Problem – it exits over a sheer bluff and the rope
ladder has long since rotted away. The creek joins a larger creek with
the disconcerting habit of disappearing an hour or two after rain (the
“ghost”) leaving a dry bed. And yes, this is based on real place in NZ.
The creeks are gold-bearing if PC ready to dig for it the hard way.
Remnants of digging all over the show.

You get the general idea. Quite a bit of work and you can lead
characters by the nose through it if so inclined. Mis-translations can
also help. =========================================================================
The Mages’ Contest
Authors of Volume 1
Long
Fantasy
Magic
Dungeon Every ten years, the Mages’ Guild holds a contest. The prize of the
contest should be left fairly vague, unless one of your PC’s is a high-
ranking member of the Guild…I usually use some statement about
“material considerations…well, it’s politics mostly…” However, since
Guild mages tend to be not particularly active types, the contest is
structured as follows: each mage hires a group of adventurers (here’s
where the PC’s come in), who then compete for the prize in a maze set up
and run by the Guild. The party should be hired by a mage, who tells
them basically the information above, plus the number of other groups
competing (I usually use four groups total, since in my maze they tend to
meet up at the end for a final battle, and dealing with more NPC’s than
that would get hellish). The mage gives each PC a magical “token”;
basically just a little one-use magic item. The tokens can have effects
like Levitate (for a duration), Light (ditto), Invisibility (as the
spell); just go through the PH and pick out spells to use. Make up a
maze to put the party though, and don’t forget that several other groups
are doing this at the same time! The way I run it is that I have a map
of a maze, with four relatively distinct paths to a final room. They do
cross over, but not very often. Each has several large empty rooms on
the map, and some marked spots in the corridors. Then I have a list of
rooms to use, and corridor tricks, and I just insert whichever ones I
feel like when they come to a room or a corridor spot. The four groups
race through the maze, and the objective is to find a large flashing gem.
I usually set it up so that when the party reaches the last room (where
the gem is), most of the other groups arrive at the same time. If the
party tries to hang back and let them fight it out, I have some of the
NPC’s start going for the gem. Remember that this was set up by a Mages’
Guild, so you can put in almost anything you want…some examples of
rooms I use are:

1) The room has a chasm cutting it in two. There is another door on
the far side, and a bridge across the chasm. (The chasm is actually an
illusion, but falling in will take the PC out of the contest) On the
bridge, there are two “knights”. These are merely animated suits of
armor, and they have orders to prevent anyone from crossing the chasm.
They will react predictably to actions by the PC’s, and so can be lured
into traps; for example, a thief tries to climb across, one of the
knights moves to block him, the party tosses oil onto the bridge where
the knight would stand, then the thief goes back. The knight walks back
and slips in the oil. Make the bridge very narrow and no handrails.

2) Another room with a chasm, but this one has a maze of invisible
paths crossing it. The party would have to move very slowly, feeling
their way along and probably mapping the maze as well. Therefore, you
put a monster (I usually use a nonafel, or cat-o’-nine-tails, from the
Fiend Folio, or else something called an amorph hopper which I made up)
on the bridges to mess them up. Let the monster leap infallibly from one
spot to another (it knows the maze perfectly), or else let it fly.

3) A circular room with a pillar in the center. As soon as one person
enters the room, tell them that they see the door slam behind them and
the room begins to spin. They are plastered against the outer wall by
the centrifugal force, and are slowly being crushed. Then send them out
of the room, and tell the other players that they see the guy enter the
room, and then throw himself against the outer wall. It’s an illusion,
of course, and the other players can do whatever they want, but whatever
they do, the trapped character will interpret it as something that would
be happening, or else just something weird happens and he can’t figure
out why. For example: they tried slapping the “trapped” character across
the face. He felt the blow, but had no idea where it came from.
However, there’s a catch: the crushing is real. After a little while,
ribs begin cracking…the idea is to try to get the “trapped” character
to disbelieve his surroundings. =========================================================================
Good or Bad?
Authors of Volume 1
Long
Fantasy
Exploration
Investigation
Urban
Dungeon
Lich The PC’s have been meandering around differant continents, and they
wind up at this town. The people of this town are very suppressed, and
do not like strangers. It seems as though the strangers they have dealt
with in the past are pretty dangerous.

There is however a thriving community in this town…centered around a
magic users guild. I admit, a very rare thing indeed.

As the PC’s begin to find out things about this town, they find out
some of the following things:

1) A powerful MU “owns the town” whether by money or power nobody
knows.

2) The town government is set up similar to a company: mayor at the
top, and vice presidents below him each in charge of some community
welfare. This group of people votes on decisions concerning law,
including trials.

3) There are one or two members from “the guild” on the council.

4) Some others of the council are suspected of being influenced to
abstain or cast a certain vote.

5) Every three months people with handicaps, the aged, and the dying
are removed from this town.

6) The town is located at the base of a cliff against the sea. The
only way to the top is a dangerous road with several hairpin turns.

7) Criminals are put to work mining a roadway through the cliff wall
up to the surface above.

8) The rocks from the mining are quarried in blocks and are valued in
some lands for building. The rock is very hard, and has a uniform black
color.

If the party tries to find out what happens to those who get taken
away, they will find they are taken to a dead volcano, with a large
valley inside. This valley does not go through seasons, and the trees
are fruit trees, which always bear fruit. There is a portal into this
valley. The portal of mourning. It opens up every three months on the
soltice dates. Can you guess what time of day? At sunrise. Written on
the archway of the portal is the purpose of the portal, valley, and since
it is old and worn, when the portal was dicovered thirty years ago there
was a loss of translation of the portal of “The Morning.”

There is an evening portal too. But that one is the entrance to an
old abandoned dwarven kingdom. It opens up every night. Each night,
undead skeletons emerge with two tasks. Gather fruit. Look for
newcomers, and “welcome” them to shelter. Skeletons will try to capture
anyone alive with nets.

Inevitably the PC’s will want to go dungeoning and kill off hoards of
skeletons, and free lots of supressed people. Insert your own dungeon in
this part or use a prefab.

Eventually, they will meet the lich in the dungeon. He will ask
several questions about why they killed the skeletons. Now the poor
people will starve… and so on and so forth. It will be increasingly
aware that the lich is a good lich. The lich became a lich to forever
take care of the orchard.

It turns out there is another lich. The Good lich is in fear of the
Bad one, who happens to live in the town… heading the MU guild. The
guild is a structure in which the Lich collects power, items, spells…it
is great if the party has an MU who joined the guild without knowing.
The guild is structured like a membership thing. Access to libraries is
based on level of membership. Level of membership changes based on
donations of magic items, artifacts, spells and of course money.

The possibilities branch out from there… But the deal is to free the
good lich from the wrath of the bad. They could… 1) Infiltrate the guild to a level at which it will topple.
2) Kill the bad lich.
3) Ignore the Deal.
4) Rally the town.
5) Retrieve the good liches talisman from the bad one’s possesion.

Any option is bound to piss someone off. Good or bad lich, or the 40
or so MU’s who have invested their life’s savings into the guild. But
think of all those magic items that must be in there. =========================================================================
The Sage’s Plan
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Long
Any
Guarding
Intrigue
Any
Cave Part 1:

Chief honcho feeling old, needs to test suitability of daughter as
heir. A crafty sage NPC called to help.

Sage’s plan: A honcho’s man will pretend to turn traitor and with
PC’s will kidnap daughter. (Big deal – everyone is cooperating). They
will tell daughter she is to write note saying father to come alone with
ransom. He will be bumped off by ambush and they will see daughter
confirmed as heir but she will take orders from rival evil honcho. They
have permission to scare her with anything short of real torture. She
passes test if she refuses to write or finds a way to warn, or manages an
escape. A largish group is hired as daughter normally well protected and
PC will really be acting as a guard and protect her whatever her
choices…Pretty boring easy money for players huh since all set up?

Catch:
The man chosen to play traitor really is a traitor in pay of uncle.
The opportunity to dispose of daughter and become heir is seized. The
traitor will suggest a cave in isolated area (which just happens to be
moderately fortifiable – not by design; he just likes the isolation) as
place for the hold-out and the father (anxious to be fully informed)
agrees. PCs may have a better idea but unlikely they will be in a place
unknown to the traitor or father. Traitor is a coward and won’t attempt
on the life of the girl himself but will use any excuse to leave PCs with
girl. Uncle will bring large force to bear on the PCs to wipe her out.
(and them). Traitor to blame the PCs.

The daughter:
Really a good choice. Will not at first agree but will grovel and
pretend submission. Will write note but encoded to warn. If no other
opportunity has arisen, the traitor will say he will take note. If the
players later tell her its a setup (when trouble begins), she will
demonstrate fine combat skills.

Baddies:
Whatever number to test your PCs. Will (treacherously) offer free
passage if they will hand over girl. (PC’s may think the daughter
worthless and be tempted to hand her over – mine were! If they do, they
will not be allowed to leave alive since they are to be blamed with it.
Dead men tell no tales. Fortunately mine remembered orders to protect no
matter what and girl will reveal the actual contents of her note when she
realises the PC are on her side). The negotiation delay will give some
time for setting up defences if it occurs to players to hedge. Too bad
if they don’t.
If the PCs can hold out 2 days, a concerned father will arrive with
relieving force.
————————————————————————-
Part 2:

[This was an extension as players grumbled about tiny pay (it was
supposed to be an easy job) and here the sage helps.] I made an earlier
post on the net frp conference on moral dilemmas and here is the detail.

In reward for services, a sage offers this little test to a group of
PCs. This is a variation of the famous Prisoner Dilemma based on an
essay by Douglas Hofstadter in Metamagical Themas. This will work best
with a group that are really involved with their characters and have
played them for some time.

Players given a counter which is red on one side, black on the other.
They are to hand it secretly to the sage either red side up or black side
up. They will be rewarded according to how all play.

If a PC returns the piece BLACK side up he/she gets:
For every other player turning in a RED side: A Big reward.
For every other player turning in a BLACK side: Nothing or very small

If a PC returns the piece RED side up he/she gets:
For every other player turning in a RED side: A moderate reward
For every other player turning in a BLACK side: Only a small reward

It is important the player really understand the reward system before
they make the choice. It is also very important that they can’t discuss
with each other what they will do and the returns are made in secret.
When I did it, I had the sage claiming (quite wrongly) he could magically
increase basic attributes and the matrix was:

BLACK choice:
For every RED piece: Attribute of choice increased by one unit.
For every BLACK piece: nothing.

RED choice:
For every RED piece: 50s in money
For every BLACK piece: 5s in money

The advantage of offering an attribute change, is that to the players
(more than the PCs) it was a very real temptation to offer BLACK. Of
course, if they all chose black, nobody would get anything. If only one
chose red, that player would be fairly annoyed while the rest get one
attribute bumped up. If you were the only player to choose black, then
you sit very pretty…the details of this dilemma are well discussed by
Hofstadter. He tried it for real money on his friends, here’s your
chance to do the same. For once, the game is as interesting if the
player is trying to choose for a PC or doing it for him/herself.

Of course, all hell breaks loose when the sage reveals he is lying and
just gives each a little more than if all had chosen red…..

The GM should decide what reward matrix the game balance can handle
and whether the sage is honest, but do recommend the attribute lift as
bait. =========================================================================
Vendetta
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Long
Any
Any
Intrigue
Any One obvious device for side-line action is the good old vendetta, or
Even Orcs Have Mothers. Sooner or later, (sooner usually) PC’s will by
their actions have ruined someones plans, killed someone favourite
son/uncle/mother/etc and be due for a spot of revenge. This brings that
most dangerous of monsters up against the PCs – another thinking human.
If the GM looks at the world from the Offended One’s point of view, lots
of ways for to get even should suggest itself but here are few ideas.
Toss them into the game at the same time as other action – the vendetta
may become the main gaming focus but it shouldnt start that way.

The hired thugs:
Predictable, common but not a bad opening shot anyway to start the
players going. Chances are this will tell the Offended One (OO) that it
wasn’t luck and these guys are good, while telling the PCs that life
isn’t that simple.

The Trap:
Can be variation of above but much more creative ways around. How
about a desirable NPC that spends some time winning the PC’s confidence
(helping out on a couple of expeditions say?) before some suitably
creative putting the boot in? (from the unsubtle knife in back through
poison to “inadvertantly” leaving the wrong door open).

Using their greed to send them against a strongly defended position
with a totally false plan about a supposed way in? (This got my players
past thinking of the vendetta as an sideline nuisance. They were mean and
cold and looking for blood when they returned).

Or how about when the player are off to visit an unfamiliar culture,
making sure they get stunningly wrong information on cultural
sensitivities. (I havent play-tested this one, but I imagine could be
very good in a light-hearted game)

My favourite is close to above: On an expedition to tribesmen, a
functionary they hadn’t much noticed offers them an ornate tribe weapon.
He/she tells them this is could be the key to getting close to the chief.
Tell any barbarian that they can talk to, that they got it by
“Melstilatuk” from a barbarian chief. He/she further explains that
melstilatuk (use your own languages) is a ceremonial battle and winning
against a chief accords them high status. In fact the functionary is the
in employ of OO and will quickly vanish. The weapon was obtained from
the father of current chief in a particularly cowardly ambush that the
tribesmen know about. If the PCs are curious about the word, a non-
tribal linguist can only translate it as “raven work”. A tribal linguist
if they even bother to find one, would them that melstilatuk is a
colloquial abusive term for corpse-robbing – regarded VERY badly by
tribesman. The weapon will be instantly recognised by the close
tribesmen to the chief and effect of the characters proudly reciting
their claim can be imagined.

The Frame up:
Often PCs leave themselves very wide open to being framed and dealt to
wrongly by the law. This should make it a good option for the OO. The
trick to playing this so your PCs have a chance is to very thoroughly
think out how the OO sets it up – exactly who is talked to, bribed,
where, who could see it. PC’s will have to pursue what really happened
and they need good detail. I failed at this on first attempt really but
made up for it belately working in a lot of detail.

The lying witness or false complaint: This is the simplist by far if
a bit obvious. Remember that if all or part of the PC party are free to
investigate then the OO is likely to take measures to protect the
implicated. My PCs actually utilised this. They figured the witness
would be guarded so looked out for the guards and followed them (and a
few false trails as well) to locate the OO.

Doubles: Illusion magic to make the others look like the PC in a
witnessed crime? I haven’t actually tried it but sounds good.

Here’s a complex one that the players may tumble at any stage but will
land them in serious trouble if they don’t. Baddie in employ of OO poses
to players as a rich jeweller from within a city. He meets them at a
location outside the city and describes some imaginary double-dealing in
the trade. The upshot is that he thinks a rival has wrinkled him out of
a distinctive ruby necklace. His mission for the PC is to probe or watch
a house in the outskirts to see if any sign. He tells them that the
necklace has a vague enchantment (improve looks, raise charisma that kind
of thing) and could be picked up by detect magic abilities. Small reward
for successful location. Big reward if they can get it. He tells them
he doesn’t want them anywhere near his city shop. They pass a message to
him via person in local pub in writing. It mustn’t mention the goods,
just say party of extra people needed if they can’t get it, else tell him
to come alone to a meeting point if they have managed it all themselves.

The house is the real jeweller’s house and the necklace is not heavily
protected as the rubies are fake (which the jeweller knows) but the magic
isn’t (of which he is unaware). The reward should tempt the PCs to go
for it. They will then send a note to the appropriate place. Make sure
they write down what it says. The note goes of course to the OO who then
murders the real jeweller, places the note on his body, then tips off the
watch on where to find the PCs. Chances are the PCs have written a
highly incriminating note and in addition will be holding property know
to belong to the jeweller.

Final Vendetta notes:
If a prolonged vendetta is plaguing the players then a certain amount
of paranoia is liable to set in. You may be accused of inventing ways
around their precautions because they tell you them in advance. If you
are, I hope they string you. If otherwise, don’t get angry – suggest a
play fair system. They write down their precautions when you warn them
that you need to know. You write down your attack. At the moment of
truth, notes are compared and a very enjoyable game can be held BETWEEN
GM and players. This assumes enough maturity on your players that they
build protection that they reasonably could manage by their skills and
money without going through you. If so have some fun. This play really
only applies to the Hired Thug approach – the others shouldnt really be
open to abuse. =========================================================================
Ashburn Man
David F. Nalle
Long
Horror
Investigation
Building For this adventure a group of younger but promising members of the
Odyssians are invited out for a weekend at the country estate of Sir
Henry Ainsford, one of the older members of the club. Sir Henry is noted
as a hunter and explorer, but he is getting on in years and spends most
of his time at his estate outside of the town of Ashburn in Kent.

Sir Henry regularly invites Odyssians out for weekend visits, but this
particular weekend is special, because he believes he has made a
discovery of great scientific importance on the grounds of his estate.
This means that he will make sure that Odyssians of particular interests
will be in his group. He will invite archaeologists, paleontologists,
physicians, historians and ethnologists in particular, plus an assortment
of others who are interested. He will also invite his two oldest friends
in the Odyssians, Professor Milton Morrisson of the Language and
Ethnology faculty at Oxford and Admiral Sir Joseph Porter (retired). All
he tells anyone in advance is that he has made a discovery which may
revolutionize the history and science of human origins.

—–
Ashburn House

Sir Henry’s ancestral manse is a 16th century monstrosity, somewhere
inbetween a manor house and a castle, ornate and over decorated. It is
located on the edge of the range of hills known as the North Downs. The
trip from London to Ashburn by train takes around two hours. When they
arrive in the town Sir Henry will have several carriages waiting to take
them to Ashburn House.

When they arrive they are greeted by Sir Henry, who excuses himself
and seems rather agitated. They will then get a short tour of the house,
conducted by the major domo, Burton. Burton shows them the gun room and
the trophy room (lions and tigers and bears, oh my!), the game room,
several parlors and dining rooms, and eventually he shows each of them to
their bedrooms. Each of the bedrooms is decorated in a different motif,
reminiscent of different parts of the world. The American Room is
decorated with trophies of caribou, beaver and bears. The East African
room features lions and giraffes. The Egyptian room has crocodile and
rhinoceros hide chair covers and the like. The Indian room has a
beautiful tiger skin rug. The Amazon room has a giant stuffed anaconda
on the wall. The Orient Room has elephant tusks and panda fur rugs.
There are many more along the same lines.

After they’ve settled in, Burton will call them down for dinner. At
the meal Sir Henry seems agitated, smokes a number of cigars, and barely
touches his food. When asked about his discovery he is evasive and tells
everyone to wait until after dinner. Once the meal is concluded, they
retire to the Smoking Room, where a large, coffin-like box, about 2 by 5
feet is waiting on a table in the middle of the room. Cigars are handed
out, and Sir Henry launches into a speech to the effect that he has
travelled far and seen many things, but that he has made his greatest
discovery literally in his own back yard.

He goes on to tell how one of his groundskeepers, a man named James
Dearing, was mowing in a grove of ash trees on a hill behind the house,
when he discovered a series of depressions in the ground, all very
regularly spaced. He reported them to Sir Henry because he was
suspicious that they might be deadfalls set by poachers. Sir Henry
investigated, had one of the holes dug up, and in the hole they found —
at this point he opens the box — a small, manlike skeleton buried in the
fetal position, surrounded by garlands of what appeared to be extremely
well preserved wild flowers. The skeleton he reveals is in rather good
condition, completely bare, about 4 and a half feet tall. What makes it
remarkable is that while generally manlike in appearance, it has an
elongated lower jaw, pronounced cranial ridges and elongated upper and
lower canines, all characteristics of great apes, rather than man.

Everyone crowds around, and Professor Morrison, and possibly others,
declare that it must be a hoax. Someone is clearly trying to put
something over on Sir Henry, taking the jaw of an ape and the body of a
deformed human child and putting them together. But on closer
examination it is clear that the jaw fits perfectly with the rest of the
skull, and the skull clearly fits the spine, and all the bone appears to
be of the same age. Professor Morrison can’t be sure, but given the
style of burial and the condition of the bones he believes that they
predate the early Celtic settlement of the British Isles, and if it is
not a hoax, he theorizes that this might be one of the ‘Dark Folk’, the
aboriginal inhabitants of Britain who were wiped out by the Celts and
survive only in legend.

As Morrison seems to have become convinced, Sir Henry becomes even
more excited, and explains that there are 7 more burial shafts and that
he intends to excavate them all in the next few days with the help of his
fellow Odyssians. That said, he closes up the box, leads everyone out of
the Smoking Room and locks the door. At this point some of the guests
are probably tired and retire, and others go to the game room or to the
Library for some recreation.

—–
Night at Ashburn House

During the night several things will happen. One of the characters
with a relatively high PSI will happen to peer out of his window late at
night. Off in the distance he will see a round hill with a grove of grey
ash on the top of it. The ash are swaying in the wind. Then he notices
that none of the other trees in the garden or beyond seem to be swaying
at all, and he gets the feeling that there’s something almost conscious
about the movements of the ash.

Another character will have a dream during the night. He will dream
of a procession of thin, regal looking women bearing glowing spheres of
light passing through his room, passing through the door as if it or they
were immaterial, and moving on into the hallway.

—–
In the Morning

When they awaken in the morning they notice that Professor Morrison
doesn’t join them for breakfast. Then Sir Joseph mentions that he was up
late with Morrison drinking brandy in the library and that when he went
to bed at 2am Morrison was still there reading. He suggests that
Morrison might want to sleep late. Sir Henry is a bit non-plussed by
this, but is ready to set out to the wilds of the backyard anyway.

Burton brings picks, rubbers and shovels after breakfast and everyone
heads out to the burial site. It is a small clearing in the middle of an
ash grove on top of a hill. The ashes are of a miniature variety, but
healthy and well established, clearly well cared for. In the middle of
the clearing is a 6 foot high, very worn menhir surrounded (after some
searching) by eight depressions in the ground, spaced evenly in a circle,
one of them recently filled in. The digging commences.

In each of the burial shafts they will find a skeleton similar to the
one already found by Sir Henry. It is unlikely that anyone will dig in
the shaft which the first skeleton was taken from, but if they do, they
will find the mangled body of Professor Morrison there.

It will take most of the day to dig out the shafts. And at noon or so
Burton will bring out tables and campaign chairs for a leisurely lunch at
graveside.

Professor Morrison never joins them, and as they prepare to head back
to the house, Sir Henry tells Burton to make sure the Professor is
feeling well and have him meet them in the Smoking Room.

When the grisly trophies are gathered in the Smoking Room, Burton
arrives with the announcement that Professor Morrison is missing, and not
only that, but it is clear that he didn’t pack up and leave, because his
clothes are still there and his bed has not been slept in.

The last place the Professor was seen was in the Library, and a close
inspection of the Library will reveal an open copy of Tacitus on the
floor, some dots of blood around it, and the fact that the tiger skin rug
which is normally there is missing.

—–
What’s Going On?

The grove of ash trees is an ancient holy place. Each of the eight
largest ash trees contains a powerful guardian spirit which can manifest
as a young woman (as in the dream above) or can possess and animate non-
living flesh (tiger skin rugs, etc). These Ash Maidens will attempt to
get the skeletons back, or replace them with new sacrifices, like
Professor Morrison.

If they go and dig out the original burial shaft, they will find
Professor Morrison’s body, mauled as if by a tiger, wrapped in the tiger
skin rug from the Library, and garlanded with wild flowers. It may take
them a while to figure out to do this, so let them stew and be mystified.

The spirits can only be placated by returning all the skeletons and
maintaining absolute silence about their existence. In fact, if they go
to re-bury the skeletons they will find that there are now ten holes
instead of eight, eight for the skeletons, one for Professor Morrison and
one for Sir Henry. The spirits will do all they can to make sure that
hole is filled.

The powers of the spirits are limited. They can only operate in
darkness. They cannot travel more than a mile from the grove. Each
spirit can only animate one thing per night. Passing through solid
objects is relatively strenuous for them, so they do it as little as
possible.

—–
The Second Night

Most likely, by the second night they will either be working on or not
have solved the mystery. That night as they sleep, several things may
happen.

Most likely one or more of the characters will be awakened by the
sound of pounding and rending as an assortment of elk and gorillas and
the like attempt to break into the Smoking Room.

Someone, or maybe even two of the characters, will find that the
stuffed anaconda or bearskin rug or boarskin bedspread will come to life
as they are drifting off to sleep and attempt to attack them and drag
them out to the grove.

The same character who saw the ash swaying the night before will look
out the window at midnight and think that he sees the ash transformed to
women who then move in a procession towards the house.

Someone who is relatively susceptible to such things will be visited
by two of the Ash Maidens who will attempt to seduce him, take him to the
grove, manipulate his mind and will, essentially enslave him, and then
send him back to the house to get the skeletons and Sir Henry for them.

—–
Can they Save Sir Henry?

Most likely not. The only way to save Sir Henry would be to keep the
Ash Maidens and their animated creatures away from him throughout the
second night and then get him away from Ashburn House immediately in the
morning, never to return. In fact, in that situation the house would
have to be permanently abandonned because the Ash Maidens would keep
looking for sacrifices.

Alternatively, they could burn down the grove. This would be sick,
cruel and immoral, but would get rid of the Ash Maidens until saplings
which escaped the burning grew to maturity in several years, at which
point the problem would reemerge.

Finally, they could offer someone else in sacrifice, but finding a
willing victim is unlikely, and giving an unwilling sacrifice would be
inappropriate.

Regardless of how they deal with the situation they will face moral
dilemmas which will not be easily resolved, because the Ash Maidens
should really be preserved as an invaluable paranormal resource, and
though their demands of sacrifice are justified by their lights, it will
be hard for reasonable people to go along with them. =========================================================================

Contributors

————-

Joe Amato
Paul Brinkley (Don't look now, but you did give a summary or two...)
Richard L. Butler (The amazing forgotten man...)
J. D. Frazer
Evan A.C. Hunt
Gwen Johnson (The only contributor with references)
Kim Chr. Madsen
Loren J. Miller
David F. Nalle (Do you do Call of Cthulu? :-))
Chris Racicot (LOTS of good stuff, thanks)
Phil Scadden (Again, and again, and...thanks a lot!)
Aaron Sher (Couldn't let this go by without adding something myself...)
Brett Slocum (A late addition to the credits)
Jeff Vogel (Originator of the lich theme, author of most of the lich stuff)
"Sam" (Who is this?)

Plus several others…if you contributed, and you’re not listed, send
me your name!

—————————————————————————-

Phil Scadden, Scadden Research
55 Buick St, Petone, Lower Hutt
New Zealand
ph (04) 568-7190, fax (04) 569 5016

The Net Book of Plots – Volume 2

———-==========

The NET.PLOTS.BOOK

==========———-
Volume II
Compiled by Aaron Sher

Short Summaries
—————-
=========================================================================
The Witch’s Love
Authors of Volume 2

One-line
Fantasy
Any
Any One of the PC’s falls in love with a woman who happens to be a
witch…perhaps she is allied with a group working against the PCs?
=========================================================================
Protect the Ambassador
Authors of Volume 2

One-line
Any
Guarding
Any The PCs are sent with an ambassador to another country to protect him
and do his bidding. There may be some espionage, rescuing, downright
bullying, etc. Could make a nice medieval special operations background.
=========================================================================
The Robbed Mages
Authors of Volume 2

One-line
Fantasy
Investigation
Quest
Magic
Any After a rash of thefts from wizards in the Guild, the PCs are hired to
catch the perpetrators. They could be other mages, three dozen halfling
thieves, demons, or even time travelers. PCs need to figure out who
might get hit next, how to catch the criminals, who are they, etc.
=========================================================================
Slavery
Authors of Volume 2

One-line
Any
Affliction
Ship After a fight where all the PC’s seemingly died or are captured, they
wake up to the crack of a whip, as they have been sold into slavery
onboard a galley. They have no equipment, they have to work to
exhaustion, they get very little food, but if they play well, they might
be able to escape.
=========================================================================
The Queen’s Beau
Authors of Volume 2

One-line
Any
Investigation
Urban The Queen’s beau (a very handsome knight-errant or something) is
missing and he was last seen in a tavern at the edge of town. The PC’s
are the people who were determined to have useful information, after a
lengthy interview/screening by the Queen’s Marshall-General, etc. They
set out to find him, since it is thought he is in grave danger.
=========================================================================
What happened?
Authors of Volume 2

One-line
Any
Affliction
Startup
Any The party wakes up around a table with wine goblets near at hand.
They discover that they have forgotten everything they did over the past
two weeks. Apparently, as they uncover clues, they were hired by someone
to do a job, and when the job was finished the person invited them to
dinner. Interesting events abound as the party attempts to piece
together the events of the last fortnight…
=========================================================================
The Gauntlet of Grummsh
Authors of Volume 2

One-line
Fantasy
Quest
Affliction
Any Bonecrusher (an Orc, now a Giant Orc Chieftain) has found the Gauntlet
of Grummsh (an orcish Artifact) and is kicking some serious butt, raising
an orc army and is about to invade the country to, er, root, pape, and
lillage the area (he’s powerful, but he’s still an orc.) Of course, the
destruction of this gauntlet is very important to the players.
Bonecrusher could be considered the Guardian of the Gauntlet, and
destroying it *will* bring curses from Grummsh onto the party.
=========================================================================
The Dragon and the Gate
Authors of Volume 2

One-line
Fantasy
Quest
Urban
Dragon Four dragons (one blue and three greens) have banded together to
increase their wealth. They (gasp) spent it on various magical weapons
and defences and then attacked and took over a port city. Now they’ve
removed all laws, taxing everything. All the good folk have escaped, and
some are running a resistance force. Of course, there’s a catch.
The blue dragon’s been possessed by a lower planar being, and is opening
a gate…
=========================================================================
The Lost Drow
Authors of Volume 2

One-line
Fantasy
Startup
Any A young drow got ‘left behind’ after a raid to the surface. He is a
mid-level fighter, slightly lower-level magic user. Maybe give him a few
pet large spiders for some extra challenge. He could take over a farm
house (or two) with charm spells (maybe even charm a few of the animals).
He could try and trick the party into finding the entrance to the drow
realm for him (or maybe kill some inconvenient big thing). Anyway, as
there’s only one drow, a party of four or five lower level characters
wouldn’t really be in too great a danger.
==========================================================================
The White Stone
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Affliction
Magic
Cave
Dragon In a cave, in an incredibly cold pool of water, is a large round white
stone (about 3 or 4 feet in diameter). It feels to all the world like
marble, and radiates magic.

It’s actually a white dragon egg. It stays in stasis, just hours from
hatching, until it’s heated up… to just about room temperature. Then
it hatches. If your players are like mine, they’ll take a big white
magic rock without thinking twice; it should then hatch at exactly the
worst time. My players made it all the way back to their ship, and put
it in the hold, before it hatched. Great fun. =========================================================================
The Ship of Fools
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Any
Startup
Affliction
Ship One of the things I do for comic relief is have the PCs run across a
particular ship full of really stupid sailors.

They are almost always in dire trouble when the PCs come across them,
like the one time they were out in the middle of the ocean and their
sails were on fire. The PCs had to put the fire out for them, because
they didn’t think of using sea water to put it out themselves.

The name of the ship is the _Storm_, and the captain (“pilot”) looks
and sounds an awful lot like Robert Plant.

It shouldn’t take too much prodding before the PC’s start calling it
the “Ship of Fools”…. =========================================================================
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Quest
Investigation
Urban
Demon A demon (e.g. Cambion demon) has taken the shape of a respected member
of the community (using polymorph self) and, masking his true alignment,
shape and abilities, is slowly spreading death and terror in the city.

The PC’s are hired (as special agents by ??) to find the perpetrator and
capture/kill them before it gets even more out of control. The demon is
able to change shape easily and hence occasionally changes to take the
form of one of its victims to throw off the scent. Its sole purpose is
to cause disruption and Chaos (or was it brought here by someone for
other reasons and escaped or was turned loose ?). =========================================================================
Curse of the Incontinent Dragon
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Quest
Investigation
Urban
Dragon The party ventures into a small town after their latest expedition,
only to find that the towsfolk are in an uproar. The mayor tells the
party about the “cursed beast of darkness” which rises from its burrows
to the north and flies over the hapless village dropping flaming missles
from his bowels. As the players pass by the mayor’s house, they note the
gruesome stench. Gobs of acid-spitting larvae still snake through the
burnt ruins. To make a long story short, the witch of the wyrmwoods
which surround the village has cast a curse upon the foul dragon who used
to be a nature loving and solitary beast. Now, in his incontinence, he
regards the town as his private toilet. Furthermore, the curse has also
reduced his intelligence by, oh say, 15 points perhaps. “Aww… duh…
you mean you know ahh… I wasn’ a ‘spose to poop der… dahhhh!”
=========================================================================
The Dragon’s Forest
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Exploration
Investigation
Urban
Village
Wilderness
Forest
Dragon There’s a logging town nearby that, all of a sudden, starts spending
money like there’s no tomorrow. They go from a little frontier town to a
place like in a matter of
months. The players should be “just passing through”, and notice this
large change. They pass a bard that tells of the eighth murder in the
town in a month.

What’s really going on is that someone with tons of money is having
the loggers clear-cut the forest the logging town is near.

Unfortunately, the forest has a guardian (a dragon) that is a bit
fanatical and unscrupulous in his guardianship; to scare the loggers into
ceasing from clear-cutting the forest, he hires some assassin/terrorists
to kill random loggers in the city. The players’ mission, should they
choose to accept it, is to stop this situation from escalating any
further. =========================================================================
The False Dragon
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Quest
Any
Arctic
Dragon This adventure is best for a party of low-level fantasy characters.

A mage has managed to control an Ice Lizard (a la Fiend Folio), and
uses it to his own ends. In my case, kidnapping a sage. The trick: it
can appear to be a white dragon. Thus, the adventure seems very scary
indeed from the all the dragon rumours surrounding the kidnapping, but
Ice Lizards aren’t even pale shadows of real dragons. So, it’s exciting,
but manageable for low power parties.

Eventually, the party may figure out that it’s not a real dragon and
gain confidence to attack it (if they were too cautious). The final
showdown is between the party, and the low level mage and his pet. For
extra excitement, add a few minions, some traps in the lair, etc.

Naturally, the lure doesn’t have to be a kidnapped sage, it could be
rumours of dragon raids, a fair maiden kidnapping, or whatever you
please. =========================================================================
The Book
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Any
Exploration
Any The party finds a book, a second copy of a book they have or have seen
before, or can look at. On reading and/or close examination they find
that the new copy has an extra passage/paragraph detailing where the
famous hero/ine was buried/trapped. The book could be a history of the
land, a tale of brave deeds etc. No other copies of the book have this
passage, wise persons who are familiar witht the work can’t recall the
passage in anything they’ve read (but maybe someone will partially
confirm the rumor…).

Once they get there there are a few options (in order of time
consumption increasing concerning the book): -The place exists but is uninteresting
-The place doesn’t exist (could take the party a long time to believe you)
-The place exists, but people tell the party it doesn’t
-The place doesn’t exist, but people say it does
-The place exists but it’s somewhere else
-The place exists, but it’s a trap by the scribes who confirmed its
existence for you.
=========================================================================
Double Conspiracy
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Quest
Investigation
Urban
Dungeon
Doppelganger The party is hired to transport scrolls to a temple in the hills, far
from their hometown. They arrive in town, and discover that some
townsfolk have disappeared. They meet the high priest, deliver the
goods, and are prepared to leave, when they find the body of the high
priest somewhere in town.

It seems a small band of doppelgangers have uncovered a lead to a
magic item/relic that is buried beneath the tombs under the temple. The
scrolls provide information of some sort the doppelgangers need to get to
the item. The missing people are being used as slaves to dig beneath the
tombs (which of course are full of nasties).

The final scene should be between the head doppelganger and his
cronies just as the item is unearthed.

I’ve kept the details out of the description, because a lot of the
stuff (like what’s in the scroll) can be campaign-dependent. But if the
players are perceptive/paranoid, they might blow this into a full-blown
campaign: Did their employer know the high priest was a doppelganger?
Is there a conspiracy to get doppelgangers into power in the human world? =========================================================================
Meet Your Enemies
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Any
Any
Urban
City In a big classy town that the PC’s have reason to go to every once in
a while (I have it set in a city near a paladin training center) is an
even classier restaurant called Chez Ralph. It’s about as nice a
restaurant as you could possibly have. Waiters check on you every minute
or so, there’s a string quartet playing in the background, and glasses of
water (“Mineral water, imported from halfway around the world” is what
they tell you, and they’re telling the truth) cost around 20 gp.

Besides being a wonderful place to have players dump some cash, it’s
also Soap Opera City. The bizarrest people show up there, at the same
time the PCs are there – but since nobody wants to make a scene, the
whole feeling is very tense. Old girlfriends, major enemies, spies,
polymorphed dragons, you name it, end up eating there – and usually with
each other.

This requires a lot of continuity in the game. Most games couldn’t
support the type of background and tension Chez Ralph requires. You need
long-term NPCs that the PCs have come to hate – and put them here, where
you just can’t DO anything about them! =========================================================================
Tower Snatch
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Quest
Exploration
Castle A mage returns home after 1 year away and finds that someone has taken
over his tower in the city. He wants it back and hires the PCs to
reclaim it. He can supply maps etc of what it was like when he owned it
(but someone may have moved “Walls of Stone” and placed whole new trap
areas etc). The PC’s can keep anything in the tower which is not
specifically his (of course he can claim anything interesting and they
won’t know) and a cash reward. No-one knows who has it but he suspects
someone respected in the community, hence the attack must be done fairly
quietly so as not to warn the current possessor (the mage can prove that
he is the owner however, he is not setting them up – unless you want this
to happen). The tower is appropriately trapped and guarded, mostly with
the expectation of killing the mage who owns it when he tries to return.
The guards and traps are there to kill (not capture) anyone breaking in.
City guards etc will not take sides unless the conflict ends up outside
the tower.
=========================================================================
Faction War
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Any
Startup
Intrigue
Urban
City This is a non-linear adventure, good as a sideline for whenever the
PC’s happen to be home.

The PC’s are based in a large city. The city is basically composed of
three sectors. Two of which are virtually lawless and the other is
extremely well controlled. The law portion is extending outward and
slowly taking over the other two sections.

A faction war is taking place in the city. There are two opposing
forces at war with each other (it could be a peasant/slave revolt, or a
religious purge, or a supernatural invasion, or whatever.)

The war expands steadily, more and more groups getting dragged into it
and being forced to choose sides. An interesting twist would be for 2
groups that 2 different PC’s belong be on different sides. Great chance
for roleplaying here!

The war could develop while the PCs are away, and upon return they get
the opportunity to jump in.

Think of it, the politics! The adventure! The intrigue! The danger!
The chance to be hunted by one of the most powerful groups in the
city/county/country/kingdom! =========================================================================
A Portal to Gamma World
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Sci-Fi
Quest
Exploration
Any An item has been stolen from a temple/mage/lord etc, the thieves
trailed to a portal leading to an unknown plane/realm. The PC’s are
hired to follow and retrieve the item and/or scout the realm. The realm
escaped to is from the Gamma World game. Several thousand years after an
atomic war, patches of technology still exist. Most survivors are animal
and/or human mutants and have a mix of equipment. Laser pistols, bow and
arrows, smart missiles, swords, armalite rifles, battle axes, war robots
etc. Survivors are TOUGH and many have physical and/or mental mutations,
as the weak ones have already died out. Several technological
installations still exist, guarded by robots etc. PCs must trace the item,
find the current owners, retrieve the item and return before radiation
traces in the atmosphere slowly kill them. (Optionally, the portal is
now set so that it can only be used by someone carrying the stolen item,
hence stopping the PC’s escaping or more raiders coming through).
Equipment bought back may or may not work. PCs with laser pistols,
rocket launchers and mini-tanks are worrying in fantasy worlds.
=========================================================================
Have Fun
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Paranoia
Investigation
Urban
City A Death Leopard Head Honcho decides to run a scam on the First Church
of Christ Computer Programmer. Her theology is fairly limited: “Jesus H.
Christ” stands for J. HARLEY C., and Harley is the 3rd person in the
Trinity. Jesus said “Have Fun!”, and Harley shows us HOW to have fun.
As the prophet of the Lord, she begins convincing lower Church members of
the truth (her Death Leopard handle is Son of David, which she changes to
Son-U-David for missionary purposes, and which also allows a handy link
to Harley). The main mission consists of forming a rock group where she
and her lieutenants take on yet more persona as ELL’s Angels (Gabr-I-ELL,
Raph-I-ELL, Mike-I-ELL and Ur-I-ELL) and give impromtu concerts to the
Infrareds, inciting all 30 000 of them in the sector to “Have Fun!” She
proposes a link between the Church and Death Leopard, which shall be
called the First Church of Harley Games Progammer. It is a vital, yet
little understood (especially by her) part of her thelogy that Jeremiah
was a bullfrog.

Troubleshooters should be inserted, perhaps as agents for the high
Church officals in Internal Security, who may or may not have varying
degrees of certainty on how heretical all this is. Of course, if the
Troublesootters are IntSec, they have a good chance of being Church
themselves, and may get caught up in the low clearance revivalist
atmosphere… =========================================================================
Give it back!
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Affliction
Any The party has just cleaned out some ex-mage’s compound. In the
scenario I was working with, the party had found a virgin ring of spell-
storing and some matched jewelry, but just about any similar high-power
magic would be useful as a set-up.

The party is resting from their endeavors when a well-dressed person
comes to find them at their current quarters. He is an emissary from a
high-level noble of a nearby country. He asks if the party is the one
that cleared out the mage’s quarters. If the party denies it, he
produces proof. After the identification, the emissary asks if they have
the magic item. He explains that the item belongs to his master, it was
commissioned and paid for. He demands the item and offers little or no
(DM’s choice as necessary to provoke the party) reward. When the party
refuses the emissary explains that by the laws of the country he comes
from the item belongs to his master and they must return it to him.

If the party still refuses, the emmisary declares them outlaw
(something most countries ignore) from his country.

Whenever life is getting boring after that, send an assassin or two or
maybe thieves to steal the desired item after the party. If the party
tries to go after the noble they will have the difficulty of manuvering
in a country where they are outlaws. The whole setup provides a good
hook for several other plots and can be used to cause havok wherever the
PC’s go. =========================================================================
Stalemate
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Quest
Exploration
Urban The group has come to a city of which half has been taken over by
orcs. The humans still control the other half. This stalemate has
lasted for approximately 2 weeks with occasional border penetrations by
each side into the opposing half (guerilla raids, party loves ’em,
2sp/head!).

But things have changed for the better/worse. An army from the north,
in an attempt to make good on the city/kingdom’s problems, has sailed
into town. They wiped out the mercenaries guild (the only opposing
force) and stated that all people were now citizens of the new empire and
they would be rid of the orc menace within two weeks. Everyone has been
drafted into the militia. What is really bizarre about the army is that
it consists of all sorts of races (human, elf, 1/2 elf, etc), all speak a
common tongue, they are VERY well organized yet are individuals.
(Everyone has personal weapons, armor, etc.)

The party can decide what to do. They may not like the idea of being
drafted into the militia to be used as fodder (for an empire they don’t
belong to) to rid the town (that they are only visiting) of the menace.
However, it WILL provide for some good roleplaying trying to explain to
the new invaders why the group should (or rather wants) to remain
together.

The plus is that after the orcs are gone, the militia wil be disbanded
(or so the invaders say) and the members will be free to go on their way
as citizens of the new empire (more lands to visit). The other bonus is
that the party may be able to get ahold of a little of the recaptured
territory. =========================================================================
Acquainted With the Night
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Investigation
Startup
Any
Vampire A group of players *start* by discovering that one of their friends
has been bitten by a vampire. They follow through the entire process,
possibly killing their friend once he/she has risen again, probably
hunting down the vampire that bit their friend. Happy ending.

Then the vampire community seeks retribution. Yes, it was clumsy of
the vampire to get caught, but it’s not the place of the herd to exact
justice on the vampires. The complexity of this scenario depends upon
how you imagine the entire supernatural community.

One possible idea is that vampires — the cool manipulative Undead —
just don’t exist. Vampires are mindless creatures which reek of clotted
blood and which fixate on their families because those are the strongest
memories left. A vampire is what happens to someone who dies of a ghoul-
bite. (Doesn’t happen often because ghouls don’t usually bite live
people. NOTE: these are obviously not _Vampire: The Masquerade_
ghouls.) The image of the vampire is the result of a plot between the
ghouls and the werewolves: they wanted a patently false supernatural
image that would distract attention from themselves. In this case, the
PCs are under attack because they have a sample vampire to look at and
modern science may discover the connection.

If you’re running _Vampire: The Masquerade_, then the PCs are
initiated by a Sire for their own protection. The Sire has some long-
standing grievance against the Sire of the clumsy vampire, or has some
ideological conflict with those who would kill the PCs. =========================================================================
Dandelion Party
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Sci-Fi
Quest
Any North America is balkanized, split into twelve smaller countries, most
of which call themselves the United States of America (except for two
which call themselves Canada and one Quebec). Teleporting aliens (the
Dandelions) have discovered Earth, which means that the other races of
the interstellar Confederation have found us.

All trade agreements are tentative and depend upon Earth’s acceptance
into the Confederation. We are engaging in an exchange of art objects
(yeah, I know I stole this from _Doorways In The Sand_), and Earth seems
to have lost one of the alien artifacts. [When I ran this, it was a
“pure” AI they lost; a wirehead had accidentally jacked it into the world
network. Choice of artifact depends upon how the artifact was lost (by
accident or not) and who is after it.]

Each country wants to be the one to find it. [Country of choice],
which had the artifact when it disappeared, doesn’t want the news to get
out, though all the security services know about it. A subgroup of
carnivorous aliens don’t want the humans to find it.

Alien motivation: Humans may make amusing game or food animals, but
it’s not practical to ship them across interstellar space. However, if
humans fail to make it into the Confederation, the aliens can bid on
copyright to human DNA, producing clones for whatever purposes they want.
[Intelligent species own their own copyrights.] Aliens may also have
internecine struggles.

The characters could be innocent bystanders, diplomats, detectives,
police officers, spies for the L-5 colonies, ninjas, yakuza… =========================================================================
Not All Be Changed
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Any
Quest
Any Superheroes seem to form their own communities, their own strata in
society. Given that some of these people have the power of a nuclear
bomb, it’s understandable that certain espionage, police, and security
agencies would want a mole in the superhero community.

The easiest types of supers for a non-super agent type to simulate are
martial artist-gadgeteers and armoured-suit guys. (Actually, the agency
may not have the budget for a *really good* armoured suit; I ran it with
a martial-artist gadgeteer as the mole.) And having a secret ID is a
good excuse for wandering off at odd times (and making reports to
superiors).

The problem begins when the mole goes native. He forgets about making
reports, he forgets about his loyalties, he’s just caught up in the
entire experience of being one of the Good Guys and thumping the Mauve
Marauder. He ignores a recall order, so the Agency sends people in to
collect him.

The PC’s can be the agents sent to collect the mole, or they can be
other supers, who are helping to defend the mole without knowing quite
what’s going on.

If you need to make things more confusing, there’s the fact that he’s
been recalled because his ID has become known to *other* Agencies, and
they want to capture him (in the guise of a supervillain, perhaps) and
wring his brains about that little escapade in Bangkok four years ago, or
the defection of Gyorgi Dimitrov, or whatever suits your political
inclinations. =========================================================================
The Elven Relative
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Quest
Any For a mostly non-human party:

The party is approached by an elf. He explains the following
situation:

His nephew (niece, whatever) was visiting some relatives a ways away,
and during the travel home was “invited” to stay with a human lord. The
lord sent a message that he wanted to arrange a “lease” of some territory
for his brother to hold for (say) 30 years or so. The elves are very
aware that such “leases” nearly always end up being permanent. They wish
to secure the return of their relative, without allowing the lease. By
their standards the health of their relative is more important than the
relatively small lease, but they cannot act directly as the lord is on
the other side of a neighboring humano-centric country. An elven force
large enough to take the relative back would have to fight its way there
and break long-standing peace treaties and probably start a war. So they
want someone to act in stealth for them, they cannot provide any security
outside their own country. The party’s job, should they accept it, is to
find the relative, break it free and return to the elven territory…
without causing an inter-racial incident in the process.

The lord’s holding should be strong enough that a direct attack by the
PC’s is suicide. Be prepared to have the party try several different
methods.

Some twists possible: The elf is a mage, but has lost/used up all his
spells and the lord has his spell-book hidden. The elf is drugged and
won’t cooperate. The elf is forced by a magical curse to stay near the
lord’s castle. A member of the elf’s retinue is a traitor and tries to
interfere with the party in non-obvious ways….. (traitor is a
polymorphed human?) =========================================================================
Make Judgement by Their Rules
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Sci-Fi
Investigation
Ship A starship receives a distress signal from a cold-sleep colony ship
launched X years before, to an unexplored section of space. When they
arrive, they discover that the entire colony ship is under the death
sentence (or has already been killed) because a native killed one of the
colony ship’s scouts. The reason was that the scout violated . You may up the stakes by leaving the entire
colony ship, still in cold sleep, in orbit, and the captain apparently
committed suicide. The scenario is a mystery: why do *we* get punished
for *them* killing us? *Why* did they kill us?

The crew of the starship is soon under the same death penalty.
Evidence shows that the scout had a slight xenophobia–(“Well within
bounds, though–he was a scout, after all.”) The aliens happen to be
horned hominids, vaguely Satanic looking. Further examination shows that
the scout also had a strongly religious background.

Eventually, peculiarities in the alien culture are explained when it’s
discovered that they are telepathic in some ways, and that is
*Privacy*. Or maybe *Aggravated Mental Assault*. The scout didn’t have
the decency to keep his/her emotions under control, the alien picked them
up and broadcast them back, and *voila* positive feedback cycle wherein
the alien was tougher than the human, and won the fight.

This scenario depends upon a universe where telepathy is not
impossible but is also not present among any of the players and probably
not common or reliable in player space. I’ve never run it because I
haven’t had any brilliant thoughts about a society created by
graminivorous telepaths. =========================================================================
Sword Of Kadorn
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Startup
Quest
Any An introductory fantasy adventure. Players are a group of village
adolescents who have discovered a Sword of Power. The local lord
responsibly decides that it should be sent to the capital, where they
have mages who would understand such a thing, and since the PC’s are not
needed between spring shearing and harvest, the lord sends them with an
advisor (village hedge-wizard, old man-at-arms, family retainer,
whatever). The sword has chosen one of the PCs as its carrier.

Beyond the simple journey to the capital is the fact that the sword
has its own agenda. Possibilities include: -The sword was created to kill a particular ethnic group in a war;
that ethnic group subsequently won the war, and it turns out that all
the PC’s but the chosen carrier are descended in some way from that
ethnic group. Over the course of the journey, that PC argues with the
sword over whether or not the other PC’s should be killed. (PC: “It
will be rather a long fight if I have to kill everyone in the
province” SWORD: “But the glorious fight will at last be won!”)

-The sword is a Lawful Good sword created a millennium ago, when
morals were considerably different. *It* wants to encourage the kind
of behaviour that it believes is good, probably rough eye-for-an-eye
justice that is frowned upon in most civilized societies.

-The sword is a weapon to be used in an upcoming Apocalyptic War
between Good and Evil ™ and is searching for the best Hero ™
for the war. In this case, the PC’s are simply a vehicle for it to
get to the capital. It may have magical abilities that keep the PC’s
alive during the early parts of the journey, but after it leaves
them, they must learn to live without it. =========================================================================
Accused
Authors of Volume 2

Medium
Any
Affliction
Investigation
Urban (This is an entire campaign, and begins with 1st level chars that have
never met each other.)

Each PC is doing normal, everyday things (sword practice, study,
drinking, etc) when he is arrested by the city police (knocked unconcious
if they do not go peacefully). The PC’s all end up in the same jail
cell. The next day, they are brought to trial for the murder of some
important official. They are convicted and sentenced to burn tomorrow.
They are returned to their cell (stripped of all equipment) to await
their execution.

The PC’s have at least two escape paths: (more, if they’re creative) 1) If they carefully search the cell, they can find a loose stone
under a cot (everyone gets a ‘concealed doors’ roll) (and if they look,
they will eventually find it: the odds are in their favor, if there are
more than a few PC’s). By falling through, they can drop into sewers,
float to the exit, batter away the grate, and they are free.

2) Have a mage do something to the single guard (charm comes to mind
immediately)

Once they are out, they must flee the city (if they try to stay, tell
them the police have noticed their escape, and are beginning a house-to-
house search. This information could come from a bartender or similar
person.) They may wish to steal some equipment, or maybe a friend will
provide them with weapons, urging them to run.

The PC’s can travel either to the ocean (if they can capture a small
vessel) or to the unexplored mountainous regions. There, they can gain
experience and hide until they are ready to return, and find out who
framed them for the murder. (It was the judge, or maybe another
politician. After killing the victim, he planted evidence pointing to
the PC’s. The PC’s may have been political opponents of him, or just
randomly chosen.) =========================================================================
Double-Cross
Authors of Volume 2

Short
Fantasy
Affliction
Quest
Any

The PC’s are hired to retrieve a family heirloom which was stolen from
the family 5 years ago. The family has just found who now has the heirloom
and want the PC’s to steal it back. The current owner is the original thief
and is an accepted member of the community. The theft must be done quietly
so as not to attract attention as the familiy would lose social esteem if it
was known that the object had been lost i.e. no questions asked in town etc.
The current owner has a normal house with normal traps and precautions to
protect this type of treasure, plus whatever skills or guards are required.

After the theft has been performed, the object handed over and the
PC’s are still congratulating themselves on a job well done, reward
posters go up around town for the return of the object, the thieves
wanted dead or alive or the object returned and no questions asked. The
PC’s have been suckered, the object has ALWAYS belonged to the person
they stole it from and they are forced to either flee the area (never to
return), or to get it back again from the person they originally stole it
for (probably a member of the local Thieves’ Guild or similiar). The
preferred method is to lead them toward stealing it back again (if they
can break into the thieves’ guild etc) as there are no other safe
alternatives. If they are captured, no-one will believe them unless the
PC’s pay for a cleric to “Detect Lie” (very expensive under the
circumstances) and no-one will mind if they are accidently killed while
trying to retrieve the object.

Last time I did this the object was a diamond tiara and used in royal
coronations (one of which was due in 2 months). Nearly brought the whole
political structure down. =========================================================================
Time War
Authors of Volume 2

Medium
Fantasy
New Age
Investigation
Quest
Any An experimenting Cleric/Mage has opened a portal to another realm.
Accidently this corresponded with an experiment in a modern-day
underground military base which is performing a physics experiment on
time/space. A trans-Time/dimensional portal is formed, both attuned to
each other such that neither can be closed until both are closed
simultaneously. Meanwhile, a military scouting party of Rambo types have
passed through and are exploring the AD&D area (walky talkies, hand
grenades, sub-machine guns and pistols, hand-to-hand combat etc). They
don’t believe what they’ve ended up in (save vs illusions and mind-
affecting spells at +4) and are taking prisoners of anyone who can give
information on the situation.

Problem 1: Stop the scouting party (including retrieving their gear
if possible).

Problem 2: Find what equipment is needed to close both portals
simultaneously – sages can probably help with this – and get the required
equipment. (I used a Redeye missile and Staff of power, both of which
were in the possession of a Barghest on the plane of Gehenna).

Problem 3: Go through the portal to the Underground base, find the
source controlling the portal, and get control of the area. The guards
are the (US ?) army equiped with modern gear, but the primary security
structure is to block access to the experimental area, rather than the
area itself.

Problem 4: Destroy both portals simultaneously. For example, fire
the missile into controlling computer complex, while simultaneously
breaking (retributive strike) the Staff of Power at the fantasy-side
entrance to the portal. Then get the surviving PC’s from the underground
base to their home realm (either use plane shifting magic or have a time
delay on the portal destruction). =========================================================================
Find the Lord
Authors of Volume 2

Medium
Fantasy
Quest
Investigation
Urban
Dungeon
Castle The elderly Lord of a small adventuring town was found missing from
his home a after a visit from some strange men. The man’s family
determines that he has been kidnapped and hires the PC’s to find him.

The PC’s, following various clues, find the man, and, after a bit of a
fight with Kenku and (some other bird race) the Kenku call for a truce.
They say they were hired to kidnapped the man and the person who hired
them has not shown up with their money. They want no more trouble with
the PC’s and hand over the old man.

So far, so good. What the PC’s don’t know is that the ‘man’ they take back
is actually the Kenku leader, shape-changed into the old lord’s appearance.
The Kenku were able to use magic (my version allow them to be up to 3rd
level mages) to ESP and CHARM the lord into telling them about his home,
servants and treasure.

All goes well until a few days after the PC’s return the ‘lord’. It seems
that most of the servants have been fired, guard captains dismissed for
failing in their duties, etc. In other words, the ‘lord’ is clearing the
castle of any who could recognize a difference in him. His family (if any
– in my campaign there was a granddaughter set off to a nunnery and a son
who was locked in the dungeon for treason – he was blamed for the
kidnapping!!) have been done away with and most of the loyal
servants/guards are gone. The ‘lord’ has hired new ‘people’; more Kenku
coming in as advisors, guards, etc.

Once this was done, they began cleaning out the castle treasury. Needless
to say, the PC’s will be curious, and the townsfolk furious. The ‘lord’
has diverted all monies to his “new and worthwhile projects” while
neglecting the town and allowing things to decay. In the meantime,
servants (Kenku) are looking for a ship (with a captain that would not ask
questions) to come to the castle’s dock during the night. This does not go
unnoticed by the PC’s.

It all comes down to the Kenku, loading the castle treasure into the
ship, and in the midst of this, the PC’s come in and battle the Kenku and
their mercenaries. They may also find the true lord and his son in the
castle dungeon. =========================================================================
The Army Needs You
Authors of Volume 2

Medium
Any
Affliction
Any The PC’s, after wandering into the nearest town for some R&R, suddenly
find themselves drafted into an expeditionary army as a scouting party or
even a small, *expendable* unit with an NPC leader. The pay is a little
money plus food and any necessary clothing. If you want to be nice, you
may assign the PC’s horses, if they don’t have any. As a scouting party,
the PC’s don’t have to travel with the main force of the army, which gets
rid of the possibility of *huge* battles.

At this point the PC’s have several options: -Join the army (possibly in anticipation of relieving the kingdom’s
enemies of unnecessary wealth)

-Play draft dodger and be chased by an elite group of warriors (plus
MU’s and clerics, if you want to get nasty)

-Pretend to join and desert at first opportunity (this would tend to
rocket the PC’s to the top of the local “10 Most Wanted” list).

Any way they choose, you can follow up with new ideas or just adjust
the outcome so they wind up back in the army. The overall goal of the
army is up to you. Whether it is to rescue a princess, lend aid to a
besieged town or outpost, explore uncharted territory, or even to defeat
an opposing army, the PC’s need not participate in any large-scale
battles. The job of scouting gives many opportunities for encounters.
Wilderness encounters, encounters with enemy forces, a ruined temple, or
a castle or two, are just some of the things that can be encountered.
Nature itself can provide lots of good role-playing opportunities. For
example, do you make the dangerous trek over the mountains or go around?
How are you going to cross that rain-swollen river? The possibilities
are endless.

The total outcome of the whole campaign can also be the basis for
another adventure. What happens if the army is defeated or routed? Do
the PC’s try to carry on and compete the mission? What will the PC’s do
when they find themselves stranded deep in hostile territory or deep in
an uncharted wilderness? If the campaign is successful, will the PC’s be
tempted to split up by being promoted to higher positions in the
military? Will the PC’s distinguish themselves and become heroes or
celebrities? Will they fail and be looked on as traitors and criminals?
The rewards can be great and so can the risks. =========================================================================
The Hide of Harker
Authors of Volume 2

Medium
Fantasy
Quest
Any
Demon Baron Harksheen requests an audience with the adventurers. Background
checks will reveal very little is known about this baron. The local
vassal is named G’caird, and is a duke. G’caird has never heard of
Harksheen. Harksheen castle is rather remote, to say the least.

If asked, Harksheen will relate a story about saving the life of one
of the kings’ children several years ago, and how he received this barony
quite by surprise some years later. If the party asks too many
questions, they may be imprisoned in the baron’s dungeons. The baron has
15 men at arms, and can command the skeletons which inhabit all of the
numerous suits of armor displayed in the great hall. (Note that this
armor gives the skeletons much better than normal defenses and weapons.)
If the party notices the skeletons in the armor, the baron will claim
they are the remains of the great warriors who died in the armor.

The Baron’s story is that he would like to obtain a certain suit of
armor that has fallen out of sight. He has uncovered some clues (which
he will be glad to show any mages in the group), that indicate that the
armor, called “The Hide of Harker”, was interred with the remains of one
Keforid, apparently a priest of some sort. The Baron would like to
commission the party to recover the armor, will provide escort and
livestock, and allow the party to keep all other booty.

The Baron’s real name is Harker, he’s a demon. The armor was once his
hide. Besides the defenses of the armor, and the fact that it is nearly
weightless, it has the following abilities: Telepathy with Harker, sense
danger, protection from cold. If Harker is killed, the telepathy
converts to a sort of scrying from his skull. Without it, he is pretty
weak, but if he gets his hands on it (or rather, the other way ’round),
look out. He will warn the party that the armor is cursed, and to be
careful not to wear it. (It isn’t cursed per se, but with it’s special
abilities, wearing it might be a tip off.) The real reason Harksheen
won’t go after the armor himself is that the Wraith wearing the armor
would know what he was going to do next and would be an extremely
formidable opponent.

If the party looks closely at the warrior statue in the crypt, they’ll
notice that the base of the statue is a defeated demon who looks a lot
like the Baron. One of the Tapestries depicts the skinning of the demon. =========================================================================
Caravan Raids
Authors of Volume 2

Medium
Any
Startup
Exploration
Any This plot can be used to get the party together.

During the last few weeks, the characters have been hearing rumors of
bandit raids on caravans travelling the road. These raids are carried out against fairly large and well
protected caravans, indicating a well prepared and large group of
bandits. Regular travellers are almost never bothered. (Note: In my
campaign, this is set in a largely agricultural area. Locals aren’t
worth it).

In addition to the caravan raids, several minor officials and
merchants have been kidnapped and ransomed. The bandits are well
informed, leading the local authorities to believe they may have an
informant in their midst. Also a local minor cleric of the temple of
has vanished without a trace.

Some member of the party is contacted by the local government’s
intelligence organization (preferably one that makes sense. I have a
rogue/spy/courier in my group). They are tasked with gathering a group
of adventurers to scout out the bandits and locate their lair. They are
not to engage the bandits, as the city government is planning a full
scale attack. They are also given some appropriate amount of money to
give the characters incentive. The group gathered is not to know they
are working for the local government. Let the player devise a cover
story.

At the same time, a cleric/paladin character (hopefully of the same
temple as the one above) is contacted by the head of their order, and
instructed to find out what happened to the vanished cleric.

For a more twisted plot, have a party thief in the group be contacted
by the local guild, and told about a supposed government expedition to
find the bandits. Instruct the player to join the party and
sidetrack/stop them if possible.

Behind the scenes, the bandits are actually not as powerful as it
seems. It just so happens that the band’s wizard has developed/found a
more powerful version of the sleep spell, which allows the bandits to
gain a great initial advantage. Furthermore, they are working with the
local thieves’ guild to plan their attacks and are sharing the profits
with the guild. In return, the guild provides information and fences
goods for the bandits. The thieves’ guild would be most upset if their
safe and profitable arrangement is disturbed. =========================================================================
Puff the Magic Dragon
Authors of Volume 2

Medium
Fantasy
Exploration
Comedy
Any
Dragon (This is played as semi-serious comedy and is a good way to lighten
PC’s of extra equipment, normal and magic e.g. armour, swords, potions,
etc)

The PC’s hear rumours of a Dragon down the coast, not far (30 miles)
from the village through which they are currently passing. The local
council can’t afford to pay anyone to get rid of it but it’s been a pest
to all the local fishermen for years. (It used to be worse but has been
a bit quieter for the last 15 years). The PC’s will be heros and a small
reward may be found. The Dragon is actually Puff the Magic Dragon (from
the song for anyone who knows it) and was drawn into this realm from the
dimension of Dreams by a young boy’s imagination (young Jacky Papers).
They always used to play together terrorising pirate ships (fishing
boats) etc until Jacky outgrew his boyhood “imaginary” friend. Puff has
become broken hearted with the loss of Jacky and just mopes around all
day in his cave (hidden in the mists of the coast). He is also a
compulsive coward, and the only valuables he possesses are those things
he and Jacky collected when Jacky was younger (balls of string, used
pirate’s flags, blocks of sealing wax etc). Puff is a green dragon
(nonstandard) with a sonic breath weapon (his cry/wail) which
shatters/disintegrates metal/crystal etc within 40′-70′ (save applies)
and does appropriate damage to people as suits the scenario. He can wail
every 2nd round with NO limits and will usually do so (he really is
depressed). (This makes it hard for fighters to do much to him unless
they are lucky with their magical armour, magical swords etc).

At any time the PC’s approach him he will be sobbing gently. He is a
huge Ancient Dragon of green color (NOT a Monster Manual 1 Green dragon),
hit only by magic weapons and the tears he is crying (every round) are
actually large drops of acid (splash all within 20′ for damage as
appropriate). If they hurt him much at all, he will try to escape, still
sobbing and wailing. Even when escaped, he will try to stay close to his
cave (Jacky’s toys are there) unless it is too dangerous. He will NEVER
try to seriously hurt anyone! Any damage is incidental and caused by
crying. If the PC’s try to talk to him, he will check to see if Jacky is
with them, then stop communicating, breaking into even more heart-rending
sobs (tears in all directions – splashing out to 40′ for 3 rounds).

The preferred solution to all this, if they bother to actually find
out what’s going on (the local sages/mages know and will explain for a
fee), is to either send Puff back to the realm of dreams (extra
adventure) or find Jacky Papers and reunite them (he is probably that
madman wandering the kingdom having lost his memory with a great feeling
of unease about dragons). =========================================================================
Artifact Search
Authors of Volume 2

Medium
Fantasy
Exploration
Magic
Cave (This is based in a world where some great despotic Wizard-kings used
to rule before the free races allied against them and collapsed their
rule, some time in the distant past.)

Recently, a farmer in a rural area fell into an underground cavern
while hunting. Within the cavern are remnants of a vanished culture with
gleaming buildings and strange creatures moving about on unknown errands.
The farmer fled the scene immediately but his stories soon spread,
prompting several expeditions by locals and greedy adventurers. The only
person to return from these was found dead outside a village in the area,
clutching an object fashioned of a strange crystal form. The area is now
treated with caution and fear.

The mage who acquired the crystal form is now hiring a capable group
with the intentions of exploring further in search of greater treasures.

Options: 1) The item was actually an artifact from the Wizard Kings and where
there is one there should be others (Greed inspired).

2) The item was a portion of an unknown artifact, the rest is
desired (Interest and fascination inspired).

3) The item is now known to have been the key holding a major
servant of the Wizard-Kings imprisoned. He/She/It is now free and the
PC’s are required to capture/track/kill it. (Fear and caution inspired).
Maybe the servant knows where some of the Wizard-kings are still alive,
hiding in suspended animation or with their souls held in a magical gem,
waiting their moment of rebirth.

4) The item is actually a map to a hitherto hidden realm (in a
magically shielded valley or alternate dimension) where the cavern’s
inhabitants have come from. They have been preparing themselves for a
looting/slaving expedition into this realm and must be stopped before
they have a chance to expand out of their cavern. (This sets up a
possible major campaign: first clean out the cavern area, then gain
access to the hidden and unknown realm and scout it, then find those who
intend the raiding expeditions etc and stop them).

5) The item is the key to time-travel. The mage who has it wants to
travel back to the time of the Wizard-Kings, alter history so that the
Wizard-Kings win and rule with them over one of the realms. He intends
to trick the PC’s to act as his advance guards and protectors and take
them with him to spoil the plans of the allied free people. (This would
involve lots of trickery and be sneaky to manage, as the players can’t
find out what’s going on until too late – at which point they will
probably want to stop him and go home again).

6) The object has given its new master some great abilities and he
now wants to use the powers of the PC’s to slowly build his personal
power until he is able to rule as the great Wizard-Kings ruled. (See 5). =========================================================================
The Obsidian Castle
Authors of Volume 2

Medium
Fantasy
Exploration
Magic
Castle In the far west, under a permanent cloud, sits the Obsidian Castle.
Twice it has protected some powerful beings bid of domination of the
world, twice is has been foiled. But the Castle is patient, and is
already nuturing the third, who has already begun his march.

The Castle is made of jet black obsidian, each block is exactly the
same size, mortared to the next with a dull brown film, the blood of the
victims sacrificed to build it. Enchantment runs through the entire
structure, oridinary weapons can make no mark upon the walls. The castle
is black – gloomy, and horrific. Light cannot travel far within it –
absorbed by the walls. The floors within are pure black ebony, with no
trace of light or color. It’s hard to breathe in the castle, though
character never seem to run out of air.

The castle actively protects the Dark Lord. It has a nearly infinite
supply of glassy obsidian or ebony or black granite guardians. Gargoyles
guard the upper heights, razor-winged obsidian bats range the great
halls, the moat has no water but is filled with delicately balanced
sheets of razor-sharp glass that would instantly shred anyone who fell
within, even in armor, for the points would find every gap and pierce the
body within.

The Castle is the home and last redoubt of the Dark Lord. Your
characters must raise an army to defeat his orcs, ogres and trolls. They
must forge a treaty with the beings of the light and air – the eagles,
the ki-rin – to provide protection and cover against the Dark Lord’s
leather-winged reptilian flyers. But the army is mere diversion – to get
the players into the Castle.

Deep inside the bowels of the Castle is a room perhaps 100 feet wide
and nearly as high, and paved with gold. The walls are bright polished
marble, hung with cloth-of-gold and studded with endless tiny gems. The
ceiling has an enormous crystal chandelier, whose bright glow is nearly
eclipsed by the six-foot-diameter gem on a low dais in the middle of the
room. The gem is a composite, made of thousands of smaller gems, from
fist-sized to tiny grains, of every shape and kind. They are packed into
a great sphere, facet-to-facet, edge-to-edge, and the sphere is alive
with light of every color in the spectrum. Bolts of light flash from
point to point within – tiny dots in many colors swirl about inside. The
evil spirit of the Castle – its “brain” – dwells within. No living being
has ever entered this room – or even knows it exists, but until the gem
is destroyed, the Obsidian Castle will always rise again, and new Dark
Lords will threaten the world…

Of course, you’ll need to work out a lot of details, but this idea
should be good for three or four campaigns before they figure out that is
isn’t “just another Dark Lord” but the Castle itself that is the real
enemy, and that destroying it is merely a temporary setback. You’ll need
to decide who built it, and why, and when. You’ll need more monsters in
the “broken glass” idiom – many people are afraid of broken glass, it’s a
powerful symbol. Perhaps the Castle is lit with black light torches –
you can see, though all is black and dark, and the flames rime the walls
with frost and burn like frostbite… =========================================================================

Long Summaries
—————
=========================================================================
Large Hideous Monsters
Authors of Volume 2

Long
Fantasy
Quest
Investigation
Any Mostly huge, garishly colored slimy monsters have overrun the
Eastmarch. Refugees are crowding into the city, and a large refugee camp
by the north wall has been set up. The Temple of Osiris is advertising
for adventurers.

The monsters are all different. Even the occasionally recognizable
monster is the wrong color, and they’re mostly very underpowered. One
refugee has been celebrated as a “Dragon Slayer”, since he took out a
huge, firebreathing beast with one blow of his yard rake. The tale
definitely grew in the telling, but the man, “Lucky” Luke Sty-walker,
former pig rancher, hasn’t let it go to his head. After all, after he
killed the “Dragon”, a giant slug ate his house.

On the other hand, there was the “killer bunny”, that killed 6
sheepdogs and a wolf one night, right in the middle of town! It would
have probably continued the rampage, except that it started to melt at
sunrise (a Rarebit of luck, that.)

Finding the source of these monsters is the quest, obviously, and this
is not too difficult a task, as long as the adventurers don’t get eaten.
Nearly every monster has left a clear and obvious trail. The trails all
converge on a stream bed. Near the headwater of the stream is a cave
mouth. An idiot ogre couldn’t miss the fact that major traffic has
issued from it. Inside the cave mouth is a very standard set of caves,
caverns and corridors, unique only in the fact that all of the normally
expected cave denizens are absent from, or dead in, their lairs. One
exception; the first side cave from the entrance has a very dead 12′
cavebear, and a very cute, and hungry, cavebear cub (about 60 pounds).
the cub is likely to attach itself to the first adventurer that doesn’t
hurt it. Like most Ursines, it is omnivorous. Monsters issue from the
cave at about 5 per night (2d4/night), and come into being at the narrow
end of the large cavern. Some don’t even survive walking the length of
the room, which provides the heartier monsters with a much needed snack.
None of the monsters can eat anything terrestrial. Well, they can chew
and swallow, but not derive sustenance.

During the 12 phases of the creation, a light can be seen coming from
“somewhere else”. Careful attention will reveal that this `light’ seems
to be coming from a desk lamp. Also visible is a desk with a hunched-
over “dwarf” in outlandish garb (actually, it’s a kid in a striped T-
shirt). Anyone stepping into the circle of light will be transported
into a 12’x15′ basement room filled with strange and wonderous objects,
most of which will not function properly if brought back to the “real
world”. On the desk are the kid’s `lucky dice’, which are powerful magic
items, and radiate magic strongly (noticed on 11-, 8- by spellcasters).
These dice create monsters if rolled 12 times. The monsters appear in
whichever universe the dice are NOT in. the Dice can be easily destroyed
in either plane, but that destruction will close the trans-dimensional
door that is in the basement behind the desk (which is also obvious to
most adventurers.) While the door is open, anyone leaving the room will
be transported to their own world. Also, magic and technology both work
in the basement room only (and in the cave). =========================================================================
The Jewels of the Castle
Authors of Volume 2

Long
Fantasy
Exploration
Castle On a hill near the characters’ home village once stood a proud castle.
About forty years ago a mage resident there summoned up something he
couldn’t handle, and it pretty much trashed the place. The castle
consists now of the ruins of the outer towers and gatehouse, about twelve
towers in all, only a couple of which have even part of a roof, six inner
towers (including the inner gatehouse) most of which are in very much
disrepair, and the inner keep, which is mostly collapsed. Most of the
castle walls are also torn down, and the moat is overgrown as well.
Under the main keep is a cellar (about three rooms worth.) All of the
wooden buildings, interior wood etc. was burned. The place is rumored to
be haunted, about twenty years ago old Fred went there and never was the
same since.

The players recently found out that the guy that built the castle had
placed a mcguffin under the floor stones in each of the towers, and a
large one under the keep. (The mcguffin is some sort of enchanted jewel
that was supposed to keep the castle from harm or something. In
practice, any enchantment has long worn off, but the jewels should be
worth whatever is an appropriate amount in your campaign.) The players
are the only people (that they know of) with this information, perhaps
they found it in a letter used as a bookmark in an old book.

You should stock the castle mostly with animal, or animal-like
monsters. Perhaps one tower is home to a couple of giant beetles,
another has some feral cats, another has some snakes. A group of
brigands that operates in this neighborhood uses one of the more intact
towers as a camp, perhaps they have hidden some treasure under it,
perhaps several of them are there. An old crone lives in one of the
towers, free rent you see. She makes healing poultices (herbal gunk
etc.) for the brigands in return for food. Treat her as a second level
MU with a charm person spell. You might, if you like, put a more “real”
monster in the main keep, perhaps some sort of sentinel creature (ex. a
water weird, one of the really minor devils etc.).


Wandering monsters. Write up a wandering monster chart. Some of the
entries should be true wandering things such as passing birds, cows etc.
Most of them should be the inhabitants of the towers.

For example: 1. 3 of the cats from tower #1 (night only)
2. The old crone gathering herbs (day only)
3. 1d6 of the giant rats from tower #7 (night only)
4. A brigand patrol (details omitted). If there are currently no
brigands, they are going to their camp in tower #9. If there are
brigands in the camp, roll a d6, on a 1-3 they are going to the camp, on
a roll of 4-6 the brigands in the camp leave etc.

Should the party go home before clearing out the tower, feel free to
replace any slain monsters with others, especially if some time has
elapsed. For instance, now that the large snake has left, a weasel
family has made their home in the moat. The brigands will not always be
there, sometimes there may be as many as (more than the party can handle)
planning a raid somewhere. Be sure to indicate signs of some of the
animals, things like droppings, meal remains, shed carapaces etc. The
brigands are not all that neat, there might be signs that they are around
such as the tower that they use as an outhouse, a pile of cow bones, a
copper penny with a recent date, a torn but unrotted rag etc. =========================================================================
Survival
Authors of Volume 2

Long
Any
Startup
Exploration
Guarding
Wilderness This module is currently designed for 4-6 players of first and second
level, with about 5 to 7 total levels in the party. It provides a way
for the party to meet without resorting to the trite “you’re in a bar”
scenario.

The geographic setting is the northern plains of a continent with a
cool to cold climate during the autumn season. The party begins in a
country on the human side of a human/demihuman border. The demihumans in
question can be either Goblins and Orcs or Goblins and Hobgoblins. The
winter storms are expected to start sometime in the next 4 to 6 weeks,
which will close down the commonly used trade routes through the
mountainous plains to the northeast.

Each character, except thieves, starts as a merchant, messenger, or
mercenary guard in a large caravan heading to another city further north.
The winter seems to be setting in early and the caravan master wants to
leave the city as soon as possible, due to a “special” package that a
local temple has given into his care. The cleric(s) in the party are
sent to “guard” this package. The fighters are mercenaries hired to
guard the caravan on its seven to eight day journey, and the magic users
are merchants (based on their nonweapon proficiencies) along for the
ride.

During the first three to four days it becomes obvious to the fighters
that the caravan master is taking a less traveled route (which is faster
and dangerous) due to the package. On the fourth night, a group of
thieves (some of which are PC’s) from the main town catch up with the
caravan, and plan to steal the package and ransom it back to the temple.
While the attempt is in progress, the camp is attacked by a horde of the
demihumans which results in the eventual disabling of all the PC’s.

The PC’s awaken (roughly at the same time) with 1 HP, no equipment,
money, food, or water, in the middle of a wrecked camp. The PC’s must
“introduce” themselves, leading to a possible confrontation with the
thief character(s), since no one knows who they are or where they are
from. They must then gather what equipment they can find and attempt to
make it back to civilization and SURVIVE. The obvious choice is to press
onward toward the original destination.

Unknown to the party, the demihumans’ camp is nearby. It is the only
source of food and water for miles in the surrounding terrain. The party
should stumble upon a patrol, and gain some additional items. From here
they can disguise themselves to gain access to the camp and possibly
steal food, water, and possibly horses.

When the party finds the camp, they discover it is actually the ruins
of an ancient fortress. Several questions come up: Who is leading this
company of bandits? What is their purpose? Are they a threat (to the
greater civilization)? The party may investigate these questions. If
they do, several options exist for the adventure from this point. Do
they try and defeat the leaders? Reconnoiter to gather more information
to answer some of the above questions? Try and find the treasure trove?
Run? As they investigate the ruined fortress, they gain the opportunity
to do all of the above and more. The dungeon also provides opportunities
to introduce replacements for characters who may have died.

The adventure concludes with the PC’s leaving the demihuman camp and
finishing the 2 to 3 day trek to civilization on foot, leaving the
bandits intact for a second adventure. =========================================================================
Herbs
Authors of Volume 2

Long
Fantasy
Affliction
Quest
Wilderness The background is that one of the characters in the campaign, has some
major bodily damage, beyond the capabilities of the party to heal. They
rush him to town to find a healer.

The healer heals the character, but tells the party that it is only
temporary. He says that the character will need the application of a
special herb to make the healing permanent. The healer tells the party
how to find a Druid whom he knows for the whereabouts of the herb. The
party is able to get the Druid to agree to accompany them.

The Druid knows the general area in which the herb grows. Finding the
herb is not a guarantee. After a trip taking several days into the
outback, and approximately one day of unsuccessful searching for the
herb, the party has an encounter with a group of orcs. (Party ambushes
orcs, orcs ambush party, whatever). When searched, at least one of the
orcs will have a small quanity of herb on his person. If all the orcs
are dead the party will be able to track the orcs to their ‘lair’. If
one is alive, he will bring the party to the ‘lair’ if threatened. If
asked about the herb, the orc is not aware that it is anything special.
(The orcs gather quantities of the herb and use it as a narcotic and are
unaware of the herb’s healing powers, as they smoke it – not the proper
form of application. If any orcs are questioned about the herb, treat it
as if someone on the street beat you up, took your cigarettes and asked
about their ‘special healing properties’.)

The orc ‘lair’ is actually a small village/outpost. If this region is
orc infested, make it a village (they have to come from somewhere). If
the region is relatively orc-free, have it an advanced orc outpost. (i.e.
no non-combatants)

Have enough orcs in the ‘lair’ such that a frontal assualt would be
nearly impossible. Sneakiness counts here folks!

The ‘lair’ is actually above ground. It consists of a group of huts
sufficent for the orcs’ purpose. (Housing, maybe a forge, food, armory,

etc.) Two of the structures will be made of stone, the places occupied
by the priests and the high leaders. The entire village is surrounded by
a wooden palisade. (Think of old forts in western movies.) The logs are
buried deep enough so that they cannot be easily moved. The wall is nine
feet high with points at the top, and is treated with a sap-like residue
from the local trees that make it nearly resistant to fire. (Fires take
more time to start and don’t spread fast.) The walls are not tough to
climb by oneself and are easy with the help of another. Within the walls
are several outpost towers (approx. 15 feet tall) that are used to see
out beyond the walls.

The orcs have enough of the herb to take care of the injured
character, plus possibly some left over for the party.

For combatants, remember that in an organization this size there will
be a chain of command. I had a supreme leader, a second in command, a
handful of lieutenants, many sergeants and about 150 standard fighters.
I also used two spell-users to make things more lively (players
occasionally fall into the trap in which they believe they are the only
ones with magic accessible to them) and an ogre to make things exciting.
I also included 20 worgs in a pen. (Worgs are large semi-intelligent,
evil wolves that orcs occasionally ride into battle, also called dire
wolves.) The worgs will only affect the outcome if either released from
the pen or if the party tries to sneak by them.

If any of the party escape and at least one of the others are
captured, one of the spell-users will attempt to charm the character.
Once charmed the character will be instructed to find the rest of the
group and bring them back to ‘rescue’ their comrades. (This is a -great-
chance for roleplaying for the the player involved!) Set up an
appropriate ambush. If the orcs’ plan to entice the players back seems to
have too many holes in it, that’s ok, orcs aren’t renowned for their great
plans.

The herb, in addition to its healing properties is also addictive.
For healing, the herb must be administered over a one week period. In
games terms, withdrawal from the herb will result in a penalty to action.
Withdrawal will be complete five days after the last time the herb was
administered. During these five days, the penalties should peak at day
three then gradually drop off. Since the herb has a side-effect
(withdrawal), races that have a natural resistance to poison will not
benefit fully from the herb. =========================================================================
Lizards everywhere
Authors of Volume 2

Long
Fantasy
Quest
Investigation
Any
Dragon This plot is good for fantasy RPGs (designed for AD&D, approx. 6
characters of 6th-8th level)

A small farming community several miles from where the characters are
based has made an appeal to the mayor of the village to put an end to
what are described as “dragon raids”. The mayor, who is coming up for
re-election, has heard of the fame of the heroes and comes to them for
help in slaying the dragon that has terrorized his constituents.

What the heroes are told:
————————-
Recently (in the last few weeks), a dragon with green skin has
shambled up out of the nearby marsh and carried off livestock in its
mouth. The farmers are upset at this loss of their resources. A group
of the farmers held a meeting and sent two volunteers out into the swamp,
but they have not been heard from since.

What the heroes will find, upon investigation:
———————————————-
Large, muddy footprints on the grounds of the farmers whose livestock
have been stolen–mostly those living right next to the marsh to take
advantage of the fertile ground–ostensibly “dragon tracks”. If they ask
questions of the right people, they will find someone who swears he saw
the dragon change into a dragon-man and walk off into the swamp. The
rest of the town thinks this old guy is nuts. The dragon has not been
spotted any farther away from the swamp than about 30 yards. None of the
townsfolk remember seeing any wings on the creature.

Some information the heroes *might* be able to discover:
——————————————————–
Green dragons do not, by habit, live in marshland areas. They prefer
the serenity and relative abundance of game supplied by verdant forests.
Green dragons also delight in deceiving and controlling human operations.
A green dragon without wings is an oddity, to be sure.

In fact, the kind of dragons who DO live in the swamp are black
dragons.

None of this information should be available without sage
consultation.

What is actually going on:
————————–
A little ways into the marsh is a small settlement of lizard men.
These are not the ordinary warlike race, but rather a pacifistic
offshoot… deadly when necessary, but downright friendly otherwise.
They are, in fact, farmers themselves, cultivating nutritious plants and
fungi, and keeping their own herd animals: giant lizards.

The harvest has been bad this year, and feeding the giant lizards has
become second priority. So the lizards, starving, wandered off towards
the human village in search of food…and found it.

The human farmers wouldn’t know a dragon from an oversized water
snake, so they naturally panicked. No farmer in his right mind would go
dragon hunting in a swamp, nohow. And the story grew a little more
fantastic with each telling….

Once, the lizard men followed one of the lizards toward the human
farms. It was near dusk, and visibility was poor, so it was an easy
mistake to say that the “dragon” had changed into a “dragon-man”. But
overall, the lizard men have avoided the humans for fear of prejudice and
misunderstanding. If approached peacefully, and the situation is
explained, the humanoids will be willing to pay restitution for the
animals. They are also willing to open a trade avenue with the humans,
if such an idea is acceptable, but that is up to the farmers.

Other goings-on:
—————-
Elsewhere, *deeper* in the swamp, lairs an old black dragon. He
sleeps, unaware of the turmoil occurring in the nearby village. In fact,
the last time his sleep was disturbed was a couple of weeks back, when
two lanky humans intruded rudely upon his nap. Fortunately for the
dragon, he happened to be mildly hungry at the time. =========================================================================
The House of Raushof Gollenbacher
Authors of Volume 2

Long
Horror
Quest
Investigation
Building A noble requests the party to investigate a spook house he rents in a
town. They are to locate, identify, and banish the source of the odd
sounds, sights, smells, or whatever. For this, they will be paid
handsomely, since the noble likes the apartment’s location as a perfect
“incognito” kind of place.

The house with the apartment lies in a middle-class part of the town,
the buildings are not very crowded, but old. The building is registered
in the name of one Raushof Gollenbacher, but any attempt to find out who
this person is, will fail; nobody knows. The proprietor is an old gnome
called Muschfyths, who don’t like people.

Muschfyths -is- Raushof. Raushof was a name he used when he bought
the house years ago. He got fake ID papers from a human forger he knew
at the time – the forger later died in a traffic “accident” (these things
happen, you know…).

If the party checks for the names of previous renters of the building,
the list will mysteriously have been destroyed in a recent fire, and
Muschfyths will have a bad memory. If the investigators insist on
sleeping in the apartment at night, nothing will happen – the “ghost”
will only be present on nights the investigators are off the premises.

If the rental contract is checked, any lawyer type person will see,
under close scrutiny, that it contains a clause denying the renter any
rights of having his/her money back, and a demand of three months advance
rent.

The house is FULL of secret doors. These doors lead into other rooms.
Depending on the basis of the effects: 1) There _is_ indeed a ghost, or spectre, that creates the sounds, and
this ghost has been enslaved by Muschfyths, and kept on a magical jar
when not needed. The other rooms of the house will contain chains of
meta-steel (steel able to exist in both the ethereal and material
planes), jars of iron sulphate (substitute Stinking Cloud, any AD&D’ers
out there) and related “spooky”/scary things. These are applied by the
ghost when trying to scare the occupants. The ghost can be banished if: a) Muschfyths is killed. This will free the ghost/spectre from its
obligations to him.
b) The jar is broken. The ghost no longer has a prison in this
world. If Muschfyths is still alive, the ghost is still enslaved, but
can not be “turned off” until Muschfyths can find another suitable
prison.
c) The ghost can be banished by a cleric of a God of The Dead or a
God of Healing (in Warhammer terms, Morr or Shallya). If Muschfyths is
still alive, the chance of banishing is lowered.
2) The sounds etc. are produced by mechanical devices built by
Muschfyths. These devices will rely on technical knowledge far beyond
the understanding of any non-gnome player, and even to gnomes, they
appear strange. Treat the machinery as “traps”, and feel free to include
steam engines, “perpetuum mobile”s etc. to your heart’s content. The
characters will perceive the devices as magic unless they can detect they
are not. (You might even want to make some of the devices magic…)

The devices are placed in the rooms surrounding the apartment.
Muschfyths is the only person that knows how the things work. It’s VERY
dangerous to try and operate the devices without proper training – and if
the party finds the devices, Muschfyths will have disappeared…perhaps.


Data on Muschfyths:

Race: Gnome
Age: Above middle age (for gnomes, very old for humans)
Physical: Not very strong, somewhat agile
Mental: Very bright, VERY talented in either technical areas or magic
relating to beings of a spectral nature (depending on the “source”, see
above)
Psyche: Greedy, selfish, paranoid coward. Can be considered being of
an evil alignment.
Abilities: Depending on the “source” (see above):
1) Identify Ethereal Undead, Ritual: Enslave Etereal Undead,
Ritual: Imprison Ethereal Undead.
2) (TL stands for Technology Level) Ritual: Make/Unmake Strange
Device (TL +1), Operate Device (TL +1), Identify Device (TL +0).
Also: Weapon Use: Knives and Daggers, Hiding: Urban, Culture:
Gnome.

=========================================================================

Contributors
————-

Eric Bohm (aka Gothmog)
Rob Crawford
Russ Gilman
Lesley Grant (A little PARANOIA's good for the soul...)
Todd O. Howard (Maybe Dungeon didn't accept it, but I did!)
Matt Hucke
Andrew Hummell
Geoffrey Kimbrough
Lisa Leutheuser
"matthew" (There's always one...)
D. J. McCarthy
Douglas McCorison
John McMullen (Wow!)
Rob McNeur (Wow again!)
Marc Midura (Material from Ralph LeBlanc, Mark Naper...you can never have
             too much!)
John S. Novak, III
Bruce W. Onder
Ami Silberman (Janitor of Lunacy)
Brett Slocum (One of the more loyal contributors... :-))
Larry Smith (I did send you my form letter, didn't I?  If not, thanks!)
Mark Thomas
Jim Vogel (No liches this time)
Dr Williams (I can ALWAYS use it...)
Jeff Williamson

Many thanks to everyone who contributed material to make the second
volume bigger and better than the first. Apologies to Wayne, who sent
mountains of stuff, but since the Net.Plots.Book is public domain I can’t
include copyrighted (or even copylefted!) material. I don’t do
PostScript, LaTeX, or anything but ASCII. If anyone would like to
convert the Book and send me a copy, I’ll distribute that as well.
Enjoy, everyone!

—————————————————————————-

Phil Scadden, Scadden Research
55 Buick St, Petone, Lower Hutt
New Zealand
ph (04) 568-7190, fax (04) 569 5016

The Net Book of Plots – Volume 3

———-========== The NET.PLOTS.BOOK ==========———-
Volume III
Compiled by Phil Scadden and Aaron Sher

Editors Note:

Compilation of this volume was originally started by Aaron Sher and has been
completed by me. It contains plot and scenarios for mostly for fantasy RPGs but
some from other genres have also been submitted. (Come on other-genre players –
get you contributions in for Vol IV). Plots have been presented in no particular
order but there is a large Appendix which is a compilation of the responses to
the “On the road you meet…” thread in rec.games.frp.misc. I have made only
minimal changes (spelling usually) to the material as received. I hope everyone
finds this enjoyable and useful.

Authorship of individual plots have been accredited individually with email
address where I had them (missing from some collected by Aaron – if you can
supply please email me). Author attribution is at the top of each plot.Authors
appreciate feedback – if you use any of these try telling the author how you
did. IT MAY WELL ENCOURAGE THEM TO CONTRIBUTE MORE PLOTS TO THE NEXT VOLUME.

Finally, my thanks to all who submitted these plots and especially to Aaron Sher
who dreamt up the Net.plot.books in the first place.

Phil Scadden P.Scadden@LHN.GNS.CRI.NZ 18/2/94

Bring in (temple) auditors
Ben Davis
bjd12@cus.cam.ac.uk

Short
Fantasy
Intrigue
Rural

Local temple (agricultural type goddess) been generally lax and living it up,
not actually doing much work in the way of religion. One of the PCs knows
someone in this temple – is asked to do a favour. The major temple of the same
religion is sending round a small group to “inspect” all the little provincial
places. The report will be both a financial one (audit) and a load of interviews
with the congregation. If the report gets done properly (ie truthfully) all the
priests are in big trouble.

What the PCs are asked to do is to help alter the way the report gets done. The
problem is that _a_ report has to get done, that killing the visitors is a
massive no go, and that the PCs are going to have to alter the perception of the
temple and the surroundings without the visitors realising.

In the version we ran, the PCs got a hand from the priests in that the priests
took care of the congregation (by buying them all drinks etc) and the party only
had to deal with the visitors. They did this by finding out some background (5
visitors), and then seducing 2, getting 1 blind drunk, bribing one, and
blackmailing the last. Thus the report was written by the right people, and no-
one’s suspicions were raised.

Misplaced Poison
Ben Davis
bjd12@cus.cam.ac.uk

Short
Fantasy
Any
Investigation
Coastal

Staying in pub – landlady’s daughter comes back from playing on the beach in the
early morning to collapse – initial thoughts are that she’s ill, further
investigation will reveal she’s been poisoned.

Turns out the kids (small group on beach) found a rowing boat aground, with a
case in it. They nicked the case, found it was full of food, and eat it several
die, all very ill (they didn’t eat much of the food ’cause they didn’t like it –
unusual taste).

Food was being dropped off to be picked up by a caravan passing nearby, where it
would be swapped for an identical case (unpoisoned) and sent on to its buyer, a
powerful alderman (or equivalent) in a nearby town.

So – to help out the landlady the PCs have to sort out a number of things owner
of the boat, realise a caravan was going to be nearby at the time, find out from
the merchant where the food was going, make all the right connections. They
should then meet up with the alderman, who’ll realise the attempted
assassination attempt (especially if the PCs have still got a sample of the food
– its a delicacy that’s his favourite and that no-one else likes), and may ask
the Pcs to sort out who was behind the poisoning. This will now entail crawling
around the city getting the poison analysed, tracing the boat, the buyer of the
poison and so on. Who’s behind it is up to you (as is everything else really) –
I had his son responsible (via a long and convoluted chain.) ================================================================================

Stuck with the ancestors
Ben Davis
bjd12@cus.cam.ac.uk

Short
Fantasy
Horror
Investigation
Any PCs are dealing with some nomadic tribe (in my version, they were trying to set
up a trade deal with them). Problem – chiefs brother has disappeared in
mysterious circumstances (surprise me) and, guess what, the tribe is mourning
and is not prone to doing business – so, if the intrepid PCs can rescue the
brother, everyone’ll be happy.

The brother has in fact tried to visit the ancestral plane to find out loads of
Good Things, meet ancestors etc. He got the instructions from a ghost in an old
ruined hill fort, which he got the location of from a diary he bought from some
other nomads (the PCs can sort all this out with the right clues). He went to
the hill fort, summoned the ghost, and got the spell to open a gate to the other
plane. Unfortunately, the ghost being a miserable bugger, and the brother being
of the trusting and slightly awed sort, the ghost withheld how to get back “for
a laugh”. So, the brother successfully built the gate, went to the ancestral
plane, only to discover he couldn’t get back. The PCs had better be more
ruthless when talking to the ghost or exactly the same’ll happen to them,

The way this scenario goes depends very much on what the PCs do –
when I ran it, the main feat was getting to the hill fort and talking to the
ghost – rounding up the components for the gate and rescuing the brother were
fairly simple compared to that.

================================================================================

Rescue from Water World
Ben Davis
bjd12@cus.cam.ac.uk

Short
Sci-Fi
Quest
Ocean

PCs are asked/hired to go and pick up (if they have a starship) or escort on a
liner (if they haven’t) four people from a nearby system. Ideally, get them to
agree before they have much chance to do any background research.

The world they’ll be going to is a Balkanised water world. The four people
they’re meeting are political dissidents from one of the governments, a
theocracy. The starport is in a different country, a bureaucratic obsessed blood
pressure inducing place.

Unsurprisingly, the four dissidents don’t turn up for the rendezvous. Depending
on things, they’ve either
-been put under house arrest
-been arrested by the bureaucracy for a minor traffic violation (driving a
powerboat without due care and attention)
-or something similar.

The governments concerned (make the planet have at least 4 or 5 for fun) should
be sufficiently twitchy that, when the PCs do eventually find out where these
people have got to, they can’t just steam in with guns blazing. ’cause the
military are on standby most of the time, and all hell’ll break loose. The way
my PCs got them out from house arrest on a floating hydroponics plant (remember,
its a water world, makes life _much_ more difficult) was to hack into the
theocracy’s job allocation computer, have all four of them transferred on a
Police boat (so as not to attract attention) to a nearby oil rig, and took the
boat in transit during an electrical storm (weather conditions on a slowly
rotating (40hr day) water world)

Just for comment, we were using a 2300AD/old Traveller(TM) hybrid (2300AD
characters, Traveller universe, hybrid gear with a touch of Cyberpunk(TM) for
good measure.)

================================================================================
REVENGE
Jan Garefelt
d90-jga@nada.kth.se

Short
Any
Quest
Affliction
Startup
Any

The PC:s get kidnapped in their youth, before starting their career as
adventurers. (This of course makes it difficult for the players to choose a
scholarly profession, but it is not impossible.)

The kidnapper (in our campaign his name was Barbarossa) is really a slaver who
enjoys tormenting his captives before selling them off in a slave market in a
country faaar from the respective PC:s home.

After x years of slavery in {a coal mine, a salt mine, the fields picking
cotton} our heroes get a chance to escape. The escape can be an adventure by
itself.

The PC:s may be from any part of the world. (They may even have problems in
understanding each others language in the beginning.) After successful escape
they by incident see Barbarossa. The word “revenge” suddenly appears in their
minds.

What can they do to hurt the seemingly too powerful slaver?

================================================================================
Will the REAL John Smith please drop dead?
Graham Wills
gwills@research.att.com

Short
Fantasy
Investigation
Rural

The PCs find a freshly dug grave, haunted by the ghost of the victim, who will
follow them around and wake them at nights wailing “John Smith killed me; avenge
my death”. They are also hired to hunt down someone who robbed a rich merchant.
His name was John Smith. Whatever. Eventually the PCs will go looking for John
Smith. He is a local farmer, totally innocuous, who lives on a rather isolated
farm near a dangerous area.

When they find him, he tries to zap them with a nasty wand, but after one
charge, he drops it and attacks with a sword. He is berserk, but has very few
hits and dies rapidly. When they get back to town they are told that while they
were gone John Smith left on a boat/caravan/pogo stick. They are confused. They
are even more confused when they are attacked by John Smith.

A shape changer/illusionist has got hold of a neat magic item that is supposed
to make people believe they are someone else. Unfortunately the item is broken
and makes people believe they are one particular person … namely John Smith,
the first person the item was used on. Undeterred, our villain controls numerous
people, making them John Smiths and occasionally taking on the John Smith
persona to do dirty deeds. Even when there are obviously far too many John
Smiths, he’ll keep doing this, as people will be reluctant to kill someone who
could be their wife, brother or mother!

The PCs will have to tackle numerous John Smiths of varying dangerousness and
capture them, determine whether he’s a stupid peasant or a high-level evil
genius and deal with the situation.

This is great for low-level types without spells that could solve the problem
rapidly. High-level PCs would just do a Detection type spells and wrap up.

================================================================================
A Dangerous One Night Stand
Author: Charles W. Manry Jr.
cmanry@eecs.wsu.edu

Medium
Any
Affliction
Intrigue
Urban

Setting: Town with 1 or more tavern’s, meeting places, etc.
Target is male Pc.

A Pc is on the make, ie. looking for love. A woman comes in and looks over the
place and picks one of the Pc’s. She grabs ’em and asks him to come back to his
place. They get into a very *nice* coach. If the Pc asks any questions about
the woman’s background she’ll say that she is a wealthy widow (she is lying!).
One into the carriage she becomes all hands. Once home, a nice large mansion,
she ignores the servants strange looks and drags Pc up to the bedroom where a
night of passion will commence.

The punch line: The lady is really the wife of mayor/prominent community
leader/miliary leader/etc who has been cheating on her. She’s out to get
revenge! The night with the Pc is the method of her choosing!

In the morning the servants, who do their best to ignore the Pc’s presence, will
come in and straighten up. They will fold the clothes and bring breakfast. In
the middle of breakfast the husband will come home. The wife will get out of
bed and start throwing their freshly folded clothes all over the bedroom. Mean
while, one of the servants will tell the husband that his wife has company! The
husband will charge into the bedroom and try to kill the Pc. This will be
occurring while the wife is saying to her husband, “Serves you right for
cheating on me!”, “He was much better than you”, “Oh! I never new what I was
missing until last night”, etc. This causes the husband to go into blind rage
causing him to not fight up to this full potential.

Options:
The Pc can try to fight if he gets his weapon. Once this occurs the
husband will calm down and fight to the best of his ability. If the Pc does
kill or wound the husband the wife will attack the Pc. She really still loves
the husband (all well as a few other women!) and will try to protect him. At
this point the Pc becomes just a tool for her revenge. She does not care what
happens to him….

Flee!!!! The husband will chase the Pc into the streets and then stop
saying that he’ll get revenge!

Either situations can cause a man hunt for the Pc. The city guards will be
brought into the situation. If caught, you can toss ’em jail, strip them of
$$’s and items, etc. If they flee the town, bring this sub-plot back into play
every time they return to the town. Or send mercs. after the Pc’s party to
bring back the one Pc to “justice”.

Have fun with this one. Make ’em pay for fooling around with out thinking too
much! 8^).

================================================================================
Magna Carta? Not with this emperor!
David Kurt Spencer
dspencer@WPI.wpi.EDU

Short
Fantasy
Sci-Fi
Intrigue
Urban

This was designed for a rather high level party in a very politically unstable
world. The local government is being treated unfairly by the big federal-style
empire ruling over them and the neighboring cities. The cities are currently in
a state of alliance in trying to overthrow the central government, not through
civil war (unless it comes to that) but through diplomatic means. The scenario
is that the Emperor has a mysterious covert army, made up of people with
assassin-type skills (in RM I use NightBlades). This army kidnaps the Emperor’s
heir’s fiancee and tells her that they are revolutionaries supporting the
revolutionary alliance. The Emperor then sends a small army force to each city
to take the local government people into custody for questioning concerning the
kidnapping, since he has found “clues that implicate them…” His plan is to
take them into custody, then release the girl who will swear to her grave they
were revolutionaries who kidnapped her, and thus he will have no recourse but to
execute the troublesome barons. The Barons obviously are not going to go
peacefully but then again they don’t want an all out war. Have the Barons get
some advanced notice somehow (spies with magic communication or whatever) so
they can prepare. In my world I also had Paladins roaming the streets who
supported the Empire. Now the Baron sends the city into an uproar to fight off
the Emperor’s troops. Catch is, the shadow army is here to catch the Baron
alive (poison arrow comes to mind). As for what the PCs are doing, in my
campaign they were rabid revolutionaries and they ran around killing Paladins
and Emperor’s troops until they saw the Baron and managed (plot catch) to see a
guy aiming an arrow at him. They save the Baron’s life and the Baron thanks
them…and asks them to do him a favor. He’s seen them working in the streets
and knows they are good, plus they just saved him. He asks them to go to the
capital city, speak to some of his spies there, and find out where the heir’s
fiancee is hidden. If they free her and convince her that the people behind her
capture weren’t rebels but someone else in disguise, then the Emperor will have
to call off his troops and a war can be prevented. In my campaign they were also
asked to delay the Emperor’s reinforcement troops so they couldn’t get to the
city before the Barons were proven innocent. Note, this will probably not be
possible without the PCs having access to some sort of teleportation/
instantaneous travel…

================================================================================
Misplaced journeys in time and space
Loren Miller
MILLERL@wharton.upenn.edu

Medium
Sci-Fi
Exploration
Intrigue
Space
Ship

Background: setting 1998 earth, with incompetent bureaucracy ruling the USA, has
already scuttled NASA and decided to go with a space program under direct
congressional control (!). The ship travels by exploding fusion devices behind
it and travelling forward on the strength of the blast. Obviously it has a very
strong shield on the back. Obviously it is not aerodynamic.

The ship’s mission is to go to Alpha Centauri and gather data on whether or not
the system is suitable for human habitation (earth is becoming uninhabitable
because of pollution and mismanagement).

The characters all have hidden motives, as they are all agents of one or another
secret society in the fragmented USA government. They have to depend on a
navputer+, a navigational computer that is programmed to take care of all their
needs. 😉

The problem is that Djin wants to look at the world after 500 years, and to play
off the humor of all these relics of ancient days wandering around in the brave
new world of 2500 AD. Since the trip to AC will only take about 9 years of
objective time, what to do?

I’m getting an evil idea…

The Navputer+ gets close enough to Alpha Centauri to check it out. Orders sent
in the mean time by genius senator Orrin Hatch’s subcommittee on efficient space
exploration have downgraded the importance of human observation on this task.
Quickly confirming that there is no suitable planet for life, the Navputer
decides to continue on to Barnard’s star before waking up the crew!

The crew awakens and starts working, then discovers that the starfield is all
wrong and they’re not in the solar system they expected, then they notice that
huge gas giant in orbit. They discover a planet in the habitable zone, though
calculations are difficult because of that huge companion planet. They also
discover that they’re short on fuel to get back. If they just head back they’ll
take about 100 years to make it the 9 ly (or so) back from Barnard’s star. After
much racking of brain they find a black hole passing by the solar system, just a
little bit off the plane of the galaxy, and decide to use the black hole’s
gravity to give them a boost back towards Sol (it’s going that general direction
anyway).

Anyway, after much panicking and gnashing of teeth they go for it. Only
complication is that the acceleration is going to be so strong that no human
will be able to pilot through the black hole. They’ll have to go into cryo and
let the navputer (the one that didn’t wake them up last time) do the steering,
and don’t have a big window for operations on the other end either, since food
is running short.

And finally, the experiment backfires again, though the trip is made at near
light-speed (about 9 years) unpredictable time “currents” around the black hole
make them *go away* for 500 years.

Finally, the heroes awake in the solar system, speeding past Neptune at .9C. Can
they slow down in time to stop at earth, or do they have to depend on earth to
save them? They’ll probably try to pull another deceleration manoeuvre, but this
time the only available large body is the sun. Can it stop them without killing
them (is the nuclear shield on the back large enough to shield them)?

At long last the heroes arrive on earth, only to find it is 500 years later,
nobody knows them, and their ship is an interesting relic. Their knowledge of
Barnard’s star is dated. The only unique information they have is on the black
hole and the time dilation they experienced. It might be worth big bucks, but
how to use the information? 1. Maybe they can create some kind of time-stasis device? The rest of the
campaign could be a struggle to protect the invention and become industrial
magnates, then eventually rulers of their own demesne, perhaps to sit on the
first galactic throne, all the time struggling against industrial espionage,
cults of personality, eco-terrorists, interstellar teamsters, and the adoring
public.
2. Or maybe another black hole is approaching some important planet
(earth?) and the original crew’s data can help them divert it. But the Navputer
was sold for scrap long ago, and the tapes are covered with dust (or were caught
in a flood) since they were stored by an incompetent bureaucrat. The characters
search for the Navputer, which is now running some children’s ride in
Spielbergland, etc. You get the idea.
The possibilities, especially for satire, are endless.

================================================================================
The Wayward Princess and the Church of Evil
Robert T. Fanning

Short
Fantasy
Quest
Intrigue
Any

The king or some important noble’s daughter was drawn into an evil religion,
which involves drugs, orgies and other corrupting influences. He wants her
back, but she doesn’t want to come, enjoying it as she is. In reality, she
is being kept around to encourage his good behaviour, but they won’t
hesitate to kill her ( even though she doesn’t know it ). If the party
attempts to get her back, she will use the first opportunity to betray them
or escape, but won’t do this until the worst possible moment. She could
leave a few tokens on the trail which the PC’s would miss. The PC’s have no
reason to suspect her. The best way to portray this is to have the
princess, etc being given the best possible quarters for her “prison”, which
she doesn’t leave. She could also have gained formidable spell powers in a
few months of casting spells within the ethos. This will annoy the players
if they need to take her back to get their reward, especially since they
have made another enemy in the form of the corrupting religion. The
princess can deliberately deceive the players into believing her innocence.
A few red herrings, such as the evil church actually sending out assassins
to kill her, instead of recovering her ( which of course, she doesn’t
believe until it is too late after she manages to escape and go back. )

The reason for this is that the king wasn’t behaving himself by sending
adventurers after her, especially if the King has just blown it before by
standing up to the evil church because he has come to the decision that he
might have to take the risk and they are about to carry out their threat
because of it, which makes time very crucial.

The best way to give them a time limit is to set a special event upon which
the princess is to be unknowingly sacrificed. If the PC’s fail to pull it
off in time, they get no money for their trouble, make an enemy of both the
king and evil church, as well as probably being suckered with a powerful
curse.

================================================================================
Honor Among Thieves
Wayne J. Rasmussen.
wjr@netcom.com

Long
Fantasy
Intrigue
Urban
Town

This is a short adventure for a group of low level PCs. There should be at
least one mage, one rogue, and one cleric in the party. The adventure takes
place in the small town/village of Hartthorn.

Scenario Description:
A halfling thief named Freebag, was once a trusted member of a thieves guild.
Then one day he stole a very large sum of money from the guild. He is currently
in the process of leaving the area where the guild operates. In a village to the
east (Dar-Town is its name) Freebag spent a night in a safe house. While there
he heard of about a wizard who was selling a magic item in Hartthorn. Since
Hartthorn is a growing town and has no guild (the local leader is very strict on
thieves) Freebag decided to go there. Besides, it gets him farther away from
the guild. Freebag meets a small group of halfling fighters and merchants on the
way which let him travel with them. Mostly due to racial trust reasons. He
arrives at Fred’s in Hartthorn at start of this adventure.

While Freebag was making good his escape, the guild didn’t stand idle. Using
some of their special methods they have placed the rumour about a magic item for
sale in Hartthorn knowing if Freebag heard the rumour he would go after it.
They have done several things like this in all areas out around the guilds area
of operation. They not sure of his whereabouts, but, need time to get agents
into position. A group of these agents arrived in Hartthorn several days ago.
With the agents are two guild members who know Freebag. They will identify
Freebag and stay out of his sight while the other agents do their plan.

The plan is to get the money back by counter-ripoff. Due to the local political
situation, the agents do not want to incur the wrath of the local leader. They
want to get the money back peacefully. The rumour is that a MU is selling a
Girdle of Storm Giant Strength for 4000GP. Interested buyers are to contact a
man named Logard at Fred’s. The agents will recover most of the money and let
Freebag go. If forced to, they will use violent means to recover the money.
Players could disrupt this plan….

Players don’t hear the rumor, *THIS IS IMPORTANT*, but, overhear the
conversation between Logard and Freebag. If they players decide not to get
involved the events still happen, but, the PCs go on their way. It is nice to
have some adventures which the players decide whether or not to get involved
with. In my game, they didn’t pursue them the first time this was run. I
expected the thieves to act as thieves, instead they just hung around waiting
for the GM to lay an adventure in their lap.

PLACES IN TOWN used in this adventure:
Hartthorn Inn: Nice inn, average costs, there is a room for gambling,
individual rooms and a dinning room with the best local food (very good and some
unusual local items.)

Hastings Inn: Poor inn, average costs – substandard rooms, some low life types
in here. Especially the owner! He is an evil low level mage. Hartthorn was built
over the remains of an enemy fort (wooden fortress) which was destroy in a war
150 years ago. The leaders of the winning army were forewarned not to explore
the underground area beneath the fortress. A few years ago, while digging a
large wine cellar, the owner discovered at passage into the area beneath the
fortress. He now charges 1SP or more to let adventures adventure within. The
local leader knows about this but is not concerned.

Ki Rin House: Part of a chain of fine inns and hotels which all go by this
name. This place is two story building, continual lights surround the entire
building and very experienced guards patrol inside and out. Customers are
searched going in and weapons are checked in and locked up. The all doors to all
rooms are in view of each other. Frequented by merchants, mages, and anyone who
can afford the stay (1GP per night at least, meals 1-5 gp). The are mostly good
sorts here. The owner and his wife are powerful in their class. Thieves would
best stay away from here! The owner pulls in a good 120 GP to 200 GP per day
here.

Fred’s: In my world, Fred is a god of drinking/pleasure. Many go here to drink
and have a good time. Fred was used in several games throughout the U.S military
in the 70’s.

Stable: Good stable, excellent horses for sale!

NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS in this adventure:
Freebag male 1/2ling thief, suberb dexterity, leather amour, foil,
dagger, +1 cloak of protection. Member of the Guild gone bad. Stole from the
Guild and is on the run. He is greedy and loves to flash his wealth around. He
will buy women drinks and try to seduce them. He gambles heavily. He is
staying at the Hartthorn Inn.

****The Guild’s Agents****
Leader

Logard male Human Fighter, powerful, nasty, chainmail, long
sword- (2xspecialization with Long sword), dagger, longbow, lance, 1 magic
potion perhaps

Melitiak Male Human Magic User, say 5 spells available and a magic item

Xilia female 1/2elf Thief moderately good, magic weapon

Trank male elf Thief moderately good, magical leather armor and a weapon

Eifpak male human Cleric. Good. Plate & sh, Potion
of powerful healing

GoMoku Male Human Thief, newbie, Potion of powerful
healing.

****End of Guild’s Agents****

The Adventure:

A group of 1/2lings arrive in town. Most are fighters, but one is a thief
(Freebag is his name) who has stolen mob money. One of the party members thieves
sees this halfling spending platinum and gold at Fred’s. He is buying a man
(Logard is his name) drinks and is talking to him. Freebag gets information
about a magic item for sale (if the players overhear, don’t tell them what type
of item unless they are reluctant to do anything). Freebag tips Logard with
10PP and leaves. A woman (Xilia is her name) talks with Logard for a few
seconds then leaves Fred’s while Logard stays and enjoys Fred’s.

Freebag goes to the Ki Rin house to buy a girdle of Storm giant strength which he
heard was for sale. The halfling will be negotiating with a mu (Melitiak by
name) to by a magic item from him (Melitiak is actually a member of The Guild
trying to get the money back peacefully by counter-ripoff). The halfling states
he must go to his hiding spot to get the large sum of money being asked for the
magic item(4000GP). The two agree to meet back at the Ki Rin house in 24 hours.
This should give the party plenty of time to ripoff Freebag. The hiding spot is
in his room at the Hartthorn inn. The guild didn’t know what room he is in and
they don’t want to do anything that might look like active thieving if they did.
This could put legal/political pressure on the guild.

WHAT COULD HAPPEN Possible actions:

*****
* 1 *
*****

If the party rips-off the halfling Thief, The halfling’s body will be found in
two days in his room murdered (Large lumps on his head are found and his wrists
are rope burned. His throat was slit). With the mob money is evidence letting
the group know that this money belongs to a major thieves guild (Insert Guild
name here!). The mob money totals 4500GP (11JS 48JC 210PP 1150GP). JS is a
Jade Square and is equal to 100GP. JC is a Jade Circle and is worth 25 Gold
pieces.

If the guild has to kill Freebag, they will hang around town and try to figure
out who has their money. If anyone in the party starts to by expensive stuff or
shows off hidden wealth they will become suspected by the guild. If the group
approaches Melitiak to but the girdle of Storm giant strength at this time they
will become suspect. The guild will sell the girdle in this case and get their
money back. This way they succeed in their mission. If the guild suspects
party members they will follow them around and watch them. They may try to
kidnap a party member to get the money back. At worst they will attack them or
enspell them somehow.

When the guild agents get their money back they will leave the town through the
south gate into the fields and then to the wilderness. The guilds agents escaped
to the south and entered an environment controlled by woodland creatures or a
high level magic-user and /or Druid. If the PCs kills a deer hunting for food
(or other woodland types) the group will be geased/quested to kill a creature
which has been killing woodland creatures or hurting the forest. The creature
is a basilisk. The group will find signs of it in an area one day, if they
camp/sleep near this area the basilisk will find them at night. If they find
the lair they could be in trouble! (in it’s lair there is some treasure 2000
silver pieces, 400 electrum, 200 gold, 50 platinum, 1 scroll of protection from
undead, and a +1 short sword. there is also a treasure map to a nearby tomb
which contains 20 ghouls, 2 shadows, 14 wights, 1 ghast, and 1 wraith. The map
doesn’t mention the undead or that it is a tomb.)

If the group tries to find out who killed the halfling they will get the
following information: Freebag came into town with a group of halflings. The
halflings are staying at the Hasting’s inn. Freebag stayed at the Hartthorn
Inn.

Other information found out below if they investigate.

The other halflings will say that Freebag was hauling a heavy wooden chest on
his horse. Freebag joined them in Dar-town and came along for strength in
numbers and racial trust reasons. They know nothing else.

Hartthorn inn: Owner says that he was quiet and paid in advance for his room. He
felt that Freebag had molten gold in his pocket. His daughter (wench) served him
dinner normally. The wooden chest is not in his room.
Wench @ the Hartthorn Inn: Mentions the dinner and wine and that he gambled
after he ate. She will point out a gambler she last saw Freebag with.
Gambler @ the Hartthorn Inn: States that he played cards with him and broke
even. Halfway into the game some other men wanted to join so he gave up for the
night. The men who join the game had been staying in this inn. The two men are
GoMoku and Eifpak. He will give descriptions of the two men. GoMoku and Eifpak
are camping outside of town since Freebag was killed.

Stable man found knocked out: He was guarding the place was knocked out. Nothing
is missing. Freebag’s horse is in here. If the hay in the horse stall is
searched they will find the Scroll mentioned above.

A speak with dead performed on Freebag will work if they ask questions about his
murder and who killed him. This is the easiest way for the group to discover the
murderers. Note: the murderers are staying at different inns and they will
leave town if other members of the guild group are caught.

*****
* 2 *
*****

If the group doesn’t rip off Freebag for the money, the transaction for the
girdle will go on as planned. The Guild will get it’s money back and Freebag
will go on his way with a fake girdle of Storm Giant Strength. Freebag will
quickly figure out that the girdle is a fake and will leave the area under the
Guilds control ASAP. The guild will not take any further action against Freebag
unless he stays in the area. In this case they will have him murdered.

It is possible that the group will try to rob the mage of his money instead.
They must try this outside of the Ki Rin House, Else they will most likely die.
The mage will be surrounded by his friends when he exits the Ki Rin House so if
he is attacked the group should expect some back attacks. If the group wants to
follow him out of town use the plan in the paragraph below.

The Guild group will regroup and leave town two hours after the sale of the
girdle. They will exit through the south gate. If they notice anyone
following, they will move forward quickly and try to setup an ambush. If the
group catches up before the ambush, they will try to run. After having run away
from the group once the PCs gets attacked at night at their camp (unless they
appear to strong to handle) or the group is ambushed the next day. Each member
of the Guild group has 20PP on them. The last guild member will have the chest
of mob money.

*****
* 3 *
*****

If the group tries to get the Girdle from Freebag (non-stealthily) he will first
try to sell it to them for 6000GP. If attacked he will offer to give them some
very interesting information if they let him go (A scroll written in Thieves
Cant relating the safe house in Dar-town). Second, he will boast of his new
found strength and warn the group not to attack him. He will also inform them
of his expertise in fighting with the foil (a lie). If this doesn’t work he
will run away, fighting only if there is no other choice. The group will figure
out the girdles quality quickly.

================================================================================
Temple Raid
Wayne J. Rasmussen.
wjr@netcom.com

Long
Fantasy
Affliction
Building

Suggested requirements: This adventure is for a group of thieves of low-mid
level.

Scenario Description: An evil god of thieves demands a sacrifice of a thief
to satisfy his needs. He would desire a non-guild thief, but, any thief
will do. The clerics of this god are trying to find a thief/thieves to
sacrifice. One of the higher level clerics is attempting to get the PCs
into the temple by pretending to be a thief and stating he has knowledge of
rich treasure within it.

Places in the scenario:
Temple of Stoth: A large building with several towers. There are guards below
and apparently none on the outside or at the upper floors of the tower.

NPCs in the scenario:
Matar: Male Human Cleric, Medium level, good leather amour, Gauntlets
of climbing, Ring of feather falling, Platinum ring set with an opal, necklace
of gold and jewels worth 5000gp+, silver bracelet with turquoise setting,
Magical silver lock picks which add +5% of all thieving skills. All his pouches
have material components for clerical spells. He will have at least two hold
person spells and one dispell magic spell memorised.

Stoth: god of thieves- Purpose: to control all Thief related activity.
This is not lawful, this is a selfish power hungry god who doesn’t care who
he steps on! He sees crime as anti-law. Notes: Thieves guilds which pay
dues are left alone. In those guilds which pay, many members are also
worshipers. Guilds which don’t pay are considered enemies. Non-guild
thieves which are not worshippers are enemies. Enemies are to be “converted”
or removed from the business. Almost all member guilds have clerics in
them, who control or manipulate the guild. The clerics have some thief
skills as well as normal clerical spells, but, they are limited to thieves
weapons and armour. Occasionally, Stoth (his clerics) demand a sacrifice of
enemy thieves.

New Items:
Magic lock picks: Giving to loyal clerics of Stoth who have performed a
remarkable act of thieving. They add 5% to all thieving skills.

The Adventure:
PC Thieves find an NPC Thief (Matar) who wants to raid/burglarise a temple of
Stoth (a nasty god of thieves). They will meet him in any of a variety of
places: a bar, the guild headquarters, adventuring, etc. They have been
targeted for sacrifice. He tries to enlist the aid of the group by speaking of
great riches and magic items!

WHAT COULD HAPPEN Possible actions:

*****
* 1 *
*****

* . * KEY:
* . * * = Stone Wall
* . * .. = Heat Trail
* . * M = Magic User
* . * C = Cleric
******* . ******* F = Fighter
* M > . < T * T = Thief * C <........> C * — = Balcony Ledge
* C > < C * >
* T < > F * < = Curtain/Tapestry ******* ******* >
* *
* *
* *
****** ******
* *
* Balcony *
——————–

If the group goes with him, Matar will insist the group not go through the from
doors as they are guarded. He will recommend climbing the walls up to any of
the balconies which are on the upper levels. He will claim the riches are kept
up there. The guards/clerics will notice Matar’s movement and will be waiting
the groups arrival at a balcony. Matar will not be the first person to the top
of the balcony, unless the group insists. The first person to reach the balcony
will sees the heat trail(s) (if he has infravision) upon entering the first
hallway, which is dimly lit by candles, he will see heat trails which led to two
tapestries. One is on the left side of the hallway, while the other is on the
right side. Behind these there is Stoth worshipper’s “sacrificial welcoming
committee”. They will attack to capture the characters using magic, lasso, and
subdual damage. The should get surprise on the PCs unless the see the heat
trails. Other guards/clerics will arrive if the combat last a long time. The
PCs should concern themselves with escape.
Methods of Escape: A) Climb back down the wall they came up on. This will be the easiest method
to escape. They will have a free round of climbing if they run immediately
(they do no other actions) upon seeing the heat trails. If they don’t see
the heat trails tough luck. At the bottom of the wall below the balcony a
glyph will have been placed after they reached the balcony by a cleric. The
glyph is a paralysing glyph. Saving Throw negates the effect. They will be
pursued for at least 12 turns. The clerics may use find the path to get
them.

B) Attack and defeat the welcoming committee, and escape by racing through the
maze of the temple. This should not be easy because of their unfamiliarity
and the hosts familiarity. This is stupidity on the players part, but, who
knows, they might get lucky.
C) Magic might work. Teleportation or other device such as flying. The PC
should not go to any place public to hide because they will be found. The
clerics have watched them for some time and know their usual public hangouts.
Same goes for their homes. If the PCs have several safe houses which are not
guild related, they might get away with it. Hanging out at a good aligned
temple will protect them from the clerics for sure. Other will depend on the
relationship between all those involved.

If the PCs escape there is a chance that one of their other plans will succeed
in getting them a thief. The chance is 1-5 on a D6 that the players will be
left alone. If a 6 is rolled, the clerics will summon a demon to grab a PC and
return with it alive to the temple. The demon can’t enter any good temple, or
within 200 feet of the alter of a non-evil god.

All those thieves who do not escape will be killed that night! Other classed
characters which might somehow be with will be quested to act as a guard for the
temple. This quest will last as long as if the player was charmed, but, at -2
on his intelligence. At the end of this time the may leave.

*****
* 2 *
*****

If the PCs won’t come with him, he will break down and cry. He will claim that
he was quested by a good aligned cleric to get back a magical holy item from the
evil temple. He has tried, but, can’t get past a trick lock mechanism on a
sliding metal door. The door has a lock on both sides which must be picked at
the same time. The locks reset if the door isn’t open or the other lock isn’t
unlocked immediately. He needs at least one other thief to help him. He is
willing to let the thief have any and all treasure found inside except the item
he needs.
If the PCs buy this, goto to #1 above.
If they don’t buy this, goto #3 below.

*****
* 3 *
*****

Earlier in the evening/day, a thief picked pockets on a non-thief PC in the
group. The thief (Matar) will now show the thieves this item. They will
recognise the item as belonging to the character. Matar will tell them to come
with him and raid the temple or this person will suffer dearly. The character,
has not been really kidnapped for fear of provoking what ever guild might
represent that PC’s class.
If they buy this goto #1 above.
If the PC’s threaten Matar back, he can be convinced to take the characters
to where the PC is. This is Another trap.
If they PC’s fail to get involved, the clerics will react as follows. Roll 1d8 1. Nothing.
2. The next time any of the players commit a theft within the city. The
city guard will get tipped off and the PC will get arrested.
3. The temple will send clerics and thieves to rip off the players homes while
they are adventuring in or out of town. This will happen as long as the PCs
are in town or they join the Temple or one high priest of the church is
killed by any means.
4.Rumours will be spread around the city which will caused people not to trust
them or take their eyes off their activities. The guards will search their
Homes whenever a crime is reported, Merchants will be extra careful around
them, etc. Good deeds performed by the PCs will reduce this.
5. The clerics will ask the PCs to join the church of Stoth. If they accept,
great. If not, roll again.
6. The church of Stoth will hire assassins to kill the PCs. One attempt only.
7. The PCs will find a map detailing a wizards keep and its defences. The map
will be correct, but, the magical defences will be wrong in a very bad way.
8. Problems with the Thieves guild. If the PCs are members roll 1d4) 1. Money is stolen from the guild, PCs help search for it. The money is
found in their home(s).
2. Another Thieves guild has started up. PCs must decide which guild they
will support. The church will really support the guild which the PCs
are not a part of.
3. A guild member joins the group for a city adventure. During the
adventure, someone they encounter is killed. They guild is under
pressure to give the city the killers. The PCs are given over. They
have a chance to prove themselves. The guild member belongs to the
church.
4. PCs are ordered on a mission which, unknown to the guild leaders is a
trap.

If the PCs are not members of the guild they will be offered to join, stop thief
activities in town, or leave.

================================================================================
Map of the Magician’s Lair
Matthew Norman Carlson

Short
Fantasy
Exploration
Dungeon

The PC’s find a map to an abandoned underground lair – including some
description of the resident of the lair. They recognise the resident and
know that he is long dead (perhaps a high level MU). The map details the
caverns to a great extent (perhaps leaving out some key rooms). The map also
neglects to mention the many traps set throughout the lair – or perhaps
mentions one or two giving the PC’s a false sense of security. As for
monsters, are undead boring? They still be around from the MU’s days.
Perhaps rodents, snakes, spiders as well. For the main villain a wight or
perhaps a very minor demon (trapped on this plane with the appropriate wards
– “You have entered a room with a large circle engraved on the floor. You
notice this circle because it lights up as the fighter walks into it. The
room suddenly becomes very dark and you hear a low growling laughter.”). Or
perhaps the MU is not dead, only very old and quite insane – thus maybe he
has neglected to memorise his higher level spells and sits quietly on his
throne waiting to die (thus not such a formidable opponent). Or perhaps his
last opponent turned him into an ogre or a doppelganger or whatever you want
(maybe using divine intervention to end his spell casting ability).

================================================================================

Space Metal Missing
Soren Parbaek
parbaek@iesd.auc.dk

Medium
Sci-Fi
Investigation
Space
Building

A company has lost contact with a mining planet about 12 h away from the main
base. The mining base is mining a valuable metal. There has been some problems
with the production in the last 2-3 month, and the last time the transport ship
returned, it returned with only a fraction of the normal production.

The PC’s are going with the normal transport ship out to the base after a
briefing at the main base.

At the base when they arrive with a complete record/file from HQ. The base
personnel are waiting to fill the transporter as usual. (Yes, as usual…) The
players are invited by the base commander to get the usual tourist guide in the
mining complex. All of the 20 persons on the mining base are equipped with the
usual transmitter, that gives possibility to know where they are at all times.
(Only the base commander can get into this program) When the players are shown
the production facility, an accident happens on a random mining level, where the
leading geologist accidentally falls into the main elevator, where he is crushed
under the stones under the transport up to the production hall. The players in
the production hall will be able to see the bloody stones, and they will think
that this was *NOT* an accident. The base commander breaks down when he sees hes
good friend crushed under the stones, and the base doctor will have to put him
to sleep for 12 h. This should cut most of the party’s resources. (This is meant
as a delay and an obstruction for the players) Most of the valuable information
is bound to the commanders personal password.

All the records on the station are *NOT* falsified and they show that there has
been no problems with the station. They have delivered the normal production at
the normal times.

Sidetrack no. 1: The dead geologist, has a photo of a beautiful girl standing on
his bed table, but his personal record shows no such thing. His record has not
been updated by the commander since the connection with the girl happened under
his 2 month leave, from which he has returned from for only 3 weeks ago (He came
out with the last transporter)

Sidetrack no 2: The dead geologist had been offered an other job by another
company. (At the same place where his girlfriend works..). It is a research job,
and he would have taken it when his contract was finished, because he likes to
do research better then to do mining.

Sidetrack no 3: He is doing some research in his spare time together with 2
other scientists at the base. They are working on an analysis of crystals
electronic possibilities. They have found a interesting crystal in a meteorite
on the surface, and is now making some tests…

Solution: The dead geologist *WAS* an accident. The mining station *HAS*
delivered its regularly normal production. At the HQ there was a smart
programmer, that has falsified the messages from the mining station and
redirected the valuable metal to his own bank account.. This should bee easily
found out if the players check the messages logs in the HQ and the base. The
players messages is getting edited before they get through to HQ and HQ’s replay
is also getting edited by the programmer before it is sent back to the players.
This will allow the players to get most of the info they need to find out what
is wrong..

I spun a few threads more myself, when I ran the scenario. It took my
players 12h of very exiting and good roleplaying to find the solution. They
did *NOT* like the solution, but if you build it logically up, and make the
communication lines heavy (Long replay times: The computer for the personal
files at HQ has gone down, and is first up in an hour… etc…)

My mining base was a large asteroid with no atmosphere, so the players could
only move in the base and the mining shafts. The mining was run by robots and
the persons at the base were there to plan the mining, maintain the robots and
operate the refinery.

================================================================================
The Isabel Piece
Luis E. Torres
let@reef.cis.ufl.edu

Long
Western
Investigation
Rural
Town
Wilderness

This adventure was originally made for the BOOT HILL western game, but it can be
adapted to any western game campaign.

Promise City, Summer of 1890.
The party has just arrived at Promise City, in El Dorado County, Texas, looking
for Ben Cartwheel, an old friend of one of the PC’s father, and rancher of
Promise City. When they get into the town, they see a man dressed in black, with
milky white skin, harassing a young lady in her mid-twenties. The party should
confront the man, who leaves, but not before saying the PCs will pay for this
(There should be no fight, though; we’ll need this character for later).

The woman is none other than Elizabeth Cartwheel, Ben’s daughter. She takes the
party to the Cartwheel ranch, a few miles out of town, where they meet Ben. He
explains that the man in black name is Montgomery, and he is Mr. G’s right hand.
Mr. G is a mysterious and prominent rancher in Promise City, and he “owns the
town”. He seldom leaves his ranch, The G ranch, and is rarely seen. Ben also
tells the party about the news of the last two days, mainly, the disappearance
of the town judge, Judge Parson, and also about the kidnapping of the Indian
Chief Sitting Bear, from the Indian reservation to the north of El Dorado
County.

The party will probably accept Ben’s invitations and stay for the night. Next
day, they will go to town, and, quite by chance, they will stumble upon Judge
Parson’s wagon, a few hundred yards from the road. Next to it is Parson’s body,
shot. Examination of the wagon shows that two people were riding on it, one of
them the judge. Marks of horses are seen around the wagon. A few feet from it,
the party finds an Indian feather, the type of feather worn by Indian chiefs.
And they find a small cigar stub.

If the party informs the sheriff, he will say he’ll conduct an investigation,
but will be suspiciously uninterested. If the party searches the Judge’s office
(inside the Promise City Court Room), they will find a clipping from an old
newspaper quoting some words from chief Sitting Bear, which are underlined: “…
white men have arrived here, sick and bleeding, and we have done for them what
we could, but they died here, sharing their last secrets with me…”. They also
find a map, with a red line connecting Promise City with the reservation, and a
name: Richard Flynn.

What’s going on:

In the summer of 1880 Richard Flynn, a known thief and outlaw, robbed the
Promise City branch of the First National Bank. At the moment the bank vault was
holding an important shipping of money coming from California, as well as a
number of valuables, the most important of which was a golden necklace speckled
with precious stones, the Isabel Piece. The Isabel Piece, an invaluable work of
art, originally part of queen Isabel of Spain’s personal jewellery, made
expressly on the fifteenth century, and supposedly stolen from the Royal Vault
in 1624, had been found by chance among the ruins of an old Mexican town in the
middle of California. Now, while the Spanish Crown, the Government of Mexico,
and the United States waged diplomatic wars to keep control of the newly found
necklace, the necklace itself was being transported to the East coast to be
displayed in a museum. During the Piece’s two-day stay at Promise City, the
outlaw Flynn and the two members of his band somehow slipped into the bank and
parted, taking almost all of the money and, of course, the Isabel Piece.

During their escape, Flynn and one of his henchmen were wounded. While under
subsequent pursuit by the regular Army division that was supposed to have kept
the money safe, Flynn divided his band, sending the henchman that hadn’t been
wounded in a different direction, to throw off the pursuit. This ploy worked to
a great extent; when the Army finally captured the diverting outlaw, Flynn and
his remaining man had a good four hours advantage. The Army threw itself again
on pursuit. Many hours later, when it was obvious for Flynn that he was going to
be captured, he and his underling hid the booty somewhere along the road. Having
ridden themselves of this bulky weight, they were able to escape and where never
seen again.

The captured outlaw, the one who had been sent as a diversion, was put on trial,
presided by Judge Parson. Parson was not an honest person, and he saw this as
the chance to get his hands on the booty and disappear. The problem was, he had
to find out where the money was hidden. To this end he interrogated the outlaw,
who didn’t know where the booty was, but said Flynn’s plan was to lay low in the
Indian reservation for a while. Parson conveniently kept this information a
secret. The outlaw was finally found guilty of robbery and hanged, although the
money was never found.

Ten years go by. In 1890, Judge Parson finds a newspaper article written by a
bold young reporter who managed to get inside the Indian reservation and
interview Chief Sitting Bear. One particular sentence in the article struck
Parson: “… white men have arrived here, sick and bleeding, and we have done
for them what we could, but they died here, sharing their last secrets with
me…”.

Convinced that those words meant that Chief Sitting Bear had a clue to Flynn’s
final destiny and to the location of the treasure, Parson went to the Indian
reservation pretending to be a friendly reporter, and interviewed the Chief
about the secrets whispered by those white men. Confronted by the Chief’s
refusal to disclose the dead’s secrets, and already without doubt that those
“white men” had been Flynn and his henchman, because of the similitude in the
dates, Parson dropped the pretence and kidnapped Chief Sitting Bear, taking him,
bound and gagged, back to Promise City.

What Parson didn’t know is that for the last ten years he had been closely
watched by Mr. G. Mr. G, being wealthy, and also being a jewellery admirer, had
secretly hired Flynn to sneak into the bank and steal the Isabel Piece for him.
The plan went wrong when Flynn, consumed by greed, decided to take not only the
Piece, but also the money, and to doublecross Mr. G. After Flynn’s escape and
disappearance, the location of the treasure was as much a mystery to Mr. G as it
was to Parson. However, Mr. G was convinced that Parson knew something
important, and kept a watch on him. That precaution finally paid off.

While returning from the Indian reservation with Chief Sitting Bear, Parson was
ambushed by Montgomery and murdered. Chief Sitting Bear was then taken to the G
Ranch, where he was going to be interrogated.

The Investigation:

Sooner or later the party will start investigating on its own (you should try to
push them a bit). They can ask Ben Cartwheel about who Richard Flynn is, or they
can go to the Promise City Times newspaper (the “newspaper” is published weekly
and is about two pages long). Anyway, they should easily find out about the
Isabel Piece robbery and the mystery of the Flynn treasure. The cigar stub
should point to Montgomery, who usually smokes expensive cigars (you can change
this clue for something more subtle). Of course, if Montgomery is involved, then
Mr. G also is. That would explain why the sheriff is so uninterested in the
case.

After one or two encounters with Mr. G’s men (who by now have figured that the
party is meddling around), the party should be ready to sneak into the G ranch
(a big complex surrounded by a wooden fence and guarded by G’s men) and save
chief Sitting Bear. (the rescue should be where lots of the action will go).

After being saved, the chief tells the party that Flynn was really with him ten
years ago, and he mentioned that “some important Promise City rancher” had hired
him to steal the Piece, and that he had doublecrossed this rancher. Flynn also
told the chief the location of the treasure, and he tells the players about it.
(you should make the location of the treasure a cryptic message which the
Indians would not be unable to understand because they don’t know the proper
names; for example “three gun-lengths north of the division of the river of the
Griffin”, where Griffin is the name of a small town; otherwise, you will have to
explain WHY the Indians haven’t dug the treasure by themselves!)

The party travels to the cave, possibly having one or two encounters on the way.
There are several possibilities here: a) The party finds the money and the Piece. Meanwhile, Montgomery has been to
the Cartwheel Ranch, and he has taken Ben and Elizabeth as hostages, in exchange
for the Piece. This is when the final showdown with Montgomery should take
place. Note that Mr. G will probably be a long term campaign enemy.

b) The party finds the money, but not the Piece. As it turns out, the Chief had
had the Piece all along, planning to use it to fund an Indian rebellion. The
only reason he gave the party the location of the treasure was because it would
have been too suspicious to keep quiet after all that has happened. The party
does not know any of this and will be baffled when Montgomery tries to exchange
his hostages for an item the party does not have.

c) While camping on their way to the treasure, the chief makes a fire, to “keep
warm”. When the party finds the treasure, an Indian band appears, and surrounds
them. The chief then proceeds to explain that the money and the Piece will fund
the rebellion, and takes the money with him, leaving the party gagged or
whatever. This makes for an interesting situation; now the party must find the
escaping Indians, while evading Mr. G’s men, and trying to save Ben and
Elizabeth at the same time. Alternatively, the party may want to help the
Indians in their attempt at escaping their small reservation, and restoring
their rightful lands.

Bandit chase for a fistful of taxes…
Mark A. Thomas
thomas@capitol.com

Long
Fantasy
Quest
Rural
Urban
City

This scenario is designed for lower level characters, however it could be
modified to suit higher level groups. The campaign setting is low magic, and
powerful magic in the hands of the group will make this more difficult to
run. This takes place in and around a small city in the center of a large
rural agricultural area. There are several small hamlets and villages within
a few days ride of the city.

The party is sitting in their favorite bar/temple feeling bored when the
pounding of hooves and the shouts of guards draws their attention outside.
Just as they make it out the door, they see a large group (15 or so) of
armed riders charge out the nearby city gate, pursued by a small number of
city guardsmen. The guardsmen return shortly, and if the players inquire,
they can discover that the local tax collector was just robbed and this
year’s revenue from the annual sheep tax was stolen.

Within an hour or so, a guard captain should start visiting various taverns,
announcing a generous reward for the return of the strongbox. The characters
should notice that there is little interest among the locals to pursue the
fleeing tax monies. Questioning locals will reveal that the thief is a well
known bandit that has plagued the town from time to time, He has a fairly
nasty reputation and has killed at least 8/10/14/22 men (depending on who
you talk to. 6 is the real number).

Once the group decides to actually go for the raiders, they should have
little trouble following the trail. It leads straight across country for
several days riding. If the characters are familiar with the area, they will
realize the trail is leading to a tiny village nearby. Sometime before
reaching the village, the party should lose the trail when crossing a river.
further efforts to pick it up should prove to be very difficult. Hopefully
the party will head into the village.

The party should arrive in the village near dusk and find it to be very
deserted looking. The only building that shows any light is the small
fortified tavern at the far end of the village. The tavern is a two story
affair, with rooms above a common area on the first floor. If they go in,
they will find only the tavern keeper standing behind the bar. He will
appear to be nervous and occasionally dart glances in the back room behind
the bar. He will claim to have seen no strangers in town and try to get rid
of the party with the “we close in 5 minutes” bit. Should the characters
check the back room, over the barman’s protests, they’ll discover 3 bandits
holding the barman’s wife at knifepoint.

The bandits will threaten the barman’s wife and one of them will whistle
loudly. In short order several more bandits will appear from upstairs and a
few more will enter through the back door. Finally a group of 8 or more will
enter through the front door, dragging the unconscious body of anyone that
was watching outside. The leader of the bandits is in this last group. He is
a rather twitchy looking fellow, armed with a rather large bastard sword and
chainmail. The rest of the bandits are in either leather, scale or chain.
Most are armed with broadswords and short bows. The bandit leader is
mid-level fighter (or high enough that the party will not succeed in taking
him out without help). Most of the bandits should be low level fighters or
thieves. There is at least one with some knowledge of magic. All told there
are 15 bandits plus a leader. Quite a group, but they don’t look like much.
Should the players decide to fight, they should be quickly and mercilessly
pummelled into unconsciousness. This is the ideal course 😉 Should they not
fight, the bandits will chose one or two characters to rough up with the
goal of starting a fight. The characters will be prevented from leaving, and
eventually, a fight will start.

The characters will wake several hours later with aching heads and bruised
bodies. The bandits will be long gone. As each wakes, they will discover
that any valuables they had have been stolen. They will also notice 2
strangers in the inn. The first stranger is a lean, hardbitten, cold eyed
human wearing dusty riding clothes and a suit of elvan chain. Slung over his
shoulder is a bastard sword with a rather unusual blade (dwarven steel, +2
damage due to hardness/sharpness, non-magical). The second is a tall, broad
shouldered elf, carrying a huge long bow (probably not anyone in the group
that could string it, much less fire it). He is dressed as a noble and looks
somewhat out of place. A glance outside will reveal that the characters
horses are still there, and there are two large well kept riding horses
there as well.

The strangers will be very reluctant to discuss themselves. The human in
fact will not give his name. They will ask about the bandits and try to
obtain all information they can from the party about their movements. They
will head out after the bandits once they have gotten all the info they can
from the group. Should the group suggest an alliance, the pair will resist,
but will eventually be convinced to let the party tag along. They will make
it clear that they are in charge and the bandit leader is theirs to
kill/capture. The bandits trail should be clear from the village, and the
party will quickly realize that the bandits are headed for an abandoned
orchard and farmhouse that lies a days ride away.

The party will arrive at the farmhouse and quickly discern that the bandits
are there. There are about 20 horses tied up in the barn and sounds of a
large group coming from the remains of the farm house. The elf will vanish
into the trees near the farm and the sword slinging human will start into
the farmhouse. The party should be forced to act quickly. In any case,
mayhem will soon start, as the sword swinger heads straight for the bandit
leader, who immediately attacks. The other bandits will spread out and a
general melee should ensue. The sword swinger will concentrate on the
leader, and the bowman hidden in the woods will do the same should the
chance arise, otherwise he will pick off bandits. The party should have
their hands full with the rest of the bandits. Should the party prove
successful, they will find the tax chest intact (magically sealed), and the
two strangers will show no interest in it. They will instead pack the now
dead bandit leader and several of his followers onto horses and leave
without a word. Should the party inquire, they will be informed that there
is a bounty offered for bandit in some nearby city. They will refuse a share
of the reward money. The adventure will hopefully end with the party
returning the tax chest, the strangers collecting the rewards on the
bandits, and everyone happy. Note that the players will find most of their
stolen belongings as well.

Behind the scenes:

The sword swinging stranger should be a mid-level fighter. He has the
advantage of being very dexterous and very practiced with his sword. In my
campaign, he fought as a fighter 2 levels above his current level with his
bastard sword. Also in the first round of combat he always gets the first
swing. He has the disadvantage of being non-proficient with any other weapon.

The elvan bowman is also mid-level fighter with the additional advantage
of having a good dexterity and maximum elvan strength. His bow is a custom
design which adds strength bonuses to damage. He gets an additional attack
per round with the bow, and is non-proficient with any other weapon.

The bandit leader is specialised in bastard sword. He has the benefit of a
good strength and constitution. He is also somewhat insane and enjoys
killing.

Motivation:

The strangers are both bounty hunters with personal grudges to settle as
well. The sword slinger’s wife was raped and killed by the bandit leader,
and the elf’s father was killed by him. Also the reward for the bandit and
several of his band adds up to 3 times the amount offered for the return of
the chest.

Side Plots:

The players get involved in bounty hunting via the two strangers. Someone
tries to stop the players from reaching the city with the chest. One or both
of the strangers are sorely wounded and the party decides to help them out.

References:

For more info on the strangers and the bandits, watch “For a Few Dollars
More” with Clint Eastwood 😉

================================================================================
An Air of Distrust
Wayne J. Rasmussen.
wjr@netcom.com

Long
Fantasy
Quest
Exploration
Building
Djinn
Efreeti

AN AIR OF DISTRUST

Scenario Requirements: The adventure is set for a group of thieves, who
might be part of a larger group of adventurers. The group should consist of
2-5 thieves of Low-mid levels. Multiclassed characters which having thief as
a class should be allowed. Non-thieves should not be allowed on this
adventure. The adventure is meant to be a short one which could be played
easily in one night.

Scenario Description:
Thieves hear of a magical or monetary prize to be gained from a well to do’s
house. While scouting around the house or when they start to burglarise the
place they meet a fellow thief. The thief will offer the group to join him
on the adventure, and will claim to have scouted the area out and have
information which will make the job easy. Unknown to the characters, the
thief is really a Djinni in disguise.

Places in the Scenario:
Well-to-do’ house: Called house in the text. A small manse with a wall
around it and a few guards outside. Inside there a creatures protecting the
owners wealth. The owner is a magic user who happens to be away at the time
of this adventure.

NPCs in the scenario:

Ah-Trah: A Djinni of the most powerful type. He is an ultra-genius,
and has the abilities of a high priest and wizard on his home plane. He is
noble and has a large number of servants. He likes to travel to the prime
material plane for fun every few years or so. If he gets killed there he
reappears on his home plane but can’t leave it for 1001 days. Many of the
items mentioned in this scenario were made by him. Including any rings of
wishing. The wishes can’t be used against him in any way (this includes his
servants and his possessions). He is on the current adventure to get his
ring of air elemental command back (he didn’t make it, it is a very powerful
item on his plane). He lost it when he died on his last trip to this plane.
If he is a friend for life of the group he will aid them when he can and
invite them to his castle or go on adventures with them every few years or
so. Some adventures could be on his own plane. Has the sword of the air
with him on this trip and a jar of Keoghtoms Ointment.

Birnleyas Corinthas: A thief which the PCs will meet during the ripoff
part of the scenario. He is around mid-level and is evil. He will think
nothing of stabbing the PCs in the back after the adventure, and won’t bear
his part of the combat burden. He has +2 leather armour, +3 dagger, Potion
of speed, and a potion of extra healing. He has an Superb strength, and
legendary dexterity. He fights with a dagger in each hand or with short bow.

New Items in the scenario:

Bag of the Winds: A magical pouch which when opened and a command word
is spoken will blow a very strong breeze in a specific direction. The
direction is fixed and can’t be changed. The breeze can be used to breakup
magical gases, such as a stinking cloud, or to power the sails of a ship.
The wind will last as long as the bag is open. There are a few rare
versions of this item which when used aboard a ship will lead a ship to a
specific preset location (a port or an island for example). This has been
used by navies to allow ships to return to port easily and magic user
pirates as a method of finding treasure they have buried on islands.
Dust of Dispelling Air Elementals: When this dust is thrown into the air a
blue field of shimmering energy will emanate from the dust. The dust will
cover a 20′ x 20′ x 15′ area. Each air elemental within the dust must face
a savings throw vs spells at -3. If failed the air elemental is forced to
return to the elemental plane of air. If saved, the creature is
unaffected. There is usually a pouch containing 1d4+5 uses of the dust.
This item doesn’t work on the elemental plane of air.

Potion of Protection from Dragons Breath: adds +4 to savings throw vs
any dragon breath for half or no damage! This is a very rare item made only
on the elemental plane of air. A flask will always contain just one dose.
The potion lasts for only 3-12 rounds.

Sword of Air: +2 weapon, +3 vs elementals, Powers: acts as a necklace
of adaptation if you have it on your person (even if in a scabbard), and
user can see through all fogs, mists, gases, even if they are magical, as if
they are not there. Although the sword must be drawn for the second power
concentration is not required.

Talisman of Proof Against Magic: an ornate necklace worn around the
neck which provides the wearer protection from one type of spell. Each
talisman is created to protect against only one type of magic. Examples of
type of magic are clerical spheres or any of the mages schools, but, only
one type. When a spell of the correct type is cast and the wearer is in the
area of effect, no effect of the spell will effect the wearer (even
beneficial spells). The talisman holds a gem of some high value in it which
is consumed when the user is protected. The talisman will not function
again until the gem is replace with the correct type of gem with a certain
minimum value. It takes at least a turn for a skilled jewellery maker to
replace the gem. The talisman in this adventure protects against Alteration
magic.

The Adventure

The PC thieves are at their local fencer of stolen goods selling their swag.
The fence can’t offer them as much as they want for their swag. To make up
for it he is willing to tell them some information which could make them
richer if they are willing to accept the offer. If they do, he will tell
the PCs about a shipment which came into town yesterday. One of his most
reliable agents spoke of a treasure which was taken to the house of a
wealthy man. Tell the PCs whatever amount of treasure it might take to get
them into the adventure, the treasure should not be reachable by the PCs!
The fence will also remark that the man left town via ship before sunrise
this morning. He suggests that the PCs could have an easy time ripping off
this mark.

Planning stage:

If the PCs investigate who owns the house they will find out the following.
The house is owned by Larthius, a young man who came into town three years
ago. He bought the manse with cash and has not had many problems. Rumours
state that one time a barbarian broke into the manse on a drunken rampage
but was killed by a lion guard. They can confirm that the man left town this
morning. If the PCs are guild members and investigating the owner they will
get the following as well. The owner does not pay the guild protection money
so it is okay to steal from him. About the barbarian, a thief overheard the
barbarian before he went into the manse claiming he once saw the man summon
a flaming demon. Also, a body was found later in the river which appeared
to be the barbarian. It had burns covering the body. The man has been seen
around a few magic component supply stores. A rumour at the guild is that
the guards at his gate in the wall are charmed. The guild will be able to
tell the PCs where the ship was going when it left with the man. It should
take at least 2 days for the man to reach the destination.

The ripoff:

While scouting around the house or when they start to burglarise the place
the PCs meet a fellow thief. The thief will offer the group to join him on
the adventure, and will claim to have scouted the area out and have
information which will make the job easy. The thief states that he has been
hired by an elementalist (a mage who has elemental based spells) to gain an
item from inside. If asked, he will tell them the item is a ring of
elemental command. His boss will pay with magic items if they will hire on
with him (he won’t say what the items are, but, promises the reward will be
worth the effort). He claims to have scouted out the area and needs the aid
of brave thieves. If they refuse the offer he will tell them to leave. If
they get hostile, he will fly away invisible and return to scare them away
with his abilities of illusion. If they accept, he knows all of the outside
layout and of some of the creatures inside. He will seek to avoid combat.
The thief will then tell the players his name “Ah-trah”. Ah-Trah is really a
Djinn. He will try and keep his identity away from the group. He is his
own master!

Ah-Trah will avoid combat and will take the PCs on a specific route. If the
PCs want to explore any other part of the manse the will find it extremely
difficult and VERY LETHAL. Use the following order of rooms, hallways, etc
to get the PCs to the final goal.

*****
Over the Wall: The thieves climb over the wall of the manse into a garden
of strange plants. Ah-trah will warn them that Lions roam the garden.
There is nothing of value here. For encounters in this area roll once on
table A below and twice on Table B. For every 3 turns the PCs hang around
the garden roll again on Table A and B (once each). At the end of the
garden is a large crystal doorway.

Encounters:
Table A: Roll 1d6 1: Shambling Mound, # appearing 1,
2: Stirges, # appearing 2-5;
3-6: Lions, # appearing 1-2;

Table B: roll 1d6: Special effects, sounds, and sights 1: A large red flower is seen quickly snapping at a bat flying by. Upon
missing the bat, the flower appears to open up fully and turn in the PCs
direction.
2: The PCs discover the body of the largest lion they have ever seen. It
appears to have been crushed to death in a bloody fight.
3: Far off in the distance a very evil laughter can be heard. Perhaps the
sound of some summoned demon cheerfully torturing a summoner before taking him
back to the abyss.
4: You hear the sound of a nearby foots steps. If the PCs check they will
find one set of fresh footprints in the soft moist dirt of the garden heading on
the same path they are going. They will not find the person who made these
tracks.
5: The ground opens up below the group. Roll 1d20 + 3. If this is
greater than the PCs dexterity he falls into a hole 15′ deep with 5′ of foul
water in it.
If searched, the PCs will find a piece of leather with marks on it. A
successful read languages will determine: 1) That the marks are those made by
barbarian tribes north of the city. 2) the marks say “”
6: Suddenly, the entire garden goes totally silent. No insects, birds, or
other animals are making any sounds. This lasts for 5 minutes.
*****

The First Room or the Crystal room: Entering from the garden through a
large crystal doorway. This a 20′ x 20′ by 10′ room apparently made from
crystal. There are 2 other doors in the room, one on the west wall one on
the east wall. There are fresh muddy footprints leading to the west exit.
Ah-Trah goes to the west exit.

*****

The First Hallway: A shiny brass hallway,50′ long, can be seen here. The
mud tracks continue here. If the PCs walk in the hall way, the hallway
rings/chimes like dozens of bells or chimes are being hit. Ah-Trah will fly
down the hallway, the PCs must move silently to avoid this noise. If the
PCs check for traps before they enter the hallway, they will discover the
sound property of the hallway. They can’t remove the chiming effect. If
the PCs make noise, the person in the next room will be alerted. If not,
the PCs will by 90% likely to get surprise on him.

*****

The Second Room: This is 15′ x 15′ x 15′ room made of fine quality woods.
Various types of wood have been inlaid in the floor in a beautiful
patterns. On the floor is a pair of mud soaked soft shoes. There are two
other exits in the room. One north, the other West. PCs will go west.
If the PCs surprise the occupant: You see an average looking male elf
dress in fine leather armour sitting on the floor pulling on a pair of
shoes. He is surprised.
If the occupant is alerted: Above the door frame of the door the PCs
entered through is a male elf thief. He climbed up here when he heard the
noise they made. He will observe them to make sure they aren’t guards.
When he is sure they aren’t guards, he will reveal himself.

The thief is named Birnleyas Corinthas. He will ask to merge the two groups
(the PCs group and His group, which is himself) and to split any treasure
gained equally. If the PCs agree, he will join them.

If not, he will pretend to leave down the brass hallway. In a turn he will
come back down. He will follow the group, and when they ENTER the room of
Glass spiders he will drink his potion of speed and attack. He will get to
the PCs 3 rounds after they enter the combat with the glass spiders.

*****
The Second Hallway: Just a normal stone hallway which leads to the room of
Glass Spiders below.

*****

The Room of Glass Spiders: This is a 30′ x 30′ 15′ room made of granite
bricks. Inside the room the PCs see 3 dry corpses on the floor. Try to give
the impression that these are some form of undead, perhaps a strange type of
mummy. There is an exit on the north wall. The room contains glass spiders:
They are invisible spiders with invisible webs. The webs are very thin and
incredibly strong. Once stuck on a web, it can only be removed using wine
or other alcohol. Fire will just cause the webs to melt into a pool of very
stick mess. Magical blades will not stick to these webs. There is one glass
spider for each 2 creatures in the party. Poor amour, medium level, 1
attack per round, Damage 1+ special, Special defence invisibility makes them
much harder to hit in combat, and undetectable otherwise. Special damage is a S.T. VS
poison on the bite, failure causes poison damage of 1d3 per round for 4
rounds. Each bite causes this damage to be cumulative. Effect of the webs:
each round that a creature is fighting within the webs, he will get more
tangled in the webs. This has the effect of causing a cumulative -1 to hit
in combat and -1 to the creatures dexterity per round. When the dexterity
reaches zero, the creature cannot move. There is nothing of value on the
corpses or in the room. Ah-Trah will use his djinni powers in this room of:
Gaseous form to get out of the webs, and create wine to get the party out of
the webs.

*****
The screwy hallway: This hallway corkscrews around. There is nothing of
interest other than that. NOTE: Ah’trahs knowledge of the inside ends here.

*****
Puzzle Room One: The room appears to have only one doorway, which is the
doorway the PC entered through. The room is 30′ x 30′ by 15′ and is made of
large bricks of granite. A large iron balance scale(10′ tall, 10′ wide) can be
seen tilted to the right (unbalanced, there are more bricks in the right pan
than the left pan). In the center of the room is a pile of bricks. Each brick
seems to be exactly the same. Currently there are 11 bricks in the left pan and
24 bricks in the right pan.
Searching the room may find:
If the PC search the pile of bricks carefully (they must voice some strong
interest in it) the might note that most of the 100 bricks here are new and only
a few of them are scratched in anyway.
If the wall behind the scale is looked at it will seem a 12′ x 12′ section
of it is less perfect than the rest of the walls in the room.

TRICK: The scale is a puzzle lock. No PC skill roll (such as pick locks) will
open this lock. To open the lock the scale must be balanced AND have the
correct amount of weight on it. 10 bricks in each pan will open the lock and
open a passageway. The wall section behind the scale will appear to turn into
mud revealing a passage to the next room. Let the PCs have fun trying to get
through this one.

*****
The Hall of Earth: This Hallway appears to be made from a very black claylike
soil. Walking on the ground here feels like your walking on the back of some
large living creature. Nothing else is in the hallway.

*****
Puzzle Room Two: The hallway ends in a room 20′ square on each side. In the
room are two other exits, both exit are on the walls adjacent to the wall where
the PCs entered the room. So Three of the four walls have exits. If searched
for, there are normal chances to find the secret door on the forth wall. To open
the secret door, both locks on the other two doors must be unlocked in the same
round. A knock spell cast over both doors will open it, but, not if cast on the
secret door alone(the mechanisms are the two locks on the doors). By the way,
the locks reset each round, so one thief with picks can’t do it. Behind the two
doors are walls of solid granite. The secret door lead to the small hallway.

*****
The small hallway: This hallway is only 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide. After the
party enters the secret door closes. At the other end of the hallway, embedded
in the wall, is a wall safe with a combination lock. This is a false safe!
When the party gets near the safe or opens the safe, the floor of the hallway
rotates downward creating a chute to the next room.
*****

The final Room: The party lands in a smoke filled room. Small fires can be
dimly seen about. A loud evil laughter can be heard from above, and a voice
rings out “Another Group of fools to feed my hunger, I shall enjoy sucking
the marrow from your bones and making toothpicks from your souls” The room
goes quiet, and now the party sees before them a large demonic figure
dripping of oozes. This is an illusion, caused by the Efreeti. If the PCs
attack it, it will be dispelled revealing an enlarged(by 200%) Efreeti
standing in a mass of swirling fire and bright energy. Within the energy
field is a large golden ring. This is the ring Ah’Trah seeks. The ring is
also protected by the energy field which disappears when the efreeti is
killed. The field prevents the ring from moving by any means (wishes
included). It is impossible to get to the ring without killing the efritti!
The field covers the ring and flows to the efreeti. This prevents the
efreeti from going gaseous or invisible. Touching the energy field causes
heavy damage unless able to reduce the effect of a magical attack. The
flames around the Efreeti cause medium burning damage unless able to reduce
the effect of a magical attack.

If Birnleyas Corinthas is still with the group, he will avoid combat and try
to steal the ring by touching the energy field.

When the efreeti dies the energy field dies with him, leaving the ring free
to grab. The party will also discover a large diamond in the wall at this
point. Touching the diamond causes the toucher to Teleport to the Crystal
Room mentioned above. If Birnleyas Corinthas is still alive at this

point(in the crystal room), he will take his potion of extra healing (if not
used already) and attack the group. If he wins, the party is over. If not,
goto What Could Happen below.

What could happen after the adventure is over.

*****
* 1 *
*****

If Ah’Trah and the group find the ring of elemental command he will
offer to take the ring back to his master and will give them each a magic
ring of many wishes (2 wishes per ring) as payment. After they accept this
offer, Ah-Trah reveals his true form, laughs a lot and asks them to drop by
if they are ever on the plane of air (they are life friends).

*****
* 2 *
*****

If the group argues with him or asks to go to his masters place he will
place a bag of beans on the floor and fly away. If the group attacks him
manages to kill him after this they will find only his weapons, the
elemental ring of Elemental Command (AIR) will be gone! Killing him will
give the group enemy on the elemental plane of air, who will send an air
elemental after them once every 1d12 months. Re-roll a new 1d12 months after
each occurrence. The bag of beans will have 8 beans. * FIRST BEAN PLANTED will cause the ground to rumble and a large mound of clay to
rise out of the ground. It hardens in a round then starts to crack and fall to
pieces. Suddenly, a clay golem attacks the nearest party member if in sight.
If none are visible it will rampage the area. NOTE: don’t forget the special
rules for healing wounds from a clay golem!
* SECOND BEAN PLANTED in a 30′ by 30′ area many bamboo plants shoots up out of the
ground each will 6 to 20 feet tall. Damage 6d8 S.T. vs dexterity -4 for half
damage. If the group cuts down the 6′ long bamboo tree in the center they will
have a staff of wonder(25 charges). The tree radiates magic and must be cut
down before 1 turn elapses after it grows or all its charges are depleted.
* THIRD BEAN PLANTED: When planted and watered this bean will cause a large cloud
of black gas to appear within a 20′ radius of the bean. If the cloud is entered
you will be blinded (until cure blindness is cast on the character) and then
attacked by an invisible stalker. If the stalker wins, it will leave. If it is
killed, a triple Hit die double damage Stalker will haunt the nearest town until
killed. Whoever kills the second Stalker (the actual killing blow, use
individual initiative.) permanently gains the ability to attack any creature
whose origin is from the elemental plane of air without needing a magic weapon
to hit. Only one character gains this ability! DO NOT TELL THE PLAYER ABOUT
THIS POWER!
* FOURTH BEAN PLANTED: a pedestal appears out of nowhere and has several buttons,
switches, and levers. It will last for 2 hours then vanishes as suddenly as it
came. The buttons, switches, and levers have various effects. Some good, most
bad!
* FIFTH BEAN PLANTED: Nothing appears to happen. But if the bean is dug up a
chest will be found. They won’t find the bean! In the chest is a magical censor
with a magic rune on it. If read magic is used, the rune appears to say “Summon
and Be Commanded”. It is a censor of summoning hostile air elementals of the
strongest type.
* SIXTH BEAN PLANTED: a tree grows out of the ground. The fruit it bears
resembles diamonds. Every round several of the diamonds fall to the ground a
shatter, any picked by hand are normal diamonds valued at 1000 GP. 1d4 diamonds
can be picked per round by a character and there 25 diamonds in all. The GM
will tell players getting the diamond that they feel that they own all the
diamonds and should not share them with others. 3 turns after the tree appears,
anyone who picked a diamond will be quested (no Savings Throw! They lost the
chance to save by voluntarily grasping the diamonds.) to go to the nearest
temple of air (or other good church) and donate several magic items for
forgiveness (sin of greed) or they must volunteer for a quest or they can avoid
this if they are not ever greedy again (I mean be non materialistic! They must
be generous and give to charities any extra money. etc… Let them know what
their punishment will be if they fail!). If they choose the last and they fail
to be non-greedy, they will be punished by losing all their possessions (where
ever they maybe).
* SEVENTH BEAN PLANTED: in a 50′ radius of the bean 50 bookworms appear out of the
ground (good luck! HOPE YOUR MAPS or spell books DON’T GET EATEN!).
* EIGHTH BEAN PLANTED: a large hole (25 radius 50′ deep) appears. A very old
large white dragon is in the hole. It will attack directly and without much
thinking (it has been trapped for 100+ years and is very pissed!). It’s
treasure hoard is at the bottom of the hole and has normal non-magical treasure
plus the following: a wand of secret door and trap locating, a potion of
animal control, a potion of human control, a potion of frost giant control, a
potion of frost giant strength, a map to a girdle of frost giant strength which
can only be read by the first fighter or thief who tries to read it.

*****
* 3 *
*****

If the group finds out Ah-Trah’s true form (and Ah-Trah knows they know
his true form) before the ring is discovered, he will deny it and when the
group finds the ring will reward them with the following items: a ring of
feather falling, a flying carpet, 2 potions of gaseous form, a bag of the
winds, and a ring of 2 limited wishes (to be used for healing he says
firmly). He will not invite them to visit him on his plane in this case!

*****
* 4 *
*****

If Ah-Trah dies during the adventure, he will go back to the elemental
plane of air. The players are on their own. If they manage to get the ring
they will be approached by an agent of Ah-Trah’s very soon. In exchange for
the selling the ring they will each get a choice of one of the following
items (a maximum of 4 items for the group and no more than 1 per character,
no duplicate items): 1) a ring of three wishes(limited).
2) a carpet of flying.
3) a scroll of one spell, player’s choice from any spell in the books.
4) Sword of Air: see description in the text.
5) Pouch filled with Dust of Dispelling Air Elementals(6 uses): See description.
6) Potion of protection from dragons breath: see description
7) ring of flying.
8) ring of feather falling.
9) Talisman of Proof from Magic (Alteration): See description.


*****
* 5 *
*****

If the PCs die in the fight with the Efreeti, but, Ah’Trah wins and gets the
ring. He will use his wishing powers to bring the PCs back to life. The
wishing will be done back on Ah’Trahs home plane. The PCs will not have any
possessions from before. The wishing will be their reward. Some GMs might
give the PCs some other rewards as well, but, giving them their lives seems
good. Also, there will be a party in the players honor with many air
elemental types in attendance.

================================================================================
Gold Transport
Richard ?
LPR100@psuvm.psu.edu

Short
Any
Guarding
Any

From one place to another (fill in any appropriate places of your world)
goes a huge gold-transport (make up the reason yourself). The PC can act in
many ways: 1) As guards. (Prepare Transport, Guard Transport, Discover Plots
against Transport, etc) 2) As Robbers (!!?!, The transport is of a bad
guys?)

================================================================================
Short plots
Mike Whitaker
MikeW@sdl.mdcbbs.com

Medium
Any
Affliction
Quest
Intrigue
Any

Well, there’s the standard “save the world” goal… I’ve run a few of these
kind of campaigns, and I’ve found, as I acquire experience at it, that the
focus of this kind of campaign has switched from “‘Da Bad Guy’ is
threatening to destroy the world – kill him” (I’m sure it’s everybody’s
first mega-plot) to a more complex and involved kind of plot, in which the
players don’t get handed things on a plate… Ask my PBeM party!

Another classic is the ‘recurring enemy’. The low level players
offend/thwart a petty villainess in her first tentative steps towards a
master plan (say, trying to take over a small merchant house in the city).
Villainess is mightily p**sed at this, and proceeds to be a thorn in the
party’s side for the next ten levels, gaining experience and power as they
do. Throw in a fatal fascination or two (she is mightily smitten with the
party’s paladin, say) or even a family link (one of the party’s a relative
of hers) just to add spice, stir well….

Similar to that is the “all-pervasive’ enemy, a mysterious shadowy
organisation (say a slave dealing ring) with minor political aspirations
that seems to be everywhere. In the early stages, about one in every two
adventures the party has is generated one way or another by this group, and
slowly the party begins to put two and two together, until at higher level
they are seeking to wipe out this organisation…

Or how about the vengeance quest – an NPC close to the PC’s is killed, and
the PC’s seek vengeance, following the trail of the NPC’s killer through
various places, organisations etc..

Hey, I just thought (I’m typing this on the fly): Combine all four…. NPC
close to PCs is killed because she found out too much about the all
pervasive organisation (APO). PCs start on the vengeance trail, and
inadvertently thwart the recurring villainess (RV) on the way. APO recruits
RV (they share a common cause of wanting the PC’s out of the way) – better,
APO assist RV without revealing that they are the APO. Also da bad guy (DBG)
is using APO to further his plans for world domination, plans which RV
doesn’t necessarily agree with when she finds out (although it may take the
PCs time to discover this (they may think she works for the APO), and also
to find out what it will take to make her change sides – maybe the NPC is a
relative and the RV mistakenly blames the PCs for her death). Maybe factions
of the APO don’t agree with DBG’s plan either…

================================================================================
Ship of Undead
Stephen McLeod
mehawk@reed.edu

Short
Fantasy
Quest
Ship

Player has to go on a quest to visit the high holy spot of their Good
deity. In the course of the trip during a sea voyage they are beset upon by
a ship of the undead. Given that the ship’s complement is unbeatable, they
disable it at the helm or rudder and leave it to crash on the reefs.
Continue on with visiting the nice deity and when they finally arrive after
whatever other challenges you choose to put in their path (I used lots of
spirit things, including ghosts of monsters they had recently defeated and
of dead friends) they are told by the deity/priests that tho their actions
were commendable they must finish their business with the undead ship. It
seems that since it has grounded on the reefs whatever eldritch energies
went into powering it are now slowly puncturing a hole to the plane of the
undead. In my version, the ship is half filled with water and as the waves
pass over/through it the battles got very messy. In the end it was a second
wheel below decks that was the focus of the power, manned by a gent cursed
for killing women and children on a particular ship he plundered.

================================================================================
Wierdness in Klingon Space
Michael Sandy
mehawk@reed.edu

Short
Sci-Fi
Quest
Space

For weird, have them get a message from StarFleet to patrol into Klingon Space,
(maximum priority command etc…)
Once inside Klingon space, they are no longer able to communicate with Fed
Space, (but may not realize this for a while under comm silence), and discover
no Klingon signals either.

Have them meet another curious ship from another culture which doesn’t know
what’s going on either. For extra weird, have that ship vaguely resemble the
ship they are in, but with identifiable differences…

Other ways it could turn out:

Actually, it was all the result of a botched experiment in a SuperCloaking
device that temporarily shifted the Klingon Empire out of time for two weeks,
four days, and seventeen minutes from mark…

And now they’re back! With several curious Romulan, Fed, and other ships
hovering over their capital planet…

================================================================================
Treasure Inn
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Long
Fantasy
Any
Quest
Building

This plot is a low-combat (no combat hopefully) test of the players ingenuity
and other skills. It described for a medieval period but could easily be
transported into most settings.

Outline: The players have a treasure map for stolen gold but on finding the
place, discover an inn has been built over the spot where the gold is buried.
The map describes the location of the treasure as 20 paces towards the river
from a gnarled willow, 2 feet beneath a large flat stone. This is now
manifestly beneath a room in the corner of an inn built on the river flat. The
room is dirt-floored and windowless, being used by the innkeeper as a holding
cell for guests that have exceeded their capacity somewhat and are in need of
protection, or have become belligerent and a nuisance to other customers. The
innkeeper is scrupulously honest and does not “roll” such guests but will
extract payment for any damages. The underground cellar of the inn narrowly
missed uncovering the gold, being under the adjoining room and an excavation
from the near wall would find the treasure after only a few feet of digging. On
the other hand, the innkeeper is not in the habit of letting guests into his
cellar!

Background detail. This outline is particularly set up for characters who have
set themselves up as “the good guys” as it potentially involves an ethical
dilemma if your players enjoy such things.
Location. The Inn is situated on a route junction where a side stream
enters the main river. 2 days up river is the city where the gold originated.
The main route enters a hard gorged section of road below the inn and 6 further
days of travel brings the route to a major port city. The other route continues
up the side stream and over a low pass after a long day’s travel in lonely
country. Another day’s travel is required to arrive at the small sea port where
the characters will start from. This port town has grown enormously in the last
12 years since a pirate kingdom was destroyed allowing trade to flourish in the
southern ocean. Consequently this side route has grown much more important
allowing the inn to flourish. The innkeeper was a smithy by trade and his
services are valued by travellers. The inn stands by itself with no neighbours
or other business in very underpopulated country which makes it something of an
oddity in the world setting.
History. The gold is a booty from a raid on a goldsmith’s shop in the up-
river city 13 years ago. It was a bulk purchase to be shared with other
goldsmiths in the guild and was guarded by an apprentice whom the thief killed,
leaving a widow and 3 children. The thief ran into trouble though with a lame
horse near the inn site, and with the hue and cry close on his tail, he buried
the gold under a large flat stone before fleeing up the then little-used trail
to the small port. He covered his digging further by piling all the excavated
earth (a distinctive red) onto his cloak, then emptying it bushes nearby. His
luck really ran out though when he arrived at the small port and was arrested by
the guard for an earlier murder and was summarily executed. He did however have
time to make the treasure map and gave it to his lover, mother of his 2 year old
son. She would not have a bar of what she correctly guessed was stolen gold
though but is now very sick (beyond the means of the characters to cure). Her
son, now 15, is desperate to help her and has approached the party with the map.
They could be relatives or friends of a party member and the gold would be used
to buy a cure.
In the provost’s party, pursuing the thief was the murdered apprentice
goldsmith’s brother, a journeyman blacksmith. The party stopped at the route
junction on finding the lame horse while woodsmen in the party tried to find
which route the thief had taken. Answering a call of nature in the bushes, he
found the pile of red earth but told the provost nothing. After it was
discovered that the thief had already been executed but without any gold being
found, he made a shrewd guess about what the thief had done, but failed realise
that the earth had been moved into the bushes which he now turned over in what
rapidly became an obsession. To cover his activities, he built a small smithy to
service travellers coming up the gorge road, which soon became augmented by an
inn as the trade in the southern ocean made the route to the port town more
important while his digging was unfruitful. He even now hasn’t given up on
finding the treasure though he seldom is actively digging. His strange obsession
(which he wont reveal) means there are light-hearted stories about him searching
for a rainbow’s end, told at his expense by frequent travellers stopping at his
inn. The innkeeper is well-liked and married when his obsession cooled, now
having 5 children helping around the inn. He has also taken in his brothers
destitute widow and children who help out about the inn. The widow helps cook
and brew but this is a bitter come-down from her expectations in marriage to a
goldsmith and she frets for her 16 year-old daughter now serving behind the bar.
Her older sons are competent smiths under the innkeeper’s teaching. The family
all share the secret about the possibility of gold buried nearby but none take
this seriously.
The challenge for the players is compounded by fact that it would be very
unusual for anyone to stay more than 1 night so 2 nights without an obvious
excuse. This will result in some pretty blunt queries and suspicion of “casing
the joint” from people used to fending for themselves in an isolated spot.
Stories about the innkeeper’s strange diggings will be easily heard but no
one suspects what he is after. A reasonable number of people, many on very good
terms with the keeper will be present on any night, though all will be passing
through.

If players come up with an ingenious scheme for getting the gold out and clear,
then good for them but I would be likely exploit any weakness in their plans to
set up a confrontation with the keeper and the widow. They are very unlikely to
try force unprovoked but will certainly put forward an impassioned case for
their rights to the gold – better life for daughter and sons, years of graft,
etc. Obsessions can be dangerous things though …

================================================================================
We Go To War
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Long
Fantasy
Quest
Guarding
Wilderness
Rural
Castle

Involving players in a war is a pretty sure way to ensure a high combat session
or three. The problem is dealing with effect of a few players in a very large
battlefield. This can be done, but limiting players to attempting “key
objectives” is a good way to control the play. This approach is certainly helped
by a scenario that puts the player characters under the eye of a senior NPC.
Outlined below is an example of players involvement in a short war. In some
parts the players will be caught up in events; in others they have options not
to participate. The events assume both player participation and success right
through and is offered as a possible model that can obviously be modified and
improvised indefinitely. Note that in fact much the player involvement was from
their own ideas. I would always present the situation and see what they do with
it before offering “missions” in guise of a commander. While the events will
unroll whatever the player’s action really, it should help their enjoyment to
give tons of feedback on the effect of their actions (good and bad) so they feel
in the centre of activities.

1- First action: assumes the players are mounted. As they approach a road in a
border area, they will notice the odd refugee and ragged army groups on foot
moving away. A grim-looking senior army officer or noble is driving two carts
loaded with incendiaries (oil, naphtha, resin-soaked straw) against the flow.
Questioning anyone will tell of a massive invasion that has pushed in the border
garrisons. The cart commander will request the party assistance, since they are
mounted, in destroying a bridge over a nearby major river. The idea here is to
give the party exposure to a key NPC. The bridge is easily set ready to burn,
but the commander will delay the firing till last minute, allowing as many as
possible of the fleeing garrison troops across first. The border itself is a
mountain ridge and in one to two hours, companies of the invading army will be
seen in the distance on tops of the foothills. A largish company of defenders,
well armed and moving in good order is sighted but suddenly a company of the
cavalry from the enemy vanguard appears. A race to the bridge ensures with the
commander uneasily preparing to fire it. When only hundred metres away, it is
clear the race will be lost and the defenders turn at bay to face the cavalry.
Alone, they are outnumbered and lost, but they look capable … ? If the party
goes to assist, they may well swing the balance but the commander will
definitely fire the bridge rather than risk it being taken should the fight go
badly … After 4 rounds of combat, the enemy will suddenly be aware of the
risk of the bridge and try to disengage so as to rush it instead.

2- Under siege: The border defences have fallen back on a powerful fortress,
built in the rough terrain of a mountain range (other side of the valley),
protecting the road to the capital. The enemy army cannot forage through here so
must neutralise the fortress to protect the supply line. The commander of the
fortress however has discerned that the enemy has split with a force going down
valley and the long way round to take the capital by surprise or at least
prevent relief of the fortress. He decides to take a large force of mountain-
hardy locals through less-known routes to harry and hopefully stop this thrust
but this will leave the fortress very lightly manned. Players will not be locals
so will remain in the fortress. The man they helped at the bridge now commands
the fortress and will request them so they can help him with any ideas to make
it seem the fortress has more men than it really has. The enemy army has been
delayed crossing the river but all too soon they arrive. The fortress’ outer
wall has no moat but is too high for scaling ladders or grapples. The gate is
both powerful and a cunningly made death-trap. It opens into a gated courtyard
that would quickly be a killing ground if the main gate is forced.

Early stage ideas:
Players discover enemy magicians using some levitation or flying power in an
attempt to fix ropes on the wall.
A magically- or psionically- powerful party might like to battle enemy sorcerers
from spying, attempting to kill the commander etc.
Enemy might attempt parley with some bribe the GM knows might tempt the party.

Serious stuff: With no easy way in, the enemy gets constructing. Siege towers go
up which are well protected with fire-proofing to the front (ie water-soaked
wool, constantly dowsed). There are not enough forces inside to properly defend
the wall from these so this is serious. After anxiously watching a few days, the
commander decides a night-sally to fire them from behind is needed as they near
completion. A very powerful party might attack several, otherwise they will be
one of several parties sent out at midnight to attack. If one of several, they
will have to address coordination of the attacks.

3- Relief: The old commander’s gamble pays off and he successfully grinds the
flanking force to a halt and by message has warned the prince of it. He now
hurries back, while the prince sends most of his cavalry to engage this much-
delayed enemy and is able to gather a large relieving infantry force to aid the
fortress. The fortress gains hope from sudden movement in the enemy camps as a
defensive line is marshalled at right angle to the fortress to meet the threat.
Battle is joined but the fortress takes no part to begin with to avoid risk of
losing the gate. A sally force is prepared though and party is expected to be in
it. The arrival of the old commander with the remnants of his force at midday
forces the enemy flank so their line is slowly turned with its back to the
fortress. The enemy standard is right is front of the gate when the Prince
launches a furious attack on the centre. It is time for the sally. The players
are detailed to bring down the standard, others will chase the enemy general.
For a powerful party, the standard will be defended by enemies champions. The
standard will also be protected by anti-magic spells and possibly a duty
sorcerer.
If the players succeed, then the enemy army will collapse into a rout, though
the Prince doesn’t have cavalry to exploit this much. If they fail, the enemy
will withdraw in good order though this probably wont interest the player
characters much. 🙂
This scenario throws the players into a full-scale battle with a specific goal
and few gaming systems have rules for this so here are my ideas. The trick for
the GM is to create the battle about the players in an interesting way without
setting up a wargame table. I think the “fog of war” makes this possible – the
GM only has to describe the action in the immediate area about the players. You
can use the following table of results for a 6 sided dice to help lubricate the
imagination, thrown every few combat rounds. 1 Appearance of cavalry at charge range.
2 Troops on a flank of players collapse.
3 Troops appear to the rear.
4 Missile troops come to support
5 Infantry reinforcements come
6 A Champion arrives
Throw a D10 to determine whether the result is good is our bad (ie whether it is
friendly or enemy cavalry, friends or enemy that collapse at the flank etc.)
Since battle is going the way of the Prince then 1-4 means bad and 5-10 means
good. Adjust as required for any battle balance.
The second question about battles like this concerns battlefield morale
of NPC units both fighting the player characters and on the flanks. The GM might
just rule their morale in any way that makes the game interesting, but here are
some simple morale rules that can be used where gaming system doesn’t provide.
Rate NPC quality from 1 (fanatics) to 18 ( 14 year old conscripts).
NPC forces check morale when: * When about to engage enemy or on arrival of new enemy
* At every round when they are losing a fight
* When neighbouring friends are routed, (this can cascade)
Throw 3 dice:
add 1 for – secure flanks and rear (friends on three sides)
– champion or general in charge
– winning the fight
– charging
– every enemy unit seen routing in last and current round
– an enemy champion seen killed in last or current round
subtract 1 for – insecure rear
– every friendly unit seen routing in last and current round
– general or standard lost in last or current round
– a champion killed in last or current round
– being charged
-facing magical attack (including melee contact with lycanthropes)
-facing undead, golems or similar mindless opponents
– every 25% of unit or hit points (as appropriate) lost
(ie 50% lost is -2)
The last modifier only really can apply to NPC units in actually fighting
players – not to imaginary neighbouring units though the GM can adjudicate some
loses if dicing for them. Personally, I never check morale for flank units and
guess something fun but think it adds to game to check morale for the NPC that
the players face.
If the resultant score is less than the morale value then the unit routs. Use
any other reality appropriate (ie ensorcelled NPCs are like undead they never
check for morale).

Back to plots …

4- Impasse: The enemy has recrossed the river further down and linked with
remnants of the abortive flanking attack. They are growing in strength as
reinforcements arrive and rafts are constructed. Neither side can easily attack
the other across the river. The enemy has set up in a patch of high ground on a
river bend and the ground both up and down river is mostly swamps and marshes,
providing secure flanks. However, the swamps also preclude any foraging so the
enemy is dependent on the supply lines through the mountain border. The Prince
needs to dislodge the enemy from this ground though he suspects the swamps will
bring disease into the enemy camp before long but he faces the same risk. It is
decided to send spare strength across the river in small units to attack the
supply line and reinforcements. The party is asked to be one such group and
attack the supply line for as long as they can do reasonable damage safely.
The first part of the trip once over the river higher up is to avoid enemy
screening cavalry though these will be thinly spread. Increase the chance of a
siting by day compared to night. The rough hill country leading back to the
border will provide many suitable bases in form of caves (which may house the
odd monster) or secluded bushy glens. (Describe the country to the party and
then dice for finding a suitable occurrence every watch). A good map of rough
hill country will help enormously if you prefer to play this more detail (better
still, use a real map of an area you know well as this makes the description
much more vivid and helpful)

The supply line will at first be very lightly guarded. The party might encounter
in a day: say on a D6 (adjust for strength of party). * 1-2 – 2-6 supply wains with armed escort of 2-8 of low grade soldiers
* 3 – reinforcement group consisting of 3-6 men-at-arms with very low
morale levy of 16-24. (The best troops were with the original
force)
* 4 – cavalry patrol of 8-10 riders
* 5 – 1-2 wains going other way with wounded, guarded by walking wounded.
* 6 – messenger on good horse. (Boring messages though … )
There is only light traffic, so 1/6 chance of one of the above per watch.
A 1/10 chance could be rolled for two groups instead of one within on the road
within hailing distance. The reinforcement groups are modelled on feudal levy –
a few proper fighting men from a lord’s following with a troop of untrained and
uninterested peasants. These could be expected to break if the men-at-arms are
defeated.

After a week of raiding, the supply line will get better guarded. In second
week, the reinforcements will travel with the wains, so matrix could be: * 1-3 supply and reinforcements as above
* 4-5 cavalry
* 6 messenger
In third week, the supply will move in convoy * 1-3 4-12 supply wains with 30-50 of levy
* 4-6 cavalry patrols of 10-15 riders
At this point, the party can probably do little more and should return.

On return, they should find the enemy has succumbed to poor food and disease and
has pulled back with the Prince preparing to pursue. Another battle could be
fought in the hills, weighed heavily in the Prince’s favour, if the party hasn’t
done too well.

5 – Victory: This scenario is for a swashbuckling style with fast combat and
more concern for fun than realism at its deadliest. The enemy invasion is broken
and has fallen back inside its own border but the Prince has decided to press
the attack to annihilate the threat once and for all. The remaining enemy army
is now besieged in a fortress town, just inside the border while the Prince
demands handing over of the leaders and laying down of all arms. He judges he
probably has enough strength to carry the walls by assault though the cost will
be high. They learn (a prisoner, traitor, magical?) however of a drain leading
from inside the fortress into a moat that protects part of the wall. It is large
enough for a person to crawl through but involves swimming underwater to its
entrance and making the first part of the crawl underwater. (This is possible on
one breath but should require a difficult skill throw to avoid panic). An
initial scouting will reveal that the other end is blocked by an iron grille and
patrols move past the entrance very regularly. However, the Prince is planning a
pre-dawn assault on the walls anyway, and it seems that a party could slip out
of the drain unnoticed in the confusion of the attack and hopefully open the
gate. A certain element of trust is probably going to be necessary here for the
player to take this on 🙂 – perhaps they would prefer siege ladders and burning
oil? Best of all is let coax the players into thinking up the scheme themselves.
(ie. they can be the bearers of the information about the drain to the prince,
discuss it with “him,” etc).
Assuming they take it on, they will need a means of opening the grille which
should be provided by the Prince if the party has not the means. A means of
breaking iron will come handy later too.
The wall has a structure of buildings on the inner side providing rooms for
archers to use arrow slits, stores of defensive equipment, stairs, access
passages and barracks. A good map of these (making up three levels, mostly one
room wide, two at the base) is needed. The drain grille will open into a ‘room’,
three sided and open to the inner court where the sewer ditch comes in. No
access to any other rooms in the level. It will be a reasonable distance from
the gate. The gatehouse itself will be on the middle level and accessible only
from an internal passage past barracks on this level.
So how do the players find fun instead of sudden death for their characters? My
approach was to play this as a series of running fights, with the players
thinking up every means of deception they could and thoroughly inventive spell
use. It is dark and confusion reigns with people running everywhere. The players
will encounter various groups soldiers, newly waken, rushing to man the wall on
the most part, parties carrying supplies of torches to help light the wall,
slaves carrying barrels of oil for throwing on attackers, messengers, comrades
assisting wounded off the wall etc. On encountering enemy, they will
automatically assume that part of the wall has been taken. They probably will
fight but only briefly if the party is getting upper hand, whereupon they will
turn and flee, calling for reinforcements. The party should be forced into every
trick in the book to delay or ward off pursuers – give the party plenty of
feedback that these are working. If they adopt disguise, then they should
encounter a captain who tells them to follow him – away from the gatehouse :-).
Of course, unless you have decided the enemy in non human, then they probably
will be mistaken for friends anyway unless they announce themselves as enemy.

The gatehouse will only have at most two occupants – they weren’t anticipating
needing the machinery at the moment! The gate itself is a counterweighted
drawbridge, operated by a chain windlass. It will take some time (say six
rounds) to lower the gate by windlass and it is not much use till it is
completely down. The defenders will notice the moment it begins to lower and the
party will find things very hot at the gatehouse door very quickly. Of course,
if the chain holding the counterweights is broken, the drawbridge will open very
suddenly. A picture of apparatus might help your players. There is but one
entrance to the gatehouse which probably will be crowded by enemy with the gate
down, but players could squeeze through the gatekeeper’s watch window – a 20′
jump into the moat. If any of your players fancies a glorious character death
then now is probably a great moment.

================================================================================
Becoming A Tribal Warrior
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Medium
Fantasy
Quest
Wilderness
Rural

A tribal group that the party wants something from (eg. horses, specialised
bows, arcana) will only deal “Fingers of the Fist”. Ie, at least one member of
the party must successfully prove themselves as a tribal warrior for which there
is a traditional initiation. The traditional fighting band is the five strong
“Fist”, consisting of “fingers” (initiated warriors) and led by a “thumb” – the
eldest finger.

Normally tribesmen would go through initiation at 14-16 years old, so the
procedure shouldn’t be too dangerous but they may embellish the procedure
somewhat for outsiders. This can be used as to make use of some less frequently
used stats, eg. a rough ride to test horsemanship. A test of pain endurance
should be part of it. Tattooing or branding are obvious and could use things
like max-hit-points, constitution, mental stamina, stats for the test. A test
concealed to the players could be made by an estimate of the no. of times the
character has been wounded. While having limited playing interest, the resulting
brand might led to interesting plot developments “back home”. A more interesting
component of the test could be a stealing mission: a central totem of some kind
in the tribal villages is generally surrounded by curious pottery votive bowls.
The design of these bowls being distinctive to each village. The task is sneak
into a neighbouring village and pinch a bowl. Since the tribes live pretty much
at peace, spilling of blood much more than a bloody nose would be severely
frowned on and likely to cause blood feud. (The party may or may not be told
this depending on how you might like to develop this). This is naturally a game
played by the younger tribes people and the night guard on the totems would only
be 13-14, on possibly a new “finger”. Their preferred “weapon” against would-be
raiders is a foul yellow dye that takes a week or so to wear off. A person
marked with such a dye, would be a general laughing stock. A daylight raid would
be considered very daring though no especial guard is placed on the totem at day
and entry to the village could be gained on some other pretext.

The test should conclude with combat. Suggested is tackling a suitable large
predator – but with no armour etc., and only a dagger for a weapon.

An enemy (may be a monster as well as human) killed in honourable combat (ie the
enemy had a chance), may qualify the “finger” for a silver ring awarded by a war
council of “thumbs”. An extension of the plot here might be an incident that
lets the players become Ringed Fingers.

================================================================================
“Wolves” On The Pass
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Long
Fantasy
Guarding
Road
Wilderness
Mountain

As a plot this is pretty sketchy, but is hopefully an antidote to the “wandering
monster” syndrome. Ie. “You meet monster x.” “We beat the stuffing out of it,
then proceed.” The idea is use weather and fatigue rules plus the wolves to
provide a night of high tension and brainstorming but perhaps surprisingly
little combat.

The idea is to get a trading mule-train over a broad mountain pass to the
plain’s people beyond as early in the season as possible. High profit is assured
by being the first trader of the season through, ahead of any big caravans. The
mountain pass is fast way through which a mule train of light, high-value goods
(ie spices, salt, liquors, specialised textiles) can exploit, returning later in
safety with first choice of furs and winter craft-goods in exchange. The players
may be doing it this on their own account if sufficient organised, or may be
paid as escorts. Either way, their return should be proportional to the number
of mules brought safely through the mountains. The hazards are cold and wolves,
though some rarer nasties might come into play. Instead of a single encounter,
the wolves will dog the party all the way, avoiding a fight but occasionally
making rushes in hope of panicking a horse or mule loose. They also will worry
the party at night, calling fatigue rules into play. Wind, rain and cold will
also take there toll, hampering defence efforts. I find turns of 3 hours from
6am to 6pm, and 4 hours from 6pm to 6am to be good for this type adventure.
Also, I wouldnt bother with the tedium of mule/horse v. wolves fights. Assume
that the wolves are opportunist and 4-8 will rush an opening. If it goes
well, then more will join in. Give the wolves a 1/6 say (better if mobility
reduced etc) per combat round of bringing down a mule if not interfered
with. Will retire immediately if resisted. If defenders say all go to protect
say the tail of train, then good chance that another group of wolves will
seize chance to attack elsewhere. The very first attack can be full-scale
(all the wolves) but wont last more than 4 rounds (probably less – as long
as it takes to realise that mules are defended). It will with luck 🙂 though
panic your magic users into wasting a lot of power that they will have trouble
regaining.

The wolves should perhaps be in inverted commas – because I don’t know or care
whether the behaviour I’m describing is “realistic” (not being part of the New
Zealand ecology!). Call them something else appropriate to your world if need
be. The party will pick up a wolf pack early in the piece. The pack is very
hungry though certainly not suicidally so, having unsuccessfully chased their
normal prey (deer or something else suitable) over the pass. They are NOT
interested in the humans, being too prickly for the amount of meat to warrant
the trouble unless conditions are very favourable. They are however very
attracted by the mules which they can easily outrun especially when laden with
about 200lb of goods. Any horses are also very good game in heavy snow, though
they will outrun wolves on hard ground. Attacking animals they will attempt to
hamstring or take out the jugular. Faced with humans, they will generally
withdraw, out of missile range if necessary. A human isolated even temporarily
from others will be game however provided odds of at least 4 to 1 can be brought
to bear. Wolves to the front will “face off” keeping out of weapon reach but
feinting lunges to help the attackers from behind. These will attempt
hamstringing, or a knock-down followed by worrying to the neck. At any concerted
attack on them, they will fade, especially if one their no. is hurt or killed.
They will eat their own dead quite happily when safe to do so. The pack animals
will be frightened and likely to bolt with each attack. Some kind of beast-
mastery/horsemanship should be tested on each occurrence unless the party have
devised foolproof tethering. If the wolves successfully get an animal, then the
party will have a respite of several hours. The attack will end when either the
wolves have eaten about one animal between two/three; they have lost a quarter
of their number; or easier game presents itself. (GM could be dicing for this or
just pretending – bring on the other animals when the party has had enough).

Weather can be manipulated gloriously in this scenario:
Wind should make all missile-fire difficult. Rain should affect bowstrings and
visibility.
Cold should affect all manual skills at very least.
Snow should affect mobility.

Here is an example crossing: A successful weather-forecasting will tell bad
weather on way, but they should clear the pass if hurried. Snow is encountered
in patches as the party climb through sparse timber – and suddenly they have a
wolf pack about them making good use of the cover to avoid missiles etc. while
making occasional lunges. (1 per turn at most). The sparse timber gives way to
thorn scrub as evening comes and party will take severe cold effects if they do
not camp here. Fire is possible but the timber disappears as thorn-scrub gives
way to snow-covered grasses and rock higher up. It gets very cold during the
night and the wolves make lunging attacks 1-2 per turns. The idea here is the
party becomes fatigued, spell-users cant replenish power etc. As each attack is
met, the wolves will melt back into the night, gathering in again an hour or so
later.

The next day bodes bad weather as the wind rises and the sky darkens. As the
party trudge through heavy snow they should take further cold and fatigue
minuses while the rising wind will play havoc with missile fire. If they turn
back, then a heavy snowstorm will block the pass for nearly two weeks, while a
forecasting will still indicate they can cross before the storm hits. The wolves
are unencumbered and will tread quickly over the icy surface on the snow. They
will only attack 2-3 times today, but will aim at the horses. The broad pass,
fortunately relatively safe from avalanches, will be crossed in the late
afternoon and the storm gathers fury. The snow is not so deep on the southern
side and large rock formations and boulders make numerous sheltering points not
far down the southern side. GM might like some other nasties living in these
cave-like shelters though. It will be 4 freezing hours in pelting snow though
down to firewood. At least the shelters and weather will mean little attention
from wolves this night.

Next morning is somewhat warmer and the snow-showers give way to rain. By the
time the party gets down to the tree line it is pouring, making fire (which
they are probably reliant on) impossible without magical means. Hopefully their
magic- users will have had a night’s sleep by now :-). The wolf attacks will
get very intense in the timber (they are now really hungry), before perhaps
other easier game takes them away.

================================================================================
Defending The Coast
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Medium
Fantasy
Guarding
Coastal

This plot is meant as a strategy exercise to give a change of pace for high-
status characters (ie the characters are recognised and respected).

The idea may be of use at a lower level. Characters with scrying and/or night
vision capacities will be especially useful.

Plot. A coastal region about a port town has become the target for foraging
pirates, based somewhere in a nearby archipelago. The lord in the town has asked
the characters to assist in setting up a defence against this menace. Mostly the
raids have been strictly foraging but a recent one overpowered a sleeping manor,
killing its owner and with all the young women carried off. For groups so
inclined this plot can easily include a simple board game based on the map, with
the turn being a week, and then dicing for if and where an attack will come. The
GM then looks at what the characters have put in place and adjudicates a result.
The GM can control events on a more abstract level if this doesn’t appeal – the
fun is in devising the strategy and counter-strategies. They should be thinking
up plans for watches, message passing, deployment of forces etc. A good place
for the characters to get directly involved is in attacking the boats themselves
while the bulk of the crew are raiding inland.

Here is a more detailed scenario as an example.

The Pirates. These are actually the losing navy from fratricidal wars on the
far continent preying mostly on their own countrymen’s merchant trade in
vengeance. They have 12 viking-style boats with crews of 20-40 each. The leader
is a cunning captain and will order appropriate measures against defences (ie,
they will understand a lit beacon and its implications as well as the intended
receivers). The coastal strip concerned is very convenient and it would be
difficult to go further afield. It is only due to a botched campaign against
them that they are forced to forage off the coast to this extent and the word
is forage as opposed to rape and pillage. The leader did not order the attack
on the manor and was not amused when he found out about it, guessing correctly
that it would result in stronger defences. The usual attack mode is to travel
well off-shore (though they have been slack so far) at day, then run ashore
pre- dawn. The raiding party goes inland while 5-9 remain to guard the ship,
usually lying slightly off-shore rather than beached. The raiding party will be
competent fighters though they will back off from significant resistance,
particularly if it endangers the ship. Animals are driven back to the ship on
the hoof, while anything else has to be carried on the raiders’ backs. If a
ship does not return or has encountered major opposition, then further raids
will remain well out of sight of land by day. If a second ship is lost, then
the raids will be carried out by two ships at a time to make a large combined
force with extra guards on the ship. The loss of four ships will force the
captain to move foraging elsewhere and raids will cease.

Resources. The town lord has a sizeable following of men-at-arms based in the
castle as well as three fighting ships, properly part of the navy. These ships
will outpace the pirates on short hauls, (less than 1 hour apart), due to
superior no.s of oarsmen but are no match for the longboat under sail as the
oarsmen tire. There are 20 villages/hamlets scattered about the coast that can
raise ill-trained militia at a push (ie with a backbone of real men-at-arms in
command) but mostly the villagers will be too concerned with protecting family
as they hightail out of it, probably driving herds if they have time. There will
be one or two manors of nobles near each village though and these usually retain
2-6 men-at-arms who can be commanded. The population will be generally
enthusiastic for measures to counter the pirates, particularly if they don’t
have to actually do the fighting. They will man look-outs and beacons reliably.

Any time a pirate is captured, there is a 50% probability of finding a chart
(providing the ship isn’t fired). This covers the coast and archipelago quite
well and while it wont locate the pirate base, it will be noticeable that part
of the archipelago is drawn in far more detail than the rest.

================================================================================
Travelling Companions
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Long
Fantasy
Intrigue
Quest
Road

People met on the road, (random or otherwise), I have found to be great sources
of plot and fleshing-out material for the world. An encounter might begin with
hearing sounds of a fight round the next corner. On rushing up, the players find
a merchant’s caravan under attack. If they help, they will have a useful contact
who is probably well-disposed to try and reward them. If travel is dangerous in
your world, then locals on the move will be hoping to team up with a well-armed
party. This can get players away from the inevitable inns as plot starters. Eg.
” Well we are finally back in Jardor – these villages don’t change
much.”
” Same rotten-looking inn – lets see go chat up our good merchant Waller instead
and see if we can con a free meal and board”
GM – you go to Waller’s house.
” My friends! Newly arrived back in these parts? Come in, come in -I’ll get the
servants to send us some refreshments suitable for the travel weary. – Oh, I
would like you to meet the Lady Damier – we have just been discussing a certain
difficulty of her’s, haven’t we my dear. These good folk might be just the
people you need … ” etc etc.

When players get used to meeting fellow travellers on the road, then some not so
random ones can be throw in. Eg., a thief on the run; a mage burdened with some
powerful artefact that he/she cant properly control; a dying messenger etc. A
couple of good ones though are:
1 – THE SPY – so how do your good role players feel about king and country?
They meet with what appears to be a foreign merchant riding a single wagon,
along with his cook, apprentice and a mule skinner. In reality he is a spy,
sounding out local opinion on the rulers, gathering information on defences and
paying off his collection of local spooks. A false bottom in his wagon will be
full of money for the payoffs and bribes. The meeting will be on a wilder
stretch of road, and he will suggest the party travel with him – even offering
to pay. If the players are in their own country, he will be interested in their
opinions of the ruler (your players have some? 🙂 ) and will be telling various
scandalous and completely untrue stories about them. If they are also
foreigners, he will be asking after any military information they may have
gathered in their travels, in a roundabout way. A lovely role for the GM. You
need plenty of events to create the GM-player dialogue. Here are some suspicious
ones that will help the players.
Attack – the wagon IS attacked. All of the spies party, even the cook,
reveal themselves to be very competent fighters needing little protection. They
may use some fairly rare and difficult weapons too.
Visitors – by day another well-armed man of same nationality will ride
up (actually he is part of the same party). He will be taken aback a little by
the party’s presence as he has important news of a hidden defensive fort near a
ford to impart. The spy will pretend he doesn’t know him but hail him as a
fellow-countryman, bidding him drink a toast in the wagon and share news of
home. Players will need some special listening skill and the language to hear
what they say. On leaving, he will nearly ride into the cook and they will curse
each other by NAME, despite never having been introduced. At night, a watching
party member might notice one of the spy’s paid spooks, ( a scruffy local
peasant ) creep into the camp to collect his pay and warn the spy of an army
patrol. If the players confront the spy over this, he will say the man is a
blackmailer, knowing of an unfortunate deal with a local lord and demanding
money not to tell the lord he is back.

If the players start getting obviously suspicious, the “merchant” will suggest
the road is safe now and they ride on unencumbered by him. If they still stick
around, he will sabotage his own wheel and beg the players ride to the nearest
village and send back a wheelwright. “Continue on then, don’t worry about me.”
If the characters leave but then watch from hiding, they will see the armed
horseman return and the “merchant” will trade clothes and places with him,
allowing the spy to continue overland while the others see to the wheel.

The spy scenario could be a prelude to the invasion plot, described in “We Go
to War”

2- THE UNWILLING BRIDE – a flash outfit of two coach/wagons led by an austere
old noblewomen will beg the party help protect them. She will tell them they are
taking a bride to her wedding in a nearby (about 2 days away) town and their
escort has unexpectedly had to pursue a known rogue with his cronies, who tried
to waylay them. The woman is the bride’s guardian aunt (she is an orphan) and
the wedding is an arranged one to another powerful family for mutual control of
the bride’s estate, enriching both families at the bride’s expense. The “known
rogue” was her real love (perhaps a Romeo from a despised rival family?) trying
to deliver her. The party also consists of several grooms, maidservants, an aged
valet (on the brides side in any encounter – he is loyal to her parents memory)
and two dour men-at-arms. The bride is desperate and while she will be unable to
appeal directly to the party, the valet will be her messenger and tell them of
her plight. While finding a way to spring the bride and reunite her with her
Romeo shouldn’t prove too difficult for the party, this plot should deal a mass
of consequences to the party. They will have gained some very loyal friends but
contracted two influential families of enemies. The region should become very
hot for the party with wonderful potential for a vendetta.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

APPENDIX- “On the road you meet…”

On the Road you meet… The question
Phil Scadden
P.Scadden@gns.cri.nz

Chuck

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road Some time back on the net, Chuck asked the question:
” The party in a fantasy campaign is travelling on a major road between two
large cities. The distance between cities is 10 days on horseback. My question
is, what could they possibly meet on the road? The few ideas I’ve come up with. 1. Caravans. Small, medium, and large. I don’t know if they would stop for any
traveller or not.
2. A man galloping fast on horseback (he is a messenger).
3. A guard patrol, who would look at the adventurers, and perhaps ask them
questions.
Any other ideas? – Chuck”

Well the net did indeed have some ideas. Some longer responses have been
included in the main section of the book – but here is a collection of shorter
responses. ================================================================================

“On the road you meet…” HMD
H.M. Dykstra
hdykstra@titan.ucs.umass.edu

Medium
Fantasy
Any
Road (1)
A travelling party crests a hill and comes upon a ford across a shallow quiet
river. There is a group of some 25-30 people standing in the water, all naked
save for masks/hoods. The group includes a variety of people from young children
up through stooped grandmothers. They are performing some kind of ritualistic
cleansing. As the party approaches, a stout, grizzled man steps out and invites
them to take the blessings of .
This would, of course, require the characters to undress and don the ritual
masks as well. The nature of the god and the ceremony itself would have to be
tailored to the campaign.
(2)
It is after dark, and the party has been delayed. They are riding along the road
in hopes to come to an inn that they expect to find. They come to a building
which gives forth warm light and the sound of players can be heard from inside.
The sign over the inn has been effaced by time.
If the characters enter, they will find good beer and wine, and simple but
hearty meals at a decent price. The crowd is friendly and jovial, and warm beds
and good fellowship are readily available. In the morning, the inn is gone and
the characters will awaken, cold stiff and hungry, on the bare ground. If you
want to make it really nasty, one or more of the characters may be stricken with
an irresistible urge to return nightly to enjoy the hospitality of the phantom
inn. Eventually, he will starve or freeze, and become one of the permanent
guests there.

And some short ones…

A group of pilgrims, travelling to a shrine or religious site, possibly for a
holy festival…or a human sacrifice.

A small footpath into the hills/woods/whatever, leading to a hermit’s house. The
hermit may be a sage, a crazed ex-magic-user, an alchemist, a witch…

A roadside gravesite. Lots of possibilities.

The ruins of a castle, city, or something, destroyed in war some hundreds of
years ago.

A small, untended shrine dedicated to a local demigod. Failing to make
donations could lead to bad luck. The wrong kind of donation could be worse
than none at all. (A few of these and your players will start to take more care
to learn something about the lands they are travelling through.)

A small, mysterious monastery, that welcomes travellers.

A witch-burning.

A small hamlet, burning and deserted but for a few dead peasants.

================================================================================

“On the Road you meet…” JSN
John S. Novak, III
darknite@cegt201.bradley.edu

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road

Restricting myself to ‘civilized’ encounters (meaning, not animals, monsters, or
empty land formations) here’s what I can come up with:
Toll gate, or toll bridge. May be a legitimate government fine, may
be a bunch of brawny idiots with an attitude.
Travelling entertainer (bard, gleeman, minstrel, etc.)
Travelling group of ‘players’ (like a small acting and entertainment
company) or a small travelling circus.
Small band of brigands, waiting to prey on the caravans you had
mentioned.
An escaped criminal, fleeing from a city justice system.
The bounty hunter hired to collect the aforementioned criminal.
A pair of young newlyweds, fleeing their powerful, but opposing
families (see ‘Romeo and Juliet syndrome’)

Also remember that a major route between two large cities will probably be well
travelled by caravans, as you mentioned, and there would probably be small
villages and farming communities scattered through out. If the ground is not
farmable, there will be inns in place of the farming villages. Probably one
every eight hours of travel for a caravan, which might translate to two or three
a day for a small, mobile, party on horseback.
(That last is just a swag. It does sound like a lot of inns. But then, not too
many are going to be great huge ones.) ================================================================================

“On the Road you meet…” CH
C. Hartley
CHARTLEY@ESOC.BITNET

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road Quite a few good ideas gone in already so I’ll just list one of my favourites..

The Mountain Mirage – a creature that appears to each PC as whoever, including
animals, they would like to see at that time. If carefully used you can have it
lead away a PC thinking that he is following another PC they were looking for,
or whatever else springs to mind. This creature should make its entry at the
right moment, when tension is already building.

As the name implies I had it living high in a snow-filled mountain pass, but I
see no reason why it can’t have cousins that live in swamps, graveyards, old
ruins, etc… ================================================================================
“On the Road you meet…” JW
James Wallis
james@wonder.demon.co.uk

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road 1. Bandits. Obviously.
2. A group of travellers who have been attacked by bandits
3. A rag-tag rebel army led by a displeased noble or a dispossessed bastard
offspring of the local monarch, on their way to usurp the throne
4. A monk on a pilgrimage
5. Lots of monks on a pilgrimage
6. Ordinary folk on a pilgrimage
7. Lots of monks on a crusade
8. Gypsies, travellers, tinkers etc.
9. Other adventurers
10. Rich people fleeing an outbreak of plague in one of the cities 11. A runaway
child
12. An eloping couple
13. Irate family members pursuing the runaway child/eloping couple 14. The other
family pursuing the other half of the eloping couple
15. A hobbit inside a locked wardrobe. Well, we left him out there on the road
sometime in 1987, and someone’s going to have to let him out eventually
16. Snake-oil sellers
17. Religious revivalists
18. Tollgates, official or otherwise
19. Low-flying dog fighting magic carpets. Or a magic carpet dog fighting a
dragon
20. Packs of wild animals
21. Spirits of the departed, doomed to walk the road for eternity until someone
breaks the curse that holds them there.

================================================================================

“On the Road you meet…” TM
Theo Mora
cocoa@msiadmin.cit.cornell.edu

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road

Somebody in distress; bandits are going to do nasty things to him/her. Once
saved (if ever): he is going to introduce the party to the next adventure or to
an interesting subplot of whatever the current plot is, or just possesses the
clues to maybe successfully complete the present plot.

Alternative: he/she is very evil. Once saved, he/she invites the party to his
castle and makes disappear the party members one by one… a la Agatha
Christie… because he wants make a human sacrifice with them… Be sure to have
a NPC disappear early and reappear in due time to save the group, if they are
unable to get out of this by themselves. I used this plot, the group liked it
but I needed a Deus ex Machina In this plot the guy in distress must look nice
and not dangerous at all.

================================================================================

“On the Road you meet…” SZ
Stephan Zielinski
szielins@prodhp.us.oracle.com

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road

Actually, you can have a lot of fun with harmless loonies. The PCs are already
expecting to walk around a corner and find three witches hissing at them about
doom and goats and whatnot; an occasional red herring is amusing.
For example:
A pale little girl in a raggedly dress, sitting gravely by the side of the road,
who watches the PCs approach in silence, and says, “Tey’res marnsther’s down ‘at
way.” The PCs may question her, but eventually they’ll turn their backs on her–
which is when she vanishes. Guaranteed to slow down their march…

A large hunting dog, obviously the property of a noble, that runs up to a PC,
whining, and refuses to leave his side, casting fearful glances all about. When
the party stops to rest, the dog vanishes.

At a crossroads: a foot-high cross with a crucified rat.

A man in a chef’s uniform running down the road gibbering “The knuckles… the
horrible knuckles…” ================================================================================
“On the Road you meet…” SP
Samuel Penn
samuelp@aifh.ed.ac.uk

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road A lone pilgrim building a shrine to his god at the side of the road.

A burnt and gutted village/inn which has been recently attacked by
bandits/dragons/an army/undead whatever. Maybe it’s a regular occurrence in the
area?

Inn run by thieves who rob likely looking travellers in the night (after
suitable doses of drugs in their sleep of course). Need some reason why they
don’t just kill the players of course.

Inn run by faeries just out to have a good time. When the characters wake up in
the morning, they find the inns moved/vanished, the residents have changed, or
any other worrying but non-fateful events. Faeries could make good use of
glamour et al to make anything appear as anything they want it to.

An army marching somewhere off to fight some war (or coming back from one).
Maybe first come across routing soldiers, then finally an enemy army in
pursuit/camped down whatever.

Massacred caravan.

An obviously marked trail just off the road leading somewhere. Someone in need
of help? A trap? A red herring?

No road. ie its vanished, gone, disappeared into oblivion. It just ends in the
middle of open plains. Maybe continues a few kilometres further on.

A herd of cattle crossing the road. They seem to appear some kilometres to one
side of the road, cross the road, and disappear several kilometres in the other
direction. Some form of rift in space/time leading to other worlds. (okay, so
I’ve stolen that from Mostly Harmless).

A lone horse, riderless. Still has saddle/saddle bags. Contents might give clue
to who the rider was, but not why he’s disappeared.

================================================================================
“On the Road you meet…”
Unknown

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road

God. He wants them to find this cup…[Ed. See “Monty Python and
the Holy Grail if you cant figure this out]
A new lake/chasm blocks the road…
Demons/Dragons have set up shop on the road. Steady supply of food.

Of course, more sensibly:
Many small towns, villages and homesteads, with associated townsfolk. Village
rumors and scandals can be a great add to a campaign. Gives and sense of the
real world existing. Not just BIG magic, monsters, cities. Normal people are
around too. They shouldn’t just be Background (or god forbid, cannon fodder).

And if you really want to confuse your players

Another city. Unmapped. Perhaps illusory, perhaps it only overlaps the world
once every hundred years or so. Or the players just get mislaid by bandits who
altered the road to lead to a previously abandoned city, lost to time (great for
BG). Imagine their surprise as they come to what they assume is the proper city
and find it completely abandoned (save for traps from the bandits). ================================================================================

“On the Road you meet…” TWW
Terrence W Wright
tww133@cs.usask.ca

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road

The remains of a small skirmish. Be sure to have several dead still steaming in
the morning mist (ie still warm). It works best if the PC’s are at war with
both sides (so they are not sympathetic to either side), then have a survivor
found from each side. Be sure to have both warriors promise whatever if the
PC’s will save them and eliminate the other. Also be sure to imply that someone
will be coming back here. Give experience if the Clerics administer last rites,
and if the PC’s are sufficiently solemn. There should be NO battle here. Just
role playing.

I pulled this one in one of my fantasy campaigns, and the PC’s saved both
survivors, only to find that the allies of one of the survivors had gone on to
the next town and looted it for supplies. (The nearest town happened to be a
PC’s hometown.)

================================================================================
“On the Road you meet…” BJD
Ben Davis
bjd12@cus.cam.ac.uk

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road

Inns with irritating/eccentric landlords (lights out at 10, temperance village,
demanding the PCs take baths, only food available is what you pick yourself,
that sort of thing)

Goats that go bleat in the night (in a threatening manner…)
(watch that blood pressure _rocket_ 🙂 )

Shoe catastrophes (how many PCs have the gear to mend their boots ?)
or even worse, horse maintenance

Local Govt. representative charging them road tax (my lot thought it was a
bandit scam, and killed them…bad move). If they pay up, you can even give them
a road tax disc…

Helpful NPCs who just want to make their life easier (offering cups of tea,
somewhere to stay, in a quiet cottage in the woods, “if only you’ll chop some
wood sir, for I am frail” kind of thing – eccentric old ladies with too many
cats who really are just being nice)

Bridges down, flooded rivers, natural catastrophes in all shapes and forms
(especially irritating ones that are time consuming, or involve a change of
plan, without being life threatening)

================================================================================
“On the Road you meet…” CGP
Colin G. Peters
colinp@nano.engr.mun.ca

Short
Fantasy
Any
Road

Travelling minstrels, as in bards, actors, etc… It’s used in oh so many plays
and movies (anybody see Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead? (bad spelling I
know) ).

Bandits. Used a lot I know, but you could make them original (or at least
interesting). How about a Robin Hood type band… Steal from the rich, give to
the poor, PCs are often rich 🙂 :). This is especially good if the PCs are all
(supposedly) good and claim to support this kind of rampant do-goodery. Just
wait till they realize *they* are now the targets 🙂

Monks or Pilgrims. These people can be nicely annoying to PCs. They may be
overfriendly, or attempt to convert characters, or ask for donations (travelling
Hare Krishnas anyone? 🙂 ). Monks can also be really useful… they know all
kinds of stuff, or, if you’re into that kind of thing, they could be carrying a
holy relic around with them.

Tax collectors. At certain times of the year the Lord/Sheriff of a barony would
send people around to all the villages to collect the king’s taxes. These people
would be heavily armed and would carry a whole pile of money. The PC’s might be
tempted to turn bandit- even if they had good intentions. However, stealing
taxes is one of the best ways to incur the wrath of the local lord, because then
he must pay the king out of his own pocket!

The single, unassuming stranger. Who is he? He could be a wizard in disguise…
he could be a dishonoured knight… he could be a young man looking for
adventure and escaping a nasty past. Why not just have someone ask to accompany
the characters. Make the person act mysterious and listen to the players
speculate. Players have really good ideas sometimes 🙂 (If they decide to kill
him for being mysterious then (a) your players are bloodthirsty and (b) this guy
could be a totally innocent traveller, perhaps with powerful friends).

—————————————————————————-
Phil Scadden, Scadden Research
55 Buick St, Petone, Lower Hutt
New Zealand
ph (04) 568-7190, fax (04) 569 5016