Moonrise Tower Walkthrough in Baldur’s Gate 3

Moonrise Tower Front Gate

Moonrise Tower Walkthrough in Baldur’s Gate 3

So… Baldur’s Gate 3! What a game! This is going to be the gold standard for CRPGs going forward for a while.

But, there is one battle that is really hard. That is the Infiltrate Moonrise Tower quest line.

Before completing Bathlhazar’s sub-quest in the temple below the Thorn Mausoleum, you can freely enter Moonrise Tower and complete all of the quests here, except for the last final battle on the roof top with the General. If you’re following the temple portion of the quest Find Ketheric Thorm’s Relic, you will get a message asking “are you sure?” Active quests will be changed, or stopped completely.

If you say yes and get the Nightsong, returning to the Moonrise tower will immediately start a battle with all of the NPCs, except for the pilgrims, from the entire first level of the tower. This is not an impossible battle….. but it is EXTREMELY hard. Mages slow you down with their spells and archers in the rafters attack with advantage from the height. AOE spells and lots of them along with concentrating on the magic users are your only hope.

But there is a MUCH easier way to do this. Complete all the quests in the temple below Thorm Mausoleum so you can hopefully level up. Before you take the lift down to the lowest level and the final battle with Balthazar (yes, he is a bad guy! – spoiler!) along the Find Ketheric Thorm’s Relic quest line go back to the Moonrise Tower. Complete all the quests here. Once you’ve got them all it is time to go to work.

What you’re going to do is quietly remove most of the guards in the main level, Jail Level and second levels so that you’re not outnumbered six to one when you come back with the Relic.

Take advantage of group/ungroup feature to maximize your potential by placing PCs near NPCs for quick attacks. You have two problems to contend with here. The Scyring Eyes float around through closed doors. If they see a battle they go off, they alert all the other nearby NPCs and you can become swamped very quickly. The second problem is NPCs fleeing into another room and alerting other NPCs to the battle so you want to take them out quick.

Luckily you should be pretty well armed by now and will finish most of these battles in one or two turns. If you initiate battle though, be aware that NPCs will try to arrest you. Be sure to use the “attack” option. Also note that doing this WILL cause Paladins to become Oath Breakers.

Pro-Tip for gold; While doing this, steal all of the equipment and sell it to Lann Tarv or Rush Moonglow in the main hall.

So starting at the front gate, place Astarion and your strongest fighter on each side of Adept Merim for back stabbing advantage. Place the other two on each side of Zealot Malik. Attack the Adept first, then Malik. With only moderate luck you should be able to take down both of these NPCs before they can even react. Then it is a simple matter of taking down the three ghouls.

Moonrise Tower Front Gate

Then enter the main hall and go through the doors to the left where the Suspicious Sounds are coming from. Close the door behind you and then go into the kitchen with the three gnolls, Barnabus, Tomelia and Timothy. Linsella is the hardiest of the this bunch but shouldn’t take more than three attacks total. Again, place a character near each NPC and take them down in order. Watch this room for Scyring Eyes coming through it.

Moonrise Tower Kitchen

If you go into the room with the Drow poisoner, Araj Oblodra, don’t bother attacking Pilgrim Sul. He does nothing one way or the other. Be aware this room also sees a Scyring Eye passing through it. Araj disappears and the battle ends after the first hit though. This does keep her from being in the final battle, but make sure you get your poison before you do.

Moonrise Tower - Drow Poisoner

In the Throne Room after the cut-scene (and your decision regarding the Goblins,) let all the moving NPCs leave the room. Note that NPCs can see a battle as they go up the stairs, so wait a few seconds for them to be gone. Place Astarion near Adept Nola again, and place fighters near the two Zealots. Watch for Scrying Eyes passing through this room. If you do this quickly there are two guards on the stair landing who won’t interfere.

Moonrise Tower Throne Room

From the Main Hall is a barracks to right. This room only contains two NPCs, but the door is broken to the main hall so you can easily be seen. Unless you can do it silently and very quickly, let Mig and Zealot Iogar live… for now.

Moonrise Tower Barracks

Head back into the Main Hall, then go north. A small room has Stairs going down.

Moonrise Towers - Stairs to Jail Level

Go into the jail level. Again, place your thief near Adept Ghulen to take out magic users first, then work on the two Zealots. Again, keep an eye out for the two Scrying Eyes. Attack it before it can get off an alarm. In this room it is easiest to watch the pattern, attack the guards when it is furthest away, then wait for it to come back, surprising it.

Moonrise Tower Jail Level

If you do this right you can take out the other two guards on this level and The Warden in the Central Tower one at a time, giving you overwhelming odds.

Moonrise Tower The Warden

Go back to the main entrance of the Jail level. Head left through the single door into the Torture Chamber. The two Questioners are the hardest NPCs on this level, but you should be able to take them down in three or four turns.

Moonrise Tower Torture Chamber

Head out of the room, then straight forward. Go through the Heavy Oak Doors that the now deceased Zealots were guarding. This will put you on the docks. Follow Adept Bel down to the end of his patrol route and kill him there.

How to beat Moonrise Tower in Baldur's Gate 3

Return to the Dock, and do the same with Zealot Renan. Go back to the main dock again, talk to Acolyte Marls and finish this small quest. Kill him and Zealot Arden.

At this point, make sure you head back up to the Main Hall and sell all the equipment you’ve taken from your kills.

Note that if you’ve done the Jail level right, you can complete the quest to Rescue Lakrissa and Wulbren Bongle with zero risk to them.

Next step is the second floor. Go upstairs from the main throne room. There will be two guards right here on the landing.

At the top of the stairs you can trigger another cut scene with Z’rell and Radija. After it is done, Z’rell and Glorick will go into the library to the right of the stairs. Wait for them to do so, watch for the Scrying Eye, then kill Radija and the three Necromites.

From here just go through the Library, the Study, the Bedroom and the hallway, killing one by one each guard and the Scyring Eye you come across. Make sure to loot all the rooms and dead NPCs, sell it all on the main level. Go complete the Temple quest, then come back.

This time when you enter the Main Hallway you’ll only have one Ogre, a couple of Zealots, two archers (instead of five) in the rafters, a couple of Adepts and the armourer, Lann Tav to kill before you go up to the roof to confront the General. Clean them up with a couple of AOE spells and targeted range attacks on the Acolytes. You should have the battle done in 4-5 turns.

No Man’s Sky Access Codes

No Man’s Sky Access Codes

No Man’s Sky is an open world exploration game available on the Xbox, Playstation and Windows platforms. All credit goes to Taygete on the Steam Community Forums.

These access codes for No Man’s Sky are needed at Observatories and Transmission Towers. This includes locations that are taken over by biological horrors. Codes inputted at observatories usually lead to the ruins points of interest.

Codes put in at Transmission Towers reveal distress signals of crashed freights and crashed ships.

All these codes seem to be mathematical equations. For those of us who don’t always see the patterns involved, (or may not have had the required math classes,) here they are! The bolded digits should be the answer to the puzzle.

Sum of Contiguous Numbers


Exponents and Factors


4 Digit Patterns


If you know of any that are missing, or have any corrects, please comment below!

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
( and to Soh Kam Hung (
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.


Authors of Volume 1

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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
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
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
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
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
(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
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

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

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
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
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
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
Phil Scadden

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
-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
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

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

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.”

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
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
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

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

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

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?

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.

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. =========================================================================
Phil Scadden

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
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

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

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

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

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. =========================================================================



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



Volume II
Compiled by Aaron Sher

Short Summaries
The Witch’s Love
Authors of Volume 2

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

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

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.
Authors of Volume 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. =========================================================================
Authors of Volume 2

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,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any For a mostly non-human party:

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

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

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

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

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. =========================================================================
Authors of Volume 2

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

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.) =========================================================================
Authors of Volume 2


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

New Age
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

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

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

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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

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

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. =========================================================================
Authors of Volume 2

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”

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

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. =========================================================================
Authors of Volume 2

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

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

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

None of this information should be available without sage

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

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

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
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
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:



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 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