The Net Book of Plots – Volume 3

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

Editors Note:

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

Authorship of individual plots have been accredited individually with email
address where I had them (missing from some collected by Aaron – if you can
supply please email me). Author attribution is at the top of each plot.Authors
appreciate feedback – if you use any of these try telling the author how you

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

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

Bring in (temple) auditors
Ben Davis


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

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

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

Misplaced Poison
Ben Davis


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

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

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

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

Stuck with the ancestors
Ben Davis

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

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

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


Rescue from Water World
Ben Davis


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

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

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

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

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

Jan Garefelt


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

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

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

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

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

Will the REAL John Smith please drop dead?
Graham Wills


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

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

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

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

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

A Dangerous One Night Stand
Author: Charles W. Manry Jr.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magna Carta? Not with this emperor!
David Kurt Spencer


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

Misplaced journeys in time and space
Loren Miller


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

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

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

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

I’m getting an evil idea…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Honor Among Thieves
Wayne J. Rasmussen.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stable: Good stable, excellent horses for sale!

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

****The Guild’s Agents****

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

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

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

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

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

GoMoku Male Human Thief, newbie, Potion of powerful

****End of Guild’s Agents****

The Adventure:

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

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

WHAT COULD HAPPEN Possible actions:

* 1 *

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

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

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

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

Other information found out below if they investigate.

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

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

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

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

* 2 *

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

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

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

* 3 *

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

Temple Raid
Wayne J. Rasmussen.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT COULD HAPPEN Possible actions:

* 1 *

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

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

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

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

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

* 2 *

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

* 3 *

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

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

Map of the Magician’s Lair
Matthew Norman Carlson


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


Space Metal Missing
Soren Parbaek


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Isabel Piece
Luis E. Torres


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

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

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

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

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

What’s going on:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Investigation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bandit chase for a fistful of taxes…
Mark A. Thomas


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Behind the scenes:

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

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

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


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

Side Plots:

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


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

An Air of Distrust
Wayne J. Rasmussen.



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

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

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

NPCs in the scenario:

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

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

New Items in the scenario:

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

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

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

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

The Adventure

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

Planning stage:

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

The ripoff:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What could happen after the adventure is over.

* 1 *

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

* 2 *

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

* 3 *

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

* 4 *

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

* 5 *

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

Gold Transport
Richard ?


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

Short plots
Mike Whitaker


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

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

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

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

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

Ship of Undead
Stephen McLeod


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

Wierdness in Klingon Space
Michael Sandy


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

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

Other ways it could turn out:

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

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

Treasure Inn
Phil Scadden


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

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

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

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

We Go To War
Phil Scadden


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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to plots …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Becoming A Tribal Warrior
Phil Scadden


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

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

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

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

“Wolves” On The Pass
Phil Scadden


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defending The Coast
Phil Scadden


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

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

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

Here is a more detailed scenario as an example.

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

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

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

Travelling Companions
Phil Scadden


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

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

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

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

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


APPENDIX- “On the road you meet…”

On the Road you meet… The question
Phil Scadden


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

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

“On the road you meet…” HMD
H.M. Dykstra

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

And some short ones…

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

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

A roadside gravesite. Lots of possibilities.

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

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

A small, mysterious monastery, that welcomes travellers.

A witch-burning.

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


“On the Road you meet…” JSN
John S. Novak, III


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

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

“On the Road you meet…” CH
C. Hartley

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

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

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

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


“On the Road you meet…” TM
Theo Mora


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

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


“On the Road you meet…” SZ
Stephan Zielinski


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

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

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

A man in a chef’s uniform running down the road gibbering “The knuckles… the
horrible knuckles…” ================================================================================
“On the Road you meet…” SP
Samuel Penn

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

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

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

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

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

Massacred caravan.

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

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

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

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

“On the Road you meet…”


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

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

And if you really want to confuse your players

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

“On the Road you meet…” TWW
Terrence W Wright


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

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

“On the Road you meet…” BJD
Ben Davis


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

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

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

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

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

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

“On the Road you meet…” CGP
Colin G. Peters


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

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

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

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

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

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

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