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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Two Page adventure hook

Two Page adventure hook:
I wanted to switch it up a bit  for the blog on a cold Wednesday. So why not have some fun.
What I would like to do is present a short one page or so story set up / module setup and encounter, then build at least 10 adventure hooks off of this simple foundation. I have left the description setting and system agnostic just in case anyone feels like using it.
( GM's  Change names as needed, NPC.. Towns ..Whatever)

The Party:
"It had been a hard journey, with profits a considerable amount lower than expected.
Barrister Euan hired us to do a service to the town, and in return we could keep what we took and should expect a payment as well. The job seemed simple travel to Kanter Wood, roust a small camp of brigands who had been raiding several out laying farms, bring back their leader, just his head would do if we must. The honorable Barrister did not mention the the cadre or Orcs theses lowland scum were traveling with. The fine Mr. Euan must not have known about the Ogre either. If Euan had known, perhaps if he had said, Jasper might not have met his gods at the end of fencepost spear.
Now we must simply get home and this infernal rain has not served to lighten our spirits one bit".

You are a small band of mercenary adventures from a nearby walled town. (the players: Low level) The local Barrister hired you and your friends to take care of a small time group of thugs and bandits. It seemed an easy job for decent pay, but once into the woods everything went wrong, The bandits were far better prepared and armed than your group thought, they had orcs with them and even an Ogre, things went bad, you lost a friend, now it's time to get home. It has been raining for days, the party has been perused by brigand skirmishers and has not had time to rest. (start the group with a few small injuries or fatigue.)

Moving through the woods the party is trying to be stealthy as the bandits may be in pursuit.
Some of the group begin to smell smoke, then others can see through the rain the curling smoke form perhaps a campfire not far ahead? These woods are not safe in the best of times and this weather makes a camp unlikely.

(wilderness lore check )
Minor success: The smoke looks heavy and white, as if damp wood were being used, this is not an expertly built fire.
Major success: No animal smell is carried in the smoke the fire is not a cook fire.
(tracking Difficult do to muddy conditions.)
Minor success: This path has been traveled recently by a horse, perhaps more than one.
Major success: This track has been traveled by a horse, seems to have been injured.
Extra success: The horse that traveled here most recently was injured in it's hind leg, the tracks are dragging badly.

Any character that sneaks ahead should be asked to make at least one easy difficulty checks for stealth, the rain muffles foot falls and the general overcast conditions and thick woods make staying unseen easier than normal.

As you part the bushes you see a lone figure hunched over under a large stone overhang, tending a very small fire. He is placing bits of whatever close to dry material he can scrounge of the rain soaked ground into the fire, then pausing to blow over the embers, thick white smoke swirls upwards into his face. His brown hair is held back by a leather band around his forehead, a kettle helmet lays upside down on the ground nearby. He wears a sturdy looking chest plate smeared with blood and dirt, a broad sword hangs at his side, a long crack down the length of it's scabbard shows it has been roughly used. His left forearm also shows a recently bound injury , perhaps not life threatening, but deep enough to stain the soiled bandages with blood.
Behind the man also sheltered under the rock outcropping stands a tan and gray horse breathing heavily. It wears a full saddle, the reins laying limp at its sides. The horse is leaning heavily on it's right leg, as it's left rear haunch shows a large gash. It is obvious that the horse might not travel much further on that leg.

When approached the rider will be defensive, but if the party does not attack or act foolish they he will soon soften and-start tending his injured horse. IF the party should for some reason attack or prompt the warrior into a fight then they should dispatch him, though not before he gets some licks in. He should be stronger then any one party individual but not stronger then the group.
The horse is severely injured, having been cut to the bone, a ranger or druid may have a way to sooth or heal animals and should be allowed to do so, parties with out such experts may be stuck with an injured horse.
The warrior is also wounded and would be grateful for any curative assistance he might be provided.

“My name is Elan, I am a mercenary from Chevas-reis, My unit was hired by a local town to rid these woods of an Orc witch that presides over a clan living in the region. We were supposed to journey to the old quarries they call a home, we were 20 strong, now I am one, and I know nothing of my comrades fate.”

If Elan is pressed he will say that the only thing he knows is that he was to payed from the coffers of the same nearby town that the party hails from. Further questioning will reveal that his mission was not far from where the party was sent to deal with the bandits.
Elan is simply a horseman attached to a mercenary unit, he knows very little about the mission or who was paying for it. If conversation continues it will become clear you were dealing with the same set of Orcs, and had similar success.

Here are some story hooks a GM could use from this quick intro:
These are just possibilities rumors, and thoughts, take the story in what ever direction you like.
  • Did Euan hire both groups and if so why?
  • Are the bandits and the Orcs working in league?
  • The Orc witch is causing rallying forces and is going to sack the town.
  • There is a strange artifact deep in the quarry the orcs call home. Euan knows it and wants them cleared out so his third hired group of adventures can go find it.
  • The artifact mentioned above is causing the continuous rain in the forest.
  • Elans mercenary force was mostly wiped out but five of his friends are being held in the quarry and are being forced to do harsh manual labor by the orcs, they must be saved.
  • Elan is not who he says he is, he is the leader of the bandits, hoping you will lead him back Euan so he can assassinate him.
  • Euan hired both groups as tribute to the orc witch , he knows she has enough troops to raise the town , so he sent sacrifices to feed her need for human blood.
  • The mercenary raid was a diversion to give the Players a chance to kill the bandits, and retrieve Euan's valuables, however it failed as the Orc witch has inexplicably grown in power.
  • The orcs and bandit have tracked the players through the woods, so now the players and Elan will have a running skirmish all the back to the walls of the town.
  • Elan is cursed by the orc witch and any wounds that occur in his presence simply will not heal, the curse must be broken, or Elan and perhaps even some of the party will die from wound that will never close.
These are just a few quick hooks that could continue this story along. Please feel free to post any more that pop into your head.
As always thank you for reading!

Questions, comments, and,, shenanigans welcome.