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Adamantrue Oct 31 '10 4:16pm

Crafting an Adventure...Looking for Feedback
 
[Also Posted at Crystal Keep]

I'm putting together a little adventure, and was hoping to get ideas and feedback. I'm hoping to have a little fun with this, by throwing in a little moral ambiguity along with a reptillian theme.

The premise is that a noble will enlist the help of the party. It would seem that he has been consistently harassed by lizardfolk raiders interrupting supply caravans from his king. He has already been taking steps to put a stop to it, but so far his efforts have failed.

The most recent raid had his daughter kidnapped, much to his frustration (she wasn't supposed to return home yet), so he is looking for a group that can track down the creatures and return his daughter, for a large reward.

*

The first Encounter involves the party tracing their way to the raider's lair, a cave network accessed through a nearby marsh. They will come across a sentinel, a Lizardfolk Ranger. This Lizardfolk uses Hit-and-Run Archery against the party, most notably submerging and resurfacing at various points in the marsh to prevent their entry. They may be able to stop him, but the intended goal is to bargain with him.

Dundee (the Lizardfolk's name) wants nothing to do with any of this, but was more or less bullied by a Kobold Wizard into letting his group hide away in Dundee's marsh, in exchange for minor rewards. He may willing to let the group pass, provided he can stop the Kobold and the outside world leaves him in peace. If the group agrees, he makes them aware of the type of foes they will be facing.

Once they enter the caverns, they will encounter Troglodyte Barbarians, in various numbers (the noble was not quite accurate with the nature of his foes). Standard Hack & Slash, with a few penalties due to Fear & Sickness should make this more interesting, and the creatures are unusually loyal to their leaders. They should not be able to gain any additional information.

As they go deeper, they will find a number of Traps within the caves. There are ways to bypass these Traps, and the Troglodytes can avoid them if they were to fall back or flee to warn the leaders. Particularly far in, they should encounter the Damsel in Distress, under guard in a small cavern (though not bound or mistreated).

If they attempt to leave with her, she insists they stay to stop the raiders, even taking up a sword and charging alone into the caves if needed. If they travel with her, she seems to trigger every trap they come across (though managing to stay out of harms way herself), and wander into Troglodyte-filled rooms (which only try to possess her, never harming her).

Eventually, the party will come across the Leader, a Kobold Transmuter, and the Daughter reveals that she has not only been working with them, but is in fact in love with it, craving the power and wealth it can provide beyond her father's rule. He more or less attempts to weaken and negate the parties powers, then Polmorphing himself and his Familiar into Hydras to beat on the party. The Daughter herself will fight alongside him, though she is merely a low-level Aristocrat.

If things get particularly grim, the Kobold will take Gaseous Form and flee, promising to come back for her (and possibly become a recurring villain for the PCs).

That's the plan, anyways. The problem then becomes what to do with the "Damsel in Distress", and what should be done about Dundee (he was basically caught in the middle of this, and if the party leaves him to the Kobold's mercy will not be quite particularly happy).

That's the initial thought process, anyways. I'm wondering what sorts of things can be done that would fit the theme and premise, letting this stay a relatively short adventure, but add more depth and conflict without just bogging it down with combat, particularly if it means more roleplaying elements.

vimbert Nov 2 '10 12:13am

This would be dependant upon the PCs' actions, of course, but an interesting angle would be if they try to talk the "Damsel" out of helping the Kobold (perhaps a charismatic PC woos her?). The Kobold could let slip that he's not entirely looking out for her best interest, and then she could help the party in some minor way, maybe revealing a weakness.

Optionally, the "Damsel" could help them kill the Kobold (ineptly, perhaps in true cliche manner hiding from the danger), THEN she could try to kill the party, revealing that she intended to run whatever operation the Kobold had started. If you went for this route, she may have abilities or powers beyond what she's revealed to the party: after all, it would help to explain why she was able to avoid all the traps beyond just being familiar with their locations.

Or, the party could have to deal with the ramifications of the "Damsel". If they kill her, they'll have her enraged father to deal with. If they just return her to her rightful place, she'll only cause more trouble. If your group has some decent roleplayers, this could become an interesting moral dilemma, one that may even afford the Damsel a chance to escape.

Any of that help? I think those would be the sorts of things I'd probably throw against my group.

Silverthorne Nov 2 '10 5:28am

Agreed, depending on how hack/slash the party is.

Dundee may be dead. The Damsel may found herself bound and gagged quickly after the party gets a few traps sprung on them.

vimbert Nov 2 '10 11:48pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by Silverthorne (Post 3741536)
Agreed, depending on how hack/slash the party is.

Dundee may be dead. The Damsel may found herself bound and gagged quickly after the party gets a few traps sprung on them.

I once had a party that, after having ONE succubus shape-shifted into a "damsel in distress", made it a habit of killing any woman they came across in a dungeon.

As for Dundee, I'm not so sure. Maybe he could actually be in on it with the damsel?

Adamantrue Nov 3 '10 9:59pm

Quote:

Or, the party could have to deal with the ramifications of the "Damsel". If they kill her, they'll have her enraged father to deal with. If they just return her to her rightful place, she'll only cause more trouble. If your group has some decent roleplayers, this could become an interesting moral dilemma, one that may even afford the Damsel a chance to escape.
This is really the situation I want to create, for the stronger Roleplayers, while the rest of the situation is more to challenge or satisfy Rollplayers. The whole situation could be a springboard for more stuff down the lane.

With that said, I had intended her to be "loyal" to the Kobold, enchanted with the opportunities he could provide. Making her the true Brains of the outfit could make things even more interesting, having more of an equal partnership in the matter. That's something I hadn't considered.

I'd rather not make her a spellcaster, but perhaps something more Rogue-ish, geared more towards interaction that dungeon-delving.

As a side-note, I've developed a strange fondness for Dundee, and I'd like him to be more of a victim of circumstances than an actual villain. It'd be fun for him to be a sort of antagonistic ally to the party after this initial meeting, provided they don't outright kill each other on their first meeting and he manages to not get killed by the Kobold later.

vimbert Nov 3 '10 11:00pm

Yeah, Dundee could easily return, I suppose. I don't know about your players, but often mine tend to dislike any "helper" NPCs that are in the game, so I'd caution against planning on using Dundee too much.

Orchomenos Nov 4 '10 9:57pm

The noble daughter shouldn't be too bright. Because if her only goal was power, she could just have poisoned her father and inherited his domain. OTOH, I don't see why the Kobold transmuter BBEG would have bothered to keep her around; perhaps was she kidnapped to reveal some secret about the Noble estate, allowing the kobolds/troglodyte to plan an invasion? Perhaps did the transmuter planned to torture her, but she innocently reveals she always wanted to learn magic, so the kobold manipulate her instead? In this case, make her an aristocrat with 1 or 2 levels of mage...

Following this, if the kobold transmuter ever escape, the next step could be an invasion of the noble's estate.

Roy Nov 4 '10 10:21pm

Evaluating subjective things like plots is nearly impossible to do. With that said, you are aware that the 'NPC that seems friendly but betrays you' thing has a 90% chance of making the party distrust every NPC ever right?

vimbert Nov 5 '10 6:56pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by Orchomenos (Post 3751558)
The noble daughter shouldn't be too bright. Because if her only goal was power, she could just have poisoned her father and inherited his domain.

Well, it could be that she'd be worried about being the prime suspect if her father died under mysterious circumstances.

Adamantrue Nov 6 '10 5:38pm

The rationale could be handled a number of ways, but in this particular case she has no real interest in ruling over the land as a noble. She is interested in personal wealth, and the promise of power (afterthought: perhaps she could be apprenticing as a wizard?), but didn't plan on being hunted down and returned to her father.

Besides...she doesn't hate him, she just wants to be more than a bartering tool for a lord with an unwed son.

The Kobold keeps her around because the two are romantically involved (yeah, I know...creepy, but he does do some shapechanging) sincerely, and she has been tipping him off when it comes to the caravans' schedules and security.

I know not to count on Dundee surviving (I know how well that usually turns out), but I'd like him to. In all honesty, if he survives the initial encounter with the party and they don't protect him from the Kobold, perhaps he will become an enemy of the PCs later, and have an advanced set of stats for him along with a different Animal Companion (perhaps his Croc wasn't lucky enough to escape).

Still...it'd be nice if he could be a sort of ally too.

This feedback has been particularly helpful to keep the thought process going. Thanks, and keep it coming if you have more.


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