Are you a GM who needs to come up with a new adventure for your PCs to enjoy? Here are 30 ideas for you and them to make use of. And may the odds be forever in your favour.
The PCs are freedom fighters who are assassinating military officers, police officers, prison officers and suspected spies, ending with the assassination of a general on the enemy SIDE. To their foes they are terrorists, and there will be no mercy to them if they are captured.
(Film example-Michael Collins)
For one year due to a royal tradition a royal prince or princess must disguise themselves to live amongst ordinary people, in the belief that it makes them better rulers knowing how the ordinary people live. Someone who knows the secret has sent assassins after the undercover royal, and the PCs as his or her undercover bodyguards must protect him or her.
3-Meet the Monarch
For one day of the year, the normal strict royal rules of court are relaxed and the PCs have a chance to meet the King or Queen and have a good chance of their request being granted. But others are trying to stop them and they must dodge guard patrols and sneak into the royal palace before it's too late.
4-Gather the Clans
The PCs must go through rough country infested with wolves and bandit gangs, meet up with the somewhat prickly clan chiefs and convince them to raise their clans on behalf of a pretender to the royal throne.
5-Cross the Barrow Downs
The PCs must cross an area studded with ancient barrows that are infested with dangerous barrow wights and a Barrow Dragon or two. As long as the area is in direct sunlight it is safe to travel through but darkness or even a deeply overcast sky will bring out the nasties in large numbers.
6-Steal the Sceptre
The PCs are employed to steal a rare and well guarded sceptre and must break into the area where it is stored and outwit the guards. Here are 30 Sceptres for a GM to choose one from.
7-Escort the Princess
The PCs most escort the Orcish Princess Helen of Grond to her human groom Prince Trevon, fighting off bandit attacks and kidnap attempts from those who want Helen for themselves or for ransom, whilst comforting the Princess who is really not sure if she wants to marry a human.
8-Face the Dragon
The PCs must go to a city, locate The Black Spear, liberate it from the cult that guards it, and then kill a great Dragon so that they can gain it's hoard. If they do kill the dragon, the hoard is so big that they could have problems with it (see 27/30 Problems with Treasure for ideas.
9-Rescue the Hostage
The Shogun takes the sons and daughters of his great nobles as hostages to ensure their loyalty. Three of these nobles wish to revolt and have hired the PCs to sneak ninja-style into the royal palace and free their family members so that they can launch their bid for power.
10-Convince the Noble
The PCs must convince a noble to support them and knowing the Court Etiquette: Do's and Don'ts will be very helpful here. Useful as a minor episode within a greater game as it would be a bit boring if played all by itself.
The PCs are fighting a foe in their dreams and as such are limited by only their own imagination but the foe will be highly dangerous and if they die in this dream they will never wake up again.
The PCs have got themselves involved in a major battle, perhaps whilst trying to cross The Field of 10,000 Skulls. Be it a current one or one of the distant past fought by the undead souls trapped within a time warp, the PCs will find it a real struggle just to survive and will likely need to pick a side to support and do it quickly.
13-Devil take the hindmost!
A powerful demon too powerful for even the PCs to defeat it without special help has risen and broken free from its summoner's protective pentagram. The PCs must flee for a mile or so whilst fighting off swarms of weaker but still dangerous minor demons and imps. After finding a McGuffin they must then return to defeat the major demon before it can summon more of its kind from Hell.
The PCs have been kidnapped, and they must find a way to cut their bonds and gags (one has a hidden blade that was not found by the kidnappers) , overpower their captives, regain their equipment and get out of there.
15-Defend the Village
The PCs are hired by the population of a small village to defend them against a nasty gang of extortionist bandits.
(Film examples-The Seven Samurai; The Magnificent Seven.)
After getting caught for one of their crimes and ending up in The Songpit the PCs must sing for their freedom.
17-Defeat the Necromancer
To defeat a powerful necromancer and his army of decomposing zombies, the PCs must persuade a reclusive sorcerer who goes by the name of Mr Jackson to join them. Mr Jackson knows a spell that can make most of the zombies preform complicated dance moves instead of attacking, whilst the PCs take on the few remaining Undead and the necromancer and his life-sapping magic.
The PCs must get through a maze, perhaps one with wondering monsters and deadly booby traps, to either rescue somebody, find and steal a treasure, win a prize or escape from a large number of people, too many to fight against and win, who are pursuing them.
19-Penertrate the Prison
The PCs must break into a top secret prison, past tall walls and barbed wire fences, past the guards, to bust somebody out before he or she is executed.
20-Rescue the Daughter
A wealthy family are willing to pay the PCs well if their beloved daughter is rescued. Perhaps a group of 30 Brigands have kidnapped her expecting a fat ransom; or she has been seen by Dracia Eldren and dragged away to be trained as a replacement princess daughter . Or she ran away of her own accord to avoid a forced marriage to a rich old lecherous man and when tracks down begs the PCs not to hand her over to her greedy family who care nothing for her happiness.
21-Defeat the Cult
22-Open the Gates
The PCs are mercs who must sneak over the walls or otherwise get into a castle, military fort, or walled city, slay or otherwise deal with the gate guards and open a gate to the outside so that the army besieging the place can storm it. It is up to them how they get in.
23-Free the Princess
A royal princess has been kidnapped by a villain named Baron Trotha and it is up to the PCs to rescue her. If they do, they find that not only is she bratty, ungrateful and thoroughly unpleasant but her long-term plans are evil, and must decide if they will return her to her parents or do something else.
24-Rob the Tomb
The PCs are tomb raiders robbing an ancient tomb, which has booby traps as well as Undead which might be barrow-wights, Bandage Beasts, Ironbones or perhaps an Urn Beast or more then one of the above. The Funeral Gold and Grave Silver within the tomb might itself be cursed. For GMs-see 30+ Burial Customs for Undead types to place within the tomb.
25-Escort the Witness
The PCs are escorting a witness to court to give evidence against a high ranking mob boss but there is a mole in the witness protection scheme and the mafia is lying in wait trying to kill the witness before he or she can give evidence.
26-Silence the Informant
The PCs are mafia members who have a contact who has betrayed where a witness against their boss will be and the PCs must overpower his well-armed bodyguards and kill him or her before he or she can give evidence against theboss at a trial and then vanish into witness protection with a new identity.
27-Traverse the Canyon
After one of the PCs messes with a pictograph, they are shrunk to only a few inches high and must get down the canyon to the other end to regrow to full size. Normal spiders become giant spiders with super strong webs, insects and ants become giant and highly dangerous, and raindrops when it rains are huge. A huge disc of gold that takes two of them to carry will if they choose to take it and survive be revealed when they regrow at the other end as an ordinary Gold Piece.
28-The Great Train Robbery
The PCs are attempting to rob an armoured train of the large amount of money within it. They can either try derailing it, or find some way to get on board. The money has heavy security, so it will not be easy to steal and if caught the penalty will be heavy but if they can pull it off they will have enough money to live off for decades.
29-Free the Slaves
The PCs are hired by some abolitionists to raid a plantation, kill the guards, free the slaves and start off a slave rebellion before the local militia can concentrate and squash it.
(Real life example-John Brown's Harper's Ferry Raid.)
The PCs are gang members falsely accused of murdering a well-respected leader of the largest gang in the city, who puts out a hit on them using a pirate radio station. The PCs must fight their way back to their own territory with all the other gangs out looking for them to kill them.
(Film example-The Warriors.)
For #13-Devil take the hindmost!, perhaps the McGuffin is something that will allow them to dismiss it vs. something that will let them hurt the demon (not sure if that's what you intended), or something that messes with/alters some component of the summoning attempt. PCs shouldn't always be able to just stab their way out of a problem. The fact that they can't hurt it may be tempered with its focus on summoning, Maybe even the minions they are fighting stay close to protect the summoning effort.
#17, you could make Mr. Jackson a bard named Michael who had previously defeated the zombie horde through unknown magical means. The PCs have to find the reclusive bard, who it turns out has succumbed to lycanthropy (is a werewolf). After curing him or maybe providing him a means of holding the curse at bay, they must convince him to don his Shoes of the Moon (aka Boots of Dancing) and Entrancing Glove (just made that up, maybe it's got a built in ring of Undead Control amongst the bedazzles or maybe it just compels all creatures watching to mimic the wearer's actions) and occupy the zombie horde so the PCs can sneak past and slay the necromancer like you already have set up.
#2, I love this idea. I'm thinking of making it a 1-time thing where before the prince or princess becomes eligible to actually be crowned, they need to go out an spend a fortnight amongst their people with strict rules about not being able to reveal themselves, not being able to use any of the Crown's resources, make promises of future rewards, etc. The PCs just happen to be in the right place at the right time to witness either an assassination or a kidnapping attempt, there's a chance that one of them may recognize the noble for who they are and if not the noble, who doesn't have any of their normal resources to call upon but still needs to survive another 3-4 days anonymously, will try and find some way to get the party to protect them for those 3-4 days. I think for once the noble kid shouldn't be a spoiled brat, but that doesn't mean he or she couldn't be annoyingly naive or overly timid or something else that will add to the story-line. If the PCs are successful, their reward could come in the way of something other than gold or magic items - a favor they can cash in at a later time, maybe a minor title and associated manor house in the country which can come with it's own set of problems, a job in the prince's service, etc.
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? Responses (3)
Not a bad list and there are some good ideas in here but it wanders through several different genres and rather lacks focus. I would have made a genre fantasy list and a modern list.
Or something like 30 Reasons the Village Elders are Hiring Adventurers
A solid start with some good adventure kernels, but I feel like it has the potential to be much more with some minor tweaks.
There are a couple of ideas that I immediately wanted to use (#s 2 and 13 stand out), but there are also a lot of common tropes. I think the value of the list could be increase significantly if you just took each trope and gave it a twist that made it different than the common examples people are familiar with. That and there are some very specific situations that aren't going to apply to a lot of PC groups in campaigns - ideas that are more generic would be more useful, IMO. For example, rather than the PCs being freedom fighters in the first one, they could be hired by freedom fighters to rescue one of their generals before he gives up valuable intel and either have one of the PCs or maybe an NPC who goes in with them have a separate directive of killing the guy if they can't rescue him. But I like the idea of the PCs being seen as the bad guys, that is a good twist.
That being said, it is a solid list, especially for newer GMs or newer groups of players for whom the idea of playing out The Seven Samurai would be an amazing experience. I ran a one-off game a few years back where the PCs had to defend a keep in the swamp against hordes of lizardmen over several days and even the seasoned veterans among them had a blast.
Props for including links to other Strolen articles and lists, that's both a great way to highlight other people's efforts and give GM's other resources to draw upon.