Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Random adventures

I like the concept of random tables and seeing what comes of them.  Elfmaids and Octopi (linked over there on the side) puts out a large number of large tables—I thought it would be fun to roll on several of them and see what I get, and what I can make out of it if I do.  I just picked a few of the more recent ones, more or less at random, and I have nine tables to roll on:
  1. Mysterious Enemy Hooks
  2. Mysterious Patron Hooks
  3. Secrets of the Murder Hobos
  4. Wilderness Landmarks
  5. Evil High Priest Cults
  6. Loners in the Wasteland
  7. Village Notices
  8. City Mysteries for Meddling Kids
  9. Villagers Mistake Adventurers For...
This may be somewhat mutually exclusive; two village ones, two wilderness ones, and a city one?  I dunno.  Let's see if I can come up with enough elements to suggest adventure...

TAKE 1: The mysterious enemy sends a message...
  • Stuck by dagger to the bedpost
  • To get revenge for the thwarting of some past scheme
  • The enemy is a corrupt government official.
  • He has secretly cloned the party and set the clones out to assassinate the originals and take their place.
On the other hand, a more friendly entity sends another message...
  • Via an urchin who knows nothing.
  • To recover lost knowledge and artifacts for scholarly interest.
  • Unknown to the PCs, this patron is a shapeshifter of some kind in disguise.
  • The message consists of a box with a chicken brooding a monster egg.
A shell-shocked, addled bum is a former adventurer who accosts the PCs in the street.  He...
  • wants enough money to buy a beer.
  • knows terrible lore that man was not meant to know.
  • and has a map to the hidden tomb of a barbarian chieftain known for his vast horde of gold and armies of chariots
Some crumbling old landmark en route from one place to another in the wilderness is...
  • currently occupied by bandit hunting militia, who have made a temporary camp here.
  • the location of a great tragedy in the past.
  • a burial site
  • complete with gibbets with rotting corpses hanging from nearby trees as a warning to criminals
An evil high priest might be working with the mysterious enemy mentioned above.  He...
  • was the head of a large city temple, employing many underlings
  • is allied with yet another foul cult, maybe secretly.
  • hides out in a ruined old church with a graveyard.
  • where he schemes to find and operate a forbidden machine of a dark past age
  • is the leader of an evil wizard sect
  • is aware of a ritual to open a hellmouth.  While the final keys are hidden, minions of the priest are looking for them (this somewhat seems to contradict a result rolled just above.)
A lone hermit they encounter is...
  • a priest practicing magic in secret (any relation to the guy above?)
  • has with him a number of girls who fled their wicked step-father and now he protects them
On passing through a village, the PCs see the following notice posted in the village square:
  • There's a sale on rusty old weapons and armor taken from monsters
Said villagers mistake the PCs for...
  • the lover of a pregnant village girl.  The PCs need to elude an attempted "shotgun wedding."
  • A soothsayer or fortune teller predicted that the mysterious father would arrive at about this time.
In the city, the PCs encounter the following mystery...
  • Following the burning of a witch, locals have been attacked by a mysterious black cat that appears without warning and scratches their faces.  One man swears he heard it speak.
So... do I have anything usable out of all of that?  Some of it is more local color than "a campaign arc", which is not only perfectly fine, but actually quite desirable.  The village business strikes me as this kind of thing.  Heck; maybe the soothsayer is the real father, who hypnotizes young girls and takes advantage of them: it got away from him when the girl got pregnant and he had to pin the blame on someone else and get out of town quick.

The lone hermit and his adopted "daughters" is another one-off encounter, as is the bandit-hunters.  Both actually add little more than color, and suggest, at best, only minor adventures, unless I can find a way to link them to something greater.

I kind of have to work to make use of the enemy and the patron.  My first diagnosis, after doing this once—this isn't going to be "campaign sustaining" material.  This is what you do on the side; local color, some small, self-containted stuff, etc.  The meat and potatoes of the hex-crawl type adventure, which no doubt it is meant to support.  

I like a lot of that, but I think it would be difficult (at least with these results) to make it into something coherent that follows the type of GMing strategy that I prefer, which is probably best explained by the Chris Perkins DM Experience column (not that I got it from him; I was already doing that before he started writing.  But he described the process better than anyone else, and added an awful lot of great ideas to it.)

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