Adventure and campain plots for DMs to use.
- An alchemist hires the party to recover a shipment of supplies
that was hijacked enroute. If he doesn't get them back, he faces
- Caught while stealing from a mage, the thief in the party is
sent on a geas, to steal an artifact from a colleague as punishment.
- You are assigned to protect a person, but aren't to let them
know you're protecting them. Defer to them in all things, but
don't let them know you're deferring to them.
- An obscure sect of a dark church is seeking the eight necessary
parts/items used in summoning a sleeping demon. It just so happens
that one of the PCs inherited one of the items (it should be something
innocuous like a simple pendant with inscriptions) from a dead
- The party uncovers a plot to replace high-ranking officials
with exact look alikes (shapechangers). Nice little conspiracy
theory action. Which one of your trusted patrons is really an
evil doppleganger? Who can you trust? Who will believe you? Just
because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone ISN'T out to get
- The party is hired by the local Mage Guild to find and capture
(and/or kill) a renegade wizard who is breaking Guild laws (selling
magic items to criminals, assassinating the previous Guild Master,
attempting to assassinate the current Guild Master, etc.). Local
law enforcement is not involved because the Guild likes to solve
its problems internally.
- There's a battle going on between a good lich and one or more
evil liches. The players have to protect a town that's caught
in the crossfire. The lich need not even appear in the campaign;
you could just have dark noxious clouds blotting out the sun,
undead armies marching back and forth, dragons eating the livestock,
and other bits of large-scale magical fallout. Or, if you want
to bring the lich in personally, you could send the party on a
quest to plead with the lich to stop the war, or to fight elsewhere.
- PCs get caught in a hole (old castle, cave?) with overwhelming
numbers against them. They have some warning and a time period
when they will be relieved, if they can hold on. Idea is that
PCs improvise with what is around and hold out for siege. Turns
the DMing on its head. They have a plan of defenses, not the DM,
and DM leads his baddies against it. Players spring their surprises
in traps etc. Must have a map agreement on what can be done in
time available. Players tend to cheat outrageously, but great
fun for all concerned, with a change of pace for both DM and players.
- Rancher / Farmer hires the party to catch or kill goblins who
are stealing cattle -- then they are hired by the town sheriff
to stamp out the goblins at their lair.
Plot 10: Here's a bunch of REAL short descriptions of adventure
ideas that work well in a city: Second-story jobs; picking a pocket
and finding a map; searching the tunnels under the city for a
tomb or catacombs; competing with the Thieves' Guild; smuggling
arms into the city; spying on foreign officials; helping an orphan
fight against cruel thugs; racing another party in a city wide
search for a magical artifact; investigating a corrupt church;
wooing a noble lady; searching for your weapons instructor, who
has been abducted by a rival; trying to get apprenticed to a truly
weird mage; etc.
- Invert the "bad-lich-turns-out-to-be-good" idea: A
really sinister lich would probably love to have people convinced
that he's just a kindly, helpful old gent. Suppose one such lich
has been working hard on his image for a century or two ...he
saves people from natural disasters (which he created himself),
gives out magical gifts (which are cursed in some unobvious way),
kisses babies, the whole shebang. The players come to suspect
him of actually being evil ("Hey ...two centuries old? That's
before Third Edition came out! He must be evil!") and have
to stop him. But first, they have to convince the locals, who
love the old guy, that they've been wrong about him all this time.
("Gandalf? The old coot with the fireworks? Evil? Get outta
- Go to kill the evil lich, get captured and put at his/its mercy
only to have it ask "Why are you bothering me?" Apparently
it was/is a good wizard who got kind of absent-minded as he died
and sort of drifted off into lich-dom without noticing. Since
he's quite powerful, none of the various local monsters that he's
geased into serving him have given him any trouble, nor have they
pointed out the problem of his lichdom... Play the lich as an
absent-minded old british gentleman, sort of surprised that anybody
would want to kill him, and having considerable trouble grasping
the idea that he's a lich. A few accidental pats on the back while
the players are held by some sort of spell should be amusing.
P.S. If you can't figure out how to set things up so a lich can
capture and hold helpless a bunch of PCs, SHAME on you! Liches
are something like 30th level Magic Users/Clerics, not to mention
the hordes of followers, servants, summoned monsters, and demons,
and elementals, and the like...
- A caravan is traveling through the desert. The party is hired
to capture a man who is in the caravan, and it must be done quietly,
so that nobody else knows. They are given the man's name, and
the fact that he is a mage, but no other information about him.
The catch is that the caravan consists of ten wagons, with at
least thirty or forty guards.
- One of the PC's falls in love with a woman who happens to be
a witch ...perhaps she is allied with a group working against
- The PCs are sent with an ambassador to another country to protect
him and do his bidding. There may be some espionage, rescuing,
downright bullying, etc. Could make a nice medieval, special operations
- After a rash of thefts from wizards in the Guild, the PCs are
hired to catch the perpetrators. They could be other mages, three
dozen halfling thieves, demons, or even time travelers. PCs need
to figure out who might get hit next, how to catch the criminals,
who they are, etc.
- After a fight where all the PC's seemingly died or are captured,
they wake up to the crack of a whip, as they have been sold into
slavery onboard a galley. They have no equipment, they have to
work to exhaustion, they get very little food, but if they play
well, they might be able to escape.
- The Queen's beau (a very handsome knight-errant or something)
is missing, and he was last seen in a tavern at the edge of town.
The PC's are the people who were determined to have useful information,
after a lengthy interview/screening by the Queen's Marshall-General,
etc. They set out to find him, since it is thought he is in grave
- The party wakes up around a table with wine goblets near at
hand. They discover that they have forgotten everything they did
over the past two weeks. Apparently, as they uncover clues, they
were hired by someone to do a job, and when the job was finished
the person invited them to dinner. Interesting events abound as
the party attempts to piece together the events of the last fortnight...
- Bonecrusher (an Orc, now a Giant Orc Chieftain) has found the
Gauntlet of Grummsh (an orcish Artifact), and is kicking some
serious butt, raising an orc army and is about to invade the country
to, er, root, pape, and lillage the area (he's powerful, but he's
still an orc.) Of course, the destruction of this gauntlet is
very important to the players. Bonecrusher could be considered
the Guardian of the Gauntlet, and destroying it *will* bring curses
from Grummsh onto the party.
- Four dragons (one blue and three greens) have banded together
to increase their wealth. They (gasp) spent it on various magical
weapons and defenses and then attacked and took over a port city.
Now they've removed all laws, taxing everything. All the good
folk have escaped, and some are running a resistance force. Of
course, there's a catch. The blue dragon's been possessed by an
evil outsider, and is opening a gate...
- A young drow got 'left behind' after a raid to the surface.
He is a mid-level fighter, slightly lower-level magic user. Maybe
give him a few pet large spiders for some extra challenge. He
could take over a farm house (or two) with charm spells (maybe
even charm a few of the animals). He could try and trick the party
into finding the entrance to the drow realm for him (or maybe
kill some inconvenient big thing). Anyway, as there's only one
drow, a party of four or five lower level characters wouldn't
really be in too great a danger.
- In a cave, in an incredibly cold pool of water, is a large round
white stone (about 3 or 4 feet in diameter). It feels to all the
world like marble, and radiates magic. It's actually a white dragon
egg. It stays in stasis, just hours from hatching, until it's
heated up... to just about room temperature. Then it hatches.
If your players are like mine, they'll take a big white magic
rock without thinking twice; it should then hatch at exactly the
worst time. My players made it all the way back to their ship,
and put it in the hold, before it hatched. Great fun.
- The PCs, from time to time, run across a particular ship full
of really stupid sailors; out in the middle of the ocean and their
sails are on fire, etc...
- "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing": A demon (e.g. Cambion
demon) has taken the shape of a respected member of the community
(using polymorph self) and, masking his true alignment, shape
and abilities, is slowly spreading death and terror in the city.
The PC's are hired (as special agents by ??) to find the perpetrator
and capture/kill them before it gets even more out of control.
The demon is able to change shape easily, and hence occasionally
changes to take the form of one of its victims to throw off the
scent. Its sole purpose is to cause disruption and Chaos (or was
it brought here by someone for other reasons and escaped or was
turned loose ?).
- In a big classy town that the PC's have reason to go to every
once in a while, (I have it set in a city near a paladin training
center) is an even classier restaurant called Chez Ralph. It's
about as nice a restaurant as you could possibly have. Waiters
check on you every minute or so, there's a string quartet playing
in the background, and glasses of water ("Mineral water,
imported from halfway around the world" is what they tell
you, and they're telling the truth) cost around 20 gp. Besides
being a wonderful place to have players dump some cash, it's also
Soap Opera City. The strangest people show up there, at the same
time the PCs are there - but since nobody wants to make a scene,
the whole feeling is very tense. Old girlfriends, major enemies,
spies, polymorphed dragons, you name it, end up eating there -
and usually with each other. This requires a lot of continuity
in the game. Most games couldn't support the type of background
and tension Chez Ralph requires. You need long-term NPC's that
the PCs have come to hate - and put them here, where you just
can't DO anything about them!
- "Tower Snatch": A mage returns home after 1 year away
and finds that someone has taken over his tower in the city. He
wants it back and hires the PCs to reclaim it. He can supply maps
etc. of what it was like when he owned it (but someone may have
moved "Walls of Stone" and placed whole new trap areas
etc.). The PC's can keep anything in the tower which is not specifically
his (of course he can claim anything interesting and they won't
know) and a cash reward. No-one knows who has it but he suspects
someone respected in the community, hence the attack must be done
fairly quietly so as not to warn the current possessor (the mage
can prove that he is the owner however, he is not setting them
up - unless you want this to happen). The tower is appropriately
trapped and guarded, mostly with the expectation of killing the
mage who owns it when he tries to return. The guards and traps
are there to kill (not capture) anyone breaking in. City guards
etc. will not take sides unless the conflict ends up outside the
- This is a nonlinear adventure, good as a sideline for whenever
the PC's happen to be home. The PC's are based in a large city.
The city is basically composed of three sectors. Two of which
are virtually lawless and the other is extremely well controlled.
The law portion is extending outward and slowly taking over the
other two sections. A faction war is taking place in the city.
There are two opposing forces at war with each other (it could
be a peasant/slave revolt, or a religious purge, or a supernatural
invasion, or whatever.) The war expands steadily, more and more
groups getting dragged into it and being forced to choose sides.
An interesting twist would be for 2 groups that 2 different PC's
belong to, be on different sides. Great chance for roleplaying
here! The war could develop while the PCs are away, and upon return
they get the opportunity to jump in. Think of it, the politics!
The adventure! The intrigue! The danger! The chance to be hunted
by one of the most powerful groups in the city/county/country/kingdom!
- The group has come to a city of which half has been taken over
by orcs. The humans still control the other half. This stalemate
has lasted for approximately 2 weeks with occasional border penetrations
by each side into the opposing half (guerilla raids, party loves
'em, 2sp/head!). But things have changed for the better/worse.
An army from the north, in an attempt to make good on the city/kingdom's
problems, has sailed into town. They wiped out the mercenaries
guild (the only opposing force), and stated that all people were
now citizens of the new empire and they would be rid of the orc
menace within two weeks. Everyone has been drafted into the militia.
What is really bizarre about the army is that it consists of all
sorts of races (human, elf, 1/2 elf, etc), all speak a common
tongue, they are VERY well organized yet are individuals. (Everyone
has personal weapons, armor, etc.) The party can decide what to
do. They may not like the idea of being drafted into the militia
to be used as fodder (for an empire they don't belong to), to
rid the town (that they are only visiting) of the menace. However,
it WILL provide for some good roleplaying trying to explain to
the new invaders why the group should (or rather wants) to remain
together. The plus is that after the orcs are gone, the militia
will be disbanded (or so the invaders say) and the members will
be free to go on their way as citizens of the new empire (more
lands to visit). The other bonus is that the party may be able
to get ahold of a little of the recaptured territory.
- Acquainted With the Night" A group of players *start* by
discovering that one of their friends has been bitten by a vampire.
They follow through the entire process, possibly killing their
friend once he/she has risen again, probably hunting down the
vampire that bit their friend. Happy ending. Then the vampire
community seeks retribution. Yes, it was clumsy of the vampire
to get caught, but it's not the place of the herd to exact justice
on the vampires. The complexity of this scenario depends upon
how you imagine the entire supernatural community. One possible
idea is that vampires -- the cool manipulative Undead -- just
don't exist. Vampires are mindless creatures which reek of clotted
blood and which fixate on their families because those are the
strongest memories left. A vampire is what happens to someone
who dies of a ghoul-bite. (Doesn't happen often because ghouls
don't usually bite live people. NOTE: these are obviously not
_Vampire: The Masquerade_ ghouls.) The image of the vampire is
the result of a plot between the ghouls and the werewolves: they
wanted a patently false, supernatural image that would distract
attention from themselves. In this case, the PCs are under attack
because they have a sample vampire to look at and modern science
may discover the connection. If you're running _Vampire: The Masquerade_,
then the PCs are initiated by a Sire for their own protection.
The Sire has some long- standing grievance against the Sire of
the clumsy vampire, or has some ideological conflict with those
who would kill the PCs.
- Rescue the good dragon from the evil princess