[Villages] Brainstorm some dramatic, imaginative random encounters

edited August 2012 in Make Stuff!
I want to test-drive the Villages social bartering network (good description, Sebastian) that we've been discussing here. For this purpose I thought up a lightweight, useful exercise from real world game design. As I've been discussing in the other thread, I think that the real stumbling block for formalized barter of work in a creative scene like this is that our needs for help are intermittent, occur randomly and differ widely in nature and seriousness. This makes for a very inflexible economy where currency circulates slowly and difficulty. For example, my exercise here is a bit of an artificial one in that if we weren't discussing Villages here, it wouldn't have occurred to me to seek outside help. I figure that it'll be useful for everybody to see how the system works, so as to enable us to decide whether it's worthwhile in the long term. Perhaps having an explicit currency encourages us to rely more on each other than we otherwise would, at least for those of us who usually work alone.

Before I explain the exercise I'm seeking help with, a paragraph about my game design project:

As many of you are probably aware, I have a particular albatross hanging around my neck in the form of a substantial game-writing grant that I received in 2008. The grant was for writing a radically beginner-friendly, all-ages roleplaying game called "Eleanor's Dream" for the Finnish market. Various matters (such as writing the third edition of TSoY, say) have delayed the project, but now it's finally coming to a finish after six different iterations on the game system and other associated shenanigans. Those who've been following the game's development may find it amusing that the final form has become what I myself characterize as "a narrativist OSR D&D".

Another paragraph in fact, I need to explain what the game is about:

Eleanor's Dream is about people from our world (the players of the game, in fact) who travel to a wondrous fantasy world on the other side of the veil of imagination. Think Narnia, Ultima games, H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands, Burroughs Mars novels - there's a rich tradition in fantasy literature for this sort of thing. The other world of the game is a sort of fairy tale environment that I'm calling "Sariola" (a mythical land of the dawning sun in Nordic folklore). It's a world of talking animals, trolls, witches, princes and princesses, that sort of thing. Visitors from our world are known as "dreamwalkers" to the Sariolans, some of whom revere these visitors as angels or gods. What the dreamwalkers do in Sariola is pretty simple, as it should be for an all-ages roleplaying game: you explore the environment, encounter funny NPCs and perhaps resolve some problems in the best traditions of morning cartoons; what the game is "about" will pretty much depend on what the players want to do. I'm writing the setting in a pretty experimental manner that I hope facilitates use and makes the material flexible, enabling the playgroup to scale the material up or down depending on the player base. (I'm not much of a believer in dumbing down stuff for children, so I'm not particularly writing Sariola as a children's fantasy world - it's as adult as it needs to be.)

Comments

  • The exercise

    A central part of my game relies on a rich, varied listing of what might be termed pre-prepared random encounters. Often enough these tie into the background setting, highlighting the people and the predominantly Finnish mythology of the place, but Sariola is in ready reach from all sorts of other dreamlands and fairy tale kingdoms as well, so all sorts of literary ideas and situations may be encountered during the game.

    What I'd like help with is, I'd like you to write me some random encounters. The format is simple, just describe something that would be interesting and provocative to encounter on the road or in the wilderness, perhaps something that involves an in-built conflict, or that is universally interesting to us as human beings. These random encounters are basically Bangs much of the time, and they may or may not evolve into entire adventures in the game; that is entirely up to player engagement.

    Here are a couple of examples of what I'm thinking of here:

    *********************************
    Kastra Merga is a mermaid with tangled and salty hair. Kastra is lovelorn, but will only accept a "real" man to accompany her under the waves. Towards everybody else she tends to be sassy or grumpy. Friendship confuses Kastra, for she has never experienced any.
    *********************************
    An unicorn starts following the dreamwalkers. Country people hearing about it are likely to start an unwholesome hunt for it, using a young virgin as bait. Should the unicorn be left alone, it will come to the aid of the dreamwalker at a moment of need.
    *********************************
    Luikko is the ugliest man of his village, but also the bravest and smartest. He does not know this himself, for he has been the bottom rung of the local totem pole his entire life.
    *********************************
    There is a rumour about king Kašhei who built himself a grand mausoleum in between two mountains. As the story has it, Kašhei took a magical thing to his grave - pick something that would entice the players, or promise the feathered cloak of his swan-bride if nothing else occurs. The grave itself is a D&D-style dungeon. 50% that Kašhei awaits on the bottom, immortal and insane, and 50% probability that his treasure is still there.
    *********************************
    Two or three witches or devils negotiating at crossroads at night. They will surely eat trespassers, but the cunning may hear powerful secrets.
    *********************************
    A great oxen has been stuck from its horns in a crack between two rocks. Locals know that it was put there by a passing dreamwalker. Should the oxen be freed, it is a most helpful and friendly being, but also hopelessly clumsy and stupid, causing trouble wherever it should follow you. Should the oxen find its place, it will provide its helpers with the luotteet (magic words) that will summon it to one's side.
    *********************************
    Hermann is a friendly Lappish man who will help travelers easily. He is also a cannibal. Furthermore, he knows a single magic song from when he ate sage.
    *********************************
    A weird man under a rainbow-colored umbrella sells powders from a small cart. His name is Nikitin Neårk. Nikitin's powders turn you into various happy colors, but afterwards you lose your own color and become entirely grey.
    *********************************

    As you can see, I'm working with a pretty flexible framework of possibilities here, especially as the game text is still evolving as I hone the formats and ideas involved. At this point the ideas are the important thing and not the format so much, as I'm going to expand and sharpen the individual notions every which way as I go along. Some of these will end up as one-paragraph or even one-sentence notes, while others I'll expand into half-page treatments or even a bit larger. The vast majority goes into the random encounter lists that the game relies on for "organic" content that has nothing to do with whatever storylines are currently running. Random shit for players to stumble over while on their way to save the princess or whatever they might be up to.

    Note especially that any and all questions about whether my setting has dragonturtles are completely meaningless; let me worry about adapting this stuff for the game. It's a fantasy setting along the vein of the Hobbit, Chronicles of Prydain and so on, except built for roleplaying and therefore even more flexible and widely scoped. No need to try to be extra "Finnish" with your encounters - the setting is heavily influenced by Finnish folklore, but I have my own twists on it, and frankly I'm probably better situated to work that angle than most of you.

    So there you have it, feel free to write up however many of these you'd please. Only submit your own original work, or ideas culled from public domain sources. I might or might not use any posted ideas in my book, but I'll attribute everybody as contributors all the same. There's no particular schedule on this, it's all basically background research that I'll cull and polish later on when it's time to make final determinations on what goes into the book and what doesn't.

    I'm paying in hours

    The point of the exercise, as we remember from the top. Anybody with a Villages account will get let's say .20 hours per idea - no triage on this, any good faith effort counts even if I don't find use for it in my project. We're going for quantity rather than quality here, as befits a brainstorming session. If you don't have an account yet feel free to start one for this (and let me know the name it's under if it's different from what you use here). Note that if you haven't endorsed me with hearts, then the hours might come via a third party. In the spirit of this exercise I'm not going to acknowledge untrusted hours at all, so if you haven't endorsed me or somebody who has endorsed me, then I guess I won't pay you at all. (If you came to this thread without going through the Villages thread, feel free to ask about how to set yourself up there. It's pretty simple, though, and the other thread explains it in depth.)

    As you probably know if you've read that other thread, you can use the hours earned in this way to "buy" help from others involved. Perhaps something like what I'm trying here, or whatever. You might consider every .2 hours I give you to be a bit over ten minutes of my time on whatever you might need help on, except that you don't actually need to specifically use my help, you can instead hire somebody with actual skills. Just like money in that regard.

    I'll reserve the right to call a stop to this if you guys create like a thousand encounter ideas for me and it seems like I'm getting into too much debt ;)
  • Some goblins have set up a den out in the nearby forest where they sell things for the right price. The locals know, of course, that almost all of it is stolen. If the players go there, they find an item belonging to their parent/sibling/friend, perhaps magic'd across from the real world.

    -----

    Word is spreading from the east of a giant travelling the trade-road and recklessly smashing his way through things as he bellows and moans. It turns out that the giant is actually rather personable, but he's been blinded by a witch's curse.

    -----

    A large kingdom is holding a tournament to determine who will marry the beautiful princess / handsome prince. But the princess/prince does not want to be married yet; instead, they want to adventure through the world.

    -----

    A wise old sage needs some herbs and plants and mosses from the dangerous forest in order to make his mystical compounds for the village, but he's too old now to go get them himself.

    -----

    A raven, red of beak and claw, begins following the players, circling about at all hours of the day. At night, he alights near one of the players and whispers dark things to them.

    -----

    Hope any of these help! I may have more later, too, as inspiration comes.
    - Alex
  • As you watch, a hut on giant chicken legs runs quickly past you down the road. Shortly thereafter, an old woman comes running after the hut. The woman is a witch, and her spell to animate her hut accidentally got out of control. If the player character help her, she will reward them with strange potions or an amulet that lets you understand the language of birds.

    ----

    At the top of a nearby mountain, a family of griffons swoop and circle through the sky in a complicated game. At the base of the mountain is a strange looking creature. Like a reverse griffon, it has a lion body in front and an eagle's legs in back. This reverse griffon wishes that it could play flying games with its siblings, but has no way of flying.

    ----

    For some reason, a tiny imp has decided to torment a single player character. The imp will never directly harm or endanger the character, but they will play various malicious pranks upon them: hiding small items, forging notes, sabotaging wagons, scaring horses, stealing from a local shopkeeper then placing the stolen item in the character's pocket, etc.

    ----

    A local ogre loves pastries, but the townspeople won't let him in the village after he accidentally smashed up the Widow [setting appropriate name]'s barn.

    ----

    The exotic animals of a traveling circus have gotten loose! If you can capture the escaped manticore, chimera or minotaur, then you will earn a reward. But when the player characters actually capture one of the escaped creatures, their captive will tell them about the horrible conditions at the circus. Should they return the animals for the reward or should they help free other exotic creatures as well?
  • Just the stuff, Alex, I can use this! A nice mix of complex and simple, and dramatic and merely atmospheric. I'm especially fond of the goblin market, that's something obviously entertaining to include in a game like this. I'll owe you a hour, now, and just acknowledged it at Villages. (An interesting feature of the Ripple is that all currency in it is debt.)

    Inventing encounters is annoying in that it's best done in drips and draps. I mean, it's not difficult, but it gets quite painful after the first half a dozen pieces. Outsourcing this might prove to be quite a good idea, it's much faster to sort through existing stuff than to invent new things.
  • And the same goes for Nick, an hour for you, too! Baba Jaga's hut will definitely make an appearance in this game, I have this thing about Russian folklore in it (given the special relationship Finland has with Russia historically).

    I can use more, and I'm pretty sure I can pay for more, too! At least my creditors seem to think so, they've given me plenty of rope to hang myself with.
  • edited August 2012
    The prince of the north, convinced that dreamwalkers are the source of evil in the land, has vowed to close Sariola to them for all time. He has sent word across the lands commanding the people to throw off the enchantments of the foreigners and bring any dreamwalkers to him for imprisonment and study.

    The daughter of a road-side miller has lost her shadow. Until someone sets things right for the poor girl, the shadow will be haunting their peripheral vision.

    The great brown bears of the deep forest can no longer contain their outrage at the things done by men. Villagers have noted that the woodsmen and their families have gone missing and this past year, bears have come out of the woods at night, vandalizing the villages and taking away the unwary.

    A troll named Mison lives under the bridge across a deep ravine. Mison grants lifetime passage rights to any who can make her feel human. She will eat any who dare to cross without her authority.

    Tiny yellow mushrooms grow under the heather, but only on one brief night; that following the summer solstice. These mushrooms, eaten in quantity, allows a person to take the form of an animal and live as a wild thing for one year. Many people who do this, never return. Some return but their mind never does. Others though; they come back magnificent with knowledge and powers beyond understanding.

    Freda, the lame princess, pays extravagantly in silver for produce of the highest quality: honey, fruits, cabbage and herbs, brought to her tower where she transforms them into marvelous dishes and potent beverages. It is said that Freda's creations are so fine that none can resist their flavor and some whisper that she is an unaging enchantress performing dark feats from her kitchen.
  • edited August 2012
    And that's 1.2 hours to Christopher. Useful stuff here as well, very fairy taily.

    Edit: I notice that we got a third-party coverance for a part of the transfer. The Ripple at work there.
  • Adventurers find a beautiful and calm small woman next to a pond in the forest. She doesn't utter a word, but simply smiles at people and calms them with their touch. She will jump and dissapear in the pond if startled. However her touch is quite dangerous: trough mere contact she can steal people's ability to remain calm. This damage may go unnoticed for hours or days, until the victim finds herself in a situation where she has to control her emotions. Fear turns into terror and people annoyed by something go quiclky into a berserking rage.
  • Thanks, Paulo. If you want a .2 hours of quality time, get a Villages account. Not that I don't appreciate the help either way.
  • A ferocious prize fighter is caught sobbing at the bend in a river. At noon he must face and kill the poet Lorcan, his best friend and confidant.

    A tiger is brought to the top of a bald hill, solemn and still. She stares from within her cage and growls at the congregation in a familiar language, "If you burn me here, we'll scourge your nests and feast on your cubs. Be wise." The pyres are lit.

    At the fifth gate at the fifth lake, the locksman is held hostage by the twin sons of Ruarc, the warrior poet. "Help free our father or we'll toss the locksman and his family to the frogs."

    Two foreign women stare at one another with knives drawn. Their babies cry in their satchels as the women circle a broken urn. Within the fractured remains, there is a map to a treasure that wil save one baby from doom.

    A portly academic arrives at a tavern. "I'll poison his chops," hisses one of three, skinny thieves. "I'll mash his groin!" "I'll slice his purse and steal his coin!"

    A long, wiry rabbit lies at a juntion in the road amid the carnage of a bloody battle. He doesn't remember who he is, but he wears a ring bearing the mark of a salmon. A hundred ravens descend from the sky firing arrows from red bows.
  • Hey Eero, feel free to only pay for the ones that you find useful.

    ---

    The ranting head of an executed nobleman is hidden in a chest in the castle. He promises to lead people to his family's buried treasure if his body is located and brought to him. The gaggle of revolutionaries who did him in are still living in the castle.

    A bathhouse in the middle of nowhere, haunted by the ghosts of the warriors who bathed there before riding out into an ambush. One would expect them to be bitter, but they simply complain that the waters are not as warm as they once was.

    A man has bound his heart in iron to stop it bursting from pain. His love was lost at sea, but he stands by the cliffs waiting patiently for her to return. Unbeknown to him, the love was a swanmay who ran away after a travelling tinker stole her feather cloak.

    A hound, slavishly devoted to a bedridden boy, who goes out into the world to fetch things that will amuse its master.

    A frog has the power of speech but not the wit to hold his tongue. He has decided to embarrass all who are cruel to small animals by following them about and revealing their secrets at bad times.

    A girl child has overheard three pirates discussing the location of their buried treasure. However, the girl is forever in the shadow of her older brothers and is determined to find the treasure herself.

    A pair of shoes that have taken to wandering after their owner was killed in her bed. Perhaps their rambling will lead to the person responsible for the murder.

    A stork prince musters his forces for a war with the giant toads. By this time, no one can remember the cause of their hatred, but it is the simplest way of keeping young hotheads occupied.

    A wizard's apprentice accidentally swallowed his master's crystal ball, and for the last week has had vivid and prophetic dreams, all involving food.

    A small old man has washed up on the beach, seaweed tangled in his hair and his cane encrusted with barnacles. He talks of distant lands with strange devices and vehicles, and claims that the black brick in his pocket is such a device, poisoned by the seawater.
  • Paid Sebastian and Chris. All good, I'm getting lots of useful ideas and little poetry here. A good mix of pulp fantasy with a strong core of amusing fairy tale situations. I'm especially fond of the ones involving animals, I've found in playtesting that those are always an easy and rewarding roleplaying interaction experience for the players.

    I guess it's no surprise, but I have to say that there's a lot of talent for this sort of thing at this forum. Playing all those narrativist no myth games must be good for something.

    If anybody has more encounters, I can buy them! I figure that the real numbers in our time-sharing experiment will be counted in tens of hours, so I won't be worried about my debts before I hit those numbers. I'll just see about helping somebody on something bigger when the opportunity comes along. Perhaps generating significant debt inspires the system, too, encouraging others to ask for help so I'll have an opportunity for payback ;)
  • A slim young man claims to be the greatest warrior in the whole world, and will challenge anyone who disagrees to a duel. In an actual duel he will never fight, but use trickery, evasion, dodging, etc., to keep the fight going until his opponent grows frustrated and concedes just to put an end to it.

    ------

    A man regarded as a deep thinker but in reality short of common sense (a la the "smart" or "educated" characters from Oz) has observed that rain falls from the sky and is absorbed into the ground unless it lands in a watertight bucket. He has also observed that lightning falls from the sky and is absorbed into the ground, and therefore by analogy he merely requires the proper type of bucket so that he'll be able to carry some lightning around with him. He is currently perched atop the tallest tree he can find with a variety of candidate buckets to test his hypothesis in an approaching thunderstorm, and his put-upon assistant is at his wit's end with worry about his master.

    ------

    Two identical twins quarrel over an inheritance of something that can't realistically be split -- their mother died in childbirth, the midwife lost her memory to age, and nobody else knew for sure which of them was born first. (Can easily be colored as two princes arguing over the succession in the wake of the king's death).

    ------

    A person who appears identical to one of the player's characters except battered and bruised encounters the group and claims to be the real person, and the person they've been travelling with is actually and evil doppelganger who attacked him, left him for dead, and took his place.

    ------

    The children in a village chant a nursery rhyme or sing a folk song that all of the players would recognize, but one of the lines is different in a creepy/sinister way.
  • And Dan's paid. I'm sinking into debt quite nicely, looking good in that regard. Considering that we have something like two dozen people participating at Villages, it's likely that there'll soon be several projects of some nature out there where I can earn some hours back.

    I also noticed that I paid Sebastian twice by browser accident. I guess he'll just need to write me more ideas now that he's had an advance payment on them.
  • A Badger scuttles up. She is apparently a poetic badger, and says:

    There once was a Prince from Kolola
    Who was snagged by a witch name of Lola
    He is caught in a trap
    And taking a nap
    That unfortunate Prince of Kolola


    As the group walks through a deserted village, a healthy dog trots toward them with a multicolored bundle of rags in its mouth. After you make friends with the dog, it turns out that the bundle is actually a doll with the face of one of the group.


    Over the course of a few hours, brightly colored squirrels (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) keep crossing your path. The next squirrel is VERY puzzling.


    Who is that old man? He's dressed like a fancy doctor of something-or-other except for the bright orange hat. He seems to think that you are contagious.


    A falling star lands in front of the party. She is lovely and pleasant, but seems to have no idea where or who she is.

  • And Paul's paid. I'm now 4.50 hours in debt, so not even very badly overall. Keep 'em coming.
  • BTW Eero, have you thought of mechanizing the process of producing random story hooks? I'm still testing something like that for my game. In the last version I replaced the info in the middle of the cards for events, making it possible to create story hooks with it. I'll try and post a few using the deck later.
  • It's an interesting field, certainly. Some games have pretty in-depth systems for random story creation - In a Wicked Age being perhaps the most spectacular.

    For the purposes of this project, though, craftsmanship is important. It might seem like I'm just collecting random dross here, but I'm going to sort and polish these to a level of quality that is impossible in cold randomization. I might include a layer of content randomization in the game, too, but I personally find that well-prepared encounters are a selling point that I want to offer to others as well.

    (The key issue for my project is personal creativity: you or I are well able to use random tools for creativity, but the target audience of my game won't have the training. They'll appreciate thoroughly prepared adventure seeds all the more.)

    That being said, by all means field-test your system here! The process of reading the oracle often brings enough poetic insight into something like that for it to be useful for further refinement.
  • "Those berries aren't going to pick themselves!", says the old woman from the road side farmhouse. Sure enough, the prickly bungle berry bushes are upset about something and quite restless. Perhaps some water from the well will calm them down. Or, perhaps the players need to stop the Wily Weevle Gang. Certainly, the troll guarding the Mirkwood bridge won't let them pass without a bungle berry pie.
    ---

    The music in the Wyld Wood is quite festive, but there isn't a village for miles. Who would be playing is such a remote location? If the players can sneak to the edge of the clearing (an easy task), they'll be surprised to discover a bear, a badger, and a couple of foxes, as well as other woodland creatures playing folk music with human instruments and dancing in a circle. When the players are discovered (and they will be, animal senses and all), what will happen?
    ---

    When the players 'awaken' they're surrounded by a fairy ring of mushrooms, there are dozens of them in the ring and each one has unique look and flavor (and a random magical effect when eaten.) They're easy enough to harvest, but you can bet that Greta the Hedge Witch will be upset later when she finds her mushrooms gone.
    ---

    "Didn't we pass by that sign?" Every mile or so a magical sign will appear pointing the way to Dave's Cave of Mystery. If the sign is marked or destroyed, it will still reappear later and its obviously the same sign. It's so mysterious. It might also move closer when you're not looking!
    ---

    "Magic beans! Get your magic beans here!" , hawked the vendor. Sure enough, when inspected the beans do radiate some form of magic. They're not cheap, but the salesman says they're 100% effective.
  • In a sense, the following are commissioned works.

    One short gorgon, dressed in a rakish blue gown frets with the statue of a handsome soldier. Her ringlets of asps hiss beneath an azur ribbon. "Oh my! Oh my! What will Sorca think?" She has inadvertently petrified the true love of her older sister.

    Since all the women disappeared, the men of Carraig Dubh carry their children on their backs. One man cannot bear his daughter growing up here. "Escort me to the mangroves, where the creatures make pacts."

    A bespectacled tortoise walks hysterically among a cloud of dust and debris. "Flopsy!" He shouts. "Flopsy!!" It turns out that Flopsy, the tortoise's long eared competitor in the upcoming slalom, has sabotaged his scientific racing enjin.

    A strange woman with a sharp, long nose claims she was transformed into a human by one of the princesses in the woods. All she needs is one of the men, the handsome one, to come with her into a hot cave where little wings buzz in the dark.

    Outside a strange, long, yellow house, ten women cower under the bellicose urgings of a giant centipede. "You're not welcome here. What I do in my spare time is my own business, and no two leg will tell me otherwise! Harumph!" Another, secret girl is caught stealing a keg of gin, though she professes it's for his own good.

    At the edge of a steep ravine, above a turquoise lagoon, a man in a red wedding yokata fumbles an ambush. He is cursed and distraught. He chains that until two people are drowned in the lake as food for the lurking monster, he wil never again find his beloved wife.

    Phew! That's enough of that. I feel like I've been eating the wrong sort of mushrooms. Thanks for the hours.
  • Paid Todd, and Sebastian I'd already strong-armed into writing another half a dozen by cleverly mispaying him earlier.
  • Between a convention and another playtest this weekend I almost forgot I was supposed to try my deck also here. Let's see what does it spit out:

    -Players are told that the only way to prevent a war among two powerful Greenfolk tribes is to find the Walking Forest, a huge living colony of plants governed by a colective intelligence, that wanders the southern rainforests. Because yeah, the best place for a forest to hide is into another forest. Properly convinced, the Forest will be able to steal all the magic weapons of the Greenfolk at once, the only way to prevent them from using their magicks.

    -Surprised by an incredibly cold snowstorm, players become in debt with an old fire elemental and now have to rescue his son, imprisioned by Steelfolk inside a mountain. If they don't free the son of the elemental before the 12 candles in his cave are consumed, they will lose the heat of their bodies forever. One part of them becomes stone for each hour that passes to remind them of the deal they have made.

    -Players are caught in the middle of a fight between necromancers and a stone giant. The latter only seems to be defending his territory and doesn't pursue the necromancers, while these will try any dirty trick and even enlist the players to destroy the giant. The necromances however have made a vow of silence and won't explain the reason for this fight. The truth is that the giant was
    so obssesedly in love with the necromancer's queen that ended killing her, and now refuses to leave her body and the sacred burial site the necromancers were planning to use to bring her back.

    -A misterious hunchbacked musician will capture the players in a golden illusory maze until they acknowledge her talent. As the players wander through the maze, the musician will use their magicks to make it appear the highest skill or attribute of each PC as something that will make the rest of the players envious, making them fight and argue between themselves.

    -The PCs are mistaken for revolutionary leaders. Townsmen have been waiting five months for their arrival, to lead them into a revolt to liberate the town from their leader, a corrupt ice wyrm that has denied them the winter for 8 years. Imagine the world without winter, how awful spring is when it has to flourish over the carcasses of auttum, how everything rottens even before summer and how populated are the forests since all creatures have plenty of food all year long, etc, etc.
  • edited August 2012
    - In a desert oasis, the most beautiful flower of all times as blossomed.
    It is a magic flower that may preserve peace among the desert tribes.
    The problem is that it is draining the oasis dry, because it needs all the water of all times to sustain itself.
    Emissaries of all the desert tribes are debating what to do and players are asked to solve the issue.

    - The people from the High Mountain - apes-men with eyes as lucid as mirrors - has build the Bridge to the Stars: a magical device that may bring them on the other side of the veil of imagination in the effort of contacting the Gods from Beyond, the Dreamwalkers who don't walk on Sariola.
    This will grant a permanent passage between the two worlds, in both ways.
    The Dark Kingdom of Deep Beneath is planning to conquer the Bridge and assault the real world.

    - The Dreamwalkers are spreading the flu virus to the Sariolans. Sariolans are dying of it: every time a fea sneezes, it falls dead.
    Some of the Sariolans want to fight the players, others begin to give them gifts in the effort of pledging the evil gods of death.
    Players have to find a solution.
  • Paid both Paul and Davide - thanks!
  • edited August 2012
    -The group encounters a particularly obtuse and argumentative merchant, who haggles with them endlessly. If they players bite, and get into the spirit of the argument instead of just blithely accepting his outrageous prices, the merchant will at some point drop suddenly and irrevocably dead.

    -A Wanted poster with a face that changes randomly every day to defame a new villager or out-of-towner (such as a PC). If town guards learn about it and try to remove or destroy it, or design their official posters differently, it just pops up in a different place, and adapts to changes.

    -A ruined machinist's guild tower, occupied by monstrous but friendly semi-intelligent creatures who worship the ruined equipment. They would undoubtedly be ever so grateful if the players would fix it for them... or would they? If the players, frightened by their appearance, attack without asking further questions, the creatures are easily defeated. However, each is capable of casting a curse in its death throes, trapping its killer in the machine it loved and worshiped most.

    -A peaceful, pastoral village; a terrible discovery. In the dead of night, the entire graveyard was excavated, the corpses spirited away. Oddly enough, the burial riches were left in neat little piles on the former gravesites. A thorough inspection of the area might turn up a silver brooch; a skull flanked with mechanical wings. It will stand out from the surrounding burial treasure. The next day, the the bodies rain down on the village from a terrible, unseen height.

    -The player group's exploits have gained them some modicum of fame, and they have a keep or land-base over which they preside. The base has attracted some commoners interested in working the land or setting up shop. One day, a notorious hedge knight rides into the fledgling village, accompanied by a wizened old noble of foreign, unknown lineage. He declares loudly to all and sundry that he is holding the entire town's population ransom. Most of the commoners and watchmen will look to the surrounding fields for signs of an army, and then laugh at the knight, thinking "Old Worm has finally lost it," or something along those lines. Then, the wizened old man's skin starts sloughing off, and his wicked smile grows...

    *EDIT* Joachim Heise on villages
  • And Joachim's paid. Looking good.
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