[D&D 3.5] Brainstorming an adventure within a Metropolis

edited July 2008 in Play Advice
Here's the deal. I'm playing this Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 campaign. My players reached Golden Port, the capital city of Datermia, the Land Between Rivers.

Background:
Datermia is a Democratic Republic, ruled by a council of Sages (mainly military and commercial leaders). This kingdom is (literally) Neutral Ground between a couple of antagonistic realms in a Cold War stage, so it benefits from both being an intermediarie in all their commercial dealings and a diplomatic and cultural border. It is literally in the center of the continent, so even the other kingdoms (not involved in the Cold War thing) respect and consider it a middle gound for all matter of subjects.

That situation had the secondary consequence of making it the most advanced realm technologicaly, commercially and politically speaking (think of it as an early Renaissance tech level in a late Middle Ages setting). The only reason it hasn't been able to completelly dominate the other realms is because of the constant Backstabbing, political agendas, lack of unity and conflict of interests within the realm's leading parties.

The capital is, as it would seem obvious, the prime example of all that political, cultural, technological and commercial context. It is the largest and most cosmopolitan modern city in the world. In it, as one could archtypically expect, one will find practically everything there is. Every race, culture, technology, asset, group, religion, philosophy, has a representative in it. Every sort of goods (from mundane to magical, from legal to illicit) can be purchased... for a price. A must go for every self respecting merchant, mercenary, adventurer and explorer.

Did I mention it is located at the juncture of the southern North River's deltas and the shore?

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The Party
They are a varied, disfunctional, fun party. Together more out of convenience than loyalty.

A Drunken Master monk, more interested in liquors, booze, alcoholic beberages and wines than about pretty much everything else. He used his hard earned gold to guy a magical Bag of Holding specifically to be able to carry his alcohol bottles, barrels and wineskins.

A satyr bard interested in learning new and cool songs and stories. He is a second chacarter I allowed the Drunken Master player to play, since he is the most regular player, and he has been using this guy pretty much as a support character...

A half-dryad (mechanically a plain simple human) Sorceress, whose main interest is in necromancy, undead and stuff like that. Her main goal in life is to be considered the "Most Powerful Magician in all the World".

An elven Rogue (thief-acrobat would be the word), more interested in gold and preserving his own skin than in doing the Right thing... Did I mention he is Chaotic Neutral with Evil tendencies?... Yeah, almost the stereotypical backstabbing thief, but this guy is cool.

A human cleric with little interest in spreading his God's word, but a noble and helpful guy non the less... He is interested in finding his long lost Master and rejoining his long departed companion.

A human Mercenary Leader (complete with Leadership feat and a great bunch of followers and cohorts), whose main interest is in getting a big, popular and well paid little army. Did I mention his player is the "worst" Power Player I have ever met? He plays good, thou... :D

Last, but not least, we have the female gnome thief. She is a pretty much one dimensional character, but her player is a newcomer and she is still learning the game (not to say to roleplay at all), so we'll give her a break. She does seem to be a very creative and proactive player.

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The Quest
I want a nice and interesting City based adventure. I want something with a story behind (not just a senseless battle after another one). I want to exploit the possibilities of such a rich setting, a cool and flexible city, and a very central and colorful site. I don't want the usual "your players are forced into a dungeon-crawl disguised as a city adventure" thing. I want to challenge both the players and the characters. Since death is pretty much a reversible fate, I'm willing to make them suffer (so bad choices and actions could lead to their demise or other negative consequences).

I request advice. It could be links to published (and free :D) modules, adventure ideas to develop on my own, alternate courses of action, interesting stories (both independent to each other and related among them), even a small adventure path with several related quests (a cool sidequest or subplot, if you like). In the fiction they are going to stay for 3 weeks in the city (since they are waiting for some of the followers of the Leader guy to catch up with them - after they teleported many miles away). Something that would catch their attention so they are willing to stay longer is acceptable (they are in no rush to go away after all).

Any kind of help would be appreciated. Cool links, nice adventure hooks, brainstorming about the possibilities, a little more developed ideas to base an adventure (or several) on them...

I know for sure that you Story-Games people are a creative bunch. I bet this will help me greatly, and possibly even inspire others with some cool ideas... So FIRE AWAY, PEOPLE!!!
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