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101 Encounters in a warzone for busy PCs


Homebrew

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The PCs are in a big hurry through a ravaged war zone, probably doing something involving saving the world. How can we make them wish they had time to stop and help the inhabitants?

1) A woman with a bruised face accosts the PCs as they settle in for the night, telling them that her drunken husband has taken their kids and run off to god knows where. It'll take all day to track him down, and everyone in the village is scared to venture far.

2) A group of bandits has taken control of the area. Their tax collector is in the process of beating an old man when the PCs arrive, but he begs them not to help. If they did, it would only provoke the rest, who are hiding somewhere in the hills and will take several days to deal with fully.

3) There's a murderer in the hamlet. Bodies are found at the end of every week, and it looks like they've been tortured before being killed. There aren't any professional government authorities around to help, and none of the locals have the capacity to solve the crime.


4) A local noble has become something of a warlord, collecting stiff taxes and raising a private army. The people hate him, as he regularly does somewhat sadistic things to the population, but can't do anything about it because of his soldier's loyalty. Simply killing him would only destabilize the local region and allow someone else to come to power, but a more nuanced solution would take a long time.


5) The shallow graves of hundreds of militiamen lie at the feet of our intrepid heroes as they rush forward on a vital quest. The perpetrators camp nearby with the gall to celebrate the slaughter with pillaging the closest villages and enjoying these fruits in a central camp. To stop and rescue the survivors would leave them starving and helpless but can they delay even that long? Perhaps no one will be left to bury them if they fail.


6) A travelling merchant is selling goods at prices beyond what the impoverished locals can pay. There's gathering anger and likely a riot about to start.

7) Some new recruits are being drilled as the PCs go past. At the next village they see a lack of military age people and they hear complaints about conscription sweeping everyone up and the conscripts never, ever coming back.


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8) A mixed group of soldiers and peasants are digging trenches and setting stakes one stormy evening in the mud. All of them are unhappy, some of the soldiers are injured. On the horizon, the PCs can see plumes of smoke as the sun goes down. There are murmurs from the troops and peasants. 'Tomorrow...they'll be here. Hope this is enough.' 'It won't be....'


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9) Terrible, stark, nightmarish: Dark Rock Tower. It was the site of the most recent battle, but one the fighting was over neither side could hold a garrison there. The piled corpses were left to rot, and the wounded to scream all through the night. Now a fell light can be seen glinting in the windows, and the roof seems to have been repaired. Woe to any who stay out after dark...


10) A group of pilgrims is making an annual pilgramage through the area. They knew it would be dangerous, but who are they to argue with their god? They're lightly armed, traveling with an armed escort...and very naive about what's going on in the area. And they're headed in the direction of the more aggressive army....


11) The next village the PCs are planning on visiting, where they will stay the night, is entirely abandoned.

12) On the trail the PCs encounter a band of warriors from one of the armies. One of them had a few cryptic notes, which seem to indicate that the next town on the road will be attacked tomorrow. When the PCs arrive later that night they find a lot of wounded and ill who can't walk, with no way to easily and quickly move them. The sun is sinking.


13) A group of camp followers pressed into service digging graves after an outbreak of plague has soldiers nervous about their usual trade. They are dressed in their usual garment and are obviously unhappy about their work, but they are watched over by a hard eyed corporal who openly displays the holy symbol of a well known god of chastity. He is far sterner than he needs to be and is extremely intimidating, even for a soldier, going so far as to verbally abuse them. He shows signs of plague, but none of the sex workers do. Any PC with who makes a successful check in related skills can tell this rare illness is spread via spoiled foodstuffs, not intimate contact. His superior is not far away, but the Pcs will need to take time from their quest to explain things properly with evidence.


14) An overturned cart, spilling sacks of preserved food into the mud.
It is much needed aid on it's way to a nearby hamlet. The cart owner is panicked, trying to right the cart and recoup what he can.
He tells a tale of the cart being attacked by a scouting party from on of the nearby forces.


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15) The dead of a recent battle have attracted ghouls, and they're starting to become an epidemic. A group of wounded soldiers have taken refuge in a cave, but more likely than not they will just end up as more ghouls. The area is at risk of becoming overrun with too many ghouls for the PCs to hunt down on their own, and leaving people behind means adding to the ghoul problem.


16. At a small village near the battle lines everything seems quiet, but several villagers act very nervous. Everyone is trying to rush the PCs through town.

Three foreign soldiers are hiding with several hostages. They've stolen a significant amount of loot and are trying to flee the fighting, when they saw the PCs approaching they assumed they were military officials sent to look for the soldiers and took hostages to assure the villagers compliance.


17) The PCs discovered the soldiers, and their loot. A fight broke out, killing half the hostages and the soldiers. A few of the villagers could do nothing but sob at the death of their loved ones, but most are more pragmatic. With the loot the soldiers had brought they can afford to hire soldiers and build walls, which will protect the town in the future.

The PCs didn't expect to get payed, did they?


18. The PCs roll into a town not far from the battlefield. Their paperwork is fine, no one bothers them, but the soldiers in the tavern seem especially nervous. A few questions to the right urchin (or a good Perception check or two) reveal why: they're escorting a paywagon. It contains a month's pay for the mercs that are on the front line now. What would happen if that wagon vanished....?


19. Escorts for a cart/caravan are required. This is meant to secure a trade agreement (an act of good faith) between two cities. The contents are a secret, but at some point during the trip it becomes apparent that you're aiding slavers.

Do you secure the trade agreement and try to fix things afterwards, or do you free the slaves and abandon helping such a distasteful ruling class?


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I don't mean to be disrespectful, but the above suggestion isn't quite what I had in mind. It's just an encounter with a moral component, and not too specific to a warzone. More importantly, and the reason I say this, is that all of these encounters are meant to be for PCs who are doing something else. They aren't soldiers or hired guards, they're adventurers. Even more, they're adventurers who already have a quest, and who are making a very real decision about if they even have the capacity to accept new quests as they pass through the area. This makes a much more real and full world, where the PCs aren't the only ones solving problems, and in fact very clearly don't have the capacity to do lots of things they wish they could. They can't stay and help the villagers repair their wall, but someone else will, because there are other real people in the world who are working to better themselves. Instead of the PCs struggling against the evils of a world, it's the PCs existing in a world that has different sides already engaged in different struggles, which the PCs are only a small part of. This gives much more agency to the NPCs, which I think creates a more immersive experience.

Again, I don't want this to come across as hostile, thank you for posting what really is a very interesting and hooking encounter, even if it doesn't align exactly with what I wanted from this thread. I'm just taking this opportunity to clarify the circumstances which I want the 101 encounters in this thread to conform to, and this isn't meant as a personal attack in any way. I hope to see more contributions from you in the future.

20) The horses were spooked by something in the night. They're long gone by now, probably eaten by whatever foul creature scared them in the first place. It's slow going by foot, but the PCs manage to reach the next village by nightfall...only to find that there are no horses for sale. Increasingly lucrative offers to buy the only four in town are turned down, the villagers citing the facts that they can't sow their crops without the animals, can't go to market since the nearby towns were all wiped out, and can't eat gold.

Of course, it would be easy to take the horses by force.


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21) A few bodies from a hastily constucted gallows are twisting in the wind, and a military court is being held, with the next few people to be hanged accused of desertion. While this is not unusual, the speed of the trial is, as the men and women accused seem to have no defense counsel and the officers overseeing the trial are convinced of their guilt. But the executioner along with the condemned loudly protest that the people who could have cleared their name were just hung for an unrelated crime. The condemned gesture as best they can to any party members who bear the look of clerics, as they feel their magics can help them determine the truth.


22) The PCs are picking their way through a warzone in search of an ancient wizard's tomb. They find the entrance inside a limestone cave, and the tomb door is still sealed. Also in the cave are a large number of unarmed refugees taking shelter from the invading forces. If the PCs open the tomb, they might expose the refugees to whatever horrors might escape.


Dotted


23) In their travels the PCs meet a charismatic local baron. He doesn't really seem like a warlord. In fact, he seems to be a better ruler then any nobleman they've come across, he resolves several disputes fairly, treats the PCs as honored guests who deserve a good night's rest and a hot meal in the morning, and seems generally well liked by the local populace. But something seems somehow...off, as though he's hiding something. You're escorted to your rooms and told not to leave in the night.

Three days later, you find a village that has been utterly ravaged. The bloodstains tell a terrible tale of rough men who came in the night to visit violence upon unsuspecting farmers. There is a pile of corpses in the centre of the village, whose grisly details do not bear full description. One lone survivor, now raving mad, can be found still hiding in his house. It's difficult to determine exactly what he's trying to say, but one thing can be sure.

The baron needs to be stopped.


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24) The Last Command

The PCs are picking their way across what was a battle ground from a decade or so before. The war between the two nations is still ongoing, but this valley saw some terrible fighting when it happened.

As they travel through the fields of bones and rusted armor and weapons, they find themselves surrounded by ghostly figures dressed in the style of one of the armies. They were ordered to let no one pass into the territory beyond the valley, and they have continued to follow this command even in death.


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25) The orphans of several nearby towns in the war zone have been gathered together at a country chapel. The chapel's three clerics are running herd on a group of 100-150 children, ages range from 1 month to 7 years old. The brothers and sister of the chapel have decided to take the children into the mountains. They only have five carts with four oxen and one old nag to accomplish their task with. The children desperately need help as the advancing armies on both sides are clogging up the roads blocking the children's escape. Hostile foraging parties pillage the towns and the countryside as scouting parties skirmish with one another at the gap through the mountains.


26) The PCs are in a small walled city when suddenly it is under siege. The attacking army has a reputation for sacking and pillaging, and besides the PCs are on a time crunch because [insert regular plot]. A towns person connected to previous activities approaches the PCs about escaping the city before the assault. The NPC has a route, but needs help transporting something, and the insurance of extra muscle if anything goes wrong.


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27) The PC's are travelling across the battlefield when they encounter a ragged group of footmen with bloody weapons who march toward them. Assuming the party doesn't attack, the group stops as their leader pulls out his pristine officers blade and kneels before the PC's, offering their surrender.

About a minute after this encounter starts, the sound of hooves announces the arrival of a squad of another country's cavalry which forms a circle around the other groups. They demand the lives of the footmen and reject any offers of surrender. They recognize the PCs as heroes/adventurers and would prefer not to fight them, but orders are orders.

Does the party accept the first groups offer? Do they defend them from the second group? Or do they talk their way out only to let the second group slaughter the first.


26.1) For possible bonus points, depending on the game, make the NPC who offers them help one whose services/association they refused on moral grounds in the past.

28) The PCs hear a tale in a village about another group of adventurers who passed through not long ago. The villagers scraped together enough gold to pay them to kill a bandit lord, but that was almost a week ago, and they should've been back by now. One local woman grumbles, "If I'd know they were going to take our money and run, I'd've killed them to spare the next village myself."

A few villages down, the PCs encounter an inebriated group of adventurers in an inn. A group of villagers on the other side of the room are talking about an evil wizard holed up in an abandoned fortress in hushed tones, and eyeing the NPC adventurers with admiration. A few other seats at the establishment are occupied by violent looking patrons, and there is a militiaman standing in the street.

What could go wrong?


Not sure how that one ties into a war zone, but I like it.


I was thinking of a town surrounded by minefields, but I'm not sure how to fit it to the topic.


29) The PCs ride across a wooded hill when they find themselves in an ambush. This is a capture situation for this unit of scouts are heavily camouflaged or as invisible where necessary. The scouts have set net traps set up and with ropes of entrapment. If that is not enough, a wizard is in back with appropriate capture magic. They have been watching the PCs for enough time to have a good idea the PCs abilities. They will take the PCs to a Colonel Pack the leader of the Ranger Brigade. He is a charming and intelligent man burdened by war that is fighting on the losing side. He is fighting a holding action at a bridge crossing an impassable river allowing his side to escape. Col. Pack will ask the PCs

  • A) To capture or kill a monster on his flank easing the burden to his forces.
  • B) To make a trip to a nearby monastery and give them warning of events at the bridge.
  • C) To lag behind and blow up the bridge with the black powder in big casks.


If I know my group, they'd go for Option A because they think it will give them more XP.


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Gaurwaith wrote:
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but

...

Gaurwaith wrote:
It's just an encounter with a moral component, and not too specific to a warzone.

I've consulted with the greatest writers in the land, and after many days of hard labor, I think I've rectified the situation.

Cattleman wrote:

19. Escorts for a cart/caravan are required. This is meant to secure a temporary peace (an act of good faith) between two armies. The contents are a secret, but at some point during the trip it becomes apparent that you're transporting slaves.

Do you secure the peace offering and try to fix things afterwards, or do you free the slaves and abandon helping such a distasteful situation?

Gaurwaith wrote:
More importantly, and the reason I say this, is that all of these encounters are meant to be for PCs who are doing something else. They aren't soldiers or hired guards, they're adventurers. Even more, they're adventurers who already have a quest, and who are making a very real decision about if they even have the capacity to accept new quests as they pass through the area.

Yes, I've GM'd before. I get it.

Gaurwaith wrote:
This makes a much more real and full world, where the PCs aren't the only ones solving problems, and in fact very clearly don't have the capacity to do lots of things they wish they could. They can't stay and help the villagers repair their wall, but someone else will, because there are other real people in the world who are working to better themselves.

Truly. I really do get it.

Gaurwaith wrote:
Instead of the PCs struggling against the evils of a world, it's the PCs existing in a world that has different sides already engaged in different struggles, which the PCs are only a small part of. This gives much more agency to the NPCs, which I think creates a more immersive experience.

I just want to point out that you didn't comment on the one about spilled grain. Also notable, your suggestion here:

Gaurwaith wrote:
The next village the PCs are planning on visiting, where they will stay the night, is entirely abandoned.

I'd defy you to find a campaign that that doesn't fit in. It's a fine suggestion, but it's also not war specific.

Irontruth wrote:
At a small village near the battle lines everything seems quiet, but several villagers act very nervous. Everyone is trying to rush the PCs through town.

This one also fits in any campaign, other than the few words mutated to fit your request.

So when the above examples (grain, hostages, literally just an abandoned village) weren't particularly tailored for war I added my suggestion because I figured a couple words wouldn't be such an issue.

_______________
Now, for the sake of re-railing and being mildly productive:

30) A town is under the brutal thumb of a group of soldiers and locals are being publicly executed and tortured. You find out that it's because a spy lived in the area and they assume the citizens know where he is (or that one of them is the spy.) Capture the Spy alive (or maybe convince them he's dead) and you'll save the remaining townsfolk.

[This could be solved many ways: tracking the dude and capturing or killing him, convincing the guards some unrelated body or a citizen they already killed was the spy [use some mcguffins], framing someone [especially with mindcontrol or ventriloquism spells], convince them new orders have arrived and the Spy is small fish, convince them he never existed.. etc..]

31) A truce with some defenders of a small fort has been established with carts of clothing and other supplies. All seems well; but coincidentally those in the fort are falling terribly ill.


DungeonmasterCal wrote:
If I know my group, they'd go for Option A because they think it will give them more XP.

I think Pack is asking them to do all three.

-------

DungeonmasterCal wrote:


Not sure how that one ties into a war zone, but I like it.

Was that about my previous one, # 28, or a different one?

To elaborate a little, 28 could theoretically take place in any reasonably governmentless society which needs adventurers to take care of problems, but I think it's best in a war ravaged land.

1) That's why they can't just ask the local noble to take care of it, like he would most other places, since he's off fighting/been killed/out of soldiers etc.

2) It means the local villagers are at the end of their rope. This makes them more likely to hire fake adventurers since they're more desperate and less likely to be able to recover from the loss.

3) It means they're already angry at something, like having their friends killed. This makes the inn the PCs have just arrived at much more of a powder keg. Furthermore, there's less government authority to break up a fight, and the local militiaman was, in my mind, more likely to join the violent types at the bar if a fight did begin.

These factors make it hard on the PCs, because they probably are aware of those things, and are going to have to be careful. If they're sharp, they'll remember the old lady who mentioned how she wanted to literally kill the cheats herself and won't escalate things so as to cause a fight which kills the cheats just for being cheats.

Unless they're mean to criminals, in which case they might try to start a fight and get the villagers to kill them. But even then, some villagers probably die or get hurt, so presumably the PCs want to avoid that outcome.

Which makes it a tough situation to handle, where a lot could go wrong.

Of note, by the way, I don't personally have any particular interest in the actual armies occupying the warzone and their relationship with the PCs, I'm more interested in encounters involving the PCs and the area near where the armies are or have been. The changes in society resulting from recent war, in my opinion, create a very favorable environment for interesting and immersive encounters.

I'll admit that encounters with bands of soldiers can also be interesting.

-------

Goth Guru wrote:
I was thinking of a town surrounded by minefields, but I'm not sure how to fit it to the topic.

I have my own preferences, but there's definitely something there. Lots of armies have used traps of various descriptions which could create some predicaments.

------------

I've been wondering about another thing, which is how much these encounters force players to engage. It seems like they work at different levels and I wonder which ones people thing would be best for a group of murderhobos.

The very nature of the encounters on this thread is supposed to challenge traditional RPG tropes, where players take every quest they can get in order to maximize XP. Instead, they have a limited time frame and have to decide what to do with it. Furthermore, because of their nature as diversionary activities, the expected treasure values are lower, which is supposed to emphasize the moral component and increase immersion.

But I don't have the capacity to predict player behavior.

17, for example, is an encounter where I can't imagine what murderhobos would do. True, full on, pure murderhobos would actually just take the loot and not care about the NPCs. I think most people are just on a murderhobo spectrum, though, and I don't know how people who are 75% murderhobo would react. They are, however, being forced to consider the moral implications of their treasure grabbing actions, which is at least something.

18, in addition, and somewhat similarly, aligns character and player thinking. They're both thinking about how to get the treasure for themselves. Once engaged at this level, will further in character thought occur more frequently?

Would murderhobos even care about 1? Suppose she's poor, like most people in this devastated land, and nobody can offer any real reward. Players might still be moved by the sheer moral shock value, but that isn't going to particularly facilitate in character thinking. Or maybe, once morally and emotionally engaged by the shocking nature of the encounter, they'll be primed to actually respond to it in character? I genuinely don't know.

I wonder about other encounters like this, for which the unifying theme seems to be lack of out of character reward like gold or xp. How does a murderhobo respond under those circumstances?

-------

Cattleman:

Cattleman wrote:
Quote:
Gaurwaith]It's just an encounter with a moral component, and not too specific to a warzone.

Rereading your comment, I can see that this was wrong, and now feel like a bit of a dunce for saying that it wasn't too specific to a warzone. Initially, when reading your suggestion, I thought "It doesn't fit the given circumstances", and then wrote that sentence. Later, I refined this view to "it doesn't fit the given circumstance that the PCs are in a hurry." This refining of my viewpoint, however, occurred after I had already written that first sentence, and when I wrote,

Gaurwaith wrote:
More importantly, and the reason I say this, is that all of these encounters are meant to be for PCs who are doing something else.

I thought that somehow made the first sentence not matter. But clearly your encounter was written for a warzone, and so that first sentence did matter, and I was mistaken to include it.

Cattleman wrote:
when the above examples (grain, hostages, literally just an abandoned village) weren't particularly tailored for war I added my suggestion because I figured a couple words wouldn't be such an issue.

The first thing I want to say is that I don't take particularly large issue with your suggestion. I'm not upset or angry at you having written what you did, because you were behaving extremely reasonably when you did. I don't really feel like you've done anything wrong. I didn't say anything about the spilled grain, despite wanting to, because I didn't want to offend the person writing that encounter. I had much less reservations the second time because the second time I was observing a pattern, and commenting about that pattern, not really about what you were writing.

Except the words I wrote were ostensibly addressed to you. I was trying to clarify exactly what I wanted out of people who created encounters. That's why I included those notes which were so general. When you say things like "I've GM'd before...Truly. I really do get it." Those words acknowledge that I'm talking about general theory which you, as a GM, understand, and which good GMs should understand. When writing the original post for this thread, I almost included a few paragraphs describing the setting in greater detail, because I wanted to encourage creativity. I am not sure yet if I should regret not including these paragraphs. But addressing you in particular with new notes that are about general theory and which stand in for these paragraphs is not a good way to get the beneficial effect they might have had, because it is insulting to you personally.

I'm sorry about that, I think I could've done better.

Cattleman wrote:
for the sake of re-railing and being mildly productive

I don't personally feel that this discussion has derailed the thread, since we and everyone else are still contributing. I really don't think you hold that view either, but I'm slightly unsure about this judgment. I recognize, anyway, that if we do continue this conversation it has the potential for derailment, and I'd definitely like to continue talking with you until I'm sure we've reach a mutual understanding. If you'd like, I'd be happy to continue this conversation via PM

----------

Gaurwaith wrote:
11) The next village the PCs are planning on visiting, where they will stay the night, is entirely abandoned.
Irontruth wrote:

16. At a small village near the battle lines everything seems quiet, but several villagers act very nervous. Everyone is trying to rush the PCs through town.

Three foreign soldiers are hiding with several hostages. They've stolen a significant amount of loot and are trying to flee the fighting, when they saw the PCs approaching they assumed they were military officials sent to look for the soldiers and took hostages to assure the villagers compliance.

Cattleman has stated that they think these suggestions are not specific to the setting specified in the thread. I think this raises an interesting point about the broader topic of this thread, which is why I've given this a separate section from the previous one and not included it in a spoiler.

I thought both of those encounters fit the setting quite well, actually, and I wonder how others feel. The reason for this is that the setting characterizes the encounter.

If you were in the civilized heartland of an empire, finding an abandoned village would be a very different experience from finding one out in a warzone. There seem to be many more likely causes of villagers abandoning or being forced out of their homes in a war zone than in a civilized area. Finding an abandoned village in a warzone, the PCs might conjecture that citizens left because of an approaching army, or were driven out by bandits or some supernatural monster of the variety that thrives when organized government is busy doing things like fighting a war. Most importantly of all, an abandoned village makes sense in a warzone. It tells the same story as the rest of the world. Lawless and evil forces are growing, villagers are suffering, and the land is becoming ravaged. Things are falling apart.

I think this same reasoning applies to encounter 16, making it also fit the setting. In encounter 16, we see villagers suffering at the hands of the few soldiers who exist in their world, and struggling to avoid a conflict by rushing the PCs through.

Does this make sense? Do you think that these reasons really make the encounters fit?

Obviously, this is somewhat subjective. I'm asking for your opinion, and the reasons why you have it.

-------------

32) Nobody else seems to recognize it, but the fellow getting sloshed across the tavern from you has the characteristic facial features, hair color, and accent of nobles on the other side of the war.

Now the other patrons are beginning to sing a song in the name of their dead soldiers.


33: Landmines: The town is surrounded by landmines and the residents are starting to fight over the few roof gardens and dwindling supplies. A gunpowder landmine is DC 20 to mark with a flag or put a rock on so it won't blow. It may take several hours to clear a path into and out of town. They are sealed against water, but careful study can allow an alchemist or similar experts to learn how to make them.


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34. Field Hospital. The PCs travel into a valley that shelters a field hospital. It's run by priests who are unaligned with the ongoing conflict and maintain strict neutrality as they tend the wounded, dying, and deceased of both sides. If they need medical supplies, it's possible to get them here at cost, though donations would be appreciated as the medics are stretched thin. Hitting the hospital for the night, the PCs overhear two sentries talking about strange sounds off in the distance that night.

Turns out that the armies in the area have roused a monster (or two, three, hundred...) as they jockey for position in the surrounding area. Said critter(-s) are now moving away from the noisy humans to someplace else. Like, say, that valley which has a bit less noise....


35) Col. Pack for his actions and courage at the Bridge has been promoted. Gen Lucius Howe has died in combat across the river. Allowing Gen. Pack to take command of the Corp having found the PCs reliable in carrying out the task in 29. He is willing to use them as operators for more subtle projects such as


  • A) Enemy operatives are carrying diamonds across the river to pay and fund enemy agents in Pack country. Gen Pack wants that spy ring crippled if not shut down. The diamonds if located will be a king's ransom who shares the wealth depend on Gen Pack and the PCs
  • B) Pack’s scouts have crossed back over the river with the news. The Lord High Marshal’s baggage and plunder wagons and a herd of golden cattle with prize bull which is passing close to the river, if the PCs can capture then drive the wagons and herd back to the river. Gen Pack will be waiting for on the banks of the river with his engineers putting the finishing touches on the pontoon bridge. Is it a trap? Will the Lord High Marshal see the opportunity to capture the bridgehead and cross the river?
  • C) Gen Pack has marshaled his forces and lead them across the pontoon bridges in a surprise attack. Gen Pack asks the PCs to attack a villa where a group of key officers has gathered together to strategize a campaign to cross the river. This will be a Capture or Kill situation. Is this a trap to entice Gen Pack across the river to cut him off and defeat him once and for all.


36:Ghoul Town:The people in the town all look pale and laugh strangely. They seem secretive about food and eating habits. When they notice a holy symbol on one of the characters, they tell them," Oh, another group of adventurers went through here yesterday. They had a different patron but the same mission. You should hurry, like them." GM notes: The whole town is made up of ghouls. They are prospering from the war dead and have become lazy. Sense motive and truth magic will verify their story.


37) The PCs are on their way to a city when they encounter a number of refugees moving in the same direction. These seem rather well off, perhaps because they're young men. They say that they're the survivors of a raid on a village, trying to make it to the town where their money will be worth something. One of them apparently had a secret stash of treasure hidden away. They are generally friendly, helpful, and trusting.

They're also bandits, but it'll take a perceptive PC to notice that. They aren't going to attack a group of adventurers since they value their lives, and they plan to open a legitimate business with the money they stole from their friends and relatives once they get to the city.


38) Downwind of an inn off to one side of road, you catch the scent of the most delicious pork-roast you've ever smelled come wafting on the wind.

Pass it up, and you know it could be years before you get a chance to eat so well.


39. Ambush! The PCs run across a spot where a scouting party for one side has set up an ambush. Undetected (hopefully), the PCs can spring the trap themselves or let the scouts bushwack the oncoming patrol from the other side.

40. Sappers. A small dam holds back the water of a mountain lake. A team of sappers are at work trying to destroy the dam in order to flood the valley below and bog down a relief column headed to the battlefield. Further beyond are several farms that will also be affected by the inundation.


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#38 is my favorite so far. I've been having trouble making a purely good encounter that leaves the PCs with a good taste in their mouth, and this one does that literally and metaphorically. It's important to include good things as well as bad, because humans are social creatures with strong motivations to act for the greater good. The first world war is way way way more interesting because of the christmas truces than it ever could be as a world where everything is horrible for no reason.

Also the inn could eventually be destroyed. Though I like to think it wouldn't be, and the local bandits and villagers would set aside their differences here. A flower blooming in a field of mud has to actually be a flower, not just more mud.


41:Iron Juggernaut:Standard Iron Golem stuck in the mud. The 5 soldiers accompanying it have talked some villagers into helping, by promising to defend the village. It's going in the same direction as the characters. Note that as soon as it's out of the mud it will head straight for the enemy. It's speed is 20 and it cannot run so the characters will soon outrun it. The GM can make it a huge Iron Golem if they like.


Dot for interest


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42)“The Great and Merciless Duh” and his rampaging horde “The Backstreet Boys” has been pillaging and burning up and down the countryside. Setting towns who do not submit ablaze. The city-state Wesaria is known for its banking interests, capital exchange, textiles, and leatherworks, it is the prize worth the taking. Wesaria sets in a mountain valley on the shores of a lake and the only access is a gap in the mountains. The Trade Union has hired the Goblin Fire Brigade.The band of roving firemen is comprised of a wizard, two gnome alchemists, thirty to forty goblin firemen, twenty flesh-golems to pull the wagons and operate the pumps and two ladder wagons, three pump wagons with hoses, and five 500 gallon tanker wagons. The goblins are armed with fireman’s axes and flamethrowers. The Fire Brigade is a professional and disciplined unit (only letting out the occasional woopie.) The PCs will be hired to keep an eye on the goblins and to lend a helping hand if needed.
[list]

  • A) The city is to burn the Trade Union has decided that “It is better to burn it all down ourselves than let one balance sheet fall in the hands of the horde.” The goblins are to burn the deserted city down using their flamethrowers.
  • B) The Trade Union wants to put on a show for the horde. The goblins are managing the fires and smudge-pots then the wizard uses large scale illusions. Some buildings are put to the torch for effect. The goblins well put out any errant fires.
  • C) The Trade Union wants to strike first as the horde moves through the thickly forested mountain pass to Wesaria. The fire brigade will light a fire under the horde. Preferably parachuted in from a zeppelin and behind them.


  • So many good ideas in this thread. I've bookmarked it so I can find it if it drops off the main feed so that I can use some of or most of them in my upcoming campaign.


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    42A: If the characters think they are too busy to take the job, Captain Westin will offer them a box of potions. After the job is done he will give them a paper telling which potion does what.
    DM Notes: Yes the glowing red potion is a potion of fire breath.


    43. "Anguzzolboun's Adventure Supplies" is your last chance to stock up on TP before heading into the Mana Wastes, where you don't dare cast your hygiene cantrips.

    But it looks like you'd be waiting in line for over an hour.


    DungeonmasterCal wrote:
    use some of or most of them in my upcoming campaign.

    Let me know how they turn out. I'm always interested in learning.

    44) The PCs have lost their map, and have to ask for directions. The man they ask eyes them for a moment, then gives them directions to the next town. "It goes right past the Bird and the Baby, you'll probably want to stay the night..." after a moment, he adds, "or you could take a short cut I know of..."


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    The new campaign won't start until sometime in January, from the looks of things, but I've bookmarked this thread so I can keep up with it as well as let contributors know if I've used any of their suggestions.


    45) This one requires some significant passage of time.

    As the PCs are setting out on their journey, perhaps a neighboring village from where they started their careers, they encounter a local lord/knight mustering volunteers to go off and fight in a war. The young men are eager to go off on their adventure, and hand off the small sum of money they get for enlisting to their families. A farmer in his early 60s houses the PCs for the night to show his hospitality.

    A year or more later, the PCs come through the town again. The farms are largely deserted with the fields fallow. The center of town is a hive of dour activity as the place is a crossroads for the army to pass through, and/or resupply. Many of the original inhabitants are gone, with thieves, black marketeers, and opportunists running the town. The farmer has been reduced to begging, and he doesn't even recognize the PCs.


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    45.1) Bonus points if the PCs do some sort of quest to help out the villagers the first time they see it, and feel good about themselves. Perhaps they get back a dowry and help a young couple get happily married. Maybe they deal with a local goblin or kobold problem. Something quick that makes the villagers happy and lets the PCs learn some names.

    46) A well off looking girl of about twenty approaches the PCs and begs them to take her with them. She's been married off into a very unhappy situation, with a tyrant of a stepmother and an alcoholic husband. This was all well and good, the world isn't all roses and honey, but she's just learned that she's pregnant, and doesn't want to have a child in this situation.

    If the PCs do help her, she proves to be quite able bodied and helpful. She slows them down a bit, and they'll probably wish they had that extra time because someone else later down the road will need help and they won't be able to provide it, but not too much, and she's got other family in the nearest city.

    If they don't help her, they find her a few months later traveling with a hooded cloak and a bruised face, no longer pregnant.

    47) A man with a club foot wasn't conscripted. He says he was wounded it in an accident splitting wood a few years back, and neither side is desperate enough to start recruiting cripples. So the soldiers left, and left him behind. Despite his hurt, he's still one of the most able bodied individuals in the town, and folk young and old look to him as a leader. He's taken to wearing a sword, and is a true patriot. It's still early enough that the war is popular.

    Well, it's popular with everyone but the soldiers. They've just been smashed in a decisive battle which killed about half of them. The lone survivor of the company which set out from the company has just returned, with a broken arm and a gash on his head, to find closed doors and cold shoulders. His only family are dead, and the rest are shunning him as a deserter, which he is.

    Things have escalated between the cripple and the injured man, and it looks like they're about to come to blows. The rest of the town looks on with bated breath.

    48) An isolated homestead, it's about big enough for one family. The only son is in the process of robbing his sobbing parents, who are loading up their only cart to which is attatched their only horse.

    The father is giving the son his blessing, saying, "Live, son, prosper and be happy. My greatest hope is that you will surpass me in every way, taking everything I have to give you and building yourself a happy life." The son keeps screaming at him to shut up, becoming increasingly shrill, until finally he accidentally smacks the horse, causing it to start running suddenly. This breaks his mother's foot, causing her to shriek, and sends the horse running in the wrong direction, right into a pothole, which breaks its leg and flips the cart.

    If the PCs still haven't acted, the father approaches the son cautiously, intending to help him.

    The son refuses help, though he's obviously hurt, and keeps threatening his father with a sword even though he's clearly on the verge of unconsciousness, and his father could probably easily take it from him. If the PCs do nothing, he will gather a random assortment of goods from the back of the cart and stumble towards the woods, bleeding profusely from his head and waving his sword futilely at his father, who will follow along patiently. His mother, however, now enraged by her broken foot, will hobble after him screaming and in a rage.

    If the PCs still do nothing, the mother will draw a dagger from his belt and try to stab the son, who holds out his sword to stop her. She is undaunted, and charges straight onto it, impaling herself. Stepping back in shock, the son drops the sword and looks at his father, who in turn draws his own dagger and murders the son he was just giving his blessing. He will then try to kill himself.

    Also, their dinner is burnt.


    49) as in 45) a town on a crossroads there is a man raving about the town not being the same. He says he grew up just outside town in Bailycorn Manor. He says he knows most of the people in town, though they do not have a recollection of a George Bailycorn living in town. He screams "Clearance, you are going to get your wings! I wish I was born. I wish I was born. An angel gets its' wings when a bell rings." as they close the cell door on him. The guard says, " that is sad there aren't any bells in Potterville.''

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