THE DWARF CAMPAIGN: Need plot ideas.


Advice


I'm going to be GMing for an all dwarf campaign soon and I'd like some brainstorming if you would be so kind. Skip to the last line for the question.

What I have so far for a plot:
A dwarf clan is enslaved (by giants?).
Most of the clan escapes and is given protection as refugees by a local human kingdom for a price.
Time passes and the relationship sours. The dwarves move on towards the hills to re establish a kingdom.
At the last camp in a meadow before the hills, Queue a group of level 1 dwarven characters to travel into the hills and find a home and a kingdom.

I was thinking of trying to keep it sandboxey and maybe use a bit of the kingmaker rules, but may just keep that stuff in the background. I think the level 1 adventure is going to be to find an old cave complex and clear out the goblins. Level 2 would be to investigate a nearby mine (reskinned from the dungeon of crown of the kobold king), clear it of evil, and find something to mine. Level 3 will be an escort adventure to move the clan into the location while fighting off orcs. Then I'm low on ideas. I want some giants and drow as antagonists later, but that's about it.

So what are some good adventure hooks that will grab the interest of a band of dwarves trying to set up a home?


I'll keep an eye on this, because I'm planning a possible all-dwarf campaign myself.

As to answer your question:

-These are homeless dwarves, destitute and wandering the world with their clan almost destroyed. What do they want most? A home. So, there are several options to go about this:
-Shoring defenses: you've got a small clan of dwarves, in the wild, surrounded by enemies. THey've got to find friends, FAST. Maybe even people they dont like normally (like elves) would like to have help from the stalwart dwarves. (you can also include trading partners here, cause they cant do everything themselves)

-Alternate "homes": now, this might be more complicated, but a larger ruin might be better. The first walk-through secures a "core" to the ruins, allowing access to the outside, maybe some mines.But then they discover the ruins go further than they thought! They have a huge ruin to defend/secure, and not just a few rooms.

-Community: seek out other destitute dwarves, and bring them into the fold. Help dwarven communities in larger cities, convince them to come back where they can "truly be dwarves".

One general tip I can give you is to go through the lore of the "forgotten realms", the d&d setting. A great many dwarves there are in a similar situation, and there are many stories on the subject. For example, clan battlehamer had to flee it's home when it was invaded by a shadow dragon. THey found a new one in the north, but they eventually tried to reclaim their fortress.


You could tie in to the Faction Guide's Ninth Battalion.

Under the Battalion's direction, the dwarves could be out to reclaim a lost settlement, search for a lost weapon (the axe of the dwarvish lords, Glintaxe's axe) or a holy relic. Could be the Batallion needs a strategic presence somewhere due to some threat and sends that group. A request from another race to come and mine an area or be a defensive help.

You can pretty much use any "outside reason" by incorporating the Battallion; as opposed to needing an internal reason for the clan.

LOVE that early Darkmoon Vale stuff! I even made a PFACG Adventure set there. Great concept for a game! I'll be applying to play in this one.

Silver Crusade

Well there is always the standard.. In the Mines they built the deep deep mines and Delved too Deep and broke through into the underdark.. that could be a way to come across the drow.

Far as the giants.. thats easy. Clan wants to recover whatever things were left behind. Perhaps a mission to go scout, and clear out the old stronghold.. maybe longterm goal for that. Perhaps get some revenge upon the giants.

Perhaps they want to make buckets of coin from the humans selling them what a dwarf would consider a bad weapon (common quality) and keeping the masterwork stuff for themselves.

perhaps they want to use the coin to expand with. Diplomacy with the humans they took shelter with. The humans cant ALL be bad..

Perhaps war with the humans if they are all bad.

A dwarven outpost will need a few things. Mines, forges, temple to smithing type deity, brewery, tavern or communal dinning area, barracks or housing quarters, a section or two of the mines to grow mushrooms, perhaps somewhere outside to raise ponys and sheep,goats,dogs.

After that they would go out prospecting for more ores. Can never have too many iron mines. Odds are if you find 100 iron veins you will find a few much rarer veins. All the metals that make up coins and fancy inlays, gems. Then of course people to buy all that extra iron.

Of course people would try to rob them.

Perhaps they come across a portal to the plane of earth within the mine.. that allows them to get access to many rare materials quickly. Perhaps they anger the elemental lords or even just some elemental's that came through disguised as ore..

Possibilities are endless.. Have run more then a few dwarven campaigns.


Great Ideas!

I like the idea of becoming a beacon to forlorn dwarves and using that as a reason to push further into the mountains to find better places with more stuff and ancient ruins and active evil strongholds to fight and explore.


Any experience with the ultimate campaign/kingmaker kingdom rules? Are they fun? I was thinking either running them in the background so that when the dwarves come back from an adventure there are new buildings every time, and maybe the occasional monster attack, but could let the party have an active hand in the design if it seems like a fun side game to the main campaign.


At middle to higher levels you could probably adapt and use a ton of stuff from The Hook Mountain Massacre and Fortress of the Stone Giants, volumes 3 and 4 of Rise of the Runelords. The adventures are not expressly written for Dwarves but provide a lot of stuff that would be ideal I think. Either could be a regional menace that needs to be dealt with before they can 'settle down'.

Dark Archive

Adventure Hook: Someone has stolen all the booze! Unacceptable!


Considering that we'll possibly have both a drunken monk and drunken brute archetype, that will lead to carnage.


I've been in two different all dwarf parties. It can a lot of fun.

Not all dwarves are crafters, but they are from a crafting culture. Perhaps in addition to finding a new home - which could take a great deal of time, they need to secure some material resources and/or trade agreements.

I fully support the idea of exploring the age-old racial emnities. Who is more xenophobic than a bunch of dwarves? :)


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Ciaran Barnes wrote:

I've been in two different all dwarf parties. It can a lot of fun.

Not all dwarves are crafters, but they are from a crafting culture. Perhaps in addition to finding a new home - which could take a great deal of time, they need to secure some material resources and/or trade agreements.

I fully support the idea of exploring the age-old racial emnities. Who is more xenophobic than a bunch of dwarves? :)

A bunch of elves?


bfobar wrote:
Any experience with the ultimate campaign/kingmaker kingdom rules? Are they fun? I was thinking either running them in the background so that when the dwarves come back from an adventure there are new buildings every time, and maybe the occasional monster attack, but could let the party have an active hand in the design if it seems like a fun side game to the main campaign.

I'm the GM in a homebrew campaign with UCa kingdom rules and a Kingmaker campaign too. Both groups enjoy the kingdom rules, but you should see your players style of gameplay. Kingdom session isn' for everyone.

Also Ultimate Rulership by Jason Nelson expands the Ultimate Campaign rules with exotic (non-human) settlements as Cavern City.


After many years of Order of the Stick, I can only imagine dwarves with a Scottish accent and viewpoint. Therefore, on a lighter note: http://www.buzzfeed.com/robinedds/the-most-wonderfully-scottish-things-that -have-ever-happe?s=mobile

Silver Crusade

If you're interested:

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2php6?Introducing-VillageMaker


Read the saga of Boatmurdered!

In the year 1050, the dwarven civilization of Kinmelbil, "The Oaken Tomes", exhausted the last of its mines. Driven by lust for gold and rumors of the priceless and all but mythical metal adamantine, a team of seven colonists was dispatched to build a new home for the dwarves of Kinmelbil in the Smooth Points of Pride. The first year of diaries from the ill-fated foreman of the mine were recovered, giving some hint as to the beginnings of the fortress that once stood there, if not its mysterious and presumably gruesome fate...

The party plays a group of dwarves sent to reclaim the lost dwarven hall Koganusan, which was lost to madness, despair and overcomplicated trap mechanisms.


I was thinking of a similar idea; you could run it as a sort of hybrid-megadungeon/sandbox campaign.

Get yourself a standard megadungeon (like World's Largest Dungeon, Rappan Athuk, etc.) and the homeless dwarves are given the adventure hook that they can clear out the megadungeon as a new home. As they clear room by room, NPCs can move in and start re-purposing them.

I haven't figured out the exact way to implement my idea yet, but I was thinking of using the Ultimate Campaign rules for constructing buildings to figure out the revenue the NPCs generate once they utilize and renovate the dungeon room by room to build the rooms they need for their new society. Also, this should generate immigration somehow as well.


The first session went well. I used the sandbox exploration rules to generate a vibrant wilderness for the PCs to investigate while dropping two "five room dungeons" with plot hooks on two of the squares. The pc's are now in the middle of one of those trying to free a village of awakened beavers from a band of orcs that is using them to make a lock system in their beaver dams to move barges of ore from somewhere ahead in the mountains. They PCs are intrigued.

Except for the first level druid getting caught alone and mobbed by 4 orcs and dying and getting replaced by the twin brother later, the game has gone well.

Remember kids, if the party is taking a surprise round and shooting with ranged weapons, don't move forward instead. Also, orc ferocity, while not overly powerful, definitely adds an element of panic to melee brawls.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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Two Dwarf resources to consider:

Dwarven Nations trilogy from Dragonlance gives some excellent insights into a Dwarf culture (as do a couple other Dragonlance books)

The AP Throne of Night, which just had its first module released.


These dwarves are very much a homeless people. How would the human kingdom treat them? For inspiration, you might look at the way humans treat elves in Bioware's Dragon Age series. Hint: It's not nice.


I think if I were running an all-dwarf campaign I would change the dwarf racial bonuses to +2 Con, -2 Cha and +2 to one other stat - so as to make (almost) all the classes equally appealling.


I think it would be interesting to have some internal conflict in the clan. Nothing like outright violence but rather disagreement about an important decision that must be made soon - likely in how the clan relates to the outside world.


Durinor wrote:
I think if I were running an all-dwarf campaign I would change the dwarf racial bonuses to +2 Con, -2 Cha and +2 to one other stat - so as to make (almost) all the classes equally appealling.

I was actually going to play with the races myself for this reason.

Variant dwarves that have either +2 INT or +2 WIS, variant elves that have +2 INT or +2 WIS, variant halflings that have +2 WIS or +2 CHA, or variant gnomes that have +2 CHA or +2 INT.

It opens the door for some interesting characters, but balance becomes kind of an issue, because that's just what happens when you start playing with races.

As for the story, ancient legends speak of an enormous underground cavern filled with hoards of treasure, and ruled by a dragon. Campaign is to find clues about the dragon and the location of his lair so the dwarves can find it and take it for their own to create their own new kingdom.

They should find out about what they hear as an actual other dwarf kingdom and meet other dwarves in the process (possibly duergar) and have to make friendly relations with other races like elves.

Throw in McGuffins like a magic key that is held by the drow, forcing them to sneak into an ancient temple in the underdark to steal it, because it's the only way to unlock the door to the dragon's cavern.

And their must be a human bard NPC, who is an archer.


So far the dwarves are half way to level 2 and we have a:
Ranger with two handed style and a long axe with all the giant killing things (and is really killing things well)
Viking fighter sword and board (not as effective, but isn't dying and is hitting.)
Drunken monk with a bunch of shuriken (contributes)
Undead master touch cleric (I hate this character and want it to die.)
Druid with a critter (Died and was replaced already.)
One more character should show up next week with a new PC.

I need to think about low level enemy variety so it isn't just orcs! orcs! orcs!


Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan wrote:

Two Dwarf resources to consider:

Dwarven Nations trilogy from Dragonlance gives some excellent insights into a Dwarf culture (as do a couple other Dragonlance books)

The AP Throne of Night, which just had its first module released.

I read all that dragonlance stuff when I was like 12!


Humphrey Boggard wrote:
I think it would be interesting to have some internal conflict in the clan. Nothing like outright violence but rather disagreement about an important decision that must be made soon - likely in how the clan relates to the outside world.

How so? Like have an ultra conservative isolationist group vs the merchant group? How would the PCs get hooked and how would it turn into an adventure?


master_marshmallow wrote:
Durinor wrote:
I think if I were running an all-dwarf campaign I would change the dwarf racial bonuses to +2 Con, -2 Cha and +2 to one other stat - so as to make (almost) all the classes equally appealling.

I was actually going to play with the races myself for this reason.

Variant dwarves that have either +2 INT or +2 WIS, variant elves that have +2 INT or +2 WIS, variant halflings that have +2 WIS or +2 CHA, or variant gnomes that have +2 CHA or +2 INT.

It opens the door for some interesting characters, but balance becomes kind of an issue, because that's just what happens when you start playing with races.

As for the story, ancient legends speak of an enormous underground cavern filled with hoards of treasure, and ruled by a dragon. Campaign is to find clues about the dragon and the location of his lair so the dwarves can find it and take it for their own to create their own new kingdom.

They should find out about what they hear as an actual other dwarf kingdom and meet other dwarves in the process (possibly duergar) and have to make friendly relations with other races like elves.

Throw in McGuffins like a magic key that is held by the drow, forcing them to sneak into an ancient temple in the underdark to steal it, because it's the only way to unlock the door to the dragon's cavern.

And their must be a human bard NPC, who is an archer.

With empryeal sorcerers, dwarves can go full caster with a 20 stat. Inquisitors with the conversion inquisition can be a face with wisdom. Dwarven trapper rangers are better rogues than rogues for trapfinding.

I don't think variant dwarves are necessary unless you really want to be a specific class build that requires a very specific stat block.

For the story stuff, I like it. Its going to be 4 elemental node temples in a crater in the middle of the mountain range instead of a dragons layer though. Dragons may still be in the temples though.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

retake a sky citadel.

Drive creatures further down to reclaim a historic burial ground of ancient dwarves who died just before reaching the surface.

claim an ideal location in preparation of a flood or some other disaster.

a new military weapon makes their current home a poor location to defend

betrayal, leading to setting up a bad outpost or that leads to the destruction of their home.

A religious quest

a large artifact that cannot be moved has been found

an alliance that requires a new settlement

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

The Throne of Night AP presents options for variant dwarves with differing racial stat bonuses and such, so an all dwarf party can be more balanced.

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