My players are building a resort now...


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So at fourth level in a homemade campaign, I marooned my PCs on a small island chain in the middle of nowhere. I saw no real problem with this.

Ten levels later, they can now safely, reliably, cheaply, and quickly get on or off of the islands. Plot is delayed for about an in-game month, so they've decided to build an island resort (mostly using wall of stone, and stone shape/hiring masons). Then they're only going to open it up to super-rich retired adventurers, so they can have lots of 20-th level ex-adventurers running around.

I'm fine with this plan. I'll deal with the high-level NPCs later. What I want advice on is (a) how to help them go about building the resort, (b) how to make it entertaining but also challenging, and (c) any random amusing ideas about things that should happen.

Thanks in advance for any and all ideas!

Scarab Sages

Earth elemental is now mad that you stone shaped his cousin Vick while Vick was napping. They discover a rare key to the local ecosystem animal nest in an area they are going to start building in. People who travel island to island by boat stop by wondering why people are building on their sacred hunting ground. They dig deep and find magma, surprise, island is a volcano!

One of the islands in the chain is actually a villain's secret volcano lair...

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They are approached by a nearby nation with a request to spy on their future guests.

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-buried treasures/artifacts/sealed booga-boos
-migratory herd of high level monsters. And your island just happens to be their mating ground
-having so many 20th level people running around...that implies they each have LONG histories. And thus lots of enemies. Have a siege by assassins, murder mysteries, and much, much more!

For assassins...I kinda like druids focused on earth elemental bodies. Besides being decent in melee (good str bonus, reach with scimitars, DR 5/- and immunities), they can do guerilla tactics with earth glide. While the right spells can counter you have the right spells prepared? And will experienced assassins give you time to prepare spells? Constantly taking pot shots at the wizard trying to take 15 minutes seems like a great idea. A large enough group could keep this up for quite a while.

Broken Lizard's "Club Dreadd"? "Scooby-Doo" (the film)? Okay, maybe not. But an unexpected bad guy (a la Scooby's BBEG), might be fun.

In all seriousness, there's also the old "One of these islands is really an ancient Dragon Turtle" routine. Maybe combine elements of "Salt in the Wound's" bound Tarrasque?

You and your players came up with an awesome campaign hook idea; I could see my party doing it too, and adding a brewery.

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a quest to find the best cooks in the land then a quest to create a refrigerated bag of holding. now they go on quests to gather rare ingredients for their master cooks to please your guests. also could open small busness/guild that hires out all this work out to npc exotic food hunters

They uncover the hidden prison of a high level lych? And now know why the island was deserted.

Just building the resort is a heck of a lot of fun. Don't the Sim games allow you, with sufficient game money, build as elaborate and decorated a mansion as you can dream up?

Maybe one of the fantasy mapping dooflichies out there can be used to sculpt the terrain and plop the building atop it, complete with palm trees, boat moors - maybe even glasssee-bottomed boats to go pearl diving, fishing for sea serpents and "counting coup on sahuagin mutants for fun!".

Clientele-wise, level 20 NPCs aren't going to be satisfied with mundane frippery. They'll want impressive illusions, exotic performers they can sleep with, firework shows every week, luau-style feasts, massages of all varieties performed by therapists with more than run-of-the-mill skill sets. Look up high-priced resorts and what they feature, then add working magic to the mix.

Depending upon the clientele they wish to cater to, more black market tastes will be a necessity. Perhaps even a gambling room, depending on the setting.

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They've actually been dead since the shipwreck and 'building the resort' is just their pathetic attempt to resist 'moving on' to their final reward.

marcryser wrote:

They've actually been dead since the shipwreck and 'building the resort' is just their pathetic attempt to resist 'moving on' to their final reward.

So fights against waves of psychopomps and daemons. Got it.

The island is actually one of the biggest Land Kami the world has ever seen, and all this fiddling around with it's domain has made him... upset.

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As soon as the resort is built, they find out they build on this fellow. And naptime is over. Now they need to figure out how to keep him sleeping!

One 20th level ex-adventurer "suddenly" became insane and starts destroying all around in the island.

One 20th level ex-adventurer is instead a disguised Devil/Demon/Daemon/whateveryoulike.

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I would give them ex-adventurers maybe, but no 20th level ones. That could quickly unbalance the campaign by allowing them to have access to 20th level characters to do things for them. Which is honestly a bad idea. Besides, why would a 20th level character care to go there?

No one reaches that high of a level on Golarion, excepting PC characters. Now, you may not be playing Golarion, but there are some pretty good reason why you shouldn't have handfuls of 20th level characters just lounging about. I wont go into the reasons why, but it's simply not very reasonable.

Beyond that, 20th level characters would have immense fortunes to spend, which could buy them somethign truly spectacular that they don't have to pay for each month. Or perhaps they still have important things to do. You don't reach 20th level without making major enemies along the way.

I would recommend that you don't have NPCs over 13th level. Particularly important people might be higher level than this, but they should be important and are not likely to have time to visit a resort.

I'd still enjoy building the resort just for the lulz. ;) If they're clever, they'll install permanent artistic features that are unique and just so happen to coincide with detailed memorizations for future abilities such as teleport and word of recall.

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The players could stock the resort with monsters, so the retired adventurers can relive glory days of the past.

Alternatively, the PCs could hire monsters to enact fake combats, and equip retired adventurers with non lethal weapons.

20th level adventurers vacation on Elysium or tricked out demiplanes. I would say like 13th level max.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

20th Lvl adventurers don't pay with real money, cause why bother doing that.
An enemy of a 20th Lvl adventurer decides to turn the island into a trap.
Storms/tidal waves/hurricanes....
Something big steps on it.
Something big eats it/ takes a bite out of it
Pirate 20th Lvl adventurers
The authority turns it into a fort
It becomes a null magic zone/wild magic
it is secretly sabotaged by a competing resort
not enough is done to draw customers so it becomes a dungeon for anventures in your next game.
Their employees demand appropriate payment, causing your party to adventure for cash.

You know the pre-movie short in front of Inside Out? The singing volcano? Same thing, except this one is a dick who likes the smell of burnt adventurer.

You could have outlandish requests from the guests as shenanigans and adventure hooks.
Say someone wants them to fetch the Somewhat-Sparkling Golden Mushroom of Shpivolor from a stupidly-deep cavern full of aberrations. Or there's an assassin coming after a guest and the guest wants you to find out who it is... only to have the "guest" be the assassin in disguise sending them on a wild goose chase looking for succubi or something while they get their target and start covering up the murder! Or someone wants grilled cheese for lunch so your party has to invent sliced bread in an anti-magic field created by a spiteful lactose-intolerant Wizard. Or maybe no guests are showing up because the whole resort is made of rocks a la Stonehenge so they have to find a good PR guy.
Okay, maybe those last two are just silly nonsense, but still doable!

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Retired 20th level adventurers come to the island, but they're always poking around and investigating. Taking 20 while searching for traps everywhere. Breaking into the managements offices to look for the head of the secret cult or conspiracy.

The guests are very disruptive and nothing gets done. Profits begin to fall.

Then, if they don't come up with it themselves, have one of the NPC staff come up with a great idea: "What if you made a mystery for the guests to solve?"

Make your player characters GM for your NPC's.

Bonus points if they make the final treasure a mirror.

Silver Crusade

Nex and Geb end up vacationing at the island at the same time and challenge each other to resort games like ping pong. One wacky adventure later, Second Mana Wastes.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

First thing, the thread should be "Characters" not "players". I envisioned a gaming group actually building their own private gaming resort in the Caribbean.

Anyway, if you want to be nice, added bungalows should be allowed to be made reasonably. With PC wealth by level, engineering rolls, and magic, the place could be built quickly and managed with downtime rules from Ultimate Campaign.

If it all goes to plan, the place is a gold mine for plot hooks, potential replacement PCs, cohorts, and other such allies. Intrigue might also happen now and then, though with high level retired adventurers, I might keep that rare if you want it to be a long running business.

If you want to be challenging, have old rivals of the retired adventurers attack every now and then, or guests getting out of hand. Maybe curse the Island and turn it into some sort of Fantasy Island that grants retirees their greatest wish - yet twists the wish into something dreadful at worst, or life lesson at best. There's also wild mythical creatures to worry about (or maybe spin it as a safari opportunity).

'Hi there! We're from the Cheliax Tourism Board! Now I know you're not really part of Imperial Cheliax yet, so we've brought over a few of our finest lawyers and negotiators who would just love to discuss the many benefits and features of joining in our shining empire!'

As far as how to build it? You might want to look into Ultimate Campaign. There should be some town-building stuff in there, and I'd say that's exactly what you're doing.

High level NPCs bring high level threats.

They get their first influx of retired adventurers, and one of their enemies who's been scrying around sees a whole bunch of powerful do-gooders in the same place. He starts making calls and getting organized.

After a day or two of planning, the big bad villain from someone else's story brings in his version of The Evil League of Evil to the PCs doorstep.

This fight is way out of their league. The encounters involved would mostly be trying to save their own asses while a bunch of demigods duke it out all over their new island paradise.

After the dust settles, the whole place is a ruin, most of the powerful heroes are dead, and the PCs are going to want some payback against the Evil League.

Cue new adventure.

Way too many of these here seemed to just be "kick the players in the face for thinking outside the box", so I'd rather go with folks of some kind getting interested in the island instead of the island trying to get the characters off itself.

The tastes of high-level adventurers are obviously refined.

So the party must go adventuring to places like the Elemental Plane of Papayas, the Lost Empire of the Golden Pineapple, and the Hidden City of Guava to search out the best ingredients for their poolside bar.

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Don't be too hard on them, or it might be their last resort.

I wish I knew the code for the putting on sunglasses ascii.

A classic style dungeon in case any of the adventurers decide they want to take a run at it.

Grand Lodge

20th level NPCs wouldn't stay there. They already have their own personal demiplanes, kindgoms, etc. Random nobles and whatnot probably would, though.

Wow. This is so amazing, I have to say it backwards: wow. I am stunned at the creativity here - thanks everyone.

However, since a lot of people seem concerned about the concentration of high-level NPCs, I will explain how I was planning on dealing with them.
One: they're old and crotchety, and don't mind a nice sun-dappled beach with the occasional extreme peril to keep them on their toes. Think of this as retirement. Their average age will be the maximum age-1d20.
Two: One of my players recently made a new character, who came from a campaign oriented around hunting dragon-warrior-things down and killing them (the dragon-warrior-things recently woke up, and are only mortal because they were never properly built). There are still eight tooling about the multiverse, each of which should easily be able to take out several 20th level characters.
In addition, a race of aquatic giants that I built for this world are about to go to war with the surface races again. So fortifying and defending the island against a near-constant high-power siege will also occupy the NPCs.
Oh, and the BBEG was a librarian back in a dragon empire, a long time ago. He's had about ten thousand years to prepare. The monsters he's sending out in front of him are going to be terrifying, and he himself will be able to wipe any unoccupied NPCs off the board without issue.

Additions/changes/total replacements are welcome - I only plan a few weeks in advance so that I can adapt to whatever weird things my player's do, and I have about a month here, so feel free to ignore any or all of the above. But for those of you who care, now you know why I am unconcerned about having so many powerful NPCs around.

Scarab Sages

Scythia wrote:

Don't be too hard on them, or it might be their last resort.

I wish I knew the code for the putting on sunglasses ascii.

Or embedding images.

back on topic: Guests keep complaining that a room is haunted. How can that be when it was just built? They can either capitalize on the haunted inn or investigate the haunt/poltergeist and to get rid of it they have to find the piece of recovered wood/door in that room (that is the actual item that is haunted) that was used from the old church where something bad happened and go right the wrong.

Also rich high level advneturers would be lower level. It would be difficult to develop a resort for people with access to plane travel and teleport. So either aim lower, or they need to aim higher and have lots of extra-planar servants or rooms, strange gravity rooms etc

Watch a few episodes of Fantasy Island ...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Thank you for not stomping on your players for this. I wanted to build a B&B in the Emerald Spire, and the GM had a dragon move in and claim it away from me just so that he wouldn't have to deal with it.

This bummed me, because Emerald Spire would make an ideal B&B!

Emerald Spire Amenities:

  • Free teleportation anywhere in the Spire
  • Pleasure gardens and a zoo!
  • The Norgorber Level redone in bandit chic!
  • Automata reprogrammed as masseurs and cabana boys!
  • A flooded level for swimming!
  • A lava level for adventure tourism
  • Come see how the ancient Azlanti partied!

Okay, so plenty of combat. What about just 'normal' difficulties? For example, if my players build multiple stories, how much floor space can be open without support? When the summer storms come again, how will that damage the buildings?
I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't want this to become another combat-based challenge. It already is challenging. Building a house takes skill, and since my players are voluntarily making this more complicated than Profession (architect), I want to go with them. I would just use the Ultimate Campaign rules, but those are pretty heavily dependent on having society around / not just using magic.

Perhaps a better question is this: if you had only wall of stone and stone shape (both unlimited) and had to build a shelter on an isolated island in the middle of the ocean, how would you go about making it sturdy, but also comfortable? What non-monster dangers would you anticipate? As you had days, then months, and then years to work on your shelter, what would you add to it?

There are these other people on the island called "The Others", who may or may not be remnants of a long forgotten experiment known as "the Dharma Project"... Oh, wait! Sorry...

Otherwhere wrote:

There are these other people on the island called "The Others", who may or may not be remnants of a long forgotten experiment known as "the Dharma Project"... Oh, wait! Sorry...

Hmmm... I do not know this reference. If it is one.

And besides, it's not that I'm against more monster recommendations. It's just that I don't think I'll be able to improvise the other information as easily.

Wouldn't a lyre of building be useful to help build the resort?

SanKeshun wrote:
Otherwhere wrote:

There are these other people on the island called "The Others", who may or may not be remnants of a long forgotten experiment known as "the Dharma Project"... Oh, wait! Sorry...

Hmmm... I do not know this reference. If it is one.

And besides, it's not that I'm against more monster recommendations. It's just that I don't think I'll be able to improvise the other information as easily.

It's a reference to LOST, the TV series.

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