Adventure tropes / clichés?


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I probably will DM to bunch young teenagers PF2 - who are new to P&PRPGs - when PF2 comes out and I am pretty sure they don't have the attention span to play a "campaign", so I was thinking about running one-shot adventure tropes/clichés.

But I am having a hard time thinking of major tropes/clichés.

What are the most iconic/trope-y(?)/clichés-y adventure ideas you can think of?

A couple of mine:
01. Ratmen in the sewers.
02. Goblins are raiding merchants.
03. Orcs are pillaging the countryside
04. Hobgoblin army is on the march.
05. A wizard lost control of it's tower.
06. Occultists are kidnapping people.
07. A haunted dwarven mine offers treasure.
08. There is a sunken pirate ship nearby.
09. The PCs attend a royal masked ball.
10. A powerful artifact has to be retrieved from a giant tomb.
11. A necromancer is raising undead in a nearby cemetery.
12. Monsters are attacking farmers/herders.
13. The PCs travel through a forest, a cave, on a river/sea, below the sea, a jungle, a swamp, etc.
14. Dragonlings/kobolds are collecting treasure for their dragon "god".
15. Fey are causing mischief.
16. The PCs need to infiltrate a castle/camp.
17. The PCs are arrested for a crime they didn't commit.
18. The PCs need to gather ingredients for a potion.
19. The home of the PCs is attacked, they need to defend it.
20. Parts of a powerful artifact is scattered around Golarion and the Pcs need to find it.
21. A portal to another world is open, and the PCs need to close it.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

22. There is a disruption in the four elements and the PCs need to solve the problem. Worked for 4 of the Final Fantasy games.


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23. [Party size] individuals meet in the tavern and answer a call for adventure.


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24. Local Merchant is looking to hire individuals to protect his wagon travelling from this town to next major city.
25. A village/town/city is holding their annual/bi-annual/bi-centennial festival which involves an interesting major event (arena matches, treasure hunt, culling a specific monster[1 gp per head], magic maze, foot race, etc.)
26. A not so random encounter where the players witness the death of an individual carrying a cryptic message that needs to be delivered.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

27. Evil lizardfolk in the swamp


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28. The Tavern Brawl That Goes Bad. The tavern is the arranged place where the adventurers will meet the patron hiring them for <insert adventure that they won't end up playing>. Unbeknownst, the patron enjoys himself a sick game of "testing" applicants for durability, by having the local drunks accost them while he observes from a corner booth. (If you can't take a beating, what good are you?)

After the PCs kill somebody -- because of course they will, and you'll ensure that it escalates spectacularly above a fistfight for one reason or another, the tavern ends up in shambles if not magical flames, and their patron (never spotted by them) is among the many dead. The local constabulary (unbeatable by 1st-level characters) swiftly drag the PCs none-too-gently off to jail.

With the "murders" having been committed in front of dozens of witnesses, they are swiftly sentenced, and while they are waiting for their weekend execution (to the cliched sounds of gallows being constructed outside their cells), which this sleepy little town is going to treat as a carnival-like spectacle bringing in folks for miles around, they will have to figure out how to escape.

Good time to teach the players about the Aid Another rules, as well as acclimate them to the fact that skills and teamwork are important.

After they've escaped, the Wanted posters will go up, and their good names will be mud. Fleeing out-of-region begins the next adventure (avoiding bounty-hunters, etc). Some day they might return and attempt to solve the murder-mystery of their would-be patron.


"Treasure in a dungeon" sums up quite a lot of video games.


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Slim Jim wrote:
28...

No plot survives contact with the pcs...

29 or 30? The hidden princess. Escort/rescue a girl who turns out to be a princess in disguise/under an enchantment etc... She may or may not know she is royalty.


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31. A local wizard lost control of a called outsider.
32. Evil cultists are trying to call a demon.
33. A giant animal or magical beast appeared in the forest.
34. A local kid went missing.


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35. The king is controlled by an evil adviser.
36. The PCs need to find the unlikely and sole heir to the throne.
37. The PCs encounter a VIP who has been polymorphed into an animal while a look alike takes over the animals original identity.
38. The PCs are privy to a prediction of impending doom that nobody believes.


Valandil Ancalime wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
28...
No plot survives contact with the pcs...

Exactly! (And that's the RPG trope: kill-crazy players.)


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39. Pc's employer\quest-giver intend to betray them from the start and\or frame them as well.


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40. Heir to an old family requests you enter the crypt of his ancestors; you may take any treasure you find as your payment, except one particular item that he expects you return to him. As you descend deeper you begin to suspect this item should not be unearthed...


41. A band of adventuring murder-hobos killed the mayor and looted the townhall.


42. The answer to life, the universe, and everything. Er, make that "Quest guided by an obtruse prophecy."
43. Seeking shelter from a storm in a nearby crypt or haunted house.
44. Something is wrong in town and the answer lies deep in the nearby cave system.


45. A "messiah" of sorts appears among the Hobgoblins and begins leading them on a holy war. Their movement is only just now gaining strength and the PCs have to stop him from crossing the valley that separates the town from the Hobgoblin encampment.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

46. Undead are trying to attack a young woman in a village, heroes must protect her. Is she an innocent victim, or do the undead have a legitimate grievance?


46. The Dragon is threatening the settlement with death and destruction if their demands (a virgin, pile of gold etc.) are not met.
47. Heir to the throne (aka the spoiled but kind princess) is running away to avoid an unwanted marriage.
48. An recent earthquake or landslide has uncovered an ancient ruin/dungeon.


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49. The Circus is in town, though there is something sinister about it.


50. You're in prison/drafted/press-ganged/captured by pirates. Escape!
51. Orders to explore new lands and a ship or airship to do so from.
52. Find a new place for your village or tribe to move to, make it safe and get them there.


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53. The king is too drunk to attend his own coronation, and duuumb luck, the party Rogue looks JUST like the King!


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54. The party is tasked with finding a Bard who has a string of children from women in nearly every village they come to. The mothers all demand a form of child support from him.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

55 A vile villain has been slain, the heroes showered with the thanks of a grateful populace. But is the danger truly gone? After all, is not death just the beginning?


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56. " Zombies! "


57. How about some shameless self-advertisement?

Here's my module.

One "book" long, levels 4-7. It's pretty much 1/6 of an AP.


58. The PCs need to fetch reagents for a magic ritual.


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#17 only works if these PC's promptly escape from a maximum security stockade to the Waterdeep underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire . . . the Ao Team.
thwip thwip thwip thwip


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59. You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.


60. An evil cult it's trying to teleport to Absalom the tarrasque


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61. God Wizards.

62. God Wizards..., too lazy/busy/something good is on the crystal ball that night, so sends the PCs to deal with whatever problem is around.


63. A lone orc in a ten-foot by ten-foot room
64. PCs captured by slavers
65. Werewolf on the loose
66. Somebody important in the town is actually changeling or a vampire


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67. Multiple species and races living together in a dungeon with no known sources of food or waste disposal. Or even a logical reason as to why a really large creature can travel in a tight dungeon environment.


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68. The Obligatory Fighting Tournament

69. The Obligatory Some-Other-Skill Tournament, at which invariably fighting will break out

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

70. The innkeeper is a former adventurer

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

71. There is only one random encounter going from A to B.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

72. The party needs to find the macguffin to stop the BBEG.


Nightdrifter wrote:
72. The party needs to find the macguffin to stop the BBEG.

I still use this one far too much.


73. Stop the BBEG from GETTING the MacGuffin.


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74. The McGuffin Is The BBEG (when the party messes with it after specifically being told *not* to).

75. The Obligatory Whorehouse From Hell. (Veteran GMs occasionally find it necessary to run this "adventure" to dissuade their immature, horn-dog players from time-wasting play-session booty-calling. Naturally, the adventure involves succubi, STDs too horrifying to contemplate, implanted alien parasites and so forth.)

76. The Single One Of Its Kind That Isn't Evil. (Paladins beware: these moral-dilemma adventures seek you out.)


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77. The Girl is The MacGuffin.

(probably especially eye-rolling for female players, but you'd have to be or ask them)


78. The lich King come from azeroth to golarion


dot

Dark Archive

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Did anybody mention the 88. pool in dungeon that contains fiendish water elemental?


79) room where the walls, doors, floor, and ceiling and all mimics.

Dark Archive

And I dont' know how I read that number as 87 the heck


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Slim Jim wrote:
74. The McGuffin Is The BBEG (when the party messes with it after specifically being told *not* to).

80. The Party is hired by the Burgermeister to steal the McGuffin away from the BBEG to be returned to the town vault.

81. The Party is hired by a citizen (the BBEG-A in disguise) to steal the McGuffin away from (BBEG-B) to be given to the (BBEG-A still in disguise) to be revealed as The BBEG as she/ he/ or it crosses the river the on the only ferry with (the McGuffin) aka the implement of ultimate destruction (IUD).


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82. The party are the BBEGs, but they don't know it.


Slim Jim wrote:
82. The party are the BBEGs, but they don't know it.

That one pisses people off, I do not recommend it. There was a thread recently with someone asking for help on dealing with his player's reactions to this revelation and how to turn the plot around.


83. Dragon kidnaps a Princess (nobody for the classics?)
84. You find a treasure map!
85. Gypsies tell you about a cave.
86. Bounty for bandits
87. Orc Horde spotted heading to town.
88. Well known lord kidnaps local beauty. Not so well know he's a vampire.
89. kill 10 rats.
90. Investigate children disappearing from a small village.


91. The party is unaware they already have the MacGuffin.
92. Someone in the party is unaware they are the MacGuffin.

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