Ideas Blog

Here you'll find blog entries describing my random ideas for the Wiki. This is mostly for the sake of brainstorming and should serve to replace the Realms of Randomness page.

The ideas presented here are not necessarily the future of this campaign setting, but I will try to edit the pages to indicate their current status as they are used or abandoned.

Adventure Confronting the Black Crown

Sora, of the Crusaders of Light, should eventually, drag the PCs into a fight on Necropolis, vs. the Black Hand and the Black Army. In the midst of this, her memories will fully return. This encounter may possibly involve Sora becoming the embodiment of the Crusader, depending on the circumstances involved.

Regardless, should the PCs and company actually succeed in defeating the Black Hand, Sora will demand to go further, in her near-endless quest to kill the Black Crown.

Once his servants are dispatched, especially the Black Hand, the Black Crown will be easy to find. He will come to them, only interested in talking, offering no violence and easily deflecting their (possible) initial attacks.

Here's some suitable flavor text:

An elderly wizard appears before you, wearing a crown made of bone, bows and speaks, “I bid you welcome. I offer no violence this day. I only wish to speak a few simple truths and offer a warning.”

“I am the true Black Crown. I made the Plane of Existence that we all call home. I apologize if my servants have caused you any disquiet. They're occasionally prone to stretching my orders too far.”

“As for the warning, Sora's mission is a fool's errand. Have you ever heard of the metaphor of the King's Two Bodies? Thus it is with me. I am bound to the existence of this plane and this plane is bound to me. We are one.”

“To destroy me would kill millions. While I have drawn some amusement from Sora's failed attempts to kill me, I can never allow her to succeed. Neither can you.”

The only lie in the above is the bit about his apology for his servants stretching his orders. He doesn't actually care and they followed his orders to the letter.

The Black Crown is telling the truth: the Archipelago would be destroyed if his Phylactery is destroyed. The crown on his head serves double duty as both his Lich phylactery and as the demi-plane's world stone. Destroying it will unleash a powerful, magical, persistent, disintegration effect on the contents of the entire plane, creating a post apocalyptic wasteland-like magical void, with small islands of stability.

Injuring him will cause the local area to destabilize as though it were in the tatters.

If proof is demanded, he'll give them proof in the form of one of the islands of the Archipelago being sunk into the ocean, as he cuts one of his own fingers off. Over the next 10 seconds or so, the island will re-appear as he regenerates right before their eyes. It will be an uninhabited island shown to them via scrying magic. They're welcome to scry it for themselves if they have such capability.

Sora will insist that this is all a lie and demand to destroy him. She will be extremely irrational about this.

The Black Crown is hoping to force the PCs to kill her, as he finds the idea of this very, very amusing. He'll sit back and watch, either locally or from a remote location via scrying magic,

To convince the PCs of the truth of his statements, some kind of infallible lie detector need be present. Minda in her incarnation as an Eye of Inquisition would do nicely. Any Law Keeper priest with the ability to detect lies would be equally useful.

2015/10/19 05:40

Adventure: Clearing the Theris Aqueducts

Advanced Goblins have recently tunneled into the Aqueducts beneath the City of Therica. They were expanding their underground railroad network and tunneled higher than normal in order to avoid some dangerous areas of the Underdark.

Their goal was to make a shorter run to Shadow Reef, while simultaneously bypassing some dangerous areas within the Arcane Sanctuary.

In the process of digging, they broke into the Aqueduct system that supplies the city with water. Naturally, the goblins thought it was great to avoid some labor (even if it is slave labor) and started laying track inside.

Unfortunately, they're now in the way of the Dwarven engineers that maintain the waterways. The goblins have repeatedly shot at them. The engineers can't get close to an earthquake damaged pillar to make repairs. The goblins shoot at any living thing that gets anywhere near the rail line and their work is just beginning to foul the water running down stream (they're tossing trash in the water). Several wells have been sealed for the sake of public safety.

The damaged pillar is the most critical matter: it's supporting a major chunk of the city's largest market. The goblins are keeping their main camp near the base of it. Unfortunately, the goblins have a golem-drawn Gatling gun in this camp and they're not afraid to use it. Five of the original team of engineers were killed. Two escaped to report the matter to the king.

The leader of the goblins is dead set on completing the rail line as fast as possible, regardless of how many Kobolds have to die to do so, for if he does so ahead of schedule, he'll get a very fat bonus. This bonus would more than triple what he's spent on bringing in new slaves for the work. The leader has really good dirt on nearly all of his men, so he can afford to pay them next to nothing, passing the savings directly into his own pocket. Naturally, they hate him for this, but that's business as usual.

His second in command is plotting a coup, but doesn't have the rest of the goblin crew on his side, just yet, despite how much they'd like to see their leader publicly hanged, drawn and quartered.

In short, the goblins are just about ready for another round of in-fighting and power-struggling as the PCs blithely wander into the middle of it.

Having been hired by the king to get the goblins out of the Aqueducts, they'll enter and encounter a lone goblin with something akin to a sniper rifle. This is the second in command.

He'll fire an impressive warning shot, nicking someone's ear or another likely body part. All from a range well-beyond what they're likely capable of. He doesn't want a fight, but only knows one way to deal with outsiders: from a position of strength. He'll attempt to intimidate them into killing his boss for him, but his real goal is for them to create a huge distraction while he rummages through his boss's personal belongings for all the blackmail evidence he needs to get the crew on his side and take over.

He will offer them money and guns as payment, but has no intention of delivering (intimidation and/or blackmail would be required to make him follow through on this promise). It's possible for the PCs to negotiate a re-direction of the rail line to run just under the Aqueducts, if they ask for this instead of payment. He has no objection to such an idea, but will lie, claiming that it's a great inconvenience at this stage in the work, demanding some money or slaves in return for this favor, as well as the death of his boss. However, they'll have to watch out for the inevitable double, triple or quadruple cross that an Advanced Goblin will always be planning. He naturally assumes the PCs are trying to screw him just as badly on the deal and have a hidden agenda. The idea that they're dealing honestly will never occur to him; he's never met an honest man in his entire life.

The leader goblin will not negotiate at all, instead shooting at the PCs with everything he's got, including the Gatling gun toting golem and half a dozen or so hired gun men.

There are a few non-combative goblin miners and workers about, mostly to do the intellectual work of mining and directing the slaves. They carry whips and guns with which to punish the slaves, but will seek to run away if attacked by PCs (It's not their job to defend the place). The Kobold slaves carry picks and shovels, but will not fight with them. They're also generally chained together in groups of up to six.

The goblins have no compunction whatsoever about killing their slaves. They need them for the work, but they occasionally take one away just to torture them to death. There's usually an excuse for this, but it's nearly always drummed up. Slow and injured workers are a favorite victim.

2015/05/21 11:35

Adventure: Rescue the Crusader

For background information, see the article on the Crusaders of Light.

Sora, in one of her more recent incarnations, was a paladin with a tendency to combat undead. She was also still a witch. Furthermore, she also managed to obtain both the White Flame and Ash Walker. Due to events involving confronting the Black Crown, she was even in possession of her full witch powers at the time.

Even more unusually, she survived the encounter. This caused the Black Crown to send a large host of undead after her to make sure she died.

She destroyed most of them, but in the process was mortally wounded. The remainder were sealed away using a combination of magic and the White Flame's connection to the Positive Material Plane.

One of her final acts before she died was to cast a spell that would (eventually) seek out and deliver a message to an appropriate paladin with the strength to defeat the left overs.

This paladin (a PC), will start seeing a woman in shining armor, a pointed black witch hat and holding the legendary White Flame. She'll beckon them to follow, silently. If they don't, she'll start appearing more and more often, until she's completely interfering with their every day life.

Eventually, this woman will lead them to an underground complex, filled with traps and many, many corpses that look like they died suddenly. At the outer edges of the complex they'll encounter Ash Walker, fighting goblins, kobolds or some other kind of invader. Ash Walker has no idea why it's there, but feels it needs to stay inside the complex. Ash Walker is suffering from amnesia due to having far too many memories.

At the center of the structure is a large octagonal chamber, with an unusual scene preserved from the past. Sora is in the center of the room, leaning on the White Flame, which has been stabbed into the floor. The two of them are surrounded by a glowing white barrier, with many glowing symbols chalked into the floor on the interior. Outside the barrier are a number of corpses that seem to have died reaching out for the woman in the center.

An image of Sora will appear and explain the situation. Taking the White Flame will end the sealing spell and re-awaken the undead (the corpses mentioned earlier). She cannot converse with the PCs, as the message is a one-shot programmed illusion. Anyone foolish enough to not pay attention will miss the message. She will be somewhat over-dramatic, since she's speaking in her final moments. Pain should be seen on her face and she's covered in wounds.

The over-dramatic moment:

In the center of the room is a shining, cylindrical barrier, emanating strong white light. Inside you see a young woman with dark hair and green eyes, wearing heavily battered plate armor and oddly enough, a black pointed hat with a slight curl in the tip. Draped over her shoulders are the remains of a black cloak. She's supporting herself on a magnificently constructed glass sword that glows with an inner light. The point of the sword has been stabbed into the floor.

She peers off into space, stifles a cough and begins, “If all has gone well, my spell has summoned a warrior true of heart. I apologize for the abruptness of the summons. I had no time for subtlety or manners. I must speak my final words while I can.”

The woman pauses as she struggles once more for breath, “I'm afraid my wounds are fatal. But my pursuers will not have the last laugh. That honor shall be yours.”

She stops once more to catch her breath and is interrupted by a violent coughing fit. Blood now speckles the ground as she doubles over, barely staying on her feet.

She finally manages to regain a measure of control and continues, “My mission is incomplete. The bodies within this place are not as they appear. They are all undead charged with the purpose of destroying my sword and I. To use an ill-fitting term, the monsters merely sleep. I used my powers as a witch to increase the effects of my sword, in order to seal their negative energies away. Without that, they are inert.

“I did everything I could, but there were too many. For each I slew, ten more rose to strike. I used far more magic than I should have. There have already been…consequences. Dire consequences. I dare not use any more magic than I have, for fear of unleashing a nightmare worse than the one I've already fought.”

She grunts and drops to one knee, obviously in great pain. Blood runs from under her breastplate, down her leg and pools on the floor. She rests her head on the hilt of the sword.

“Three tasks remain. Three tasks I charge you with, warrior. I apologize for burdening you with this, but I see no other way.”

Again, she coughs violently, this time falling to the floor, coming to rest on her side. Once the fit subsides, she crawls back to her sword and sits with her back leaning against it, her hands resting on her knees.

“The first task is simple. Slay the undead in this place, by whatever means necessary. Bring others to help if you require. Destroy them all. When this is complete, my sword may be taken without consequence. She will serve you well, as she has served me. Take care of her, for she is an old friend.”

She unsheathes a large knife that's been hanging from her belt and drops it to the floor, “The second is somewhat strange. Take this knife, but do not touch it under any circumstances. I do not…know what might happen if you do. Much shadow energy resides within it and it may not be safe for anyone other than me to handle directly. Find my family and give it to them. They will know what to do with it. Please tell them how I died. It will be important to them.”

It's becoming clear that whatever has carried her this far is running out and her breathing is becoming more labored. Her voice begins to grow more soft as she continues, “My final task is…the largest. Find…and kill…the…Black Crown. He…is…”

The woman's head bows as she loses consciousness. Within a few seconds she stops breathing. Shortly after this, the image fades, to be replaced by the truth. She's been dead for decades. The blood is now merely a dark coloration on the floor. Her armor is little more than rust, but the sword and knife are still intact, just as she left them.

The complex should have about a hundred skeletons (half of which were zombies before they were sealed away), fifty infectious zombies (anything killed by them will likely rise as a zombie), five shadows that functioned as a special ops unit (should be quite hard to find and dispatch), plus a flesh golem turned vampire that was their leader. Unlike the others, the vampire looks perfectly preserved, if he can be found. He should be well hidden, because he suspected Sora would try something like this. If the vampire escapes, he will report to the Black Hand and may be seen by the PCs again somewhere down the line.

Another possibility is that the spell keeping the undead inert has begun to fail, leaving a number of skeletons and zombies loose and roaming around the outlying edges of the complex. Even one of these zombies running free can easily cause a local zombie plague and can be a useful adventure hook to bring the PCs in to investigate.

2015/04/29 20:48

Broken Dungeon

Take an ordinary dungeon map. Add traps and other interesting mechanisms as you feel appropriate.

The PCs get a detailed map of the place. For whatever reason. It's labeled with lots of interesting things to find/collect. Possibly it was previously explored and the loot was stacked for later reteival by other adventurers that never returned, due to dangers encountered on the way back.

There's just one huge problem. The map is quite old and the land has changed. This should be visible from the outside and give the PCs an early clue.

For example, the map describes a gently rolling hill being above the dungeon. There's actually a sheered off cliff where the hill once was, due to the collapse of an unknown, massive sink-hole in the vicinity of the dungeon (or whatever convenient excuse works; I'm not an engineer).

Inside, things are even worse. There's now a huge chasm cutting the dungeon in half! The dungeon (for whatever reason) was neatly cut in half and half of it was carried away by the collapse.

The PCs reach the end of a hallway and find that the other half is on the other side of the chasm and has even shifted sideways. However shall they cross the chasm?

This would likely prove no trouble at all for a powerful group of adventurers and would simply add some interesting spice to the mix. For a weak group, it might pose an interesting problem all on it's own.

Cruel GMs (or those wishing to challenge their players a little more) might just say that the accident was recent or even have it happen while the PCs are inside! This should make the moved portion of the dungeon unstable and dangerous. Really cruel GMs could have the tunnel break when only half the party has crossed the threshold they've decided on.

It's possible that this is part of an elaborate trap set by the original designer of the dungeon…

2014/02/23 03:56 · Richard Owen Lewis

The Choosing of a King

This idea is for a mini-campaign or series of adventures.

Begin with a desert kingdom, whose king has four children. Each, as they reached adulthood, were given a hefty purse of coins and sent off in a different cardinal direction to raise an army to come back and conquer the kingdom with.

Their father is completely sane, but bound by strict tradition and law (which even he cannot change) to pass the kingdom on to whichever of his children is the strongest. It is also required that they prove their worth in war, against their own father.

Oddly enough, he loves his children and wants them to succeed. However, because he loves them, he isn't going to make it easy for them, either. He's sending assassins to “toughen them up.”

He's hiring the PCs to do the job, starting with the weakest. He'll do whatever it takes to convince the PCs, having done research on them ahead of time. He'll claim that his sons have rebelled, or he'll tell the truth, depending on what he believes will work. In all cases, he'll offer an obscene amount of money for each success.

If they manage to kill all four of his sons, he'll adopt the PCs, shower them with (genuine) love and affection for a year or two and then start the process again.

The king is a huge bear of a man and has an extensive spy network. It was the means through which he conquered the kingdom in his own youth, because he wanted to minimize casualties. He has long logs of information on the activities of his children and uses it to prepare defenses unique to their talents and the armies they've raised.

Each child has a wildly different personality, owing to the areas they settled in. Each has also failed to make even a small dent in their father's defenses.

It's been five years since the last was sent away, so he's seeking to stir the pot a little.

2014/01/19 02:59 · Richard Owen Lewis

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