View Full Version : [3.5] Plot Ideas

2009-01-24, 10:24 PM
I propose bringing all the DM's together and posting your most successful, most emotional impacting, and basically your best works here. Just a note though, expect for the other DM's to take any ideas you post here and use them themselves, so post at your own risk. Also, comments and questions are welcome.

Here's mine.
A zombie uprising from an abandoned graveyard is threatening the local town. The players go to the graveyard, and remove the threat. This is when it gets interesting, investigating the graveyard, they find in the middle of it, a very large stone statue with a granite pedestal 10x10x10. Something hints at a secret door, in my story, marks in the snow make it easy to find.

They enter (of course), and find a large dungeon. The rooms are filled with undead and destruction. Any layout for the first level is fine, so long as it has a big room, with slits in one of the walls at eye height, and a hallway on that side. The rest of the dungeon is inconsequential except for a stairway. In the big room there is a bed, a chair, a refuse chute, and scratches/writing on the wall in draconic, a sort of diary.

The message says, "400 years I have been imprisoned, but I shall be free."

On the floor of that room is a blood splatter, and a trail of blood leading to another door, and then in the corner by that door, a discarded body. The party, after seeing this, will go down to a second level, where the air is much hotter, and drier. The stairs go down 40 feet. On the second level they eventually come to a huge door, 20x20, made of iron. Unlocked, but barred by a wooden beam on the other side. The beam can be lifted by finding a secret panel in the wall, and tapping on it, and the panel will open, revealing a lever that opens the door.

The room is hexagonal, with a hexagonal pit in the center, 20x20. The pit goes down almost endlessly, and it looks like there is lava at the bottom. A typical bottomless pit. This room's stone walls are worked differently than the walls upstairs, and if any methods are put in place that can do so, they would find out that it is much older than the rooms upstairs, and never originally had a staircase leading to it.

At one end of the pit there is a huge crystal stone pillar 5x5. Guarding it is a couple of drow necromancers. Touching the crystal causes the player to be gated to another plane.

With no crystal behind them, or any way to get back, the players are trapped here. This plane is one with intense volcanic activity, and the stench of sulfur permeates the air. A nearby volcano is about to erupt. An obvious trail of humanoid feet with claws points out the obvious direction to go. Following this trail leads to a cave in the volcano. In the cave, a fair distance in, is a gigantic cruciform, and on that cruciform, a dragon. The dragon is still alive, but trapped there (stole the idea from a book I'm reading). In front of this cruciform is the being that made the tracks, a half-dragon. He will reveal the plot, and then try to destroy the players, and will eventually fail, or maybe escape, if you want to expand on the story.

The half-dragon was imprisoned there by an order of lawful good paladins. His father is the dragon, a deity, albeit a low-leveled deity, and he was trying to free him, after escaping from where he was imprisoned by the order in that dungeon.

Insert any more fluff you need, and fill the dungeon with baddies, and maybe the plane with baddies, and serve.

2009-01-25, 01:18 AM
Players find being trapped really annoying when it's not their fault or bad luck. Some of my less obedient players would walk out at that.

2009-01-25, 02:05 AM
My players responded better than I expected to a dead npc I had in one of my campaigns. His old party was tricked by the BBEG, resulting in his death, the mind slavery of the rest of the party, and the process of the villain turning to a lich began. He has been trapped as a ghost since

He wanted the party to bring back the blood of some his former best friends so he could divine the location where the evil guy is. After this is done, the ghost follows the party through the evil dungeon dropping a couple subtle hints he was there.

Right before the party busts into the boss chamber, the NPC Wall of Force's the party back and sets off pretty much every trap in the place. He's able to say "Thank you" before his soul is obliterated and the party can kill the lich with a fair fight he never had.

For some reason they really liked the guy and were stunned for a few seconds when he was blasted into spirit chunks.

2009-01-25, 03:28 AM
I found the best ways to pull people in is with family, friends and sacrifice

Like I once as DM, I worked backwards. Instead of makeing a background for a rouge, I let the background create the rouge. Like what I mean, is that he lived in the starting town, he lived with his drunk of an aunt, had a whiskey bottle hurled at him ect. To many adventures begin far removed from normal day to day life. To RP in that day to day world, players have a better sense of their world and their character.

But my real favourite is heroic sacrifices, done either by PC or NPC. I just ****ing love it. I love it when the hero's eyes glean as he knows what he must do, the way people feel when they realise there friend WILL die. The best part is when the NPC says something like "please, take this to my wife, *sniff* and tell here I love her..." I nearly **** myself with glee

2009-01-25, 10:37 AM
Hmm, my campaign is a little different, and sort of needs some explaining. All of my friends (as well as myself) are really into ASoIaF. So for my campaign I decided to do a re-writing of the basic races to give them a more gritty/realistic feel. Some examples are that the elves were the old power who were being replaced by the humans, you know like every other fantasy world. However, I decided to be more realistic. No race would just willingly give up their hegemony and so we have elves and humans as adversaries. I did this with most races, basing the orcs upon how the germanic barbarians interacted with the Romans, ect. I also decided very early on that the PC's weren't so far above and beyond what a normal person is. So essentially every nameless NPC is at least level 3 probably more.

Well the campaign started in (rather predictably) the last large, fortified city of the humans near the woodland forests. Now this required a bit of tailoring to the players. One was a rogue who stated he would start in the city sewers. So I had him hiding in the sewers after recently steeling a jewel of some kind, where he sees a large group of elves. He, wisely, runs and starts to warn the city. (It should be noted that the other players were as well doing things that were based around their personality and life style, however they are omitted as it has nothing to do with the central plot) The elves attack out of the sewers and chaos appears. At this point I have the entire party converge on one point of attack. Where the players (and a few rounded up NPC's) all fight one of the sewer openings and drive back the elves. However, fires appear at different locations as well as calls coming that there is an army at the gates. The Duke at this point picks out the party members (each of which he has interacted with) to go back to the castle and protect the Duchess and his child, through the Blood Gate.
The adventurers make it to the castle after one or two fights. And pick up some nobles a few guards the duchess and the babe and head off through the secret gate only the Duchess knew about.
Passing through the portal they find each of them has lost 1d4 hit points and they find themselves in the forest, hearing the movements of the mob about them. Eventually they find their bearings and try to comfort the nobles and few peasants they brought along. Not giving them a chance to rest, I had the group be discovered by the cries of the babe and they all went on the run again. Most of the NPC's were captured except the Duchess and the guard, who do to the fact that he refused to die over the next session was named Nolan and is much loved by the PCs.
Rather Deus ex Machimatically the remaining group finds a hidden smuggling tunnel that goes from the forest under the wall and into the city. From there the group has planned different ways to retake the city. From assaulting the slave pits, to raiding the Thieves Guild Hall (where they found a map of all the hidden underground tunnels and the sewer systems of the city), to the tower of the resident Archmage (I had lots of fun here, where the party had to fight off illusions and traps and such the rest of the campaign was admittedly short on).
All the while the group uncovered 3 different storylines. #1 the main one about the start of the war between elves and men. And how that this original force was the work of two demagogues leading a mob and the real army was coming to actually use their momentum to win the war.
#2 how the underground tunnels got there. I had them roll knowledge nature checks and perception and such when they entered the tunnels so that they eventually realized that these were dug out by some sort of giant beast.
#3 a subplot about how the city was first started by an old elven Archmage (who built the tower) to harvest some magical force that used to reside there. (yeah, the tunnel builder things). They pick up different bits and pieces of information on him and that eventually culminates on them fighting him in lich form. As well as discovering different scrolls of his.
The scrolls were eventually used in a moment of desperation and resulted in the awakening of the primeval monster, whose resulting rage destroyed most of the city.
The heroes then gathered what they could and headed for the next city trying to catch up with the expanding elven army and hopefully become tied up in a pseudo-political campaign in which they have to worry about internal fractions of their country, the elven army, and try to find allies in the upcoming war.

And sorry about the length. I don't know how to do those spoiler things yet.