View Full Version : The Ultimate Plot Hook: Rod of Alliance

2009-03-11, 12:29 PM
How about this method of giving your group a mission?

Rod Of Alliance

A rod of alliance is small white stick magically imbued with a quest, a specific achievable goal rather than an ongoing cause. When it is found by a group of people capable of achieving that quest that rod binds up to five people with a geas, per the spell, and telepathically informs them of their obligation. It must bind them all at the same time. This geas cannot be removed by any means however, even by use of a wish or miracle. Destroying the rod does not free the questers from the geas.

If all of the questers die the rod will bind a new group of people.

If the questers retains possession of the rod it can grant them a few helpful abilities. Any quester can use the rod to dowse for the direction of any other quester. Once a day it can be used to cast sending, but only targeting another quester.The rod grants nearby questers +5 to saving throws to resist mind controlling effects like suggestion.

When the quest is completed all surviving questers gain one level. The rod will either disintegrate, go dormant for a preset period of time before binding a new group to the same quest, or go blank. Anyone holding a blank rod can create a new quest for it to bind people to by concentrating deeply on the task, and succeeding on a DC20 Will check.

2009-03-11, 01:35 PM
Reasonably good mechanically, but very much a rail-roady sort of method... which works in some groups.

2009-03-11, 02:49 PM
From a story point of view, it seems a bit contrived. However, I suppose one could craft a story around it that made it seem less so.
From a mechanics point of view, I'd say drop the "This geas cannot be removed by any means however, even by use of a wish or miracle." It seems to make it a little too powerful. Both for a DM and a player.

For the DM It forces the players do something that may or may not be in character with them, and offers them little options.

So for example, Billy the Unicorn Hatin' Varmit is a 5th level Ranger with Magical beast as his first favored enemy. He picks up this rod after a long fist fight with a Troll from over the Hill. The Rod of Alliance tells him to deliver a sack full of Candy Sprinkles for to the Sparkly Pony Party on Mt. Candy-Drop, and he has to do it with his unconscious Troll friend. And while it is interesting from an audience's point of view, DnD rarely has an audience.

But if wish or miracle could remove the curse (Perhaps both are needed, that should make it interesting) then the story changes.

The Troll, upon waking up, tells Billy about a rumor he has heard. It seems Baron Von GummiBar is granting a Wish to anyone who brings him the head of Lt. Cuppin' of the Cake's army. Lt. Cuppin' is known for his support of the Unicorn people, and is a monster on the battlefield.

Billy now has a choice, face near certain death, or suck it up and deliver the bag of sprinkles to these vile unicorns. Either way, it makes the character more interesting.

For Players Once picked up, it becomes too powerful of a weapon for player characters to own.

Billy has decided that fighting a man who is known for tickling Dragons for entertainment would be a rather poor choice. He has instead delivered the rod to the Mt. Candy-Drop. After walking away from the mountain, and a long cold bath in the Seltzer basin, he notices that he can set up a new quest on the Rod. Billy knows that King Cakes is planing on wiping out all of Candoria, and would like that to end. So Billy, the L.5 ranger, delivers this rod by means of trickery to Lt. Cuppin. Lt. Cuppin opens up a package and finds the rod, and now is bound to kill King Cakes.

So yeah, allow something to negate it, or don't give it to the players. That has such potential to derail the whole game.

2009-03-12, 01:34 AM
Yeah. Interesting concept, but a bit railroady, as it really boils down to "you have to do this. You have no other options. Go do it."

The best quest hooking comes from setting something up that the characters would do, and that's best because you don't need a specific decree that they have to.