View Full Version : Rumors and plot hooks

2009-03-12, 11:40 PM
Ok so I知 working on a dnd game I will probably be running some time in the future. Right now its all prep work but still I知 going to run it as a bit of a sandbox style game. So I知 going to drop them into a town on the outskirts of civilization and give them some rumors to follow up on.

I知 interested in what the good people can come up with for interesting plot hooks and rumors to throw at my players.

What I have thusfar

Recently, there has been a desecration of the local temple. This obviously has many locals concerned. Rumors say it is the work of a villainous cleric or blackguard, but none know the truth. They say the villain can be found lurking around ruins deep in the enchanted forest. These ruins may lead to the truth behind the desecration and the culprit.

Recently, there have been arcane lights and unidentified sounds that come at night. This obviously has many locals concerned. Rumors say it is the work of fairies that live deep in the enchanted woods, the rumors say that the fairies are angered over the recent increase in logging activities outside of town.

Recently, there have been arcane lights and unidentified sounds that come at night. This obviously has many locals concerned. Rumors say it is the work of ghostly survivors from a long dead cult. Their ruined temple can be found deep in the woods.

The local orc tribes have taken up arms against elven villages in the area. They claim that the elves have violated their ancestral lands and they seek retribution for crimes committed against them. They claim this violation of their lands breaks a treaty that was signed (in blood) many years ago. This could lead to an all out war between the two races, unless someone uncovered the truth. The elves maintain their innocence in both accusations. Though they have warned that any hostile action will be met with equal force.

A black clad wayfarer has been spotted outside of town. Some say it is the ghost of a powerful warrior, returned from the grave to seek revenge on those that betrayed him. Still others say that it is a dread warlock or necromancer, preying on the souls of those that leave town without proper protection.

Keep in mind that the first three are all related.

2009-03-13, 02:46 AM
Not enough Treasure!
- A farmer dug up part of a shattered statue in his fields by the Lost Woods. This revived rumors of the Ancient Keep that is supposed to be hidden deep in there... though it is said to be cursed and haunted!

- Some crank has been wandering through town claiming to have discovered a map to fabulous treasure, but nobody has been foolhardy enough to listen to him. Are you?

- Hey, remember when Sir Strongheart went into the mountains to recover the Sacred Relic from the ruined monastery? Well his squire just made it back to town, talking about fabulous treasure and terrible monsters. Poor kid.
IMHO, you can never go wrong with Lost Civilizations and Ancient Ruins :smallbiggrin:

But, since you're on the edge of a wilderness...
- Hunters claim to have seen evidence of orc/barbarian/gnoll campgrounds worryingly close to town. Are they about to invade?

- Huh, there's this smelly barbarian who won't leave the Prancing Pony. Keeps mumbling about some quest and being exiled... wish he'd leave, but nobody wants to try to get him to leave!

2009-03-13, 05:27 AM
Two tings would be good to know: what level are the players starting at (and in which range are you expecting them to operate), and which setting iit is (published or homebrew).

Kol Korran
2009-03-14, 05:51 AM
first of all, i join lord Xavius request- what level are we talking about, and do you used a published world or a homebrrew one?

second- on my sig there is a link to a thread concerning adding fluff and context to monsters. at the end of each monster's entry there's a section termed "playing in a D&D table near you!" which contains ideas for encounters, adventures, and even campaign ideas. check it out if you want.

third- here are some ideas of the top of my head, i wouldn't use most of them in a regular structured campaign, but they may do well for a sand box style one:

"and the secret ingredient is...": on the tavern, inn, town hall and local temple walls there is a well decorated message "Gerald the apprentice of the respected and mighy Ignemius is seeking you, the bold adventurer and enterpeneur, to assist in locating and obtaining potential spell ingredients for a n importent research. seek exotic locations and creatures, and be part of a new innovation to magic! also, Ignemius has autherised monetery and magical rewards to the collectors , contact Gerald at the wizard tower out of town". this hook can either be an adventure unto itself, or a series of sidequests when the party travel between various adventure locations (each happens to contain a possible spell ingredient) part of the overall treasure can be the spell/ ritual itself, and this is a good way of introducing one. ideas for spell ingredients: leaves of a dryad tree/ treant, basilisk scales, fur of a were person, roots of a plant who only grows on top of harpy's peak, and more.
"missing the sound of hoofbeats": mayor morfix calls for a town/ village meeting. he steps up the podium and speaks "it has been a long time since we have a established an alliance with the Cloud Wanderers centaur tribe. every year they meet us here to trade, and to report of dangers from the vast plains. our foreman at the halfling village of hillsbrock sent word that the centaurs haven't been seen in weeks. these are dire news indeed! we must find out what happened to them! are there any volunteers who will travel to the great mound, our arranged meeting place in time of trouble? or perhaps seek the Thunder Clap giants, who might know of their whereabouts? (read in the thread)
"a penny for your soul?": a strange illness is aflicting some of the town people (perhaps even the players, read on), mostly the more prominent people in town, but there is nos discernible pattern. people devlop apale skin, and they seem at first detached, growing more and more withdrawn, and then they "come back", only differently then before, with slight alterations to personlaity. few of them even left town, disappearedwithout a word. the local temple tries to heal, but this seems more like a curse than anything else, is our town doomed? (this is indeed acurse, a complicated one. a group of gypsy halflings are actually demon/devil worshipers, and are bound to some entity by some dark bargain. they were given special "tools" to further the demons/devils purpose: whenever they trade with a person, they can give them a special coin as change (cp or possibly pp), that has a devilish face on it, the devil then slowly posseses the person's body, while the person soul is driven and captured by the coin. the process takes time in which the symptoms appear. once the devil/demon has fully entered this realm, it travels to a temple to help further it's masters bidding. the halflings are always looking for more powerfull souls, since those enables more powerfull demons to enter (thus they might actively target the characters). if in the process of transformation the coin is seperated from the owner, the process is stopped (one of the only times when it is good to be robbed). i leave the details of reversing the affects once a demon/devil has appeared to you. the adventure should idealy start as investigation, following on the halflings trail, facing them and their surprises, and then onwards to the temple.)
"terror from the deep": there are rumors that something has stirred in the trident bay, fishermen have gone missing, and many say it's not just because of the storms we're having lately. there are even some silly buggers who claim that you can the ruins of some old city under the waves! would you believe such nonsense!
"search party": mayor morfix comes to the party after one or more of the former quests "damn it! things are dire indeed! and ignemius chose to disappear on one of his unfathomable studies right now! his apprentice told us he went to some ancint gargoyle infested ruins up north, and plans to stay there for a half a year or so! we need his help now. go talk to Gerald, he'll give you directions. find tha blasted wizard and tell him what's happened!" (idealy there should be some wilderness travel, finding the wizard is gone, maybe a fight with a rival to the wizards, then deducting his whereabouts and maybe a bit on his research from the gargolyes and their script (read thread), and then off to whatever fabuleous location (a demi plane?) the wizard has gone of to)
"the debt collector": a wounded elf stumbles into town, barely alive, and after being refreshed it tells a story, in a frightened voice: "i come bearing a message, mt caravan and me were attacked on the gorgon's pass by some wolves, worgs, and one sorcerer wolf. they killed most of us, and the sorcerer one said we're to tell Morfix the mayor, Essara the priestess and Calvos the guard commander that he demands the they owe it from the days of Sargoth (a bystander says "hey, wasn't that the tribe of hobgoblins they cleared way back?"). none shall travel the pass, and more shall die as long as the debt is unpaid. a bargain is a bargain" (the sorcerer wolf is in fact a barghest that helped the party of adventurers clear the hobgoblin tribe from some fiendish deal. however they turned on it and trapped it. now it's free, and it demands retribution. check my thread for more ideas on devils and bargains. the barghest could also be used as a source of information for the "penny for your soul" adventure. another consideration is that the leaders of the town weren't questioned till now. this quest might expose some of the shadier things they may have done to gain their success

these are the ideas i have at the moment at least. on second glancing they are a bit more than just hooks, but i hope they would work.

2009-03-14, 07:51 AM
Here ya go:

A string of murders has been plaguing the city. Strangely, the victim's killer always seems to be a close relative of that person...

Magical glyphs have been slowly appearing on the walls and streets of the city. Peculiar and sometimes dangerous happening are starting to occur near these scrawlings...

For years, the great moving castle of Carafax has been wandering the world on its spindly legs. It has always avoided cities, but now it appears to be heading straight toward the one you are in...

2009-03-14, 11:02 AM
They are starting at level one, they are likely to run from level 1 to 10 at least. It痴 a homebrewed world, but its really basic thusfar, so anything you can come up with probably won稚 screw with the game world痴 integrity.

2009-03-14, 01:01 PM
Needs moar time-limited dungeons. These are special ruins, pocket dimensions, temples, etc. which only appear at certain times or under certain circumstances. They can be abandoned by their original owners or occupied.

Examples of triggers:
- Lunar cycles (full moon, new moon, blue moon)
- Celestial Events (stars in alignment)
- Solar Events (eclipse, dawn, dusk, twilight)
- Seasonal Events (first snow, blossoming of special flower, migrating birds)
- Holy Days
- Local Events (when the Dry River is full, when a Priest of Pelor rings the Morningstar Bell at the Mountain Shrine)

These triggers are nice because it allows your PCs to know about certain hooks without being able to immediately act upon them, and it gives a reason why some other adventurer hasn't cleaned 'em out by now. Oh, and you can totally do quest-chains to open "Local Events" locks.

Now the question of inhabited/uninhabited is also important. Uninhabited dungeons can be overrun with monsters, possess Ancient Mysteries (tm) to be unlocked, and basically run as normal dungeon crawls (with more plot hooks!). But, an inhabited dungeon gives you all kinds of extra quests to use!

Examples of inhabited dungeon hooks:
- Cursed (ghosts who cannot rest, turned into monsters who are compelled to capture new inmates)
- Knowledge (inhabitants can answer questions... for a price!)
- Gifts (inhabitants can grant power/treasure... for a price!)

Sprinkle these around, and you not only can populate your world with legends and dungeons, but you also can get other static "hook givers" which can provide more outlandish quests than mortals or coincidence can.