View Full Version : Campaign Help: A moving party

2009-04-02, 11:46 PM
Ok first off ive always come to the GITP for help with my DMing and Playing questions for DND so i hope it will continue to help me as you guys always seem to do lol.

Ok so the party is a little group of misfits of sorts. There is a Half-ogre barbarian/fighter, a Human Sorcerer, and a Human Hexblade with a dwarven fighter thats on and off for when he is there. So far ive kept them around a single town doing these little quests and things but they've managed to stumble on a caravan of misfit characters and have been debating on if they should go with them as protectors.

My questions to you giant forum readers are these:
#1 what are some encounters or problems that this caravan could encounter that the PC's could help with?
#2 What little hidden twists or plothooks do you think would work good for this?
#3 I've made alot of character bio's for this (i like my PC's to sometimes connect with npc's) should there be any type of reward for my PC's getting to know information and remembering it about the NPC's?
#4 What would YOU do if you were in my shoes as a DM, as far as this caravan thing goes?

2009-04-02, 11:54 PM
Depends on the power level and style of game. Crapsack world? Merchents turn on the players. Normal thing, and the players should help them fight of a CR appropriate bandit attack.

Some idea for the NPC's, have an idealistic or angsty teen with the caravan who wants out, probably to be an adventurer. Maybe one of the caravaners has a love intrest in one of the towns they stop at. Maybe the Baron von Jerklheim levies unfair tarrifs. Maybe the caravan smuggles goods past his customs agents. Someone is sick and needs medicine. Umm... yeah, ran out of ideas.

2009-04-04, 12:38 PM
Hm....when you say that there is a caravan of misfits, what kind of caravan? Are they merchants, trying to sell things? Entertainers? What?

2009-04-04, 03:26 PM
Well there is a cleric and his group cause lol clerics always seem to be moving. But there is a 3 person gnome bard troop, an old wizard and his apprentice that serve as an alchemist of sorts, a blacksmith. and a bunch of commoners just using it to travel.

2009-04-04, 04:22 PM
Getting to know the caravan members will result in small trinkets and stuff like that. For instance, the old wizard might give them some spare scrolls or a wand as a gifts because he likes them.

Some kind of bandit attack is probably expected, but try to mix things up a bit. The bandit attack otherwise runs a high risk of becoming clichéd.

Finally, something to create some suspense might be interesting. For instance the Caravan might run into a crashed airship inside a an old spooky forest, or they might find some creepy ruin or end up up transported into some kind of freaky new plane.

Make your players like their new "home", and then threaten it. That way you'll invoke a lot more emotion.

Fifty-Eyed Fred
2009-04-04, 05:33 PM
I'm with LearnedGuy on this, except that I would stick in busking somewhere (Don't want to let 3 Gnomish bards go to waste!). If not bandits, then orcs or something. If the rules for mounted combat weren't so annoying I'd say have a battle on horseback trying to fight off mounted enemies, in some hills or mountain passes or something for a more unique kind of session :D

2009-04-04, 05:44 PM
For the bandit attack with a twist I like having the men in black masks stepping out from the trees demanding that weaponry be dropped be government offcials. It's a nice little detail that can lead to some intense RPing, or a moral on the folly of brash action.

And of course, all ambushes, bandit or otherwise, ought to be in fun terrain with lots of cover, steep slopes, or forest, and objectives other than 'kill 'em all.' If you can finagle it, give the wagons a set speed, like 10 ft a round, so players just have to fight their way clear. Or maybe the big guy needs to make a STR check to move the log that was placed over the road, while the others cover his back, in a sort of reverse tank situation.

But yeah, have at least one comic relief NPC and one with a serious problem of some sort, so the players both like the NPC's and want to help them.

2009-04-04, 08:01 PM
Well there is a cleric and his group cause lol clerics always seem to be moving. But there is a 3 person gnome bard troop, an old wizard and his apprentice that serve as an alchemist of sorts, a blacksmith. and a bunch of commoners just using it to travel.

Dude, a set-up like this has Mysterious Past (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MysteriousPast) written all over it. Hell, I could design an entire campaign around the "blacksmith" - who used to be a high-level warrior but retired (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RetiredBadass), and is being hunted down by old enemies.

Or whatever you like. Commoners who "want to travel?" One could be a spy for the king, transporting secrets incognito. Or a Doppleganger Assassin on the run from a botched hit. Or anything, really.

Yeah, I know you already wrote their bios, but you may want to re-write some of them to take advantage of this gold mine.

If you don't want to go with the "Strangers on a Train" motif, there is always the Random Encounters school of thought. Run into another caravan (or a bunch of thieves disguised as a caravan), find travelers in distress, become forced to take a detour (through Dangerous Territory(tm)) or what have you.

As for rewards - sometimes information is its own reward. If you want, you can start with RP XP for when a players takes the initiative to have an immersion scene with someone. But then move on to hooks and gear - befriend the alchemist and he might teach you how to make something cool; perhaps one of the bards has been holding onto a treasure map and looking for a chance to go and get it; maybe the blacksmith has a special weapon (or armor) he made for someone who never picked it up - he might offer it to the PCs as a gift, or for cheap.

2009-04-05, 07:54 AM
Personally, I enjoy causing "Ah Hell..." moments.

Since they will be traveling, they won't know the are they are going to. Have them come over a hill, around a mountain or something, and get attacked by a cliche bandits, with a twist. They didn't warn or anything else, just a bunch of clearly bandits were running right toward them and screaming, holding weapons.

If they aren't attacked, a few things might get swiped as they run on by, but I seriously doubt players would pass on an EXP boost.

Make the Bandits 1-3 CR's lower than the party.

And give them a moment to see if anyone in the party wonders about their odd behavior. If not, just have a small comment by an NPC, such as "Don't see that every day, what was that about?" or "Well, that was easy."

Then have the Titan/Giant that they had accidentally upset come around the corner. Make it 1-2 CRs higher than the party too ^_^

2009-04-05, 04:56 PM
I see lots of ideas here. Several of them revolve around one thing--get them to know and like the members of the caravan.

In one town they go in, there could be a mysterious death of a popular town figure--and one of the caravan members, a likeable one, is blamed because he happens to be traveling through and there is some sort of circumstantial evidence. Because they have, by this point, befriended the caravan, the players will need to prove his innocence by finding the real killer.

Also, there might be a mysterious member of the caravan who the PC's think could be a bad guy...whether or not he/she actually is is up to you.

2009-04-05, 06:01 PM
I love layering encounters. One of the more enjoyable fights I've run was a running battle between a laden caravan, the PC's, a group of bandits and a flock of Wyverns.

We were actually delivering medicine to fight a disease outbreak, and were hurrying through a ravine, when the bandits attacked from the sides with flaming arrows, trying to light the wagons and spook the horses. Fortunately the wagons had wizards inside using protection from arrows spells, and nothing happened. On the plain past that, the bandits were waiting for us to come out with flaming wagons. When we arrived with flaming swords instead they tried to kill off the wagon drivers. Thirty some turns later we entered a forest just prior to the town, running over the sign warning of Wyverns. Of course the noise of the battle woke some thirty of them. Fortunately, they were more interested in eating the bandit's, and their mounts than the wagons, so we made it to town.

But yeah, running battles are alright, but they really did work better with 2e. 3.5 obfuscated some of the fun, but it can still be had.

2009-04-06, 10:56 PM
My goodness. That sounds like quite a long fight....hope the Wyverns didn't get stomachaches!