View Full Version : Would like some help with sidequests

2010-02-25, 07:11 AM
As a first DM i would like to see if i get some tips on nice side quests or options for my players.

What the players know:
A human empire has conquered the dwarven lands a few decades ago. Currently they are suppressing the dwarfs and are on the brink of war with the elves.

What the players do not know yet:
Centuries ago the Drow were banished by the elves to the Underdark, forbidden to rise to the surface. The Golden Tree was created in that time, which enforces that banishment upon them.
The Drow have managed to take control of the Emperor (i will not go further into telling how, but i have it worked out) before the war with the dwarfs.
The war with the dwarves was created because in the dwarven lands lies the entrance to the Underdark, a large gap in the earth. Dwarfs are forced into labour to make an entrance (under false reasons off course, the Drow are long forgotten by all but the elves).
The war with the Elfs is now started to destroy the golden tree which would allow the Drow to resurface and take control of the world.

Story so far:
The players are part of the revolution. A lot of humans are resisting the empire, they do not want these wars.
A few days ago one of the players found out that a dungeon was discovered, made by an deceased Dwarven Mage, containing valuable items.
They have stolen the "key" to the dungeon from the soldiers, followed some other soldiers to the location of the dungeon (they forgot to steal the map to the dungeon), took care of those soldiers and have went through to the end of the dungeon (the session ended, they do not know yet they have overcome the dungeon and only need to collect the treasure.)

What i have planned:
- When they collect the treasure they will suddenly notice it becomes darker, and they hear the sound of a thousand needles falling on the ground. They are attacked by tons of spiders. As they fight them off they will hear a voice warning them: (in short) "Cease your meddling, their return is inevitable, this is your last warning".
The voice comes from a Duergar Warlock (he created the darkness and spiders). Duergar is not really a race in my world by the way, he is the only one, a dwarf who long ago entered the Underdark and ended up serving the drow.
In the treasure is a journal from the Wizard which contains some hints, which mentions the Gap specifically for a reason not important to tell (it does not say anything about it being the entrance to Underdark).
The Warlock will want that Journal, or destroy it. He will retreat however, if things go bad for him, to return another time.

They will probably not go straight for the gap after this hint. But eventually i want them to go to the gap, i will give them more reasons to go to the Gap. The dwarves forced into working near the gap have gone on strike, because some workers have dissappeared. Now the soldiers have killed some of the workers who refused to work. Dwarfs in the whole empire are now more actively demonstrating against this, hopefully interesting the party to go to the gap.

Eventually they will enter the Underdark, find out what is happening and try to foil their plans by completely destroying the Drow (extremely hard), protecting the golden tree and/or undisguise the emperor.

Now what?
I am not sure on what to do now though, they will probably not go straight to the gap. They will most likely head back to the capital city, where the Leader of the Revolution is waiting for them.
I guess i could have the military raid the secret revolution headquarters (either when they are there or before they arrive back to the city), but even then i have little idea on what to do before the party eventually goes to the gap.

Preferably i would like to get ideas connected to the main storyline or perhaps containing the previously mentioned Warlock, or it can have something to do with the army preparing to march to the Elven lands.

Like a gnome town halfway between the gap and the city is in trouble because of huge spiders coming out of the ground. Which without the players knowing is caused by the activity at the gap (this makes no sense, but just an example linking towards the gap and the drow).

But also other fun sidequests are welcome (is there a list to be found somewhere?), perhaps an unrelated mission given by the Revolution Leader.

2010-02-25, 04:39 PM
You could always let them find an escaped dwarfen worker, who is now hunted by the soldiers. They have to guard him until they reach the capital and he can tell them more about the gap so that they have a reason to go there.
The journal from the dwarfen mage could contain hints about another dwarfen wizard (perhaps still alife) so that they could have to find/rescue him before the duergar reaches his tower/dungeon/stronghold.

2010-02-26, 04:21 AM
You could always let them find an escaped dwarfen worker, who is now hunted by the soldiers. They have to guard him until they reach the capital and he can tell them more about the gap so that they have a reason to go there.
The journal from the dwarfen mage could contain hints about another dwarfen wizard (perhaps still alife) so that they could have to find/rescue him before the duergar reaches his tower/dungeon/stronghold.

Excellent ideas!

Yes, both of those will certainly be used (provided the players take these quests)

Thank you for taking the time to read my (long) post!

2010-02-26, 04:24 AM
Sometimes the best sidequests come from the plays themselves.

What are the character backgrounds?

2010-02-26, 04:54 AM
Sometimes the best sidequests come from the plays themselves.

What are the character backgrounds?

Two players are Goliath Warblades, one was wounded by the other by accident and was banned by his clan. The other one left with him, since he wounded him.
They left their clan before the war between the Humans and Dwarfs started. Since they were now living more or less among the dwarfs, they have fought alongside the dwarfs in the war. When the war was lost they saw their Dwarven friends mistreated by the humans and decided to join the "resistance".

One is a Human Bard, born in a small town. He always wanted to become a Bard, but could not sing, nor play an instrument. He is however a good storyteller. He also joined the resistance, being against the wars. He has established himself as a noble in the capital city and acts as a spy for the "resistance". He is the one who retrieved the information about the secret dungeon.

One is a rogue, always lived in the city as a poor boy. He did small delivery/spying jobs for what he always thought was a criminal orginisation. He later found out it he was working for the "resistance" and was happy about that.

One is a Urban Ranger, formerly a soldier, therefor he was on top of all that was happening and it felt wrong.

One is a Half-Ogre Werebear (dont ask) from the wilderness (which is a long long way from these "civilized" lands). He has been an outcast his whole life and has a strong need to protect others, in this case the dwarfs. He had been captured while attacking soldiers and was rescued by the resistance from prison (because he happened to be there when they were rescueing their own members).

Kol Korran
2010-02-26, 09:56 AM
the resistence might try and seek allies. a few possible sidequests:
- the elven lands won't let anyone enter them, now that war is approaching, the resistence isn't able to get a word through or try and work with them (perhaps when last people netered, it hurt the Great Tree, or whatever it's called, so now the elves are paranoid). However, the resistence has come to know of possible allies to the elves, who are approachable (gnomes? sylvan folk? centaurs? forest giants? a dragon?) and they send the party to parly with them. the allies might be under interogation by the empire, or perhaps attacked by "un official" empirelist loyalists, and need the party's help. or, they might send the party on a small quest to prove their worth and integrity of intention. the allies might have heard a few tales of the war with the drow (in obscure terms), or of the importence of the Tree. the walock might be on the party's trail and try and interfere with their work, or make them look bad.

- the elves have contacted the resistence, but then the empire have attacked the secret compound, intent on capturing the elves for interogation (there might be a spy in the resistence? if so they have to deal with it). the resistence leaders and elves have been sent away to the dungeon/ alcatraz like prison/ magical experiments. the party must rescuee them before too much information is given, and also to gain the help of the elves. the elves might elude to some of the history if asked.

other ideas:

- The Empire is in negotiation to employ powerfull creatures to work against the elves. a good candidate is the goliath tribe from which the two players emerged. the party needs to try and break the talks. the empire might use diplomacy, bribery, or threaten (they might kidnap the young, or hold them under some spell/ curse). the empirelists might be helped with strange creatures or lore, that has not been seen a long time, not before the ancient war of the elves, what happened then? the warlock might be working quite closely with the empirelists special forces here (perhaps he is supplying them the lore), and the party might be surprised to find this link between the two. this might alert them that not all is well in the empire.

- The Porphet: a certain creature becoems prophetic, giving signs and omens of what was, what is, and what is to come. this poor soul is besieged by the empire, the resistence, and perhaps other factions like the elves, the dwarves, or the warlock and it's minions. the prophet might be on the run, and the party might need to gain it's trust, as well as guard it from enemies. i suggest you play it as a mind crazed prophet, not in full control of it's visions, seeking peace. the prophecies are mostly obscure, but clever parties might guess at their meanings. the prophet might come in and out of the party's lives. a few suggestions for it:
- have easy means to disappear or escape- changling, invisibility, dimension door, gaseous form, alter/ disguise self.
- it's form might hint at other aspects of the campaign. for example he might look like a half drow (might be a reason for the elves to track him), even though he is human or otherwise. he might too have powers of spiders and darkness, hinting to a linkage to the warlock powers. oooorrrr... he might look very similar to the emperor, and actually be the real emperor (if the fake one is a shape shifter), or be his brother/ sister. (if you use this last piece, make sure the prophet loses his/ her memory up to near the end of the campaign. the party might suspect, but it's hard to make ascertin)

those are my ideas for now, a bit tired, i hope it helps. good luck!

2010-02-26, 10:27 AM
<<Good stuff>>

Another set of excellent ideas.
I am having a bit of trouble with the last one (the prophet). It wont be easy making him a recurring character as the party will travel a lot, so it will be only very very occasionally that they will meet him.
This did lead me to another idea. What if within the treasure of the Dwarven Wizards is an item, a small rock, that emits darkness (only 1 feet or so). The Wizards describes going into the Gap in his journal, maybe he took the rock with him. The rock is another hint and i could even make it give the one who touches it flashbacks/omens...

Kol Korran
2010-02-27, 03:59 AM
the rock as a prophet? perhaps, but i'd suggest to make it a bit more special then a rock, perhaps a helmet with motifs of the ancient elves, before the race split into two subraces? a few ideas about that:
- the helmet is surrounded by darkness as you suggested, and the dakness is of quite a hig lvel so it can't be easely negated. if a character puts it on, it gains some sort of a "special" visions (perhaps it can see clearly in darkness, but is blinded by the dimest light? or it sees living forms brgithly from afar, even through inainimate barrriers?)
- the helmet could be used to navigate the gap to the lower realm succesfully, as it's wearer notcies things other didn't (immediate 20 on notice secret doors/ passages? while in the gap?)
- the helmet bearer might get small prophetic visions of all kinds relating to their current situations, but it might be taxing on the wearer (some sort of ability damage, or wild condition, or perhaps a slight chance of alignment change. you think of something)
- make the helemt an intelligent item, perhaps with two minds- one of the "good" elves, and one of the "drow" (though it never identifeis itself as either). the party might need to "fix" the demented helemt, if they wish to succeed, or gain more information. make it a worthwhile, but tricky magical item.

2010-02-27, 04:45 PM
And the goodies keep coming.

Do note that the elves themselves are not aware of the drow's coming. Though they do know about the history and why the Golden Tree is important, there is not hint to them yet that there is any drow work at hand.

Tommorow i will have a day off to work out all the tips i received and i will post the things i will work out here. I am really looking forward to seeing how the players will respond to the hints and links they are given.