View Full Version : New DM looking for plot help.

2011-03-31, 05:15 AM
The Oppressive Sands: A Dark Sun Adventure

So Far:
The PCs were jailed in Balic under false pretenses and forced into the gladiator arena. After winning they were purchased by a local Merchant Noble in order to use them as agents and problem-solvers.

He's sent them on two missions so far, one to secure a well-site, and the current mission is to investigate a possible uprising at one of his basalt quarries.

The quarry was taken over by a band of thugs under the command of a territorial warlord. The thugs began sending quarry shipments to the warlord, and blocked the underground water in order to create a small lake & send water shipments to their warlord as well (which also created a water shortage further downstream). Additionally they started sending teams into the quarries cave system in search of something that has yet to be revealed.

The Noble is a recruiter for the Veiled Alliance who purchased them because one of the PCs & another PC's sister are arcane users. The first several missions have been to test their mettle.

The Warlord is more than a vanilla brigand. He seeks to amass an army, retake Tyr, and place himself as a new breed of Sorcerer King. To this end he has created a piecemeal embargo of Tyr (which also increases his wealth by taking the shipments in & out of the city-state), and has sent his own agents out in search of relics & anything else that will increase his power. Furthermore, the Warlord is being supported by both Andropinis & Hamanu, who would rather see Tyr controlled than free.

Tying it Together:
Aside from the water & stone at the quarry, the thugs are looking for the tomb in the caves. The tomb belongs to the lieutennant of Myron of Yorum, the "first" 4th Champion (in my story this lieutennant was tasked with hiding Myron's most powerful possession the *item* of *to be determined*)

The fact that the PCs will turn away the warlord's men & find the tomb themselves, ought to bring them under the crosshairs of the warlord.

I have a few ideas of where to take it next, but would like to know what you think, & how you would proceed.

Thanks in advance for your help.


2011-03-31, 08:43 AM
I think it sounds good so far. It does seem a little bit like you aren't actually giving the players any real options though, it strikes me as a bit of a railroad with them basically being slaves. You may already have something in mind for this though.

2011-03-31, 10:47 AM
[...]it strikes me as a bit of a railroad with them basically being slaves.

Welcome to Athas! Enjoy our lack of freedom and also water! :smallwink:

Seriously, though, there's some good potential here. Here's sort of an overarching "plot" direction I might use.

1. The PCs perform several small adventures, leveling up, learning about this warlord, and getting the feeling that he might need to be stopped on their own, rather than being told to do it. (Their boss comes out as a Veiled Alliance operative at some point too, and mentions maybe that the warlords assistant is a strong defiler.) This goes on throughout Heroic Tier.

2. Andropinis and Hamanu might want to see Tyr CONTROLLED, but only if its under their thumb. They'll only support this warlord as long as they can dictate what's happening. At some point, he starts going against them, putting your players on the same team as some, let's say, "unpleasant" characters from those two city-states in order to fight him. (This is around early paragon tier - the PCs will be doing some fighting, but they're essentially generals and special forces rather than grunts.)

3. After the warlord and his scheme fails, the heroes THEN have to worry about Andropinis and Hamanu finding out about the magical whatever and coming after them to take it! That plot should move them all the way to high Paragon tier.

4. After that, they're into Epic stuff, and that basically means they're some of the strongest individuals on Athas and will probably be running city-states (or their equivalent) anyway.

2011-03-31, 02:22 PM
What's the layout of your party? :smallsmile:

2011-04-01, 05:18 AM
Looks nice so far. Here my comments:

1) I don't like a McGuffin. Replace 'powerfull artefact' with 'sealstone of magic energy' or 'unknown ritual' or 'planar rift'.

2) Being slaves is railroad main station. Instead of slaves, state that they were bought free, and now need to repay? Or they got stripped of their possessions and can so some simple errands to earn some starters?

3) Don't point them to the evil directly. Maybe two or three side plots where they find something strange. Not threatening, but strange. Add some kind of recognisable symbol.

4) Last task to be done is the quarry where they reckognize the symbol they saw before (tattoo, amulet, on crates, etc...)

5) after they found out the tomb and clearly are now opponents of the crime lord, add a third faction so that it seems the world is evolving even if they don't interfere.

For example: The quarry blows after they leave, only to find out, there is a mysterious faction also opposing the war lord. And apparently a powerfull one. LAter you could reveal your first npc respondible. Recurring characters FTW!

2011-04-01, 01:40 PM
Gilric>> Perhaps a bit, but as a first-time DM I want a little more story control. Once the major plot points get revealed there should be more directions for the players to go. It won't be sandbox, but it'll provide options.

RTGoodman>> At the moment they're at about mid-level heroics right now. I'm trying to plan out three parts (that way there are breaks for other games), the first will end at paragon, the second will take them five levels, and the last will end at epic. I've billed this as a desert adventure, and my players aren't really into political aspects of games, so the more action the better for them.

I hadn't considered the sabotage angle. If they end up joining with the Veiled Alliance it might be fun to have them infiltrate the Warlord's ranks & lead them in raids against the other city states.

DragonBaneDM>> 4 PCs, an Eladrin Hexblade, a Thri-Kreen Knight, a Half-Elf Ardent, & a Tiefling Psion. In terms of character the Ardent is the pragmatic face (& clutch leader as far as the Thri-Kreen is concerned), the Knight is the young follower, the Hexblade is in self self-imposed exile while looking for ways to heal the world, and the Psion is the unbalanced, institutionalized slave.

Garwain>> They aren't slaves per se. The noble explained that they were purchased to serve as retainers, but they were not slaves. The PCs have stuck with them for their own reasons (the noble is housing the leader's sister, he pays well, and the psion can't think outside of the slave mindset)

The tomb won't actually have the item/McGuffin. The PC's will find hieroglyphics, wall paintings, and a few magical nubbins (once they are able to translate the glyphs it will hint at where to find said item/power). I figure after the PCs destroy the tomb guardian it will collapse leaving the PCs as the only ones with the info necessary to find it.


2011-04-01, 01:52 PM
You might consider them absconding and joining up with Tyr once you're comfortable with giving them more freedom.

Dr paradox
2011-04-07, 01:12 AM
I like the looks of how this is shaping up. a suggestion or two...

1. Don't have the noble tell the party out of the blue that he's part of the Veiled Alliance. drop a clue here or there that he's not being entirerly truthful, some incongruous aspects of his home, secret letters in the night, pushing the party to confront him about it, and THEN let him reveal it if they haven't worked it out yet. It gives the players more of a sense of accomplishment, and hides the rails a little.

2. If nothing else, add places where the success or failure of the party in a given scenario (or their choices) pushes the campaign into a certain direction, with lasting impact. think of it as switchtracks in the railroad. are therer any events that might cause the warlord to tip his hand? what about the noble?

DBest of luck on your first campaign! we novices must stick together!