View Full Version : 101 Unusual Plot Hooks

2013-05-04, 07:02 PM
1. The adventurers enter a village which they have not visited before, when they hear a cry, "That's Them!" and are immediately beset by a crowd of angry children, who are waving sticks and hurling stones. The adventurers look about, but see no adults present.

2. The adventurers are commissioned by a village mayor to retrieve a trinket from the abandoned ruins of a nearby town. When they leave the ruined town with the trinket, the town becomes whole, filled with people, and bustling with commerce. When they arrive at the village, they find that it is deserted and falling apart. As they stand in what was once the village square, a messenger from the town arrives and demands that they return the trinket at once.

3. An adventurer that is widely acknowledged to be a great hero approaches the adventuring party in secret and offers to pay them a lot of money (or give them a wondrous item) if they complete a quest but allow him to claim credit for it.

Archpaladin Zousha
2013-05-04, 09:52 PM
4. The adventurers are minding their own business when they're approached by a desperate man who calls them "your majesties" and expresses shock and horror when they explain they've never seen him before. He says "Unbelievable. I'm the only one that got away from them."

2013-05-04, 09:52 PM
*5. A shout of help can be heard echoing from an alley, where a woman in a dark robe is running from an armoured figure. Upon being rescued, she casually reveals she's an evil necromancer, and the man the players just defended her from was a paladin.

edited to be correct order-wise

2013-05-04, 10:00 PM
6. Townsfolk mysteriously lose the ability to speak excepts in rhyme, and cannot in rhyme describe the cause after describing it as orange.

7. A horde of barbarians attack a town to the battle cry of "There are some things about you which we on occasion find moderately unpleasant." and kill the inhabitants while showing no ill will towards the townsfolk and seem genuinely offended when wounded.

8. A tree in a remote forest starts growing money and armies muster to claim it.

9. The PCs enter an alternate reality where gold, silver, and copper means you are in debt, while money is virtual. The PCs are shunned thinking they bring bad luck.

10. A shifty looking minotaur approaches the PCs, asks how much they value there lives, and once he gets an answer proceeds to offer gold in exchange for the PCs lives.

11. The entire world becomes Displaced (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/displacement.htm), creatures under the effect of displacement appear where they really are.

12. Everyone who enters and abandoned home feels the incessant need to stab all there closets friends.

13. Mindless undead gain memories of there former lives and proceed to go about them, ignoring the fact they are undead, and resisting all attempts to control them.

2013-05-04, 10:00 PM
I've been wanting to use this one for a long time.

14. Very shortly after the party set foot in a strange new land, they see a ragged man being chased towards them by a huge mob. If they join in and kill him, they make peaceful contact with the locals. If they do nothing, then the ragged guy gets away and the heroes find out that they just committed a capital crime by not immediately doing everything in their power to kill him. For the rest of their time there, they have to deal with being high-profile fugitives. If they defend him, then a few villagers get away and essentially the same thing happens.

This one only works in a world where psionics are generally unknown and psi-mag transparency does not apply.

15. The heroes are dispatched to a port city to halt a developing riot/war between followers of the conventional pantheon and a mysterious, fast-spreading cult called The Children Of The Sun, who have access to mysterious powers outside the bounds of magic.

2013-05-04, 10:14 PM
16. After a casting of identify, one of the items the party found during their last adventure turns out to be an unknown lich's philactery. Over the course of the next few days, various groups of powerful undead start to hunt them down.

2013-05-04, 10:26 PM
17. A burly man with a fur-lined jacket and sunglasses approaches the party. He says: "The King has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the King?"

... what?

Archpaladin Zousha
2013-05-04, 10:41 PM
18. The adventurers wake up one morning and are shocked to find that each one of them is obese, as if they'd been transformed in the middle of the night. When they question other people about it, they have no reaction, as if the adventurers have always been monstrously fat, even when that shouldn't be possible, whether because of a lifetime of hard physical training to be a great fighter or the impressively fast metabolism of an elf. But the next morning, the adventurers are back to normal. When they question people if they'd looked or acted differently yesterday, they get the same response, that nothing out of the ordinary happened at all.

A few weeks pass without incident, but one morning the adventurers awake to find that this time, they've all become undead. What makes this even more disturbing is that, other people not only claim nothing changed when questioned by the adventurers (who have to truss and coerce as people now run in fear of them), and once again, they return to normal the next day, people they interrogated not even seeming to remember being chased and questioned by a pack of revenants.

When will the next change occur? What will it be? What is causing this and why? And how can it be stopped?

2013-05-05, 12:01 AM
19. While resting in a tavern, the adventurers meet and enjoy the fellowship of a friendly and gregarious person. During the course of the evening, their new friend interacts with the tavern's other patrons (asks the guy at the next table for the salt, etc.). The next morning, the gregarious fellow has vanished, and when the adventurers inquire to his whereabouts, they are informed that they dined alone, and that no such fellow exists. Searching the tavern common room, they come across some item (a monogrammed glove, a ring inscribed with the fellow's name) that is evidence the fellow was there the night before.

The Dark Fiddler
2013-05-05, 08:42 AM
20. The PCs have a failed, and a cult they were fighting has succeeded at bringing back an ancient, sealed villain from the dead. He immediately kills the cult that has resurrected him and explains to the PCs that hell is not a nice place, and he wants to make amends before he dies again. This is, of course, made all the more difficult by his vicious reputation (he was, after all, one of the greatest evils the world has ever known).

Archpaladin Zousha
2013-05-05, 09:52 AM
20. The PCs have a failed, and a cult they were fighting has succeeded at bringing back an ancient, sealed villain from the dead. He immediately kills the cult that has resurrected him and explains to the PCs that hell is not a nice place, and he wants to make amends before he dies again. This is, of course, made all the more difficult by his vicious reputation (he was, after all, one of the greatest evils the world has ever known).
Huh. I'm kind of reminded of The Black Company books.


21. As 18, but instead of the PCs changing for a day, they are the only ones who DON'T change, and when they ask people what happened to them, they claim that nothing has and whatever feature the change effected was always like that.

22. The PCs find themselves in possession of a large pile of coins that they can't identify. There are no images or languages from any country that could mint money that they resemble. Once the apparent value is determined, though, they begin spending them. Several weeks later, however, they find that anyone whom they've given that money to has changed recently, becoming increasingly beautiful. While this is strange, it doesn't become serious until the recipients of the coins become icons of physical perfection. Then they start turning into stone.

Man on Fire
2013-05-05, 06:48 PM
23. Number of cloaked figures in masks walks into an inn and starts murdering people. One man runs away and they chase after him. Once they catch him, they take unusual ring from his finger and murder him. Then dm says this
All of you take off the masks. You're standing over a dead body, one of you is holding wierd ring in hand. You have vague recognition of the fact you have killed this man and other people to get it, but you don't know why. Last thing you clearly remember was going to sleep last night. City guards are running towards you, they look angry. What you do?

2013-05-05, 07:10 PM
24. The PCs wake up in a cave with no memory of who they are.

25. The PCs's starship suddenly shuts down far into deep space and has to figure out a way to fix it.

26. The PCs all start out in different parts of the world and realize they can telepathically communicate with each other, but have no idea why or how.

Blue Ghost
2013-05-05, 07:42 PM
27. The PCs suddenly become aware that their world is a roleplaying game, and they are actually from a higher reality that got trapped in the game somehow. They remember nothing about their real selves, and have to find out why they are trapped in the game.

2013-05-05, 08:09 PM
28. The party accidentally free an eldritch horror from his prison. He's ecstatic, and promises to be their best friend. While not particularly helpful (since fully manifesting in the world would probably destroy it, and that would be rude), he's completely harmless- except that townsfolk are mistrusting or hostile to him being around, and he won't stop talking.

29. A high artifact attaches itself to the Party. It cannot be destroyed or lost and everyone else in the country recognizes enough to avoid it. At random intervals it messes with them, turning their gear bright colors, making their pack animals sentient and indignant, body swapping, making them (temporarily?) kobolds, etc, although never anything deadly.

30. The entire 'verse is mismatched in a single night, causing pretty much everything to be mixed up and scattered. Suddenly coastal cities are in the desert, half of the desert is under the ocean, there's an ocean in a circle of Hell, and another is on the back of a colossus. And practically no one is what they were before.

31. The party accidentally becomes the target of a summoning spell of a few mages in another dimension.

Dire Panda
2013-05-05, 08:26 PM
32. The PCs are rookie starship techs working for a major corporation. Their boss sends them out to a deep-space station which doesn't appear on any maps, where the corporation is secretly developing a wormhole generation device. Their ship is crippled by gravitational distortion on the way in, and once aboard the station they find that the crew has gone mad. Worse, the wormhole generator explodes within an hour, killing everyone aboard... and the PCs find themselves back in the hangar. Time has been reset to the moment they boarded the station. Cue a Groundhog Day-type scenario: the PCs have only an hour to fix the station before it explodes, but they return to the start of that hour when they die. The station's occupants have gone insane from continually experiencing their own deaths, so the PCs have to figure out a way to fix the wormhole drive within a certain number of "cycles" or take increasing sanity penalties. They'll need to accumulate information over multiple cycles to have a chance.

Archpaladin Zousha
2013-05-05, 11:47 PM
33. There's a significant threat to the kingdom emerging, and the PCs are tasked with finding the ancient hero that founded the kingdom before disappearing claiming he'd return in its hour of need. Most would consider this a wild-goose chase except that he HAS returned before, defending the kingdom from some great evil before vanishing again. The PCs finally find a crypt and are dismayed to find the hero is dead. Only his sword remains, a weapon whose powers allegedly only awakened for him. When they pick up the sword, however, they find its powers work just fine. It WILL only work for its master, though, and so it begins to slowly turn the PC that bears it into a copy of him, changing appearances and even gender, and replacing his/her memories with the hero's. It turns out this is why the hero was seemingly able to return from the dead to protect the kingdom. Those returns were actually replacements. Can the PCs stop the threat before the sword completely erases what their friend once was?

2013-05-06, 02:31 AM
(Note, this one really only works as the start of the whole campaign:)

34. The PCs, who don't know each other and are possibly even from different cities/countries, all suddenly wake up in stasis pods in a strange facility. The place is recently abandoned, as if in a hurry. While searching for the exit, the PCs find evidence that each of them was snatched up five years previously and has since been living their life in virtual reality.

2013-05-06, 03:37 AM
35: After traveling through a thick, swampy, bug-infested bog, the PCs begin going through some physical changes. Bright light begins to bother their eyes, and in time irritate their skin. Food tastes off, and the party becomes perpetually thirsty and irritable. Any death or slaughter in their vicinity causes them to need a series of slowly-increasing Will saves to avoid rushing forward and frantically consuming the gore. Yep, they're all afflicted with vampirism - as the mosquitos in the bog had fed on a freshly-full vampire and transmitted the disease through their own bites.

36: As the PCs are resting in a town, frequent heavy rainfall bursts a nearby dam and floods the town and surrounding region in five feet of water. People are trapped inside their houses, and things are moving in the slow, gurgling water.

37: When the PC's ship is docked at a remote space station, a number of inexplicable technical faults serve to make exiting the place impossible. The docking clamps have cold-fused to the ship; the harbor computers keep shutting off every five minutes; holes appear in the boarding platform hull; coolant leaks freeze all nonmetallic material that enters the bay in seconds. These are caused by an obsessed superfan who has been following the PCs' daring space adventures for the whole of the campaign. He has their action figures and all their news reports taped, which he watches every night. He will not let them leave until they agree to be his friend.

38: The PCs meet an old woman tending a roadside shop. She attempts to hawk treasure maps; an inspection will reveal that each one leads to one of the PC's family homes. Should they return, they will find a previously unseen and unknown door directly beneath the bed they slept in as children, leading to the exaggerated realms of dragons, princesses, dark knights of evil and glorious victories of good that they fantasized about before going to sleep each night.

39: The PCs arrive at an isolated, idyllic forest village. While there, they recognize people who they know to have died - lost parents, murdered siblings, foul villains who died by their own hands. None have any memory of what the PCs have seen, and they all claim to have never left the village.

40: To complete a mission, the PCs must make an extended underwater jaunt. The potions they purchase to allow them to breathe underwater work like a charm - except now they can't breathe air anymore. The secret lies somewhere deep under the waves.

2013-05-06, 06:09 AM
41. Death invites the PCs to tea, saying that he'd like to get to know the living a little better before they die.

42 (obligatory). The prime material plane was created to determine the meaning of life, the answer has almost been found.

2013-05-06, 09:18 AM
43) The PCs discover a strange scroll with unknown writing. After casting identify on it they find out it is a list of people slated to die in the current month that belonged to Death himself. The shocking part? The PCs are all on the list, and they are slated to die in the next two weeks. To make matters worse they where already on a quest to defeat a great evil and two weeks is not nearly enough time to finish that task. Will the PCs try to cheat death or will they instead try to finish their heroic quest in the few days they have left?

44) The PCs are avatars in an MMO. They have real life people who play the game behind them and it is totally clear and apparent that the fantasy world is just one big videogame. The "real life" people, however, are not real at all, but rather thoughts implanted in the PC's head by some unknown force. In reality the world is not an MMO at all but an actual fantasy world. However, for some reason this world is seemingly dictated by MMO rules and the people all believe they are actually players controlling Avatars, with the thoughts, memories ect.. to go with it. As time goes on, however, strange things start happening, and eventually the PCs may find out the hidden truth of their world and what mysterious force has caused their home and minds to act in accordance with the MMO myth.

45) One of the PCs is a prince. He and the rest of his friends have set off on a journey of epic proportions. They must save a dragon whom the PC prince wants to marry from the evil princess who captured her.

46) The PCs must defend a benevolent megacorporation that rules the world with a fair, kind-hearted hand from a gang of ruthless rag-tag rebels who want to create a world of inequality where only the strongest survive.

More to come as I think of them...

2013-05-06, 09:48 AM
47.) Death, bones robe scythe and all, walks up one of the PCs holding a chess piece and says, PARDON ME. COULD YOU TELL ME HOW THE HORSE MOVES? THIS IS SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT.*

48.) A Party member awakes to find a small, relatively defenseless creature sitting next to its face. As the PC looks into the animals face a voice reverberates in his or her head, "Kneel puny mortal or I will smite you into next Tuesday!"*

*pretty much straight up stolen from Sir. Terry Pratchett

49.) A friendly, helpful, but definitely foreign Cleric meets the party on road and informs them that a near bye keep has recently become hope to a Vampire. After saying that he mentions that he's on his way there to meet up with his brothers where, together they'd make a name for themselves in the eyes of their god.

When I used it he was a priest of Nerull, and the right hand of the Vampire. He informed the players of this as they reached the keep after introducing them to his brothers, whom he had zombified, and then invited them in for tea and cakes.

50.) A Fey run Mage school is offering a discount magic item sale.

In a past game it was gnomes, but my gnomes had a culture and religion based around the use of practical jokes as tools for teaching and keeping morale up. The player wound up with a charm that was "guarenteed to save your life once, but at the expense of your pride." from the school's star pupil.

2013-05-06, 10:11 AM
51. A local city schedules a huge party in honor of the party for their numerous heroics in exactly one month. Only after they agree to show up to they realize that the seemingly powerless witch from the last escapade has cursed them into lycanthropes of hopelessly embarrassing animals. And of course the party would be on a full moon...

52. The party is "persuaded" by a mother dragon to watch her hatchlings while she's away (and hilarity ensues).

53. The party's personalities become stored in their most recognizable items and need to verbally give orders to their bodies to finish the villain who cursed them, which are still intelligent but mostly very stupid.

2013-05-06, 11:09 AM
54. The players are told they must protect the serphant god who has been turned in to a carp and they must take him though a magical long river to restore him to full form.

Man on Fire
2013-05-06, 11:28 AM
55. One of the party is a noble. He gets invitation for holidays in lands of his very distant and rich cousin, who is a lord. As it turns out, cousin's daughter just died and he wants to make that PC his sole heir. However, soon after the party shows up in his house, he gets murdered and they become main suspects.

56. A mysterious man tells every party member event and date of their death, which shall all occur during next two weeks. To prove he isn't kidding, he kills an NPC by simply telling him he will die now.

57. One of PCs has been engaged to a member of royalty from foreing country, say a prince, and travel to his homeland, where they will get married. On the road storm makes prince's horse run in panic, carrying him into the woods. As party comes looking for him/her, they meet disgusting monster, who changes their genders, gives them completely unregoniable looks and informs them ,that if they will ever inform anybody what happened here, they will be struck like this forever and prince will die.

58. Flip side of 57- party member is a prince, returning home to get married with his beloved. After her horse runs off, carrying her int othe wodds, party meets disgusting monster. As he explains, he has been cursed by goddes of love to bear this form, until he shall separate two lovers. He has already turned the girl into a man and proceeds to turn pricne into replica of himself, and rest of the party into various monsters. He tells them ,that if prince won't make his beloved fall for him in this form before three days shall pass, they all will die and if any of pcs will try to inform anybody what has happened, he will die.

59. Party member kills a raven during a hunt. Suddenly, monstrous demon appears before him, yelling that the raven was his beloved pet. As a punishment, if said pc won't marry a girl with hair as black as raven's feathers, lips as red as it's blood and skin as white as rock it fallen on, before next full moon, demon will drag his soul to hell and torture for all eternity.

60. This is for a party which annoy you with perverted behavior towards women. They meet a beautiful sorceress, who acts friendly towards them, but gets extremely offended, if they act in any way perverted. Next day, after waking up, party realizes that all women in the world became completely flat-chested. Or rather, perception of our perverts has been alerted so they no longer can see female breasts. There is a mesage written in ryme on their butts, one line for each left buttcheek - it's from sorcerres, who says she casted this curse on them and only way to undo it is to undergo dangerous mission for her.

61. Mayor of local town asks the party to save his daughter, which has been kidnapped by Monster from the Cave, who demands large sum of money as a ransom. As it turns out, "Monster" is girl's lover in lame costume, and everything was a ruse of the two, who want to start new life somewhere else, away from her tyranical father.

62. Party comes upon a satyr assaulting young, strangerly dressed girl. If they save her, she claims to have came "from the wardobe" and speaks of strange things nobody ever heard of. Soon after that, bunch of men in strange outfits and using weapons unknown to this world come after the party, demanding them to release daughter of British Prime Minister.