View Full Version : Random Rumors and Bounties as adventure hooks

2016-09-12, 09:52 AM
I have a new idea for a campaign that will be mostly dungeon crawls in which the players can discover some strange things, meet interesting people, and find nice treasures, but which don't have any specific plot.
But instead of always just picking a dungeon for them, I want to let them pick from three different dungeons. Telling them in advance that it's a Haunted Crypt, Dragon's Lair, or Pirate Hideout would give away too much, so instead I want to only give them rumors that will lead them to these places. And to make things interesting, every time they get to pick a new destination they get three new rumors, even though two of the dungeons are the same ones they did not pick the last time.
I think that the expectations with which players go to a dungeon makes a big difference for how they will treat the things and people they encounter. Things will look very differently when the players are looking for a kidnapped princess than if they are hunting a noblewoman accused of treason, even if the dungeon they go to will be completely identical with the same NPCs that have the same goal and try to tell the PCs the same stories who they are. Searching for the hidden temple of an evil cult will be a different adventure than discovering a mysterious monastery on the way to a dragon's lair. By choosing a rumor to investigate the players can set the tone for the adventure, but I can still use all the dungeons I prepare.

What I need for that is a lot of rumors that would get a group of adventurers to explore and search remote and isolated places. It doesn't need to be a goal and doesn't need to be actually true either. Only a reason why the party has ended up within sight of the entrance to a cave or a ruin.

What always works is that a village has a problem with monsters that come from a dungeon and wish someone would put an end to that. Could also be bandits instead.
Also good is people occasionally disappearing in an area and the locals would be grateful if it's stopped from continuing.
Bit of a classic though more rare is news of the death of a dragon or wizard whose treasures are assumed to be mostly unguarded now.
Or there are tales about recent strange sights and sounds from a region of wilderness where normally nobody goes to.

2016-09-12, 11:18 AM
If you want the campaign to be more gritty instead of light hearted, you could always have the competition offering the players rumors. I.e, the competition is just as bad but he's paying.

"I was just about to hire some good men to plunder this port, but aye, somehow Whitebeard heard about it and snatched the port right under my nose! Now, I'm the laughing stock back home and my men are trained for defenseless women and children, not hardened pirates. Kill Whitebeard and his men, and I promise you a share of the booty!"