PDA

View Full Version : Help me with story/plot ideas!



WarKitty
2016-10-08, 10:50 AM
This is a 3.5 game, level 9. My players and I are both heartily tired of the "monsters of the day" playstyle we did for a few weeks.. Right now the players are responsible for a small village, although I'd like to encourage them to expand their territory (without being evil). There's also a major cult going on that they're going to have to try to uproot and destroy, culminating in destroying a dragon-god.

I'm not entirely sure where to go with this in the short-term. I think everyone would enjoy playing politics for a little bit, even if it isn't the traditional D&D way. I'm also working on adding a bit more intrigue, which admittedly isn't my forte.

So, ideas?

Yora
2016-10-08, 12:00 PM
If the party is in control of a settlement and the players want to do some political meddling with other people in the area it would be a good option to expand the campaign into something of a sandbox.

The best way would be to start with establishing which other settlements are nearby and which other groups are in charge or have big influence in the area. Once you know who else is there other than the party, give each group one or two goals they are pursuing and consider with who else they might get in conflict with because of those, and which groups might be allies because they have common enemies and their goals don't conflict with each other.

In the future some of those groups probably would try to get rid of the PCs or steal something that they control, and the players then would have to look for allies in the other groups or trick their enemies into fighting each other.

WarKitty
2016-10-08, 03:05 PM
So here's the nearby areas:

Dwarven settlement. Currently technically employing the players. Xenophobic but don't see the "northern wastes" as worth conquering.

Various fae settlements. Our Uldra Druid is from one of these. Tend to be insular and magically protected.

A rather large assortment of pretty much independent human/orc villages. Pretty much exist on a subsistence level. Our players are in charge of one of these currently. Make best fodder for expansion as they'd probably be willing to work for anyone who's powerful enough to protect them and savvy enough to set up some trade.

Halfling caravans. Nomadic. Think gypsies.

Elven city a ways south. Desert, not very well established in lore. Need to look at my PC's background a bit more on this one (can't see it from work unfortunately).

Human city much farther south. Probably to far to really interact except in the form of slave raiding caravans.

Thrawn4
2016-10-09, 04:10 AM
Some villagers might not be happy about some adventurers wielding their swords and claiming their homes.
Or the priest disagrees about some moral dilemma and convinces people that the PCs are bad news.
Someone is steeling badly needed groceries/herbs. For profit or out of necessity? Maybe someone the PCs like or dislike?
Local merchant is a greedy ***** and takes advantage of the needy.
Local baron demands higher taxes, but the crops don't look to well. How can the PC improve the harvest? (maybe find the scrawny druid who hates the village?)

WarKitty
2016-10-09, 10:17 AM
Some villagers might not be happy about some adventurers wielding their swords and claiming their homes.
Or the priest disagrees about some moral dilemma and convinces people that the PCs are bad news.
Someone is steeling badly needed groceries/herbs. For profit or out of necessity? Maybe someone the PCs like or dislike?
Local merchant is a greedy ***** and takes advantage of the needy.
Local baron demands higher taxes, but the crops don't look to well. How can the PC improve the harvest? (maybe find the scrawny druid who hates the village?)

I mean, they're 3.5 9th level, good-aligned. If the people don't want them, they'll just back off. If someone's being a jerk, they'll just crush them because they're so much more powerful than any sort of minor local baron or merchant.

Demidos
2016-10-09, 11:19 AM
The halfling merchants are surprisingly late. When they arrive, they lack their usual cheer, are reticent, and wear heavy robes. They reply angrily to any insinuations that anything is different. A few days after they arrive, there is a giant and sudden uproar through the town at midnight, with flashes of magic and screams. In the morning the merchants are gone, but a group that people recognize as dragon cultists have disappeared from the town. No one is quite sure what happened.


What happened -- A half-crazed halfling returned from the elven desert pulling a giant cauldron and raving about a perfectly ordered society. The naturally chaotic halflings ignored him, but several people started disappearing. By the time he was confronted, it was too late -- his cauldron had the power to turn people pushed into it into doppelgangers under his control. The caravan fell to his power, and he built a base hidden in the hills, from which he sent forth his doppelgangers to expand his dominion over other halfling caravans. Finding the dragon cult infuriated his warped sensibilities, and he determined he should exterminate them. The changeable nature of his minions makes it difficult for the cult to track him with divination. He is willing to ally with people

Mechanically --
The cauldron is a sentient artifact that converts living people thrown into it into HD "storage", and has the dedicated purpose of bringing order to humanoid society. It can subsequently use the stored HD to manufacture a creature under the user's control of half HD. For example, a 6 HD warrior can be used to fuel the creation of a 3 HD minion, or 6 1HD villagers can be used for the same purpose. The cauldron has a limit of one creature of the HD of the user -2, and double that for each HD below. E.g. an 11th level user using the cauldron could have one 9th level minion, 2 8th, 4 7th, etc. (Balance note: While very strong, this is an artifact and still only moderately more powerful than the leadership feat. I would require the user to sacrifice at least three feats to be able to use it, even if the blatant evil doesn't dissuade your good aligned party).

The creatures have the following stats --
The cauldron can either create Scouts, Grunts, or Warriors (I would use the stats for various refluffed devils (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/devil.htm), say imps, Bearded Devils, and Eyrines). Refluff them to be creepy skin-warping creatures that can change shape. They are also smaller or bigger depending on their power level when not shapechanged, and have featureless faces (http://www.diyphotography.net/files/images/7/synthetic-beauty-04.jpg) (warning, a bit creepy). Scouts are built like halflings, Grunts like Orcs, and Warriors like Goliaths.

The creatures also have a pseudo hive-mind, and become stronger the more of them present (use the Fell Conspiracy feat along with Keen Eared Scout (feat) and things like Massed Charge (teamwork feat) or Allied Defense (combat expertise bonuses can be shared with allies).

The halfling can be reasoned with, though he is certainly unhinged, and they can ally with him to help defeat the dragon cult (as the "lesser evil"), or attempt to fight both. If left unchecked he will quickly be able to convert many people into minions, although his current fixation on halflings is slowing his progress.

Tadaa. Can be used as a moderate to major plot hook, depending on how many minions the halfling has converted so far, and the halfling's level. Note that even a relatively low level user, like a 6th level character, could be rather dangerous given his potential information gathering abilities and ability to avoid detection, despite a relative lack of straightforward damage.

PinkSpray
2016-10-10, 01:14 PM
The Elves and Dwarves have a conflict that troubles their union. The PCs are involved in joining them which would benefit the party. Then, it's 3 vs. 1. Make the goals social. The PCs can be a crucial source in bringing the Elves and Dwarves together.

Vinyadan
2016-10-10, 04:01 PM
How about a misterious dojo opened in the tainted terrains atop a mountain near the village? No idea what's up there, but it sounds like an interesting start.

WarKitty
2016-10-10, 05:47 PM
I was looking for stuff that was a little more long-term plot related and a little less of a side-quest feel, I guess?

Thrawn4
2016-10-11, 08:24 AM
I was looking for stuff that was a little more long-term plot related and a little less of a side-quest feel, I guess?

The soil is not fertile and hunger is a constant threat? The reason could also be magic if that is a problem (tend to forget/laugh about how magic works in D&D).

People dislike PCs because they THINK they are horrible but if the PCs leave the villagers will almost certainly die (without the villagers realizing). So the PCs face a lot of opposition and cannot just kill the enemies.

AnBe
2016-10-11, 11:24 PM
An evil deity is spreading some sort of corruption curse across the world. At first the corruption is barely noticeable, but it grows into a bigger problem the longer it goes on. The curse causes the soil to go bad, murdering crops and livestock alike. It also makes the dead rather restless. Nights are longer, days are shorter. More and more cases of madness spring up in numerous settlements.

Perhaps before the corruption really starts to take hold, an NPC cleric of sorts comes to the PCs and warns them about the curse and tells them it must be stopped before it becomes irreversible and the world forever changed. If the PCs agree to stop it, they must travel the world searching for a way to confront this evil deity and put a stop to the curse before it becomes fully matured. The longer the PCs take, the worse the corruption gets, so it encourages them not to dilly-dally on side quests or shopping too much. They still have a fair amount of time to beat this, however.

At the end, one of the PCs might have to sacrifice themselves to end the curse, or perhaps the evil deity will offer them god-like status and be champions in this dark new world.

WarKitty
2016-10-12, 08:25 AM
An evil deity is spreading some sort of corruption curse across the world. At first the corruption is barely noticeable, but it grows into a bigger problem the longer it goes on. The curse causes the soil to go bad, murdering crops and livestock alike. It also makes the dead rather restless. Nights are longer, days are shorter. More and more cases of madness spring up in numerous settlements.

Perhaps before the corruption really starts to take hold, an NPC cleric of sorts comes to the PCs and warns them about the curse and tells them it must be stopped before it becomes irreversible and the world forever changed. If the PCs agree to stop it, they must travel the world searching for a way to confront this evil deity and put a stop to the curse before it becomes fully matured. The longer the PCs take, the worse the corruption gets, so it encourages them not to dilly-dally on side quests or shopping too much. They still have a fair amount of time to beat this, however.

At the end, one of the PCs might have to sacrifice themselves to end the curse, or perhaps the evil deity will offer them god-like status and be champions in this dark new world.

We already have the evil deity thing going on. The thing is I'm not sure in the short-term what moving to stop the evil deity is going to look like. I don't want it to just be "well fight this set of cultists, and now this set, and now this set." But that's kind of all I'm coming up with.

Aembrosia
2016-10-12, 08:53 AM
Knock knock. Who's there? Elves, and they've come to take back their ancestral lands. Which lands? The ones you're living on.

Differences of opinion and perspective. Cultural views on ownership. Can we talk it out? Will it come to blows or war? They did bring an army, but they did initiate discourse first. Maybe a new alliance can be formed from the ashes of rivalry?

What kind of deplomacy did you use? Intimidation? Did the elves leave in a huff and sware to return someday? Perhaps persuasion, kumbayah, join hands and live together, that jazz. Deception? This is not the spiritual epicenter you are looking for.

Fri
2016-10-12, 10:12 PM
I have a "pet" adventure.

The PC must infiltrate a castle. The lord of the castle is secretly evil, but his employees might not. So maybe the lord is secretly part of the cult, and you somehow got that from your investigations. There might be a party there, might be not.

So what the PC must do is infiltrate the castle and either kill or find evidence to the lord's corruption, and they can do it multiple way. They can either fight it off (where most of the guard might be good and just don't know their lord is evil), convince the guards that their lord is evil and have them help you, using diplomacy to infiltrate the castle/ball in the party, or sneak through some underground sewer/dungeon (and you can put cultists there).