View Full Version : Help Wanted: Turning Plot into Adventure

2008-08-30, 04:07 PM
I've got a plot I want to turn into a one-shot session (~6 hour) game. Our current group is doing a series of one-shot adventures with characters in the 5-8 level range.

The Plot: The adventurers have been sent to investigate "strange occurances" in a coastal border town. Their mission: figure out what's happening and stop it. Fairly simple. The plot hook is prepared as part of the background to the one-shot adventures.

The Twist: I thought this up while thinking about the differences between LG and CG. The townfolk are mostly good folks. The border is between two old rivals who have mostly settled their differences. However, the bordering country has legalized slavery (think American South pre-civil war), while my adventurer's country does not. However, the treaty that ended the war (and brought prosperity to the border town) allows slave-catchers and the like to capture escaped slaves in this province. The adventurers are going to try to get the help of the "officials" (LG) who are allowing/supporting the retrieval of slaves because its keeping the peace with their neighbor (i.e. the "greater" good, compliance with the treaty, et al.); I know this because of the way our previous sessions have played out and will encourage it with the "orders" from the adventurers boss. The "occurrences" are going to be the deceptions by the "underground" (CG) folks who are running an underground railway type deal through the port (the "individual" good, human rights, et al.)

The problem(s): My problems in developing this adventure are numerous. While I can find thousands of resources to design and flesh out a more slash-n-hack adventure, I'm having problems dealing with a more "investigation"/"reputation" type adventure. I'm also concerned that once the adventures figure out the problem, the adventure is kind of solved. I'm trying to figure out ideas to have a series of combat conflicts which are semi-independent of the investigation (i.e. adventurers come across CG or LG group outside town under attack) to get out the requisite slash-n-hack and still have it affect (rep wise) the scenario. Finally, at the end of the day, I haven't figured out a good resolution. I guess it would depend on who the players decide to help and what their choices entail, but that's the conflict I want to create ...

The Bottom Line: I'm looking for help turning a deception plot into an actual adventure to run for players. My lack of experience doing this is a hindrance -- I'm not sure how to articulate and create the scenario in a way that will be fun to play, entertaining, and ultimately solvable (or at least resolvable).

2008-08-30, 05:04 PM
You might want to try tweaking one or two of these free WOTC adventures:


2008-08-30, 06:38 PM
I might mention that if you adventurer's are good aligned, they are probably going to reject the notion of helping capture slaves or investigate disturbances in the process outright. If they happen to find the resistance movement, they are more likely to help. There are a couple of things that might muddy things up:
1) The slaves are goblinoids, or some other less-intelligent, less-good, or less-charismatic species than humans. Something that makes the process somewhere between slavery and domesticated animals.
2) The slaving kingdom will literally starve to death or disintegrate if they do not employ slave labor and prevent people from escaping.
3) The CG goes to extremes in carrying out their tasks, holding woman and children as hostages, killing public officials who weren't really all that bad, blowing up marketplaces, etc

Here's something that might meet the criteria of my suggestion (mostly #1) and provide what you are looking for. The slave population is reputed (by slavers of course) to be evil and a select few of them are said to have powerful influence in the dark arts. The slave process therefore, is a national security interest as well as a means of turning this population to the light. Of course, they can't tell which of the slave population are the dangerous ones and which ones are just sympathetic, so they enslave them all. Again, feel free to make this all propaganda that is generally believed, or not depending on how you want this to go. So the occurrences the players are to investigate is the use of dark magic outside of the known locations of the slave population, leading to the theory that there is an evil cult hiding somewhere in the area. In fact, the magic, which really isn't dark, is being used by the CG, in order to smuggle out the slaves and scare commerce away from the slave-trading and slave-recapture routes.