View Full Version : Ideas for a plot-fork

2008-12-13, 01:03 PM
Scene: My players are headed down into a network of tunnels below an ancient city, looking for a secreted-away Elvenhome (elves are tolkienesque magic beings who live in pockets of fey energy), to try to get the help of the High Elves there to fight off an attack on the city above.

Twist: The tunnels were original a small network, but have been dug out into a labyrinthine underworld by a civilisation of rather advanced kobolds. They once had a large city here, but over time have been migrating out: now it's a small city/large town.

The kobolds will not be happy to see the players by default, as humans and kobolds don't have a good history. However, one player does speak kobold a little.

Fork 1: the players fail diplomacy and have to fight through the kobolds. Easy enough.

Fork 2: the players manage to secure the aid of the kobolds, and could even use the kobolds as aid in the war rather than the elves. If they do this, I'd like to add another challenge to this subquest but can't think of anything.

Fork 3: the players get the kobolds to leave them alone or get help from the kobolds but decide to contact the elves anyway. Without the kobolds to get in the way, I am not too sure how to slow the players down through the tunnels to keep this feeling like a proper quest and not just a jaunt to the grocery store to pick up some elven allies.

Any ideas? I can give more detail on the world of course.

2008-12-13, 02:28 PM
Traps/ other subterranean evil. Grimlocks, for example.

2008-12-13, 02:54 PM
agreed, you could just design it as though the kobolds aren't there and make it so that if they chose to fight them, they would just make the subquest more challenging than you had expected. This does change the focus TOWARDS allying with the kobolds, slightly, I think.


2008-12-13, 03:10 PM
Give them a sidequest from kobolds as a show of friendship (like in http://www.darthsanddroids.net/archive.html). Then make the sidequest something which sends PC's against the elves. (if you do this, I recommend making overall power of elven aid equal to overall power of kobold aid)

If the PC's can manage to get the sidequest item from the elves without alienating them entirely (like if the sidequest was: Retrieve crown of the king), make it possible to get elven aid as well.

Sorry, I'm not very articulate today.

2008-12-13, 04:01 PM
Hm, thanks all, but I was hoping for something a little more ingenuous than "add some other monsters" or "retrieve an item/slay a foe to make an alliance", as those are easy enough to wing on my own :smallwink:

If nothing comes to mind by this evening, though, "track down the monster that has been preying on the kobolds" it is.

2008-12-13, 10:55 PM
Well if you come up with something, let us know what exactly it was. (ooh, neither elves nor kobolds can spare forces for aid unless PCs can find a way to broker a peace between the two races)

2008-12-13, 11:07 PM
The Kobold city is dying because of an ancient curse. This is the reason why the city is no longer as big as it is. The group can manage to get deep into the city, passing through derilict buildings without encountering any of the kobolds. They may come across a few traps or some monsters that have taken residence in the abandoned parts, but mostly even the other creatures down here steer clear of the cursed place.

Eventually, the group come out into the civilised area, and they are met by an ancient Kobold priestess and her retinue of temple guard. She can speak broken common and greets the characters as though they are expected.

The Priestess reveals a prophecy, something that is cryptic but could relate to the characters. Only they can lift the curse and bring prosperity back to the city.

The twist is that the Priestess is the last of a line of those who have cursed the city. But the curse is weakening, and only a certain action by those from the surface can renew it (the characters). The characters need to uncover the ruse and reveal it to the chieftan, thus breaking the curse.

Take a trope, and twist it. See how canny your players are.

2008-12-14, 11:24 AM
Currently I am leaning towards the Elvenhome having flagged in its contact with the surface humans because they have been corrupted somehow: my original plan was for them to be frozen in time, a theme already fairly common to magical cultures in the game, but if the players broker a peace with the Kobolds I may have the Elves under the thrall of the Big Bad. The Big Bad works by exposing peoples' minds to a nasty stuff and driving them insane, which would make the elves irretrievable, but I might step them back a few phases. Perhaps the elves themselves are only enthralled by a powerful servant of the big bad, and haven't been directly faced with the Veil that drives them nuts. If they leave the home they regain control, and the players are immune to the effects as they are not elves. I might be able to work something with that.