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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default How to build an adventure...?

    ...when you don't know what the players are going to do?

    The players have stated they want to go and find a druid's grove, because they want to know the druid's point of view on how the land is being treated

    Problem is, I haven't a clue how the players are going to go about trying to find the druids. I don't want to just hand them every little idea on a silver platter, they should work for it (as a note, if it matters, I've yet to hand them anything on a silver platter). But I don't know if they're just going to go into the woods, and count on the party druid for guidance (would that even work? She's from a far distant grove, not in this nation). I don't know if they're going to go into the city to search for clues, or check the bounty board (they're conscripted bounty hunters) for bounties on druids, or check with the rebel camp, or... I dunno, use magic (yay for having both a druid and a wizard in the party, all we need is a cleric, and the world bending magics will be complete XD) to try to divine the location of a druid's grove. Or use magic in some other way. They're only level 6, so they don't have too much magic potential yet.

    Maybe it's my fault, for having too many options. Should I sit down and write out the possibilities for each and every path the players might take, that I can think of? And hope that I can improv well enough if they (predictably) do something out of left field? Or perhaps, only have a few possibilities that will work out, and risk the frustration of the players if they don't happen on one of the ideas I personally found likely?

    Or should I take the easy way out, and give it to them on a silver platter, IE, on their way back to the city (their most likely direction, being as they're in the middle of nowhere), they notice a nymph or pixie or some kind of fae being held captive for intruding on human territory or somesuch?

    That last one makes making the adventure pretty easy, but it seems too... well, too much on a silver platter. ...but it occurs to me, is that a bad thing? I kind of think it is, but I Have had a complaint or two that my game's too open ended, and the party feels like they lack direction >.>

    So... basically, I'm left really unsure of the path I should try taking as a DM. The game's Saturday, so I have a little time. I've got the framework for the druids themselves pretty good now, I just need to figure out how the party's getting there.

    Thanks for your help.

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    Party are all level 6, we are playing Pathfinder with lots of 3.5 influence/books, spellcasters can draw from any books, but generally only know about the spells from core (3.5 and pathfinder both) and the spell compendium. We've got a rogue, non skill focused, a druid centaur, and a human wizard. They were forced into this fairly restrictive nation at early level, and their characters (and players) have fairly limited knowledge of the nation's workings. As non-citizens, they've been strongly encouraged into dangerous work, such as bounty hunting. They're wanting to find the druid's grove to get an idea, from a nature lover's perspective, how good this nation is, and whether they should fight for it, or join the rebel camp.


    Edit: Suggesting what you would do, as a player, to find the druids in that situation, would be very helpful, too, because being as I'm not omniscient, I'm very liable to miss ideas :P
    Last edited by rubycona; 2010-04-29 at 10:06 PM.
    Yay Pathfinder! Boo on 4th Ed.

    Awesome Post!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lycar View Post
    "To play a fighter is to play the game.
    To play a wizard is to understand the rules.
    To understand the rules, and play a fighter, is to understand the game."

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to build an adventure...?

    I'd roll a gather information check, first. :p

    If that fails, I'd search for a seer. If not that... then... I don't know. But that's just me.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: How to build an adventure...?

    I would say a druid would know what goes on in his/her forest. With spells/personal spying in animal form/just asking animals, the druid would also know quite a bit about the characteristics of anything in the forest as well.

    Put Simply, I do not think it unreasonable for a druid to know that another druid is in her part of the forests stewardship. Druids commonly interact with other druids (the whole tight knit society thing/shared druidic language). I would say it is reasonable for the druid to find them out of curiosity if anything. Maybe the druid needs help.

    If you want to make it more challenging, if the PC druid meets any animals, the PC could talk to the animals and find out that way. Or a Knowledge (Nature) check, or whatever check is relevant.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    The Rabbler's Avatar

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    Default Re: How to build an adventure...?

    how did they find out about this druid? no player ever knows something exists unless you tell them first. consider how they know about it at all and try and work something off of that.

    as a DM: I'd give them some way of doing it, simply because plans go to hell rather quickly when PCs have to figure out a way of doing something (besides fighting). or, some PC manipulation could be in order here.

    as a PC: I'd send an animal messenger or buy a sending spell and talk to the druid that way. much easier than atually visiting him. if I had to visit him, I'd probably march there and enjoy the XP gained from random encounters.

    and in general, as a DM, it's good to have an idea as to how you want the campaign to go. a sandbox world is fun, but it requires you to be ready to make everything up on the spot. I always prefer throwing the players a hook, letting them grab it, then launching baddies at them.
    *note: not all advice by this poster is meant to be taken seriously.

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    optimization is like salt. a pinch here and there can't hurt, but too much will spoil everything.

    I have salty tastes.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: How to build an adventure...?

    To clarify, the players/characters have no idea if there are any druids at all, for all they know, the druids may have abandoned the land as hopeless (because of the aggressive policies of the nation's leader).

    They're wanting to find druids (if any, which as a DM, I know there Are druids) and from them, gain information about the state of the land. The party druid will, obviously, be able to gain this information, since druids are pretty tight like that, once they get together.

    Thanks for the tip about talking to the animals, for some reason, this utterly slipped my mind. And a good idea on the druids watching them, I'll have to think about that.
    Yay Pathfinder! Boo on 4th Ed.

    Awesome Post!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lycar View Post
    "To play a fighter is to play the game.
    To play a wizard is to understand the rules.
    To understand the rules, and play a fighter, is to understand the game."

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Totally Guy's Avatar

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    Default Re: How to build an adventure...?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rabbler View Post
    how did they find out about this druid? no player ever knows something exists unless you tell them first. consider how they know about it at all and try and work something off of that.
    Not in our games. :p

    When I'm GMing the player tells me his interesting factoid I assume it's true and determine the difficulty to know it. Then the player rolls and on a success the player gets what he wants. On a failure I usually try to say Yes... but not in the way they were expecting. I'm like an evil literal genie in that case. :p

    I've been doing a lot more improvisation recently and it's amazing.

    If the players say they know an NPC I let the player describe the NPC and on a successful roll they find that person as requested. The interesting implication here is that they can say "The Mayor's mistress", and even if there is no mistress in my notes there still will be if they can succeed. On a failure I try to do the evil genie routine again and twist this new NPC in another direction.

    Your players want there to be druids that they can find and I say give it to them but it doesn't have to be easy. They would need to roll the dice and be challenged.

    It's impossible to have every single detail all planned out at every point of a campaign but it's no big deal. When the players say they want to do something you can say yes or ask for a dice roll.

    Your players want to find druids. Why do they want to find druids? For what purpose? Well congratulations, you've found the plot. Now it's up to you to challenge it. Stick a big bad in the way to ruin that purpose. Be creative around the things the players (not characters) prioritise, that way they'll stay interested.
    Attempting to say controversial things that everyone will agree with.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Godskook's Avatar

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    Default Re: How to build an adventure...?

    Subvert it!

    Your players want druids, but NE Druids exist in droves(pardon the pun).

    Setup:
    -NE Druid doomsday cult
    -Local Nation keeps cult at bay, which in turn gives them power over the locals(See Rome from history)

    Possible player hooks:
    -Bounties on Druid 'troublemakers', preferably ones with non-obvious crimes, like 'regicide'.(Read: If you're players are assuming NG Druids, they'll assume that any charge of regicide is either slander or justified)
    -Tavern Talk among the other bounty hunters.
    -Standard Habits of any druid, such as seasonal 'holy days', like a new moon or winter solstice, that can be relied on to 'reveal' druids, such as a gratuitous bonfire to celebrate the harvest or similar.

    Note: The above does not infringe on your previously laid definitions of the local nation, except to say that they're concerned at keeping an NE Druid cult at bay. This can be justified under any alignment, even NE(Getting rid of the competition).
    Avatar by Assassin89
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Calmar's Avatar

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    Default Re: How to build an adventure...?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubycona View Post
    Problem is, I haven't a clue how the players are going to go about trying to find the druids. I don't want to just hand them every little idea on a silver platter, they should work for it (as a note, if it matters, I've yet to hand them anything on a silver platter). But I don't know if they're just going to go into the woods, and count on the party druid for guidance (would that even work? She's from a far distant grove, not in this nation). I don't know if they're going to go into the city to search for clues, or check the bounty board (they're conscripted bounty hunters) for bounties on druids, or check with the rebel camp, or... I dunno, use magic (yay for having both a druid and a wizard in the party, all we need is a cleric, and the world bending magics will be complete XD) to try to divine the location of a druid's grove. Or use magic in some other way. They're only level 6, so they don't have too much magic potential yet.
    I don't think it's that complicated. Just prepare yourself for all the important events of the journey to the druid grove. You just need a fixed point where to start.

    Suggestion:
    Let's say a guy named Faran Wayfinder, a woodsman who lives near the village of Carnel, has contact of some sort to the druids (maybe he's working for them, maybe he opposes them, or something entirely different). Faran knows that the druid grove is in the area of Mistvale and that you have to pass through the swampy forest of Dairigh, then follow the Swift River until you reach rocky Viper Gap, from where you travel six miles west through hills and light woodland until you reach Mistvale. If you want to have it more complicated, the heroes don't learn the whole way from Faran, but have to gather further clues along the way.

    Now the heroes have to get to Carnel first. I wouldn't do much preparation for this, because there are too much variables. Just let them do their investigation as they please, until they bite your hook:

    If the heroes go to the city they'll probalby be able to roughly find out the druids' area of influence (even more likely, if the city's sharing the realm's hostile attitude towards these druids). Their way then leads them to Carnel, where they can possibly find some information about Faran and his connections to the druids, or the party druid discovers some druidic signs in the area, that allow for a different way to get on the way to the grove.

    The bounty board could set them directly on Faran, either as target (if he cooperates with the druid) or as contact (if he opposes the druids) or it points them out to some local in or near Carnel first, who wants to hire them to bring him the head of either Faran, or one of the druids.

    The above can also apply to the rebels.
    I don't think their 3rd-level (?) spells will be able to reveal any clues.

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