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30 Campaign Starters
Plots  (Coincidence)   (Encounter)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2011-04-24 07:56 PM
Only voted Go to Comment
30 Campaign Starters
Plots  (Coincidence)   (Encounter)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2011-04-24 07:51 PM


Excellent stuff. I actually first came to Strolen's Citadel many years ago looking for something like this.



I particularly like 19. I am thinking of using it in the following way: make your PCs design their characters in gory detail, give them praise for good backgrounds, make them feel proud, then, at the beginning of your session ask them each what their single favourite moment in their character background is. Then take their character sheets away and make them play "blind" (no running knowledge of their stats) with only one thing to hold onto: they can remember that one moment of their character's background. At the end of the adventure, perhaps they find where the evil wizard has stored their personalities...


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Helda's Seeds
Items  (Other)   (Campaign Defining)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2008-03-10 05:59 PM
Udrabat and Udragor - Two halves of a stone cleaved by Brutus, the Giant King. One is kept by the terrible Stalagmite Throne, one by the Amphitheatre in the Giant's Valley. This was the Stone of Udrr, saved from the depths by Brutus but then cleaved by him in a fit of rage. The curse of this Stone was to bear Brutus deformed twins, each one half of the same entity, and to turn him into a slowly petrifying rock formation, barely conscious, sitting on his Stalagmite Throne. Go to Comment
Helda's Seeds
Items  (Other)   (Campaign Defining)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2008-03-10 06:06 PM
The Dragonstone - Once upon a time, in the dim and distant past, a DRAGON fell to earth. Slain by the unlikely slingshot of an elfish boy whose name is forgotten to history, the DRAGON thundered into the ground and rose up mountains around him. The earth beneath him shattered and a foamy sea arose in the crater where he lay. He slowly rotted into mineral veins in the rocks beneath the waves. The elfish boy was praised and made King. The slingshot he used was a tiny but powerful Seed. It was stolen from the Regalia of Lysriya by Rivallo and Morigata, two devious elf-mages, who fled from the Court of Trees to Sthanzpherazzin. Morigata, the more devious of the two, blinded Rivallo and disappeared with the stone. He went mad and his lunacy and potent magic has made the wood an impassable tangle haunted by spiders and terrible creatures ruled by him, the Eyeless King. Morigata meanwhile has installed herself on an island in the Dragonsea, where she is studying the Dragonstone, learning its true secrets. Of course, this is not known to anyone but Rivallo: everyone believes she is dead and that the Eyeless King has the Dragonstone. For what woman could outit such an awesome mage? Go to Comment
Mad Magic
Locations  (Other)   (Other)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2008-03-02 05:33 PM
The Wax Candle Caverns

To sail through the remains of Rivallo the Scribe is a most unusual experience. The unlikely cave system is often attributed to Rivallo's habit of studying late into the night with only a candle for company. A beautiful but flickering system of caverns carved from wax by man-sized wicks, whose silent flames lick the high-arched roofs, is all that is left of Rivallo's fertile imagination. Boats proceed slowly through the hot, thick wax, which drips in a slowly descending series of rivulets down the intricate labyrinth. Go to Comment
Mad Magic
Locations  (Other)   (Other)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2008-03-02 05:34 PM
The Burial

Horgathnak the Black was an evil master of dreams. He bent them to his will and his enemies crumbled. All except Fassd. Fassd knew of Horgathnak's single morbid fear: a dire revulsion at the idea of being buried alive. He drugged Horgathnak and incarcerated him deep, deep in the earthy dungeons below his castle, in a low cell with only an inch of soil above his nose. When he awoke, Horgathnak's mad imaginings boiled over and his screams were terrible. When Fassd eventually dared venture down to his deepest cells he found nothing but a knotted system of roots, almost impenetrable and crawling with snakes and huge spiders, extending throughout the whole dungeon. Maybe somewhere in there still is Horgathnak, whimpering, terrified, his fears creating more and more of the disgusting creatures that crawl over him. Go to Comment
Mad Magic
Locations  (Other)   (Other)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2008-03-05 07:34 PM
I like it, Kassil. Juicy. Go to Comment
There, upon the mountainside...
Plots  (Travel)   (Encounter)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2007-03-11 10:59 AM
The noise

The PCs are setting up camp at the end of their first day of walking through the Esh-Inel Mountains, when they hear in the distance a low rumbling, like thunder. It grows progressively louder until it echoes off the mountainous bowls around them, then dies away again. At its worst the ground starts trembling. It happens every day at this time, and it is the noise of the Great Carts on the dwarfish underways returning home after a day mining, laden with many tons of ore. Go to Comment
There, upon the mountainside...
Plots  (Travel)   (Encounter)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2007-03-11 11:01 AM
Flying

There are more ways than one to encounter a dragon. With a low level group it's obviously not feasible to meet one in its lair and fight it. But standing on a bleak moorland, utterly exposed and vulnerable, it can be a chilling experience to see something flying far far overhead. Something that could just be an eagle, but you never know... Go to Comment
Star of Rage
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Swamp)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2007-03-04 03:13 PM
Beautiful creatures... Go to Comment
Trollisquarry
Locations  (Other)   (Any)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2007-01-16 05:16 PM
The Trolls are prisoners of a long-finished war. They are magically bound to the quarry where they are forced to labour their (extremely long) lives away. Their sense of hope being dulled by their sad past and the loss of their freedom and loved ones means that by now they're impervious to the taunts of pitiful boys. Go to Comment
Trollisquarry
Locations  (Other)   (Any)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2007-01-16 05:19 PM
The Trolls are performing the valuable task of growing minerals. They look after veins of ore which are germinating in the heat-beneath-the-ground and which they planted from seed thousands of years ago. Go to Comment
Trollisquarry
Locations  (Other)   (Any)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2007-01-16 05:21 PM
The Trolls are rangers in an underground ecology where they cull and control populations of cave-beasts. They need to come out for air every so often. Go to Comment
Local History
Locations  (City)   (Any)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2006-12-21 08:06 AM
8. The very oldest houses have windows made of translucent horn. With the onset of war in Aldabia it became impossible to import workable horn and an alternative, seemingly inferior substance came into use: glass. The earliest glass windows are very thick and dark and sag towards the bottom. The technology of glass-working was eventually improved and windows became thinner and more transparent. The real acceptance of glass as a building tool came when the library was built, using skilfully crafted glass in the windows.

9. There are two docks along Waterside Street. The first was built by Emando di Renne for the Guild of Merchants in 1602, but the second was built for a rival group of traders three years later by the architect Lorenzo di Butti. They have always been in competition with one another, to the point where dockers from the Renne docks are found dead, knifed in the alleys behind the Butti docks and vice versa.

10. To celebrate the beheading and deposing of the King after the civil war in 1207, the minters created coins without the King's head. Since the reinstatement of the monarchy seven years later these coins have become increasingly rare, and their possession is a capital offence (seen as treason).

11. The merchant palaces have large iron rings on the walls outside, ostensibly for the harnessing of horses. They have been used for other purposes throughout the years, such as for binding prisoners to, to ridicule them publicly (although this is technically an offence).

12. It was decided in 1384 to introduce some form of lighting in the dark streets. Torches were inserted into brackets on the walls, spaced every twenty feet along the road. The torches needed replenishing every few days, by "torchmen", usually tall men with black coats carrying baskets of torches. The brackets were sometimes carved into interesting shapes like the heads of creatures. The spaces of darkness which inevitably remained between consecutive torches were termed "shadow gaps" and they were the home of thieves and muggers. "Shadow gap" is now used to describe any dangerous place or situation. Go to Comment
Local History
Locations  (City)   (Any)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2006-12-21 08:07 AM
14. The city wall-builders employ two main techniques. The more traditional "herring-bone" method where bricks are laid thus:

/////////////
\\\\\\\\\\\\\
/////////////
\\\\\\\\\\\\\

and the more modern plastered walls, which have no visible brickwork. The plastering technique is cheaper (not as skilled) but does not last as long, and the plaster has a tendency to peel.

15. Lint Street and Narwhal Lane used to be on a level with one another, but the famous earthquake of 1671 (recorded by Riellis Magnot in his published diaries) shifted the land vertically so now there are steps down from Lint Street to the lower Lane. There are also large mended cracks in the walls of the houses on either side.

16. Another subsidence story: the soft ground in the Meral district means that the houses lean. Their lintels are quite obviously awry and one gets the disconcerting feeling up entry that one is leaning to the East.

17. The Castle Inn is right by the riverside. It floods invariably every year, leaving stain-marks on the walls. The locals have wagers on how high the water will reach each year.

18. The King's mappers surveyed the land a decade ago, and left benchmarks wherever they went. These can be seen everywhere, from city walls to stones in the wilderness:

_|_
/--\
(badly-drawn benchmark)

19. The Todd family have long been the blacksmiths of the Dale, and most large items made of iron (waterwheels, joists, etc) are imprinted with a "T". Go to Comment
The city has a thousand stories
Plots  (Event)   (Encounter)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2007-02-25 11:44 AM
Elections

In a crowded marketplace, a man is standing on a soapbox, orating. Some of the crowd are cheering, some hissing, some standing around saying "I can't hear a bl**dy word he's saying". It's a hustings for an election. The PCs can either leave, or stay and listen. If they do the latter, then they can vote too, and they might get quite involved in the cheering. Depending on who wins they might get quite involved in the post-election brawl too...

There are numerous possibilities with this encounter: the PCs might end up talking to one of the nervous candidates before their speech, and offer encouragement and support. Of course this candidate may well turn out to be someone with outspokenly unorthodox views, and the crowd don't take kindly to s/his supporters. Or maybe the seemingly innocuous candidate turns out to be a complete racist, and the PCs wander off embarrassedly, pretending they weren't talking to this person five minutes ago. Go to Comment
The city has a thousand stories
Plots  (Event)   (Encounter)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2007-02-25 11:44 AM
The letter

A fragment of a letter drifts down to the street. You catch it, and unfold the charred edges.

"...know I will always lov..
..at never dies. It is th...
..f my passion that b...
...nd it cannot be ext..
....n heaven or....n hel..
....ill be by you...ide an...
......
...... yours foreve.........
... Mendates ........
..................................."

Looking up from the fragmented text you glance around at the rooftops. There. A minute snowfall of scraps of letters is cascading from the chimney of a half-timbered house nearby. Go to Comment
The city has a thousand stories
Plots  (Event)   (Encounter)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2007-02-25 11:45 AM
Magic

The characters are wandering through the bustling crowds of Lasopolis. A street conjuror is performing a simple summoning spell, something for the kiddies. A bit of odious purple powder in the fire, an incantation and out pops a saak-lizard or a muhmentarsh, writhing from the flaming brazier. But the conjuror has only a poor grasp of the arcane magical tongue. A few stuttered syllables could lead to Other Things coming through the brazier and giving the crowd more entertainment than they had paid for... Go to Comment
Cool Fight Scenes
Locations  (Other)   (Any)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2006-11-03 06:28 AM
76-In a library (without disturbing the other readers),

77-In the temple of a god who abhors violence (just think of what s/he might do to prevent them from killing each other, to the extent of destroying the temple?),

78-On an assassins' training circuit (possibility of traps, sheer drops and other assassins...),

79-Against gnomes in amongst dense chest-high ferns. Go to Comment
Walking Through the Forest When...
Plots  (Travel)   (Encounter)
ephemeralstability's comment on 2011-05-22 02:18 PM


The Wasp's Nest



The thick heat of the afternoon drips sweatily through the rhodedendron branches and you are soothed by the monotone buzz of a million insects. When you finally emerge from the tangle of bushes, damp and scratched, you find yourselves in a curious grotto of rocks and decide to stop and rest. Sitting in the shade of a sizeable rock, it is several minutes before you realise that the monotone buzz has distinctly changed its nature. It's getting louder. A shadow passes over the sun. A flickery shadow, as if of beating wings. Into your mind leap unbidden images of furry, scaly, many-eyed, segmented creatures. Perhaps you should take cover.



There are many possible hiding places in this grotto. In a crevice, in amongst the rhodedendrons, in a hollow fallen tree trunk. Wherever the PCs decide to hide is where the giant wasp goes next (to its nest or to the flowers it loves to feed upon). Particularly unfortunate would be the encreviced PC who crawls further and further back, only to put his hand into a wriggling mass of giant wasp larvae.


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