Maybe there's something in the wine which permeates through the barrels into the atmosphere and gradually overpowers those nearby. The barrels could be leaking this substance into a river which supplies the local peasants with water. At the same time as the strange goings on in the cellar the peasants are experiencing a hitherto unheard-of plague.
Encounters in the cellars could then be with mutated creatures which had been contaminated by the substance in the wine. Go to Comment
You could also have your generic cursed item being responsible for the misbehavior - or not, simple greed is already a good enough reason.
I think I have even used this at some point... the local baron was really digging for the wine cellar, and an opening was found. Sending guards in, they didn't return, so promptly were some adventurers recruited. On the spot was a little crowd of workers, looking as if they were paid for doing nothing (and they were), and eager to tell some horror stories to the chumps going in ("He was but an inch from getting out, but then a giant hand pulled him back!" - "Yeah, and it had claws THIS big!" - "And he screamed as if they were tearing the very soul out of him!")
Truth is, it was a forgotten part of the castle's secret corridors, and the guards really deserted after finding a wealth in treasure. Tramping around might reveal more, but also a few family secrets... like that one black sheep, who worshipped a dark cult, complete with a little unholy temple. Or the little ghostly girl, that was lost long ago, actually neglected by her caretaker who didn't want to share the inheritance. Watch your steps, in this dungeon, and when you are out of it.
Maybe there was a vamp in the dungeon & while the players are busy cleaning the dungeon ("give me 3 good reasons why I shouldn't use a broom....") the wizard (who is now a vamp) & the dead guards (vampire spawn) are busy cleaning the castle. Go to Comment
Well, it's a cool idea. Kind of short, but unique, and the sacrifical system bears a lot of resemblence to "The Lottery". Also some nice twists at the bottom. Still, I'd like a little more elaboration on the history of the people and the town, and perhaps even more ideas to chew on for plot hooks. But it's definately enough to get an adventure started! Go to Comment
Perhaps someone else is missing as well. Another parishioner or maybe a beggar that was the frequent recipient of the church's goodwill. Maybe the preist had a moment of weakness and the beggar was actually his son, a dark secret from a man that is only a mortal.
Could be that some thugs have kidnapped another church-goer or the possible son and held them for ransom. The priest, believing that the church fellowship would understand using the donations to save a life, took the money to the thugs. But the thugs didn't hold up their end. Either they still have the hostage to buy themselves safe passage, or they killed the hostage and now the priest is after them to bring the theives to justice, or they killed them both.
Now the players just have to find the truth and prove it before violence tears the city apart. Go to Comment
Brilliant hook...It reminds me of a potential episode for the incomparable Hercule Poirot. Leaving the what/who/why/when/where to the reader is refreshing!! Its all I need to let my own imagination take over and figure out the plot. I wish we had more subs like this. A nice hook, a bit of mystery, and THATS IT!! no lengthy essay on the particulars! Go to Comment