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Offline TheSomberlain

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Help with elven scenario...
« on: December 04, 2005, 09:13:26 PM »
Hello guys! This is my first post here on Strolen! I'm glad to be a new part of this community. :D
So, in my campaign there is an impending invasion by barbarian and goblinoid tribes (who have formed an alliance) on the northern borders of the kingdom. There is an elven kingdom in great forest near the threatened human kingdom. The elves wish to remain neutral, but the humans NEED their help. So, the players are chosen by the king (one of them is a noble, son of a baron) to go to the elves and ask for help. After a great deal of role-playing they have been granted an audition with the elven king.
I am thinking that the elves will help, as the invasion may affect them too, but only if the characters proove themselves. I want a task that will test the characters mind, not strength. I was thinking solving a riddle and retrieving an item from a strong guardian with little or no combat.
But, I'm stuck... :(
I can't think of a decent idea. Should there be a dungeon? What kind of item? Oh, note that the characters are 2nd and 3rd level. I would like this to be a fairly sized adventure (two to three sessions).

Offline ephemeralstability

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Re: Help with elven scenario...
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2005, 05:16:58 AM »
I might try running it like this:

The elves are unwilling to help. The PCs are forced to leave the forest, but on their way back to the outside world, they smell something burning. Curiosity piqued they follow the scent and the thin tendrils of smoke until it gets thicker and louder and more pungent. With every step comes the roar of perishing trees, until they catch sight of the forest fire. The fire was started by the goblinoids and the elves have no idea how to tackle it: they are loath to cut down trees in its path because they do not wish to harm living things. In fact there is an explicit elfish law against cutting down trees, a law which the PCs decide will have to be ignored. The PCs marshal the distraught elven rangers and ride the full twenty leagues along the rim of the fire, stopping to save elf-villages from plundering goblins and to instruct villagers to chop down the trees (it may take some persuading to get the villagers to disobey the law like this). In the aftermath of the fire, the elf-king is enraged at the flagrant law-breaking. But at this point someone the PCs saved and befriended in the wood (someone like a nymph or other wood-deity) will come to their aid and make the elf-king see sense.

This is a little bit less standard than a riddle/dungeon scenario, so it might take your players by surprise.

ephe!
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Offline TheSomberlain

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Re: Help with elven scenario...
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2005, 08:28:01 AM »
Hm, interesting idea...I will see what I can do. Thanks!

Offline Nobody

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Re: Help with elven scenario...
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2005, 08:41:55 AM »
The problem with ephemeralstability's suggestion is the rule of three. There should always be at least three ways that a PC can get solve a situation. Just because you might think to cut down the trees, doesn't mean that the players will. Basically, you wind up putting all of your eggs in a single basket, and that basket is being held by a three year old.

I suggest something simple. For example, send them to get the Thrivval out of its hole. What is a thrivval you ask. I'll tell you. A thrivval is a, I don't know what a Thrivval is, but make something up.

Anyway, you now leave your players with a few options. Lure the creature out. Chase it out, cast a spell to get it out, Dig up the hole and grab the darn creature, fill it's hole with water until it swims out.

Come up with a bunch of standard solutions to this problem of getting a thrivval out of it's hole. Then come up with some really out there solutions. Maybe the Thrivval likes feet, and if the players take off their shoes, it will come to them. Have this information available for them if they start asking around about the thrivval.

Or you could make a Thrivval a creature that doesn't exist. The elven king wants them to go away, what would work better than sending them on an impossible mission. If however, they realize the situation, they could come back to the king (where he would send them to do something for real), or if they are creative, they can glue some pine cones to a duck, and call it a Thrivval. Amused that they had completed an impossible task, the king could grant the request.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Re: Help with elven scenario...
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2005, 05:15:03 PM »
My question is...
When a bunch of hairy maniacs with axes are marching toward the kingdom, burning as they go, and a pair of rather eloquent mortals from your neighbor kingdom come by and ask if, maybe, you'd like to help out, what kind of elf-king, instead of seeing the wisdom of acting... Makes the emissaries do a quest?
Just nonsensical.

I'd say make it internal politics. The elf-king can't act because factions within his forest kingdom have a vested interest in seeing the human kingdom fall (maybe they want to recover lost territory, or maybe they're just racist elven bastards or something). The king's hands are tied; it's up to the players to convince the leader of the opposition faction to act (perhaps with bargaining chips which will get them into a merry fix later on).

Or! Perhaps, the elf-king has already made a deal with the leaders of the goblin-barbarian alliance, and is simply stalling for time until the hairy dudes can march down into Humanland, at which point he'll lock up the emissaries and send out his own troops (Maybe the elf-king gets half and the barbarians get half if they win).

Also... What is the motivation of the enemy? ARe they invading simply because this is a highly generic fantasy and "that's what barbarians do"? Or are they invading because of some unmentioned cause? Famine in the north? An evil overlord carrying out pogroms against "the uncivilized"? Something banal like dragons?
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Offline Pariah

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Re: Help with elven scenario...
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2005, 09:42:34 PM »
The last time an elven king decided to not help me and just let the orcs/goblins walk through his lands in order to raid/pillage/plunder the human lands I convinced the orc/goblin cheiften to attack the elves when he got new he biggest city.  I then triapsed back to my home town and let the elves kill off all of the orcs.  And when it was done he went looking for the enemy provocteers, and I dissapperaed and went on another adventure.
They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers... They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came. They were inspired by dubious virtues.  China Mieville - Perdido Street Station

Offline necromancer

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Re: Help with elven scenario...
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2006, 10:28:06 AM »
i know its a bit late but i couldn't help but notice the fact that even if the heros passed all kinds of tests on wit how would that make the king go out to aid the humans what does being smart have to do with it.  :?
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