10 Votes


Hits: 5535
Comments: 13
Ideas: 0
Rating: 4.05
Condition: Normal
ID: 3534


February 11, 2015, 8:38 am

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Cheka Man

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Author Status


All Tied Up


A tree, a length of rope, and a (maybe not so) innocent victim.
Wotcha gonna do?

Plot Description

Beside the road stands a large oak tree that the PCs must pass by as they approach a small country village about a mile or so distant.

Standing under the tree is a young woman, maybe late teens or early twenties. Her hands are tied behind her back and her ankles are tied together. There is also a noose around her neck, the other end of which is tied to the lowest branch of the tree, but with just enough slack that she may stand without being strangled.

As the PCs approach, the girl will beg them to untie her.

Possible Explanations

1. Execution

The girl is a criminal and this is the local form of execution. The (somewhat gruesome) idea is that she has considerable time to contemplate her own end before she becomes too exhausted to stand up straight, at which point she will collapse into the noose and die of strangulation.

The nature of her crime is left entirely up the GM (anything from stealing a loaf of bread to mass murder, depending on just how draconian he wants the local justice system to be).

2. Sacrifice

The girl is a sacrifice to a local demon or demigod and if she is not here at the appointed time (i.e. the PCs rescue her) there will be terrible consequences for the nearby village.

If she is to be sacrificed to a demon then this is price for appeasing it. If the PCs rescue her it goes on the rampage and attacks the village. The PCs now have a demonic monster to fight.

Alternately she may be intended for a minor deity, in which case her life energy is what the spirit needs to ensure that the villagers’ crops will grow.

Might also tie in (excuse the pun) with option 1 (we need a sacrifice anyway so we might as well use a lawbreaker).

3. Ambush

The girl is part of an outlaw gang who prey upon travellers along this road (her bonds are quite loose and she is perfectly capable of removing them at any time). In this case as soon as the PCs come to her aid the rest of the gang (several large fighter types) jump out of hiding and attack.

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Comments ( 13 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
January 4, 2007, 9:33
A good and simply done submission.
Voted Murometz
January 4, 2007, 10:34
yep, perfect for the scroll. Short, sweet, and loaded with potential.
Voted valadaar
January 4, 2007, 11:12
A variant could be that she is not begging to be released, but is a willing sacrifice. How will morally driven PC's react to that?

Great job!
Voted manfred
January 4, 2007, 14:21
What they said! :)
Voted Wulfhere
January 4, 2007, 16:51
Of course, the girl wouldn't necessarily be truthful when the PCs ask what happened. The punished criminal might claim that she was falsely accused, or the sacrifice might be reluctant to discuss her situation for fear of summoning the demon.

I like this one. Short and sweet.
Voted Strolen
January 22, 2007, 22:18
Nice, quick, non-derailing. Perfect little encounter!
Barbarian Horde
June 24, 2007, 10:55
Nice little conundrum....a true heroic entity persona would simply wait for the demon and challenge him to fight for the right to have the girl AND attack the village, notwithstanding of course the possibility he may do both win or lose.
Dragon Lord
February 9, 2009, 5:57
That works fine if she is intended for a demon - killing the demon would solve the problem

If, on the other hand, she is intended for a local deity it's not such a good move - swinging swords around, however heroically, doesn't really help the crops grow
February 9, 2009, 20:09
However impossible a fight with the deity may be to win, the persistence involved in not backing down or giving up might be enough to secure the deity's blessing. It worked for Jacob in Genesis. Save the girl, save the town, get the town a blessing. Is it worth fighting for and potentially losing something more than use of your hip? This sort of situation is where the PCs prove themselves true hero material, not in a dark dungeon fighting evil. Anyone can fight evil; it takes a true hero to make such a sacrifice for a stranger.

All of this assuming she's a sacrifice for some deity, of course. If it's a demon/dragon/whatever, nuke it in classic PC-hero fashion.
Voted Moonlake
February 9, 2009, 18:08
As said above
Voted Chaosmark
February 9, 2009, 20:11
Much better than the last rope-involving submission I saw around here. And even though it came first, it doesn't make the statement less true.

I've always liked the various ways that the Tales of the Road can turn. Nicely done.
Voted Longspeak
September 7, 2013, 14:48
I popped into the travel plots to help my son find idea for his pathfinder campaign and found this little gem. Plenty of possibilities here, and I look forward to finding out how it goes after his game today.
Voted mrcelophane
January 11, 2014, 0:59
Just wanted to let you know I used this submission tonight in a game. Party went in a random direction so I started rolling random dice. Randomly decided that she was a sacrifice, then randomly chose zombies as the assailant. The party saved her, but now they need to deal with a cheated necromancer.

thanks for setting me up for the next few sessions.

Link Backs


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Czernobog

Beware of towns afflicted with Time Cancer.
For every second you progress through time, an infected town goes back 48 hours. Old buildings slowly become new, then incomplete, and finally just a frame and foundation, giant old trees turn to saplings, birds hatch into eggs.
one must not linger in a chrono-cancerous village for too long, before you know it you'll be a fetus. Tme cancer in unstoppable, no cure or treatment is knwn, it eats through the past until the inhabitants of a village turn into primordial protein ooze

Ideas  ( Locations ) | September 5, 2004 | View | UpVote 1xp

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