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January 15, 2006, 2:51 pm

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A What in Distress???

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The PC’s are walking along a forest path when they hear the sobbing of a young woman, but when they investigate further…

they find a gigantic spider, all eight of it’s eyes filled with tears. As soon as they see it, the spider speaks in their own speech! “My babies, he stole all my babies. The nasty wizard took my egg sac for his potion.”

Introducing herself as Ariadne, the spider will explain with many gestures of her eight legs how a Necromancer has stolen her egg sac to make his new potion. If asked how she can speak she will admit to eating a lesser Mage years ago and drinking one of his potions. Ariadne will explain that a magical circle around the mage’s house prevents her going near it, and promise a large reward if the PC’s will rescue her “babies”.

Assuming the PC’s decide to help her, they must find a way to cross the circle.If a mage is in the party he/she may be able to spellcast a way through. It might be possible to trick a way through-or the undead skelitons guarding the area can be destroyed and the PC’s can cross the circle by walking over the bones. If the Necromancer is defeated and the egg sac returned, the spider will reward the PC’s with several gold coins taken from her human prey over the years, and one magical item (chosen by the GM.)

Because giant spiders are allways thought of as evil killing machines I decided to make up a plot with one that was different.



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Comments ( 23 )
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ephemeralstability
October 9, 2004, 17:43
0xp
I like the way you're trying to break with stereotypes here. But can you expect your PCs to trust the spider? Won't they anticipate some sort of underlying deceit? Perhaps it's even more interesting to play mind-games with them...

The mage could be using the sacs to make potions, but what are the potions for? To cure a certain disease which is currently ravaging the pauper population of a nearby village? This adds a new dimension of moral choice. Further developments could include:

* The spider turns out to have damaged ovaries. The egg sacs in question are her only chance to bear young. Should the PCs return the eggs to her and seek out another spider from whom to steal eggs?
* The mage intends to sell the healing potion to the paupers to make as much money out of them as he can. Perhaps the PCs should ambush him and steal the potion, to distribute it freely. But if something went wrong they could incur the bad press of being "the bandits who steal medicine from the poor".
* Perhaps the spider actually wants the egg sacs back for a different reason. She wishes to sacrifice her unborn children to a dark and evil spider god. Though this conflicts with your basic premise of spiders not always being evil it would present an interesting pro-choice/pro-life dilemma.

The idea of rewarding PCs with money and magical items would seem a little out of place here. I think it's another stereotype that should be broken: that a player can only be rewarded with material game artefacts. Perhaps a more interesting proposition is for the mage to attempt bribing the PCs with a significantly powerful magical item. They would gain the material advantage (for now) but a cunning and thoughtful GM would bring their corruption back against them in future adventures.

The moral questions which could be exploited in this plot are varied and topical, and I wouldn't be surprised if your players became quite heated when discussing the "right" course of action.

ephe!
MoonHunter
October 10, 2004, 7:00
0xp
Of course, if you foreshadow this adventure with either rumors about the totally more evil than normal necromancer or that the players had previously encountered the "bad" necromancer then the spider becomes the sympathetic figure because the necromancer is automatically the bad guy.

The double cross could be there, maybe she sold her eggs to the bad necromancer.

Even if it is a double cross, let the spider have a "mcguffin" that the players need. That is her payment to them for help.
Squished Quail
October 11, 2004, 12:49
0xp
I agree that material rewards are WAY out of place on this one, but an interesting twist would be free passage for the group through a spider infested area un molested... would make for a nice safe base of operations to live at. Also there could be the reward of one of the young since spiders do lay Millions of eggs. We have all seen beastmaster characters running around with a dog, or a big cat... what about a halfling beastmaster riding into battle on a spider? And the entire party coats thier weapons every night with freshly milked spider venom?
EchoMirage
October 12, 2004, 2:44
0xp
Spider silk undies!
waz
October 19, 2004, 19:29
0xp
Alright!!! I like the bis badass spider idea. BUT!!!! I have to agree with some of these guys, and gals, (if any really play this game.) I wouldn't trust someone to go, "there is this random big fucking spider in the rode so lets help it." I mean, maybe you can have the spider be polymorphed into a little boy.......no one suspects the little boy. Actaully, that wouldn't make sense because she wants the eggs.....well do what you want.
EchoMirage
October 20, 2004, 2:17
0xp
Waz. this is MEANT to show the PCs that just cuz it's a spider, you shouldn't be hacking away at it...
A goal that should be pursued is to make creatures like orcs, goblins, and yes, even big friggin spiders more than lists of stats to slaughter.
And yes, girls DO play 'this' game... have seen some play (and enjoy it) myself. And cut back on the vulgarity, will you? Thanks!
Scrasamax
October 20, 2004, 14:49
0xp
This is a theme I sometimes try to think upon myself, that the orcs and goblins and other monsters are more than just sword fodder for up and comming adventurers. They have parents and families, and other concerns than harassing would be heros. While the spider idea is novel, and needs some serious refining it does fall into this category. It is the 'Misunderstood Dragon' but in a different form.

As for female gamers, since I have started playing, the majority of my gamers have been female. I dont have much experience running hack and slash, shoot 'em ups, but I do have alot in running character interaction and development, plot twists and other such thematic devices. Plus I really know how to stock the various shops and stores.

My wife is a regular gamer, and it is only the demands of being a full time college student that keeps her from being a resident here at the citadel. As for Vulgarity, we all have to remember the words of George Carlin. sarcasmThe F word is a versatile word, a noun, a verb, and adjective, a conjoining phrase. Say it loud, say it proud and show people just how intelligent you are. /sarcasm
EchoMirage
October 21, 2004, 3:45
0xp
Yes, heard that. *grins* btw., *envies* Scrasamax for having a wife like THAT. *envies again*
waz
October 21, 2004, 22:09
0xp
No problem about the vulgarity. I can stop with it anytime if you don't like the words that I use. I didn't mean anything EchoMirage when I said I don't know if women play this game. I've talked to a few online, I was joking around. I guess, I just talk out of my.....hmmm...good choice of words...um... I guess I should stop writing, but before I don't think you've thought this through man. As DM, (and I'm sure you know this) you have to plan for lots of stuff that a players may do. Now I don't know if the rest of you guys have any players that are jumpy or have the fight now and ask questions later, but I have two in my group of 6. THESE PEOPLE DON'T SIT AND TALK TO A SPIDER ABOUT HER EGGS THAT WERE STOLEN BY A WIZARD OF SOME KIND. I couldn't even see myself trusting a large spider. I mean, I personally would not blindly trust a the thing because it could easily be trying to trick you. Correct me if I'm the only on that feels this way, but spider, (or anything for that matter) that openly admits that he or she ate someone makes me a little uncomfortable. No matter what reason the creature could give for eating him, (such as the wizard was evil, or he attacked him or her first) I still wouldn't be trust the thing right off the bat. Thats like walking up to a well known evil overlord or something, and saying, "I think I'm goin to give that guy some help." I'm not saying the spider is evil, but its hard not to think that it isn't.
waz
October 21, 2004, 22:12
0xp
Now Cheka man, I still think this is a good idea, but you might want to have the spider change self into like a person that has a nice apperance, rather than a big ugly spider.
waz
October 21, 2004, 22:17
0xp
I forgot to thank you Cheka man for your last paragraph. It starts with "assuming." Which is suggesting that they're are more options.
Zucrous
October 21, 2004, 22:59
0xp
Ok, There are a few problems I would like to addres. First, the differance between character knowlage and player knowlage. I play alot with alot of expeirenced players and we run into this alot. We all know that the succubus will kill us if we sleep with her, but our characters however do not. (unless we make the appropriate knowlage check, a reason why wizards are great they CAN know as much as the player). A player is going to know off the bat that it is a ploy for plot development. A character is goingto think that its a great big ugly spider ready to kill them. Second, and I dont mean to be too harsh here but, COULD YOU MAKE THE PLOT DEVELOPMENT ANY MORE OBVIOUS!!!!!! I mean if I were playing I would just blow off the spider or kill it just to spite the DM for making such an obvious attempt to create a storyline. Point being, your players should have no choice or multiple choices.
EchoMirage
October 22, 2004, 2:48
0xp
Well - if they blow it up, they won't get experience, as a itty bitty spider is worth none... that one's easy.
By the way, how many people did the adventurers kill? Do they admit THAT? Openly? And still, someone trusts them. And no, not all of those will have been evil - say, soldiers of a neighboring country... while they threaten them, they are not evil, just fighting for what they see as right. Will the players admit killing orcs? Yes, they will. But orcs are people too. Okay, warriors that oppose you MAY be killed freely. But did the players kill even one orc kid or unarmed female? If so, then they are no better than the spider. The spider killed for food. Are all PCs vegetarians? Hardly so.

My focus was to show that the shape does not matter - a human/elf/halfling might have more reasons to cheat the PCs than a spider.

and yes, Zucrous, if the players blow up a plot just to spite me, okay, I will move on, and they will have missed a plot. Now, if the only thing that suffered was the spider, the repercussions will be non-existent.
But at other times, action, or even inactivity, will bring consequences to them. And they HAVE to deal with those.
Is a damsel in distress not an old cheezy plot? SO, they ignore her to spite me. Okay. Now, she dies. Fine, a dead chick, they say. Then, they come across the knight who happens to be her father, and, while he was too far away to help himself, he saw that they could have and did not. They've gained one enemy. See?
Say the damsel was meant to be a virgin sacrifice. So if they didn't save her, they have to deal with whatever she was sacrificed to, say a demon intent on ripping their buttocks open.
Easy.
My players are educated so far, that they will talk - even to their enemies. Makes for a richer roleplay.
CaptainPenguin
October 22, 2004, 17:33
0xp
Ah, moral gray areas- always good for a long drawn-out argument.
But I'd have to say that Echo is the winner in this, as of yet.
waz
October 22, 2004, 18:16
0xp
Alright, I'm not trying to start any problems. I'm just saying that its stupid to assume that a PC will just do what you intend for them to do. Maybe your PCs have no spine? Trying playing with a differant group. Not all players are like, "Hey, guys! I have spiffy idea! Lets go to church and than do some charity work!" Or, "I think I'm going to go have a talk with those mobsters over there to see if I can help!" Because what I'm saying here is even if they're good, it doesn't mean the won't judge the creature as evil and smite the shit out of it. I guess the question I need to ask Cheka Man is, is the creature evil?
Zucrous
October 22, 2004, 18:19
0xp
Hehehehehe, my point was to say that probably none of the party members would be quite in tune with the players to realize "we are going to get more XP from doing this mission that we have absolutly no reason to go on. Other than there is this spider that wants us to go on, but from rumours I have heard usually spiders arent very nice" My point being that your characters are not being themselves, the players are being themselves, your characters know that more XP lies within the mages lair, but they also realise there is alot more danger involved and they have no obligation to do otherwise. I think that I have enjoyed just sitting here listening to you get steamed about something so trivial when I am trying to voice my opinion which not being humble here at all kinda makes alot more sense than yours Echo. Now think, if you were in their position looking at a huge spider and its asking you to go risk your ouwn neck to save its babies for.... lets see here probably gold. I personally wouldnt do it. WHAT KIND OF TREASURE WOULD A SPIDER HAVE ANYWAY. WHAT WOULD IT HAVE THAT I WOULD WANT FOR GOODNESS SAKES.
Another thing killing somthing just because its evil does not make much sense to an expierienced gamer. While yes the orcs in the bar are undoubtably evil just because they are doesnt mean you attack them. See and this is where we go into the area that is tricky, to some killing orcs might be a bad thing, like for the orcs example. But many who dispise orcs would say that you are a hero. Its all from a certain point of veiw. See a damsel in distress makes a great plot if by some chance the damsel is killed by a vampire and comes back to kill you. see a simple plot can be made into a wonderful plot. by the way have you only played as good characters or DMed groups of good characters, cuz I have played in a campaign woth all evil people and damn was that fun, just killing stuff because you can is great.
Archon Lord Zucrous Shadowhelm "the Reaper of Souls" Supreme Dark Lord of the Kabal of the Severed Soul
Zucrous
October 22, 2004, 18:42
0xp
Hehehehehe, my point was to say that probably none of the party members would be quite in tune with the players to realize "we are going to get more XP from doing this mission that we have absolutly no reason to go on. Other than there is this spider that wants us to go on, but from rumours I have heard usually spiders arent very nice" My point being that your characters are not being themselves, the players are being themselves, your characters know that more XP lies within the mages lair, but they also realise there is alot more danger involved and they have no obligation to do otherwise. I think that I have enjoyed just sitting here listening to you get steamed about something so trivial when I am trying to voice my opinion which not being humble here at all kinda makes alot more sense than yours Echo. Now think, if you were in their position looking at a huge spider and its asking you to go risk your ouwn neck to save its babies for.... lets see here probably gold. I personally wouldnt do it. WHAT KIND OF TREASURE WOULD A SPIDER HAVE ANYWAY. WHAT WOULD IT HAVE THAT I WOULD WANT FOR GOODNESS SAKES.
Another thing killing somthing just because its evil does not make much sense to an expierienced gamer. While yes the orcs in the bar are undoubtably evil just because they are doesnt mean you attack them. See and this is where we go into the area that is tricky, to some killing orcs might be a bad thing, like for the orcs example. But many who dispise orcs would say that you are a hero. Its all from a certain point of veiw. See a damsel in distress makes a great plot if by some chance the damsel is killed by a vampire and comes back to kill you. see a simple plot can be made into a wonderful plot. by the way have you only played as good characters or DMed groups of good characters, cuz I have played in a campaign woth all evil people and damn was that fun, just killing stuff because you can is great.
Archon Lord Zucrous Shadowhelm "the Reaper of Souls" Supreme Dark Lord of the Kabal of the Severed Soul
waz
October 22, 2004, 18:42
0xp
Alright, Mr.Z! The point I'm trying to make is that you can't just assume that they'll do what you want. The Damsel in distress is at first glance MUCH more trust worthy than a big spider, which is why the damsel works better than the spider. The players will more than likely listen to the damsel before they listen to the spider. Please tell me which would you prefer to help? Lets say you saw a gaint spider and a damsel on either sides of the rode....both ask for your help and by helping one you would fore-go helping the other. Which one would you help or listen to for that matter, hmm? I'm saying that there are other ways to go about this. I personally would have the spider be polymorphed out of fear that the party may not be as....accepting? Also, I would imagine that the spider wouldn't be so trusting of the PCs either! I mean, they look nasty and they're giant. Just because they're so feared the are hunted down and killed if someone sees them, (I'm mostly talking about stupid towns folk. Although, some PCs would do that too.) I would have the spider be polymorphed and than after the PCs complete the task and they recieve a reward the spider could she their real self. The bargain was upheld so the PCs shouldn't attack it, BUT once again you can't always assume what they will do. They can do what they want for the most part.
EchoMirage
October 23, 2004, 3:12
0xp
Well - nobody is getting steamed here (at least not me) - I am just explaining my humble opinion...
Also, being 'evil' (what an ambiguous term!) does not mean you maim or kill for fun... that is being sadistic. You can be selfish and greedy, but still eschew harming someone physically. Alignment is a straitjacket. Yes, orcs may be brutal, and aggressive, but that is what they see as a 'good' way of life - be strong, grab what you can (e.g. deserve) and defend yourself and your kids (and kids to be) from all enemies (mostly by ripping off vital parts). But they flare up on a palladin's 'radar' the same as a demon intent on destruction of all mankind. Weird.
Currently, I DM for a group of less-than-perfect characters - a dark elf sorcerer, a living vampire, a fallen palladin and a partially demonic noble. But I don't pigeon-hole them into being evil. They're real people, and don't see themselves as evil - the sorcerer may be actually nice when it does not cost him anything...he will aid other group members because in turn, they aid him, but if the situation becomes critical, he will not risk his life for others. Is he evil? No, he just considers himself more valuable than others... The vampire - yes, he drinks blood. He tries not to kill when he does so. He tries to obey the law when it is not imperative to ignore it. Because he is paranoid, he often does alienate people. And yes, he wants to see his enemies dead and does not forgive. Ever. Is he evil? No. He's just himself in a hostile world. Even though anyone may consider him a monster. The palladin had his reasons to fall - unreasonable love it might have been, and his failure caused the deaths of many of his family members... he knows what he has done wrong, and sworn revenge upon those who led him into that ituation. He's not kind. He will honor his word to the letter, not more, not less. He will kill without hesitation if it seems right at the moment. To some, he might appear as a villain. Yet he's but a man who was wronged by life, imprisoned for a dozen years, and with a score to settle.
And the semi-demonic noble? Truly a horrid creature if unmasked, yet caring for the subjects, and loved ones, most of all siblings and and father, trying to uphold the honor of her house. Okay, now it seems quite incompatible with these 'ideals' that she killed repeatedly to feed the child she had with a true demon. Is it so? A truly evil deed, but she's nothing worse than a tigress slaying to feed her young - if her loved child needs the flesh of sentients, wouldn't it be cruel to deny it food? Especially when she chooses enemies of the state, bandits and the cruel as prey? This is actully noble! But most knights would vomit seeing her or her daughter feeding.

Now, would you support a knight? A less-than-perfect knight? A knight who was tricked into failing his ideals? One who was tricked and caused great grief in the process?

Would you rather support a vampire noble treating his subjects well, or a human noble who lets the peasants starve? A spider-monster who protects a village or the church of a god who claims to be good, but does not give a damn about that hamlet?

Would you aid a lady whose only failing is a beast she cannot always contain, or one who does lesser evil, but on purpose?

Questions, questions...
Voted valadaar
October 18, 2006, 13:14
0xp
Hmm.

3 for an _ok_ plot. +.5 for the great moral discussion it lit off!

Now, just because a spider is a big, evil, man-eating beast, does not mean the PCs' can't do business with it. Business is business after all! :)

The only leverage the spider has is that it knows where the evil mage is, and evil mages are Always worth killing :)

So there could be some negotiation. And then when they are done, then they kill the spider.
Cheka Man
November 24, 2006, 7:52
0xp
Please could someone delete the foul SPAM that Barbarian Horde left?
Voted Kassy
April 11, 2012, 9:49
0xp

I know this is an old one but it was in my "unvoted" list.

An ok idea. I don't really like the resulting "argument"

It has potential.

Voted Aramax
October 9, 2014, 10:29
5xp
Made me laugh! 4/5


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Revenge

       By: Dragon Lord



The local band of 'nasties' (goblins / orcs / whatever) lives in relative peace with the local population.

Along come the PCs and go through their usual heroic monster bashing routine, wiping out the nasties and pinching all their stuff, then continue on their way.

Problem is, they don't kill ALL he nasties. The survivors want revenge and, after spending a few months recovering, start to take it in their own inimitable style (which is not unlike that of the PCs come to think of it).

Next time the PCs are in the area they find themselves VERY unpopular with the townsfolk.

Ideas  ( Plots ) | August 10, 2005 | View | UpVote 1xp


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