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ID: 187

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April 1, 2006, 7:28 pm

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The most valuable treasure of them all

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A jolly night with friends turns out to have long-lasting consequences. Can a hardened adventurer handle infinite responsibilities of a single dad - especially when there’s an evil mage out there looking for the adventurer’s child?

Characters feast after one of their successful adventures. They eat well and drink hard. Next morning the stallion of the party discovers himself from a decorous bed of Regna, a handsome middle-aged woman. Unknown to the PC Regna was married to a mighty man, the archmagus of the Wizards’ Council. Now she is a widower. Well, PC can go on with his adventurous life without this small episode having any influence, until…

A year later, when the character has already forgotten about the whole thing, he receives a letter. Regna wants the PC to arrive at her manor as quickly as possible. Arriving there he finds out that she has had a daughter, Jassa—and there’s no question about father’s identity. As if this wasn’t enough to scare the adventurer, Regna tells that she is dying soon and has to leave Jassa to the father. The widower makes the PC vow that he will take good care of their child. Next night she passes away. (To make the PC feel guiltier, make Regna’s fatal ailment to be caused by a difficult childbirth.)

If the character didn’t give a vow or doesn’t take care of the infant, he will get colleagues of Regna’s late husband after him. A bunch of grey mages will make clear that the father has no reasonable option but to take Jassa: the wizards will warn him that they will not approve of any irresponsible behaviour. They may or may not tell PC that their loyalty to Regna is driven by the fact that she was the late archmagus’ wife.

How is the PC able to handle stressing life of an adventurous single dad? Does his party help him with the task or shall they try to find a way to get the baby into a proper home? The wizards will every now and then check that the girl is faring well. If she isn’t, they shall try to take necessary action to correct the situation.

To make the task of dragging a child around with the party easier, it is possible to decide that Regna was somehow magical herself and her daughter e.g. grows faster or has some ability which makes it easier for her to survive the most basic hazards of adventurous life (hunger, long travels and cold nights by the campfire). Or maybe Regna wasn’t a human to begin with and children of her race are inherently somehow more competent than human children. One way to make things easier for the party would be to make Regna give them an automaton or some sort of an item which would take care of the baby’s most pressing needs (e.g. The Diaper of Instant Purity). I would choose the automaton/item option rather than make Jassa something else than just an ordinary wailing packet.

Wizards are not interested in the child’s welfare only for their benevolence. After death of the former archmagus (Regna’s husband) the Council of Wizards was taken over by a usurper, Medharr, who is using the Council only for his own benefit. The usurper is also looking for Jassa in order to kill her. If the father proves to be reliable, the wizards will tell him about the whole thing. None of the wizards is ready to take the burden of raising the girl and it would be dangerous to give her to an orphanage, where she would be vulnerable. Child has to be kept safe until she is old enough to start learning magic. Wizards are hoping to make her the new archmaga when she reaches maturity - she is after all the only legal heir of the archmagus’ splendid mansion and vast magical library. Jassa is the only one with even a bit of old archmagus’ authority behind her.

You can make the party more involved in the usurper-stuff by giving them an opportunity to help Medharr - of course before they know anything about the girl. Medharr could be a kind old man - a basic wizard type. He gives the party a mission to get the platinum amulet of blah and the golden sceptre of mumble from the bastion of mumble-blah. The bastion is a small magical fortress built to safeguard the emblems of power normally carried by the archmagus - characters of course do not know this. After receiving the amulet and the sceptre old man rewards the party and goes away. The party hears nothing of him after that and go on with their lives. Meanwhile Medharr becomes a highly controversial archmagus. His position will not be approved by many, but anyway, there is no-one to unite the remains of the council to challenge him. When wizards tell the party about the Council’s crisis, they may also mention that the usurper got his position with assistance of some unknown rogues, who stole the amulet and the sceptre from the Council’s magical fortress. This should ring bells in characters’ heads and—if they are decent folk—make them feel a bit guilty.

I see three main ways to end the affair:

1) Characters leave Jassa or are unable to defend her against Medharr. In the former option wizards will probably try to take revenge. In the latter option characters may still go on fighting against the usurper.

2) Characters defeat Medharr. If this happens, one of the wizards offers to take care of the child now, when things are not so dangerous anymore. Don’t make this an easy option. Medharr should be strong enough to cause substantial damage to the party or at least escape if things get too rough. Most of the time he also has body-guard wizards around him. It is also worth noting that wizards opposing Medharr are not willing to attack him directly. No-one wants to see the catastrophe of a wizards’ civil war.

3) Characters take care of Jassa - probably for years - until one of the wizards takes her as an apprentice. If the girl survives apprenticehood, she may challenge the usurper. If she wins, characters will have a powerful ally and - of course - a daughter. Naturally it takes a lot of in-game time to get to this point.

Additional things to think about:

What are the responsibilities of the Wizards’ Council in your game-world? What are the consequences of division of that agency? Do things get weird? Who will benefit from the confusion and who will suffer? Does the situation force any extraneous societal or cosmic instances to enter the conflict?

There are many possibilities for connecting other adventures to this one. Despite the long baking time this plot doesn’t need to be a campaign. It can be just one vein running behind other adventures and plots. By playing the Jassa-does-not-grow-like-an-ordinary-child card it is possible to even run the whole thing in one session. Also by guiding the party to face Medharr early the thing could be over in a blink. But of course it could also take the time of a long campaign to reach the end.



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Comments ( 8 )
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Ancient Gamer
December 13, 2004, 12:28
0xp
Hmmm... Wizard supervised babysitting.

I kind of picture the following scenario:

"Aeliric the Strong sat in his cottage, nursing little Jassa. He contemplated the strange twist of fate that had brought him to this place and envied his mates that had run off to kill yet another monster.

Now he was here alone, changing diapers and nursing the baby. He had tried to convince his mother to take care of her while he was out adventuring, but a squadron of grey mages had threatened him when he did.

Now his existence revolved around the adorable little Jassa and her want to be murderer, a crazed archmage stalking the shadows accompanied by fell summoned beasts and sinister Golems"

Sounds like the end of his adventuring days to me... Either Jassa survives and he has full time father responsibilities, or she dies and his psyche is shattered as a result.

Perhaps a better solution would be to guard her while her mother is terribly ill? Then she could recover and the player might resume his adventuring, a wife and daughter richer??

Just an idea.
theokratie
December 14, 2004, 0:26
0xp
Yeah, good idea. I think I was originally looking for something like that - mother just being ill for a while - but the thing sort of got out of hand. Typical me :)

I also wish to mention that this was probably the first time ever that I have written an adventure for others to use. As I am bit of an improviser as GM I may have missed some important points about writing plots for others' use. More comments and advices are very much welcome.
CaptainPenguin
December 14, 2004, 17:29
0xp
Oh, I understand perfectly- even now, my plots leave a lot to be desired. My best work, I think, is in setting details.

But in any case, this is an interesting gimmick to foist upon a player. I'm channeling "Lone Wolf and Cub" here- the player could go on all sorts of adventures, carting his child around in a baby carriage whilst slaying foul beasts. Of course, like Daigoro from "Lone Wolf and Cub", that kid would be awful screwed up.
EchoMirage
December 15, 2004, 2:45
0xp
It would actually be interesting to PLAY the kid once he grows up.
"Hey, boy,whatcha good for?"
"Well, I learned elven swordplay from Tiramisu the ranger, the high art of Summoning from Methaqualon the Warlock and the ancient tongues from Sclerosis the Sage!"
"No, anything of use?"
"Well, I'm good at patching up wounds, if you think that might prove useful..."
"Great! A medic ya'll be!"

Imagine what situations he might get into - he knows well how to fend of the Soul Devourers of Xrt!Bk'y-y, but when something else catches his soul, like a girl, he'll be like a fish out of water.

"Whatwill we do today, uncle?"
"Farming, boy."
"But we did that yesterday!"
"Well, and so we will. Today and tomorrow and the day after that..."
"Boooo-ring. I will try to summon an earth elemental to plow the fields for us, and we'll go off adventuring, ok?"
Barbarian Horde
January 17, 2005, 17:54
0xp
I really like this one, it was a good thought but instead of having the mothers husband already dead, why not make it so the PC saves the archmagus from some magic-resistant monster. the next night you get drunk and "enjoy" his wife. when he wakes up to find his wife missing he immediantly checks your room and surprise! He nearly kills you, but spares your life on acount of Regna begging him. After 15 or so years you recieve a messenger who tells you that Regna wants to see him. If the PC accepts he will find out that Regnas husband was murdered, and now Medharr is in control of the council. She alsosuspects that Medharr had killed him, since they always had tension between them. She then tells the PC that she is dying.She asks him to care for her son(who i'll call Isaac for now). She also says that he has been trained by his father since he was young, so he is a powerful magician, but no one knows of him since the dad was disgraced he was not his son. He felt bad that she cheated on him, and never wanted the boy to learn how to use a sword. She then collapses to the floor. With her dying breath she tells the PC to take Isaac and train hom to become a great warrior magician. Then one of her servants hands the PC a scroll. He tells the PC to give it to Isaac. Regna wrote down her history with the PC on the paper, and what she wants Isaac to do. The servant then points to Isaacs room and leaves. When the PC opens the door Isaac calmly, and with absolutly no emotion in his vioce says "hello father". Isacc says he had been dreaming this meeting for a long time. he then joins you and can be trained in swordsplay, or futher on as a wizard, or evev both. Later in your travels you are ambushed by a group called the mages of death. Isaac should be about 21 now. Isaac tells the PC he must kill the man who sent these men, who he recocnized them as his fathers old collegues, he must kill Medharr. You can either go with him and kill Medharr, or let him go by himself. If he goes by himself he'll die and Medharr will thank you for sending him to him, he will then become a very powerful, and influentual, ally. If you join him on the quest, and meet Medharr in his chamber, Isaac will tell you to leave him to kill Medharr. If he wins he will become the Archmagus, but will be a less powerful ally then Medharr (since he has to get rid of all the corrupt wizards). Just a thought.

(This is Dragoon God by the way)
CaptainPenguin
January 17, 2005, 18:09
0xp
SO, essentially, Dragoon God, what you are proposing is an entirely separate adventure that is only slightly related to this one?
Barbarian Horde
February 7, 2005, 20:29
0xp
In my opinion it would be better yes, but! Before anyone starts to disagree with me, and get mad, and argue with me on how wrong I am on this, remember the purpose of this site is to take what we want from these plots and make our own RPG from it. So, essentially, yes Cap'n It s only slightly related.
CaptainPenguin
February 8, 2005, 19:41
0xp
I'm not mad at you, I'm just saying- the comments are not the place to put a TOTALLY DIFFERENT ADVENTURE! If you need to do so, why not write an adventure yourself?


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: manfred

The seafaring people of the Southern Islands value their ships greatly, as do other maritime nations. However, they take the beliefs about ships a bit further. A ship's name is very important, once it is named it shouldn't be renamed anymore, ever; most renamed ships seem to fail sooner or later. Ships do not tolerate parts from other ships, a single board from a wrong source can cost sailors their lives, so it is said.

Most ships are identified as female, very few as male, though there is no tale of how their personality is identified; it has nothing to do with the name, for example. The Clarissa (a well-known male ship) is said to like good wine. So whenever sailors or passangers drink, they have to spill a glass for the ship, too. But that is only the most known example.

Ideas  ( Items ) | March 31, 2005 | View | UpVote 0xp


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