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Comments: 13
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Rating: 4.6471
Condition: Normal
ID: 173


November 6, 2005, 1:23 am

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Beneath the Willow


A famous hero has died, but his dying request was the be buried beneath the willow, and he has asked the PCs if they will carry his body there and bury him.

The Hero: An NPC, well known and respected not only by the PCs but by the public as well, a mightly warrior who has served as a teacher, and instructor, and otherwise friend and mentor to the PCs. He has lived a good life, not so long as some some, but certainly not cut short. He has had but one regret, that he will seemingly be laid to rest in the cemetary/crypt/mausoleum of the city, something he doesnt wish. He wishe to be buried beneath the Willow.

Note: If the PCs need further reason to perform the task other than the bond of friendship (ingrates) perhaps his will grants them some wicked loot, either a large amount of money each, magical items, such and such, and only if they complete the task will they gain their reward.

Beneath the Willow: The land of the Willow is a sacred place, removed from the concerns of humans and wars (This does not mean it is chock-full of elves). In the days of myth and legend, many heros would come through the land of willows and recieve a great blessing, or visitation from a higher power. Many adventurers who go a questing first stop in the valley and make a ceremonial gesture as many knights would bequeath a sword to a lake in memory of Excaliber/Caliburn and Arthur before leaving on their quests and adventures.

There are several great stone caerns, burial mounds of old that purportedly contain the earthly remains of some heros of lore. Some of these have become shrines, with adventurers and pilgrims voyaging to lay hands on the stone piles, seeking guidance, blessings, or simply seeking.

Plot Hooks:
No Vacancy - The Land of Willows is a small valley, not a massive region. The PCs are faced with the problem that they cannot find a suitable place to inter the body of the hero. Do they upset a lesser caern to inter their friend?

Its Religion Stupid - The attendants of the shrines do not approve of the plan to bury the hero. Acting as masters of the valley, the attendants claim that he was lacking in renown to be buried in the valley. The PCs must recount his tales, and convince the attendants otherwise. Combat is possible, but attacking shrine attendants might be a bad idea, with the other adventurer pilgrims on the scene.

Road-Block - An evil necromancer plans to steal the body of the hero to raise it as a undead swordmaster! The body must be recovered, and properly laid to rest.

If it isnt the King of Thieves - Grave robbers decide to loot the body of its grave goods (IE possible magical armor, magic items, and a very keen sword, something real nice). The PCs have to fend them off until they reach the Land of Willows where the grave robbers will be afraid to loot.

Inspired by the song Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss.

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

September 30, 2004, 6:45
A neat turn on heroic fantasy, as it makes the _players_ think about their characters, and where they will be buried one day. All has an end, and even great heroes have to die.

It could be especially interesting, if the characters never had the honour of befriending the hero, or never even met. Why did he entrust them with his burial? Has he not friends and allies to make the last voyage for him? And what is that final gift they shall recieve after?

Many questions can arise from this simple plot.
September 30, 2004, 7:25
Cool. Pleasantly melancholy. Great opportunity for some prepared role-playing: Anything from a full bardic lament with bagpipe to Sam Gamgee's impromptu poem for Gandalf.

You could also make this the denoument of a prior adventure in which said NPC had played a major role in helping the PC's, but been mortally wounded - not killed outright, but removed from the action so the PC's will finish that adventure on their own. They return in triumph to hear the dying request.

Variation on "It's Religion Stupid": The hero cannot enter the valley until some incomplete deed is done or some past misdeed undone. The Valley will guard the body for a specific length of time while the PC's attend to that quest (so we don't have a farce of hauling a rotting corpse over hill and dale).

Also, there's no need to make the attendants anything that the PC's can attack - for me, at least, the option that the PC's could fight their way to a resolution in the Valley itself detracts from the mood. The Spirit of the Valley could set them on a twisting path that always puts the Valley just over the next rise, or be an invisible force that allows the PC's but not the body to enter, etc., and then the party needs to figure out the explanation of that.
September 30, 2004, 7:34
To explain the option, or the reason not to attack would require me to shed some light on my former, and albeit sometimes difficult gaming group. I had a player who I would desribe as Chaotic, if imprisoned, he would attempt to commit suicide by trying to swallow his tongue. If someone seemed like they should be treated with respect, and he disagreed, he would cast a spell at them, usually something with fire in it. Now, most of the time he was a good gamer, but there was always the possibility of that entirely chaotic act erupting. I learned to be prepared for that, rather than kicking him out of the group. Besides, most of the time, we played at his house, so, either you have a psychotic episode, or you learn to deal with it.
September 30, 2004, 7:37
Two thumbs up. A very thoughtful and intelligent quest.
You could also include philosophical/theological debate because of an incompatibility of beliefs the warrior held in his life and those of the Vale guardians. I am moved, and grant a 5.
September 30, 2004, 20:24

October 1, 2004, 9:47
Extra points for basing a scenario on a song. A good story song can lead a good scenario. I was reading something about this recently.... Rock and Role-Playing
A slightly different tact, but a similar idea.

Inspiration comes from any source.
Ancient Gamer
October 2, 2004, 3:43
As always Scrasamax has produced high quality epic fantasy with a refreshing twist of originality.
Cheka Man
January 12, 2005, 19:04
Barbarian Horde
April 30, 2005, 9:14
Nice one, goes well with your campaing.
Dragon Lord
May 3, 2005, 9:43
Would fit nicely into a campaign where the emphasis is on role-playing rather than combat - just the sort of thing I prefer to see

Unusual and original idea - 5/5
Voted Cheka Man
October 17, 2006, 18:37
I wonder how I missed voting for this? 5/5
Voted Silveressa
July 26, 2011, 21:38

A nicely adventure to spring on the party after they have become attached to a helpful NPC that accompanied them on adventures in the past. For a variation one could also substitute a relative of one of the PC's to add a more personal touch to the adventure.

Voted valadaar
January 15, 2016, 12:00
A great plot idea, and providing no more motiviation then its the right thing to do would be best I think.

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