'Hard is the life of a little goblin. All want to kick him, all want to spit him. I am glad at least someone listens. And I just look for someone to listen to me.'
The orc stops and nervously looks around. Though it is a small inn in a small village, the people around make him nervous, maybe not more than being inside a house. His skin reveals him to live outdoors. Tries to hide even more in his cape and continues:
'My tribe has fallen upon hard times, and it looks like we will not see another winter. We desperately need a hero, but no hero between orcs, not anymore. Will YOU help us, maybe?'
He will try persuade them at all cost, but tries to keep the exact method of help private. Promises reward, as much they can give, and maybe something special. Will lead them into orcish territory, where they can see the small tribe: surely not more than 50 orcs, most of them young. There let them meet the tribes chieftain and are told the tribe's unhappy history. End it with: 'The respect to our shaman is our last defense. But he is old and feels his death coming. We will cry for him. When his spirit departs, our neighbours will come to claim our land. We will fight, and we will loose.'
'But we do not call you to help with fighting. So much honour we still have. Our shaman had a vision, that there is free unclaimed land out there, where we can live. But he is too old to lead us there. Will you?'
(It should be noted that the free land is inside the human territory, so this is much akin to smuggling fugitives through a densely watched border. The heroes will get MANY problems if they accept, so they better think twice.)
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? Responses (15)
Hehe! I like it! Portrays orcs in an entirely different light! Can you imagine how nervous you'd be walking into an orcish village, not really knowing if they were genuinely in need...
This really contradicts the usual kill-everyone-then-ask-questions approach, which more plots should do. Good one.
At the very least, the PC's will have the gratitude of an orc village. It never hurts to have a few extra strong hands to dig earthworks if the need arises.
Another possible reward is a bit more gruesome. The old shaman is gonna die, if the village respects the party so much, they might present them with the shamans shrunken head, a kind of spirtual talisman for wisdom. Could prove to be powerful.
They will have the gratitude of an orc village and, if rumors get out, they may just be the laughing stock of the local cities.
'Isn't that the group that helped the orcs?'
'BAAAHAHAHAHA, Yeah, I think it is. I thought I smelled something.'
Yes it is a good cause, but how many others would actually appreciate it?
If I may offer a twist :
The promised land is an uninhabited mountain/hill range located with in an elven forest.
While the orcs maybe friendly & won't bother the elves (in the future), getting them through the forest might pose somewhat of a chalenge (& I don't think the elves will be very understanding once word got out!).
Yes. It definitely has potential in this regard. It may not be outright 'empire building', but many players would like to become lords of their own lands eventually...
Thanks for reminding.
I'm using it to kick off my new campaign. It is a nice groundwork for future use.
There is a nice plotline, but it really does not have a 'dramatic ending'. Here is one I thought of.
As the group travels, it will have its share of encounters...
Old men thinking they are being invaded, the 15 year old wannabee hero, wanting to slay them with his rusty old sword, local militia ready for attack, plus a few other strangers on the road. One thing that should occur is having ghostly or even undead humans attack the tribe. These ghosts/ undead died in the great orc wars centuries previously.
The undead occurances should happen with more and more frequency as the tribe moves on. One of the Tribal elders, who is advocating peaceful co-existance and wanting to move, is having awful dreams.
Towards the end of the Journey, the tribe reaches a wide open space. Centuries ago, there was a great battle there. As the Tribe approaches, the sky goes dark, the world gets evil, and the undead army rises. They attack as ghosts, spectres, and zombies. Eventually some undead/ ghostly orcs will come back. A great war will occur, with you and your poor tribe in the middle.
Oh, the peaceful Orc Elder is specifically being targetted by his ancestor, the blood encrusted Orc Warlord who invaded this land with his horde.
How to resolve this... it all depends on the Orc Elder really, how he responds to his ancestor and the army against them. If he opts for peace, eventually peace from the Orcs will come. If he talks to the undead humans, they might listen. If he says we must attack, then it will be a fight to the finish.
Changes minor and major, and how it turned out in the end:
Owing a little favour to someone, it turned out the tribe they should help is a goblin tribe, and the character itself a half-goblin. The tribe was not exactly decided to follow them, and it took some talks and a test to make them believe.
Mission accepted, they traveled long to meet many not friendly to their cause. That fifteen year old wannabee hero, but also militia (very logically) ready for battle. Persuading most of them to be harmless, they were allowed to go into another barony, with a little armed escort.
There was a nice comical borderline encounter. The sleepy guard between two baronies in peace left them through without problems, the first time. The second time, with a complete goblin tribe, the guard rapidly was alarmed and in panic, another guard (with a chefs apron) ran out of the small outpost to save the day with a frying pan. After yet another discussion on goblins that are not evil (and several substantial 'gifts'), they were allowed to pass. Not quite what their armed escort expected, and several of them voiced their anger, while one shouted merrily 'Thank you, thank you!', while dancing with hands full of money won in the bets they did all the journey.
After that, people were friendlier, or at least the characters learned to evade public attention. Or not quite, because rumours already circulated everywhere. The only problem were the increasing undead attacks. Which was odd, considering that everyone spoke of the Undead showing up here and there, but seeming to attack no one.
(By the way, thanks to MoonHunter for the ending!)
Ending up between two undead armies, they wanted to flee at first. But as those armies seemed to be reluctant to let them go easily, and as the orcish one 'included' them in its ranks, panic grew. There was an empty moment, with repeated calls for the commander, when the players didn't know what to do. (Personal note: drop more and better hints next time!) But at last they figured out the shaman was in fact the the commander, or at least a fitting replacement. Sadly, the battle could not be prevented. And thus both armies have met, with their leaders in the middle, and the history repeated itself. The tribe has luckily withdrawn into safe distance, their shaman was mortally wounded on the battlefield. And has passed away, after his last few words...
Cliche, but I hope it fitted the occassion. Mourning, the tribe has decided to move on, and thanked the characters for their services. Their ways have parted, they may meet yet again...
(Personal note: be better prepared in future climactic scenes! Have more descriptions of everything. ;) )
The only 'real' combat happened when lightning struck into the tall tree they were all hiding under, on otherwise open grasslands during a storm. Most of them panicked and run away (including one character), the rest of the party had to deal with zombies that showed up at this wrong moment. Otherwise, combat was basically out of question.
I cannot play a goblin tribe. Fine, there are just three or four relevant NPCs, but still, it gets awkward to make a whole tribe to seem alive, being not only a burden, and not a mere 'background' for my heroes. Retrospectively, in most cases the reasoning 'They are humans too - you do the talk.' worked for most encounters. The tribe was better in hunting and food-gathering, and occassionaly got a bit rebelious. But most of the time, the PCs were accepted as leaders, for the moment at least.
I am not sure if I have mixed Pride and Weakness (or Dependence on others) in the right way, but hey: the characters did something unusual, helped someone, and changed the world in a way. (And had some fun in-between.)
And that counts.
Obah? What is Obah?
4/5 for this.
Of course, if the Orcs of Grazuul are "helped" successfully, it can lead to this: 30 Orcish Gifts (For Services Rendered) :)
What Muro said.
A good starter adventure - especially where conflicts between orc/humans etc is more then just 'they are evil..'