Nymphs in Distress
A young nymph gives up her life to encounter the PCs, begging them as she dies to save her sister nymphs from extinction and promising that they will be well rewarded for their trouble.
The PCs are in the city of Walkabout Creek in the depths of winter when they hear a tapping on the door. Assuming they open it, a frozen figure stumbles into the room and falls to the ground, her limbs shattering into pieces of ice as she does so. She introduces herself as Amelle, a water nymph from the Yocasta River that flows through the area. She explains that she had to leave the river to find the PCs and got lost in the snowstorm and froze solid, and before she dies she wants to tell the PCs of the threat to her people and beg for their help.
She is one of a group of water nymphs that live in a certain section of the Yocasta where geysers in the water keep it warm no matter how cold the weather. For as long as they can remember they have lived a peaceful life until a band of prospectors arrived and began panning for gold. To the horror of the nymphs, they found it. The nymphs begged the prospectors not to take the gold but the prospectors announced their intention of returning to the town as soon as the summer came to spread the news. The nymphs knew that as soon as that happened their section of river would be swamped by human settlers and polluted beyond use, and they would be driven out as refugees, unwelcome wherever they went, seen by fellow nymphs and humans alike as unwanted beggars.
They saw only two ways to save themselves from their fate, to ask for help from Queen Yocasta or to seek help from Old King Cole of the world of the dead. Both were out of reach for them but not for the PCs, which they saw as their last hope to save them from eviction. They promise the PCs a big reward if they are saved from their impending fate. After telling the PCs what has happened, Amelle will die and her body will turn into a small pool of water.
To help them, the PCs must cross the Yocasta National Park through which part of the Yocasta River flows (the nymphs however live outside the park.) In this season, travelling through the park will not be easy and the PCs should roll on an Encounter Table.
3-A patrol of two Park Rangers per PC. They will not be happy with the fact that the PCs are carrying weapons and will attempt to arrest them. The PCs can either fight them, bribe them or try and outrun them. In the unlikely chance that they are met twice, and the first encounter ended in a fight, there will now be four Rangers per PC and they will be in a fighting mood.
4-An Ice Ghoul or two to deal with.
5-One or more bears
6-A poachers bear trap. The PCs must make a dexterity roll to avoid it; otherwise one of them will be badly injured by it.
7-A Crevasse-if the PCs are tied together they will be able to haul the one who fell in out, otherwise it does the damage that the GM sees fit.
8-A lone hot spring. If the PCs avoid it there will be no trouble, otherwise a PC will get mildly burned as a warning that some things are better left alone.
9-Two large Elk duelling. As long as the PCs show them respect and keep their distance the elk will be no threat, otherwise one or both might attack the PCs with their hooves and horns.
10-Blue Fires which may or may not harm the PCs depending on how they are treated and if they are offered an alternate heat source.
11-An attack by one or more Glacier Fins
12-Avalance! Run for your lives! Any PCs caught in it will certainly be injured.
They can either roll twice on the Encounter Table or they can roll once and then go through the Sorcery Springs Geyser Basin and roll for an encounter there.
5-8-A Park Ranger Patrol (treat as above.)
9- An attack by Geyser Ghosts
10-The boardwalk is faulty and a PC falls off and gets mildly burned.
11-A Wrapper swimming in the warm geyser runoff that may or may not be a threat depending on how it is treated.
12- An encounter with the Unknown Death Earmuffs would be handy
Should they decide to gather water from the springs, they risk getting a severe thermal burn but they could also gather some useful waters. Trying to swim in the springs is not recommended.
After making their way through the park they will come to the part of the river where the water nymphs and the prospectors are. There are thirty or so prospectors and three of them are armed with the Firebow , so the PCs would not be advised to try and fight them directly. If they do they should be lucky to escape with their lives from the prospectors, who can give as good as they get. The PCs now have two choices, to seek an audience at the royal palace of Queen Yocasta or to go to the barrow of Old King Cole and seek supernatural help. Or if there are enough PCs to divide into two groups and do both. Neither will be an easy task.
If they decide to go to the royal castle to talk with Queen Yocasta and Princess Crysta, getting past the gate guards or otherwise getting into the castle will not be easy. Simply asking permission will fail as the Queen does not like strangers coming to see her. Trying to use force will not only verge on the suicidal, as many more guards would soon appear, but would automatically turn the Queen against the PCs. Some ideas that might have a reasonable chance of success could be
Bluffing ones way through, perhaps with the aid of magic to make it easier, pretending to be ambassadors or members of Queen Yocastas secret service in disguise or government inspectors or some other such ruse.
-Sneaking around the castle and trying to climb in with the help of a rope and grappling iron or magic
-Pretending to be entertainers who have come to entertain the Queen. If they can put on a good act then the guards will let them in.
Once they have got inside and either been escorted or found their way to the throne room they must try and win the Queen and the Princess to their side. If they came in as entertainers and manage to genuinely make the Queen and Princess laugh first this will be easier. How they try and make their case, be it with a roll of the dice to decide the royal reaction or with a lot of verbal role-playing, is up to the GM and the PCs. If they are successful a whole company of soldiers are sent with them to evict the prospectors, who will be angry but will go rather then fight the Queens men.
If they fail to persuade the Queen and the Princess, the consequences can range from being politely escorted from the castle, to having to fight their way out, depending on how things go.
To contact Old King Cole, one must dig into his royal barrow on (insert suitable festival day here.) The PCs will come across a heavy stone door that should be knocked on and a royal courtier will open it and ask that they state their business.
Upon doing so the PCs will be asked to wait in a large hall full of ornate tapestries and furniture next to a chest of silver coins. Although they do not know it, this is a test of their honesty. They may decide to steal some of the coins or they may decide to stay honest. Either way the King will call them in.
It should be possible, unless the PCs really say something stupid, to get the Kings help, as he feels more sympathy for the nymphs. He will give the PCs an oaken
staff, which has a highly complicated spell in it, the type that takes many days to prepare, part teleportation spell, part cloaking spell so that only humans who have a pure heart can enter the area to speak with the nymphs. If they were honest the King will then say goodbye to them, if not he will give them horses to travel on. Unknown to the PCs the horses are living death traps, as once a PC dismounts from them he or she will age a year for every second until he remounts, forcing him/her to remount quickly or face dying of extreme old age.
Either way the PCs must go back to where the prospectors are and cast the spell, which will teleport the prospectors out of the area and mask it from them so that they cannot find it again. (ooc-to have an idea of how the spell works, its a bit like how an admin bans an unwanted poster from his forums.)
However they were rescued, the nymphs will reward the PCs with their most magical possession. (roll a six-sided dice to see what it is.)
1-One or more Thrar Stones
2-An Armourskin potion
3-A potion that when drunk, lets the PCs breath underwater for two hours in fresh or salt water with no ill effects
4-A Fresh Water Giving Pearl
5-A ring that turns out to be, unfortunately, the Band of the Revenant and could cause a lot of trouble in a future game.
6-A large sealed silver vase covered with unintelligible runes that not even the PC magic user can understand, sadly, unknown to the PCs it has an angry Urn Beast trapped inside. If opened the Urn Beast will attack the PCs and try and possess one of them.
If the PCs roll a 6 and get attacked, they can then demand another reward (in which case roll again) or they can insist on taking gold nuggets from the ground. If they get a 2 and drink the potion at once, they can do the same as if they got a 6. But the evil powers of #5 will not be discovered in this adventure.
If the PCs ended up on Old King Coles magically booby-trapped horses, the coins will be tarnished and old and the PCs may well have to go on another quest to find a mage with enough raw power to cancel the spell so they can dismount. But that is another quest, for another day
Unknown to the PCs the horses from Old King Cole are living death traps, as once a PC dismounts from them he or she will age a year for every second until he remounts, forcing him/her to remount quickly or face dying of extreme old age.
If they do get a *dud reward* it was not deliberate malice on the part of those who hired them.
Expanding the scenario
-If the PCs end up stuck on horseback they will need to find a way to get the spell canceled.
-If a PC gets possessed then his/her fellow PCs will need to find a way to free him or her and quickly.
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? Responses (7)
Well, its an ambitious plot, and the linkage is extensive. I can tell you worked on this for a while. For that, kudos!
It could use some tightening, and some better formatting, but the adventure is an interesting one. One of my questions would be, what would happen if the PCs had the means of saving the life of the Nymph who shows up at their door, about to die, at the beginning of the tale?
Also, you can blockquote the tables. It may look a bit livelier. If you want, I can do that for you.
I do like the premise of gold found in the idyllic waters of the Nymphs' home, and the potential repercussions.
As is, 3.5, but with potential for higher vote, if worked on some more.
Not bad at all. It could use some of the things already mentioned; plus the horses are not a secret, but rather a death trap.
That aside, I like the basic problem, and it is obvious that this won't be the end of it. Once it is known that gold was found around here, people will flock in, and look until they find it. (And I wouldn't bet much on the Queen - she might forbid access to the place, but once the interests of state will be felt, an exception may follow very quickly. ;) )
Oh, and: you can use "heroes" and "adventurers" instead of PCs sometimes, looks more epic that way. :) (The entry with the nymph was excellent, by the way, she would have begged heroes for help.)
I would love it if you blockquoted the tables for me.I worked on it for several hours spread out over three days. I'm not sure what would happen if the PCs saved the Nymph.
Alrighty, I've gotten your links all fixed, and prettied some of them up, consisting of mostly using ID links instead of full title links in parentheses. I didnt change any of the formating otherwise.
That being done I have a few things to point out:
1. Prospectors are greedy folk and dont go telling when they find a potential load of gold. The more people know, the more people demand a share.
2. Old King Cole? Is he a merry old soul?
3. Not a big fan of the death trap horses.
4. Why does cold kill nymphs? I would think a sort of suspended animation perhaps, but not final death.
First off, well linked!
Yeah, am not a fan of the Aging trap on the horses, though they might have deserved it for being dishonest. Perhaps they should simply reveal their natures as Nightmares or equivilent equine monsters and tear into them. More fun then simply aging.
Scras's point #1 is a good one. Not only are they generally greedy, bragging about wealth often gets you killed.
This strikes me as awfully railroady for a plot and anti-climatic. The death horse are a prime example of putting your characters on rails.
The plot is anti-climatic in that the player characters don't achieve the goal as much as they deliever a message to somebody who achieves the goal. I think many players would find this resolution unsatisfying. This would be particularly true if the PCs had a rough encounter with the prospectors early on, and are hoping to get a bit of payback or at least to be the instruments of justice. The fairy tale tone is different and interesting, and it is a very complete write up. I think the conflicts within this plot line need to be developed so that the players are more directly resolved in the resolution of the conflicts.