As long as any can remember, these certain paths allowed one to travel up to and over 20 extra miles a day by using them. One moment one was deep along a small trail, the next he would find himself 20 or more miles farther down the path without realizing it. All was fine until recently. Reports returned talking of the failure of these areas which revealed miles of ancient paths. The protection hiding them has finally failed. Will it release monsters of ages past or reveal magic of unknown worth?
In the land of Kolist near the city of Huwan there are little traveled hunting paths that very few know about. These paths have been used safely by the king’s most trusted as well as anybody else who may have stumbled on them. They have been there for an untold amount of time and have been used through recent memory. The importance of these trails lies in the nature of their magical properties. These certain paths allowed one to travel, instantly and safely, up to and over 20 extra miles a day, depending on the set of trails. One moment one was deep along a small trail, the next he would find himself 20 or more miles farther down the path without any obvious indications. These paths have always been stable and predictable and were named the Talon Trails after the ranger who first discovered them. Those that were magically attuned could exactly predict when the transition through the magic would take place by a slight discomfort. All was fine until recently. Reports came back that the magic is gone and a set of ancient, overgrown paths now fill the void that was once skipped. In many cases, the paths end into a fully overgrown forest.
These newly appeared, ancient trails have spurred a mystery in the area and, in some cases, seemed to have released some danger into the surrounding lands.
All the Talon Trail’s are actually homes of wizards of long past. The city of Huwan used to be central to a large area where wizards had permanent residence and studied together. The Talon Trail is actually just a result of powerful protection spells cast to hide their domains from the ignorant. Anywhere in the radius of the wizard’s home, regardless of the direction traveled, if one walked into the protection spell the person would be deposited on the entire opposite side of the wizard’s home which could span a diameter of five to fifty miles depending on their power. The quickness of the trail just turned into a convenient side effect of the protection that is now known as a Talon Trail.
Most(?) of the wizards are now long dead and the some magic is finally fading. Now that the magic is gone there can be any number of big nasties that were once encased in this wall of protection but are now free. These same walls that kept things out may very well have been keeping things in. The actual wizard’s home may still be encased in greater magic than their first wall of defense so it might be ages till their actual home will ever be revealed. Nobody may even know that their are wizard citadels revealed as they will continue to be hidden. Some may be able to deduce that more is hidden by finding smaller Talon Trails inside the original.
Scattered evidence somewhere within the protection will give an idea of what could be found; old ruins, small overgrown villages, hidden caves/tunnels, or obvious areas of old usage. There is great magic treasure and great danger to be found inside the broken spheres of protection for any brave enough to explore.
1)Hired to investigate the trail and the surrounding area to see if it is safe to use this trail at all.
2)A message is too important to wait and it needs to be delivered quickly. They are sent to deliver it with all possible speed and going through the old Talon Trails is still the fastest route.
3)Monsters have started terrorizing villages where nobody knew or had ever discovered a Talon Trail. The wizard that was there was a weaker one and had to resort to using monsters instead of more powerful magic to protect his inner sanctum. Maybe a villager or two know what it was but never told anybody. Now that they know what is in it perhaps opens up some investigation of the larger of the Talan Trails.
4)One of the wizards yet lives or one that has found lore of these places and the falling of the protection is something he has been waiting for. It is now a race between the elder wizard and the characters to find what was protected inside and to keep each other from getting there first.
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? Responses (11)-13
Innovative and rather spooky method of revealing new and hitherto uncharted territory. Thanks, Strolen!
Another plot idea: The skipping trail effect was powered by the wizards presence and is fading now that most of the wizards have been killed by a summoning gone wrong. The remaining wizards are weakened by their battle and need to players to kill/capture the summoned creature. Perhaps they give the players some weapons to aid the players. The summoned creature has been been weakened in his battle with the wizards as well, but is headed towards some source of power to rejuvenate himeself. Let the chase scene begin!
I like your back story and adventure opportunities.
I use a similar effect on an area of the Dales (more correctly Cormanthyr) known as the Tanged Trees. It is a portion of the forest where some elves remained after the fall of Myth Drannor and one of the few remaining places where an ancient mythal is still maintained, in the campaigns I run. Anyone not meeting the entrance requirements of the mythal's protections is deposited on the opposite side of the mythal's protected area.
The Idea on this that I used was the players did the clean up of big nasties for free, since they were blamed for the escape. (they just happened to be in the area when the last wizard died and the trail lost its power.) But as a result of them doing all the exploration they discovered a backup way to power the trail with thier own spell points or a magical Item that they can put into a tree at the edge of the field of effect. I was simply thinking of giving them a faster route that they could use to escape things or trade better than anyone else, but they decided to set up residence and sacrificed a super powerful item to the field to power it for quite some time.... ( the donation being given by our barbarian who was sleeping with 2 halflings in the group.)
nice BUMP Moon, never saw this before. Strolen, I love this concept!
There are a few small typos ('As long as any can remember these certain paths aloud one to travel . . .'), but overall this is a very useable submission. Walking into a protective field intentionally as a method of travel is a nifty idea -- I love it when magic is used successfully for something other than its intended purpose.
I can see that this was written in 2002, and perhaps the quality of the submissions on this site have increased since then, but to me this is not a 5. It's useful and colorful, but not the absolute best that this site has to offer anymore. Still . . . 4.5/5 ain't bad.
Dossta: You are right, but, the ideas were still good back then. It is more often the execution, the way we deliver our ideas that has been perfected trough the years. And, more importantly; Back then, Strolen and the early members had to fill the pages with actual content. Thus, some of the early subs might seem a bit unfinished if we read them today.
Still: The concept displayed here is very good and this must be the earliest version I have seen of plot hooks. I think it was AG who first "formalized" that idea, am I right? All in all, a great idea with usefulness and artistic flair.
A neat idea and good adventure material, however the formatting of the sub could use an overhaul, with some spaces between paragraphs and including a plot hook section for ideas #1-3 (As it is the subs wall of text makes it something of an eye sore to read)
For a classic Strolen sub it's one of the early examples of what most subs would someday be, useful submissions with a lot of depth and usability.
I can only echo Silveressa on this one. Agree completely with her here.
Another sub in need of a format fix, will comment and vote after ;)
Update: Updated the formatting and the sub a little bit.