Coran Van, galactic drug-dealer, smuggler, and general pain to the authorities has been spotted near the TheoRgan nightclub The Sledge. Since TheoRgs don't have much use for illegal substances - they'd need enormous quantities of the stuff - it can be certain that Van's contacting them for the only reason anyone would - he needs bodyguards.
The enormous bounty on the crook's head, preferably still attached to the body, is high enough to tempt every bounty hunter in the sector, but not enough to risk a TheoRg nightclub. This is where the PCs come in. Can they slip in and steal Van out from right under the noses of the aliens he's trying to hire, or will The Sledge prove to be too much for them?
The Sledge is a large rectangular building with no windows and only two sets of doors - the main entrance and a way in at the back, which is kept locked. Big, neon lights spell out 'The Sle ge', for the d is in a state of perpetual flickering.
Despite the lack of an interior view, the building almost seems to glow, and when open (i.e. at night), the loud techno booms from the doors.
Inside, the building is primarily one really big room, with a bar, stage,and dance floor, packed with gyrating TheoRgs. One will note that TheoRg dances tend towards the bizarre - some involve turning down the gravity, some activate the floor's anti-friction covering, others involve spurts of fire or explosive gases. In general, the dance floor should never be boring, and the PCs should hear continual yelps and roars from singed TheoRgs - but never anything that sounds too painful, for TheoRgs are too big to be seriously injured by such minor happenings.
Room 1: Entrance or Guardian
Getting Past the Bouncers
In a culture of big, tough humanoids, it seems that the bouncers at the Sledge are among the biggest and toughest. Fortunately for our intrepid bounty hunters, they're not too bright. Still, they know their orders, and don't intend to let anyone (except the various TheoRgs and bands who consistently wander in and out) in without a specific invite from the boss. And since he's inside, there ain't nobody gettin in that way.
Still, there are a number of ways the PCs could sneak in. They could try to unlock the rear door, which is unguarded by well-secured. They could try to bribe the bouncers, disguise themselves as TheoRgs, or just attempt to kill/render unconscious the guards. All of these options are possible, but unlikely to succeed. The TheoRgs make good enough salaries that they aren't overly interested in risking them for a small bribe, and it would prove almost impossible for any normal humanoid to disguise himself as a TheoRg - they're just too big. Similarly, the guns-blazing approach is not going to be particularly effective because the bouncers can probably squash the PCs in any form of combat with one hand behind their back. Not to mention that this would give Van enough warning to escape.
No, what the PCs really want to do is disguise themselves as a band, an a casual inspection will reveal that all the players wandering in and out carry variations of the Whikok, a bizarre combination of a flute and an electric guitar. The simplest ways to get some instruments would be to either go buy them or to mug some musicians. Either method is valid, but Whikoks are sufficiently difficult to manufacture that they carry a hefty pricetag.
Still, the bouncers will let any musicians go in, so once the PCs get some flute-guitars, they can move to Room 2.
Room 2: Role-playing Challenge
Once inside, the PC's can ditch their instruments (or hang onto them, it's their choice), and try to locate their target. He's much smaller than the TheoRgs, so spotting him will be very difficult. As he's been hanging about for the past few nights, however, many of the TheoRgs know where he is.
Unfortunately, TheoRgs tend to be a bit condescending towards smaller people, and are unlikely to simply tell the PCs where Van can be found. Therefore, the PCs need to try to impress them. Since the primary method of gaining respect in TheoRg culture - wild Mangacar wrestling - is not available here, the secondary method will have to do - dancing.
As mentioned above, TheoRg dancing can be quite involved, and the first dance that begins after the PCs decide that they're going to participate is a friction-less dance. Such dances are performed on repulser-boards - essentially ice skates with jets instead of skates. Boards will be provided.
I leave it up to the PCs to come up with an impressive way of dancing on repulser-boards - they're usually more creative than I am at that sort of thing, anyway.
If the TheoRgs are suitably impressed, they'll point the PCs towards Van, who happens to be in the middle of the dance floor. If they're not impressed, then the PCs will have to find a different group of TheoRgs and try to impress them with a different dance, which I leave up to the GM - I'll try to make a table at the bottom.
Room 3: A Trap or Setback
As the PCs make their way across the dance floor towards their target, a new dance starts up, and I do mean up - the gravity is turned off. Suddenly, the air is full of flying TheoRgs, who take up a surprising amount of space. This dance is a long one, and lasts until the PCs get near the center of the dance floor.
While floating, the PCs need to weave their way though the other dancers to get to the center. Of course, some of the TheoRgs are a bit rowdy at this point, and will object to being crashed into. Essentially, this is a 3-D, shifting maze where the walls will try to throttle you if you run into them.
Fortunately, there are other ways through. If the PCs can stay near the floor or ceiling, they'll find it relatively clear. Alternatively, the PCs could try to get the band which is currently playing to slow down the tempo, making the 'maze' simple to solve.
Room 4: The Climax
A Dance with Death
As the PCs near the floor's center, the music dies down and the gravity turns back on. It's not long before the PCs find themselves face-to-face with their target. Unless the PCs are extraordinarily persuasive, Van suspects them to be bounty hunters - he hasn't become one of the most wanted men in the galaxy by being careless.
Van is a clever man, however, and sees in these intruders an opportunity ti impress those he hopes to employ, so he loudly accuses them of being bounty hunters, hoping to gather attention. Once he has it, several bouncers come over, waiting to see if there's going to be a fight ('cause if there is, they're gonna be a part of it!).
Van does not, however, challenge the PCs to a fight, but rather to a dance. If the PCs refuse the challenge, the surrounding TheoRgs will jeer, and there will be no way to bring Van in.
Should they accept, they must nominate one of themselves to face off with the smuggler - the others must watch. The TheoRgs form a circle about the adversaries and start the music.
For this dance, bolts of electricity flicker about at high speeds, but at a definable pattern (imagine DDR, but with pain if you screw up). The electricity is strong enough to blast a PC (or Van) off his feet, or knock him unconscious if he's messed up too many times. The last man standing wins the challenge.
Unfortunately, Van proves to be an able dancer, and the PC will probably have a hard time beating him fairly. Fortunately, in TheoRg culture, sticking out a leg to trip an adversary is just considered good form. The dancing itself is somewhat turn-based - one person dances, the other tries to outdo him, and so forth.
An observant observer, however, may notice what is generating the sparks - a large machine rose from the floor when the dance started. A PC with some hacking or electrical skills may be able to alter the rhythms of the machine, speeding up or slowing down the electricity almost at will, which could prove just the advantage the dancer needs. Fortunately, the TheoRgs are too busy watching the dance to notice, as long as no big fuss is made.
Should Van win, he takes a few moments to bask in adulation, and it all goes straight to his head, so if another PC challenges him to a second match, he's liable to accept, although it will be a different dance.
If all the PCs are knocked out, they're thrown from the club into the gutter (probably after being robbed), and Van gets some new bodyguards. If Van goes down, then the PCs can bring him in.
Room 5: The Reward
Here he is, sir
Actually taking Van to a Federation (or whatever) outpost could prove difficult, as he'll try to escape / convince locals he's being kidnapped / be a jerk.
Nonetheless, should the PCs get him back, they receive a hefty bounty, as well as the knowledge that they've made the galaxy a cleaner place. And of course, they may even be able to negotiate a larger reward.
In addition, should the PCs ever desire to go back to The Sledge, they may be treated to a free drink. Maybe.
In association with Johnn Four, and all the fine folks subscribed to his Roleplaying Tips Weekly mailing list at, we bring you our first collaborative Quest.
Room One: Entrance and Guardian - There needs to be a reason why your dungeon hasn’t been plundered or why your adventurers are the ones for the job.
Room Two: Puzzle or Roleplaying Challenge - A trial that cannot be solved by steel alone.
Room Three: Trick or Setback - Build tension through tricks and setbacks and give them a double-dose of gameplay such as more combat or another roleplaying challenge.
Room Four: Climax, Big Battle or Conflict - The final combat or conflict of the dungeon.
Room Five: Reward, Revelation, Plot Twist - The dungeon is complete but what is it about this dungeon that made it different or memorable. What kind of mystery have they discovered, what kind of reward have they won, and what kind of information have they recovered?
Submissions to the quest will each earn an extra 15XP can be inputted on the site as normal or can be emailed to Johnn at roleplayingtips.com.
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------------ Strolen's Citadel Quest, Five Room Dungeon was an awesome collaborative success. The total amount of quest submissions between Johnn's Roleplaying Tips and the Citadel was a whopping 87 Five Room Dungeons! The winners of this set were chosen randomly so congratulations to all. But here are those that won a gift from the sponsors: Gillian Wiseman Tyler Turner Nik Palmer Daniel Burrage Uri Lifshitz Clayton Blanchard Jean-Christophe Pelletier Jason Kemp Pirate Queen Wulfhere Valadaar Thewizard63. Congratulations to Everybody!!!
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? Responses (8)
Interesting, not my flavor, but nice.
I like it.
I wasn't overwhelmed when I started reading, but by the time that I reached the dance competition, I was impressed. You found an original way to approach the "tough bar full of tough guys" meme, and for that I congratulate you.
At last, I have a way to punish the player I have that invariably takes "Perform: Dance" as one of his skills and breaks into a jig at the slightest provocation.
I LOVE IT, SERIOUSLY, I LOVE IT.
It's simultaneously funny, cool, and very original, and I'm definitely gonna' work it into my next sci-fi style game somehow. Two thumbs up.
This IS actually funny! And very feasible. And original, as mentioned.
(Aside: and you know, with some work could this be turned into a 'troll bar' scenario for us fantasy-ists.)
Great submission, DLM. You made me smirk through the whole thing.You made me smirk through the whole thing.
Nicely done indeed! I love it!
Am thinking Stainless Steel Rat for some reason...
I agree with penguin; funny, cool and very original. I like it.