Born from another thread Ice Age is my question:
Do you know any adventures based mainly in Winter, or possibly in Ice Age? Many plots can be played in winter conditions, but they often are not. My first adventures were all 'in summer or so', with nice constant weather. Now that I come to tracking time, even winter becomes inevitable.
It is of course easier to adventure in the warmer months, and sit in comfort at the fire when it is cold. But I sense this to be an interesting change: the weather being more unpredictable and harsh, it could wear you down before you can do something heroic. Plot hooks come in every season, and people always need help, in winter even more often.
Thus, come and share your ideas for adventures that have to happen in winter. Sit next to the fire, and tell your story.
A merchant wants to reach a good business opportunity before anyone else. You have to get him through impassable terrain, be chased by wolves, fight bad weather, and generally collect subdual damage and fatigue. Enjoy the pain.
A village was separated from the world by an avalanche or something, and needs help and supplies. Get there, help as you can, and clean the road as you come back.
One particular location is spared from the effects of the usual harsh winter. It snows very little, and it is surprisingly warm for this season. People are content, if every winter was like this, great! Is it only some kind of anomaly, that will pass, or is something stranger going on, possibly evil and dark, etc? (insert random demon/deity/whatever)
Everywhere, snowmen 'come alive', and become aggresive when they wake up. Luckily, they are slow and quite weak as monsters go. Once bashed apart, they don't rise again. Still, this causes unrest in anyone that can think: What the kebab is going on?
Some accursed magic-user found a way to cast a protective spell on ice. It is very hard, shiny, not wet or cold and starts to melt only after a few hours in warmth. After 'cheaply' buying the first few fakes from people that seemed not to know how much is a diamond (or similar gem) worth, the Jewelers Guild rings alarm. Find those thieves and take care they will never do this again.
A bizzard is a great equalizer. The heroes are chasing the bad guys in the snow. Occasional light flurries occur. When they finally catch up and wish to jump the villians, (who they should just trounce), a bizzard finally kicks up. Now we have wind, cold, and difficulty to see opponents. This complication can spice up a boring little combat.
You are on a mountain. The terrain is rugged, but not too bad. This keeps the PCs being careful. Eventually someone unleashes an attack that makes noise, and sure enough the rumbling of an avalanche begins. Now you have to stop the bad guys AND save your skin (or hope the bad guys are stopped by it while you save your skin).
A chase via boat late at night. Drama is added to the chase by the boat/ship having to avoid the ice flows. Then eventually, the boats/ ships are trapped by the closing ice. What to do? Exit the boat/ ship and move across the ice to catch the targets.
Ever see Empire Strike Back? "And I thought they smelled bad on the outside!" Winter survival is not as easy as people might think.
All it takes is a broken down wagon or a few lost horses and your characters will be "out in the cold" trying to survive and eventually reach their destination.
Snow and bitter cold, plus one tiny disaster, could change a few mile inconvenient journey in the winter to a survival scenario.
I once had the PC's investigate a ruined ship that was held within a plateux of frozen ice. The best thing about it was a set piece battle which took place on the ice itself, which was somewhat uncertain and the risk of 'falling in' added an extra dynamic to the battle.
Solstice day has been a holiday in more cultures than I count- a winter holiday for family.
Thus it is the perfect time for a manhunt.
Someone has killed the local VIP's (Noble, Mayor, Imperial Govenor) eldest son. It appears to have been stabbed by an odd knife. After the PCs have been blamed for the killing and cleared themselves, they are tapped to find the killer. Following the trails lead them through a number of houses. The PCs disrupt many family tableaus, following the trail.
What killed him? Something Evil, Supernatural, and Invisible. The reason? Somebody's pact with the Evil came due. The PCs may never find that out.
The PCs will chase the tracks into the forrest. There the monster will do hit and run tactics, suprising and smashing targets. This should bump up the fear factor some. It is strong, fast, and invisible. The PCs should be figuring out that the monster is responsible and that it is invisible after a few attacks. As they begin to plan, it begins to snow.
Soon they and the monster are on even ground.
Tableau, see http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=tableau
Hey, there is an Ice Age going on in this thread!
You are on the wrong side of the pass/ mountain. You see the oncoming army. You need to get back during the cold in the tough terrain at top speed while being harassed by army scouts trying to stop you.
Well it started in the deep south a troubling coldness beyond what you would normally expect. Some thought it was just a very long winter, but the wise old birds said something foul was going on. As the years went by the great ice grew thicker and you had to travel further north to find thin ice and open water to fish...
*Head looking down with sad expression* But the sea has become frozen... crushing ships and killing fish. The seals. *expression is more energetic* Yeah that ice killing seals, yup, more and more of them. An Whales too!! *remembers this is supposed to be sad*
It has already started, for it is snowing in the village to the south. Perhaps I am wrong, maybe it normally snows this time of year?
A child became lost outside of its village or town. A simple plot in any season, that takes on more drama in winter, when it could easily freeze at night, drown in a brook, or whatever.
Obviously more a side-plot for hardy heroes, as they try to gain trust of the locals.
Upgrade: the child has always liked the winter... having an undiscovered magical talent for the cold. It might unknowingly produce deep frost around itself, and fall asleep... not harmed by it, but will starve after some time. Once found it must be treated with great care - it could die or accidentally kill others.
Yet another plot for any season, but winter may be more fitting for it:
A snow panther (or whatever monster) was pushed out of its territory far more to the south, and has found an easy prey in the livestock and its owners. The goal is obviously to kill it, but there could be groups sent to capture it alive, to get its pelt, to get it whole or just its parts for magical/mystical properties (like, say, potency enhancing qualities 8) ), and all the groups find it hard to come to an agreement. Meanwhile, the monster feeds on and is still very dangerous.
Make the Predator like cold conditions.
'The old men say that it comes when the winter is at its worst... like it is now. They call it The Demon That Makes Trophies From People...'
The Snow is a blizzard that the players are too stupid not to go out in. Instead of killing them, it transport them to another realm one that is very different than their home realm.
After a time here, they will find themselves (conspiracy of fate?) to be out in another snowy storm... that becomes a blizzard and brings them home.
Winter is setting in early and cold. The mountains are covered in white. The lands below are still green (though quite cold). The ice and snow will be hitting the low lands soon enough. Creatures are moving down from the mountains rather than digging in for the winter. The woods abound with some dangerous things. Now the outskirts of the towns are seeing some mountain animals. It is only a matter of time before more dangerous creatures find the easy prey of a town.
This one is a more monsterous version of manfred's panther above. I see Ice Drakes and Glacier Fins, and so on.
The Winter Prowler
Every winter there are daring robberies in The Good Town of Kadryn. Valuables and important things are taken from the very rich (and rich, and sometimes the middle classes).
Some say it is the Holiday/ Yuletide/ Solstice spirits of giving taking away from those who are unworthy and show not the holiday cheer. That is a tale has made for a number of puppet tales in the winter markets.
This tale has some backing. It seems many of the presents of the Rich and Greedy find there way to the hearths of the Lower Town.
Players of course will finally catch a glimpse of a figure in a white cloak and white leathers running across the snow clad rooftops. Their boots are made with metal cleats (and they have covers for when they go inside)
Who is the Winter Prowler?
1) One of the Hands of the Ice Boats that bring down the Winter's Ice for Summer Consumption and preservation (Such as Barron's Ice).
2) One of the hands who brings down the Yule Logs from the Mountains nearby.
3) Cousin Aidlied, who comes South from the Northlands these last few winters to stay with family. She is appalled at the greed and insconsiderate behavior of the nobles and the well to do in The South.
All are experts of the Snow, Cold, The Outdoors, and Climbing. Add a little stealth and some lock/trap skills, and you have a great prowler.
No matter which one you choose, they are trying to select targets based on how "un-nice" they are. They all here or see who is nice to the servants and who is not. However, if there is a juicy target that is of a nice family, they will still nick it.
(See, this should be a collection of stubs, this one could be expanded to a sub someday).
21. Rare herb
An important figure is poisoned and the antidote requires the flower of a particular type of plant that only blooms in the middle of winter in a particularly inhospitable region eg. cliffside, ice cave etc., possibly infested with monsters. A further catch is that the flower must be brought back before the onset of spring else it will lose its potentcy. Can the PCs brave the weather conditions, the monster encounters and the agents sent by the poisoner and bring back the flower in time?
22. 'Winter Hunt'
The PCs come to an out-of-the-way village during winter and are pleaded to go on a winter hunt to try and kill the cave bear (or other appropriate beast that hibernates in winter) that have been menacing the village. A simple enough mission on the surface but is everything it seems? Maybe it's not a cave bear but something far more dangerous or maybe the cave bear is an unusual one...
23. 'Winter hunt #2
PCs encounter a blizzard on a pass and fortunately, a trapper shows up right at that moment and offer to shelter them. Later, though, he asks for a return favour- get him the hide of an arctic fox (or another animal whose hide is highly prized).
24. Where are those birds?
Every winter a particular type of bird crosses a farming community during their migration southwards. This community relies on this fact to help control the menace of locust swarms. This year, however, it is already the deep of winter but these birds are still missing. Where are they and what happened to them? Can someone find them in time to save the spring crops?
25. True Water
Each year, at the beginning of winter, the druid from the Thrinen Woods would climb on the Seer's Mountain and bring the freshest water with him, collected from the first melting snows. It would be allowed to freeze again and carefully sculpted into the likeness of deceased people. A secret ritual would call their spirits and make them inhabit the statues, for a time. Thus could their nearest family and friends say goodbye.
This year, the druid was too sick. Heavy of heart, he left the task to a few volunteers. He performed the ritual, but something went very wrong. The spirits called were dark and cruel, no simple peasant folk. And they ran away. Now, through wintery nights they stalk the families and people they should be close to. Their mischief is becoming more bold... who can stop these small shape-shifting beings? Who can find out what went wrong?
Every year, at the onset of Winter, hunters from the mountain town of Illiych head up into the peaks to hunt the great Ice Bears. The Ice Bears are fierce creatures, but their pelts are much prized and are one of Illiych's largest exports so the risk is made by men young and old.
This season however, when the hunters first entered Ice Bear territory, not a single living Ice Bear has been found. The occasional carcass has surfaced, hamstrung and its throat ripped out, the precious pelt unsalvageable. What could possibly have the strength to take down a creature so large and powerful?
A reward has been offered by the council as to solving the riddle of the Ice Bear killings...
27. Winter Illness
For a few years now, a mysterious winter illness has come to visit a particular section of the town, resulting in small numbers of deaths. The true cause? A particular plant has germinated at the bottom of the well in that section of the town and every winter, the poisonous spores that it releases contaminates the water in the well.
28. Winter Prowler #2
This is an upgraded version of the Winter Prowler- something that visits and takes lives every winter as sacrifices. Even worse, nobody has yet managed to track down this winter menace let alone kill it. Could be anything from some kind of wild animal that has got good camouflage abilities in winter and can sneak in and out of places quietly/nimbly to some malicious ethereal beings.
29. Communication from a frontier military outpost far from the centre of the Kingdom has been cut off during an especially cold winter. Investigators sent out report back that the outpost has been encased in a dome made of unknown material. A potential reason for this: the outpost was built on top of a ruin from an ancient civilisation that had set up a Dome of Warmth spell to be triggered when the temperature falls under a given threshold. In particular, the spell had become dysfunctional over the years and had locked all living beings within the vicinity of the Dome (when originally, it was supposed to be a protective measure against especially cold weather by providing an area of warmth for inhabitants enclosed within but still leaving them freedom to exit when the need arose)
30. Winter Illness #2
Instead of being limited to a given section of town, the Winter Illness seems to affect people randomly within an entire Kingdom. The cause? A new or previously undiscovered poison is at play. In particular, this poison can hibernate within a human's body until the internal temperature falls below a given threshold.
(note: this is partially inspired by the Friday freetext of poison)
31. Wood times
Wood is all important for the people in this valley. You have to have a large heap come fall and even during winter many make trips to get more during the nicer days.
But now, the villagers have been spooked by a strange figure that warns them against gathering more wood, to let the forest sleep. What starts as an odd story will slowly escalate into a conflict, where the already collected firewood is destroyed and people get hurt.
When the good heroes inevitably intervene, what might have been some crazed druid turns out to be a powerful spirit of the woods. By all accounts it should be asleep! It also never seemed to care about this little corner of the world. But something is amiss among the spirits and the heroes better act carefully, lest they make things much worse...
The PCs are sent by a noble to capture a Stamaghast and bring it back to his private zoo, but the Stamaghast brings down all the cold of winter on the PCs as they try and bring it back.
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? Responses (13)-13
These are kind of cool. No pun intended.
Another set of categorized adventures. I like 'em. Many of my Coldforged plots take place during winter too...
Great idea. One can not have too many categorized adventures.
5/5 yet again.
There is only 18 of these? Can we come up with some more cool ideas for a 30?
It is a nice one! And it would deserve more! :)
Well this is a cool one. Get it? Cool!
I kill me.
In any case, this is an great collection of winter related plots.