How do you prepare a village adventure? Gavin Norman recently wondered on Google+ about preparing a little city adventure interlude for his players who were on a journey of a thousand miles.
I think that brevity is essential since it’s only going to be a short interlude. I don’t think this village or city needs a map, factions, quarters, and so on. If you start down that road you’ll have material for ten sessions! This can be a good thing, or it can be detraction from what the players actually want. If they’re free to choose, they might just leave. Here’s what I wrote. Well, I added some stuff at the end.
I would just prepare three non-player characters (name, class, level, three adjectives), three locales (name, a few words), three encounters (who why where). Have some mini adventure ready.
Shia, customs inspector, fighter 1. Lawful.
Orgon, alchemist, magic user 3. Neutral. Has love potion for sale. Looking for cockatrice liver for research on stone-to-flesh oil. His master has been petrified.
Benson, harbor master, fighter 3. Local strong man. Controls gambling. Chaotic.
Shias boat intercepts the party. She comes aboard and wants to inspect things. Demands x gp for all the stuff the party has. Enough to piss the players off. She’s the one who’s going to make a connection. She has four city guards aboard. Fighter 1, HD 1, AC 4, 1d8.
At the Green Dragon the food is good. It’s still Hare week. It’s all hares. Or cats, if you can tell the difference. Rumors: Orgon has a job for you. Benson is nice chum and will look the other way if you know what I mean. Shia is lawful stupid… Observant characters will note the people disappearing downstairs. It turns out that there is gambling going on down there. And, if you really need to, apparently children are being sold to serve amongst the Firfal, the fisher folk that live on boats out by the islands, they’re so ugly they can’t find a mate and that’s why they buy children. Or so they say.
At Ogon’s Tower, you can find his petrified master (including his spellbook which goes up to level 5 and which does not contain stone to flesh; it’s way beyond Orgon’s abilities but he guards it jealously). He also keeps a tame carrion eater.
On the streets, Benson follows the party and wants a bribe or he’ll bring the authorities down on them for gambling / tax evasion / sneaking into Ogon’s Tower, whatever. He has 10 thugs working for him. HD 1 AC 7 1d6.
Orgon’s tower can act as a two-room dungeon. It consists of three levels:
Since I love creating spell books, here’s Margadon's Magnificent Mysteries. Spells appropriate for a magic-user interested in petrification—in other words, Petromancers.
|1||Read Inscriptions – like Read Languages|
|1||Slingshot – like Magic Missile except shooting magic stones|
|2||Stone Fuse – like Arcane Lock but anything consisting of stone (floor, walls) will fuse with other inanimate matter (shoes, gloves, doors, staffs); when the target is worn or wielded, the creature wearing or wielding it can save vs. spells to avoid the effect|
|2||Colocation – like Invisibility but merge with earth or stone, cannot be hit, cannot attack without emerging; must emerge from the same spot; can stay indefinitely, can leave things to be retrieved later|
|2||The Smashing of Doors – like Knock but a your fists smash the door as if you’re a stone golem|
|3||The Power of Medusa – like Hold Person, looks like a temporary petrification|
|3||Earth Swim – like Fly but gain the ability to swim through the earth; when the spell ends and you’re still underground, you suffocate unless you cast Colocation|
|3||Stone Fist – like Lightning Bolt but the damage is caused by a huge stone fist; the broken stones remains after the spell is cast|
|4||Earth Shift – shifts earth and stones to the plane of elemental earth, creating a permanent hole 30 feet deep and 10 feet wide, making a terrible ruckus; all living things inside the hole do not get shifted and just sink to the bottom of the hole|
|4||Stone Forest – like Massmorph but the creatures look like standing stones|
|5||Transmutation of Rock to Mud|
Related: The Village is a one page quickstart which works according to the same principle.