2019-05-04 The First Adventure

@Kris recently asked: “Do you know of a good scenario for noobs?”

I would write my own, I think.

That’s because I think finding a scenario and preparing a scenario takes time in which you could have written your own. And having written your own, you will never fear getting it wrong.

Even the One Page Dungeon Contest submissions are too much to read through. You’ll get lost wondering whether this or that fits your aesthetics better, whether this or that plays better with the table, whether this or that offers something your players might enjoy. And all this uncertainty about picking an adventure tells me that you already know all the things you need.

Trust me on this: writing up something simple for a night is quicker than finding and reading and prepping anything else and you’ll feel better at the table, too.

Starting situation? — in front of a dungeon, looking for the crown of ice.

Immediate danger? — 10 orcs defending the entrance like the rebels defending their base on Hoth.

Immediate options? — run up there and attack, cast spells, parley, sneak up to them, lure them out, find back a entrance... plenty!

Who is their boss? — Kremulon the wight-servant, a necromancer.

Why is the boss bossing them around? — Kremulon has four wights at his command but needs the orcs to find 48 humans to sacrifice for Nergal.

Who is opposing this? — Gavina is the apprentice of Agrimach the necromancers and a loyal servant of Orcus; she wants to prevent the summoning of Nergal’s nightmare. In order to do this, she has led you here.

Complications? — five elves under the leadership of Nauthien will try to kill both servants of Nergal and Orcus and take the crown of ice.

Another complication? — rescuing the prisoner leads to three more rolls on the random encounter table on the way out.

Another entrance? — the three ice runners in the stables (another entrance) are dangerous because you smell like outsiders; the three stable orcs will raise an alarm if they spot you.

And another entrance? — the approach through the heat vents is dangerous because four yetis are using the exhaust to heat their cave, so you will have to sneak past them.

Secret escape? — a hidden tunnel leads into the ice caves with two frost trolls and eventually down to the coast, Skyrim style. So this too is an entrance of sorts, if you know how to climb ice walls and if you knew how to find it. Only Kremulon knows this.

Traps? — the ice bridge to the crown is slippery and defended by the four wights, if possible; if you are hit while on the bridge, save vs. death or fall into the icy water below. Once in there, save vs. death or die at the end of every round. A wight will follow you immediately and make sure to fight you in the cold water. If you avoid the fight, you can climb out in two rounds unless wearing metal armor.

Tricks? — finding the main hall? The corridors are confusing! Up or down? down is correct, up leads into the sleeping hall with more orcs. Towards food smell or away? away is correct, towards leads to kitchen with orcs and goblins at work.

Fights? — a random encounter table with 1d6 orcs, or 1d6 goblins carrying stuff for the orcs.

           Ventilation
           Yetis
              |
              |
Entrance - Corridors   - Main Hall - Ice Bridge - Ice Crown
Orcs       Random Orcs   Kremulon    Wights       Nergal statue
              |          & Orcs                     |
              |              |                    Prisoners
           Stables          Ice caves
           Ice runners      Trolls
           & Orc handlers

Also
Elves!

This map is good enough. Decide on some more numbers: total orcs? 30; orcs with Kremulon? 6. That leaves 18 other orcs for encounters. Don’t forget to roll twice inside the corridors. Determine Gavina’s stats and spells. Same for Kremulon. Same for the elves and Nauthien.

All in all your prep for a first game shouldn’t be much more than that!

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