Handful of Seeds – Free Adventure Ideas for Your RPG Campaign

A well-known big-game hunter has business with the characters, and invites them to his house. Practically every surface seems to be covered with dead animals  – mounted heads on the walls, rugs made of skins on the floors, stuffed birds and flying lizards suspended from the ceilings – and many of the animals seem to be singing or making noise. The racket is indescribable, with animals singing human folk songs, asking for loose change, quoting theology, all of them talking over each other.

The hunter, when he finally appears, looks like a tough customer, but he’s haggard from lack of sleep. He has no idea who did this to his animals, and he wants it ended. Nobody’s better than he is at killing random animals, but he’s uncomfortable when it comes to wizards – and this is clearly a job for a wizard. Can the characters silence his dead menagerie?

 

***

Someone wants to kill the wizard’s pig. A healer who has done the characters many good turns has a magical pet piglet (piglet that follows its owner around and gives him or her 1 additional spell point a day. If the piglet dies from anything but natural causes, its owner gets no spell points at all for 2-12 months.), that a rival healer is insanely jealous of. The healer is a man of peace, so he hires the characters to protect the piglet from his rival. He’ll pay them in healing, but the piglet must be kept safe at all costs. This can be played in a fun kind of Looney Tunes way, or it can be played completely straight (well, maybe a few giggles); it works as an adventure either way. The rival wizard can be very dangerous; healers may not have much offensive magic, but for obvious reasons, nobody is protected against healing.

***

The Snake Store sells nothing but serpents, living dead, and sometimes not quite one or the other. The front room is crammed with boots and belts and sheaths for weapons, with several huge tanks containing snakes. But if the characters are very friendly with the proprieter – in other words, if they’re happy to talk about snakes for hours and dote on his pets, and if they seem to have plenty of money – he may .show them the back room, where he keeps the most dangerous vipers, and the items that are only for sale to his very best customers. For instance, he is in possession of the following magic items:

  • snake bracelets – 3 bracelets in the shape of a small snake wrapped into several loops. At the wearer’s command the bracelet straightens out and can be thrown like a knife or dart (or just put down on a pillow or convenient place). Once released, the straightened bracelet becomes a living, highly venomous snake that bites on contact
  • woven mat that turns into 40 live poisonous snakes when stepped on by anyone not wearing a piece of snakeskin
  • friendly rattlesnake that loves children and will protect them fiercely. It prefers to sleep in a crib next to a young child.

***

An old, lazy dog keeps getting underfoot at the tavern where the group is staying, sleeping in the stairs so they trip over it, etc. The dog’s collar is studded with gems worth more than the whole rest of the tavern, but if the collar (a magical collar that makes a dog torpid and lazy while it’s worn) is removed, the dog will attack fiercely, bringing the innkeeper and everyone else nearby running.

***

After hours of drinking at a tavern with a friendly ogre and a crowd of farmers, someone bets the thief in the party that he can’t steal the ogre’s hat (a magic hat that gives an ogre human intelligence).

***

A magnificent but temperamental stallion intended as a gift for the emperor has been entrusted to the characters’ care. They are expected to transport it across the Whispering Desert and deliver it in perfect health. In fact their lives depend on it. In the two day’s time before they are expected to leave, naturally they begin combing the city for any magic that might improve their chances. But even before they leave the city it becomes apparent that the stallion is not what it seems – it can speak and claims to be a powerful wizard whose soul was trapped inside the horse, who will lavish them with wealth if they free it. Is it worth risking the emperor’s wrath and that of their patron?

(Answer: It’s a setup. The stallion is an old warhorse being used as a ringer and the true prize horse is still in their patron’s stable. The voice and magnificent appearance of the stallion are the work of an illusionist hired by their patron so that the characters will be implicated in the stallion’s death and the emperor will blame them while crediting the patron with the magnificent gift.)

***

A mysterious beautiful woman at the fair gives one of the characters a red rose. Now the rose is dead, he’s not feeling so good, and she’s nowhere to be found. (unbeknownst to the character it was a rose of resentment – a red rose that, when given to a stranger, transfers 10 years of the giver’s age to the stranger. The rose withers as soon as the age has transferred.)

***

The revolutionary Order of the Yellow Hand wants the characters to help them make a political statement by turning the king’s lawn yellow. They even have a magical powder (powder that makes a lawn bright yellow colored – spreading through the roots of the grass overnight so it changes color over the course of a day. The grass continues to grow normally, but remains the new color.) that will help accomplish the job. Naturally, it’s a setup.

***

The characters stumble on the dying Duke of Woodfalling, left for dead after an ambush. He begs them to bring the buttons from his cloak (matching brass buttons that never tarnish, stamped with the Duke of Woodfalling’s family crest) to his young son – saying that they’re his birthright and powerful magic within their own right. (He’s speaking metaphorically, but the players are unlikely to realize that.) This works best with a group of characters who are a little unsavory and can be counted on to take the buttons for themselves. They’ll end up with powerful enemies (Woodfalling’s relatives), and an easily recognizable magic item, which they can puzzle at endlessly trying to figure out its magical powers.

***

 “I want a dress just like that,” says a character’s significant other after seeing a woman at a dance wearing a red velvet dress that adjusts to the shape of the wearer, so it always looks perfectly tailored. But the woman is surprisingly reticent about where the dress came from, and her guardian, a hulking warrior who’s recently been refurbishing a once-lavish tower on the cliffs above the city, all but threatens the character for asking before roughly taking his ward’s arm and leaving the dance. “It doesn’t matter,” the significant other says, but the character can see the look in her eyes and knows that yes, it really does.

 

Adventure seeds above were written by an author of The Wildside Gaming System.

The Wildside Gaming System (wildsidegame.net) was first published as a book in 2004, by Wildside Press, LLC in Rockville, Maryland. An oldstyle gaming system with a focus on worldbuilding, it was followed by a number of tie-in books including The Wildside Book of Loot, Crusade of Kings, and Koboldly Where Gnome has Gone Before.

They are running their kickstarter campaign right now. To know more visist http://ancientscroll.pl/wildside-gaming-system-to-be-released-as-a-free-app/ or http://kck.st/22L1ld0

 

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