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1001 Interesting Quests/Dungeons

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  • 1001 Interesting Quests/Dungeons

    Yes, it's another one of these threads. Throw interesting ideas for TTRPG adventures or dungeons. Themes, challenges, puzzles, enemies, and/or treasure. Whatever you decide is worth talking about.

    Use whatever system you like, or keep it system agnostic. Whatever strikes your fancy.

    1) The Bard's Tomb [Fantasy RPG; short Dungeon]:
    The tomb of a once-renowned Bard. Built in the bard's home town, which enjoyed great growth years ago when the bard's tomb drove tourism by mourning fans. That was long ago, however, and few remain who remember the bard's name. Due to the town's remote location in relation to other major cities and trade routes, few visit it anymore, and so the tomb's exterior is overgrown with foliage and vines.

    As of late, the outer chambers of the tomb have become inhabited by goblins, lead by a troll. Because music is anathema to trolls, the troll orders visitors to be killed on sight (well, that and because the troll is perpetually hungry). Visitors tend to play music at the tomb, in honor of the fallen bard, and that pains and angers the troll. However, neither troll nor goblins dare enter the inner chamber, where the bard's remains lay. This fear is not entirely superstitious.

    The inner chamber is littered with mountains of long-dead flowers, and by more than a few corpses. The freshest corpse is that of a goblin, whose face has been melted off. The rest of the corpses bear musical instruments. Upon the walls are written lyrics from the bard's most notable songs. At the end of the chamber is the bard's sarcophagus, built into the floor. Hundreds of old musical instruments and faded sheets of music, as well as innumerable tokens from long-departed admirers, are heaped on the lid.

    Behind it, against the wall in its own recessed section, is a life-size statue of the bard, depicting him in his prime. The statue is flanked by images of his notable companions and musical partners, depicted holding their own instruments. The statue holds an actual instrument - one of the Instruments of the Bards (found in the DnD 5e Dungeon Master's Guide); the GM chooses which one, or creates their own custom magic instrument. On the wall above the statue's head are written, "If You Would Have My Power, Prove Your Artistry / If You Would Steal My Power, I Will Rebuke You".

    Puzzle/Trap: The statue is magical. The hands have a tight grip on the instrument, and cannot be pried off easily under the best of circumstances. However, the statue will relinquish the instrument "willingly" if music and/or song of sufficient beauty is performed before it. A PC must score 3 successes on an extended Performance check, difficulty 20. If the character cannot, the instrument remains locked in. If they succeeded, the statue animates long enough to bow and present the instrument, ceding it to a True Bard. If the character ever rolls a 30 or above, the statue will animate and join in the performance.

    If a character tries to force the instrument out of the statue's hands or tries to break the statue or open the sarcophagus, the statue will cast Thunderwave on the character. If the character persists even after this or otherwise tries to destroy or defile the chamber and its contents, the statue will animate fully. It is a Bard of level sufficiently high for the encounter, and its marble body has resistance to physical damage. If additional challenge is needed, it can Animate Objects on the scattered instruments (or weapons of fallen creatures) to aid it, or even summon ghostly echoes of the bard's old comrades, who are also bards. (Each bears a different instrument, of the GM's choice).

    Other Treasures: Under the statue's pedestal, there is a hidden compartment with a tome. The tome is a book of sheet music, filled with a complement of Ritual spells. A bard who attunes to it may, when reading from the book, cast a selection of spells as Rituals. Even spells not normally on the Bard spell list. The corpses in the room have a number of items on their person. Coins and gems, odds and ends. Maybe a magical weapon or two. Instruments, some of fine quality or even with minor magical enchantments. The pile of offerings on the head of the sarcophagus have items mostly of sentimental value, although some instruments or trinkets could be worth something to the right buyers. Inside the sarcophagus itself, the bard's skeleton is interred with fine funerary clothing and topped with a jaunty hat. Rings sit on his bony fingers, and around his neck are multiple separate lockets, with pictures inside of lovers long gone, but not forgotten.
    Last edited by Bluecho; 09-07-2019, 08:48 PM.

  • #2
    2) Assemble the Horde: Part 1: The time is fast approaching, when the forces of evil will march across the realm in another attempt to conquer the world of man. But before the horde can be unleashed, it must first be assembled. And the first batch of allies the warchief has their sights set on, are the mighty Hill Giants.

    Hand picked by the warchief himself, a number of envoys from various tribes are to make their way to the stronghold of the Hill Giants, to recruit their muscles into the horde's ranks. But while they may be big on brawn, Hill Giants are notoriously small on brain power, and it may take some extra convincing to get them to comply.

    The giants have three primary concerns, before they'll agree to lend their support.

    1 - A test of strength, to prove that you are not so weak that you need the giants to do all the fighting for you. Fortunately, there seems to be a clan of Hill Dwarves residing nearby, who have been giving the giants trouble up to now.

    2 - A sustainable food supply to appease the Hill Giants' ravenous appetite. The hills are rich with opportunities for farm lands and the raising of cattle; unfortunately, the land is currently under the ownership of the baroness, who would be loathe to hand over such valuable resources to a bunch of monsters!

    3 - A ceremonial marriage, to unite their chief's bloodline with a respected member of the horde. The societal and physical obstacles involved with such a marriage will probably make this the most difficult task of all!

    Wrapping Up: Once the Hill Giants have had their demands satisfied, and agree to join the horde's war efforts, it's time to report back to the warchief and prepare to recruit the next batch of allies!

    Note: This is intended to be a monster campaign, with an obviously villainous route to it. Although races available to the players are ultimately up to the DM's discretion, I feel like Goblinoids, Orcs, Tieflings, and various types of beast folk would be the most appropriate choices.


    • #3
      [Here we see a strange fusion of the high fantasy of Magic: The Gathering and one of HP Lovecraft's lesser known works.]

      3) Chill Atmosphere, or The Curious Case of Dr. Kuleshov [DnD, Ravnica; short adventure]:
      On the plane of Ravnica, "the city" is all-consuming. A densely packed and multilayered super-metropolis, the omnipresent guilds - and what falls in the gaps between them - take prominence in the lives of all Ravnicans. Whether they like it or not, adventure - and horror - can so often be far closer than they think.

      If one of the players failed to mention where their character lives, the GM can place the PC by default into one of the seemingly infinite number of apartments somewhere in Ravnica. The storyline should begin long before the "adventure" starts, with the PC being informed about one of their fellow tenants. A habitually retiring medical man, one Doctor Ivan Kuleshov, who runs an office out of his apartment. The PC is liable to learn of him first if they go asking after items like Healing Potions or for Healers, or if have sudden medical trouble in their apartment. DMs may arrange the latter through a number of usual methods - the delayed onset of a disease caught wading through a Golgari sewer, being attacked in their home by an assassin, etc. The point is getting the PC aware that there is, in fact, a doctor in the house. One, they will be informed, "is quite amiable, competent, and does not ask too many questions".

      Indeed, if the PC visits Dr Kuleshov, they will be struck by three things. First, that he is very friendly and willing to help (in return for modest payment or even pro bono if it's an emergency), albeit very pale and gaunt. Second, that despite being a medical professional, he doesn't seem to be a member of the Simic Combine, the guild for whom medicine is their specialty. And third, that the good doctor's apartment is VERY cold, at all times. Every visit, the DM should press upon the player just how noticeably cold the office is, like walking around in an ice box. When asked about this, the doctor will say (honestly) that it's because of the presence of his advanced air conditioning system, which is rigged throughout the apartment. He will also say (honestly) that he keeps it around due to a medical condition he suffers from; the air conditioning accompanies a cocktail of alchemical substances he imbibes as a means of keeping "in good health". The cutting edge temperature control tech, he will explain, is derived from materials he sources from certain contacts within the Izzet League.

      Both his seeming ties to the Simic and Izzet should be used by the DM to try steering the players towards seeing Dr Kuleshov as a potential resource. Not only is he a doctor - and can sell potions - he's also got connections. Making Kuleshov useful to the party is important, and the DM should attempt to establish a rapport between the PCs and the good doctor. It makes what eventually happens more effective.

      When the DM is ready - usually between other major adventures - the plotline begins to pick up steam from a series of targeted attacks by zombies, who burst into businesses and warehouses. Always after one thing: ice. Lots and lots of ice. Crushed ice, ice cubes, giant blocks of ice. The zombies ignore everything but the ice, and only strike those who impede them. If, at any point in their investigation, one of more PCs return to the apartment building, they may hear about the frantic activity going on from Dr Kuleshov's floor. Calling upon the doctor has him not open his door, but beg for the PCs to bring him ice. He will explain that his AC machine has broken down and resists efforts to repair it. He doesn't want to send for help from the Izzet League, but if one of the PCs is Izzet, he could be persuaded (difficulty 16) to let them in to examine the machine.

      If the party doesn't return to the apartment within a few hours, they will instead likely be lead there by the sudden onset of an unseasonable blizzard falling over their district. With Nature checks, they can tell it comes from their apartment. And indeed, some newfangled antennae has been installed on the roof. It's a weather machine.

      The Truth: Doctor Kuleshov is (or was) a normal human being...who is over 150 years old. He was a Simic-educated doctor and bioresearcher, before his advancing age and deteriorating health caused him to pursue unorthodox lines of research. Eventually, he discovered a way to prolong his "life" using chemicals and cold temperatures. Doctor Ivan Kuleshov is a mostly moral, good-natured...undead.

      And now his air conditioning unit has failed. With it, his body begins to break down.

      At first, he tries to use a squad of zombie test subjects - corpses obtained from hitherto unmentioned contacts within the Golgari Swarm - to retrieve ice needed to buy time. As this proved little more than a stopgap measure, he turned to a desperate course: a weather control machine obtained from the Izzet. (An emergency precaution obtained for exactly this sort of situation). A further stopgap, in the hopes he could leave his apartment and look for more options.

      If the PCs enter his apartment after the weather machine is turned on, he will be deeper inside, either on a higher or lower level of the building, that the PCs didn't know could be accessed. They will almost certainly have to fight through his zombie minions and maybe a few elemental creatures ("frost weirds"), who will defend their master by default. Kuleshov himself fears the authorities - like the Azorius or Boros (or more sinister factions) - and if taken by surprise he may shoot first (he has levels in Wizard). If the party approaches openly, he will try to defuse tensions, and try to convince them that he's not evil. He doesn't want to fight anyone, though he will fight to defend himself. He's just an old man who doesn't want to die.

      The party has many options:

      -Turn him in to the police. The doctor won't go quietly if he can't get assurances that his unique "condition" will be taken care of by the Azorius. At the first opportunity, though, he'll try to escape if he thinks the party is of no help. Even braving the seasonal heat, if he can find a way to cool himself off later. He has plans for a kind of "Mister Freeze" cold suit, that he's never built or needed until now. He may show up in just such a getup, down the line.

      -Help him repair his air conditioner. Other guilds may still be a problem, that the PCs may need to intercede or defend Kuleshov from. It would take some work to convince the Azorius to let Kuleshov "live" under house arrest, and the Boros would need to be talked down from killing the "undead abomination" in their midst. Other guilds or parties might set off a full-blown battle to defend the doctor. But Kuleshov himself will be grateful, and will help them in any way he can in the future.

      -Help Kuleshov take shelter in the auspices of a guild, who can protect him and give him resources (in return for using his skills and mind for their interests, of course). The Izzet always seek new minds, willing to push the boundaries of sense and sanity. Kuleshov has friends in the Simic, including an elf researcher who was one of his student peers - that elf may have informed the PCs of the doctor's unusual longevity ("Ivan? He's still alive?"). The Golgari and Dimir could benefit from his insights into undeath, though going with the latter means the party and everyone else will likely never see Doctor Kuleshov ever again. There are liable to be any number of wealthy Orzhov (or simply aristocratic) persons who would be willing to become Kuleshov's patron, in return for sharing his method of bodily immortality ("None of that ghost business"). The Rakdos will either kill him outright for the kicks, or capture him and "help him" by letting him build a new AC and then installing it into a tiny glass container; the good doctor, reduced to the centerpiece of a giant snowglobe, for the amusement of crowds or even Rakdos himself.

      -Kill him. While they could fight without the intent to kill, Kuleshov is unlikely to survive being beaten without the cold, the heat finishing off whatever's left of him.

      -Destroy the weather control device, without confronting Kuleshov. If the party decides to focus on the machine instead of confronting the doctor, he will flee, trying to use what cold remains outside to last until he can find another way to survive. He will NOT be friends with the party, at worst feeling betrayed by the PC who was his neighbor for so long. Maybe he dies. Maybe he builds that freeze suit, and comes back as a villain with a vendetta. It's up to the DM.
      Last edited by Bluecho; 09-08-2019, 12:07 PM.


      • #4
        4) Trouble Down the Twoson Well [DnD; short dungeon]:
        A hamlet has been troubled recently by bandit attacks, always occurring at night. Those who survive the encounter speak of darkness even deeper than night befalling them suddenly, and being assaulted by brigands who seemed to fade into the shadows effortlessly. The bandits spoke a strange foreign tongue, and fought with styles unknown in those parts. The bandits rob people blind, of whatever supplies they can get their hands on.

        Most recently, a family who moved into a farmhouse ("the old Twoson place") a mile or two away from the hamlet disappeared, and haven't been heard from since shortly after settling into the property. If the party elects to investigate the farmhouse, they find most of the family murdered, though one survivor may be hiding in the attic, to deliver exposition as the DM requires. Examination of the house and grounds will reveal little of interest besides the bodies, except for an old, overgrown well near the edge of the property, at the bottom of a hill and partly obscured from the road by trees. Several footprints lead directly to the well.

        Climbing down the well reveals it goes directly into a subterranean lair.

        The Dungeon: Beneath the ground is a series of tunnels partly carved from natural cave formations. An earlier civilization carved them as the basement levels of some surface structure, but obviously the latter decayed to nothing long ago. For centuries, the tunnel entrances were buried, the structure and its builders forgotten. Decades ago, the previous owners of the farm (the Twoson family) built their house and dug the well. Sometime after misfortune caused the farm to be abandoned, an earthquake or a particularly heavy rain caused the bottom of the well to collapse, opening up into the roof of the dungeon beneath.

        Monsters: The current inhabitants are a squad of a dozen odd Drow, what remains of a military company exiled for one crime or another. Their leader - a brooding Drow veteran - led them out of the Underdark and across the land, until they took brief shelter in the abandoned farmhouse. They discovered the well's secret by chance when they sought to quench their thirst, and opted to move into the dungeon. The underground space was roomier and more to the liking of the light-sensitive dark elves, and moreover it was far less conspicuous than the farmhouse. They've been hunting and raiding ever since, under the cover of night to evade notice as best they can.

        They know they've failed in this regard, several victims fleeing and no doubt making known their activities (though not their identities or base of operations). What makes leaving difficult is that the Drow bandits have a prisoner stored in a makeshift cell. A minor Drow noblewoman, taken hostage back in the Underdark to facilitate their escape. Moving her around is problematic, and doing so without risk of discovery even moreso. But they dare not let her go (lest she lead surface dwellers or even other Drow to them), nor do they dare kill her (she's still a possible bargaining chip against their former countryelves).

        To round off the list of threats, the Drow could have brought any number of creatures with them - like giant spiders or strange underdark hounds - or captured local wildlife (or beasts being transported by merchants) and trained them to fight. (Imagine the Drow captain assisted in battle by a jet-black panther). The natural cave portions of the dungeon may, by contrast, be the den of some native monster beyond Drow control, such as oozes or giant moles.

        Treasure: Aside from whatever wealth the Drow took with them from the Underdark or stole from merchants, the main point of interest is the Drow noblewoman. While she's perfectly Evil, she will offer great rewards to any adventurers who free her from bondage and escort her back to the Underdark. She may even make good on her promises, if the PCs treat her well. If not...well, the Drow can always do with more slaves. Either way, this minor diversion could easily spin off into further adventures in the Underdark.
        Last edited by Bluecho; 09-09-2019, 12:20 AM.


        • #5
          5) Betty Blacktooth's Gingerbread Mansion [DnD; Medium Dungeon]:
          Everyone in the city knows not to venture too deep into the Shady Pines. But not just because of the presence of the usual wild monsters. A Night Hag dwells there with her circle of lesser hags, a Night Hag called Betty Blacktooth. She lives, not in a mere house made of gingerbread, but a Mansion.

          The grounds about the Gingerbread Mansion are overgrown (including with razorweed and other botanical hazards), and the air is thick with the smell of sweets. The large manor is composed of candy and baked goods; walls of gingerbread supported by hard candies and embellished with chocolates and other such delectables. The candy can be eaten right off the building, but anyone foolish enough to do so must make a Constitution saving throw, or be put to sleep for some hours. Betty Blacktooth's minions patrol the grounds regularly, to capture anyone they can and bring them to her kitchen.

          Betty Blacktooth and her fellow hags do as hags are wont to do: the butcher captured creatures and bake them into various foods, to be consumed. Those insufficiently plump are held in cages, to be fattened up. There is likely to be 1d8 creatures held in such a manner at any given time, with one being cooked every 24 hours or so, unless they're already quite substantive.

          Monsters: Besides Betty Blacktooth (Night Hag) and her 1d4+2 lesser hag companions (various lesser CR hag creatures), the mansion is filled with monsters that obey Blacktooth's commands. The halls are patrolled by animated suits of armor (taken from brave warriors who tried and failed to end the hags' evil), as well as various animated objects (all the cutlery in the kitchen animates to defend Betty et al and to kill intruders, for example). In the basement is a troll - affectionately called "Sweet Tooth" - that is chained up and held in a cage whose bars are alight with constant flame. The poor troll is fed on sweets (really, he gnaws on the walls out of hunger, though they are rebuilt regularly), and the hags will come down and cut off chunks from his regenerating flesh when other sources of meat are lacking.

          Other interior horrors include swarms of gingerbread cookies, the occasional mimc that snuck in, and a colony of rats in the basement, gnawing perpetually at the mansion's candy foundations. Somewhere in the house may exist a "candy golem", though there's no telling if Sister Bunion, the resident arcane researcher of the hags, has created a working prototype. The attic, meanwhile, has its own infestation of giant wasps, which Betty will happily trade the extermination of in exchange for letting captives go free (though perhaps with only a five minute head start).

          The grounds outside are patrolled by Unseelie fey creatures, like Red Caps and Boggles, and by wolves and dire wolves in thrall to the hags. The grounds are kept (terribly, just as Betty likes it) by a surly and evil Satyr, though he dislikes working for the hags and would assist heroes if he thinks they can kill them all. Many unquiet souls prowl the grounds, Betty's magic having warded them out of the mansion itself. These include shadows, specters, and ghosts, and they are the tortured and maddened spirits of the hags' victims. Betty currently seeks the services of a Wraith, in hopes a sufficiently powerful and evil soul can bend the other incorporeal undead to their will, as more tools in Betty's toolbox.

          Treasure: Over time, many people have been captured and cooked by Betty Blacktooth and her coven. Their possessions are piled up in a storeroom, used as bait to lead in adventurers (into traps) or as fodder for cutting deals with unwary mortals. Many of the treasures obtained are magical items, and each hag carries one on her person at all times. A set of four Bolts of Hag Slaying were seized from a particularly resourceful (but overconfident) monster hunter; these bolts are kept under lock and key in Betty's room, guarded by dozens of animated weapons and a potent curse on the container itself.

          The other notable magical item is a Millstone of Sweetness, a millstone that, when ground, produces dozens of pounds of sugar every day. It's from this item that Betty creates the sugar needed to build and maintain the mansion. This item alone would be invaluable to any enterprising adventurers looking to steal it, provided they're willing to brave Betty Blacktooth's wrath.


          • #6
            6) Mystery of the Phone Booth Graveyard [Modern Setting RPG; short dungeon]:
            Once a ubiquitous staple of Britain's landscape, the red telephone booth has faded from use starting in the 1980s. Owing to the expense needed to maintain them and the rise of cell phones, large numbers of these booths have been removed and discarded. While some enterprising souls work to repurpose them decoratively, most fall into any of a number of rural dumping grounds, such as in the small north England village of Carlton Miniot.

            This adventure takes place in one such English dumping ground, where rows of defunct phone booths rest (and rust) in the open air. This location's booths form a series of "chambers" in what amounts to an outdoor maze. Metal edifices in fading, flaking red paint are broken up by glass windows (some broken), creating odd and distorted sight lines. Between these not-quite-clear sight lines, the state of decay, the relative absence of people, and the years of history, the spot makes for a potentially interesting setting for any number of stories.

            Ideas include, but are not limited to:

            1) An isolated spot for illegal activity and meetings, that nonetheless allow spotters to keep track of who comes and goes. The maze of booths permit a person to get lost...or to lose pursuers. If the lighting is right (read: dark), people or creatures can even hide in booths and ambush opponents. Illegal activities can include drug dealing, trafficking in stolen goods/illicit technology or artifacts, or ambush assassinations.

            2) A phantom ringing noise issues from somewhere in the maze, drawing curious bystanders (or Player Characters) into the dump. The ringing always seems to come from elsewhere, leading the person deeper and deeper inside. The ringing might be ghosts, other spirits, monsters, or the machinations of sneaky individuals with ill intent.

            3) A monster or fugitive hides in the booth dump, taking refuge in the confusing maze of booths. Possibly even digging through the floors, so they can travel between locations.

            4) A nexus point of space or dimensions, several booths in the dump can be entered, and used as portals to other locations, worlds, dimensions, or time periods. Someone or something may be using the dump as a base of operations, to exploit this phenomenon.


            • #7
              7) The Call of the Desert [Sci Fi or Western RPG; short encounter]:
              Whether it's on a colonized alien world or a terrestrial desert (in America, Africa, Asia, Australia, etc), the wasteland is home to hardy organisms, suited to deprivation and hardship. Subsisting on what can be coaxed from the harsh desert environment. Some creatures live in oasis, little pockets of life-giving water.

              In this case, while the oasis gives life, it also gives death. Through death, it sustains what life if there. It just so happens to be of a particularly unusual bent.

              In the middle of the desert, a cave entrance - shielded from dust by high rocks - yawns open eternally, a low moan resounding when the wind crosses the cave mouth at just the right angle. The cave catches what little rainfall occurs, which settles deep in its interior, where the sun cannot easily evaporate it. Inside this pocket of water, is a wholly unique microbial environment, its like not found anywhere else. For indeed, while it receives regular infusions of foreign bacteria, they are quickly devoured by native germs that have grown hardy over millennia. Always subtly changing, but still unlike any other. Shielded as this grotto is from the sun, though, they cannot subsist on photosynthesis. As such, the life within relies on regular infusions of biomass.

              Surely, this environment would have starved long ago, were it not for the force attracting creatures into the cave mouth.

              The exact nature of the force depends on the setting the GM wants. It could be the ghost of a long-dead being, its grudge ever determined to lure the living to their doom. It could be a spirit of nature, malign or simply acting out its nature. It could be an alien probe or artifact of ancient science/magic, that sends a distress signal that, unfortunately for the living, it does not realize leads "help" straight to death. It could be a psionic organism, the sole big fish in a small pond, looking to attract prey (and feeding the bacterial stew by proxy). Whatever it is, the presence sends out a command, compelling animal life (even intelligent ones) to the cave. As they get closer, the creatures fall more and more under the force's spell, scrambling down into the water, where they usually drown. Their corpses feeding the vibrant life below.

              Usually, the cave catches rodents or birds, though anything that lacks the will to resist can be attracted. Including sapient beings lost in the desert, dehydration and exhaustion making them vulnerable to the influence.

              If PCs discover the trick of the cave, they are faced with a dilemma. They could attempt to destroy whatever force attracts creatures in, thereby preventing any person from falling prey to it. But then, that would almost certainly spell doom for the unique stew of microbial life. If one of more of the PCs are conservation or science minded, they may dislike the idea of extinguishing such a singular biosphere. On the other hand, they could try to signpost that the cave is dangerous, or even build fences to keep people out, and leave the cave to attract only birds or small animals. They might take a sample, knowing all else will be destroyed if they act. Or they might leave it be, and sow rumors among nearby populations to stay away. It's up to the PCs.


              • #8
                8) Tournament Grounds of the Lost Kingdom [Fantasy RPG; medium quest/dungeon]:
                An arena crafted of stone and (now petrified) wood, the crown jewel of a kingdom that fell long ago. The site played host to innumerable games and tournaments during its day, inviting people from far and wide to both watch and compete. Jousts, mounted and on-foot combats, archery competitions, magical duels, mounted and foot races, and other varied feats of physical (and sometimes magical) prowess. Nothing inspired more excitement, however, than when the old king's knights - and knights from abroad - would assemble to prove their skill and valor. Even when grand tournaments were not being held, it was frequently the site of myriad duels, when knights needed to settle matters of honor.

                So important was this place that, even with the fall of the kingdom, those who knew it still gather there. It's just that they linger as spirits, ever interested in a challenge.

                On nights and foggy days, when the sun is obscured, ghosts assemble on the tournament grounds. Some are competitors, looking to reenact games of old. Others are spectators, looking to see something exciting happen.

                The spirits who assemble generally resent intruders who disrupt their games, but most will be content to let such folk watch or mingle. Knights want spectators, and both competitor and spectator shade may pause to converse with the living on a variety of topics (so long as it doesn't disturb them from watching the show). This can include great warriors, skilled artisans, wise counselors, and knowledgeable mystics and magic users. They carry a wealth of experience and lore from life (as well as knowledge of hidden treasures, in some cases), that can be imparted...IF the spirit can be convinced to do so.

                What will certainly ingratiate the living with these ghosts is to put on a good show. Many knights seek new challengers, and will gladly accept (or give) offers to duel, in a variety of competitions. These duels are rarely to the death (or, in their case, dissolution), but the spirits will put their all into a challenge, and expect no less from their opponent. Whether the PCs win or lose, they are liable to gain the crowd's favor if they put on a good show. But if the PCs would garner prestige and valor, they need to win, and to win fair and square. Moreover, there is ample to gain from besting these shade knights. Some can grant boons, or provide means of proving the PC's victory over legendary heroes. Others know where their material arms and armor lay, and can lead the PC to them, assuming they respect the PC enough to pass the treasures along. For PC knights and paladins who have lost honor, enduring a gauntlet of challenges, one after another, may be a means of regaining it.

                Lastly, many of these ghosts, when not competing on the tournament grounds, haunt the nearby castle, that once belonged to the old king. If PCs prove themselves here, they may earn safe passage through those ruins (that is, from the ghosts and other undead who haven't lost their minds). But the matter of that castle is a topic for another day.

                Monsters: The place is full of spirits, and not all of them remain sane. Fading specters and malignant wraiths haunt the grounds and the surrounding village. Assume that when exploring these environs, such hostile spirits are among the threats that can be randomly encountered. Likewise, the tournament grounds and village are full of corporeal undead, usually mindless skeletons or zombies. A few evil corporeal undead (wights, ghouls, etc) may also be found, taking shelter in secluded buildings. Such places also occasionally house whatever monster - living or otherwise - the GM deems appropriate.

                The tournament spirits themselves are potent forces, if angered. Otherwise, they will only attack when provoked or challenged. Each of the warriors has their own gimmick and skill set, turning any fight into a unique encounter. Examples include:
                • A knight from a bird race, or other race with native flight, who will take a battle to the skies above the arena. Alternatively, it could be a normal knight astride the spirit of a pegasus or other flying mount.
                • A knight whose strength grows as the battle wears on, becoming more damaging with each round of combat.
                • A ranger knight accompanied by the spirit of a beast companion.
                • A spell warrior knight, who combines melee combat tactics with magic. In fact, assumes there are any number of these spirits around, each with their own spells.
                • A giant knight, standing somewhere around ten feet tall and wielding enormous arms and armor.
                • A trickster knight who spends more time cracking jokes and engaging in slapstick, than on actually fighting. They consider entertaining the crowd to be more important than victory. Which does NOT mean they are a pushover. They would be truly dangerous, if they took the fight seriously.
                • A trio of triplet knights, brothers and/or sisters who fight as a unit. Exploit group tactics to great effect.
                • A shield knight, who dispenses with conventional weapons entirely for duel-wielded shields. An expert in using them both defensively and offensively. When paired with other knights, will watch their back and allow them to fight with impunity.
                Depending on the skill level of the PCs, the spirits may offer to fight either one on one or in groups. Indeed, the spirits may allow (even insist) on either they fighting with allies, or have the PCs fight together against a single spirit. Besting a single spirit with multiple PCs will garner some prestige, but beating the same opponent alone is worth more.


                • #9
                  [I feel like making another adventure set in Ravnica. As with many of these, I set the events happening in the period described in Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica, prior to the events of War of the Spark.]

                  9) Sands of Yore [DnD, Ravnica; Medium Dungeon]:
                  Coinciding with the breaking of the Guildpact (the first time), a host of monsters called Nephilim - sealed 10,000 years ago - were released upon Ravnica. Naturally, these abominations from the old world were destroyed, and in time a tenuous peace was reforged between the Guilds. But not entirely. Unbeknownst to the Guilds, a fragment of one of these great creatures - the Dune-Brood Nephilim - was found and kept by a surviving branch of the Cult of Yore, who worshiped these monsters as "Old Gods" (among other forgotten deities). This cell of cultists has taken refuge in the under-levels of a city district, nurturing the fleshy mass in the hopes of reviving their deity.

                  With secret rites and magical science, the cultists - calling their cell "The Midwives of Dune-Brood" - sacrifice humanoids and siphon mana from leylines, coaxing the fleshy mass into spawning sand elementals under the cult's control. With these, combined with the "help" of Izzet and Golgari structural engineers kidnapped for the purpose, the cult aims to systematically undermine sections of the city and reduce them to rubble and sand. To further aid in this task, the cult has attracted the services of a band of Gruul warriors and city-smashers to act as muscle. Of course, these Gruul are ignorant of the true nature of their benefactors, seeing only the opportunity to reduce Ravnica to rubble. They don't realize the Cult of Yore - a principally Guildless organization - has no interest in letting the wilderness grow in the place of the fallen buildings, but rather would have it simply remain a barren desert.

                  Further to that end, the cult has eyes on disrupting leylines that move blue mana, as their particular Nephilim is opposed to the color. That this involves drying up or burying major water sources is a trifling concern to the cult. Since the cult needs living sacrifices to produce sand elementals, individuals from groups associated with the color blue are prime targets.

                  Hooks: There are a number of ways to get the PCs to investigate the activities of the Midwives of Dune-Brood.
                  • The Boros Legion has tangled with Guildless agitators in the past, and most consider the Cult of Yore (or at least those who venerated the Nephilim) to be highly dangerous. Boros PCs, or those with ties to it, might be tasked with tracking down rumors of a new cell forming in the district.
                  • With major water sources being dried up and blue mana leylines being disrupted, this is liable to attract the attention of groups like the Azorius Senate, House Dimir, the Izzet League, and especially the Simic Combine. For that matter, the sudden disappearance of members from these guilds (among others) could attract the interest of PCs.
                  • Having taken over segments of the undercity, the cult would be of interest to the Golgari Swarm, House Dimir, and/or Orzhov Syndicate, all of whom make the lower levels of Ravnica their concern. The sudden loss of any word or information about these sectors would raise eyebrows, especially if agents sent to investigate have turned up missing.
                  • Ongoing Gruul activity of a violent and destructive nature is liable to be investigated by many groups, the Azorius and Boros most likely, though any Guild might take offense if their property were reduced to rubble and sand. Even Gruul PCs might investigate, if only because these areas keep turning up unfit for reclamation as rubblebelts.
                  • Guildless PCs might be attracted by the cult directly, allured by talk of a mysterious group that might have power to throw off the yoke of the Guilds. Alternatively, Guildless PCs might have loved ones in the Guilds who have gone missing, prompting an independent investigation.
                  • Any spellcaster who specializes in magic that would, within Magic's metaphysics, draw upon blue mana (DM's discretion, though anything involving countermagic, illusions, water/ice, etc., could apply) finds these spells working inconsistently within the district. Finding out what is "drying up" their magic could prompt PC intervention.
                  Enemies: Aside from cultists (and cult fanatics), guards, and various sand/fire/death-flavored spellcasters, the tunnels comprising the base of the Midwives of Dune-Brood are full of various monsters, either created or suborned by the cult. Dehydrated zombies, dry skeletons, and even mummies (the failed but useful product of experiments with combining living creatures with sand elementals) stalk the halls, nominally under the direction of the cult. Naturally, sand elementals and "dry weirds" (DM is free to stat as they wish) are everywhere in the tunnels, often disguised among the layers of sand that cover the floors on virtually all levels. A few horrors (GG p. 203) - either wild or previously the thralls of Golgari or Dimir who dwelled in the area before the cult took over - have been captured; some have even been (loosely) trained as attack beasts.

                  The surface above the cult's tunnels is largely dominated by either cultists or Gruul warriors. Most of the standing structures were leveled long ago, leaving a landscape of rubble, ruins, and sand. Certain desert animals - including giant scorpions, giant snakes, and jackels - have either moved in of their own volition or been brought in by cultists or Gruul. Drakes patrol the skies, using the leveled ground to spot prey. At DM's discretion, a more traditional dragon (as depicted in the MM) could be present, likely a brass dragon (at the very least, the dragon should have or be given a burrowing speed), though its allegiance is to itself alone.

                  Other Points: The fragment of the Dune-Brood Nephilim is kept near the bottom of the dungeon, in a combination ritual gathering place and occult laboratory. Cultists and captured magicians labor night and day to reconstitute the "Old God", and to use its power to spawn their own monsters. Four cult leaders - each a potent mage and a specialist in one of the Nephilim's colors (Black, Red, Green, and White) - oversee these experiments, though only one or two are usually present at a time. When not in the main laboratory, the leaders can be found in their rooms or private labs, or wandering the dungeon.

                  Beneath the chamber containing the Nephilim fragment, drains empty biological matter down into a deep pit. The pit has been used to dispose of both the cult's mundane waste, and of the worthless dregs of their experiments. The pit is full of oozes, mutated monsters, and a horror that slipped its restraints and took shelter below. This pit, despite the description, is only a fragment of the area below the cult's dungeon complex. It's possible that ways into and out of this area exist, connecting to deeper segments of Ravnica's labyrinthine undercity. If so, it might be difficult to find, save for those who know every nook and cranny of the area, and would not be easy to get through regardless.

                  The cult has converted parts of the tunnels into a prison area, where captured individuals are interrogated and await sacrifice. It is guarded by undead, including mummies. The DM can populate the area as needed. Suggestions for prisoners are as follows:
                  • A Merfolk biomancer from the Simic Combine, caught while investigating the disruption of water sources in the area. Kept in a dry cell, provided only enough water to drink, which has put him in a precarious state of health.
                  • The daughter of a wealthy Orzhov banker, seized as a hostage to blackmail her father into bankrolling the cult. A spoiled brat, this young lady will insist on being rescued and quickly. Only if she is made to believe she'll be left behind will her haughty attitude crumble, and she start begging and apologizing. Still, saving her would net the PCs a powerful friend...
                  • A centaur druid, and the previous head of the Gruul warrior band that helps the cult. She asked one too many questions about the cult's motives, and was imprisoned for her trouble. Her hands and mouth are bound, to keep her from casting spells. She is held in a cramped cell made for smaller creatures, and at this point longs to stretch her legs more than anything (well, except for bringing the walls of the dungeon crashing down around the cult's ears).
                  • One of the mummy guards was (and is) a Dimir agent, whose mental training helped him keep his mind following forced conversion into undeath, and to resist cult brainwashing. A consummate spy, he nonetheless maintains his cover as a total thrall. That cover limits his movements throughout the dungeon, though, and so he's been unable to get a report out to the rest of the Guild. Instead, he's secretly kept a detailed record of everything he could discover (not that he doesn't have perfect memory of these facts), in the event he gets a chance to pass this info on to other Dimir agents (like a Dimir PC). He is generally unhappy with his predicament, but has the iron will to see things through.


                  • #10
                    [Another dungeon set on Ravnica, inspired by this video by YouTube creator Rhystic Studies.]

                    10) The Architect's Archive [DnD, Ravnica; medium dungeon]:
                    The densely compacted urban sprawl that is Ravnica plays host to a vast array of architectural styles, often conforming to the practices, purposes, and ethos of one of the Guilds. But one Guild's contribution to the cityscape is downplayed or overlooked, by design. House Dimir thrives on being unseen and unnoticed, with at best token acknowledgements of their presence in the city's designs (usually when their symbol is counted among other Guildpact members). This does not mean the Dimir have no effect on the urban layout, though. Only that, as befits the Guild of secrets, House Dimir's contributions are hidden, or made not to stand out. Hidden passageways, secret doors, covert compartments, blind alleys, subtle safehouses, and other features known only to Dimir agents. All to aid them in the tasks of spying, hiding, escaping, and assassination.

                    In order to effect these "contributions", House Dimir frequently procures the services and loyalty (whether willing, begrudging, coerced, or unknowing) of Ravnican architects.

                    One such architect served as an important municipal functionary in his home district. Possessed of a keen mind for buildings and an adaptive capacity for style, Guild and Guildless alike found themselves hiring him (whether they were aware or not). This man was also paranoid. "As all good Dimir should be," one might say, but his paranoia extended to House Dimir itself. While he weaved subtle additions to structures all across the district, Dimir agents were not made aware of them all. Nor did he inform his masters of the existence and location of his personal Archive, the safehouse collecting the sum total of all information that ever passed into his hands.

                    While it's hardly impossible for House Dimir to know of the archive anyway, the architect went to his grave believing the location safe. Safe and guarded by a collection of traps, guard monsters, and other hazards. Any who would find the archive and plumb the depths of its collected knowledge must contend with these safeguards. To succeed, though, would at the very least provide that intruder with knowledge of almost every hidden passageway and cache in the district.

                    The archive can be located wherever the DM wishes. It is accessed by a series of passageways linked together and inundated with illusion magic, creating an eldritch maze. Below the maze is the archive itself, a three level library with a central atrium from which those on the upper levels can see the lower level...and where archive guardians can see those sneaking above. An office on the lower level has a secret hatch hidden under the floor, which can be used to escape to a 100 ft shaft leading straight down into the sewers. The shaft and hatch can also serve as a supplementary entrance.

                    • A Shadow Horror (GG p. 205) stalks the illusion maze, though it will pursue intruders into the archive if it senses their presence. It has the Psychic Rebuke and Grasping Tendrils features. It is trained to ignore anyone who enters the maze while ringing a bell at regular intervals, a feature the architect used to secure safe passage for himself.
                    • Specters and Shadows - the phantoms of previous intruders - may be encountered randomly in the illusion maze as well. If the Shadow Horror is slain, they will be put to rest. Until then, they are hostile to anyone and everyone who enters the maze, though they flee the Shadow Horror in terror.
                    • The lower escape shaft can only be accessed through a series of water-filled tunnels (a hidden alcove at the bottom of the shaft contains potions of water breathing). In these waters are a number of hostile aquatic creatures - including swarms of quippers, giant octopi, and category 1 Krasis (GG p. 210). A Category 2 Krasis - a Large lizard-snake hybrid - makes a nest in the pool of water at the bottom of the shaft proper. This Krasis has Venomous Sting (in the form of a bite), Aquatic, and Climbing Speed adaptations. It can sometimes be encountered randomly in the tunnels leading to the shaft.
                    • The archive proper is stalked by Small wax elementals (CR 1 Constructs), that patrol the area and keep everything dusted and clean. Two Flying Horrors (GG p. 203), with the Avoidance and Keen Senses features, dwell in the shadows of the ceiling. At first sign of intruders, these horrors will locate a hidden perch and observe, watching their prey until choosing a moment to strike, preferring when one of the intruders is alone. The horrors do not attack any other monsters in the archive, and flee and hide if the Shadow Horror from the illusion maze appears.
                    • The archive walls (where not housing bookcases) are adorned with paintings and framed blueprints. Some of these paintings are merely art items. Others, however, are Guardian Portraits (Curse of Strahd, p. 227), who possess spellcasting and are bound to protect the sanctity of the archive. If wax elementals are nearby, the portraits will alert them by shouting (which may also attract the Flying Horrors). If no aid is within reach, the portraits will attempt to remain motionless (save for their eyes, which follow anyone present), or, failing stealth, they will attempt to engage intruders in conversation. Partly out of boredom, partly to distract intruders long enough for assistance to arrive. They will behave genial, but will attempt to extract as much information about the intruders as possible, while divulging little themselves. The animated portraits can be distinguished from the inanimate ones by who is depicted thereon; inanimate portraits are of the architect's wealthy patrons, whereas animate ones are in the image of figures who were secretly Dimir agents (which, in and of itself, is interesting information).
                    • The office with the hatch contains a number of other animated objects, including Flying Swords and Rugs of Smothering. In the event of an intruder who fails to recite a password, these items will attack after five minutes. As will an Animated Armor, armed with a poisoned sword, hidden in a false wall of the office. The wall will rotate, revealing the armor. A Guardian Portrait of the architect himself hangs above the office desk, This portrait has AC 13, 50 hit points, and knows the Phantasmal Force, Charm Person, and Minor Illusion spells (in addition to the normal spells of the Guardian Portrait). It will prefer to wait until someone is alone, then charm them into wandering off into a deathtrap or to be attacked by a monster (several trapped books in the office serve well for this purpose).
                    Puzzles and Traps:
                    • Wherever the DM places the archive's "main entrance", it is hidden behind a secret door, that is itself hidden inside another secret room (so as to make people think they've found all there is to find and leave). The door has a complex locking mechanism, with a pad of buttons for inputting a code. This puzzle segment, in point of fact, is a deceit; engaging with it at all merely releases poisonous gases into the secret room. There is no solution to the puzzle, because it was never meant to be solved. The architect would gain access by circumventing the mechanism entirely. The input pad can be pulled out, revealing a hidden switch that opens the door. The passage immediately beyond has three additional deadly traps, before the illusion maze even begins.
                    • The illusion maze disorients anyone who is not familiar with the maze's true layout. The party must succeed on a series of Intelligence checks, gaining three successes before three failures. Each time they fail, they must save against falling into a simple trap (DM's choice of pit trap, swinging blade, jutting spikes, or crushing block). If they score three failures before three successes, they wind up back at the start of the maze, with all memory of the maze's layout erased from their minds. Every time a check is made, the DM rolls for an encounter with the Shadow Horror. If the party flees, they must continue making Int checks (this time with disadvantage, because they are trying to outrun the horror) to reach the exit. If the party succeeds three times getting through the maze (but not getting out), they have "mastered" it, and may come and go as they please.
                    • Hundreds of books, scrolls, and files can be found in the archive. At least 5% of the materials found in the archive, however, are trapped. Either moving them sets off a spray of poison gas, or the material itself is cursed. Moreover, the overt labels of these materials are all lies, used to trip up intruders. The architect devised his own organizational system, with a matching set of numbers on every book, scroll, etc. Characters must make an Int check (DC 16) to find what they're looking for, as they must decipher the architect's system. Whenever a character tries to pick up a book, scroll, etc., roll a d20, with a 1 resulting in a trapped item.
                    • A directory sits on the lower floor of the archive. It is false, because the architect needed no directory for himself. Instead, not only is the book unhelpful (and cursed), the space immediately in front of the table it's on has a false floor that opens into a spiked pit trap. The trap can be deactivated by a hidden switch on the next floor up, but the architect only did so to avoid the incidental hazard (as the directory book was useless).
                    • Along one wall of the archive, a large map of the district hangs framed. If someone touches it, they must make a Charisma save to avoid being sucked in. If they fail, they are teleported out of the archive entirely, and to a point 500 feet above the city. If they cannot stop their fall themselves (with Feather Fall, Fly, a magic item, or the like), or cannot be saved (by a Boros angel, a griffin-riding Azorius lawmage, a random Izzet weather balloon, etc), the character will almost certainly perish.
                    Last edited by Bluecho; 12-03-2019, 12:17 AM.


                    • #11
                      [Let's do something short for a change, eh? This one is, naturally, inspired by the "animal brides" trope.]

                      11) The Seal Wife's Quest [Fantasy RPG; short dungeon]:
                      The party arrive in a coastal barony, when they are stopped by the baron's wife. Whether because the PCs are known for heroism, committing crimes, or simply mercenary work, she informs them that the baron stores his most prized riches in a hidden location. Specifically a system of caves near the rocky sea shore, some few miles from the baron's keep. The caves are guarded by men loyal to the baron, as well as by monsters the baron has bent to his will.

                      She tells them further that the baron's most prized treasure is kept in a chest, held fast by (magical) art and artifice. The wife can get the party the key, provided they allow her to take one item in particular from the chest when they open it. When their mission is complete, she'll meet them by the sea shore.

                      The dungeon should be an appropriate challenge, but isn't too taxing on them. It shouldn't take more than a single trip inside to obtain all the place has to offer and to make short work of the enemies inside.

                      When the PCs arrive at shore with the chest, the baron's wife will be waiting for them in nothing but a robe, her shoes casually discarded on the sand. She'll open the chest, revealing plentiful gold...and an intact seal skin. Immediately, the woman will strip off her robe and don the seal skin, transforming into a seal. If pressed for explanation first, she'll give that the baron is a monster (that is, a terrible human being, not an actual monster, unless that's how the GM wants to take things) who stole her skin years ago and pressed her into marriage. Her last request is that the party take the wealth far away, leaving the man who enslaved (and raped) her to die penniless. Unless they feel like walking into his castle and murdering him, which she's also fine with. Either way, the seal woman assumes her true shape and slips into the sea.

                      If the party don't elect to kill the baron, he will swear revenge for stealing his wealth, killing his most loyal men, and letting his wife go free. He may attempt to hire assassins or mercenaries, but these will be short lived once they realize he can't pay them. Alternatively, he'll pursue the party himself, with knightly arms and armor, intent on killing each and every one of the PCs.

                      If the party DO kill the baron, they may still be pursued by one or more of the baron's children, who are unaware of their mother's situation and will vow vengeance on the folks who drove her away and killed their father. The PCs may or may not be able to persuade them to give up their vendetta peacefully.


                      • #12
                        12) Expedition to the Barrier Reefs [D&D; medium dungeon]:
                        A twist on the premise of the classic adventure S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, this adventure's downed spacecraft can be found, not in the mountains, but on a reef in the ocean. Partially underwater - including the entrance - the adventure is intended either for amphibious PCs (Merfolk, Tritons, Sea Elves, Water Genasi, etc), or for land-bound PCs who have the means to go beneath the waves (with spells and/or magic items).

                        • Nearby communities - whether on a coastal land settlement or an underwater one - come under attack by strange monsters in the water, unlike anything belonging to the terrestrial seas. The monsters seem to come from a particular reef already known for its hostile sea life and too clogged with jagged rocks, thick coral, and wrecked ships to be navigable by boat. The PCs are dispatched by local authorities to deal with the problem, or elect to do so on their own initiative, for any number of reasons (altruism, curiosity, treasure lust, or to follow a different character who went to deal with the problem and never returned).
                        • Regardless of the presence of monsters, the PCs are lured to the reef by old wives tales, who speak of a star falling to the sea and landing in the reef, or something to that effect.
                        • The PCs are hunting pirates or some other quarry, who they suspect have entered the forbidding reef to escape pursuit.
                        • Besides terrestrial sea monsters (sharks, giant octopi, etc), the waters in and around the crashed ship are filled with alien creatures. Alien sea fungi (even aquatic vegepygmy); swarms of spherical beasts with no eyes and huge mouths; starfish with large eyes that latch onto people and mind control them. The DM is advised to be very creative, and to use the aquatic theme as much as possible. For a variant, consider normal sea life that has been infected by alien parasites, that erupt from their hosts when killed.
                        • Pockets of the crashed ship itself remain unflooded, providing a damp lair for various organisms. More "standard" alien lifeforms work here. The crew of the ship were either killed in the crash, drowned, starved to death, or succumbed to terrestrial disease long ago. But their "pets", hydroponics, and test subjects remained and adapted.
                        • While on the subject, one or more of the dead crew may persist as undead. Most corpses would have been devoured by now, but some specimens may remain locked in rooms, skeletonized or even mummified, waiting to spring to a bastard mockery of life. Alternatively, an alien ghost may be floating around, bound to the ship and mad by prolonged isolation. This and the language barrier should prevent any meaningful communication, if the DM is uninterested in a "productive" first encounter scenario.
                        • Robots still roam the halls, attempting to perform their programmed tasks. Aside from the problems of having programming foreign to medieval style characters, long operation and exposure to salt water leaves even these robust, water-proof machines prone to malfunction. Some machines have automatically adjusted to the water, attempting in vain to pump out the flooded areas. These machines - navigating with little propellers or water jets - will release electricity into the surrounding water when destroyed, forcing PCs to make Con saves (taking half on a successful save). Like in the original adventure, the PCs can either fight certain robots, get them to help the PCs, or ignore them outright.
                        • The wreckage of crashed ships litter the reef surrounding the alien vessel. Any one of them - or multiple wrecks melted together - could serve as miniature dungeons unto themselves.
                        • The alien vessel has a number of rooms. Docking bays for smaller vehicles. A research lab taken over by robots and/or alien biomass. A kitchen and mess hall, where a robot attempts to serve moldy muck and processed fish. Individual crew quarters. Rooms of this nature and others.
                        • Should the DM deign it plausible, the aliens may have collected small quantities of precious metals that could be taken. More likely, more precious metals are to be found incorporated in their technology than in any form usually seen as "treasure". Still, one or two members of the alien crew may have had alien art objects or pieces of jewelry.
                        • The aliens were aliens, and thus had any number of futuristic weapons (blasters, disintegrators, etc), and marvelous equipment (treat them as magic items). Both such things can be found in the DMG. Remember, of course, that the PCs should need to subject such devices to testing to grasp their function, and to become proficient in their use. Remember, also, that energy weapons and magic items may have limited charges; once the PCs use them, no replacements should be expected. (Also also, not everything they find may be waterproof, making extraction difficult. The most powerful weapons should be obviously unable to survive the trip through the water, and so the players should have their fun while on the ship).
                        • Even mundane objects to the aliens are still alien artifacts, and could be worth a considerable sum to scholars, collectors, or rich people looking for crap they can stuff in their cabinets of curiosities.
                        • For that matter, alien organisms - whether monster or remains of the crew - could be of great value to collectors and scholars. A three-eyed yak-beast head could look great mounted over someone's mantle. Assuming, of course, the PCs can get them out without the sea water ruining them.
                        • Alien computers or data storage could be a treasure trove of knowledge - the most dangerous weapon of all - if anyone in this world could decipher the alien language (or get the devices working in the first place). The DM is free to make it as hard or as easy to tap these information resources as they desire, but even data the DM never intends for the PCs to decipher could be sold to someone else willing to try.
                        • Who knows? Despite being a technological race, nothing says the aliens didn't have straight up magic items, or the alien equivalent of a wizard's spell book. (The latter may even be recorded in non-electronic media, if only for the sake of tradition; the "pages" might be plastic, but it's the thought that counts). Generally, transferring alien spells to a PC's spellbook should be a more involved process due to the gap in language and even ways of thinking, but "the arcane" may count as a "universal language", much like mathematics. If nothing else, Wizards should not be unused to solving other wizards' ciphered texts.


                        • #13
                          [I've started reading Mathew J. Finch's Tome of Adventure Design. Going through the section on Adventure Locations, I used the extensive tables to generate a bunch of them. This next one immediately started my mind thinking, so I wanted to share.]

                          13) The Aerial Asylum of the Golden Creature [Location]:
                          A relic of a bygone civilization - whose rich artifice has otherwise been lost or buried - the Aerial Asylum is an artificial island flying through the sky. It appears as a great upside down pyramid made of bronze - its edifice protected by magic from corrosion - atop which is a lush garden.

                          Intended as a refuge for the old empire's Unmada - mentally ill spellcasters - the Asylum contains many locked rooms and psychiatric facilities. Each room is specially warded, not only dissipating spells cast within but actually absorbing them. Absorbed spells are siphoned into the structure itself, fueling its flight and other magical properties. As such, the patients in the asylum's charge serve as both residents and the engine of its operation. Kept safe from their own uncontrolled magical outbursts, at the same time they empower the building. The asylum staff (doctors, nurses, guards) count (or counted) spellcasters among their ranks, in the event the structure needed to be "topped off".

                          The asylum's operations are overseen by the warden, a bronze lion construct with a genius level intellect and an immunity to magic (as he, too, absorbs all spells set against him). The bronze lion appears to be part of the structure itself; he likely could not leave even if he wanted to. In the heights of the old empire, he was utterly committed to the protection of the asylum, its patients, and its staff.

                          What the situation is on board the vessel in the current age depends on GM fiat.
                          • The asylum might have continued to operate as normal long after the fall of its civilization. In the old days, they would dock periodically at one of many tall spires of the empire, to resupply and allow for "shore leave" and patient visitation. Following the civilization's collapse, the island would need to find its own ports of call. Staff and patient alike would be taken in from those nations that would accept the asylum's presence. Other times, they land (as best they can) and take up those lost in the world, following tales of mad sorcerers in the name of helping them. Some kingdoms jump at the chance to offload their insane spellcasters...when they aren't simply turning in politically inconvenient mages to the asylum's care. Other people seek out the floating structure, namely mages, scholars, artificers, and students of mental health. The asylum is a repository of knowledge, accumulated over centuries in the asylum's library, including stacks of scribbled notes made by patients. Within those rambling and discordant musings could exist nuggets of brilliance or mad insight. While some of the staff are recent recruits or volunteers, others are the descendants of previous staff members (or patients), who have formed long family lines dedicated to the asylum and its mission. They would follow the bronze lion anywhere, and would gladly die to protect the institution. That is, other than those who begrudge the life they were born to; such rebels are free to leave at any time, making for interesting characters to encounter.
                          • Alternatively, the situation on the asylum may have deteriorated over the years. So long as the bronze lion remains himself sane, the institution is liable to remain "on course". If the bronze lion dies, goes mad, or simply becomes disillusioned with the mission, though, things may turn for the worse. In one possible scenario, the lunatics may be running the asylum, with a mad bronze god in the center. In another, the staff may devolve into piracy in order to survive, flying in to sack villages for supplies. Such a place would also seek to capture spellcasters - regardless of sanity - locking them in the cells to power the vessel. A place such as this becomes less a place of healing, and more a prison, its halls patrolled by ruthless pirates long accustomed to ignoring the cries of the innocent. The folk may be the degenerate descendants of the old imperials, or may be those who claimed the vessel for their own, such as orcs, goblinoids, Yuan-ti, etc. The halls might even be patrolled by monsters, bent to the wills of the current occupants and willing to devour any non-"staff members" roaming the halls.
                          • If the asylum is still operating as intended, it is sure to pick up all manner of magical madmen/madwomen. The PCs may discover that an NPC they are looking for has been committed to the Aerial Asylum. Whether they genuinely need psychiatric help, were committed against their will, or even feigning madness to have a place to hide, they are there now. The PCs will need to gain access to the place, which can be tricky as the asylum flies around when not docked for supplies. Moreover, the staff and the bronze lion will only allow visitors if they are not judged a threat to the asylum or its patients. Depending on who the PCs are, their reputation, and their standard behavior patterns/attitude, they may not be permitted entry.
                          • A PC's loved one may be on board, either as staff, patient, or prisoner. If the asylum has descended to piracy, the NPC may have been seized in a raid. if it's a functional asylum, the NPC may have gone there to work, study, or be "contained".
                          • Spellcaster or artificer PCs may be drawn to this legendary structure for its deep wealth of knowledge. To study its mechanical systems, the artifacts of the old world contained within, the library of magical or mundane books, or the stacks of madmen's notes. Forgotten spells could be learned or ancient secrets revealed. An artificer character may be driven to attempt to recreate the structure. Moreover, the bronze lion himself is a sage of great age and deep memory, knowledgeable in history, arcana, medicine, and artifice. A PC may gain the construct as a teacher...if he can be convinced to do so.
                          • One or more spellcasting PCs may themselves have been turned over to the asylum, as patient/prisoner. The rest of the party may need to stage a break-in to free their companion.
                          Last edited by Bluecho; 02-16-2020, 09:48 AM.


                          • #14
                            Addendum to the previous post.

                            There is a third possible state of affairs for the asylum: the structure is grounded, and has been for quite a long time.

                            Whether through damage to the artifice or simple lack of magic to keep it going, the structure is half-buried in the ground (its true pyramid shape hidden), or nestled in a mountain crag. Its garden is overgrown, its hull (unprotected by magic) subject to the greening effects of corrosion. Its warden, the bronze lion, sitting immobile and unconscious in his chambers. Its halls now serving as lair of monsters, undead, or evil humanoids.

                            Waiting, eternally, for a fresh spark of magic, to stir the asylum and its keeper from the sleep of death.

                            The party may not even realize what sort of dungeon they've delved into, until an errant spell gets absorbed. The first that will awaken is the bronze lion, who will roam the halls, seeking out the spellcaster(s) who awakened it. Half-mad with thaumic hunger, he will try to goad mages into attacking it with more spells, to recharge the asylum's "batteries". Whether they encounter the lion or not, the party may be in for a surprise when enough spells are absorbed to cause the whole structure to shake, then rise to the sky.


                            • #15
                              14) Cow For Ransom [Fantasy RPG; short quest]:
                              A religious holiday is coming up, and the local town has a ceremony where a healthy bull is sacrificed. This year in particular is an auspicious occasion, though, owing to a cosmic alignment that comes once every few decades. This calls for a more special sacrifice: a white bull, without blemish. It took a great deal of time and effort for the town to secure a suitable specimen, the accomplishment of it being a mark of pride for the local lord.

                              Such a rare bull is worth a lot of money, especially to the town. Making it a coveted prize, that unscrupulous and faithless folk might seek to steal.

                              Enter a rapscallion native to the town. A young man with scars on the back of his hands, and no love of organized religion. He has a taste for money, though, so brought together his gang of youths and stole the bull. They've sent a ransom demand for the bull's safe return. Unbeknownst to the townsfolk, however, this bandit is double dealing them. Regardless of whether the ransom is paid, he's got another buyer waiting in the wings.

                              The PCs are roped into the matter one way or another. They might be faithful folk, looking to make sure the sacred rite goes off without a hitch. Or they might have been paid by the temple or the local lord to deliver the ransom, protect the representative sent to pay, or else find the thieves and take it back. One or more of the PCs might be a Druid or the like, who would rather free the bull from either sale or sacrifice.

                              The enemies in this adventure are a motley lot. Normal monsters in the area may assault the party during their search. If the bull comes into the party's possession, they'll also be required to escort it back to town alive and unharmed. The thieves are a gang of teenagers, which will present a moral dilemma for any party that aren't hardcore murder hobos.

                              And then there's that mysterious buyer the ringleader has lined up. They may send forces to secure their prize. By force, if needed, and maybe even without paying the thieves. The forces sent for this venture might be a band of evil humanoids (orcs, gnolls, goblinoids), hired mercenaries, a rival adventuring party, or even cultists (who intend to sacrifice the bull in their own evil ritual). Another possibility is that this third party doesn't care about getting or using the bull, but merely in preventing it from being used in the town's rite. Spoiling and desecrating the sacred ritual and demoralizing the citizenry.