Adventure #10

This is the most common and straightforward sort of adventure there is. In the Action/Adventure scenario, you
present your characters with a task and then confront them with obstacles to overcome in order to accomplish the
task successfully.
Explore a New Area
The heroes are hired or convinced to enter an unmapped area and explore it. They may be making a map; they may
be trying to find someone who disappeared into this area in the past; they may be following legends that tell of
treasure in the unexplored interior.
Mystery Woman
Story Hook
Create an NPC "mystery woman" sure to be fascinating to your hero and have her keep appearing inexplicably in
his life. As he becomes interested and investigates her, he keeps stumbling across the villain's plans and becomes
inextricably mired in the plot. (For female player-characters, the Mystery Man is just as useful.)
For this plot, choose some sort of event -- a tournament, a holiday, a celebration called by the king, a masked ball,
or whatever -- and set the commencement of the Master Villain's plan against that backdrop.
Scattered Duels
In this climax, the heroes have gotten to the end of their quest -- they may have broken into, sneaked into, or
escaped from imprisonment within the villain's citadel, or have marched into the little town where the villain is
holed up -- and they become separated. You can separate them by having traps and tricks break the party apart, by
having them see two or three things they must resolve (such as danger to innocents or the appearance of minion
villains) pop up simultaneously; they'll have to run in all directions at the same time or suffer failure. Once the
party is broken down into bite-sized chunks, you confront each individual or small group with the enemy or
enemies he most deserves to face -- his personal enemy, the monster which defeated him before, etc. -- for a grand
series of climactic duels.
On the Sea
General Setting
Most of the action occurs on the sea -- the heroes are shipborne for some reason, docking in lots of ports. Again,
this is good for adventures where the heroes are investigating clues left all over the map, are part of some trading
enterprise, or are being pursued by villains.
Specific Setting I
This can be either the church of some lofty and good diety, or the dark and grisly temple of some horrid deity
(doubtless filled with evil soldiers and monsters), or even the temple that the madman villain has dedicated to
himself for when he becomes a god.
Mansion of a Lord
Specific Setting
This can be the home of a villain -- the characters may have to break in and rescue someone or steal evidence, or
break out if they've been captured -- or of a heroic ally, in which case it may be used as the headquarters for the
heroes' plans and activities.
Master Villain
This Master Villain is the head of the local criminal syndicate -- the Thieve's Guild or slaver ring, for instance.
He's cold-hearted and unsympathetic, and human life means nothing to him. He employs assassins and musclemen
against the heroes, and can only be reasoned with when it's going to profit him more to cooperate with the heroes
than kill them.
Minor Villain I
This villain is the one who interrogates the heroes and NPCs captured by the villains. He accompanies the other
Minor Villain out into the field and works on anyone captured; he enjoys inflicting pain and suffering.
Moronic Muscleman
Minor Villain II
This fellow is a huge, powerful monster of a fighter. His job is to smash anything the villain tells him to smash. He
does that very well, but don't ask him to do any thinking; he has no time for such brainy stuff.
Grumpy Old Professional
Again, the heroes need an expert in a certain field -- this time a craft or art, such as blacksmithing, engineering,
horse-training, or whatever. The only or best professional they can find is an aged expert. He's grumpy, cranky,
and sharp-tongued; he constantly complains about the food, the weather, his companions, the decline in skill of his
co-workers since he was a young man, the road conditions, the rotten pay he's receiving, and so on.
Foreshadowing Monster
With this monster encounter, combat may not be necessary. This monster encounter exists to alert the characters to
the fact that something unusual is going on, a foreshadowing of their upcoming conflicts with the Master Villain.
New Enemy Character
In the course of his ordinary activies, one of the heroes can make a New Enemy. Hurrying along the street, he can
bump into a disagreeable fighter for whom an apology isn't enough; in a tavern, he can make some innocuous
remark that you deliberately have the irritable fellow misconstrue as an insult. The New Enemy will only exchange
heated words with the hero at this point, but will appear again later in the adventure and will eventually have to
fight the hero.
Rock and a Hard Place
This trap starts out as an Animal Pit, Pit and the Pendulum, or Tomb Deathtrap, but an obvious escape suggests
itself very early on. Trouble is, it leads into even worse danger. The hole out of the animal pit may lead to the lair
of an even worse animal; it may lead through a succession of dangers (collapsing old catacombs, into an
underground river, into a den of zombies) before the heroes reach the light.
Special Terrain
You can make any chase more memorable by having it take place in a setting to which it is utterly unsuited. For
instance, horse chases are fine and dramatic when they take place through the forest, out in the open plains, or
along a road -- but they become diabolical when they take place inside the Royal Palace or in dangerous,
labrynthine, treacherous catacombs.
Innocent Fulfills Prophecy
An innocent could fulfill a prophecy -- one which endangers his/her life. This innocent might, for instance, be the
one who is supposed to slay the king, but is not a mighty adventurer able to protect himself from the king; the
heroes may find themselves sheltering and helping this poor dupe.
Secret Embarrassment
Secret Weakness
Finally, the villain may have some aberration or secret shame that will force him to flee when he is confronted with
it. It could be something as simple as the fact that his nose is too big, or that he is a small and nebbishly wizard
pretending to be some vast, powerful demonic power. When his shame is revealed, he is too humiliated to
continue; this is a good option for comedy adventures.
Time Limit
Finally, the most obvious condition to place on an adventure is to give it a time limit. If the Master Villain is going
to conclude his evil spell in only three days, and his citadel is three hard days' riding away, then the heroes are
going to be on the go all throughout the adventure -- with little time to rest, plan, gather allies, or anything except
get to where they're going.
Respect Quandry
Moral Quandry
This is much like the Ally Quandry, only at a greater distance. The heroes have been utilizing the aid of two (or
more) powerful NPC allies. Now, in the course of the adventure, the heroes come across a task which can be
accomplished in one of two ways -- say, through military intervention or by esoteric magic. The problem is, the
NPC allies are arguing for different choices, and the one whom the heores choose against will no longer aid them.
False Path to the Artifact
Red Herring
Once again, if the heroes have had too easy a time finding the artifact capable of destroying the villain, give them
trouble this way: When they get to the place where the artifact is supposed to be contained, they find the coffer or
chamber or whatever empty, obviously looted by robbers, who have scrawled such remarks as "Kelrog was here!"
upon the walls.
Mission is a Ruse
Cruel Trick
In the course of their adventuring, the heroes discover they have been tricked into performing a mission which
helps the Master Villain.
Based on tables from the Dungeon Master's Design Kit by TSR, Inc.