Adventure #16

Action/Adventure
Theme
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.
Thwart Monstrous Plan
Goal
This is a classic fantasy-adventure plot: The characters learn of some horrible plan made by a monstrous enemy,
and must thwart it before the kingdom is lost or the world is destroyed. This is an epic goal, and usually requires
that the characters go to all sorts of places, rounding up allies and artifacts, before being strong enough to face their
enemy.
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.)
Geographic Progression
Plot
This is the simplest sort of adventure plot. The heroes have an area to investigate or travel through; they have
encounters based on where they are. For instance, the traditional dungeon, where monsters are tied to specific
rooms or areas. Or, if the heroes are travelling along a narrow valley or through an enchanted forest, they might
suffer ambushes and other encounters fixed to various points along their travel plan. The plot, then, is getting to the
villain by surviving the intervening obstacle encounters.
Prevented Deed
Climax
Here, the heroes have been defeated -- captured by the Master Villain, or so thoroughly cut up by his minions that
all believe them to be dead. And the heroes have learned, from the bragging of the villain, loose talk of his
minions, or examination of clues, what is the crucial event of his master plan. In any case, the battered and bruised
heroes must race to this site and have their final confrontation with the villain, bursting in on him and his minions
just as the knife or final word or key is poised, and prevent the awful deed from taking place -- and, incidentally,
defeat the master villain and minions who beat them previously.
Exotic Distant Land
General Setting
The adventure will take the heroes to some fascinating and exotic distant country, where they'll have to cope with
new customs, monsters unfamiliar to them, and very colorful NPC encounters; choose one of the more fascinating
foreign lands from your campaign world.
Legendary Forest
Specific Setting I
This classic adventure site is the sometimes dark and fearsom, sometimes light and cheerful, always magical and
incomprehensible forest inhabited by the oldest elven trives and most terrifying monsters.
Classic Dungeon
Specific Setting
II
This would be the standard monster-filled labyrinth; perhaps it's a nesting ground for the master villain's monster
troops.
Corruptor
Master Villain
The Corruptor is the villain who wants to make something nasty out of something that is currently nice. He may be
working on a small scale -- i.e., wish to corrupt one character or a few characters, particularly PCs and their
favorite NPCs. Alternatively, he may be a big-scale villain trying to change an entire city or nation into a jaded,
debased pit of sin, hatred and death.
Single-Minded Soldier
Minor Villain I
This most trustworthy of villain minions is the experienced, competent, persistent soldier -- a field-trained officer
who serves the villain with military precision. He is usually encountered in the field as leader of the villain's field
operations. He is not encountered directly until the middle of or the latter part of the adventure; until then, the
heroes encounter only his subordinates.
Avenger
Minor Villain II
This character is much like the Master Villain of the same name, but he's not in charge of all this villainy, and he's
definitely an enemy of one of the player-characters. You'll have to decide who he is and why he hates one of the
heroes; he could be anything from a recurring villain to someone who simply lost a fight to the hero once.
Romantic Loony
Ally/Neutral
Somewhere, the heroes bump into a lunatic who falls immediately in love with a player-character and won't leave
him or her alone. This character may be a love-smitten village lass or nebbishy adventurer. Whatever the origin,
this character must be hopelessly in love with the character but have some trait which keeps the character from
reciprocating; perhaps the loony is too plain, too crazed, or too stupid. Whatever, he or she really is sincere in his
affection for the character.
Nocturnal Predator Monster
Encounter
This is a classic monster encounter; the arrival of a hungry carnivore in the middle of the night. Usually, this attack
happens to heroes camping between villages or out in the deep wilderness; a wild animal, attracted by food odors
(from the heroes' campfire or from the heroes themselves) sneaks in for a bite.
Thief Character
Encounter
At some point in their adventure, the heroes have a run-in with thieves.
Coliseum
Deathtrap
If it's appropriate, you can have the heroes captured by the local authorities -- particularly when they're in an exotic
land, lost world, or whatever -- and have them armed with gladiatorial gear and dropped into a coliseum for the
entertainment of the locals. (Note that this works much better with fighting-type heroes than spellcasters.)
Horseback
Chase
This is a relatively short chase -- it only needs to go on for a mile or so before even the best horses are winded. If it
goes on longer than that, the horses may collapse and perhaps die.
Reincarnation
Omen/Prophesy
The hero, seeing the portrait of some long-dead nobleman, may be surprised to see his own face staring back at
him. All evidence points to the fact that our hero is the reincarnation of this person, and the Master Villain may
desire to destroy any trace of that nobleman's existence. Just as appropriately, this long-dead nobleman may have
died after making some important choice -- such as choosing love over career or career over friends; and the choice
he faced is identical to the one the hero now faces. Will our hero defy the prophecy and choose as he did in a
previous life, or will he choose the other option and see what happens?
Holy Symbol
Secret Weakness
The villain may have the traditional weakness to a specific holy symbol -- but don't choose just an ordinary one. It
may be a holly symbol no longer used by the church, or may be some forgotten variation of the current symbol.
(For instance, the cross may not work, but a variation -- such as the Roman cross -- might; alternatively, it might
have to be a holy symbol which has undergone some unfamiliar ritual.)
No Weapons Allowed
Special
Condition
At some point in the story, the heroes must surrender their weapons. Perhaps they're visiting some quarter of the
city where weapons are not allowed; or a particularly peace-loving temple. In any case, once they're there, they are
attacked by enemies belonging to the Master Villain.
Honor Quandry
Moral Quandry
You want to use this on the character with the most strongly developed sense of personal honor -- someone who
has lived all his life by a strict code. Toward the end of the adventure, this character realizes that the best way to
defeat the Master Villain is a violation of that code. For instance, the character might be a paladin, who discovers
that the only possible way for the heroes to defeat the Master Villain is to sneak up on him and stab him in the
back.
Artifact that Doesn't Work
Red Herring
Often, epic quests against powerful Master Villains require that the heroes find some legendary artifact, the only
object which can defeat the villain. If your heroes have had no trouble getting to the artifact -- they've effortlessly
sliced through every obstacle you've put in their path and are confidently advancing on the resting place of the
magical item -- you can have it not work.
Wanted by the Law
Cruel Trick
One final complication, one which occurs pretty frequently, is when the heroes are wanted by the law. When
they're wanted by the law, they have to travel in secret and very limited in the resources they can acquire.
Based on tables from the Dungeon Master's Design Kit by TSR, Inc.