Wars are great fun, at least when playing, but large scale wars can be hard on the GM. So here are five wartime plot hooks that need little preparation other than the use of a random encounter table and a monster generator.
“Help Me Obi-Wan”
The party are traveling in remote lands, on the borders of two warring nations when they spot a lone female rider speeding across the plains. In pursuit, there are a bunch of knights in white armour who appear to be trying to kill her. The players rescue the woman, only to discover she is a princess carrying a secret message from her Father, the king. Can the players deliver the Princess and the message to the old wizard living high in the mountains whilst dodging the more of the white knights and local monsters?
“I love the smell of burning naphtha in the morning”
(High Level) The knights and paladins of the great god [insert name here] have been waging war in the swamps and jungle of [insert name here] for five years, trying to drive out the Lizardmen and destroy the source of all the chaos and evil in the heart of the swamp. Last year, a leading paladin led his men deep into the swamp in a search & destroy operation but never came back. They were believed dead until last month when a captured Lizardman reported the paladin had been turned and was now working for the enemy.
If news of this got out, many followers of the god would lose faith so an outside party is hired to find and kill the former paladin. A boat and crew will be provided to take the party deep into the swamps. On the journey, they see the madness and mayhem of this war first hand, as one bizarre encounter follow another. Eventually they come face to face with their prey.
Saving Primate Ryan
The party are guards to the High Priest’s tent hill on the hill, an easy job to have as the battle rage below. Advanced units of the high priests army have penetrated deep into enemy lines and things are looking good when disaster strikes. News that three of the four church primates have been killed in different areas of the battlefield reaches the high priest. For a thousand years, the primates have anointed their own successors, passing on to them great secrets and magics.
With only one of the primates still alive there is a real danger that a 1000 years of knowledge and power will be lost. The remaining primate must be found and returned to the safety of the High Priest’s tent as quickly as possible. Primate Ryan was last seen on the other side of the river leading an attempt to seize a strategic farm. Whilst others try magic to find the Primate, the High Priests put his faith in men and summons the party.
The party must join with the bulk of the army as it crosses the river under heavy attack from archers and magic users. Survival may be more a matter of luck than judgement. Then they must break through the enemy’s positions and head for the farm, dodging enemy patrols and positions on their way only to find that Primate Ryan isn’t keen on abandoning his men…
The gnomes in the mountain have built a 100′ dam across an important river. The humans living down stream cannot irrigate their crops and are mad and about to embark on a ruinous war over the dam. To avoid the war, the local guilds secretly hire the party to destroy the dam without alerting the gnomes to whom was behind it. The guild have a captured Gnomish weapon that if deployed at the right place on the dam, will collapse it. With no dam and no evidence of human involvement, war will be avoided.
All the party have to do is sneak into the mountains along narrow passes populated by who-knows-what sort of monster, find the dam, get past the guards, place the untested gnomish device halfway down it, and get out without being caught. What could be simpler?
Holding the Fort
(1st Level Adventure) Every man in Ruritania has been pressed into service to defend the country against the goblin horde coming from the northern mountains. In a lucky break for the players, they are sent far to the south to relieve more experience soldiers need in the north. The fort, little more than a beacon on a hill top in reality, is peaceful at first but then people start disappearing. Before they know it, the party are the only ones left and something is out there
Part of the March RPG Bloggers Carnival: WAR!