Danger and stress are the stock trade of adventurers in role playing games. This week’s Think tank was about giving our heroes a rest from this and some pleasantries. These are encounters that will leave the characters feeling better for having experienced them. These could be rewarding or just relaxing. Either way, if introduced into a campaign they could provide much needed breathing space for some stressed out heroes.
Jaye – The Order of the Garden
Whilst travelling, the party suffers a vicious storm that disrupts their camp and sleep. Tired, the next morning they continue on their way. As they enter the next valley they a small castle with a far away curtain wall. Getting closer they see the interior of the fort to be a beautiful garden.
The garden-fort is the work of the local baron. He founded an order of lesser knights to protect the rare plants and herbs in the valley. Not druids, these men-at-arms are simply expert gardeners as well as guardians.
The knight-commander will welcome the party to the garden-fort and offer full hospitality. Whilst the order of the garden will not leave the valley to aid the players, they will happily provide supplies and martial training. The serene beauty of the gardens is an excellent place for the party to relax and perhaps gain some spiritual understanding. Should they wish, the players may help with working the garden, to the gratitude of their hosts.
Emily – Sister Evangeline and her Nuns
The road weary players used to facing horrors find themselves being hosted by Sister Evangeline and her nuns. Once at their home the sisters will feed the players good or evil, give them beds, baths and a restful dreamless sleep. Sister Evangeline herself is an later Middle Aged woman and still very graceful and attractive, everyone can tell she is touched by the divine, however she accepts all who come to her shelter.
During the night the players may hear divine music being sung by Evangeline and the sisters, this song heals all wounds and if a player sneaks a view of the sisters singing they gain a bonus if they do any good action for the next few days.
Chris – Cat in a Tree
As the characters march through the wilderness they come across a strange scene. At the edge of a steep ravine they spot a group of cats. They look like domestic cats but scaled up to double the size. Most of the cats are right on the edge of the ravine and it takes a moment to spot that one of the cats is hanging off the edge with its hind legs held by other cats. Whatever is happening here it is clear the cats have a higher level of intelligence than domestic cats and have learned to co-operate.
At this point one of the cats looks up and spots the characters. The group quickly pull the dangling cat back up and all the cats watch the characters warily. If the characters are cautious they can approach the cats and will be surprised when one of the cats speaks to them in a highly sibilant version of the common tongue.
The characters are told that a kitten has fallen off the cliff edge and is stuck in a tree growing out of the cliff face. The drop to the river at the bottom is about 100’ and the kitten is about 10’ from the top. However the cats have no means of reaching the kitten and ask if the characters can help.
The rescue is easy for the characters and very quickly the kitten will be re-united with its Mother. The entire clan of cats will be purring and rubbing against the character’s legs. Grateful of the character’s help, the cats will in return provide useful information on the road ahead. They will even accompany the characters for a couple of days and the cats prove excellent scouts and guards. Those two days travel prove relaxing and enjoyable. The party can start the next stage of their quest, refreshed and rejuvenated.
Josh – The Crystal Lizards
While adventuring in a large cavern filled with unspeakable horrors and unfathomable monsters beyond comprehension, the players emerge into a large cave. inside the cave are small lizard like creatures with crystal growths all over their backs.
Upon entering the cave, the lizards will immediately hide. After a few moments they will emerge and slowly start making their way towards the party. If the party initiate any type of negative/aggressive actions then the lizards will flee and not come out until they are gone.
If the party show them attention then the lizards will get closer and closer until they are in fussing range. At which point they start acting like cats and dogs, wanting attention and to be played with. If the party spend roughly an hour with them then the crystals radiation provides them with a bonus for the rest of the day.
Mark – Hermit Houses
A king whose land bordered a harsh wasteland and steep mountains was bothered by the number of travellers who died trying to reach his realm. He called upon his subjects for ideas and they came to him with plans for waystations and patrols. But in practice it was difficult to raise the taxes and recruit the people needed to support them. Instead, the king accepted the advice of a local wizard who automated the work with magic: he created huts with eagle wings and goat legs that would patrol the dangerous lands looking for people in need of shelter and supplies. The eagle wings meant that they could search from the air over the desert and the goat legs meant they could climb on the mountains.
Each hut carried food, water, medicines and was capable of housing ten people. Travellers could summon them using signals on the ground or by magic. Otherwise the huts can find people on their own and provide for them, even when unconscious.
Image Credit – [holiday time] relax by Rob. – CC BY-NC 2.0