The three great life events – births, marriages and deaths – are the source of joy and sorrow, family gatherings and religious rites. This week’s RPG brainstorming session is about plot hooks arising from these occasions. They can be for any setting and any genre as long as they focus on one or other of life’s milestones.
And here’s the transcript:
Jaye – Funeral of the Blood Mage
A blood mage’s spells are tied to their body and their flesh. On their death, these bindings on the spells the mage once cast in life begin to unravel. To ensure that the magical energies unleashed are not dangerous, the corpse is drained of blood and then cremated. The removed blood is taken to a secure vault in beneath the Magicians college, where it is kept until it has dried. As the entwined magic keeps the blood ‘alive’ this can take many years, decades even for the blood of a particularly powerful mage.
Plot Hook: The theocracy of the silver word see blood magic as an abomination. That their neighbours should practice it so freely whips them into religious fury. Rather than strike out at their larger foe, the cardinal has commissioned the players to carry out a devious plot. They must assassinate the most powerful mage they can and then steal his blood. This blood will power a divine device which use the magic in the blood to turn the entire city into a molten crater. Thus the blood mages will be undone by their own evil.
Chris – Funeral For A Stranger
The characters are on the road and had planned to spend the night at the only tavern in the remote village of Pondham. However they discover the tavern burnt down a few weeks ago and there is nowhere to stay. Lucky, the village priest, Hankel, offers them shelter for the night in small temple.
There is a condition attached to the hospitality. The mortal remains of Catherine Leomy are laid out in the church ahead of her funeral the next morning. Catherine was known as Mad Cat in the village, a wizened old woman who was shunned by the villagers. She had no family or friends and no one is expect to turn up for the funeral so Hankel has taken care of preparing the body and sorting out her meager belongings. Amongst which he found a worn, metal badge, a faded letter and a medal.
The badge is the insignia of the elite Royal Guard battalion, the medal is the Knight’s Cross, the highest military award for bravery, and the letter a citation for Catherine Leomy acts of extreme heroism in the service of the Queen. No one in the village had any idea of Mad Cat’s past and Hankel believes someone who served the nation so well should have some mourners at their funeral. In return for food and shelter the priest asks the characters to attend the funeral in honour of Catherine’s service. Local custom dictates that this is held at dawn.
After the characters settle down for the night in the church, with Catherine’s body on the altar, her spirit speaks to the characters. She reveals she was cursed and murdered by someone in the village. Unless a person of honour finds the murderer before dawn her spirit will be condemned to oblivion.
The characters must now discover the murderer before dawn but everyone in the village is asleep and they know nothing about them.
Josh – A birth in shadow
The player characters have been tasked with protecting a pregnant woman for a confidential client. They are unaware of her identity and she refuses to talk about who she is. Throughout their encounters with ever increasingly dangerous opponents, including the feared Orc hitsquad “The Tuskers”, the players come to realise that their charge is none other than the former queen of Thanix.
She was cast out when the mad mage Azarad Shalanore usurped the throne and remade Thanix in his own twisted image. If she gives birth to her child then the original bargain with the reality warping demon lord that Azarad made a deal with is null and void. He cannot allow that to happen, not when he is so close to true power.
However, the queen is about to give birth and cannot go any further. The players must make their stand and protect the queen, all while the deadliest of foes draw near.
Mark – Running Wedding
The players have been tasked with protecting a noble wedding, which will form a lasting union between two princely states and create the basis for true peace in the region. However, there are plenty of powers who want to prevent the wedding taking place. That is: two other local states, a bank, a faction in the church, and her brother. All of these will make an attempt on the wedding and the couple.
First will be an attempt on the couple the night before. Then the wedding itself will be stormed. The bishop will try to stab the groom and succeed. That’s fine though, because these two were the fake couple anyway. The players then need to rush off and protect the carriage carrying them to the dock (18th century Mad Max sequence), and then defend the ship whilst the ceremony really takes place. It doesn’t matter much whether they survive the trip back, so long as they marry and consummate, the contract will be sealed.