Sunday, June 8, 2014

Another Oracle Plot

I'm having fun thinking up adventure seeds using the randomly-generated results from online Oracles.  This one I'm definitely going to use in the City State of Throxia when I run my Pathfinder game.  I may polish it up some more, but figured I'd share it to give readers some ideas to adapt it to their own games.

Sahdina, the 7th Favored Concubine of the Immortal Omnithrox has been having romantic liaisons with Kinziru Yash, Captain of the Citadel Guard. She has recently revealed to him that she is pregnant with his child since the Immortal Omnithrox has not lain with her for a long time (hence the affair.) Kinziru, fearful of the consequences, has decided to arrange an unfortunate “accident” for Sahdina. He has discretely arranged for Mukan Kala, a Sargent of the Citadel Guard, who is a ruthless bully and is ambitious to kill her.

Sahdina has gotten the sense that Kinziru was not entirely pleased with the news and she has decided to seek out an apothecary in the Great Bazaar to purchase a potion to terminate the pregnancy. While going to the Bazaar, she realizes that she is being stalked, panicking she runs. The person chasing her is Mukan and several thugs he has hired to help finish the job quickly.

PC Hook: Sahdina runs into (literally) the party, obviously shaken and looking behind her. She apologizes and continues to run. The party, if they wish can try to see what she is running from and will see the men working their way through the crowd towards them and Sahdina. If the PCs decide to intervene, a fight will break out between them and Mukan and his men. Mukan will try to escape if the battle goes badly, but if he takes enough damage, have his ring-finger be sliced off during the fight. In the aftermath of the battle, a signature ring of the Citadel Guard will be found, still on his severed finger. If the ring is closely examined, a small compartment will be revealed that contains a crystal lenses-like object. If held up to the light, it will project a map of catacombs apparently beneath the Citadel. This shows the location of the fabled Aslanyan Blade, a sword held in great esteem by the Band of Iron, a secret warrior order within the Citadel Guard. The order reveres the blade as a religious relic and their zealotry to protecting it is legendary. The Band of Iron is outlawed.

Complications: A hungry rat snatches the finger and runs into a nearby sewer access. The PC's will see the glint of metal from the ring with looks valuable... A chase may ensue into the sewers to get the ring.

If Mukan escapes, he will plot revenge against the PC's for maiming him and for his humiliating defeat.

Mukan may later be found dead (if his second attempt to kill them fails) when Kinziru discovers that he failed to kill Sahdina and has complicated matters by involving the PCs.

A Concubine of the Immortal Omnithrox doesn't go unnoticed for long within the Citadel, so after a few hours, patrols of Citadel Guards will begin searches and making inquiries. If the PCs have Sahdina, this can go against them if the Guard see them as a threat to her. Sahdina will not reveal who she truly is for as long as possible. She wants to keep her secret of her pregnancy from anyone in the Citadel, as that would mean severe punishment for her and the death of Kinziru. She will try to get the PCs to get her to an apothecary to complete her mission.

The potion that Sahdina purchases from the apothecary is more potent than it should be and not only does it kill the unborn child but induces an unstoppable bleeding and Sahdina does as well. Just in time for the Citadel Guard to come crashing through the door of the shop, following their leads.

Notes: These complications are suggestions to throw set-backs into the story to create drama and tension. I'm not advocating Sahdina's actions as any kind of social or political statement. This is a sword-and-sorcery inspired setting and these are gritty and grim tales.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pathfinder Xhuul

So, I have about 2 months before my Pathfinder campaign launches for our group.  I have decided to set the game in my world of Xhuul, though albeit a much modified version of it.  I'm working on a new map and I am going to use (steal) the campaign set-piece starting city-state of Throxia from the World of Thool by Scott (formerly of the now defunct Huge Ruined Pile blog).  Scott wrote some really cool stuff for his setting and I was bummed when he abandoned that project many years ago.  It just oozed with flavor and was always an enjoyable read.

Whereas Scott's Thool setting was set in a black desert landscape, my setting is a mixed bag, but mostly jungles and swamp.  The setting can best be described as Dark Sun meets Tarzan meets H.P. Lovecraft, but it has all the races from Pathfinder.  I'm going for a Sword and Sorcery vibe.  It's going to be low-magic in terms of magic items (except for potions and scrolls which will be more common).  And so there will be no Item Creation feats (besides Brew Potion and Scribe Scroll), as the knowledge to make magic items has been lost.  This is a post-apocalyptic world that has rebuilt it's civilization, though albeit a more primitive one than what came before.

As far as rules and house-rules, we are using 20-pt buy on ability scores, races and classes from the Core Rulebook only.  Archetypes and Traits from the Advanced Players Guide and Spells from Core Rulebook, Advanced Players Guide, Ultimate Magic and Ultimate Combat.

To help spur some ideas for plot seeds, I used this Oracle to create the following.  Not sure if I will use these at the start of the game, as I would like to run a dungeon adventure or two first.  I may use these at a later point in the campaign.  But for now it was a creative exercise to get ideas flowing. 

Plot 1:
Sovris-Dhorn a conjurer of the Order of Saiboth has summoned the Naga, Szallah to perform a service for the wizard. The Naga has only agreed to perform the service if the Sorvis makes a blood sacrifice of one of his Order's initiates. This would violate the Order's rules of non-aggression between wizards within the Order. Sovris-Dhorn has chosen a student, the wizardess Mara Nevoon, who has recently passed her initiation into the Order, but is largely unrecognized.. This is due to the widely held belief that they suspect she cheated in her exams and tests, but have no proof. This situation presents the opportunity for Sovris-Dhorn needs to fulfill Szallah's demand. 

The death of Mara by his hand would most likely not have any consequences for him.As such,  Sovris-Dhorn has planted information which is now in Mara's possession that an old fortress, guarding a mountain pass in the Zhaugo Mountains to the north holds magical knowledge that could improve her standing in the Order. Sovris-Dhorn and Szallah will be waiting for her when she arrives.

PC Hook: Mara hires the PCs as guards and escorts for the journey to Fortress Dzan. She will be jealous of any arcane spell-casters in the party and will not reveal her true motivations for going to the Fortress as she does not want to share the magical knowledge contained there with any of them. She tells them that the old Fortress is an ancestral holding of her family's and she intends to establish it as her new sanctum.

Complications: Mara actually did cheat in her magical studies, by contacting the Naga Szallah. When she learned all she needed from her, she broke her deal with the Naga and refused to pay her and dimissed her back to her plane. Szallah has been fuming ever since. When Sovris-Dhorn conjured her for a service, it was by simple fortune and she intends to collect on the debt from Mara with her life.

The fortress has long since been abandoned, as the pass was blocked by an avalanche caused by an earthquake many years ago. The fortress was built to protect the holdings of the City State of Thalan from northern barbarians that occasionally raided through the pass. The fortress is now haunted by ghosts of soldiers who died defending the pass. They long for their remains to be properly buried among their family back in Thalan.  They will not allow anyone to take anything from the Fortress without them attacking.

Plot 2:
Sabir Vakroon a young warrior and faithful to the god Nergal, has joined the cult's warrior-elite known as the Black Lions. He has been visited by the ghost of his father, Jalaan, to seek revenge against his older sister Nessa who had strangled him in his sleep and therefore inherited the family fortune. Jalaan had long suspected that his daughter had ambitions and made arrangements to have his then-pregnant wife who was carrying Sabir in her womb to be secretly taken to another city. When Sabir finally grew up to be strong, Jalaan pleaded with the god Nergal to have his revenge. The price was to have his son join the order of the Black Lions to fight in the name of Nergal.

Nessa has become a scheming and shrewd woman in her years, securing her position by arranging ties to several merchant families in Throxia. She is hosting emissaries from far distant land of N'kai in the hopes of securing a trade deal between the merchants of Throxia and the powerful N'kai merchant cartel of Li-Han. Several guests from the various local merchant houses are present during the event. The head of the N'kai delegation, Sung Li-Han has brought several samples of their popular ware:, silks, spices, jade and polished teak hardwoods to display.

Unbeknownst to all, a creature known as a Black Wisp, native to N'kai stowed away in one of the containers and has been roaming the estate, killing servants in secret to feed. The Black Wisp drains the life energy from its victims and devours magic and is highly resistant to spells.

PC Hooks: The PCs could be guards hired by Nessa to patrol the estate grounds outside. They could also be hired by some of the local merchant families present as body-guards. They could discover one of the dead servants, thereby alerting them of potential danger. Soon, the PCs discover the Black Wisp and while engaged with the creature, Sabir who has used this night to strike against his sister uses the distraction to enter the estate.

Complications: The death of Nessa or any of the Li-Han delegates or local merchant family members while under the protection of the PCs can invoke the wrath of powerful merchant interests in Throxia. Killing Sabir will gain the PCs rewards but at the expense of gaining enemies of the Church of Nergal and the Black Lions.