Friday, February 10, 2012

Fantasy Friday: A Lordly Petition (A One Shot Adventure)...

Good Afternoon, All:

It's time for another installment of Fantasy Fridays. Today, I thought I'd write up a brief One Shot using a pretty major variation of the my One Page Plot format. I'm in the process of writing up some adventures to put in my GM Notebook, and figured that sharing one of them might be helpful, particularly in terms of getting feedback and additional suggestions. As inspiration, I am using Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations to inspire this particular round of adventure creation. The theme for this One Shot is Supplication.

Plot Name: A Lordly Petition

Synopsis: The Lord-Mayor of a frontier town must send the PCS to present a request for assistance before his Liege to protect his lands from a Raiding Warlord.

NPC Goals: The four primary NPCs involved in this adventure follow.
  • Lord-Mayor: A retired guardsman, the Lord-Mayor is a wiry, loyal warrior. Given the ferocity of the recent attacks by the Raiding Warlord, the Lord-Mayor seeks to hold out long enough for the Liege's reinforcements to arrive. If he cannot hold out, then he will stay behind to hold the raiders off while guards escort his wife and daughter to safety.
  • Liege: A gluttonous man, the Liege is a rotund yet competent administrator of the lands under his control. The Liege desires to conserve as much of his resources as possible, so that there's more money in his coffers for fine wine and epicurean delicacies.
  • Raiding Warlord: A talented tactician turned rogue, the Raiding Warlord is a stern, cruel warlord. Leading his band of mercenaries, the Raiding Warlord has been secretly hired by the Neighboring Lord to raid the lands of the Lord-Mayor and create havoc. Unbeknownst to the Neighboring Lord, the Raiding Warlord also seeks a magical relic that is rumored to be in the possession of the Lord-Mayor.
  • Neighboring Lord: An ambitious, scarred fencer, the Neighboring Lord inherited his title from his father. The Neighboring Lord desires the Lord-Mayor's daughter, and hired the Raiding Warlord in the hopes that the raids will force the Lord-Mayor to send his daughter to him for protection. In addition, the Neighboring Lord is willing to hire an assassin to kill the Lord-Mayor and his wife using the Raiding Warlord as the scapegoat for the murders, so that he can petition the Liege for the Lord-Mayor's daughter's hand in marriage. If push comes to shove, he'll even volunteer his own guards as reinforcements to put himself in the position to make that happen.

Locales: The four primary locations that may potentially be involved in this adventure follow.
  • Frontier Town: This small walled village holds the manor of the Lord-Mayor, and has been recently filling up with refugees from the outlying farms impacted by the Raiding Warlord.
  • Liege's Court: The high court of the region, this is the place where petitions are made and justice is meted out.
  • Boar Woods: This small forest is owned by the Liege, and serves as his private hunting reserve. A minor trade route leads through the woods from the Lord-Mayor's lands to the Liege's castle; and might make a good place for ambushes from either the Raiding Warlord or the Neighboring Lord.
  • Raider's Camp: The base camp for the raiders, this hidden location on the frontier holds most of the treasures captured by the Raiding Warlord, as well as the bulk of his mercenary forces when they are not out raiding.

Plot Hooks: The player-characters may become actively engaged in this scenario through the plot hooks that follow.
  • Hired To Deliver The Petition: The party might be hired by the Lord-Mayor (or they may volunteer after a raid) to deliver the petition and secure reinforcements against the forces of the Raiding Warlord.
  • Hired To Recover The Magical Relic: The Raiding Warlord may hire the party to infiltrate the Lord-Mayor's township and recover the magical relic believed to be in the Lord-Mayor's possession.
  • Hired To Stop The Petitioners: The Neighboring Lord or the Raiding Warlord may hire the party to stop the petitioners from delivering the petition to the Liege.
  • Hired To Kill The Lord-Mayor: The Neighboring Lord may hire the party to enter into the Lord-Mayor's good graces and then assassinate the Lord-Mayor and his wife. They must make it look like the Raiding Warlord is behind the assassination.

Possible Challenges: Some possible non-combat challenges that empower the party to attempt either a roleplaying or skills-based resolution instead of a combat resolution can be found below.
  • Petitioning the Liege: The party may have to present the petition to the Liege in court, and argue on behalf of the Lord-Mayor to receive reinforcements. Failure: No reinforcements. Partial Success: Reinforcements offered by the Neighboring Lord. Success: Reinforcements from both the Liege and the Neighboring Lord.
  • Searching the Lord-Mayor's Manor: The party may have to stealth into the Lord-Mayor's manor in search of the magical relic sought by the Raiding Warlord. Failure: The Lord-Mayor attempts to arrest and imprison the party as thieves. Partial Success: The party does not find any relic, but does have a chance to obtain some treasure; the Lord-Mayor puts a bounty on the head of whoever stole from him. Success: The party discover a treasure map that points to where the relic is buried.
  • Learning the Petitioners' Plans: The party may have to somehow figure out the petitioners' plans if they are going to intercept the Lord-Mayor's petition. Failure: Must follow the petitioners and hope they catch up; alternately, may be hired to assassinate the Lord-Mayor and his wife instead. Partial Success: Learn of the petitioners' plans in time to arrange an ambush, but the petitioners become aware someone is following them and are more wary. Success: Learn of the petitioners' plans in time to arrange an ambush, and the petitioners do not suspect a thing.
  • Finding the Raider's Camp: The party may attempt to track down the Raider's Camp through a combination of tracking and interviewing survivors. Failure: Find an abandoned camp that was used by the raiders until a week or two ago. Partial Success: Find the Raider's Camp, but are detected in the process. Success: Find the Raider's Camp without being detected.

Possible Confrontations: This scenario may include combat encounters that are most easily resolved through warskill and prowess, such as those that follow.
  • Ambushed By Raiders: En route to the Liege's castle, the party may have to fend off an ambush by raiders. Alternately, the party may be the ambushers that are attacking the petitioners. Failure: Those not slain are captured and interrogated for information. Partial Success: At least some members of the party survive to continue the mission. Success: As Partial Success, plus receive a clue that the Neighboring Lord and the Raiding Warlord are in league with one another. (In the alternate scenario, the party gets what they came for, in addition to surviving.)
  • Obtaining the Buried Treasure: In following the map, the party discovers that the relic has been buried in a cave that has since become an animal lair. Failure: At least one member of the party gets eaten, and no one can access the buried treasure. Partial Success: The party slay the beast(s), but cannot locate the buried treasure. Success: As Partial Success, except they also recover the buried treasure.
  • Attacked By Assassins: The party may  have to deal with assassins sent by either the Neighboring Lord or the Raiding Warlord, depending on their past actions and successes/failures. Failure: At least one member of the party is incapacitated or slain, and the assassins accomplish their goal. Partial Success: The party fights off the assassins, who flee to report back to their employer. Success: As Partial Success, except no assassin survives.
  • Attacking the Raider's Camp: The party may attempt to attack the raiders. Failure: At least one member of the party is incapacitated or slain, and the party is unable to stop the raiders. Partial Success: The party slays enough of the raiders to break their morale, who flee the camp to report back to the Raiding Warlord. Success: As Partial Success, except no raider survives to report to the Raiding Warlord.

Possible Complications: This scenario may include encounters that embody a plot complication that must be overcome, such as the ones that follow.
  • Boar Woods Bridge Is Out: In an effort to hinder the movement of the party, an enemy has burned the Boar Woods Bridge, leaving the party to figure another way across the river.
  • Angry Refugees: A small camp of refugees left homeless by the Raiding Warlord and kicked out of the Lord-Mayor's village for disruptive behavior attempt to take out their anger on the party.
  • The Lord-Mayor's Daughter: Impressed by the stories of her father's adventures, the Lord-Mayor's Daughter is looking for a dashing adventurer to develop a crush on. She will sneak into his room when she can, or follow him when he leaves, only to get into trouble and need to be rescued. This won't settle well with the Lord-Mayor.

Possible Climaxes: The final encounter that should represent the biggest and most dangerous encounter of the adventure. This section should also include some notes on possible consequences of success and failure, and a sentence on how to tell when the adventure is over, whichever path the players decide to take.

  • The Big Battle: The forces of the Raiding Warlord and the Lord-Mayor meet in a final, climactic battle. During the battle, efforts are made to assassinate the Lord-Mayor and his wife.
  • Attack on the Lord-Mayor: The party is involved in either defending the Lord-Mayor and his family, or trying to kill them, depending on who hired them. This should be a big fight in the Lord-Mayor's manor, possibly involving more than two factions in the fight (Lord-Mayor, Raiding Warlord, Neighboring Lord).

The adventure is over when any of the following conditions are met:
  • The Raiding Warlord is defeated (or pretends to be defeated after acquiring the relic.)
  • The Lord-Mayor is slain and his daughter delivered to the Neighboring Lord.
  • The party demonstrates that the Neighboring Lord has hired the Raiding Warlord to attack the Lord-Mayor, and the results of that action has been resolved.
  • The party delivers the petition, then elects not to return with them to defend the village.
  • The party obtains the magical relic, then elects not to take it to the Raiding Warlord and flees.

Rewards: In addition to whatever payment is negotiated for the party's service, the equipment carried by their enemies adds to their reward. If they track down the Raider's Camp, then the raiders' treasure becomes part of their reward. If the party decides to track down the relic and keep it for themselves, that also becomes a part of their reward.

Obviously, this approach is much more open than normal, with a very fluid suggested structure that does not dictate the actual flow of events. After reading the above, do you have any suggestions on improving the core scenario? What do you think of the organization of data?

Thanks In Advance,

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