Rolls in DM Guide (from p94):
- Dungeon Goal (8): Rescue a Captive
- Adventure Villain (9): Humanoid Cultist
- Adventure Patron (17): Family Member
- Adventure Introduction (8): An NPC the characters care about needs them to go to the adventure location.
Okay, so the dice tell me I've got to incorporate a Humanoid Cultist. Fine. And I've got to make an NPC the characters care about get them to rescue a family member. Easy enough. The PCs are all Level 1 so I can just tell them who they care about ("Her name is [female name]. You guys grew up together in [village name]. She wants you to rescue her uncle [male name] from [insert dungeon here].") Easy enough. Moving on...
- Villains Actions (3): Growing Corruption.
- Event Goals (5): Discover the Nature of a Strange Phenomenon that might be the Villains doing.
- Framing Events (4): Anniversary of Important Event.
- Side Quest (6): Slay a Specific Monster.
Alright, the Strange Phenomenon could be missing villagers, so that fits with the 'Rescue A Captive' narrative above. Its the Anniversary of an Important Event... Maybe everyone in the village is celebrating the anniversary of [event], and that's why everyone is in the Tavern to start the game! (Gotta start the campaign in a Tavern. Its in the D&D bylaws). But the Villain's goal is to Grow Corruption? Well, sounds like the villain is doing something nasty and bad to the village. They are a Cultist, so not surprising, and not something I need to worry too much about at this point to finish the first dungeon. As far as 'Slay a Specific Monster,' that can just be a bounty on some creature in the wilderness or a side room they don't need to enter. But why would the Villain be in the dungeon in the first place? We need to know more about the dungeon itself.
- Dungeon Creator (10): Giants
- Dungeon Cults (6): Elemental Earth Cult
- Dungeon Original Purpose (20): Treasure Vault
- Dungeon History (3): Abandoned by Creators
It is the Annual Festival of the Comet and the players are in the Tavern celebrating with their fellow townsfolk. People are in good humor, though a number of people have gone missing these last few months, more than could be accounted for by beasts in the woods or getting lost gathering food. Suddenly, the player's childhood friend, Lagertha, rushes into the Tavern in tears. She is frantic and starts begging anyone to help her find Thurston, her Uncle and town Archaeologist. He hasn't returned since he went to the old 'Goshen Tunnel' outside of town last night to explore what he told her was "An extraordinary find!" No one has seen him since, so she went out there today and could find no sign of him. Are you a Bad Enough Dude to rescue the Archaeologist?
Now, to randomly generate the map and treasure! I didn't write down my rolls while I was drawing it as I was running out of time before my players showed up, but I do have the map I ended up with (I took this pic after running the game, so it has all my notes on it, like where one character died, what artifacts the players sold vs. kept, etc.):
But after all that, I still needed to shoehorn in something that justifies the epic title I came up with for this adventure: Chronicles of the Vorpal Chainsword, Episode 1: Carnage of the Blade Demons! Let's see, we've got a Humanoid Cultist, Ancient Giants, and Advanced Atlantean Technology....of course! ... ROBOTS!
|Yes, I like to draw the monsters the players are going to encounter, because then the monsters can be as weird-looking as I want.|
Of course at the climax the PCs will enter the room just as the Chum-droid burrows up through the chest of the villager they were sent to save, extracting the precious soul-minerals from his blood and spraying gore everywhere.
But what about the rest of the dungeon? Well, I decided that "Grumpkins" will be the ones that have been burrowing tunnels and revealing small sections of the larger Atlantean Giants dungeon. What's a Grumpkin? Well, its like a Goblin, except its naked and burrows easily through earth. Okay, basically, its a Goblin. But I never use a creature's Monster Manual name in my games, as all monsters have their own ridiculous names given to them by the locals. Also, that way I can mess with a creature's abilities and no rules-lawyer can call foul on me.
I also had the Tavern patrons let the characters know about a bounty on Skitter-snatchers, and to watch out for Weevil-Wasps in the forest before going to the dungeon (to which one of the players exclaimed: "Weevil-whats?!"). I never explained what a Weevil-Wasp was for sure. Just to keep them on edge.
|Hey, I said Grumpkins were naked, didn't I? You're lucky, the picture the players saw wasn't pixelated.|
|The Monk character dies to an ancient Atlantean Trap in the first room!|
|A mysterious Ranger who had been secretly following the PCs helps out in the nick of time...totally unrelated to the dead Monk's player making a new character.|
|The Grumpkin Tunnels.|
|The Skitter-Snatcher Lair (w/ Treasure Hoard 1)|
|Lair of the Blade Demons! (w/ Treasure Hoard 2)|