8 Adventure Hooks: The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 6, 2012

Sometimes the easiest way for the DM to get the PCs to bite on an adventure hook is to just have them be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Events unfold whether the PCs choose to get involved or not, but simply being there puts them in the heart of the situation. Through their own actions (or inactions) they become part of the encounter. Clever PCs may decide that getting involved isn’t their problem, but experience teaches most players that if they don’t step in early, things can quickly get out of hand.

8 Adventure Hooks – The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

  1. The PCs are visiting a remote town and are staying at a local castle. As lucky would have it, a banquet is scheduled to take place a few days after the PCs arrive. Unbeknownst to the PCs a tribe of nomads were invited to dinner as a gesture of goodwill to keep the peace with these potentially wild and often violent barbarians. The PCs have history with these nomads and simply being in the same room will likely lead to an unpleasant confrontation.
  2. The PCs need to cross a great chasm and circumventing it will take weeks. As they hug the chasm’s edge they discover a group of engineers building a bridge to cross the chasm and it’s nearly completed. If the PCs help, the work will be done even faster. Using the bridge will save the PCs many days of unnecessary travel. However, this bridge will allow raiders from the other side of the chasm easy access to unprotected villages nearby. Do the PCs allow the bridge to be completed? Do they use it and then destroy it?
  3. While visiting a country where slavery is legal, the PCs recognize a slave as a missing member of the royal family. There is a great reward being offered for her safe return. If her identity becomes known her life will be in danger and it will give these people a powerful bargaining chip against the King that the PCs serve. Do the PCs take any immediate action or do they make future plans for a rescue? Do they risk talking to the slave and telling her they know who she is?
  4. A small boat with two passengers washes ashore. The castaways claim they are survivors of a ship that sank days earlier. It doesn’t take long for the PCs to realize that the mannerisms, dialogue, and knowledge of these survivors indicates they aren’t who they say they are nor were they residents of the country they claim to call home. Do the PCs press the issue or continue to provide aid as the survivors recover?
  5. A hero arrives in town wearing armor and wielding weapons of people the PCs know. This hero claims his gear was found in a monster’s lair. If that’s true then what happened to the people who used to own these items? Are they dead or the victims of robbery? Did this hero kill them, steal their equipment or find them as he claims? Do the PCs attempt to claim ownership on any of the items on behalf of the previous owner’s families?
  6. A mediator is brought in to settle a brutal conflict between warring nations. The mediator is accompanied by a burley bodyguard. When the bodyguard is killed the mediator reveals to the PCs that the he and the bodyguard had actually reversed roles to protect the mediator from assassins. The bodyguard is a good actor but is not capable of carrying out the negotiations. Do the PCs help him complete the mission or do they come clean? News of the mediators death could plunge the nations back into war for years to come.
  7. A few weeks ago two drunken Dwarven brothers claim ownership of the only bridge that connects two nearby trade villages. They demands payment from all who want to cross. The locals find the tolls annoying but not excessive so they pay. Are the PCs willing to pay? The brothers may be drunk most of the time but they are significantly more powerful than the PCs.
  8. The heroes find a wounded dog. The wounded animal stays near the PCs whether they offer aid or not. Days later, after the dog is on the mend, a man shows up and wants his dog back. He claims he attacked the dog because at the time it was possessed by an evil spirit. He has a reputation for treating people and animals poorly. Do the PCs let him take the dog when it’s clear that he’ll likely hurt it again?
    [Usually this guy is just a jerk. This time he’s actually telling the truth. The dog was, and still is, possessed by a powerful demon.]

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1 James Bryant February 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I love these hooks. I am going to start having some encounters with nomadic raiders to foreshadow hooks one and two for later.

2 Sunyaku February 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I really like the idea of a talking dire badger. The badger pleads with the PCs to help him break a horrible curse that keeps him trapped in a small section of the forest river, which the PCs happened to wander through. He claims he is running out of trees for food/shelter in this tiny prison, and needs your help to slay the evil Treent that cursed him. If pressed, the badger will reluctantly reveal the trees with the markings that bind him to the area. On a high enough check, the PCs may learn that the enchantment is intended to contain a demon. Yes, the demon was polymorphed into a badger, and this is the punishment that will gnaw at him for all eternity. On the off chance the PCs discover the ruse, the badger will attack them, but this should be a very very hard DC for heroic tier. If slain, the badger is eventually revived automatically. If the PCs unwittingly slay the treent and break the magical seals, the badger takes on a slightly more demonic form (as the polymorph begins to wear off) and flees the area, for the PCs to hunt down in a later adventure.

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