When I first got into comic books back in the early 80s I couldn’t get enough Spider-man and Batman. As far as my 10-year-old self knew, Marvel and DC were the only companies making comics. So when I first saw a copy of Elf Quest in my cousin’s comic collection I was curious. Here was this black and white comic that was the same size as a magazine. It didn’t feature superheroes but it was full of fantasy creatures like the ones I’d read about in the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. Could it be that I’d discovered an overlapping of my two geekiest hobbies? Absolutely!
Throughout April Dungeon’s Master is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge is to write a new article ever day in April, excluding Sundays. That’s 26 articles over the course of the month. To make things even more interesting the title of each article will begin with a different letter of the alphabet. This year we’ve decided that every article will be provide our readers with new adventure hooks. Today “E” is for Elf Quest as we draw inspiration from one of my favourite comics to come up with today’s adventure hooks.
Elf Quest began as an independent comic series created and illustrated by Wendy and Richard Pini. The original story spanned 21 issues and featured a tribe of Elves called the Wolfriders. After being displaced from their home, the Wolfriders discovered that they were not alone and that there were other tribes of Elves scattered around the world. The Wolfriders’ leader, Cutter, goes on a quest to find other Elves with a hope of uniting them (hence the title: Elf Quest).
In my opinion the original 21-issue run of Elf Quest (readily available in 4 volume graphic novel format) is still one of the best comic series I’ve ever read. If you’re into comics and D&D then you have to give Elf Quest a chance.
I often borrow ideas from my favourite comics when I’m trying to come up with good adventure hooks. Elf Quest is such a great series that I’ve delved into its pages numerous time to find something suitable for my adventures when I need a new idea for an encounter or a campaign arc. Today we’re going to share some of the best ones as we look at adventure hooks inspired by Elf Quest.
Adventure Hooks: Elf Quest
1. The Sword is the Key
A party member wins a sword in a card game. The previous owner is angry at losing such a valuable weapon. During the game he’d bragged about how the Dwarf he’d acquired the weapon from told him the weapon had a long history and was tied to prophecy. Throughout the card game you heard him mumbling under his breath “the sword holds the key” and “the sword is the key” but at the time you assumed it was just nervous mumblings.
[Embedded in the pommel of the sword is an intricate key. It’s unlikely that the sword’s owner can discover this let alone remove it if he does. The Dwarf who forged the sword keeps a close eye on where the sword is and who currently holds it. When a suitable candidate acquires it the weapon smith who forged the sword uses magic to speak to them in their dreams planting a suggestion to come to a hidden underground vault. In the dream he whispers “The sword holds the key; the sword is the key.”]
2. The Lodestone
The party stumbles upon a small band of Elves killed recently. Whomever was responsible for the massacre thoroughly searched the Elves and took everything of value. However, you find a primitive looking stone talisman around the neck of one of the Elves. It doesn’t radiate magic. The necklace holding the talisman seems to be made from braded strands of hair.
[The talisman is a Lodestone. The marked end of the stone will always point north. Elves using the lodestone to navigate get a bonus to related checks. The necklace is indeed made from hair, the hair of each Elf in the deceased party.]
While seeking a route to the surface from the Underdark the party finds an abandoned Dwarven stronghold. It’s uninhabited and looks like fire raved through the stronghold. Using the Dwarves’ exit to the surface the party discovers the forested area outside was also badly burned. A fire raved this area in the last few years. The only plant life that seems to be flourishing are bushes of red berries.
[A fire Elemental got loose from the Dwarven forge and ravaged the small complex killing many Dwarves. The Dwarves fled to the surface but the vengeful Elemental followed, destroying the forest in the process. The surviving Dwarves left the area, but three stayed behind choosing to remain on the surface. The male of the group saved Dreamberry seeds during the fire and has since planted them throughout what’s left of the forest. In the past year they’ve flourished. He’s finally perfected Dreamberry wine and is getting ready to start exporting. He will not be happy to learn adventurers have discovered his Dreamberry patches.]
While adventuring in the forest the PCs discover strange cocoons made of webs. When cut open small wildlife creatures (squirrels, birds, etc.) awaken and flee. While in the cocoon they were alive and apparently unharmed. As the party continues onward they find larger cocoons, easily big enough for a person to be inside. So far there’s no sign of what made the cocoons.
[The cocoons are the result of playful Fey creatures. A group of Pixies discovered a ritual that allows them to encase a sleeping creature in a stasis cocoon. While inside the cocoon the creature remains unharmed, and does not require food or nourishment. They remain in a perfect state of stasis until unwrapped. Some creatures have been here over a century. When the party goes to sleep some of these Fay may try to wrap them in the webs.]
5. Evil Slaves
While following a treasure map through underground passages you come across a mining operation. The miners are Duergar and they are clearly slaves working against their will. The slave masters are Drow (or some other evil subterranean race). Under normal circumstances both groups would be your enemy. To reach your objective you have to pass through the mine. What do you do?
- Elf Quest website
- Band of Brothers: Adventuring Parties of the Same Race
- Exploiting Racial and Class Features: Fey Step
- Exploiting Racial and Class Powers: Elven Accuracy