Npc’s

This will probably be a short post about Npc’s and how I handle them.

Regardless of the system you use most npc’s dont need to be full fleshed out going into a game. Just the basic idea of them and the important part is that they do not steal the show.

I always bring a notebook to write down anything that comes up with npc’s such as brief background or motivation and if something comes up during the session I jot it down so that their story is consistent.

It never fails that you spend hours developing npc’s to only have them never used to the potential you planned for and on the other hand a random npc’s get more attention than you expected. Just go along with it. Some of the best and most memorable npc’s come from these events.

For stat blocks I tend to just make them up as I go. If for some random reason the group decides that its important to battle a random npc’s or if that npc’s is brought in to combat for whatever reason you can alway use the monster manual and pull some generic stat blocks or you can have fun with it and just make it up on the fly.

There is no right or wrong way to do this but for continuity take notes. This will create a more believable world for you and your players.

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Hooks and getting the quest together

Hooks

An important part of starting any adventure or quest is giving a reason to even go. The motivation behind the adventure. Something to get the party hooked.

This greatly depends upon the people you are trying to motivate. Are they seeking treasures to increase their wealth, glory and renown or maybe it’s something personal.

Knowing the characters and what motivates them will help hook them in without railroading them towards a goal you want them to.

Let’s look at the background stories I have developed for a future adventure. Cole has become lost after attempting to steal an artifact. Now I could easily just state that the group knew him and has personal intrest in bringing him home to his now orphaned children. Perhaps a member of the group was orphaned as well and doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else. Maybe the children or a family member pooled together a reward for finding their father/family member.

Let’s say the group are complete strangers and they each need motivation and a reason to come together. With this and not knowing my future members I will develop a blanket hook and then cater it to the group as I find out what they would motivate them to search for Cole.

Our current blanket hook

We will start with the idea that the group is all in Arkala, our fictional city. Cole is now missing and Bhomin, our villain, is devising another plan to get the artifact.

Bhomin will create some chaos to ensure the town is not ready for his next attempt. The dream I gave Hartwell about the oncoming dust storm will be just that. A dust storm comes in bringing all the outlying areas of farmers and smaller villages to seek refuge in the Arkala. This will create a need to pool resources for the refugees.

This gives a few options for where our group comes from. Are they a refugee? A guard in the city? Maybe a student at the University?

When the city’s resources are spread thin Bhomin will stage an attack on the town, this can bring a group together by making them survive together.

Where to go from here

Now that we brought the party together with an event its about how to get them to want to pursue our villain and continue the story. This gives us options based on the events of the attack. Did the group succeed in preventing the attack and thwart Bhomin in his attempt to get the artifact. Then maybe now Bhomin plans for another attack or if money is a motivation maybe Bhomin’s identity is hidden and he offers the group riches to acquire the artifact. Maybe the group, through investigations finds out what is happening and works to prevent it from happening again.

Now on the other hand say they fail, and Bhomin is able to retrieve the artifact. Motivation could be saving the world or retrieving it for the groups own nefarious reasons. The options are endless and when it comes to this its about being flexible and working with the group you have.

Let’s say they still don’t care enough to stop him and go off doing something else. What would happen if Bhomin succeeded in awakening Y’thcal is it really that bad?

Having an idea of all the possible outcomes or even just coming up with them on the fly is a way to making an excellent story and a fun experience for the players as well as the DM. Trying to force a specific path generally means a blah story.

Happy questing!

A wizard and a box

So now for another peice of the puzzle. Perhaps the last. We have a thief, a cult leader of sorts and now the person who was robbed.


Professor Hartwell was a long time resident and professor at Arkala University. He taught the art of medicine and healing. His heart was alway in the study of occult. When he wasn’t teaching he was in the library.

In his personal studies he found a small ornate box that contained an item that was thought to belong to a cult that worshipped old long forgotten deities. Hartwell did not know the importance of this item only that it was used in some sort of ritual.

There is very little writing about these old gods and what they were about. Hartwell found the little remaining extremely fascinating but also terrifying. Ties between these gods and creatures like the illithids have been found but no real evidence.

Some believe that this is where the warlocks get their power from. The “old ones”. Hartwell could neither prove or deny any of this but in his studies the name Y’thcal is often referred.

He knew this item may be sought after so he placed a powerful enchantment on the box containing the relic.

Hartwell’s dreams have been plagued by visions of a dust storm that engulfs all of Arkala.


Thank you.

Trying to tie things together

As for the last post this one is less of a short story and more ramblings of a mad man who stays up to late reading. I wanted to leave it up to the story tellers in all of us to find the fate of “Cole”.

Here is just me messing around with some ideas like before names and titles are not as important as the story itself being able to life ones own fantasy within the story.

The next little part is more or less derived from my obsession with horror and fantasy. Taking ideas from Lovecraft and adding them to flesh out a universe in which I can dream of the unimaginable or whatever. I give you

How to summon the old gods.


Bhomin, after finally gathering the final artifact to awaken Y’thcal, arranged the peices to form a large shrine. Bhomin has prepared for this ritual for a long time.

Y’thcal was one of the oldest beings, certainly the most powerful. But his children did not agree with his methods. His children have long since been forgotten in most realms and their children now reside in the under realms.

It started with subtle dreams for Bhomin. The dreams became more frequent and intense with each passing night. Soon he became obsessed with Y’thcal. He could no longer tell what was dream or reality. When Bhomin got his hands on the vile Tome of Ulcostic. Everything became clear.

The Tome of Ulcostic was a book full of essays, ramblings, crude sketches and letters involving creatures not of our known universe. Many of these articles signed by someone named Bilefikch. The name Y’thcal can be found in many articles of the tome.

Bhomin was unsuccessful with his ritual because one artifact was missing. It can be found in the town of Arkala. A professor at the Arkala University is said to have it.

Bhomin enlists a desperate father to enter this professor’s home and retrieve the artifact. He offers Cole a life where his children will want for nothing ever again.


The idea here was to be able to give the adventures something to question. Who is the villain? Is there even one? Is Y’thcal a benevolent being or the bringer of end times?

There is room for improv here. The adventure of discovery awaits…

Happy adventures!

Grimm Pathfinder: The new tale of snow white

Here is a first of many posts based off my new campaign. The next few posts will be going more into depth on the plots in the campaign I am currently running.

This is possibly the main plot and antagonist of the campaign. Snow White, or as my players have named her, White Snow, has been locked away. The party is unaware of the Evil that has been locked away with her. I have made the dwarves from the tale, evil minions that are set out to get the princess free.

Their main objective is to convince a group of adventurers to free the princess. While yes the dwarves might beable to free her themselves, what fun would that be? So they play as if they are but only miners and they need the help of stong warriors and that stuff. I wanted to intruduce the party to the dwarves without just saying 7 stout dwarves approach you. So what better way to intruduce the party to both eachother and to a group of dwarves than a drunken bar fight? Nothing, exactly.

The dwarves plant some object on the trail and watch to see if anyone picks it up. They then use this as a way to “strike up” a conversation. While this could have gone multiple ways depending on how the group or player wanted to handle being accused of theft. It went the way I had figured it would. A fight broke out between a few of the dwarves and a few of the PC’s. Then it turned into an all out brawl until the authorities finally came to break up the fight. Nothing like setting part of the tavern on fire brings the town guard.

The eldest of the dwarves appologizes for the brawl and says that the dwarves have been alittle hot headed after finding out that a certain princess had been wrongfully imprisoned by her “evil” step mother. He was rather convincing as the party, despite being somewhat disbelieving, decided well lets help out. There is coin, glory and a beautiful damsel! That’s what quests are all about.

The dwarves and the players sat down and discussed a plan of action. They way I had somewhat wanted it to go happened. The party would wait two weeks to strike the prison when a majority of the guards would be an the Kings funeral. This gave the party two weeks of down time to do some minor adventuring to build up some fame with the locals and get some treasures that should help out with rescuing the princess.

They party also came up with some other interesting ideas on how they would rescue the princess. Some said lets not wait, lets walk our undergeared level one behinds straight to a heavely guarded prison bust out into then out of the prison, leaving chaos in our wake. That went against a few of the other party members alignments so that was out of the question. There was a question about hiring a rogue to help sneak them in and do this very stealthfully, but unfortunatly a majority of the group was not the stealthy type. The final option before they decided on just waiting until the guards numbers where lower, was to get arrested and while in the prison try and break everyone out including the princess. This last idea was probably the most enticing. I contemplated letting them do this just to do an amazing prison break in a good based campaign. I could think of plenty of ways to roleplay this out. Guards that are on the side of the princess could help out. Maybe the dwarves could deliver a cake with a pickaxe in it. Who knows? But it would have been amazing and this might even still happen.

So once the Princess has been rescued, this is where a lot of improv will come in. She may disapear and comeback later to be a menace or if the party realizes their mistake right away she may just then do something to escape and then become an enemy. I’m still working on this part. I do know I want her to be an witch or a sorcerees.

Anyway, only the first part has really been completed in the campaign. Right now the group is trying to get prepared by following up on some rumors and making a bit of gold and gathering treasure in order to have a successful prison break.

Any feedback or suggestions would be tremendous.

Grimm Pathfinder Part 2

So Like I said in the last post, this will be about the plot hooks I have developed so far. I’ll try and give a brief description of each one and then maybe in future posts eleborate on the entire plot.

The Main Plot

So why exactly are the party members together, who is the main antagonist in this story. Why none other than Snow White. I have done my best to use diferent names. I found a nice anagram creator for making names for the fairy tale names. The story begins with the Death of Snow White’s father. Everyone from the Kingdom and naughboring Kingdoms have come to mourn the loss of the King. The group of adventures were told that part of their backstory was they were to be traveling to a small village outside of the palace. Starryhallow. They where to meet in the tavern there. A group of dwarves (seven of them) pleaded with anyone in the tavern to assist with rescuing a wrongfully imprissoned princess (Snow White) from her evil step mother. In this story Snow White is an evil sorcerer and the Queen was only trying to protect the land. Snow Whites minions (the seven dwarves) try to recruit the PC’s into rescuing the princess.

They offer sugestions to the party like. The funeral would be the prime time to strike the queens dungeon as it will be least guarded. While the party has come up with other ideas, like how can they sneak or disguise or even get sent to the prison Snow White is held in to attempt to break her out. While I have had to think of ways to play out any path the decide to take the main focus is for either the party or someone else to break out the princess. If the decide it is to dangerous. She will eventually break free. Then the terror will rain down upon the entire kingdom. Or atleast thats the plan.

Sub Plots: (These sub plots can be played in anyorder really I just have to adjust the NPC’s based on what level the party is. I have given them plenty of things to investigate, since they showed up to the town a month prior to the funeral.)

This one was based on Red riding hood. But with the same theme, I want who the party would expect to be the good guy be the bad guy and yes I know I can’t do this with every story or they would meta game and know who the villian would be. So this one starts with rumors around the town that the old lady and her grand daughter have been complaining about wolfs around their cottage in the woods.

By the time the party gets to the cottage Grandma has already been eaten by “the wolf” and this is similar to the version seen in “Once Upon a Time” where the red riding hood is a wolf. In this case she is a werewolf. Either while in the home or just outside of it, the party is ambushed by wolfs. The party can either track the wolfs to a cave were Red Riding Hood is hiding out after murdering her grandmother. Or she will eventually get paranoid and try and get rid of any witnesses.

I have another one based on Cinderella, She is a insane (literally) druid who attacks with her birds. Her Stepmother and Stepsisters attempt to lock her up but the party could hear rumors and attempt to investigate this. Causing Cinderalla to unleash her wrath on her family and then possibly the town.

The next one and final one I have writen right now is based on Hansel and Gretel. This time Hansel and Gretel are not the bad guys, well not intentionally. The witch in the candy house has performed some dark ritual on the childern turning them in the little imps maybe? I had the original idea of them being Goblins, but we will see.

I started roughly on a pied pipep story where, he is a wererat and he lores children into the woods to be devoured by his rats and himself. It was just a though. I still have a long way to go.

Any feed back would be awesome. I really want this to work out and become an epic tale.

Grimm Pathfinder Game Part 1

So it has been an extremely long time since I last posted anything. I have just been extremely busy with work, the new baby and other things. During the last time I posted, I had really gotten into playing more tabletop games than computer games. So I really haven’t been playing DDO at all.

I enjoy writing and playing out stories. I also enjoy DMing Tabletop games. I was playing a lot of D&D 3.5 and those familiar with DDO know the basic rules of that system. The problem with that is that there is so many extra books ad rules that are completely unbalanced. I had a warrior with an infinate attack combo, and other players that could devistate creatures way above the recomended CR(Chalange Rating). I soon switched over to Pathfinder and it to has its flaws just like anyother game, but it has been a whole lot easier to balance fun and challenges along with keeping an interesting story. You can do this with 3.5 edition but i have just been enjoying the changes made to Pathfinder and it has made for a very enjoyable game.

I ran a few premade adventure paths. They are just campaigns already balanced and designed for four players. I really enjoyed the “Carrion Crown” AP. It was a horror themed campaign and it was fun throughout the entire adventure. But it wasn’t something I could really turn into my own story. It had predesigned encounters and everything was linear. The party was given a very specific mission and they were more or less guided by me down this story. I was able to change a few of the fights, as a few of them were redundant.

So I ventured out took a small break from gaming and was watching some TV. Suddenly I found myself inspired by the TV series “Once Upon A Time”. I said I could make a campaign based on fairy tales. I went to the drawing board. I didn’t want to go by the “Disney” versions of the fairy tales. So I started reading the original Grimms Brothers versions. They were gresome almost more of a horror story than the happy stories you saw as a child.

I decided that I would make this a horror campaign, with running a horror AP, I had a good idea on how to create that sense of suspense and horror. Now I just had to figure out who would be my antagonists, what would be the adventurers goal in the campaign. What if your clasic heroes were actually the villians?

I might end this post here and pick up in a few with the current plot hooks I have developed than in the third part a basic introduction to the setting and where the characters are at now. So that maybe I can recap and figure out ways to improve the campaign as a whole.