DW "Adventurable" treasure, Arabian Nights-style?
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  1. #1

    "Adventurable" treasure, Arabian Nights-style?

    Hey all! I'm finally dipping my toes into the forbidden waters of DMing (technically my second time, but it's really a rebuild of the first time with a different group). Dungeon World seemed like a good place to start with lots of new players and myself new to DMing. The two groups I've run have put together a fun Arabian Nights setting, and now we're exploring its mysteries. I have a tendency to over-think things, so I'm really trying NOT to, while still having the hooks for future story. Being very new to DMing, though, I figure it can't hurt to look for advice on what kinds of treasure to give if I want them to be adventure hooks in themselves, so I'll list the classes my players are running and what ideas I've had thus far. I gave the group a bit of a big haul for their first adventure to whet their appetites and give them yet another "front" (acquiring goodies/getting stronger to face their other threats!) to deal with.

    1. Wizard. Contemplative, but the player can be a bit of a spanner in the works as well. Has emphasized meditation and (because the char is human) can cast a Cleric spell--which is a Big Deal in-setting, it's just not widely known that he can do that. Also has some views on the origin and nature of magic that influential fellow wizards don't like very much. The treasure I've given him is a scrying sphere, about the size of a tangerine, which responds to his efforts at meditating and developing his magical senses; using it will give visions of other places with their own scrying stones, and sometimes flickers of someone *else* watching back. There have also been several spell scrolls, some of which are spells I invented and thus can be used to expand the Wizard's repertoire beyond the default Wizard spells.

    2. Druid. Torn between aggression and wisdom, still pretty young, ejected from his tribe when his power-hungry brother took over and fought him. Player is very new to D&D so it's hard to predict him. My read is that the character is looking for a purpose or reason to his life. Found a "staff" in an ancient alchemist's lab...a staff made of living acacia wood. He's spoken to it with his druid powers and is very excited by the prospect that it was once something greater than it is, and that he may be able to repair it if he can learn more about it. It's an ancient druid scythe--which can be attuned to the sect of the Sun or of the Moon (what these mean is TBD!) by attaching the appropriate moonstone or sunstone blade with a fitting material (e.g. the preserved sinew of a hydra?) in an appropriate place of druid power. For now, it's living wood, made for druid use, and thus offers some minor benefits whether or not he's shapeshifted.

    3. Bard. A bon vivant tempered by years of living among the desert nomad tribes. Had some shady contacts in his youth, but (mostly...) left them behind when his family finally hit it big in the textile business, around the time when he was old enough to go to a proper school. Creative and amiable, but quite willing to knock some sense into someone if they won't listen. Player has taken a HUGE shine to a paper dragon (origami sculpture, around the size of a dog), but is also very curious about the strange, dried-out pigments found in the alchemy lab. They are a set of Marvelous Pigments that need to be restored with an appropriate alchemical agent. What, exactly, that agent is and how to acquire it will be part of the adventure! The paper dragon is in some sense like a genie, and it comes from the faraway lands where dragons are common and the spirit of one might be bound to such an object. If the group can learn the secrets of the dragon, each player can ask for a boon once per year (resetting on the summer solstice)--knowledge, power, wealth, etc. The dragon's magic is finite, but strong.

    4. Ranger. Child of a loveless marriage between an orc chieftain's eldest son and a local well-to-do merchant's daughter...forced by (essentially) blackmail pressure, to reveal that the merchant had used the tribe's raids to enrich himself enough to do business on his own. Formerly petulant and rebellious, now survivalist and rebellious: wants to bring the nomads back to the Old Ways (even if he doesn't really know what all the Old Ways *are*), and is brave/stupid/ambitious enough that, coupled with his bloodline, he has a shot. Found a bow in a secret compartment of the alchemy lab. I'm thinking it's one piece of an ancient tribal regalia set; by itself, it is merely a high-quality bow that (somehow) usually doesn't break arrows fired from it (allows a roll to recover spent ammunition). Each piece of the regalia should be useful in itself (e.g. a turban that, when unwound while speaking a command word, transforms into silk rope of up to 500' length, or a banner which provides morale benefits when seen by allies), but they all become a little more powerful the more of them are borne by a single person. Given the character's interests, I'm also eyeing stuff like discovering an abandoned secret base in the wastes or attracting the loyalty of a tribal/mercenary band.

    5. Barbarian. Comes from far to the west, from the steppe beyond the western mountains, at least two months' journeying by riverboat and horse; has come to this land to learn of it, and to bring back what wealth and resources he can. Player is both very new and VERY VERY much a Timmy: he's happiest when he's breaking things, changing things, or just generally at the center of the mayhem. First treasure they've found is a set of alchemically-wrought laminated paper armor; I'm still trying to come up with a feature it should have above/beyond "it's light, but offers heavy-armor protection." I have some nice double axes with a fiery enchantment that I think he'll be able to win if he can defeat a brutal exiled criminal from his homeland (he may be a barbarian, but he has a strong honorable streak).

    I welcome and appreciate any comments on what I have here, as well as suggestions for new treasures, new places where treasures might be found, or ideas for hooks I can throw to the party for *them* to find out what's out there in the mysterious desert.

  2. #2
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    Well one of the most obvious things to include would be a genie. I recently introduced a genie in my own campaign, with a unique twist: The genie wants to grant wishes, and serve her master as best she can. She does not want to be freed from her lamp, and whenever you make a wish, the wish has to come from somewhere. Maybe you can use her in your campaign:

    Sahastra the Genie
    The female genie called Sahastra, lives inside a copper lamp. When rubbed, the lamp summons her. And when knocked on, the lamp welcomes you into her palace if she wants (which is a pocket dimension inside the lamp). Sahastra is a being aligned to both air and sand. She is the embodiment of the desert, and all her spells and weapons seem to form out of sand.

    Sahastra is entertained by the obsession of mortals over material things, which she considers just mere sand castles. She surrounds herself with wealth and jewelry, but attaches no real value to any of those things. She offers food and water for free to whoever holds her lamp, but can grant only 3 wishes per person. Sahastra also offers counsel and advise on the topic of wishes, as she always wants to provide the best of service. She ensures that her customers are well informed, so they don't phrase their wishes poorly.

    Saagarkaret
    Sahastra’s world within the lamp. In this realm she has created her own paradise, where she is lord and mistress. A magnificent golden palace stands in an endless desert. The blue sky above gradually turns to copper the more you look up. Right above you, you can see the opening of the lamp, and if you long for it, you are outside again in an instant. In the palace there are many pools of beautiful clear water, while perfectly tanned servants attend to every need of both the Genie and her guests. It is no surprise that Sahastra has no intention to leave her lamp.

    The rules of wishing
    Sahastra has a couple of very important rules for her wishes. First of all, she can only grant material things. She cannot give superpowers, eternal life, god-like powers, or more wishes. Her wishes must come from somewhere. If you wish for a castle, someone else loses a castle… and they might come for it. If you wish for a ship, someone else loses a ship. She prefers not to intrude on the territory of other wish fulfilling beings. She does not grant items that grant more wishes, or deliver yet another lamp that has a genie in it. And last but not least, she cannot take on higher powers than herself. She cannot destroy a god, or kill a dragon with a wish. And she cannot take a life directly (she can however fight to protect the owner of the lamp). The consequences of a wish should be yours to bare, not hers. As a free service she provides counsel, and allows her clients to visit her world within the lamp (although she could banish them if she wanted). It is part of her work ethic to not double cross her current client, and to not purposefully misinterpret poorly phrased wishes. If a wish is badly phrased, she will provided advise on how to phrase it better. The rule of 3 wishes is permanent and binding. Nothing will renew the wishes once they have been made. Once three wishes have been made, Sahastra may choose to have the lamp vanish and appear in the hands of someone else. She may allow you to pass the lamp along to a friend, as long as the lamp passes to a new customer.
    Last edited by Imaculata; Friday, 18th May, 2018 at 09:40 AM.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
    Well one of the most obvious things to include would be a genie. I recently introduced a genie in my own campaign, with a unique twist: The genie wants to grant wishes, and serve her master as best she can. She does not want to be freed from her lamp, and whenever you make a wish, the wish has to come from somewhere. Maybe you can use her in your campaign:

    Sahastra the Genie
    The female genie called Sahastra, lives inside a copper lamp. When rubbed, the lamp summons her. And when knocked on, the lamp welcomes you into her palace if she wants (which is an interdimensional space inside the lamp). Sahastra is a being aligned to both air and sand. She is the embodiment of the desert, and all her spells and weapons seem to form out of sand.

    Sahastra is entertained by the obsession of mortals of material things, which she considers just mere sand castles. She surrounds herself with wealth and jewelry, but attaches no real value to any of those things. She offers food and water for free to whoever holds her lamp, but can grant only 3 wishes per person. Sahastra also offers counsel and advise on the topic of wishes, as she always wants to provide the best of service. She ensures that her customers are well informed, so they don't phrase their wishes poorly.

    Saagarkaret
    Sahastra’s world within the lamp. In this realm she has created her own paradise, where she is lord and mistress. A magnificent golden palace stands in an endless desert. The blue sky above gradually turns to copper the more you look up. Right above you, you can see the opening of the lamp, and if you long for it, you are outside again in an instant. In the palace there are many pools of beautiful clear water, while perfectly tanned servants attend to every need of both the Genie and her guests. It is no surprise that Sahastra has no intention to leave her lamp.

    The rules of wishing
    Sahastra has a couple of very important rules for her wishes. First of all, she can only grant material things. She cannot give superpowers, eternal life, god-like powers, or more wishes. Her wishes must come from somewhere. If you wish for a castle, someone else loses a castle… and they might come for it. If you wish for a ship, someone else loses a ship. She prefers not to intrude on the territory of other wish fulfilling beings. She does not grant items that grant more wishes, or deliver yet another lamp that has a genie in it. And last but not least, she cannot take on higher powers than herself. She cannot destroy a god, or kill a dragon with a wish. And she cannot take a life directly (she can however fight to protect the owner of the lamp). The consequences of a wish should be yours to bare, not hers. As a free service she provides counsel, and allows her clients to visit her world within the lamp (although she could banish them if she wanted). It is part of her work ethic to not double cross her current client, and to not purposefully misinterpret poorly phrased wishes. If a wish is badly phrased, she will provided advise on how to phrase it better. The rule of 3 wishes is permanent and binding. Nothing will renew the wishes once they have been made. Once three wishes have been made, Sahastra may choose to have the lamp vanish and appear in the hands of someone else. She may allow you to pass the lamp along to a friend, as long as the lamp passes to a new customer.
    I love it! Thank you very much.

  4. #4
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    I'm running dw at the moment.

    I try to stay one session ahead of the players only - and prepare for my plans to change.

    Over prepping can kill it, but there is a way to cheat.

    You can prep micro events, npc overviews, and a few monsters and the like. You might not know when to use them, but having them in the pocket to pull out when it seems appropriate can be a life saver.

    For example:
    Hasrid al mahdi. Merchant prince - charming, brash, wears colorful clothing. instinct: to gain power by making connections with important people.

    Hasrid above might be a good or a bad guy depending on how the players interact. You let them decide that. If you need a merchant or a noble in your story - hasrid shows up. Maybe if the pcs come across as powerful and influential he'll try to make friends. If they present as nobodies or as a threat, he'll try and hinder them, or worse.

    Make a half dozen of these guys and you're pretty much set. Make the players make another 1 or 2 themselves and you've got a lot of npcs to work with.

    Same for monsters. Example:
    Giant scorpion, horde, aggressive - HP8 Armor 2 dmg 1d8 - instinct: to hunt for food - move: to paralyze with poison from tail.

    Youve got a monster that agressively attacks in large groups, has a tough chitin making it absorb damage and can paralyse characters to devour them.

    I know that aint news to you as I'm sure youve read the book. But personally i find the instincts the most important. If these guys hunt for food for example, you can put them in whem they seem appropriate. Maybe the party are camping in the desert, and so you can look up your notes and through 8 of these at them. Maybe they're in a market and you want to change the pace and a group of 20 storm the town. Suddenly everyone is wondering why these creatures have taken such a risk to come i to civilisation. Surely something must be driving them there...this could then lead onto another direction for everyone.

    This is the part i like the most. Ive had inconsequential nocs become pivotal parts of the plot and good guys become villains because it suited the storyline better. Ive had a peaceful ceremony interrupted by fire cultists and pirate fights interrupted by humanitarian efforts. I just didnt know any of that at the time.

    Hope that helps.
    Everything I say is my opinion, and that's a fact.

  5. #5
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    By the way, a good book for inspiration would be the 3.x book Sandstorm. It contains a lot of fun rules for environmental hazards, such as of course sandstorms, but also dehydration. It also contains various supernatural hazards for a desert climate.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by CubicsRube View Post
    This is the part i like the most. Ive had inconsequential nocs become pivotal parts of the plot and good guys become villains because it suited the storyline better. Ive had a peaceful ceremony interrupted by fire cultists and pirate fights interrupted by humanitarian efforts. I just didnt know any of that at the time.

    Hope that helps.
    I definitely appreciate the advice, and will do what I can to follow it. I'm trying hard to avoid over-preparation; that's why the main things I've offered to the party have been "adventurable treasure" rather than defining factions in the world or the like. That is, treasure is...itself, at least in my mind. I'm not really privileging any particular way of doing things except "hey, this is a thing you can investigate, and try to make better/more useful." So, for example, the Marvelous Pigments? I have no idea how they're going to be restored. That's something the party has to figure out, and if they're indiscreet, they may attract unwanted attention (trying to include social dangers as well as physical ones).

    I haven't even given a single thought to the other cities out in the region--they're there, and we know at least one person is alive out in one of them, but I'm leaving all of that to impromptu discovery-in-play and the like. Which is super hard and scary for me! I hate not knowing things, it's...not my way. But for the sake of the game, I'm trying. (For example, when the Druid took Thing-Talker to ask questions of his new, living-wood 'staff,' I had an impromptu flash of inspiration when he asked if it had anything to say, and had it respond, "Do you serve the sun, or the moon?" Which has introduced a seed for radically new adventures I had never considered before.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
    By the way, a good book for inspiration would be the 3.x book Sandstorm. It contains a lot of fun rules for environmental hazards, such as of course sandstorms, but also dehydration. It also contains various supernatural hazards for a desert climate.
    I've taken a look at it. I suspect it will mostly be useful as an idea-generator for environmental hazards, more than anything else. Still, I'm pretty sure stuff from it will show up at some point.
    XP CubicsRube, Imaculata gave XP for this post

  7. #7
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    Itsa system that really pushes improv. It is good for learning, even if you decide in the end it's not your style (which is perfectly fine)
    Everything I say is my opinion, and that's a fact.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by EzekielRaiden View Post
    I haven't even given a single thought to the other cities out in the region--they're there, and we know at least one person is alive out in one of them, but I'm leaving all of that to impromptu discovery-in-play and the like. Which is super hard and scary for me! I hate not knowing things, it's...not my way. But for the sake of the game, I'm trying. (For example, when the Druid took Thing-Talker to ask questions of his new, living-wood 'staff,' I had an impromptu flash of inspiration when he asked if it had anything to say, and had it respond, "Do you serve the sun, or the moon?" Which has introduced a seed for radically new adventures I had never considered before.)
    It can be kinda scary, but in my experience often some of the most compelling plot lines evolve from a sudden impromptu bit of inspiration.

    On the topic of cities though, I prefer to prepare at least a list of names that I can plunder whenever I need one. In my current sandbox pirate campaign, exploring the vast jungles of uncharted islands is an important element of the game play. That means that the players can stumble upon an uncharted city or village that wasn't on the map before. It helps if I already have a few names ready, so the city at least has a convincing name.

    I sometimes do the same with characters. For example, when the druid in the party started interacting a lot with fey, I made myself a nice list of cool sounding fey-names. So whenever I had to improvise a fey-npc, I would have a good name to go along with it.

    Maybe that's because I know I'm really bad at improvising names for characters and locations. I'm not satisfied with just 'a name'. I want them to sound cool.

    Why the city is there, and who lives there, is something I then improvise.
    Last edited by Imaculata; Wednesday, 23rd May, 2018 at 02:15 PM.
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