Ideas for 1st Level Group defending a Basecamp
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  1. #1

    Ideas for 1st Level Group defending a Basecamp

    So I want to run a one-shot (which may become something more) for 1st level adventurers who are employed to defend the campsite / base of a higher level party that go into the dungeon.

    What might disturb the PCs?
    What might the higher level adventurers leave at the camp?
    What temptations might the PCs have in the camp?
    Where would make a great place for a base camp?
    Why might the higher-level group have employed a group of 1st level characters to protect their camp?
    What might happen to the higher-level group of PCs?
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  2. #2
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    Perhaps a rival adventuring company cuts a deal with [insert nearly any sentient monsters] to raid the campsite while the rival company enters the dungeon. You can have supply wagons, animals (even better if you're in a desert, camped at a small oasis, and the animals and supplies are the difference between life and death) and a central campfire. The adventuring company might also have a "tag-along" NPC, someone important who is a [important prisoner they caught along the way / a noble benefactor funding the venture / a princess pretending to be the camp cook in order to escape a pre-arranged marriage]. One of the wagons could have forms of healing and a Raise Dead scroll (the party isn't high enough level to reasonably use it, but it's a potent treasure].

    You can then create perhaps 5 scenarios, with at least half (2) involving non-combat, and a pool of bad guys to carry them out (subtracting losses as you go). I'd have at least 3 distinct bad guy types (e.g. ranged, melee, a single caster). They need to ideally be cowardly or cautious so that their greater numbers still don't encourage them to bull rush the camp (e.g. if they lose 25% in a single attack, it's a disaster and they flee).

    Issue #1: Enemy distracts with skirmish (disengage) attacks on one side of the camp while another moves to set fire to a wagon that doesn't look valuable (e.g. sleeping quarters). [You'll need a set of skill checks or the like to put out a fire and a solid consequence for failure that impacts the rest of the adventure]

    Issue #2: the campfire spooks pack animals. Some of them take off. Those with skills in tracking or animal handling will be needed. Enemy sends a few troops to try and take the loose animals.

    #3: The NPC is recognized for whatever reason as important and they try to have some Sneak into the camp to snatch and grab while others harass.

    #4: The enemy manages to divert a monster (by lure, by harassing it, making a deal, etc) into the camp (a CR 1 maybe). It is irritable but not necessarily looking for a fight. Its presence will cause havoc as enemies try to invade a wagon and make off with goods.

    #5: Grand finale. Whatever is left makes a move on the camp but flees after 25% casualties. If you're at an oasis, use all sorts of subterfuge like some of them trying to stealthily swim or hide behind a tree, etc. You need some to flee into the dungeon (after their benefactors).

    Afterwards: the higher level group uses a spell to send a message to the party. They were attacked by a rival group and one of their members has been slain. One of the enemy has escaped with something valuable and is probably headed their way. The party is given permission to use whatever healing supplies they need if they haven't already. And they give the command word to a home-brew item, a stone called the "refresher" that restores energy as if taking a Full Rest. They recommend entering the dungeon lest the foe escape.

    Now you can stock your dungeon with survivors of the raid as well as any monsters or traps that the adventuring party might have bypassed. Have an open enough plan that it's going to be hard to cover all exits the enemy could take.

    Once the party has succeeded, you could have a scenario where the group needs the Raise Dead scroll (if it survived the raid), and the players might have to run/sneak past some hazards or solve a puzzle with VERY limited clues due to the limited nature of the communication spell being used.
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  3. #3
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    I could imagine opening up as the part sit around a campfire, hirses and pack mules tied up and th ...as t party bedding down for the night.

    The foppish Baron's son Regis and his foolish friend decided to raid a nearby cave of armed greenskins.

    The problem is that the party has been guarding the camp for 3 days now.

    The camp is in a high mountain pass, sheltered ny nearby boulders but otherwise with a fire that beacona the site for miles around. Not a good place to be for so long..

    The lord has left marks of regalia, a rapier with an ornate scabbadd and a cloak pin made of pure gold. Surely worth a lot of money and very tempting. But instantly recognisable and very risky to sell.

    Unfortunatelely it is also risky to the nearby goblins said to roam these hills at night...
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  4. #4
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    This is a great idea, I may steal it.

    You can have an expedition like in the old movies where there is 50+ porters and staff waiting on the NPC party. A long travel into the wilderness leads the group to an abandoned city partially buried in sand, snow, lava, etc,, A few old foundations in the area is the area they build their defense out of. This allows them to have a semi-permanent fort with several avenues of attack and withdraw. A large group allows you to have a few village professions here such as a smith and a baker. A few laborers to cook and build fortifications and such frees the PCs to adventure.

    With a large amount of NPC with the PCs, you have several that can be foes to the PCs. You can have another party of guards that turn against the group once the leaders do not return. You can have the standard goblins and kobolds living in the area attack. You can also have skeletons long buried rise to defend the abandoned city. After several days over half of the NPCs are looking to the PCs or the other party to lead them back to town several days away. Having lots of other NPCs around can also fill the party ranks if any of the PCs are killed.

    Food and water can be a problem after several days. The group may have brought enough for a month, but rats or theft can shorten this. You can have a local tribe seeking trade with the group. The tribe could be lizardfolk or hobgoblins not wanting to fight unless needed. Of course the other NPC party starts a fight and the PCs can fight or try and patch the truce. Trading for food can be risky since the PCs need to forage to feed the rest of the group.

    Eventually the PCs need to enter the underground to find the higher level NPCs. They could be called to go in and bring a wounded one out early in the camp process. The higher level NPC may need to die so the story can focus on the players. The group can go looking for the higher level group and find them all dead or captured.

    Lots of good choices here.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by aco175 View Post
    You can have an expedition like in the old movies where there is 50+ porters and staff waiting on the NPC party. A long travel into the wilderness leads the group to an abandoned city partially buried in sand, snow, lava, etc,, A few old foundations in the area is the area they build their defense out of. This allows them to have a semi-permanent fort with several avenues of attack and withdraw. A large group allows you to have a few village professions here such as a smith and a baker. A few laborers to cook and build fortifications and such frees the PCs to adventure.

    With a large amount of NPC with the PCs...
    I may use this for starting a campaign!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosGenerators View Post
    So I want to run a one-shot (which may become something more) for 1st level adventurers who are employed to defend the campsite / base of a higher level party that go into the dungeon.
    What might disturb the PCs?
    Goblins, kobolds or orcs are good low level fodder. A hungry pack of wolves who go after the horses - not only do you have to fight off the wolves, but you have to defend the horses. Perhaps some of them spook and the adventurers have to round them up again before the high level characters return.

    What might the higher level adventurers leave at the camp?
    Spellbooks, Prayerbooks (outlining higher level Cleric or Paladin ritual spells), all their camping gear and horses which the 1st level characters were hired to protect.

    The good wine which they never share with their underlings.

    What temptations might the PCs have in the camp?
    The Apprentice sneaks a peak at the Wizard's spellbook.

    Where would make a great place for a base camp?
    The foothills of a mountain range could work well. There could be a cave nearby with goblins, orcs or any number of subterranean creatures.

    Why might the higher-level group have employed a group of 1st level characters to protect their camp?
    Horses need tending and the group doesn't want to bring all their camp gear into the dungeon. The higher level group also expects to have a safe camp to retreat to every so often.

    What might happen to the higher-level group of PCs?
    I would have them return to base camp at least once, maybe more. They dump riches and treasures off that the 1st level character wouldn't have even dreamed of and tell stories of how easy it has been. They leave to explore again, heading deeper, and don't return... Just to tempt them a little, have a horrific noise sound from within... maybe even a few wounded goblins flee out of the dungeon - they don't stop at the camp, they just keep running with a look of wild fear in their eyes.

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