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29 Adventure Ideas

The one thing most good GMs are never short on is ideas. That’s why I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s article to just that: ideas for adventures. These are basically a dime-a-dozen, and any GM worth his salt can come up with about a thousand of them per minute. It’s writing down all this stuff that’s the hard part. There are some rare situations, however, when you’re stuck. The players all show up unexpectedly—you’ve prepared nothing—and you have absolutely no adventure. The powerful juggernaut of your mind is coming up empty-handed, kind of like a 20th level adventurer who gets lost on his quest to recover a little girl’s pussy cat.

In such dire circumstances, a GM will often grab the nearest available ideas: one-word slogans written on nearby cereal boxes, what he watched on TV last night, the plot of Star Wars, or whatever a player just predicted was going to happen in the adventure. While this is a fine strategy which I’ve employed personally many times, often the players are smart enough to notice the story is very similar to Red October, or that the mayor of the town happens to be named the brand of the TV sitting behind them.

If you actually find yourself in a situation dire enough to use the below ideas, be warned that there’s probably trouble afoot. Also, be warned that the players may have access to the internet and will probably say, “Isn’t this the plot of an adventure written up in 29 Adventure Ideas on En World?” That’s when you chuckle evilly and mess around with the plot, or say “Yes.”

1. A sentient computer virus goes back in time and infects the minds of orcs and villagers alike. The PCs must stop them without touching them and becoming infected themselves. All of the people talk like 1980’s computers. The virus wants to infect everyone until it finds it’s ‘home’ laptop.

2. A painting comes to life and eats people. Anyone swallowed in transported into the ‘world’ of the painting, but ripping through the edges with fire allows you to migrate to other paintings in the gallery. The curator is a 90-year-old man who’s going insane and throwing all the paintings one by one into a garbage compactor.

3. A giant alien spaceship lands. A bunch of aliens storm out, and say, “Honey, we’re back. Wow, this fungus sure grew when we were gone.” They point at the villages of all the humans.

4. The players buy some gear which turns out to be an evil artifact with intelligence 60 billion. It wants to get them to help it destroy the world for it’s master’s coming.

5. A piece of furniture comes to life and wants the PCs to defend it’s right to freedom in a court of law against it’s technical owner. If the players don’t help, tables everywhere will soon take their revenge.

6. A mad evil wizard falls in love with one of the PCs.

7. A dying martial artist agrees to train one or more of the PCs in his art so long as they fight an unarmed battle against a live dragon to prove the worthiness of his school. The dragon has a black belt.

8. A tax collector tries to take 50% of all the PCs wealth and turns out to be a very high level monster in disguise with the means to brainwash local authorities into outlawing the PCs and basically making their lives miserable unless they pay up.

9. On a separate journey, the players fall into an anti-magic zone which sucks absolutely all of their magic into a coconut. A chaotic-neutral-insane wizard puts the coconut in his pocket, and then teleports away to sell it on the magical exchange dimension.

10. A high-ranking paladin notices the PCs doing something like: ‘not opening a door for an old lady.’ He then requires them to do a quest for atonement. If they don’t, they all fall out of the favor and permanently lose access to all healing magic forever.

11. A small baby is left on the doorstep of one of the PC’s tents. If they try to leave it behind, they get negative xp. If they try to ignore it, they get negative xp. If they try to give it away, they get negative xp. A large cabal of evil assassin-ninjas is after the baby. The PCs must take it to some far off and sacred place so it can fulfill a prophecy.

12. One of the PCs pets decides to lead them into a daring quest to save the innocent mer-people from the wrath of the giant, killer spiders with Pegasus wings.

13. The PCs are called to save the mayor, but upon entering town hall find they are trapped in a paradox, dimensional-building with infinite levels up and down which cannot be left for any reason. All of the bureaucrats are extremely old and insane and still require the players to fill out forms to go to different levels. If they can convince a crazy, extra-planar judge they’ve done all the forms properly; he might rule in favor of returning the town hall to reality.

14. There are strange disappearances in the village. There’s lots of slime at the places where people have disappeared. There appears to be no rational explanation for any of this. Lots of people scream.

15. A very stupid, but important person opens a magical cursed chest. He now must drink of liquid gold from Mt. Crud-bundles or die within 74 hours. The King charges the PCs with keeping the nincompoop alive. A lot of other people want the liquid gold. This may include Nazi’s from Indiana Jones.

16. The earth is hollow. The huge hamster spinning a wheel to generate gravity is getting tired.

17. When the players go in the dungeon, a wall of rock slides in behind them trapping them underground forever. The only way out is to reach level 10,000 of the dungeon below them, and jump through the only magical portal out of the dungeon. No other magic can be used to escape. There are a lot of crazy monsters underground.

18. One of the PC’s favorite magic items is running out of power. It needs to be recharged by the wizard who made it. He’s dead. To bring him back to life, they must apologize to the deity/king of demons who he offended 700 years ago when he was still alive. When he comes back to life, he’s offended they apologized on his behalf and wants their help killing off the deity/king of demons before he’ll recharge the magic item.

19. The players are promised an insane amount of money to guide a ship across the ocean on a valuable trade mission. Soon after they lose sight of shore, it becomes obvious why they were going to be paid so much on successful delivery.

20. One of the party’s allies is sold into slavery in a strange foreign land. It turns out a sultan bought her/him and really likes this particular person. They must do something completely crazy to get their friend back.

21. A really powerful monster decides to hunt down and kill off the PCs one by one because of a bet with one of his buddies. If they kill him, the buddy gets insanely mad and he’s incredibly powerful.

22. A magical space bunny can’t find his planet filled with carrots. He recruits the PCs to help him find it.

23. Kobolds invent nuclear weaponry.

24. A gullible bard is taught a magic song by an evil Demon. He sings across the land becoming increasingly more popular until he’s basically like Bruno Mars. At the height of his fandom, it turns out anyone who’s heard the song is coming under an evil curse. To stop the curse, the bard must sing a song obtained by the party from an Angel/Good wizard. The only problem is, the bard now his groupies and security and doesn’t plan to use anything but his ‘best’ song in a huge live broadcast all over the world.

25. A great thief has a lot of authorities on his tail so dumps off his most recent acquisition on the party, meaning to come back for it when the item is less ‘hot.’ He doesn’t tell all his black market contacts. They hunt down the party for the item. If the party refuses, they have the authorities ‘and’ crazy mobsters after them. Quite possibly a few hit-men and assassin’s as well. If they give themselves up, the authorities plan to execute them, but the thief busts them out so he can get his item back.

26. A reputable and apparently friendly dragon starts hiring everyone and everything to work for him for vast sums of money. He builds a huge empire and then rules it as a tyrant. Everyone loves the dragon, until it turns out he was just manipulating them to take over the world. By then, it’s too late to do anything to his super powerful empire of loyalists, unless the PCs can uncover the truth and take it to the people to start a revolt.

27. Someone has trained peasants to be 10th level ninjas in the next town the PCs visit. When they try to start a bar fight, the villagers kick butt. To stop the village from taking over the world, the PCs must hunt down their ‘trainer’ and convince him to command his ninjas not to be so unethical.

The dwarves team up with the elves to take over the world.

29. A woman is crying and walking down the road with a toad stuck to her lips. It appears anything living she comes near gets stuck to her like glue. If one of the PCs touches her to get the toad off, then the whole group must find a way to free their companion.


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