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Campaigns in a nutshell. Adventures in a sentence.

Sympathy

The PCs are hired by a powerful mage to aid in a plan for the betterment of society. This mage has acquired a large sprawling facility whose interior can be easily reconfigured. He has arranged this facility into an abstract representation of some complex and multifaced abstract societal problem (such as world hunger, or adult illiteracy), including stocking it with thematically appropriate monsters (usually undead, outsiders, fey, vermin, animals, plus constructs dressed in various costumes) and ensorcelled it with powerful sympathetic magic. By defeating the dungeon, the PCs can defeat the corresponding societal problem. After each complete dungeon run the facility is reconfigured for a new societsl problem.

The Mediocre Archfiend

The PCs are targeted by the demon prince of Manes (the lowest caste of demons). Much less powerful than the Queen of Succubi or the Lord of Balors, the Prince of Manes is only about CR 10 and rules his minions from a throne made oc chicken bones and dead rats. Attached below is a possible 3.5e statblock for the Prince of Manes. It has NOT been playtested.

Demeicro, Low Power demon prince

Demeicro
King of the Manes, The Prince of Dimness

Portfolio: Manes demons, stupidity

Similar to how Malcanthet is the Queen of Succubi and Kardum is the Lord of Balors, Demeicro is the King of the Manes (the most basic type of demon, Fiendish Codex 1, Pg 45). As lord of the weakest demon type he is one of the weakest demon lords possibly the weakest. This is one of the demon prince positions with the highest rate of turnover; He isn't the first to hold this position, he won't be the last, and he may not even be the only one (similar to how Malcanthet and Shami-Amourae are both Queen of the Succubi). He is also one of the dumbest of the demon lords and the demonic patron of stupidity, earning him the derisive title "The Prince of Dimness". He seems to think that this has to do with literal dimness and has developed some magical abilities to match.

He appears as a giant manes demon and is usually surrounded by a retinue of manes, In combat he has a tendency to throw these minions at people, using their acidic cloud death throes as a bomb. Sometimes he will go through several before realizing that an enemy is resistant or immune to acid. He dwells in a shoddily constructed fortress and rules his minions from a makeshift throne made of chicken bones and dead animals

CE Large outsider (chaotic, evil, extraplanar, tanar’ri)
Init: +2
Senses: darkvision 90 ft.; Listen +0, Spot –1
Languages: Abyssal; telepathy 100 ft.
AC: 15, touch 7, flat-footed 15 (-1 size, -2 dex, +8 natural)
HP: 95 (10 HD; 10d8+50); DR 5/cold iron and good
Immune: electricity, poison
Resist: acid 10, cold 10, fire 10
Saves: Fort +12, Ref +6, Will +6
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee: 2 claws +15 (1d6+6 Plus 1 Vile) and bite +13 (1d8+3 Plus 1 Vile)
Base Atk: +10; Grp: +20
Abilities: Str 22, Dex 6, Con 20, Int 9, Wis 9, Cha 9
SQ: acidic cloud, tanar’ri traits
Feats: Gruesome Finish (Exemplars of Evil), Improved Initiative, Multiattack, Vile Natural Attack (BOVD/Elder Evils)
Skills: Balance +4, Climb +19, Escape Artist +4, Hide +7, Intimidate +1, Jump +19, Knowledge (Arcane) +0, Knowledge (Planes) +0, Listen +0, Move Silently +9, Spellcraft +0, Survival +12, Use Magic Device +6

Acidic Cloud (Su):
When the prince of dimness is wounded for 5 or more HP with a slashing or piercing weapon acidic vapor sprays out in the direction the attack came from. Anybody standing in that square must make DC 15 Reflex save or take 1d6 points of acid damage
If the Prince of Dimness is killed, it dissolves into a cloud of noxious vapor. Anyone within 20 feet who fails a DC 15 Reflex save takes 2d6 points of acid damage

Charm Manes (sp)
Three times per day Demeicro can attempt to charm a manes demon. This works like the spell charm person except that it works on manes and only on manes.

Summon Manes (Sp)
Once per day the Lord of Dimness can attempt to summon 4d8 manes with a 60% chance of success. Alternately he can automatically summon 2d4 manes. This ability is the equivalent of a 6th-level spell.

Spell-Like Abilities
cl 10
At Will- Acid Splash, Daze (DC9), Greater Teleport (self plus 50 pounds of objects only), Mage Hand, No Light (BOVD)
3/day- Darkness, Delusions of Grandeur (Dragon #324) (DC11), Doom (DC10), Magic Stone, Obscuring Mist, Ray of Stupidity (SC)
1/day- Cone of Dimness (SC) (DC12), Desecrate, Feeblemind (DC14), Mind Fog(DC14), Stinking Cloud (DC12), Touch of Idiocy
 
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Orius

Adventurer
Ted Bundy
A seemingly injured man asks for the party's help with some mundane task that he can't due to his arm being in a sling or something like that. If they agree he leads them to an out of the way location and tries to kill them.

Not to be confused with the washed up orc warrior with a lazy selfish wife who boasts about TPKing 4 parties of adventurers in a single module back in his youth.


The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything

A ship that the PCs are on is boarded by pirates who turn out to actually be completely non-violent conmen who use fear magic and illusions to get their targets to surrender. These conmen-pirate-wizards are several levels higher than the party to prevent them from being taken down in combat before the gig is up

EDIT:
I just realized that I just described high fantasy scooby doo

And you would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those meddling kids!
 

Faerunian Ragnarok

Campaign set in a version of Toril that has been completely transformed by a series of cataclysms. To put an end to the wall of the faithless once and for all, the Eladrins allied themselves with the slaadi, the demons, and several chaotic deities to assassinate not just Kelemvor, but also Lord AO. Now the divine power structure of realmspace has been thrown into total disarray due to the top of the power structure being removed, the remaining gods losing the faithful that the wall gained them (placing multi-sphere pantheons like the Seladrine and the Mulhurandi gods in a position to take over), and stray bits of divinity from the destroyed overgod bouncing around all over and attaching themselves to random creatures. Additionally there's all sorts of undead running around all over due to there not being a god of the dead, foreign gods that were previously hedged out are flocking into realmspace, and the demons and eladrins have predictably turned on each other
 

Evil Twin/Evil Self

Some high level death-reversing spells like Clone, Reincarnate, and True Resurrection leave behind supernumerary corpses after the subject is brought back; The subject is brought back in a new body and the old body remains behind. As it happens, an old body left behind by one of the PCs has been animated by a necromancer (or, if it happens to have already happened in-game, by an undead's create spawn ability). This undead evil twin is now running amok.

The Dream Fortress

The players have to assault a fortress in the plane of dreams which is built following dream logic. It is entirely larger and taller than it needs to be. The layout is both maze-like and inconsistent. The rooms are an assortment of rooms from similar locations/buildings in the "real" game world scrambled, combined, rotated, mirrored, and repeated as nauseum. Many rooms have their own stairs and second floor that doesn't let out into the corresponding floor of the rest of the building; For example, someone's sleeping quarters might have a finished basement seperate from the rest of the building. Conversely, some normal levels of the fortress may lack normal access; for instance, you may need to go out the window and climb a rope hanging from another window, or you may need to climb up a pole that hangs down from a hole in the ceiling and terminates 7 feet above the ground like in Mario 64, except that this pole is also a very tall upside-down scratching post. There are many rooms that aren't needed and/or don't fit the purpose of the building, although their construction and decoration generally fit the style of the rest of the building. There are also many rooms that almost fit the purpose of the building or almost fit their own purpose but are slightly off or have some other additional unrelated nature; such as an armory for swordsmen that contains only bows, or a guard post that is also a busy restaurant. Many of the denizens of the fortress look like different people or things than what they are allegedly supposed to be, and often their behavior doesn't match either their nominal identity OR their appearance.

Volcano Erupting in Populated Area

A volcano is erupting in a populated area

Saintanic Panic [sic]
(adventure for modern or superhero games)

A fundamentalist preacher leader has drawn an army of brainwashed followers to himself using backwards messages hidden in religious music, now he plans to use them to take over the world.

Unlimited Days of Night

A vampire mad scientist is building a doomsday device to destroy the sun.

Lord of Moon Rock

A supervillain has stolen a bunch of moon rocks and is using them to control an army of werewolves.

Spoonerism

(superheroes or fantasy) Super-crime has been down so it's time to finally track down the prankster telekineticist who's been bending people's spoons while they're trying to eat soup.

The Neighborhood Gets Richer

(superheroes) Baron Upperclass is destroying the city with his his gentrification ray.

Metaprophecy

Panic over made up doomsday prophecy threatens to cause actual doomsday.

EPA Superfund Site

Chemical dumping in the swamp has given a bunch of the indigenous animals superpowers and now they're wrecking havoc.

The Other Side of the Borg

(superheroes) A race of assimilating cyborgs is turning all the Roombas and other household appliances into blood crazed half-animal monstrosities.

The IRS

(superheroes) The group's Batman/Iron Man expy is being audited by the IRS.

I'm Henry the Eighth I Am

(superheroes) A giant robotic Henry the Eighth is attacking the Vatican.


The End Of The World (As We Know It)

The end of the world (as we know it) exactly as described in the song The End of the World (As We Know It)

All Natural

A local organic farm is being propped up by a malevolent agricultural cult like the ones in The Wicker Man and Children of the Corn

Attack of the Killer Cabbages

(superheroes) The farm-cult from "All Natural" (above) eventually gets into a war with another evil farm of opposite approach to technology. This second farm is run by a Monsanto-like company developing a strain of genetically engineered killer nazi cabbages with which to take over the world.

Too Greedily and Too Deep

(superheroes) Fracking has opened a chasm into Hell

Vidconjuration

(Call of Cthulhu) A recording of someone reading an incantation from the Necronomicon has gone viral on youtube (ie. the plot of Fistful of Boomstick, Rings, and Scary Movie 3)
 
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"You're Not Helping" OR "An Object Lesson About Murderhoboism"- The PCs have been hired to rescue certain captives from a group of slavers who are transporting their victims across national borders via a flying airship. However, in addition to dealing with the slavers, the party must also deal with a rival party who have been hired with the more open-ended mission "stop the slavers" and are now trying to shoot the airship down heedless of the safety of anyone in it.

The Facebook- Call of Cthulhu adventure in which the leader of the shadowy mythos cult turns out to be Mark Zuckerberg, whose business success has been driven by dark rituals from the Necronomicon and who named his website Facebook in honor of the Necronomicon.
 

The People of the Apovalypse

A magically powerful empire that supplies its citizens' needs through magic has chosen an extreme method of protecting itself from monsters which has had terrible effects on neighboring regions. In order to prevent monstrous beings from having anywhere to live or hide this nation is deliberately converting the world into a barren wasteland. This is obviously a problem for the world's other nations that can't feed their people with magic and also for the many non-evil wild creatures who have now no food or shelter. The PCs are one of several groups of gurrellias/spies/whatever sent to try and find out how they're doing this and to disrupt this nation;s destruction of the planet
 


MarkB

Legend
Mordenkainen's Vampiric Mansion
Through an odd set of circumstances, an unfortunate wizard-turned-prospective-vampire-spawn was once buried within an interior garden feature inside his own Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion. The mystical connection between a vampire and their place of burial played havoc with the normal spell-duration restrictions of the Mansion, and when the spell ended the Mansion and its newly-vampiric occupant were cast adrift in the Astral Sea, bound together and doomed to slow decay.

The vampire, himself a formidable wizard in life, began to devise specialised ways for his abode to leech power from other extradimensional spaces, and for himself to feed. It started small - sometimes when a person reached into their Bag of Holding they would find their arm grasped in powerful hands as fangs fastened to their wrist. When their drained corpse was found, its hand would still be thrust into what was now a perfectly ordinary and otherwise-empty sack.

Now, after hundreds of years, he's perfected his craft, and when a group of weary adventurers retreat to the safety of their lavishly-appointed mansion, they may find that it has more and different rooms than they remember, as the Vampiric Mansion has locked onto it parasitically.

I imagine this as the ultimate high-level haunted house adventure. A party already weakened from a day's activities finds themselves locked inside their own mansion, its dimensions warping in unexpected ways under external control as a smart and deadly killer stalks its halls. To win free they'll have to fight their way from their own mansion into the heart of the vampiric mansion that's become bound to it, all the while fighting the architecture itself, as the vampire has become inextricably bound up to the house itself, becoming almost more a living location than an individual creature. A major aspect of the adventure would be a battle of wills between the party's spellcaster and the vampire, as each of them attempt to exert control over the shape of the mansion.
 

Big Trouble In Gepetto's Workshop- A cross between Pinnochio and Big Trouble in Little China. The villain is a puppet who has come to life and now wants to be flesh. In order to do that he must find a woman with certain prophecied attributes, marry her, and then kill her. And it just so happens that at least one woman that the PCs know has these attributes.

The above idea can also be adapted into a Mouseguard or Bunnies&Burrows campaign by swapping Pinnochio out for the Velveteen Rabbit.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I like that one. Very versatile- and with a little tweaking- a solid all-ages scenario.

i could easily envision this as a Tron type setting game as well, especially considering how many “rescue the Princess” videogames there are. Mario, Zelda, Prince of Persia, Donkey Kong, Popeye...the list is looooong.
 

The Delivery- Encounter. The PCs encounter a very obviously powerful and malevolent being (such as a fiend or high level spellcaster) who nonetheless gives them a powerful, but not very useful to them, magic item for free. If asked he will explain, truthfully, that he does not expect the PCs to survive their quest to defeat the BBEG, who is the item's intemded ultimate recipient.

EDIT:
In A Similar Vein- Encounter. Another encounter with an incongruously helpful evil character. This time they are offered healing by a Sibriex demon. Who does all the healing via highly invasive (even when the would is superficial) surgery, . Without any anesthetic. Or handwashing. Or properly sharpened tools. The wound repair is mechanically as goos as magic, but leaves gruesome scars and a high chance of infection plus a will save is required to get through the operation without either squirming and making the woulds worse, or else developing a pathological fear of slashing weapons that can cause them to become shaken in combat
 
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Load-bearing Golems- A certain dungeon has a LOT of golems in it. These golems generally don't move from their initial squares, and it's a good thing they don't, because they're part of the support structure of the building. If the party gets it in their heads to destroy too many of them, the whole building could come down on their heads. The same goes if they confront the big bad in the wrong place; if it's clear that he's going to die he'll order the golems to move. The party has to confront the villain somewhere where most of the golems are out of hearing range. Ideally this adventure should occur at low to mid levels or else killing enough golems that the building collapses will become the adventure's objective (with the party simply being resurrected afterward)
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Load-bearing Golems- A certain dungeon has a LOT of golems in it. These golems generally don't move from their initial squares, and it's a good thing they don't, because they're part of the support structure of the building. If the party gets it in their heads to destroy too many of them, the whole building could come down on their heads. The same goes if they confront the big bad in the wrong place; if it's clear that he's going to die he'll order the golems to move. The party has to confront the villain somewhere where most of the golems are out of hearing range. Ideally this adventure should occur at low to mid levels or else killing enough golems that the building collapses will become the adventure's objective (with the party simply being resurrected afterward)
Kind of like a FRPG version of Don’t Break The Ice.

👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
The Tokens

A Modern Fantasy/present day sci-fi campaign idea that borrows from Michael Moorcock’s Sailor on the Seas of Fate, Neverwhere, the Sliders TV show, and the classic movie, Warriors and it’s spiritual successor, Judgement Night.

A group of friends out on the town get lost in the maze of streets downtown. Then their car breaks down. And because nobody is getting a solid signal on their cellphone, they decide to find the nearest bar or whatever is open to call a tow truck, friend or Uber. They stumble on The Player’s Ball, of all things, and decide to party just a little bit more before making their call.

A scuffle breaks out, which then becomes a gunfight, so they run for the exits just like everyone else, and find themselves near a subway station.

Still lost, they decide to take the subway- who knew the city had a subway system?- to a more familiar part of the city. They purchase some of the odd-looking tokens, and board the grafitti-cloaked train when it arrives.

When they reach a station that has a familiar sounding name, they get off, exit the station into the moonlit night, and start heading in a direction that seems correct up until someone notices the moon doesn’t look right.

...and neither does the second, smaller moon.

The train system is crossing dimensional boundaries to other versions of their city. And the mazelike underground stations don’t always have the platforms well marked, so finding the way home will be difficul.

Sometimes the friends are just ordinary citizens in these “otherverses“. Sometimes they’re thrust into adventures as heroes...or villains.
 

You Break It You Buy It High level party looking to stock up on gear and supplies and that the DM thinks he may have given too much stumbles into the domain of the god of commerce, which is a mazelike store of shifting aisles that it is very difficult to find the way out of and is filled with belligerant animated objects and related constructs. The building rearranges itself and attempts to keep them from leaving until such time as the total of the items in their shopping cart of holding and the expenditures from the store's you-break-it-you-bought-it policy exceed 10-50% of their coins
 

Santa Claus-
A group of high level characters have to suss out a way to deliver a very large number of packages in a short amount of time (note that you should not have them try to do the full santa claus job of deliveing things to all the boys and girls around the world because they can't. I did the math and assuming that he starts and ends at the international date line, giving him about 36 hours to work with, has unlimited access to Quickened Teleport and Maximized Time Stop, and only delivers to children who are Lawful Good, D&D Santa would only be able to process a population of about 2 million children (36×60×10×5×2×9=1944000), I'd dial down the goal for their plan to maybe 200-2000, (and obviously wouldn't play out the whole thing round by round, although perhaps I might play out some snags they might hit along the way and see how much time that ends up costing them)

Anthropology
Paranoia game where the twist is that there was no cataclysm. The computer is just broken. Furthermore, one of the player characters' secret society affiliation is that they're actually an anthropologist from Outside who has been sent to study the people and society of Alpha Complex (who are referred to as "mole people" by the character's outside contacts)

Crossover
Basically, the idea of this campaign is that Alpha Complex from Paranoia is actually part of the Demiplane of Dread from Dungeons and Dragons. Either the PCs find their way INTO Alpha Complex, or else it starts out as a normal Paranoia game and they somehow find their way OUT OF Alpha Complex at which point the twist is revealed things suddenly get weird.
 


The Shadow over Nickelodeon
Horror themed Toon adventure which takes the PCs to the lovecraftian city of Innsmouth. As the adventure progresses Innsmouth takes on a stronger and stronger resemblence to the city of Bikini Bottom from Spongebob Squarepants.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
The Shadow over Nickelodeon
Horror themed Toon adventure which takes the PCs to the lovecraftian city of Innsmouth. As the adventure progresses Innsmouth takes on a stronger and stronger resemblence to the city of Bikini Bottom from Spongebob Squarepants.
Somewhere out there, there’s a fanfic cartoon of one of the characters going on a horror movie rampage. It was pretty well done.
 


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