Campaigns in a nutshell. Adventures in a sentence.


First Post
A multifaceted campaign and its spin offs:

Incursion of the Kai'ane
A mighty empire knows once in a 1000years the realms of this world and that of an evil world align, allowing these powerful creatures access to this world. In the past they were thwarted, but at great cost to the land and peoples of the empire.

The last 1000 years have been spent preparing for the next Alignment (invasions of other lands for resources and power, to keep their edge - think Thay and Mulhorand mixed); it approaches now.

Core campaign; working for the empire gather together several items of power for the battle as Worldsmeet.

Sideline: assume the roll of mortal followers of invaders, try to scupper other plans (ran when player turnout was low).

Spinoff 1: The invasion was stopped, but at great cost to the Empire, their leadership decimated. The PC's decide the future for this Empire.

Spinoff 2: Several items were recovered from the time of the alignment, artifacts used by the foe to strengthen the link to the world of the players. This items are distributed and hidden away by the remnants of the leadership, to be kept safe until they can be destroyed. Generations have passed since Core campaign and Spinoff 1, the players now take on new characters who explore the world as after the events of spinoff 1 have settled. They soon discover mortal followers have been working for the other race, gathering the scattered items.

Spinoff 3: For low turnout: Players take on new characters within a country wherein the orignal PC's wrought much destruction and carnage. Tales of the Red Axeman, Lionhead, Gravestalker and others make this a haunted city that may never recover from the scenes of slaughter it witnessed.
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First Post
Woods of Urllondra (inspired by tome of magic, I think).
Players take on the role of denizens of an ancient and undisturbed elven forest. They must defend their realm from humans, first a trickle, then a wave. Taking the fight to the humans they learn of the truth; a demon of great power, imprisoned for centuries past has evolved its consciousness, slipping the bonds of the prison that entraps it.

For centuries it has dealt with lesser creatures, aiming for its freedom. The leader of these humans, after decades of machination, is finally inplace to quash these elves and free its master. Unless the PC's stop him first.

Storm of Darkness
Something huge wanders the land, destroying all life it comes across. It's herald, a black roiling cloud, miles wide. At the end of a rampage it seems to vanish, leaving roving undead in its tracks.

Finally the PC's get to meet it, and it is devastating. In a vision the king learns of a weapon of power to destroy it and a race created to fight it. The PC's must find and deal with these creatures and then return the weapon to their king. The sword carries a terrible curse, as the wielder sinks into madness. Will any sacrifice themselves to destroy the beast at the heart of the storm?


First Post
Darkness Without
The PCs live on a continent where life is near utopia. The races live together in harmony, peaceful and prosperous. People prize endeavour, honesty, generosity. This has come about because of a little understood magical ritual that expels negative emotion and thoughts from the individual (supposedly a gift from The Serene).

Unbeknownst to the populace the ritual takes their emotions and deposits them into the pit. Over the centuries these thoughts have coalesced and started to take a loose, shifting form. The pit is now full. Cracks appear in its surface, hairline fractures that enable the smallest of these creatures through to the peaceful surface world.

The PC's must cope with these creatures, discern what they are and where they are from and devise a means to overcome them, lest their nation descends into unending chaos.


Staff member
A different take on superheroics:
It was almost like the comic books...a flash of light of unknown origins that was supposed to herald the beginning of the Era of the Gods...the superheroes who now walk among us.

But it wasn't. It didn't.

In the comics, the only super powered beings were humans. Maybe some aliens who come to Earth- but that's it!

Instead, the Event empowered individuals of all species...

Shortly after the first superheroes and their arch-enemies appeared in epic battle over the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH, a supervirus wiped out Branson, MO to the last tourist and performer. A Galapagos turtle faster than a speeding bullet careened out of control at the London Zoo until it was killed. In Silicon Valley, a superintelligent colony of black mold got mental control of a school where helper animals were trained, and has had them build it an artificial body.

And then there was the Blue Whale that was seen flying over Hawaii, hunting krill with sonar powerful enough to kill...

Scientists estimate that 0.00001% of all members of all species have powers, but that small percentage is enough to wreak havoc. Just because a creature gets powers doesn't neccessarily mean its fundamental nature and intellect is changed- a great white shark with bulletproof skin is still a great white shark. Civilization is in chaos.

Something must be done...

Lord Zardoz

OMG Goblins: A brutal tribe of goblins has recently turned away from Maglubieyt and started worshipping The Great Mother, a goddess of birth and fertility. Oddly enough, it turns out that the embodiment of Birth and Fertility does not actually have any particular tenets other than "Go forth and Multiply". In addition to some other unusual rituals have resulted in Goblins that essentially mature to breeding age within days. The population surge has been impressive.

Save the Dragon from the Evil Princess: A young and beautiful princess decided that she did not like her arranged marriage. She also found an Orb of Dragonkind. She has since denounced the kingdom of her betrothed as being wicked in the eyes of the Holy Gods, and the populace of her nation has agreed since Metallic Dragons are now frequently attacking that kingdom.



Staff member

The Arboretum

The PCs are invited to a sumptuous dinner at the home of world-reknown inventor, Jules G. Vernes-Wells, to be followed by news of his latest invention. He's seeking both investors and publicity. The meal features all kinds of exotic side-dishes with ingredients and spices from his greenhouse.

After the meal, he leads them to his laboratory- located in his house's freestanding greenhouse- where he unveils...a Time Machine!

Just as he starts his demonstration, a massive bolt of lightning strikes the greenhouse's lightning rod, overloading the Time Machine's field. When the smoke clears, Verne-Wells is unconscious and his machine's gauges burned out. At least its controls seem fine...

But around the party's attendees, the windows of the greenhouse no longer look out on Verne-Wells' estate. Instead it looks out on a sunny, overgrown jungle- a veritable Garden of Eden. Venturing out, the party finds the garden inhabited by beautiful, gentle humans who speak in an unknown "cooing" tongue.

That night, though, the dark side of Eden is revealed- in the wee hours, fierce, clawed humanoids well up from under the ground, taking with them some of the passive inhabitants of the garden...and Verne-Wells' unconscious form.

Yet Eden has an even more sinister secret- the garden's bestial raiders are but thralls to an even greater evil... a race of octopus-headed, brain-eating overlords of the dark world beneath!

The party attendees must not only attempt to rescue the unconscious inventors, they must also find a way back to the eve of their departure...

But was it in the past or the future? And if they can't find the inventor?


Staff member
Heh- Thanks! I'd love to run it! :) Unfortunately, my current game group would never go for it- too many of them are FRP only guys, and too many of them are D&D only guys. :\

That's the main reason I post in this thread- I've got a whole bunch of campaign ideas I probably can never use, but that are good enough that they should be used. Thus, I share with the world! (Well, ENWorld, at least.)

Perhaps a good GM somewhere else can use my ideas to breathe life into his own game.

And in case anyone is unclear, Yes- I'm aware that the plot above is but a tweek of Wells' "The Time Machine," but there have been a number of people on these boards asking about "Victoriana RPG plots."

Consider Verne's stories- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Mysterious Island, Robur the Conquerer, its sequel, Master of the World and, of course, Journey to the Center of the Earth are all IDEAL for cherrypicking for either campaign settings or adventure plots.

Wells' catalog is no different- War of the Worlds, The War in the Air, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The First Men in the Moon, Food of the Gods, The Shape of Things to Come are no less tasty.

All those and many more are ripe for the picking!
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Staff member
Other quasi-Victorian adventure ideas:

1) Solve a series of Jack the Ripper style killings (possibly a cult of C'thulhu worshipers?).

2) Find out who has been sinking ships in the Indian Ocean (again, devotees of someone like Dagon, or perhaps aggressive Atlanteans flexing their military might?)

3) Hunt down a pair of predators who are actual man-eaters by preference (like the lions upon which "The Ghost & The Darkness" movie was based).

4) Fight anarchists aboard a ship at sea.

5) Rescue someone lost in "deepest, darkest Africa."

6) Take down a ruthless Warlord or agitator who is raising a small army (conventional or covert operative or new tech) in some isolated backwater. (Popular theme- used in a lot of pulp novels)

7) Take sides in a battle between imperialist forces & natives. (Good reasons can be found on either side- the natives in question may not represent the wishes of the general populace, the Imperials may be brutal occupiers.)


Staff member
Hot Zone

The PCs are all part of a UN Peace-Keeping mission in ____________. From a nearby village comes word of an outbreak of a horrible and contagious disease, and one of the local Warlords has been hijacking Red Cross supply convoys for drugs & equipment.

The PCs are assigned to the next convoy, containing a slew of experimental meds from a multinational pharmacology conglomerate.

If and when they get past the Warlord's bandits, they find a village ravaged by a plague with an 85% mortality rate. The medicines actually work, reducing the mortality rate of those infected to a still appaling but significantly lower 55%, and dropping the number of new infections to a mere trickle. Eventually, the mystery disease stops infecting anyone else.

The plague now over, those the PCs saved are grateful. A festival is held in their honor and to remember the dead.

...Then the dead start to rise up to slay the living!


Staff member
The first 4 adventures from my defunct HERO 4Ed/Space: 1889 "supers" campaign. (Note: some of the terms used below may be offensive, but they were the terms of common usage for the time period. No offense is intended, its just for flavor.)

The Man with the Golden Sun

A state-of-the-art Babbage Machine (a.k.a. Difference Engine) has been stolen from the British military. The guards who were present at the raid described assailants who defy imagination- a man who multiplied into a squadron before their eyes; a man in a suit of armor with steam-powered-pistons on the arms and legs, and nozzles that shot fire; and a "pair of Oriental bastards"- one whose dragon tattoo sprang to life, and another dressed like an Emperor who seemed to be the leader, shouting orders and seeming to cast spells.

Scant weeks later, a mirror-making factory gets hit- by the same group of miscreants. Thousands of their best mirrors are stolen, and little else.

Then, later that same year, ships start dissapearing off of the coast of China. Survivors report being approached by a small band of unarmed pirates, who, when the captains of their vessels laughed off the threats, signaled with a flag. Seconds later, a burning light flashes out from a nearby island, igniting the ship and sending it to the bottom in mere minutes.

The PCs have been approached by the British government to go to the China seas to find out more, and if they can, defeat this upstart pirate Dr. Chun, the so-called Son of the Dragon.

The Opium War on Mars

The God Mars is back to rule his eponymous planet...

Someone has smuggled opium to Mars and the High Martians have developed a taste for it. Unlike humans, opium acts as a highly addictive stimulant to High Martians, increasing their strength and endurance but with horrible withdrawal symptoms. Some of the packets of opium are wrapped in paper bearing Chinese characters meaning "Dragon."

The addicts do hard labor for their fix, cutting down acres of their liftwood to be smuggled to Earth when they get what they crave, disrupting the official business of Earth's protectorates on Mars when they do not.

The flow of opium must be stanched, and the British Government feels the PCs are right for the job. It seems that a few of Dr. Chun's minions have been spotted at a High Martian temple near the epicenter of most of the unrest.

Claws of the Dragon

Unknown operatives of Dr. Chun's organization are raiding Fort Knox, the installation where his and his consort's corpses were being studied, and where his captured minions are being held.

The PCs, coincidentally, had been invited to inspect the base and talk to researchers about their experiences with the villains when the attack occurs.

Things are going just fine, when Chun and his consort rise up from their slabs to tip the balance!

Warlord of the Air

The Oriental Lich, Dr. Chun, has escaped into a base in the Himalayas, from whence he issued a challenge to the world- submit to his rule or be destroyed!

Refusing to bow to such a ridiculous demand, airships of 6 nations decend over his base- the British Aerial Ironclad Boudicca carrying the PCs as luminaries...and potential combatants, should ground forces be needed.

As the warships rumble into striking distance, the weather becomes heavily clouded...

Just as the warships fire their first cannon shots, thousands of tiny one-man "sky-sleds" of Martian liftwood dive out of the cloud cover, dropping incendiary bombs upon the ponderous European airships...many of them scudding from the aerial battlefield without a mark (the cowards!), others plunging from the heavens like damned fallen angels.

Even the Boudicca is driven from the sky. Now, the ground forces must join in mortal combat for the fate of the world, but only the PCs have the ability to stand toe-to-toe with Dr. Chun and his minions!

The Green Adam

First Post
I love this - Excellent thread. See my recent thread on Weirdest Campaigns for other ideas. What? Ah oh, I'm on...

The Justice Guild of Galinar
Who can protect the world of Galinar from the forces of evil, dark magic and tyranny? None other then the Justice Guild! Imagine a medieval superhero team, not much different from most adventure parties except that their are few other adventurers. Those that are would also be considered superbeings. In addition, villains are not slain as often. I've run this format a few times with different variations and the results always rock. Plan to play D&D, but read alot of team comic books and watch Justice League Unlimited to get the feel right.

Blast City Blues
In high school and college my buddies and I actually made a comic book based on this campaign. The idea is 25 years ago or so, an alien spacefleet arrives in Earth orbit with a frightening message. They are being chased by terrible, world-conquering alien lizard-bugs. It has been determined that a new weapon for use against the baddies is only usable by Humans. The weapon is a special process that will give people Superpowers. Then, when the superhumans and their high tech alien allies are ready...nothing happens. The enemy never shows. Fast forward to the present and the sons and daugthers of the supers and the aliens are hanging out at the malls, going to the prom and battling each other. Inspired by Teenagers from Outer Space and the anime that spawned it, this campaign had moments of serious character play, epic battles and then when no ones ready...the villains finally show.

My Star Trek adventures would be a thread onto themselves considering how often I used to run that game. I'll save that for another time. ;)


Staff member
That is such an awesomely worked out Vernesian/Wellsian setting! I have something like 2 copies of the base book (hardcover) and some softcovers. I will ALWAYS have a copy of it on my shelves.

Well, assuming I have shelves...


Staff member
Beverly Hills 90210 AD

In a far flung future, a band of teenagers must cope with day-to-day issues about growing up atomic mutant humans in a Ch.xx.rlw dominated world.

Along the way, they must do things like defend their school's honor from attacks by the crosstown Invader HS (with Ch.xx.rlw kids), being (literally) 2 faced, and Hydrochloricaholism.

The Green Adam

First Post
In one of my earliest AD&D campaigns, my friend played a warrior-wizard who literally fell out of the sky. A Dwarven cleric rescued him from the burning crater he was in and the two became fast friends. The starfallen Mage-Knight never removed his armor as his body was horribly scarred by his arrival. Later in the campaign, it is discovered that our mysterious hero is a robot who crash to the world in an escape pod when his starcruiser was destroyed by enemy forces. When a band of goblin-like creatures with powerful magic weapons and their human leader arrived looking for him, the robotic hero's memory returns and he and his allies defeat the villains and located and destroy their ship. While this strands the robot on the D&D world, the party did manage to snag some high-tech armor, weapons and gear.

More to come...


Staff member
(Inspired by the movies Monster House and The Bridge)

The Hungry Bridge

Two thousand years ago, 2 warring kingdoms signed a peace treaty, and in honor of it, they built a bridge across the sound to link their nations in peace. It was an architectural and engineering triumph.

However, despite its beauty, it has been the scene of many a tragedy. On average, 2 people a month die on it or fall from it to their deaths. A scholar of some note who has been researching Peacearch Bridge, in honor of its latest anniversary is now the latest victim.

And 2 days after his burial, a package arrives, addressed to __________ personally.

"Dear _______, my most beloved and talented student,

I hardly know where to start, so I'll be brief- I believe the Peacearch Bridge is not just a site for tragedies, I believe it is haunted and is actually causing the deaths to occur! Please, meet me at its Western base this weekend- we must do something!"

The courier who delivered it said he was to deliver this letter after the old man's death.

The party, intrigued by this mystery, goes to the Western shore of the bay, and at Midnight, they witness the scholoar's spectre!

"Thank the Gods you're here!..."


Dead Hobbit Storage

A so-called honest merchant with some allegedly shady ties has hired the PCs to hide his accountant from the Necromancer King's undead taxman for a while.

The Halfling bookkeeper, one N'ron Hubbard, knows a lot, and if he were taken into custody the merchant's economic empire would crumble. The Imperial Revenant Service specialize in making people talk- even the dead- as long as the corpse hasn't been dead for too long.

So, the party and Hubbard are spirited away in the night in a pair of carriages...but are attacked by the merchant's rivals, hoping to kidnap the halfling and turn him into the IRS. Hubbard is caught in the crossfire and killed.

They must find a place to store the dead hobbit long enough to save their boss, and the boss's estate is definitely not dead hobbit storage (as he tells you many times, pointing out the lack of signage to that effect).

Where to go?

(Subplot- the boss is so stunned by their initial incompetence, he has opted for a scortched earth backup plan, and has hired an Embermage Assassin to wipe out the entire party...)


The Fourth Age: The land was first colonized by the Dragons, who flew in from on high, bringing their servants: Kobolds, Lizardmen, Troglodytes. They ruled for a millennium, then were deposed by the Earth Spirits, sprouting from the ground, and carving the world by Halfling, Dwarf, and Elf. The land served the Earth Spirits for a thousand years, but was then conquered by Giants, rising from the sea. With them came the empires of Gnomes, Orcs, and Humans. Their empire has survived for ten centuries, and now they face a new threat: Fiends rising from volcanoes, deserts, and infiltrating cities, bringing forth Goblins, Bugbears, and Hobgoblins...

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