Help me fill in the blanks, please :) Next session in 4 days.


So, I planning next week's session and I decided to re-skin a session I ran for a 1x1 years ago (and can barely remember). I need help fleshing out the details and adding in some extra elements. Here's what I have so far...

The group is arrives at a small fishing village on the edge of a giant lake. They are in search of a woman they have never met but they know her name, general location, and what she looks like (from scrying).

While getting their bearings at a tavern, they enconter a young man who is in a confrontation with several other men. Just by listening or by interference the party learns that this young man has an older sister whom at least some of the townsfolk blame for a string of misfortune (poisoned wells, low fish catches, sickness,untimely death, ect). They seem to think she is practicing some fowl sorcery over the lake at night. The young man defends his sister, but it is clear she has few supporters apart form her brother and things are in danger of becoming violent in the near future.

The party will have the option to intervene on the young man's behalf before he is beaten up and the townsfolk leave with threats under their breath. They will learn that this man's sister is actually the woman they have been searching for. They will also learn that the young man is a war veteran who has recently returned from years on the front lines after learning that his parents have died and fearing for his sister's welfare (later the party will learn that she is a bit "touched"). He will be willing to take the party to his home to meet his sister (they live on a small island on the lake).

Before going to meet the sister, the party will have the option to investigate the townsfolk's suspicions in whatever way they see fit. There is a town hall where they can confirm the claims of unnatural mini-disasters. There is a fishery that ships the majority of it's goods to a border city. There is also a temple to the goddess Hirene (Patron of family and the hearth) and/or perhaps Incara (Truth and balance).

Upon arriving at the brother and sister's home, they will meet the sister and see that she is a beautiful if not awkward and sheltered young woman (she carries a doll around at all times). The party can talk with her to learn that since her parent's death, and before her brothers recent arrival, she has been visited by a young man several times. She identifies the man's name, but can't give any helpful information about who he is. She learns that he has been taking her out on the lake at night. Her brother has been unaware of these mysterious visits.


I can't believe I am at such a loss for what I did last time with this session (I think that's because we never got to finish it). I generally remember that the man who was taking her out on the lake was a high priest at one of the town's temples. He is somehow guilty of the town's misfortune but he has been setting up the sister to look like the orchestrator. She does have arcane power, perhaps even an unnatural aptitude, but she is innocent as a dove. I think the priest was taking advantage of her in other ways too, or trying too anyway. Like, he was using her special abilities for something, but I CANNOT remember the details.

Eventually I think the plan was to have an angry mob kidnap the sister and attempt to put her on trial for her supposed crimes. The party would then need to decide what to do, try to save an innocent woman? Or leave her to her fate?


This choice will be a harder one that you might think because the reason the party needed to find her in the first place is because she is one of five people on the continent whose blood is needed for a ritual sacrifice that will essentially free an imprisoned god. Thus far, the party (who are good aligned) are unsure what to do with these five people and she will be the first that they encounter (with their new knowledge of what her blood could mean). If the five people die childless, their lines will be broken and there is no fear of the evil god coming back. It's by far the simplest solution to their dilemma as the only other options seem to be...

1. Kill the god directly in his own realm
2. Sterilize the five people and keep them locked up or otherwise protected until they die
3. Find a way to magically change their blood lines/render them useless to the god, if that's even possible ([HI]if anyone has ideas how to present this as an option for my players I would LOVE to hear the details!!!![/HI])

I kind of want to see how my party will respond to this dilemma. If they let her die then I will need to make the four remaining heirs much harder to "dispose of". If they do kill her off/let her die, their problems will not be solved because I will have it revealed that she has recently given birth to a child (product of the priest taking advantage of her innocence) and the child had been removed from her by the father, which is why she carries around and guards the doll so fiercely. That baby is now the new blood heir and they will have to destroy it in order to make it impossible to free the god. This will be difficult as the child has been sent off to be raised by the priest's order which is a heavily guarded entity.

Anyway, I need some more conflict/mystery for this session. I would like it if the priest has some deep motivations for taking advantage of this woman. Perhaps she has some sort of power he has been using to fuel his own evil schemes that have been the result of the town's misfortune? I vaguely remember that there was also some sort of guild/faction war going on in this town between fisheries. I really really wish I could remember the details on that point.

Anyone feeling super helpful?
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Guide of Modos
Incorporate some spatial thinking, TV-detective-style. Draw up a chart with all of the nouns - the characters, factions, locations. Each gets a box or a circle. Adjectives and inventories go in the boxes. Relationships and verbs are the lines you'll use to link the boxes. The way you turn it into a "mystery" is by hiding the different elements from the PCs. Just be sure that there's a good reason for it if an element is hidden for reasons other than "PCs haven't asked yet."

Two things I'd like to pick on, though: I'm not sure that the young, beautiful ones are the ones typically ostracized for witchcraft/misfortune. Unless 1) they have an...invisible...disease, 2) they've turned down the advances of a leader, or 3) they are actually practicing witchcraft.

Also a war vet, with "years on the front lines," is also unlikely to be a "young" person. And in a D&D setting, if you survive years on the front lines, I would think you'd get promoted to a position that would made it a viable career choice . . . or have a debilitating injury that motivates one to get as far from military service as possible.


Like [MENTION=6685730]DMMike[/MENTION], I try to avoid "when this happens and the players do X" thinking and instead think of setting, personalities, groups and motivations.

So we have the brother. He's war-weary, but I'm not sure surviving for several years would qualify him for higher office. Depending on the campaign and society, rising through the ranks may not be possible if you aren't high born. You know he loves his sister, but what does he think of the townsfolk? Does he plead with old friends and neighbors, or are they relatively new to the area (perhaps refuges)? Or have they just always been on the outs because of some other reason?

The sister. You've got a little bit of personality there, but why does she live on the island? What happened to her, or has she always been this way?

The villagers. Are they just ignorant? Is there a specific accuser or some other outside force influencing them such as the priest? Is there any possibility of changing their minds?

The priest. Yeah, you have to figure out what's going on here. It could be that he's secretly extracting the sister's blood in a dark ritual causing the problems. He could secretly be fighting a coven of hags the best way he knows how - or perhaps he's secretly cursed or unable to confront the hags directly. How convoluted do you want the plot? One of the villagers could actually be a hag, but the priest doesn't know which one and the sister can potentially help him figure it out.

For the specific issues
- Reincarnate would be a way to stop the bloodline without permanently killing someone. But is the brother also of the same bloodline or is he a half-brother?
- Did the brother retire because he took an arrow the knee?

I think you've got plenty of material there in place ready to react to your players' actions on the fly. Just keep in mind the relationships between the NPCs.

I would definitely not have this young woman have a child, and I seriously wouldn't have that be a kind of reveal for the PCs after she's dead. It makes the whole session, and any moral dilemmas they might have had regarding letting her die, be a waste. It's putting these good-aligned characters through an emotional wringer, all for a "gotcha!" ending. As a player, that would bother me.

I do have an idea regarding the bloodlines. Dragon's blood. Maybe there's a ritual out there that allows you to infuse a subject with the blood of a willing dragon. The subject gets cool dragon abilities, becomes part of that dragon's extended family, and most importantly, the blood is no longer pure in regards to this evil god. Then the problem becomes finding a willing dragon that's not going to be all super evil in its own way. And hey, maybe you found a couple dynasties of dragon-blooded sorcerers along the way.

The whole priest thing could still work, but he needs a solid motivation and I definitely wouldn't include the whole "taking advantage of her innocence" bit in one of my games, but that's a matter of personal preference, I suppose.


One way to present magical bloodline transformation would be to start introducing bits of lore about "blood magic". An evil caster the PCs defeat might have a treatise on it; other works might be found in an ancient library or treasure trove. The PCs might encounter a mage headed or giving a conference or lecture on blood magic. A crazed alchemist who sells the PCs potions might be acting suspiciously as he tries to hide weird experiments involving blood and the transformation of monsters. You can introduce elements that are obliquely related to a solution (e.g. blood magic and/or transformation) and let the PCs connect the dots or pursue the matter if they think of it.


First Post
They seem to think she is practicing some fowl sorcery over the lake at night.

Make her a wannabe draconic sorcerer, maybe she can be tainted by a warlock patron too.
Delay the kid, use a prophecy later on to point to the brother and some "camp follower". The brother will be more likely to cooperate if they acted well toward his sister.


3. Find a way to magically change their blood lines/render them useless to the god, if that's even possible ([HI]if anyone has ideas how to present this as an option for my players I would LOVE to hear the details!!!![/HI])

Get a cooperative werebear to bite them all.

Another way to change their blood would be for the party to enlist the help of a vampire who is knowledgable about such things. Of course this presents some ethical dilemma's, as they would have to trust the word of a blood sucking fiend.

The vampire could know of a spell to transfer or change blood, or perhaps the vampire provides a more hands on approach, in the form of some sort of machine that can pump blood from and into a body. And of course the new blood would have to come from someone... perhaps someone the vampire wants to get rid of.


Maybe make it more than a coincidence that this woman is being framed. Instead of being a local priest, the man is a highly zealous member of a religion dedicated to opposing the evil god. He followed the same clues the PCs did but got here early, and immediately denounced the woman in front of the whole town, assuming that they would share his view that her bloodline made her inherently evil. When people didn't go along with that, he realised that if he then took any overt action against her, everyone would know he was responsible and he was liable to be branded a criminal.

So instead, he's been causing the local troubles and working to frame her. In his mind he's merely exposing her inherent evil to the world in order to make them realise what a threat she represents - the fact that she's innocent of the specific deeds he's pinning on her is an irrelevant detail.

This way, the character can let the players see what an overly-pragmatic approach to the problem looks like from the outside - and if this guy is a member of a similarly-absolutist religious order, his brethren can become an effective opposition on future occasions if the players decide they want to help these people rather than killing them.



So you're saying the real evil behind the scenes is a duck? That's just daffy.



Thanks everyone. Your input is appreciated. Love that I can come to this board whenever I get stuck. Wish me luck for tonight's session.

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