Help me mess with my player

Rechan

Adventurer
I'm a lazy DM. I procrastinate a lot. And sometimes this means that I need to Stall the players while I think of something.

During one of these stalling encounters, the PCs came upon some crossroads near twilight. There, a lone man pushing a cart with "The entire world" inside it offered to make them some deals. This should have sent warning bells through their heads (I mean seriously, making a bargain with an entity in the Crossroads at night?).

One PC, being a PC, wanted to buy a magical item and sell one. I said "Sure". The second wanted a bottle of elven wine and some bread and cheese (since they had been eating trail rations for a week). I had tipped the second player that this was suspicious, and he has the (possibly incorrect) notion that the Deal Maker is some sort of fey entity, and the character being an elf, thought it was a good idea.

The Catch? The deal maker said "You can have your requests for free. All you have to do is just say your name into this jar." The first PC was certain that their name would be stolen. The character who wanted the wine agreed to do it for himself and the other PC, then spoke his name into a dusty old jar. The merchant put the jar back on his cart, and toddled away.

So, how can I use this to make an interesting plot? I want to make it bite them on the butt (one did get a nice magical item, and it is a very risky thing to give your name in this vague circumstance), but nothing too mean.

I don't want something so Drastic as the PC losing his name. I was thinking that the Deal Maker sells the jar to someone or something unpleasant needs allies to do something morally questionable, buys the jar and summons the PCs; the one with the name in the jar is "forced" to help.
 
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Boarstorm

First Post
I'd be tempted to look into the concept of Truenames and see what sorts of things a person could do with them in legend and fiction, and go from there.

Summonings and compulsions are obvious places to start. If I had more of an idea of what this creature was (beyond my immediate assumptions of a soul-collecting devil given the circumstances of their meeting), I might have a better idea of how this particular merchant might "profit" from this unfortunate fellow's name.

I'd be tempted to make him so he's not affected by the Raise Dead ritual, prompting the PCs to journey into a (reasonably tame) layer of Hell an wrest his soul back from the devil who took possession, but I'd hate to sideline the PC in question while all this was going on.
 

CoatRackOfDoom

First Post
Rechan,

Is it possible that the suspicious man at the crossroads was seeking this player to begin with (or at least this party of adventurers)? Perhaps, rather than intending to summon the PC, the old man will hand over the jar to a villain who can use it like a stolen identity to bypass some kind of magical protection and get his/her hands on an item of great importance.

Story hooks all over the place:
1. Those who protect the ITEM may believe the PC stole it. A bounty could be placed upon PC's head.
2. The ITEM will, in turn, be used to achieve some evil end. PC will be obligated to retrieve it.
3. Who is this old man who steals identities?
4. Was the jarred name used up in the ITEM theft, or does the mysterious villain still have it?
5. Could the jar be used, like a voodoo doll or some such, to spy on or affect the PC in some unexpected way?

Please post whatever you eventually decide to do!

Cheers!
 

Rechan

Adventurer
If I had more of an idea of what this creature was (beyond my immediate assumptions of a soul-collecting devil given the circumstances of their meeting), I might have a better idea of how this particular merchant might "profit" from this unfortunate fellow's name.
To give a little helpful information, I imagined the Deal Maker to be more like a dark trickster, as well as a peddler of Favors. A version of "Be Careful What You Wish For". I'm coming at this from more a Ravenloft feel of folkloric entities with a dark turn, rather than straight up Devils.

(That, and the current campaign arc deals with devil worshipers and such, so I want to avoid the overtly Infernal).

Is it possible that the suspicious man at the crossroads was seeking this player to begin with (or at least this party of adventurers)?
I don't think I'd be comfortable with handing the Whatsit over to the current villain; I think that's a little too Convenient. It also would be nice if this was actually unrelated to any current plot, and was more like the characters just interacting with some sort of mythical entity of the campaign world.

Thus this should create a headache with a questionable, unfortunate situation, but not be an exercise in sadism. ;)

I do like the idea of using the character's name as a means of passing blame, or using the character's identity for ill repute, but that might be a very big distraction in resolving it; a single session's side trek adventure handling the matter is good enough for me.

Also: My party consists of two PCs: a warlock, and an eladrin ranger (whom got his name in the jar). Just so you're aware of what they can do.
 
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Boarstorm

First Post
Two person party? Well, nix idea #37, then. Moving on to plan R.

Here we go. *rolls up sleeve*

The entity moves on to another crossroads and another night where he encounters a young highwayman. Upon discovering that the "peddler" isn't really a valid target for Grand Theft Cart, he decides to take the peddler up on his offer.

"Anything in the world, eh? Ah, I want to make a name for myself!"
"Ah, good, sonny, good. I happen to have JUST the thing. Help an old man open this jar, would you?"

What the brigand gives in return is left to the imagination, but its not soon after that the PCs begin hearing tales of the notorious bandit with the same name as the PC, whose infamy is spreading across the land like a wildfire and drawing in a number of like-minded individuals.

Naturally, some mistaken identity is bound to occur (to the PCs detriment) and a short quest to bring the brigand to justice is in order.
 
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Ginnel

Explorer
Thus this should create a headache with a questionable, unfortunate situation, but not be an exercise in sadism. ;)

I do like the idea of using the character's name as a means of passing blame, or using the character's identity for ill repute, but that might be a very big distraction in resolving it; a single session's side trek adventure handling the matter is good enough for me.

Also: My party consists of two PCs: a warlock, and an eladrin ranger (whom got his name in the jar). Just so you're aware of what they can do.

Hmm you said shadey traveller/dealer I'm thinking Shadowfell, maybe taking the Eladrin's name because it was the one he was really interested in, takes his connection from the Feywild and places it in to the Shadowfell, causing him to gain grey/black eyes and his transportation takes him through the shadowfell instead of the feywild.

Now maybe this is done by a banished Eladrin who has taken up residence in the Shadowfell or some other tragic/jealous entity wanting to surround him/herself with the beauty of the feywild.

Now I recommend your Ranger doesn't notice this until say 5 days later, to give time to get his name to the shadowfell and set its essence up there.

Anyway you have two options with this, the player can continue with a new found connection to the shadowfell, maybe other eladrin feel something isn't quite right, or he can figure it out himself and try to claim his name back or he can be requested by the Feywild courts as a tainted one to find out where these current kidnappings have come from, cue pictures of tainted Unicorns/Nymphs etc that have already succumbed (pop in an eladrin/elven even NPC to help along and Bobs your fathers brother :))
 

Foxen

First Post
Oooh, what a wickedly delicious scenario!

Here's a thought...

The Ranger is led to believe that he is cursed. Strange things begin to happen. He may wake up in strange places, or find valuable artifacts or art pieces owned by rich merchants on his person. Or there may be a series of violent crimes...committed by a dreaded undead, and the character is given clues and hints that perhaps he at night, turns into this demonic creature.

Whispers, dream sequences, and odd rumors that hint at the ranger's curse are spread by strange old sage witch women or giggling childlings....all in a mass conspiracy to trick the poor fool. One thing leads to another, and the Ranger uncovers some dark secret (at a great cost) to break the dreaded curse of the "soul jar" or whatever. He must travel somewhere someplace and do XYZ and maybe ABC and even slay something or some beast....and then take it's heart upon the highest point of Skull Rock at the highest peak of the Harvest Moon on the 32nd day of the Umbra Festival...etc. etc. in order to break the curse...

In truth...the jar was just that, a jar, nothing more. The Old Man in the road had wanted to get revenge at an old foe, or wanted XYZ or ABC done (or perhaps he was hired to do XYZ and ABC). He planted the old sage witch woman, or halflings posing at giggling childlings, or other actors etc. and even planted rumors to and the actual dark secret (an ancient looking scroll planted in an art object he traded with some goblins) to get Ranger to complete the tasks and slay the beasts for him...

The irony and horror to learn that in truth, he not cursed by dark magic, but was cursed only by his own naivety and foolishness.

Muwhahahhaa.

Fox
 

roguerouge

First Post
He stole his name. From now on, no NPC will be able to remember his name or much about him beyond a physical description. ("That elf with the... well, he was sort of... He was an elf!")

Think of the weird effects that would cause, good and bad. He will never become a famous hero until he gets his name back from this gentleman. Villains' plans will never include him. He'll be able to get away with crimes obviously, tempting him, but that will put his immortal soul and alignment in danger.
 


CoatRackOfDoom

First Post
Rechan,

Seems like you're looking for something brief, but clever.

It's quite possible that the jar of name could be a material component for some great ritual. But the ranger is unlikely to know what purpose it will be used for. Unless... for unexplained reasons, ranger begins having out-of-body excursions to the jar, where he witnesses events around the jar. He learns that the jar is now in the possession of a wizened old spellcaster. In fact, the jar is among a strange collection of components, set aside for some impending ritual. Soon he discovers the nature of the spell to be cast, and realizes that either:
a) the ritual will cause great suffering, and must be stopped.
OR
b) the ritual is no big deal, BUT, once his jarred name is used as a component, some unpleasant/bad side-effect will occur to the ranger.


Though, I really like Foxen's "curse" idea!
 

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