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D&D General Quest hook for my players?

Bird Of Play

Explorer
I hope it's ok if I ask for advice here! I think brainstorming helps really a lot for a good campaign!

Well, my players are currently in this city.

1) The outer part of the city, where the farmers live, are infested by rats. The rats carry the Sewer Plague, but with a modification: a small chance to have it turn you into a wererat. This is because the rats (and most wererats) are commanded by a demon-possessed rat. The demon escaped from the city's castle because the duchess and all her circle of nobility are part of a demon-worshipping cult. They aren't evil, they just want power and delude themselves into thinking it's for the good of the city. WHAT THE PLAYERS KNOW: there's rats in the outer city, they carry a plague, but the inner city does jack about it.

2) The closest and less tall mountains, just beind the city, are the cove of a group of grey dwarves. Guess what: another demon-possessed thing got in that area, and became the bug queen spawning a bunch of humber hulks. But the duergars captured the humber hulk queen and are preparing an army of umber hulks. They are currently trying to make a deal with the drows ("we give you some umber hulks, since you guys use giant spiders and are used to using bugs as weapons, and in exchange you help us, for example giving us the secret drow poison recipe"). WHAT THE PLAYERS KNOW: there are rumours of duergars in the mountains, but so far it's only rumours.

3) Far away in the highest mountains there's a dwarven city. Ambassadors from that city have been sent to the human city my players are currently into, to be convinced to find the hidden duergar cove and wipe them out. But the ambassadors have been like "nah". Non-dwarves are not allowed in dwarven cities, and none of my players is a dwarf. However, they befriended the ambassadors in a drinking competition. WHAT MY PLAYERS KNOW: there's a dwarven fortress out there in the mountains.

4) Out there, far away in the forests there's an orc camp. Why would my players wander away in the forest, it's anybody's guess. Sidenote: there's a half-orc among the city guards. He's mean and beastlike and much like my full orcs he doesn't talk; but he may eventually help become a link to the orc camps to get my players there.....? In fact, I keep wondering why the city even keeps that half-orc there, besides the fact he is strong and a good deterrent for crime. I'd like some help in better defining the situation.

5) Much, much further away, if they were to travel, they'll reach a desert area. I have some very cool quest ideas for that place, but how do I convince them to head there? I have an idea that a tiefling (a 90% human-looking, 10% bug-looking dude) may be actually searching for his long lost demon mother. Yes, that would be the creepy bug queen that the duergars captured.

6) At the top of the mountains there's some giants. I imagine them as very cool half-rock half-human beings. The giant queen may or may not want something?



Well that was one long text. If anyone has any idea for any of the points above, I'd appreciate it very much!! I just want a good quest hook.
 

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Doug McCrae

Legend
The farmers in the outer city scrape together whatever resources they can -- maybe they can offer a minor magic item -- and hire the PCs to deal with the rat problem.

A friend or associate of the PCs is kidnapped by the demon-worshipping cult to be sacrificed.

The dwarven ambassadors hire the PCs to scout out the location of the hidden duergar stronghold. They hope that even if the PCs aren't successful this will involve the human city with the duergar, which is what they want.

One of the dwarven ambassadors is assassinated by a drow agent who is trying to prevent the dwarves and humans from forging an alliance that could harm their deal with the duergar.

The orcs that live in the forest are raiding remote human, elven or gnomish settlements, kidnapping the inhabitants, and selling them as slaves to the duergar. One (or more) of the PCs' relatives have been kidnapped. The relative(s) may still be at the orc camp or may have been sold on to the gray dwarves.

The PCs meet an old down on his luck ex-adventurer who sells them a map showing the location of treasure or magic items in the desert.

The rock giants know about the umber hulk menace and have been summoning earth elementals to fight them. However these earth elementals are difficult to control and they have been causing rock slides and attacking human or dwarven miners. The PCs are hired to put a stop to this.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
The demon-worshipping cult require an exotic ingredient for their rituals -- a plant that grows only in the desert. They hire the PCs to acquire it. The noble who hires them doesn't admit the true purpose of the plant -- they claim to be merely a dabbler in alchemy -- but it's something the PCs could discover.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Personally, I'd change the wererat chance from being caused by a demon to being the effect of a rat king (which in this case is composed of wererats, rather than normal rats and is a semi-divine entity).

Then you can @Doug McCrae 's plot to have the farmer's try and get the PCs to eliminate the rats - only to in turn have the PC's targeted by wererat assassins sent by the Rat King in revenge, leading to an escalating war. Could be the reason the city does jack about the rat problem is that several prominent officials are actually wererats who are knowingly turning a blind eye to their "country" cousins - the wererats keep strict control over the wererats inside the city, but don't care what their brethren do outside the walls. When the PCs start messing with the rats outside the city though, those in control start to get worried that their little secret empire might get noticed.

On the dwarven front, you could use The Forge of Fury from Tales of the Yawning Portal - the PCs learn about an abandoned dwarven outpost rife with forgotten treasure. Clearing it out garners the attention of the Duergar and the Mountain Dwarves, and the latter might accept PCs into their city as honorary brothers/sisters for their efforts, leading to more dwarven antics.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
The orc camp occasionally sends some raw materials as trade goods - maple syrup, sturdy oak lumber, pelts / furs, kindling by the cartload, herbs for Medicine Kits - to the town for exchange of manufactured / imported goods.
The half-orc leads negotiations because he is bilingual. Eventually the orcs also bring a rumor about a problem. If the PCs have a good reputation, he suggests they be the designated problem solvers.
 

For the diseased rats, the answer seems obvious enough: Have an NPC the players like get bitten, and the infection not respond to normal treatments.
I'd go with the wererat treatment. The change over time should be something to get the party motivated, especially with rumors that there might be a cure.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Thank you so much, guys!
Somehow I hadn't considered the option of getting an NPC captured by the cult, as @Doug McCrae suggested. In hindsight, it was an obvious idea. They've got a little girl NPC in their party right now, as they're trying to find her a new family. She might be captured as a sacrifice, motivating the players to find out about the cult.
On the other hand..... the idea that the demon-worshippers get the players to naively do their bidding is very interesting too. Perhaps I should get the little girl captured by the orcs instead, but in that case, I first need the players to 1) head off in the road; 2) don't keep an eye on the lil' girl for some reason. Not easy for it to happen, especially since their idea was to not keep carring our lil' lady with them and expose her to danger.

By the way, @Stormonu 's idea of the rat king is a-ma-zing! I had never heard about this rat king myth before, but now I found out it's a thing that was in medieval folklore. Somehow the idea of a bunch of rats tied by their tails to form a heinous circle is even creepier than the disfigured big rat I had envisioned. This also gives me an idea: the rat king isn't exactly a demon but a demon-caused mutation.

As @Shiroiken and @MarkB suggested, getting one of the players bitten by one of the rats is another idea. But they're definitely suspicious of the rats already. I think they expect me to try to get them bitten. I'll try!

As for the orc camp however, @Eltab , I should mention "my" orcs are very savage and beastlike. Their language is simpler than a feral Tarzan's.
 

It sounds like you have a lot of disconnected plots going on & that's fine if your goal is monster of the week kitchen sink one offs, but the disparate threads seem too deep & too invested. I'd start trying to link a few of those threads together before it devolves into silmarillion of the week & makes players shut down on the details of anything beyond who to kill.

The good thing is that it sounds like your players are interested in your world and the individual threads sound like they night be interesting. That makes it easy for you the gm to start weaving. It doesn't really matter what threads you combine or how but dont do it too quick. Maybe the duergar are paying the orcs to make sure nobody finds the boring uninteresting macguffin ore mine. Maybe the were rat thing is the dwarf city dumping magical waste into the sewers through an underground stream portal or whatever, of course the dwarves cant let non dwarves into their city as long as thsts going on. Maybe the waste is a byproduct of the fertilizer they are selling to the farmers who now need another solution if the players "solve" the pollution issue.... coincidentally... remember the boring macguffin mine you forgot about? Thst mine just went from boring to interesting because it can fix one or more of the magical runoff were at plague/neededfertilizer/magical waste nullification need since the dwarf mine of macguffininium ran dry/etc the duergar have a problem they need solved first. It doesn't really matter what order you sprinkle crumbs till the players start connecting the dots but if you do this kind of thing right you wind up looking like you planned a game of 12-D chess so flawlessly that you were even able to predict exactly what the players would need to put the pieces together without needing to have an npc guide them by the nose. The Dresden files rpg "city creation " stuff or fate core aspects & world creation stuff are great for enabling you to do this kind of trickery on the fly in secret without anyone noticing once your comfortable with it.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Thank you for the advice, @tetrasodium . The plots aren't as disconnected as it may seem: the humber hulk army is linked to the desert-dwelling tiefling and to the demon-worshipping cult..... the duergars are linked to the players due to two events (the players once saved a duergar that was to be executed in a human town; long story... and now, one of my players has periodic hallucinations caused by a duergar device he naively tried on once)...... the wererats are, again, linked to the demon-cult..... the halforc is linked to the orc camp (in some way I still haven't decided)......

......But you're still right. It's a handful, and I must work better to make sure the plot elements are linked together naturally, creating a web of subplots that flows naturally. You made me realize I should focus on that more.

On a sidenote, I don't even know what to do with that halforc guard. He was just a cool character. My players definitely loved almost getting into a fight with him in the tavern, and looks like they want to know more about him.
The problem is that I don't even know much about him. He's just a halforc guard, big and scary and talking via grunts and acting like a bully. But I realize I should give him more plot space since he's a popular NPC..... and he could be an excuse to link the players to the orc camp somehow.
 

aco175

Legend
You have a good plot with the rats to take the PCs from levels 1-5 when they encounter the rat king and save the outer city. They can find out another p[lot near the end of this to lead they to either the orc problem, the noble demon problem, or the dwarf umber hulk problem. This may take the PCs to level 10 when they save the whole city from that. You gave them a choice on what path they wanted to take and along the next path you can drop hints about the other problems they did not take. Maybe the nobles are now plotting against the PCs if they are becoming heroes in the city and dealing with the orcs after the rats. Maybe the giants join the orcs if the PCs are dealing with the nobles. Develop the longer plot based on the PCs actions.

Another thing you want to develop are NPCs. Maybe the PCs stay out in the villages and farms. The farmers will ask the PCs to deal with the problem through the local innkeeper. There should also be other adventuring groups trying to deal with the problem, but having a hard time. Team up with a group to deal with a sewer den of rats and a mid-level boss, then have the group contract the disease to maybe fight the PCs later. Eventually, everyone cheers the PCs for solving the problem.
 

If you need help for hook, describe your world only won’t help me, you should describe the characters played too.
 
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Bird Of Play

Explorer
If you need help for hook, describe your world only won’t help me, you should describe the characters played too.

A silent, mysterious warlock of an undefinible alignment: he's definitely Lawful, and he acts as if he's Lawful Good - yet his powers are dark eerie stuff.... Lawful Evil stuff.
A wise gnome, friendly and clever, who is usually almost Gandalflike but, as gnomes often do, from time to time will do something Chaotic if it looks amusing to him.... Chaotic Good.
A young thief who recently multiclassed into bard after an encounter with a lich NPC unlocked the magic he's always tried to have - he's in many ways the typical horny bard archetype, but he does play it well, including the attentionseeking.... Neutral Pure.
 
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Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
One of the secret demon-cultist agents is around when the PCs get into a fight and sees the Warlock's powers. The agent knows (or he thinks he knows) that such use of dark power makes the PC a potential recruit for the cult. "We can show you the true path to power; be no one's tool or patsy but your own master." Serve the agent right, of course, if the PC patiently spies the cult out and eventually leads his friends to the main lair - taking down the wannabee-rival to his patron.

Additional complication: an honest 'Commissioner Gordon' will help 'Batman' get equipment to spy out and take down the cult but this all must happen with plausible deniability - not ever "Stop in the name of the Law!" from the PCs.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
One of the secret demon-cultist agents is around when the PCs get into a fight and sees the Warlock's powers. The agent knows (or he thinks he knows) that such use of dark power makes the PC a potential recruit for the cult. "We can show you the true path to power; be no one's tool or patsy but your own master." Serve the agent right, of course, if the PC patiently spies the cult out and eventually leads his friends to the main lair - taking down the wannabee-rival to his patron.

Additional complication: an honest 'Commissioner Gordon' will help 'Batman' get equipment to spy out and take down the cult but this all must happen with plausible deniability - not ever "Stop in the name of the Law!" from the PCs.

Oooh why didn't I think of THIS!!
I like that! On one hand, someone might be trying to stop the cult from the inside, thus helping the players. On the other hand.... the cult approaching the warlock once they find out his powers.
Now on to make sure they do find out he's a warlock!
 

A silent, mysterious warlock of an undefinible alignment: he's definitely Lawful, and he acts as if he's Lawful Good - yet his powers are dark eerie stuff.... Lawful Evil stuff.
A wise gnome, friendly and clever, who is usually almost Gandalflike but, as gnomes often do, from time to time will do something Chaotic if it looks amusing to him.... Chaotic Good.
A young thief who recently multiclassed into bard after an encounter with a lich NPC unlocked the magic he's always tried to have - he's in many ways the typical horny bard archetype, but he does play it well, including the attentionseeking.... Neutral Pure.
A rogue-bard and a warlock may be appeal by the duergar, drow, dwarf interaction.
The situation may get worse enough to force the embassador to use an external neutral help to help him solve internal conflict. He can be a good Patron for this adventure part. Friends make in drinking competition are irreplaceable!
the looking for attention seeking may find nice to be ask to help an ambassador, and a lawful character should not say no to an official job. Being ask after knowing they are not totally welcome may add a little sweet and sour mix to the plot.
 
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