Beginning the Adventure 2 / Campaign Diary: Archipelago Adventures - Pt. 19
Last week we talked about beginnings to an adventure, and I somewhat settled on an introductory adventure that would showcase the new world and mechanics to the players. They would join an archaeologist on a ship and go over to a new island and look for ruins. This would allow them to learn about how ships work, exploration mechanics and seeing another island that is close to their home base.
But… I feel like there should be something else they do before they go off to another island. They should do something on Nepu-Nepu before seeing another island that will make them care about Nepu-Nepu and Amiens. Well… maybe not care, but at least get them interested in the city.
Amiens and Beyond
Which brings us to what would Amiens be like? I was recently in Greece and really enjoyed the old ruins and architecture that filled their islands. It really helped give a sense of what things were like back several thousand years and it can be a good starting off point for figuring out what a city might feel like.
When our players first arrive in Amiens, some of them may have no idea what the city holds, others may create characters that have lived in Amiens or on the island of Nepu-Nepu for years or for their whole life. If that’s the case than the characters are going to have differing knowledge of their location even if the players don’t. I think creating a handout for players that create a character from this area wouldn’t be too much work and can really help those players feel like their character is from this island. But that’s for later once we start charting out the story, information, etc.
So what do level 1 characters do in a city? You could have them immediately get picked up by an archaeologist and explore a new island, but they are only level 1. Personally, I feel that the characters should have an adventure on the streets of Amiens, or just outside of Amiens. Than, they can be contacted by the archaeologist who heard about their success and they head on over to the island. After dealing with the island, they arrive back in port and this is when the big catalyst for the adventure begins.
Breaking that down into levels:
1st level: Adventure in Amiens and then the boat ride to the next island
2nd level: Upon arriving at the next island, they level up and begin exploring the island
3rd level: Upon finishing up the ruins, probably a nice juicy boss monster to boot, they sail back to Nepu-Nepu and they realize that the people of Nepu-Nepu have been taken (well, not all of them)
4th+ level: This will be largely up to the players to progress now. Discovering/Charting islands will definitely earn them experience, while exploring an island will earn them experience as well. Though, 4th+ level will be a huge thing in and of itself for another time.
Adventure in Amiens
The city of Amiens is on an island filled with valuable resources. There are several factions inside of Amiens:
Those that like the arrival of the King’s protection. Those that hate the King’s protection. Fisherfolk. Miners. Lumberjacks. Royalty/leaders of Amiens. Merchants in Amiens. Smugglers. Thieves. Cultists. And so much more.
But let’s start with something simple. There is a job posting in the town. Smugglers have been seen taking up in a cave and the Captain of the Guard is offering a bounty. If a party of would-be adventurers routes out the smugglers and brings back any smuggled goods, than they will be well rewarded. This will also help get the party’s name out there and build up a good relationship with the city. Furthermore, the Captain can be a recurring character that, when they have nowhere else to turn too, can turn to the adventurers that helped them out earlier.
If the characters ask around the city, they may learn that more than just smugglers occupy those caves, but the spirits of the dead!
The adventurers band together and head over to the cave probably just on the other side of the island, a decent walk where the DM can describe the island they are on and the players can begin Roleplaying with each other and sharing their characters. Upon arriving at the caves, the characters will get a chance to plan their approach and learn that the cave holds more than just smugglers.
This cave will be filled with smugglers, goblins and their leader along with plans of attacking the city of Amiens! If the players explore the cave a bit more, they can find undead in the cave protecting treasures.
On To The Next Adventure
Upon completing their first mission together, they can bring back that information to the Captain of the Guard and get a nice reward plus a bit of extra bonus money! The captain can start getting the defenses of the city in place, and the characters already have it in their minds to protect Amiens. Word of their success in the caves will spread across Amiens, and the populace will probably buy them a few drinks! After a few days of this, they’ll receive an invitation from an Archaeologist who was so taken with their success that the Archaeologist knows that they are the perfect team for the job!
He needs their help to go over to an island and help him uncover some ruins. He went there before, but found the ruins over run with with all sorts of nasty critters. Upon the adventurers agreeing to go with him, for a nice reward of course, they will get up on a ship and begin learning how ships and travel will work in this campaign. They can help out the crew and start stretching their sea-faring muscles.
On the journey to the island, there will be a fun different encounters the GM can insert into the voyage. Water Mephits may have decided to start playing pranks on the crew, to a small boarding party of Sahuagin trying to waylay them. Upon arriving at their island the characters should have enough XP to level up to 2nd level. (They may have enough depending on how well stocked the cave is and if they take on the undead.)
The island will have a small port city that they arrive on. They can explore around a little bit, maybe hire an extra guide to get through the island and then set off with the archaeologist to get to some lost ruins! Upon arriving at the lost ruins, they find that the Archaeologist’s reports are true and that it is currently overrun by Grungs who just recently took up hold on the ruins. The characters can try and talk to the Grungs who are open to the Arachaeologist studying in the ruins, so long as the characters deal with the central ruin and get through it’s many traps and retrieve the treasure inside. If the table promises to give the Grungs this treasure, the Grungs are more than happy to let the Archaeologist and his team stick around, otherwise it will be a fight between the two factions.
After handling the problems at the ruins, the characters can head off on the island, maybe explore a bit before getting back in their boat and heading back to Amiens, successfully reaching level 3!
And this is where our adventure truly starts. Upon arriving back in Amiens, they see that the attack by the goblins has taken place and their warning of the city wasn’t enough. Smoking ships clog up the harbor and the city is in a horrible condition as large rocks have through the city’s buildings. Upon landing, the Captain of the Guard, who hired them early, can tell them about what happened and inform them that many of the important people in the city and commoners have been kidnapped by the hobgoblin force and they need the characters to go out into the archipelago and return them. They’ll be given a ship, a crew and a large reward if they return with the missing townsfolk.
That’s the basic structure of the beginning adventures for this campaign, and is open to change. As we begin working more on the story and figuring out how things work, we can start adjusting, building up on ideas and maybe changing things out completely wholesale. In the meantime, I’m ready to get back to our travels and talk about this second island we found!
Sailing across the ocean when a giant shadow falls over the ship. Looking up, something massive has blocked out the sun. It’s multi-colored wings are barely discernible as it wheels around in the sky and seems to be heading straight towards your ship.
1. The Roc is out hunting for larger game than just the party and has spotted a group of whales following the ship. It streaks downwards towards the ship and slams into the water just behind them. The ship needs to make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or 1d4 sailors are thrown overboard. If any of the party on board, they need to make their own DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or fall overboard as well. The Roc then flies up out of the ocean carrying a massive whale in it’s talons and begins flying up into the sky, devouring its meal.
2. The Roc flying above appears to be tired and lands on the back of the ship, causing it to take 2d10 bludgeoning damage to the helm as it crunches into wood. So long as the crew doesn’t bother the Roc, it pays no attention to them and begins preening its feathers. It rests there for an hour before launching itself off the back of the ship and begins looking for substantial prey out in the ocean. This slows down the ship for the day, and the Roc leaves the crew alone so long as they allow it to stay on the helm. If anyone tries to attack or get the Roc to leave, it will lash out with its beak to ward them off. If they continue to attack or bother the Roc, it will fly off to find somewhere else to land… but not before circling above the ship and expelling its waste on it.
3. The Roc flying above appears to have a rider on top and it slowly begins circling around the ship. A huge storm giant announces to the crew that they have entered the waters of the Coral City, the Storm Giant’s home. He asks their business and sends them on their way when he garners they are not here for foul reasons. If the party wishes to visit the Coral City, he directs them to an island just over the horizon (See Island #TBD).
4. The Roc slams it’s talons into the ship and begins lifting it out of the water. Roll for initiative and the crew and party must attack it’s talons for it to release the ship back into the water. The Talons have AC 15 and 50 HP, and for every round they are unable to break the talon’s grips they will rise up 20 feet, dealing 1d6 bludgeoning damage per 10 feet fallen to the hull of the ship once they release the talon’s grip. If they are unable to release the talons, the Roc will drop them once they are 100’ up in the air. If the crew or the players aren’t grabbing on to something attached to the ship, they must make a DC 12 Strength check to grab on to the ship as they slam back into the water or they go overboard. All characters will take 1d6 bludgeoning damage as the ship absorbs much of the damage from slamming into the water.