One of the things I've always hated about published adventures is the stupid plot that's supposed to get the characters to where the DM wants them to go. I just read an adventure in an old issue of Dungeon ("Beyond the Glittering Veil" - issue 31?). Anyway, people are disappearing and the PCs have to find out why. But my question is always - "What if they don't CARE that people are missing?"
I'd rather have cool settings and decide how to get the PCs there myself (maybe with some suggestions - like "People are going missing" or "In the dragon's hoard is a page, obviously from a diary, describing a wizard's trip to a shadow land beyond a glittering veil" or "the halfling thief just fell down a hole in the ground" or whatever - gimme options if I can't make it fit myself). In what I write, I have some pretty certain ideas of how I want MY party to get from place to place, but I could do the same thing with modules, I'd just have to jettison all the intro plot stuff. So I wonder if I should even put it in at all... I figure when Gygax ran his campaign players through Steading of the Hill Giant it probalby wasn't just as was given us in the module (though for the playtesters, yeah, maybe...).
All that aside, here's what I'm looking at trying to string together:
- Goblin House - introduces the PCs to the local worship of the Old Gods (rescue some...sigh...missing children - though I have the option of making the PCs the actual missing children who rebel against their goblin captors...)
- Grave Robbers - another kind of mystery (why have graves been disturbed - why was there an "unscheduled" eclipse of the moon) introduces PCs to the Wraithlord(s) and discovery of ancient ruins in the Jacob's Well graveyard area - possibly an ancient library should take them on their first foray into the Earth Temple (Mudpits)
- Darkness at Hope Cross - first encounter against an Avatar of the Old Gods, though still very weak - also one of the Old Ones (an ancient demonic creature servant of the Old Gods)
- Slavers (need a title?) will reveal that the forces of the Old Gods are more widespread and growing more powerful than was known before. PCs will seek to end a slaver ring but will discover that it's not just a simple stop the slavers, but the motives behind the slaver attacks are deeper (I could just retool the A series of AD&D modules perhaps).
- Tears of the Gods - minor artifacts that the PCs will have to locate and use to bring down the five temples (well, it's really six) - these items magnify magical power...
- Dwarven Hammer - this artifact will be needed to destroy the temples as well.
- Beneath the Wizard's Tower - set in Damoric's dungeons - not quite a "mad archmage" but a complicated and deep megadungeon - the PCs will be on a focused mission to recover something but if Damoric doesn't survive, the dungeons will become feral and fair game for plunder...
- The Three Part Map - the PCs will find two parts in previous adventures - the third part is the focus of this adventure - when they find it, they can find their way to the next adventure:
- The Quest for the Primordial Elements - this will be a plane spanning adventure to secure primordial fire, water, earth, air, and darkness so as to destroy the foci from the elemental temples.
- Temples of the Elements - except for the (not yet really remembered) sixth temple, the PCs will travel to the five temples and destroy the focus that holds each "pin" of the pentagram in place. Doing so releases an avatar of the Elemental God that they will have to fight, but if they defeat the five, they send them back to their planes in a very weakened state. HOWEVER:
- If all five Elemental temples are defeated, the Chaos Temple springs to new life, chaos begins to spread and the party will have to sack the temple (with its attendant factions and power struggles) and get to the deepest part which will be a gate to the plane of Chaos (which surrounds the Abyss/Hells) which is like a wild and unpredictable net and where lines cross are encounters. In this net are bits of...something...that can be used to force the Chaos God back into dormancy... (this resembles something like what I gathered EGG was going to do with the end of either T1-4 or GDQ)
That's it - those other things I mentioned in the adventures in the works lists previously posted on this blog are really intended to be optional/side quest/world revealing/etc. adventures, not directly related to the "Coming Darkness" theme/plot.
How/If the PCs enter them is a matter of campaign play, not scripting...I'm afraid the above is too scripted...What if they don't care about the rise of the old gods, etc? Oh well, guess you gotta know your players...