Champions of Lemuria

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11/16/2015 7:56 pm  #1


Hooks!

I thought it would be a good idea for people to post their plot hooks for adventures here, since I often look to this section of the forum for inspiration. It doesn't need to be much, just enough to spark peoples' imaginations! I'll start:

*Ahem*

Majab the Magnificent, an infamous bandit from the deserts of Beshaar, is leading a campaign of terror across the outlying villages and towns of Parsool, burning and pillaging all in his path using unnatural powers granted to him by a strange crown atop his head. The King of Parsool has hired the Heroes to go forth and assassinate Majab and to bring the crown to him.
Unbeknownst to all, an even greater evil follows in Majab's wake, seeking the crown and the thief who stole it...


He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?
 

11/24/2015 7:24 am  #2


Re: Hooks!

Thought of a few more adventure seeds:

- After studying various prophetic texts, Jesharek Jool/The Head Scribe of the Great Library/Other NPC fears the return of the Sorcerer-Kings and requests the Heroes' to descend into Hydral Chasm (perhaps with lighter-than-air belts or a sky boat if the Heroes are sent by the King of Satarla?) and retrieve the Orb Blade so it can be reforged before the coming darkness.

- Gorthan Half-Hand (see pg.94, Pirate Isles) sends the Heroes to recover a legendary treasure from a ship that was rumoured to be sunk by a terrifying sea-monster. To do this, Gorthan provides the heroes with a ship and crew and also some water-breathing helmets (and weighted boots?).

- Legends tell of an ancient king's jewel-laden tomb hidden somewhere in the Axos Mountains. When the Heroes stumble upon a map leading to this very location they embark upon a perilous journey figthing savage grooths, ferocious andraks and terrifying drakk. But upon arrival they discover that atop the tomb is now one of the aerie of the Winged Men, who are less than pleased at the sight of a bunch of flatlanders  finding their home.

Let me know what you think!


He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?
     Thread Starter
 

11/25/2015 4:03 am  #3


Re: Hooks!

I loved the Axos Mountains seed - after all the perils getting there the PCs will probably be expecting a monster guarding the tomb, or the undead King himself ("Who disturbs my rest?"). To suddenly be faced with a group of angry intelligent beings makes the whole theft so much more difficult!

Not so keen on the Orb Blade idea - comes over as a bit more High Fantasy/Save The World Quest than a Sword and Sorcery story. Now, if the PCs were out to recover the Orb Blade for their own profit ("Think what the King of Satarla will pay for this!!") then the grubby venal swines deserve all the trouble you can throw at them!


My real name is Steve
 

11/26/2015 8:40 am  #4


Re: Hooks!

Gruntfuttock wrote:

I loved the Axos Mountains seed - after all the perils getting there the PCs will probably be expecting a monster guarding the tomb, or the undead King himself ("Who disturbs my rest?"). To suddenly be faced with a group of angry intelligent beings makes the whole theft so much more difficult!

Funnily enough that one took the least amount of time to think of, but yes I agree that would be a fun game to run!

Gruntfuttock wrote:

Not so keen on the Orb Blade idea - comes over as a bit more High Fantasy/Save The World Quest than a Sword and Sorcery story. Now, if the PCs were out to recover the Orb Blade for their own profit ("Think what the King of Satarla will pay for this!!") then the grubby venal swines deserve all the trouble you can throw at them!

Yeah this is always a tricky sort of adventure topic to write about. This because I would write it for that stage for when the group has been around for a while and I may want to begin steering things to a "King Conan" situation in the overall campaign, and what better way than to be the next Blade-Bearer? As you say though, leading the players into that situation correctly would be key for that true sword and sorcery feel.


He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?
     Thread Starter
 

11/26/2015 12:13 pm  #5


Re: Hooks!

Ah, the 'endgame'/becoming King or Warlord! Yes, it makes sense when you put it like that.

I once wrote up a game (inspired/stolen from an old Blade Citybook chapter and listening to a Doctor Sin story on the radio) set in Parsool, that was very much Kane, rather than Conan. The PCs were dropped in the middle of a mystery with several powerful NPCs with conflicting agendas. Like Kane, I expected them to play all the factions off against the other, for fun and profit - in the best Red Harvest/Yojimbo/Fistful of Dollars/Last Man Standing style. Instead they ran away from the situation as fast as their kroarks could carry them! Still, I thought 'Death and Taxes' had potential, and it had many different entry points for the PCs. I'll post it up.


My real name is Steve
 

11/26/2015 12:16 pm  #6


Re: Hooks!

Death and Taxes Part 1 - Captain Midnight
“Parsool’s constant battle with pirates has meant that the people have had their taxes increased massively in recent years and the citizens are close to revolt.”
 - Barbarians of Lemuria rulebook

The weight of excessive taxation has meant that rich merchants have developed many ways to avoid tax. The most criminal way is the use of Captain Midnight’s smuggling gang. Captain Midnight’s identity is unknown to the merchants and sea captains who use his service, as he always operates though representatives. Many of his customers doubt there is actually any one person who is “The Captain”.

Midnight’s gang help merchant captains unload their totally legitimate cargoes on secluded coves and beaches close to Parsool. The cargoes are broken down into small batches and smuggled into the city, where they find their way into the warehouses of the rich merchants. The Captain charges a competitive price for this service in relation to the King’s duty due on the goods, so it is worth it for the merchants for goods that are easily moved and attract a high duty (expensive liquors, silk, lace, etc.)

The secret leader of the gang – the real Captain Midnight - is the nobleman and courtier, Baron Ecatzin. The only members of the gang who know his true identity is the supposed leader of the gang ‘Captain Midnight’ aka Solal the Cutter. A huge giant of a man, Solal used to work in a city abattoir, cutting up carcases. His deputy is Aganai, a one-time pirate who escaped from the hangman’s noose in Parsool Jail by turning evidence on his shipmates. Aganai knows that Ecatzin is the true leader of the gang, but has no idea he is a high placed courtier and member of the King’s council.

There are 10 other core gang members and about 30 or so casual members who has used as needed, depending on the amount of goods in transit at any one time.

The gang’s HQ in a shabby inn that lies along the old coast road about 1½ miles outside Parsool – The Silver Moon. On a slow night there are around 2-12 apparent countrymen and seafarers in the inn – most will be involved with Captain Midnight, or know of the gang. Strangers are viewed with suspicion and it is easy to get in a brawl here. You can buy good simple food, meat or fish stew or bread and soup – but there is a surprising variety of imported drinks at reasonable prices behind the bar.

In Parsool itself, the arrangements with the merchant houses are made at the Loose Anchor Tavern, a rundown dive offering drink, food, and basic accommodation to sailors. Aganai usually handles this side of the business, but Captain Midnight (Solal) puts in an appearance from time to time.

The Government Response
The City Guard of Parsool, commanded by Constable Anas has the responsibility for assisting the revenue agents of Comptroller Carua in arresting smugglers, but although some minor smuggling gangs have their activities disrupted (particularly those who deal with the stolen goods handled by pirates) Captain Midnight’s operations have not been disturbed.

This has prompted Admiral Vakaki of the Parsool Navy to build and crew a number of small, swift, shallow-draught galleys – the Inshore Squadron – to tackle the Captain Midnight problem once and for all. This has threatened the Constable’s position at court, as if the Inshore Squadron succeeds where the City Guard has failed, Anas’s stock will fall.

The Inshore Squadron is commanded by Captain Commander Tanqui who is a competent naval officer, but politically naive – a loyal simple-minded sailor who supports the King and his policies (“Doesn’t everybody?”) Tanqui has two subordinate Captains in his three vessel squadron: Captain Pumi and Captain Sayri – both competent sailors. The crews of the three shallow draft light galleys that make up the squadron are all free sailors and rowers who are foreigners – so they will have no local allegiances to people involved with smuggling.
 


My real name is Steve
 

11/26/2015 12:18 pm  #7


Re: Hooks!

Death and Taxes Part 2 -The Big Picture
King Zandar Bley’s taxation policy has divided the court. While the courtiers are hardly bothered by the increasing problems of the poor, many of these nobles trace their high position in society to their merchant ancestors, and many still have connections to the merchant houses. Also, no one has any interest in seeing civil unrest. However, some feel that the revenue generated is worth any minor unrest if it will crush the smuggling problem and provide more funds to fight the pirates.

While the nobles fall into cliques either supporting or opposing the tax policy, officials involved in administering the policy or defending the regime have a more immediate interest. The people concerned are:

Admiral Vakaki
In charge of the Navy and the Marines, his is a man in his 50s, who is in favour of the taxation policy, as it funds the Navy. He wants to shut down or severely curtail the activities of Captain Midnight. He suspects the Constable is in with the smugglers and is seeking to pressure Anas by forming the Inshore Squadron to smash the smuggling ring.

Constable Anas
In charge of the City Guard, Anas is a corrupt man in his 40s, running a corrupt force. The Guard, as well as keeping the peace in Parsool and guarding the town gates, jail and the Customs Shed of impounded goods, also crews a small marine anti-smuggling force of skiffs and small cutters. He knows that Baron Ecatzin is actually the real Captain Midnight and ignores his operations for a generous cut of the profits. The anti-smuggling force is about the most corrupt section of the Guard, but occasionally the Constable gets them to harass, arrest and execute members of small free-lance smuggling gangs who are in competition to Captain Midnight’s operations.

Comptroller Carua
In charge of the Customs House and the Revenue Inspectors, he is an honest man who tries to weed out any corrupt officers in his service. He backs the King’s tax policies 100% and hates smugglers with a passion. As the City Guard have proved ineffectual against Captain Midnight, he hopes the Inshore Squadron will destroy Captain Midnight’s organisation. Therefore he is a strong supporter of the Admiral and the Navy.

Marshal Belsa
Belsa is an experienced mercenary leader, who commands all the mercenary forces of Parsool, which is the majority of the Parsool army. He personally thinks that the taxation policy is wrong, but as long as he and his men get paid, he has little problem with obeying orders. As an outsider he is aloof from politics, and wishes to keep it that way.

Chancellor Mochcoloch
The King’s right-hand man, he initially supported the taxation policy but now thinks that it has gone too far. He wants to cut duty as he believes it ruins trade and plays into the smuggler’s hands. His efforts to persuade the King to change tack has not worked so far. He needs to raise revenue to fund the navy to protect the merchant fleet, and to prepare for any possible war with Satarla. If he can’t get the King to cut taxes to boost trade, he wants the smugglers stopped by any means necessary.

“How did we get into this mess in the first place?”


  • Chancellor Mochcoloch may offer down at heel adventurers (or jailbirds) a deal to try to infiltrate the gang by hanging around the Loose Anchor Tavern. This is an easy way to get a slit throat, but it is at least the direct approach. If Mochcoloch wants more trustworthy employees, he might approach Marshal Belsa to provide him with some mercenaries.
  • As the PCs are new in town, Admiral Vakaki may wish to use them to try and get evidence on Constable Anas’s links to Captain Midnight – a job for assassins, spies, thieves and other sneaky types. New recruits for the Constable’s anti-smuggling force?
  • There is a pirate in the jail, Mazatl the Snake, who is due to hang. He has somehow managed to speak to the Admiral in private and said that he knows who a member of the Midnight gang is, and will turn him over to the Admiral if he can escape. The Admiral will consider letting Mazati escape – with the recently imprisoned PCs – if the party then ride herd on The Snake until he gets them to the smuggler. (Mazatl does know someone close to Midnight – Aganai. As Aganai got some of his shipmates hung, Mazatl the Snake is keen to see him served the same way. Mazati was trying to do this anyway, before he was recognised as a pirate and arrested, as his pirate chiefs are keen to take down Captain Midnight (as he refuses to deal with pirates). If they agree, the party can either stage a real escape – with subtle naval assistance – or else the Admiral can get the Warden to arrange something.
  • The Warden, Armaravta the Greasy, is aware that the Admiral has had a secret meeting with the pirate. He may sell this information to the Constable when he escapes – or before, if the Admiral has approached him for assistance in the false escape.
  • Comptroller Carua, scornful of the Constable’s efforts and unsure if the Admiral’s new inshore squadron will succeed, might employ the PCs as undercover revenue agents. Being strangers to Parsool and his organisation, there is nothing to link them to the authorities. They will have a free hand in their investigation, but Carua can provide them with information and support if they fall foul of the law in their investigation.
  • Solal the Cutter has a sideline in dealing with Parsool’s criminal fraternity. He has no intention of letting anyone join the Gang – but he might ask the party to steal goods from the Customs Shed to ‘prove themselves’. If they succeed in this task, Solal aims to get the goods and then kill the ‘new recruits’. Reason enough for most (surviving) players to seek revenge.
  • Captain Midnight/Baron Ecatzin would be happy to get the Constable off his back. If the party are discovered trying to infiltrate the gang, the real Captain Midnight (suitably disguised) might offer them their lives and a reward if they assassinate Constable Anas.

Last edited by Gruntfuttock (11/26/2015 12:19 pm)


My real name is Steve
 

12/01/2015 3:20 pm  #8


Re: Hooks!

Death and Taxes looks interesting because of how many different ways it could be approached. Good writing Gruntfuttock!

Here is another adventure seed:
- Gold coins and precious jewels have been washing up on the shores of the Oom river that runs through Oomis. This has sparked speculation that a treasure horde must lie somewhere upriver, deep in the Qush Jungle. The Heroes set out to follow the river to claim the treasure for themselves, but they are not the only ones searching for it. Aside from bandits, thieves and treasure hunters, it is said that King Keldon III has sent his own royal guard out to find and bring back the treasure. Of course, the Qush jungle is a dangerous place and not all will return. Poads and Lurkfish dwell in the river and the river banks are stalked by all manner of deadly beasts and strange man-eating flora.

Last edited by Crom (12/01/2015 3:21 pm)


He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?
     Thread Starter
 

12/07/2015 9:00 am  #9


Re: Hooks!

It seems to me that one of the obvious stories to be told in the Lemuria setting, is how other nations get hold of the secrets to the construction of the Satarlan sky boats…

A young sky pilot has fallen in love with a beautiful young noblewoman of Satarla. Unfortunately he is one of the few sky pilots who is of non-noble birth, gaining his position through his great natural ability at flying a sky boat. Unwilling to deny their love, the young couple decide to elope. To fund their new life together the pilot has stolen the formula for making allanium and plans for making a sky boat.

The young man has also contacted a spy from Parsool (not difficult, as they are always trying to ‘turn’ members of the sky navy) and arranged to hand over the plans in Lysor at a designated rendezvous. Choosing a day when the navy is on manoeuvres in the skys over the border with Tyrus, the pilot impetuously steals a small experimental sky boat – the personal craft of alchemist Dondar Thule himself.

The lovers take off and head for Lysor, but a single navy sky boat (left in dock for repairs) is rapidly put right and sets out in pursuit. The navy boat catches up with the fugitives in the sky not far from Lysor. A short fight ensues, where the skilled young pilot rams and disables the navy boat. Both boats crash not far from the city as dusk approaches. The lovers make it into the city before the gates close for the night.

The lovers now only have to wait till the following morning to go to the tavern where the Parsoolan agents will be waiting. There they will hand over the plans and be escorted to a Parsoolan ship which will take them to a new life.

However…


  • The young noblewoman is the granddaughter of Admiral Nytus Keller, head of the Satarlan Sky Navy! Back from manoeuvres early, he has followed up post haste on his flagship, accompanied by some Satarlan marines. King Davym wants the formula and plans recovered at all cost. If they cannot be retrieved then they must be destroyed to stop them falling into enemy hands. He’d also prefer the young sky pilot to be brought back alive – for a gruesome public execution!
  • Admiral Keller would prefer to kill the young traitor with his bare hands, but will follow his King’s orders. He also wants the plans and formula recovered or destroyed. However, his first concern is to recover his wayward granddaughter. (Boy, is she in trouble!)
  • The Admiral has a diplomat on board his sky boat. His official job is to negotiate with King Colmus Kavataz of Lysor for the return of the two crashed sky ships outside the city. Unofficially, he can contact a Satarlan spy ring inside Lysor, to help them find the fugitives. Do these spys know where their Parsoolan counterparts like to do their business? Of course they do! The lovers rendezvous will be soon be known to Admiral Keller.
  • King Davym has also provided Admiral Keller with a sorcerer. The Admiral doesn’t like having such a creature on his flagship, but orders is orders. And having a skilled demonologist to help recover the plans (and his granddaughter) might prove useful.
  • If the lovers/Parsoolan agents make it out of Lysor on their ship, expect the Sky Boat to follow, with the sorcerer conjuring winged demons to pluck back the plans or noblewoman. Although the plans can be destroyed, the Admiral will probably kill anyone on either side who risks his granddaughter’s life.

PCs can be agents/mercenaries in the pay of Parsool trying to obtain the plans (the fate of the lovers is probably of little concern to their paymasters). Or they can be Satarlan mercenaries trying to recover the same.
 

Last edited by Gruntfuttock (12/07/2015 9:04 am)


My real name is Steve
 

8/02/2016 7:53 am  #10


Re: Hooks!

After a long break, here are a few more hooks:

- After having angered a particularly powerful enemy (Methyn Sarr, for example) the heroes find themselves doggedly pursued by a myriad of bounty hunters and mercenaries, a strange swordsman from a distant land, an assassin that utilises strange alchemical marvels such as flamethrowers and gas grenades, a woman who uses her many different "pets" to hunt her prey. Hell, if the bounty is large enough have a warlord or baron bring a small army to take the heroes down! Maybe the heroes took something valuable (the Star Orb perhaps?) and the bounty hunters have been sent to recover the item (maybe the heroes don't realise the worth/power of the item they took). This could be an adventure on its own or have the bounty hunters show up inconveniently during other adventures.

​- If the heroes have established themselves in a particular city, maybe even attained positions of power (councilor, captain of the city watch or even as king) have a dastardly plot unfold where they are overthrown or framed for crimes they did not commit. The adventure starts with them all crucified in the desert, left for the vultures (very "A Witch Shall be Born"). The heroes must somehow escape their binds (maybe help from an old ally or person with mutual interest/ulterior motives) and take back the city/clear their names!

- After getting incredibly drunk after their previous adventure, the heroes accidentally wander into a terrible sandstorm. After the storm has passed they discover that a vast necropolis that was buried under the sands of the desert for centuries, only to be revealed now by the storm. Naturally the heroes smell treasure and investigate. What ancient terrors might they find?

Last edited by Crom (8/02/2016 7:55 am)


He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?
     Thread Starter
 

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