Forging The Realms: The Surprise Adventure

Forging The Realms  
The Surprise Adventure

By Ed Greenwood

This time we look at a technique no DM should use too often, for fear of (entirely justified) player wrath: plunging player characters into an adventure without any warning, and often without their involvement being their fault in the slightest.

Talk about this column here.

Ends Are Sometimes Better Left Loose

Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Hehe I liked the article very much. Layers upon layers with positive confusion but tangible rewards in the same adventure and/or follow ups.

Caution not to overuse it, but a great tool nonetheless. Great advice.

Off topic thinking. Many people moan the fact that many high level npcs good or evil live and breathe in the realms. I honestly never felt threatened by them or overshadowing my players. In fact I use them sometimes when its appropriate. My first experience as a kid goofing around with an archer ranger in beneath the twisted tower adventure has a random encounter with elminster trying to train a dog. While he did that our wounds vanished. I was excited to say the least. I was certain that this crazy old fool was a meal for monsters down there but that I would love that healing dog as my companion! When I got out of hiding and asked who he was he mumbled something about crowded and cast a spell to teleport. I realized this guy was a wizard (probably zhent too) who wanted to harm the dog or train it for his own nefarious purposes. So with a heroic nooo and a succesful jump I took the dog and run. Well the wizard was gone, the dog wasnt healing but it became my friend/companion all the way up to 15th level when our campaign ended.

Much later I ended up meeting the old meddler. He was kind enough not to ask his dog back btw, but I was chuckling at that first encounter. When I tried my dm-fu I happened to read that adventure. The dog was supposed to vanish with elminster but I guess I was so excited that my dm thought it would be a fine companion for me, and he was right by the way.

Point is high level npcs are here to serve our heroic stories not to diminish them. Use them as flavorful tools and ideas, they have troubles, goals, stories of their own that my players may influence or the opposite. Not to mention they can be used as a reminder that your leveled up players arent always the tougher kids on the block or the only one that matter in a vast world. I want them to feel special and unique (I'll make sure of that) but I dont want them to exist in a vacuum. It may not be anyone's cup of tea but I love that in the realms.

Derailing rant over. Thank you for a great tale mr. Greenwood. And sorry about your dog elminster...or not so sorry. Actually I would do the same thing if I were a player or I was dming and I had an excited young recruit with a similar idea Smile