I've being playing D&D for about a year and I had my first DM experiance running Redbox (which was awesome) we recently finished Reavers of harkenwold where Nazin (brute) managed to survive and get away. The adventurers are level4. Now I would like to try run my own campaign based out of the sandbox Nentir Vale, so I picked up Monster Vault: threats to the Nentir vale, Hammerfast and a bunch of minis. Heres my ideas (so far none contain Nazin) they are loosly based on the minis Ill get (reaper kickstarter). I was going to use stats for monsters from Monsters Vault and DDI. I have started writing and was hoping the community could help out on a few ideas or even if im going about in the right direction.
1: A Evil ancient red dragon Kaladrax ,has sold his soul to a forked tongue traveler and been reborn undead but realises it came at a cost of his bright red scales which he was very proud of. It leads the adventures to Hammerfast and then further into the dawn forge mountains to forgepeak. He asks the adventures to retrieve 3 dragon hearts which will then take him to the elemental chaos where he can thrive on battling other dragons. He has swallowed the Nentir Vale crown which would unite the area under one king. He then informs the adventures that when they are ready to come to the elemental chaos and battle him for it.
2 Familiars – A random NPC suggests they should go on a quest for a pet
3: Demons broke into the world somewhere below the underground city Hammersdeep, because a evil necromancer known as the forked tongue traveler has made a weak spot in the fabric of reality. When the demons broke through it, they made their way up to the city and slaughtered everything and hung the bodies from the ceiling. They have since moved on and some of there minions might even have reached the surface by the time the PCs reach the area. A demon/undead horde would be a significant problem for the PCs and the residents of the Nentir Vale.
4: A dwarf in Hammerfast has asked the cleric to battle orks for a championship tattoo in the
5: If they ask around about the city Hammerfast then they will be directed to a tomb that is covered in ice, The air around the Ice Tomb ranges from bitterly cold in the winter to pleasantly cool during the height of summer. unknown to of the town princess Erdella Sunhammer lays frozen in time theres a riddle craved into the rock, once saved are rewarded with gold and they gain the respect of the city.
6: A ghost in Hammerfast asks for help and then lures the adventures into a crypt where he and his ghost friends try to take there souls , but if talked to would help to fight whats coming out of the mines, they have felt the fabric of reality rip. And its well known that ghosts hate demons
7 A Evil young red dragon nethyrmaul battles adventurers at his lair, unknown to the adventures the forked tongue traveler sees the fight and resurrects the dragon into nethyrmaul the undying he then hunts the adventures and attacks, once beaten again his bones fall into the sea, the forked tongue traveler then remakes nethyrmaul into nethyrmaul clockwork and again attacks adventurers.
It looks like you're on the right path.
In our home campaign in the city of Loudwater, the party runs around looking for quests. THere are about 30 NPCs and over 40 places for the party to visit while in town. I give a few leads, and then they decide which lead to follow.
This gives my the rest of the week to flesh out a proper encounter.
The players really like this approach. They are all used to the WoW mmorpg quest mechanic, so ours is loosely based on it (however there are no question marks above heads or quest tracker telling them which way to go...).
Also, there is so much intrigue in the city that there are plenty of opportunities for skill challengs and minor encounters wheile they are trying to get their lead figured out.
My best advice is...Don't plan those encounters too early. Even though you might think "this will be awesome!" the players might be interested in something (anything) else. Give some leads and let them decide.
At this point, you have several varieties of encounters. From some searching and rescuing, to big stuff, to silly games. This is good! I'd focus on polishing those encounters.
1) I'd make the red dragon extremely powerful, the crown have some small magic powers, and the search the focus. The battle at the end should be mostly symbolic - the Dragon should avoid using very lethal powers, and should just fight until bloodied (he respects the PCs and wants to see if they're worthy to rule (worthy to rule, to the dragon, being the same as ability to fight).
The hunt for the dragon hearts should be the interesting bits here, with lots of skill challenges. Make sure each has a unique hook - 1 deep in the cavern of a lost cave, one in the possession of a jealous nobleman, something like that.
2) Random NPC should have a reason. This seems the weakest of the lot, but maybe you've got some good ideas. Perhaps he's a wizard who wants to see if they're worthy to do something (tie into another quest) and sends them on this simple mission to test them.
3) Ooh, an army campaign! So many cool things to do here if you have the time. Make a map of the villages/towns in the area, with defenses, and the PCs can be in charge of shoring up each one, with losses costing them. Maybe they end up doing a last-ditch push to kill the commander. Remember being outside the Abyss weakens demons, perhaps there's an artifact holding them there?
4) Just sounds like good clean fun. Don't complex this one up much~
Etc. The PCs will show you, by the time they've done one or two things, what they really enjoy. You can design further encounters to kind of fill those desires.
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