Wednesday is here again and it brings today some plot twists to our quests or NPCs to add a depth to our games.
As with the previous two nights this week is about versatility and improvisation. Generic twists, any of the below have been written and thought up to be used with any NPC or any plot from this week or previous weeks adventures. The challenge is to like the path that a twist takes you back to the main road so that the party can still get closure with the adventure.
Disruption in the marketplace
The party arrives at the marketplace just as a fight breaks out. The city guard move to intervene but as more people’s join into the brawl it quickly gets out of hand.
The group of traders were approached by a official who demanded gold in exchange for the protection of their stall. The black ail was not taken well by the noble tribe of traders and they challenged the official to a duel. As the official began to lose the ritualistic dual he drew a blade and killed his opponent causing the other traders to demand retribution for this dishonor.
Any marketplace could host this scene. It opens up a few options for subplots or side quests for the party if they choose to intervene.
As the fight breaks down the traders explain their side of the story, perhaps assisted by other traders wronged my the official or perhaps not.
The words “Stop thief” seem yo reverberate around the stalls as everyone stands still. A darting figure in a tan coloured hood rushes towards the party as a stall owner shouts and points at the humanoid running away from the stall
A thief / chase twist can open up exciting plots or changes in the story. A patron wronged may be incorrectly held accountable as a thief if they take what is rightfully theirs, or people unaccustomed to a culture may not be aware what they are doing is stealing. Or perhaps, they just don’t care if it’s stealing if it furthers their goals or plans.
If the party catch up (see chases in the DM guide for dnd) then maybe a new twist on the quest happens, or a side quest that distracts them from the main issue.
I haven’t had a campaign or adventure on that matter where I mention a marketplace and the party are drawn to it. The proposition of games of chance, information or wealth (magic items, a new sword, reagents for spells) always draws people in and it’s a great way to further the plot or mix it up a bit.
The man who cried wyvern
Sometimes people get it wrong. But what happens if they aren’t wrong that one time and no one believes them..
The reported sighting of a wyvern flight taking a farmer’s sheep got the village into a flurry of activity. The local stores sold out of weapons very quickly and “wyvern” hunters appeared in quickly and self their services to the village to keep the beasts away. However no further sightings were made and the village quickly found themselves indebted to these hunters who made a home for themselves in the inn.
If the village couldn’t pay for their services they took what they want as payment for keeping the flying monsters away.
These types of village guests can be the hardest to get out. Taking what they want and refusing to leave, or making it feel like what they provide is essential can create the illusion of indenture.
Maybe the wyverns are there. Or maybe they are not. Having someone from the wyvern hunters crew pretend to see a beast then the crew coming to the towns rescue is a tale as old as time. But, maybe the presence of these mercenaries would bring about such a beast and just as they think they are safe they find out they are a beasts next meal.
When the local priest exclaimed that his connection to Lathander (or any other deity) had failed as his holy symbol had gone missing the town searched high and low, and found the party. The offer of gold and a blessing from the morning lord was enough to entice them to look.. but what if they found more than the missing amulet.
A hook to treat lightly, perhaps a false priest or a corruption in the order is the cause, whatever the case if you have religious players maybe add a disclaimer as corruption of a faith, or falsehoods can be a sensitive subect.
If the party is fine with it then you can have a lot of fun working out if the priest or whole town has turned from the light in favour for the delights of the dark. The pretence of a missing symbol or idol could cause conflict or attract rumours of the foul kind to a village as words and rumours have power.
We investigate the darkness of people in need, or who pretend to be in need in order to progress their own motives with this twist. The lie, white or not can be a turning point in an adventure and when mixed with the right plot or another twist it can make for a complex and deep mystery for the party to solve.
That’s it for tonight, a visit at a marketplace and a lie, white or otherwise. Twists and turns make for an exciting moment mid adventure that can create a deciding movement for the party in which way to go.
Now I’ll get around to explaining it one day but for now… Don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe