So I find myself at a crossroads tonight – having had to regretfully pause my games (of Soulbound or dungeons and dragons) for some time but that doesn’t stop my imagination running with the smallest inspiration. Hanging out clothes and having an Ant bite my foot this morning, looking at my ice-themed dice set on my typing desk, the dozens of miniature paints littered through my room or the two odd book shelves, different in so many ways but suiting the same purpose – inspiration can some from single word, a single spark and for me its a constant, distracting and enriching thing to experience.
So tonight I want to share a days, my day today, worth of inspiration with you all.
Animals can be a big inspiration for adventures, taking the smallest (and maybe least favourite – except for centipedes, those things are the worst!) of creatures and one that people are naturally fearful of we can create two adventures complete with hooks, sub hooks, NPCs and places to explore. Let’s look at two animal inspired adventure hooks.
For a very long time ants have always bothered me, mainly for my dislike of socks and the enjoyment I get while walking bear footed across paddocks, roads, yards and so forth. For the town or Berokovia the ants have changed.
Ants the size of dogs have appeared in the villagers barns and houses and the farmer that killed a single ant was seen being dragged into the soil by an ant the size of an ogor. The crops are slowly dwindling but not as fast as the herds of animals which seem to be the preferred prey for the invertebrates. Regardless of aid coming in with the depletion of their livestock and land there isnt much hope for the town of Berokovia.
“Demons!” the first shrieks from a frightened city watch guard filled the tavern as the door slammed shut behind him. “There’s demons in the street, swooping down on large wings to grab at any they can find” behind the panicked shrieks chittering could be heart from the streets.
Giant bats, larger than their normal giant kind, have suddenly started to attack the the City of Milfords Rest, built up around mining in the nearby mines. A new rich gold deposit had been found and the miners, the merchants and prospective prospectors have flocked to the city to work and earn their fortune – however a few nights before the winged mammals appeared in the city people started to go missing in the mines, near the new tunnels opened and all but one were lost. The one that was found was a husk, dried, shrivelled and his face frozen in fear and pain.
Objects. Easily enough I have a set of dice on my table and the d100 is nearly perfectly clear with the sligtest tinge of blue which makes me think of ice. On the other side of my desk is my kids tea-set. A saucer, tea cup and a little wooden spook which was left there from a earlier tea party. Both can inspire adventures just as easily as ants or bats.
“Woah, hold your horses on that one.” the merchant said as my hand hovered over a nearly clear single dice. “That dice has story behind it and its not a good one” he said as he massaged his, actually quite terribly looking beard.
“They say that the dice belonged to a priest of Lathander who trekked into the far north, past where the sun sets and into the frozen waste lands beyond. There he found a keep which belonged to an ice witch who worshiped one of the devil-rulers from the coldest layer of hell – sworn to end the morning lord. When the two opposing powers finally clashed Lathander ultimately won but not before a blast of frigid hell-rime hit the priest high in his chest – where he kept his lucky dice pouch, they say the dice saved his life that day. He had a complete set too but they have been slowly pawned and distributed across the lands but the owners all die in some way and each time the dice move closer together. I had two of them until a day ago a street urchin ran up and snatched one. I dare say the other dice will be stolen soon and end up in the same horde as the first – but the thief” the man paused tsking. “he will be cold as death soon.”
As the party enter the Birchwell woods they come across a curious scene, a man, a dwarf and a sprite sitting down around a felled log having tea. The man and the dwarf look up with fear and sadness in their eyes and start shouting towards the party but some trick of the thick birch trees catches their voices but it looks like they are asking for help.
When the party approach the two they burst into tears. “We told you to run, not to approach. Its too late now, he has seen …”
“why hello there, greetings and good salutations. I am Pix, the Pixie and I want you to join me for a tea and some games!” Pix the blue pixies exclaims excitedly as he flutters overhead an removes a piece of old fabric from a chair revealing the skeleton of what appears to be an elf from quite some time ago. Pushing the bones off the seat and to the forest floor he gestures for the party to come and take a seat. “come, once you start you never want to stop! I promise!” Turning and running as fast as they can the other way the party turn a corner out of the clearing and looking up they see the same scene – Pix grinning at them. “Take a seat, I implore you”
Cinema. It’s now new-age practice for people to borrow plot ideas from cinema. Rings of power, magical swords, wizards, vampires that sparkle instead of burning in the sunlight.. ok maybe not the last one – but movies and TV shows are an easy way to get inspired for adventures and I have two sources today – but they are a bit different to normal inspiration.
As the boots met the ground the crowd of spectators cheered for their favourite team, one city against the other, a dozen warriors either side ready to fight – but with a difference. Today they put aside their regular armour and their weapons of choice and today they fight with spiked boots, padded armour with flowing tabards and balls made from leather and magic.
The two sides met in the middle and greeted each other, there was no hostility which was for such a clash as The Blue Wolves were fighting against the Golden Giants – two elite forces who had clashed before. An intense rivalry could be felt across the field into the stands as the two captains stood in front of each other but before the ball could be thrown between the two teams four players from the Blue Wolves fell over, their heads bouncing on the field as they lay motionless except for the steady rise and fall of their chest.
The team was short 4 players and, as it so happened the party had been gifted with front row tickets from a mysterious benefactor just that morning which gave them the chance of filling in for the team if there was need. The captain jogged over and looked worriedly over the party. “Well, you’re not my first pick but let me explain the rules pups. Apart from killing anything goes, we need to get past the other team and throw or kick the ball between the two obsidian pillars. That’s it. If we lose Clovia will take control over the fishing contracts of the northern lake which will cost the city a wagon full of gold. Without those contracts our city will starve. We are relying on you” the captain said as the field guard handed over blue and grey robes and padded armour for the party to don.
As the man moved his troops into a steady line to ward off the right side of the battle board he grinned at his opponent who looked at the encroaching lines with worry. The cavalry, their horses restless for battle moved behind the line troops ready to counter charge, their warriors restless and eager for their blades to meet flesh.
Seeing an opportunity to counter play the opposition requested that his archers advance, peppering the horses with arrows as they did so, but the horses either didn’t feel the sting of barbed tips or didn’t care.
“I need a break, need to replenish the supplies.” the man controlling the cavalry said as he stood, the massive chair he stood on pushed back against the great stone blocks.
Sighing and resting his head on the table the young man looked at his warriors – who looked back.
“Why are you making us do this” they asked, their fear of the giant now not as great as they feared the zombies and undead cavalry who moved across from him. “We don’t want to be part of this sick game! Please let us go home. I have a family.” shouted another.
The giant wiped tears from his eyes. “I am sorry, truly, this is the only wan I can get my family back. He controls the slave market and he agreed that If I beat him in a game of his choosing then I will get my family back, but if I lose then I don’t.”
His elite troops, ones that he had paid a considerable lump of gold for stood near the other humans who were bound by magic in much the same was as the undead were bound to un life. Moving closer to them he spoke as lowly as he could.
“I am counting on you, my heroes, this is the last chance I have and I can’t lose my mother in the same year I lost my father. Please help and I will ensure you are set free with any riches that you want”
Both of these are simply taken from two videos I watched today. 1 – The Australian football Rules I walked in on whilst trying to get my son towards bed and 2, watching a video for a Warhammer reveal today – both can inspire adventures. One was relevant to the genre, one was not but inspiration can come at any moment.
Hopefully what inspired me today can inspire you on your next adventure. Take a moment and consider how the small things, the mundane to us could be magical or mystical – how things taken for granted in our every day lives could actually be something that adventures are made out of.
Thanks for dropping by, don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the end of week writeup and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe