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    Barbarian in the Playground
    Scarey Nerd's Avatar

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    Apr 2010

    Default Help with a campaign plot?

    Hi all. A friend of mine's been, for want of a better word, pestering me, to run a D&D campaign recently. I haven't run a D&D game in quite a while, so I agreed after a while. At the moment, my idea is thus:

    After perhaps a session or two of standard adventuring, let them get into the swing of it, the party is asked to go check up on a wizard that lives a few leagues from city X, as he hasn't communicated with the city in a couple of days. When the party gets there, they find that the Wizard has completely vanished. What is there, however, is a Tiny scarab of some kind. It appears to be glowing with some kind of internal energy, and it's calmly chewing its way through some metal in the workshop, and the players can see that its been eating at some wood, some stone, basically anything. It will look curiously at the players and fly over to one, and promptly try to eat them. The players will obviously try and kill this thing, and it will die fairly rapidly. When it does, it curls up like a dead spider, shimmer... and duplicate.

    The two scarabs will get up and start wandering around, chewing on things again, ignoring the PCs for now. If they try and kill them again, they'll duplicate again. The idea I have is that the Wizard (A creation wizard by trade), tried a spell a bit too powerful for him, and it failed. Horribly. The spell sucked all of his creation magic and all of his life force out of him, and he died, but his spirit became trapped in the Ethereal plane. In essence, he'd been killed too hard to actually die, and therefore he became a ghost. He's still manifesting himself on the Ethereal plane at the moment, but he'll be haunting his workshop after that.

    When the players report their findings back to the city, the city council will promise to try and sort it out. Cue another session, maybe two, of adventuring. The players will receive a distress signal from the city saying something about the scarabs. The idiots decided that the players were obviously incompetent, and tried to eradicate the scarabs, with disastrous consequences. There's more of them, and they're spreading. The players obviously need to find a way to stop these things before they all get a taste for humanoid flesh and chomp their way through the world.

    Here's where you guys come in, if you're willing I can't really figure out HOW to stop these scarabs... They'll be asked to/they'll think to return to the workshop and look for clues, and they'll find a way to communicate with the wizard's ghost, but I can't think what he's gonna suggest. Perhaps they have to cast the original scarab into the fires of Mount Doom, I don't know. The best idea I could think of was that the ghost will somehow give the players a sword/dagger/whatever, but they have to visit 6 other wizards around the world to get it sufficiently enchanted, then they stab the original scarab with it and hey presto, they all drop like flies.

    Do you guys have any suggestions? Any advice? Or do you think the plot's not great? I could use any help you guys have to offer
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground

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    May 2012

    Default Re: Help with a campaign plot?

    Dump them all in the infinite abyss. Get rid of that pesky demon problem. I doubt the demons have enough self control not to attack them.

    More seriously, this actually seems like a good place to be open ended. Going to 6 wizards to get a special sword enchanted sounds boring, but if the characters want to ask wise npcs for advice, that could be interesting. Let them get some possible pointers, but come up with the solution on their own. A few tactics that occur to me: does non-lethal damage disable them? What about stunning them, or entangling them in bug nets. Is there something they really like that they can be attracted with (presumably into a trap). Put them in a riverine or otherwise impenetrable prison.

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    Titan in the Playground
    dantiesilva's Avatar

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    Apr 2012

    Default Re: Help with a campaign plot?

    Force cage them. Drown them...Ahh demons is always fun lets just hope the do not learn how to use magic from eating all those demons.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Help with a campaign plot?

    Maybe they need to lay the wizard to rest? Seek an audience with the Goddess of Magic? Gather True Death in a sealed container by slaying the oldest lich in the world, to unleash it at the scarabbed place (or the workshop, possibly)? Find the ancient arch druid's notes on restoring Balance and follow the instructions left there? Reinstate the oracle priest to have him reveal the scarabs as an attempt by Mechanus to overrun the planes? Some combination of these and other suggestions and ideas?
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground

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    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Help with a campaign plot?

    The plot seems fine to me.

    When the scarab problem is still pretty small the PCs could gather up the scarabs and throw them into a bottomless pit, or a sphere of annihilation. Of course, actually finding a bottomless pit or sphere of annihilation would be an adventure in and of itself.

    But then, just when the PCs seem to have solved the problem and they're being hailed as the scarab slaying heroes -- it turns out one of the evil factions of the world has gotten hold of one of the scarabs, and they promptly use it to create millions of scarabs in every stronghold of every one of their numerous enemies.

    Now a small scale solution like the bottomless pit or sphere of annihilation will no longer work, as this has become a global problem. With the scarab-slaying reputation they've gained everyone will be expectantly and anxiously looking at the PCs to solve this suddenly larger problem.

    That's when you can open up the plotline about communicating with the wizard's ghost to use a magic ritual to slay the original scarab, thereby slaying all other scarabs. Of course the evil faction will probably try to stop the PCs, though maybe they will also fall victim to their own scarab hordes. Maybe as part of the magic ritual you can have all the millions of scarabs that have been created in the world sucked into the original scarab, which turns from a Tiny creature into a Colossal city-sized creature. That way slaying the original scarab wouldn't be a non-event, but rather an epic BBEG fight.

    Just my 2 cents.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
    mattie_p's Avatar

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    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Help with a campaign plot?

    The problem is the scarab corpses. If the corpses aren't around, they won't split and duplicate. They are actually undead (powered by the death of the wizard), so drowning doesn't work.

    Allow, for example, 50 (or some arbitrary number, depends on their level) points of fire or acid damage within 1 round of death to eradicate a corpse so it won't shimmer, resurrect, and split. It obviously takes time for them to figure this out.

    Disintegrate also works. Imprisonment of some kind works, but if it isn't a force effect it doesn't bother them - they just chew through it.
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    Titan in the Playground
    Jack_Simth's Avatar

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    May 2006

    Default Re: Help with a campaign plot?

    Well, you'll need to flesh out the scarabs a bit more. Why do they work? How do they work? Is there some specific material that they can't actually eat? They were built in some manner - there should be some way that the magic that runs them can be unraveled. Is the resurrection and duplication process itself magical? A Dispel / Antimagic Field at the right moment should end the duplication process. Is the effect tied to the body of the scarab? Then utterly destroying the scarab (dropping it in lava, acid, or some other substance that will destroy it) should work.
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

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