Was your character part of a noble military group at some point in their past? Perhaps they had an act in a wandering circus troupe? Or maybe they performed unspeakable deeds at the behest of a sinister religious organisation?
Perhaps you are a DM who has given your players a mysterious benefactor, but haven’t decided their true nature. Or maybe the Queen needs a group to call on to take care of these pesky adventurers who are threatening her plans!
Primary Purpose (1d10):
Manufacturing or Farming
Wildlife exploration or expertise
Diminutive: Five or fewer members
Small: Fewer than twenty members
Medium: Between twenty and one hundred members
Large: Hundreds or thousands of members
Both lawful and good
Willing to do anything for coin
Willing to do anything to achieve a particular goal
Lackadaisical but good intentioned
Mischevious but not evil
Outright evil; full on maniacal laughter type stuff
Signiature Feature (1d10):
Members wear a uniforom
Members recite a mantra or quote a manifesto
Members’ bodies are decorated or altered in some way
With the holidays quickly coming up, maybe it’s about time to work on that list of gifts. This year, think about adding a couple of names to the list that you might have looked over before. Say “thank you” to someone who might be overlooked or you haven’t helped out in a while. Don’t think about …
A religious order worshiping a beholder
living in the hills has enslaved an entire village. They feed the
elderly to the beholder as tribute in return for power and spells.
How it begins:
As the players travel they find a path
marked with sticks embedded into the ground, their ends carved into a
giant wooden eye. If players continue on the path, they come to
the outskirts of a village, architecture style appropriate for the
region. They hear shouting and screaming coming from the village
Upon a stone mound is a giant wooden
carving of a beholder. Several priests are beating two elderly folk
while a group of villagers are yelling and throwing stones at the
-A- The priests wear leather
armor with one painted red eye on the chest piece and carry staffs
with the ends carved into a single eye. Note 1: The
priest can be any level appropriate to the players. Note 2:
The staffs are magically infused with the energy of the beholder in
Each round the priest can choose to use the eye of their
staff, getting a ray attack from the list
below: Charm Paralyze Fear Slow Enervation Telekinetic Sleep Petrifaction Disintegration Death Each
staff is only capable of using one ray of each type. So a slow staff
will always be a slow staff. Note 3: The staff eye
can only be used if the beholder in the hills is alive and the person
has drank of its blood, being blessed, otherwise the staff has no
-B- The villagers have grown
tired of the sacrifices and are fighting back.
If the players choose to join in, the
entire village will aid them.
-C- If the players defeat the
priests, the villagers will thank them and tell them about the
sacrifice and the beholder in the hills.
If the players choose to go fight the
beholder, the villagers will bring them to the cave and tell the
party they can have anything found within the cave and on the bodies
of the priests.
A small trail winds up the hillside
marked by more sticks pushed into the ground, their ends carved into
a single eye.
-A- Near the top of the hill,
nestled in misty grove of trees, is the cave entrance, its mouth
spewing a thick sulfur fumed fog.
-B- Any villagers guiding the
players will go no further nor do they know anything of what’s in the
Entering into the cave, the fog is
thick and obscures the players’ vision to less than a meter.
-A- The fog will obscure a set
of three trip wires, making spot and disarm checks much more
-B- The first trip wire releases
a giant swinging log, its end carved into an eye.
Players can roll a save to avoid the
log or take X D6 damage.
-C- The second trip wire
releases a net holding up dozens of fist sized spiky wooden
sculptures of eyes.
Players can roll a save and for every
point they fail by get hit with one spiked eye for D4 damage.
third trip wire releases a latch to a pit, sending players
down X meters to a floor of sharped sticks.
Players can roll a save or fall, taking
X D6 fall damage, then roll to avoid the spikes or take another X D6
-E- At the end of the hall, the
players come to several vents spewing hot sulfuric fog. Beyond that,
the tunnels opens into part 2. Note: These are vents
to an underground magma chamber far below the surface, similar to
Yellowstone, or any heated pools.
Note: When a
sacrifice is brought into the cave, the priest will lead and undo the
tripwires as to not set off the traps and then will reset the traps
once sacrifices have been brought through, trapping them inside the
The tunnel opens into a cavern. A
boulder sized wooden eyes is mounted on a stone pedestal in the
center of the chamber. A tunnel at the back of the chamber leads to
-A- When any player enters the
cavern, they are hit by two red beams fired from the eye.
Beam one shrinks a player’s weapons by
Beam two enlarges a players armor by
90% Note 1: These effects last a day or can be
reversed with dispel magic. Note 2: The wooden eye
can be destroyed as per the rules of destroying any magic item. Note 3: These effects
were created by the priests to ensure elderly who snuck weapons or
armor this far into the cave would be disarmed and offer no threat to
A tunnel opens into a room littered
with bones. 10 tunnels extend outward from the chamber. Note:
This is where the beholder would normally be waiting when sacrifices
have been brought to the cave.
-A- All the bones in the room
are humanoid, and upon inspection some even have gnaw marks. Note:
These are the remains of all the sacrifices and can number from a few
to even up to a 100 as the dead can be the elders of the villages to
dozens of kidnapped travelers on the road.
Each tunnel curves like a snake and
ends at a carved wooden eye placed into a slot in the wall.
-A- Once a player is in sight of
the eye, the eye will fire one ray per round using the the list
Charm Paralyze Fear Slow Enervation Telekinetic Sleep Petrifaction Disintegration Death Note
1: All 10 rays must be used, so there cannot be two tunnels
with charm rays for example. Note 2: If the players
remove the eye from the socket, it will no longer fire.
-B- Behind each eye within the
slot is a smaller eye, acting as a button or a switch.
Pushing all 10 buttons or pulling all
10 levers opens a secret door in part 3 leading to part 4.
Following a set of stairs, the players
come into a chamber. In the back of the chamber is a pile of gold and
treasure and on top a beholder at rest wears a red cape.
-A- Once the players enter, the
It offers the players one chance to bow
down in worship.
If the player refuse or seem to be
hostile before them, the beholder will attack. Note:
use stats as beholder.
-B- All the treasure are
offerings from the priests gathered from the villagers and stolen off
travelers over the years.
50 percent of the treasure should be
normal - coins, jewelry, some odd magic items -while the other half
should be trading material found on a merchant - a few gems, bolts of
cloth, rugs, bottles of alcohols, etc.
Once the beholder is killed, the
players can loot the chamber and be welcomed as heroes by the
villagers, or are they?
Maybe the villagers also worshiped
the beholder but were tired of offering themselves and wanted the
clergy dead, with the adventurers being the new sacrifice and attack
the players in disbelief. Maybe the beholder was a real avatar of
God and with its death, the players gained the God’s attention. Now
angered, it sends more clergy and more beholders to kill the players
until a final showdown. Maybe with the final blow, the players
each lose one eye, or maybe they all go blind only being able to all
see through one player’s vision which can only be removed by a lift
curse or something more intricate.
Deep within the Underdark once lived two dark elven brothers, cursed by fate to be the only Drow within their city to be untouched by Lloth’s evil. For years they hide the goodness within their hearts until one day the youngest brother rebelled against the Spider Goddess’ High Priestess. He was punished by being changed into a Dryder, a centaur-like creature with the upper body of a Drow and the lower body of a monstrous spider. His family, deeply ashamed, commanded the elder brother to kill the younger. It was the only way to bring honor back to the name Shimada.
Things did not go as planned
“Hanzo! What do your elven eyes see?”
“The same thing they do every day. An idiotic tiefling with no fashion sense.”
Jesse, said terribly dressed slightly demonic tiefling, sunk against the large bale of hay they were all hiding behind. “If you didn’t see anything you could have just said so. Genji? You wanna take a crack at it?”
“Good idea. I am the trained spy around here.” Genji not-so-gently pushed his brother aside, letting the weight of his spider half pin Hanzo against Jesse. It was for their own good. If Genji had to deal with yet another dungeon crawl listening to them fight-flirt he was going to snap. So if one of his back legs just so happened to push Hanzo (who was grumbling in Underdark) into Jesse’s arms then so be it.
Genji peered around the large hay bale. The job had been a simple one: Farmer’s old barn was full of big rats. Go clear out big rats. Get reward, have some rat-stew for dinner. And in typical fashion not a single one of them thought to question why the Farmer hired four adventures until they got there. It turned out the farmer was mostly right.
“Wererats.” Genji whispered as he watched the half-rat half-human monsters huddle around…something. Horse? Cow? It no longer really had skin. “Four of them. Pretty sure their dinner is the only reason they haven’t smelled us out.”
“Pfft, easy peasey!” Jesse pulled out his enchanted gun (‘Let me show you my enchanted weapon’ being one of the first things he ever said to Hanzo. It was a miracle he was still alive) and waved it vaguely in the direction of the wererats. “Four of us, four of them. We’ll even get the drop on them!”
Jesse almost stood up before Hanzo dragged him back down. “Do not. The wererats coat their weapons with their cursed saliva. If one gets the drop on you it’s over.”
“Annnnd you said yourself you’re out of silver bullets.” Genji pointed one of his spider legs at the gun. He then turned the leg towards Hanzo. “Annnnnnnd my brother’s out of silver tipped arrows. And, huge shock, I’m out of silver throwing daggers from our last were-encounter.”
“Perhaps I can be of assistance?”
For the first time since they entered the barn the fourth, and newest, member of their team spoke up. They had found Zenyatta the Warforged Monk a few days ago being accosted by bandits. Never one to pass up helping their fellow man (‘Or a potential reward’ as Jesse said) they disposed of the bandits and were now escorting him to the local monastery.
Genji…liked Zenyatta. He was nice. Calm. Very understanding about the whole ‘annoying self-righteous older brother’ thing. They had only traveled for a few days and Genji was already looking forward to speaking with Zenyatta while Hanzo and Jesse slept. It was a shame he’d be off with the other monks soon. A real, oddly heartbreaking shame. Genji felt his probably half-spider heart skip a beat as Zenyatta finally spoke.
“Do you have an idea, Zenyatta?” Genji said as he plowed over whatever stupid unimportant thing his brother was about to say.
“Indeed I do, Sparrow.” Said Zenyatta. Genji still wasn’t a hundred percent sure why the Warforged called him that. He really didn’t care, either. Instead he watched silently as the large mala that hung around Zenyatta’s neck suddenly floated in the air, circling the monk. In the dim light of the barn Genji caught a flash of silver from the rotating orbs.
“Uh.” Jesse lifted his finger. “What exactly do those-”
Before the other three men could react Zenyatta pointed towards the Wererats and the orbs flew off in that direction. There was one, two, four sickening sounds of what could only be described as ‘fist sized orbs smashing into a creature’s skull’ followed by the sound of four bodies hitting the barn floor. Zenyatta stood up and poked his head over the hay bale. “It seems the Wererats are unconscious, but still alive. McCree, could you please assist me finishing them? The enchantment on your gun should be strong enough to do it.”
Jesse, slightly stunned, nodded silently before slipping away with Zenyatta to finish the job, leaving Genji and Hanzo alone.
“Hanzo?” Genji said as he finally found his voice. “Lloth hated Warforged, right?”
“Lloth hated everything that wasn’t a Drow.” Hanzo said, his voice betraying that he knew where this was going.
“So she would really, really hate it if I fucked Zenyatta, right?”
Genji narrowed his eyes, determination filling every inch of his cursed body. “I’m gonna fuck Zenyatta.”
The current Bundle of Holding that interests me the most: How to Host a Dungeon, a cool dungeon-building solitaire game, and a couple of neat books by Sly Flourish, one of my favorite RPG bloggers. Don’t know about the rest, but definitely worth the price for those alone.