This is one of those classic starting adventures. Someone has done something bad to the PCs or their family and the characters are out for revenge.
What I am wondering is how we can stretch this out to a nice round 10,000 exp per character?
This post could get a bit rambling and contradictory as I have planned nothing and I am just writing off the cuff.
The first thing that is a challenge is how to bring the characters together in the first place. My gut instinct here says the characters need a mentor. I am picturing a Jedi master type NPC. This has two advantages. The first will be slightly controversial. I am going to suggest that we give the 1st level characters 60DPs worth of hand licked skills. So a fighter PC gets ranks in core fighter skills, the ranger gets core ranger skills and so on. This is the training provided by their mentor. It is also the boost that 1st level characters need to make RMu more competent.
The second advantage of the single mentor is that he represents the closest thing that all the characters will have as common family.
This would entail a bit of extra work by the GM but it is also an opportunity for the GM to make characters, cultures and professions unique to their setting.
I think this is a useful exercise for the GM to think about how skills are used to create cultures and professions.
So the start of the adventure would be the kidnapping of the mentor. This is an opportunity for investigation and a more role played session. We can bring in non-combat skills.
If I am writing this I would make the investigation a percentage action based investigation. The longer the characters take to find the clues as to what happened and who was responsible the greater the headstart the bad guys have.
I know this is not strictly how RMu is expected to work but I think this is better, especially for 1st level characters. If you go for pass/fail skill tests for finding clues and identifying the culprits then it is entirely possible that the adventure ends here and everyone can roll a few crap rolls and then go home.
The clues that the characters find should suggest that their mentor is still alive and was kidnapped. The footprints left by the invaders contain lots of sand which suggest that they came from the local beach.
The kidnappers have indeed captured the mentor and have made their way to the beach. They are waiting for a boat to whisk them away.
Ideally the characters should arrive before the villains escape. If they were really good at the clue finding then they should fall upon the villains while they are still on the beach awaiting a launch to get from a ship in the bay to the beach.
If they were averagey then they arrive as the villains are loading their captive into the launch and they get very little time to plan and act.
If they were slow at finding the clues and putting the pieces together then they arrive as the villains are pushing their way through the surf as they make their escape.
There are two options here. The first option is that the mentor can be rescued here and he will identify the villains and charge his students with exacting his revenge. Option two is that the heroes have to mount the rescue on the ship.
There are great deck plans available for free from Rooster Games.
I am thinking that the villains send two launches to the beach, one to collect the kidnapped mentor and one to provide a rear guard. Unless the characters are exceptional then the mentor is whisked away. The rear guard launch provides the characters with a way get to the ship. The players can be given an opportunity to plan how they are going to take on a launch full of bad guys without destroying the boat.
Now the characters hopefully have a boat and a way of getting to the ship holding their mentor captive. They will also hopefully have some sailor style uniforms. The challenge then becomes can the characters get on board the ship. The attention would be on the captive so this would give a window of opportunity to get on board.
The challenge is now that one party of PCs vs an entire ship is simply not viable but what if the ship was actually simply a charter and the real villains are only paying passengers? This would even the odds a great deal and the ships crew would more than likely throw up their hands and not want to get into a fight between factions.
There is then a big fight and the characters obviously win and defeat the kidnappers. They are bound to want to interrogate survivors.
It turns out that these guys are simply mercenaries hired to commit the kidnapping. The real villain is a mysterious stranger in a port up the coast.
This would then prompt a conversation with the characters’ mentor about is old rival and the bad blood between them. How this rival went to the bad and had sworn to slay him and his students [the characters].
It would be too much to ask for the characters to take on this evil double of their own mentor but it could turn out that the mysterious stranger in the port was not the evil mentor himself but one of his students.
The characters then travel to the port, track down the villain try and defeat him.
I think we could then offer the GM a number of branches at that point. If the evil mentor had a ‘party’ of students and each one had a dark scheme to try and defeat the good mentor, a sort of competition or right of passage then we have an extended set of adventures.
So far we have had an investigation, conflict on the beach, conflict on the ship, investigation in the foreign port and finally conflict against the evil student. That would be a four significant story goals and/or session goals. The reveal of the evil mentor and the conflict would be a campaign goal. That is probably be enough to level up the party.
Having skimmed read this back I also think that the conflict between to two mentors could be due to the evil mentor making a choice to dabble in demonic trading. Doing the demons bidding in exchange for power and forbidden knowledge. The good mentor could be human and the evil double an elf which would then fit into the Elf Demon vs the Human Demon theme.
This could be the first adventure. From here we could send them to the temple ‘dungeon crawl’ as a side quest because they had heard a rumour that one of the evil mentors students had journeyed there to consult the priest at that temple.
The Murder of Crows encounter could be run before, on the road from the port to the temple, or after the temple adventure. Thus stringing the three adventures together.
By the time they have finished this, the murder of crows and the temple they would be around 3rd level and had two demonic adventures.
This is beginning to sound like the start of a campaign.