So, I think I have enough of an outline to create the wagon/caravan starting adventure based upon yesterday’s post.
Another cliched starting adventure is starting the party in some sort of jail or prison.
This cliche has the advantage of pretty much forcing the characters to trust each other as if they are on the run then they probably don’t have anyone else to turn to.
I am thinking that the starting point would be the evening before the prison break out. The setting would be a that the characters have been bought as slaves. The remote house, probably in the mountains, is a gladiator style training camp. How the characters end up as slaves can be part of their backstory.
So word goes around that a group of gladiators that have finished their training are due to be sold in the next city and are being shipped out in the morning. The carts that are going to transport them arrived today. These gladiators would rather die fighting for their freedom than die for someone else’s sport. They have a plan and anyone who wants to take their chances has to be ready when the word goes round.
The actual break out is structured so that the players get a limited about of information about the layout of the castle, their characters movements have been severely limited. I am imagining a castle like Eltz in Germany.
So we offer the GM a encounter for every location. These would be things like a fight going on in the main courtyard against three gladiators and three guards, the gladiators are being pushed back. The characters have the option of joining the fight and putting the numerical odds very much in the escapee’s favour or using the fight as cover for their own escape. There could be fights going on in on the walls, the courtyard. We can have physical challenges such as filling a stairwell with fire, collapsing ceilings raining tiles down from a great height. Someone can release the hounds.
The players would have complete freedom as to how they want to approach their escape and there will be plenty of action going on around them at all times. The only part that is contrived is that the characters will be the only escapees to make it.
Once outside we have a chase scene with the characters having to deal with extreme mountainside terrain and being hunted by dogs and men. I can envisage a single road up to the castle and that holds the castle guards, thus baring it to the characters, the guards then send dogs into the woods to hunt down the escapees.
We can use the sound of other escapees being hunted down and caught to keep up the sense of tension. I have checked the Large Dog stats in both RMC and RMFP and they are identical. 4th level, AT3 (40), OB 45 and 65#hits. For a bunch of first level characters more than one dog at once will be a serious challenge unless they cooperate, one on one my money would be on the dog!
I would like to work in a false reprieve into this scene. The characters think that they have succeeded at escaping the dogs and guards but then some new threat confronts them.
So I know that RM2, RMC and RMFRP use identical stats. RMFRP and RMU both have the carnivorous flying monkey as a monster. It is not in the RMC C&T but I can include these stats in the adventure.
So the second part of the escape down the mountain changes the emphasis from hunted by dogs to a threat from the sky as the flying monkeys track them. A flying monkey is 4th level, AT4(30), OB 70MBa/60MGr/60SB« and 65#hits. These will be a serious challenge. These will be encountered as singles or pairs depending on how strong the party is at combat. What weapons and armour they had picked up and so on.
The chase comes to an end with the characters arriving at a cliff edge, a river below them. They have the choice of fighting a gathering group of carnivorous monkeys to jumping off the cliff and into the river.
The final act has the characters being swept down river and into a cave. There are lots of opportunities here for skill tests, swimming is the obvious one, endurance (body development) rolls to keep themselves or each other afloat as they tire.
The river ride takes them into a cave system where we can wash them up onto a shore. They then have to make their way through the caves to escape.
This one is unfortunately populated by Lizardmen (Sohleugir). As it happens these are actually weaker foes than the dogs or the monkeys.
When the characters emerge from the caves they are effectively free, out of reach of the slave owner on the different side of a mountain range so noone is ever going to associate them with any eventual rumours or new of the gladiator escape.
So we have three four foes, human guards (or do they need to be human? I think evil elves would be quite cool). Hunting dogs, flying carnivorous monkeys and lizardmen. We have environmental challenges of the burning and collapsing castle, a mountainside rush through steep forested terrain, whitewater ride down the river and then a cave exploration.
So that is my second suggested starting adventure.
What would you add?