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1627What the PC's don't know about the next town--A pre-gen cheat sheet!

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  • destiny_dodger
    Nov 8, 2013
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      The "What's not well-known about this remote settlement?" Generator

      Every once in a while, the PCs will ask to stop at some off-the-map thorpe, hamlet, or village, and the DM might not have had time to conceive of something flavorful to make that town, or their stay in it, distinct.  Use this in a pinch, if the players insist upon stopping in some out of the way place you have not yet formulated, and are itching for something interesting:

      Small Town Secret/Side-Quest Generator:  Roll 2d6, (unusual roll = unusual situation) 


      2: One among the mounted statues around the village square has an old and worn leather halter/bridle fitted upon the stone horse, and the unusual tack detects as strongly magical. If the bridle can be correctly fitted to a living animal, that animal will immediately gain the Half-Dragon Template (and all stats, bite attack, and other benefits thereof)  based upon a random (roll 1d10) dragon--as well as that dragon's typical alighment and temperament, until the bridle can be removed.  The animal also gets a bonus racial hit die while it wears the bridle (which may allow it to take a combat feat), putting the HD's skill ranks into skills suitable to that dragon.  In case it matters, if this bridle is worn by a pregnant animal for more than 3/4 of the gestation term, any NEWBORN will pernamently gain the alighment, intelligence, and powers of the rolled half-dragon template.

      3: All powerful-looking visitors to the hamlet are stalked and investigated after dusk by a ghost, which uses its stealth bonuses to spy upon visiting warriors.  It may even possess townsfolk, using their bodies to ask unusual questions to PCs, so it can determine if they are suitable allies in its obsessive goal to gain justice/revenge for the way it died.

      4: The sundial in the village square is held by the bust of an Azata, which occassionally comes to life--it denounces and accuses all unrepentant murderers which walk by. Visitors who seem suspicious might asked to walk past this sundial, and those who refuse to do so for reasons deemed unsatisfactory by the villagers will be driven from town. [At the GM's option, spells such as (misdirection), (nondetection), and (undetectable alighment) might prove effective at fooling the relic.]

      5: Not far from the town square, there is a pit/well.  At the bottom of the pit/well is large stone.  Embedded in the stone is an intelligent magical trident, and  held securely by the tines of the trident in the stone, there is a long chain.  At the end of this chain lives an old but resolute (drow/bugbear/hobgoblin/orc/gnoll) who was the only member of one of the unsuccessful monstrous raid upon the region who surrendered upon the seemingly unlikely but genuine promise of the Lord Marshall that he would spare their life.  For years, this formerly sagave raider has lived in a humble hovel at the bottom of this pit, still manacled to the chain.  The (monster) subsides upon skills as a woodcarver, and the handouts of the villagers.  If unsympathetic visitors abuse the creature by throwing rocks or making its life miserable, the magic trident will use a [Telekinesis] Spell-like Ability to attempt to pull the tormenter down into the pit with the (possibly-class level) captive monster, to be subject to their wrath or mercy!

      6: The reason the bitter, nihilistic town drunk became that way after once being proud is because his son became a paladin, and never returned from a battle where the defending side was captured or killed by (insert appropriate monsters).  If the party has already unknowingly condemned or insulted him on sight for his blatant and pitifully obvious intoxation without learning what is wrong, consider making sure that this week in-game contains the anniversary of the tragic battle.

      7: A fisherman/trapper on the outskirts of the thorpe keeps a very young and apparently docile specimen of an (insert suitable nasty monster's baby here), a creature known for their cunning and savagery as adults.  The local seemingly has quite the way with animals, and while his domesticating a (insert monster) is almost surely an impossible task in the long term, the youthful (creature) happily follows him around, and seems to do what he says.

      8: A silver-haired peddler from a far-off land has set up a stall where he sells "Zombie Fruit," which thrives in foreign sultanates and distant kingdoms.  The "Zombie Fruit" stays fresh for a long time, and has pulpy flesh inside that is yellowish green, tastes delicious, and is sticky enough to cling to the face or hand where the residue turns an ugly shade of brown as it dries in the air.  If allowed to ferment or go bad, the pulpy fruit drips from rotted-open patches in the rind; drawing flies and mimicking moribund flesh with a stench that is unspeakably foul. 

      9 Every 22 days, a family of gnome merchants and tinkers arrives in this village from their home kingdom by piloting a huge ambulatory construct that serves as their home and store.  A proud line of merchants, they peddle wares that are secured within, above, and hanging below this bizarre contraption, which has been in their family for centuries.  They hawk their wares while making it parade around town upon its clasp-covered and jangling metal legs that ring with all kinds of pots, pans, glass and tinware to be sold.  Most items are sized for small folk, but the merchant hawkers proudly proclaim that there is something for everyone.

      10 An association of spontaneous casters' organization calling themselves "The Sisterhood" has developed a new gimmick to sway bards to their banner--a length of rope that acts like a fuse with extremely precisely-measured segments soaked in chemicals that burn in different colors. Changing colors while burning in carefully calculated lengths of time, the "Songstring" can provide colorful pyrotechnic accompanyment that will match a melody or song, which is chosen for each rope during construction.  This town is one of their stops to swell their numbers; to meet and recruit new members during their journey to the regional capitol for a grand demonstration with countless bards, and musical and illusionary accompaniment.  "The Sisterhood" envoys have gotten the whole village interested overnight but will not say exactly what the "Grand Demonstration" will be, but   Party members who want to participate should either be very sympathetic to the goals of The Sisterhood, (which involve organizing spontaneous casters for mutual benefit) or be VERY (DC22+ perform) be skilled at performing the specific song in question that the Songstring is "measured to."  

      11 Riders from the Arcane School/Outskirts of Town/Wizard Tower on River Island/etc come running into town with horrible news!  A berserk Golem (select appropriate type/CR) is rampaging around the local laboratory, and after it finds things to smash there, it will almost certainly enter the town.  Inadvertant usage of faulty parts (IE an evil dryad's tree in Wood Golem) have been able cause berserk state when that would not normally happen--so not enough pecautions were taken.  The injured wizard (whose magic is neither tailored to or effective against stopping the golem by himself) thinks he can regain control, but desperately needs help from anyone who will offer it.  If they can't *destroy* the golem, they can at least serve as meat shields while the creator regains control via Charisma checks, or ensure that the golem does not escape the lab/island.

      12 There are plenty of small bridges, stiles, and logs that criss-cross the creeks and streams around the hamlet, but one creek, and one bridge among of them is very different.  Look down at your reflection in the water from off the bridge, and you will see the reflection of an armored man walking up on the bridge next to you.   If you take your eyes off the water, there is nobody else there, but looking back down into the water, you see the reflection of the man pull out a sword...   This is Swordphantom Bridge, and whether the PCs know the local legend or not about the legendary duelist that died a humiliating death of drowning in the stream or not, the phantom being in the water will attack and kill your reflection regardless.   Waving one's sword in the air in the real world will make your reflection in the stream parry his blows. (Thus, by looking at your reflection, you can fight back, though at -2 for the awkard positioning.) If a PC wants to fight the reflected duelist, keep track of the player's and the (dead duelist's) HP secretly.  A natural 1 (or resultant fumble) will land the PC in the stream.  The water in the stream increases in speed as the duelist becomes more injured, finally becoming both rippled and muddy if the duelist's reflection is at 20% HP or below, which provides 20% concealment, but no other penalties during the fighting.  If the player's "virtual HP" goes to zero first, then his reflection is decapitated and killed, and neither the PC or anyone else will ever again see their reflection when they look into this stream.  If the reflected swordsman goes to 0 HP first, the stream runs red momentarily, and a portion in the middle become so shallow that the victorious player can see and retrieve a level-appropriate magical blade/item/armor from the streambed, still in flawless condition, and marked with the ancient rune that denotes "Victory."

      I hope you enjoyed the list and I welcome feedback.

      I plan to use this to spice up and give flavor to the small settlements in my next game.   I'm curious to hear what experiences would up making everybody else's "middle of nowhere" and "vanilla" village into a truly memorable one.