We’ve all started a campaign with the group sitting around a table in a tavern, it’s one of the ultimate cliches of the hobby; along with rescuing princesses from Dragons (the classic quest) or my parents and everyone who knows who I am is dead (the birth of the murder hobo).
Sometimes people don’t know where to go from here, so here are some thoughts if you find yourself drawing a blank about where to go next.
As the party are in the middle of getting to know each other characters, there is a smash behind them. It was the window, someone has thrown a flaming torch through the window, outside in the flickering light of flaming houses; tribal raiders. The door is smashed down and 6 raiders pour in the door, roll for initiative.
You’ve jumped almost straight into the action, your players have had a little time to chat and then the adventures comes running through the door, armed and hairy.
A man bursts through the door soaked from the downpour outside, he drops to his knees crying as he steps over the threshold. “They got my Mary” he whimpers, “They took my Mary” he shouts. Most people will jump up to help but if not have the man drop a bag of gold on the floor, “This is for whoever brings my Mary back.”
This could lead anywhere, you could tell the players exactly where the woman has been taken and by who, perhaps this has happened before and no one has ever been brave enough to saved the kidnapped person. Perhaps this is the first time this has happened and a number of unlikely people step up to help their neighbour in need. You play it to suit your setting.
You set the scene of the party arriving in town during the day, settling in, having some beer and a nice dinner. They notice many people engaged in restoration works, carpenters and masons plying their trade as they entered the town; strange that such a bustling place isn’t spoken about across the land. As the party enjoy a sweet roll and their fourth ale the sun sets behind the mountains outside the window and strange sounds begin to echo down the streets and across the dining hall. The people; they’re screaming, they’re in pain, they’re changing; into monsters. You’re trapped in the center of a cursed town what do you do?
Your players will never step inside a town again, but you’ll have a blast. If they survive the night and are still close enough to see the village in the dawn sun; they’ll see the people change back to being human and go back to work, like nothing happened.
What interesting stories have started in your taverns?