Using the Vaults [The Forge #12 ]

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We're coming up on a year's worth of "Vault" and "Forge" entries. As you can see from last week's "Index to Forge and Vault", that's a lot of content. 

So how do you use it if you're going App free and using GM Mode?

How can you use it if you're an author? 

View on, dear quest creator or GM...

Let's say we print out our series of Vaults with the Bandit Encounter deck theme.  At the present moment, you'd probably want to do this by copying and pasting into Word, adjusting the margins to 0.5, and standardizing the font.  I was able to get 3 of the 4 Vaults on Bandits to fit on one standard sheet of paper this way. If we're seated with our friends and want to go in GM Mode (no app), we can choose prompts from these Vaults to craft a quick adventure.  If we're very adventurous and our GM is a pro, we can just roll a d20 and improvise. So we rolled on the Bandit Plot Vault (Honor Among Thieves) and got a 12.  "Drug War" it is!  We mark it with a clip and read the intro description...Only drawback of the clips is that they do slightly bend the paper (as you'll notice on the pics). 


Next we'll give some identity to the Boss behind the influx of addictive magical drugs.  We roll on the Bandits' Title Vault (Onerous Outlaws) and get an 8. The crime lord known only as "Sneakhand" is our foe,  and they will try and steal loot from our intrepid adventurers when first they meet. We mark him or her with a clip and move to the next Vault to select some custom Loot items and Locations for our quest... 


Most quests average 2-5 battles.  Our group prefers 3 (including the Boss battle), and it'd be nice to have some interesting new Loot after each of the battles leading up to the showdown with "Sneakhand". We roll two d20s and get a 9 and 20. The "Sneak Shoes" seem apropos to the Boss.  Perhaps they will let us make a "Stealth" check to get the drop on him at the outset of the final battle. The "Marbles" are a risky item to use, but "Sneakhand" clearly isn't paying his employees well enough for them to have any quality gear. Our final Bandit Vault will provide some locations for our adventurers.


We have three adventurers, so it seems appropriate to roll 3 d20s for our locations. This Vault was the only one that wouldn't fit on one page, and the last roll was a 20--the False Wall. Reinforcements will come to "Sneakhand" in the form of two extra Tier I Bandits during the final battle, but only our GM should know this.  Our other two rolls were a 5, the "Toll Bridge" and a 15, the "Forest Hideout". These give us some interesting roleplaying and combat scenarios.  

Do we pay the Bandits' toll at the bridge and follow them back to the Forest Hideout? Do we defy their extortion and do righteous battle? Do we attempt a skill check to sneak around the bridge? So many possibilities...

At the "Forest Hideout" we'll be faced with the choice to take the fight to the high ground or risk the lethal bows of the bandit archers. And then we'll have to face "Sneakhand" in his lair, with it's "False Wall" and reinforcements. 


And it's that quick and easy! If you were crafting in the Creator you could go the Vault pages and copy and paste the scripts, shortening your workload.

If there is interest out there in creating an easily printable and more GM friendly pdf of the Vaults and Forges, let us know in the comment section below.  We could throw something up on DriveThruRPG.   

Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at or leave a comment below.

An Index for Forge and Vault

We've known we needed an index for the growing collection of Forge and Vault entries.  For anyone finding this for the first time, The Forge is our regular series of tutorials for anyone using the Quest Creator.  If you need help figuring out how to do something with the script The Forge is a great place to start. 

The Vault is our regular series providing 20 inspirational ideas for stories, environs, enemies, and miscellaneous interesting things.  We've even provided coding in a format that will allow you to copy and paste into a Quest Creator format. 

The Forge

  1. Special Combat Techniques: Creating extra enemy effects or adventurer options in the app's combat simulator.
  2. Setting Up Shop: Crafting Stores, Using Currency:  Making a trackable store and pool of currency. 
  3.  The Guided Quest: How to make a Quest (in the Quest Creator) in about an hour.
  4. Surviving the Quest: Mods for making quests more playable with 1, 2, or 3 adventurer parties.  
  5. Righteous Roleplaying: Techniques for crafting compelling and interesting stories. 
  6. Quick Questing (GM Mode): Using the Mad Lib format to create an adventure with your players in less than 15 minutes. 
  7. Drinking to Horror: Adding art and icons to the App (in the Quest Creator).  
  8. Lovecraftian Lyricism: Tips from Lovecraft and the greats on writing good mysteries and horror stories.  
  9. Characterizations: Ideas and techniques for creating unique and compelling characters. 
  10. All in the Cards: How to make your own custom cards in the Card Creator.
  11. Advanced Card Creation: Adding images, passive abilities, and expended health tracks for adventurers in the Card Creator

The Vault

Series #1 Of Inns and Innkeepers.

  1. The Angry Barkeep (Plots and Flavor)
  2. The Intrepid Adventurers: Examples of adventurer choice options.  Builds on prompts from "The Angry Barkeep".  
  3. The Final Insult:  The Angry Barkeep's responses to adventurer choices in "The Intrepid Adventurers". 

Series #2 On the Undead

This series was made to help you easily build your own quests using the Undead Encounter cards.

  1. Wrath of the Undead: Titles for villains, with combat enhancements or debuffs you can add.
  2. Unseemly Urges: Undead plot ideas.
  3.  Mortal Remains: Creepy items (Loot) to add to your undead quests. 
  4. Of Curses Most Foul: Special events scripts for combat or checks.
  5. Haunts Unhallowed: Pre-crafted locations for your undead quests.

Series #3 Following the Fae

This series was made to help you easily build your own quests using the Undead Encounter cards.

  1.  The Fae Folk: Titles for Fae villains, with combat enhancements or debuffs you can add.
  2. Inscrutable Intentions: Fae plot ideas. 
  3. Alchemies of Alteration: Magics of glamour and alteration with scripts you can use in Fae quests.
  4. Occulted Environs:  Pre-crafted locations for your Fae-themed quests.

Vault #13   Skills and Skill Checks: Ideas for introducing skills rolls and mechanics using the existing system, and what their effects could be. 

Series #4 Burglaring Bandits

This series was made to help you easily build your own quests using the Undead Encounter cards.

  1. Onerous Outlaws: Titles for Bandit villains, with combat enhancements or debuffs you can add.
  2. Honor Among Thieves: Bandit plots.
  3. Tools of the Trade: Items (Loot) of larcenous intent. 
  4. Bandits’ Abodes: Bandit-themed locations.

Series #5 The Horror!

This series was made to help you easily build your own quests using the Horror Encounter cards.

    1. Abominable: Horror Titles, enhancements & debuffs. 
    2. Malevolent Mysteries: Plots for Horror villains.
    3. Horrorscapes: Horror locations.
    4. Violations: Horror Powers/Scripts.

    Series #6 Beastmode

    This series was made to help you easily build your own quests using the Beast Encounter cards.

        1. Beastly:  Titles, enhancements & debuffs.
        2. Predatory Universe: Plots and motivations for beast and man.

        Miscellaneous Vault Entries

        Vault #24.   First Round, First Blood: Special combat scripts for the first round of battle. Useable both by Encounter cards and adventurers. 

        Vault #25.   Putrefying Poisons: Checks, Traps, and Combat.

        Vault #26.   Around the Campfire: Plot hooks and events taking place round the fire. 

        Vault #27.   In the Stacks: Plot ideas and events for library settings. 

        Like this? Soon we'll be posting a short survey where you can let us know where you'd like "The Forge" and "Vault" to go from here.  


        In the Stacks [The Vault #27]

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        The Library is a place replete with worlds of its own. It is a repository of knowledge both dark and luminous, forbidden and beneficial. It is a vault of imagination and insight, a window into the minds of all manner of people. Below are 20 adventure hooks or encounters for a foray into the Halls of Knowledge.  The first "Miskatonic University" is geared toward a more modern setting of Lovecraftian horror.  The second is for a fantasy setting, The Library Arcane.  At the end are some general prompts applicable in any library setting:

        Miskatonic University Library

        1. _In the Dark_ (#Dark) The lights flicker and an electric fizzle makes you look up a moment before the corridors go dark. > Suffer -3 to all checks in the darkness, combat and otherwise. Any roll of 1 results in injury (1 health damage).
        2. _The Hidden Vault_ Rumors abound of a secret passage to a Vault built long ago.  Rare and dangerous tomes may be there, in addition to the body of the builder. > Make a Search check of 10 or above to find the false book that triggers the shelving to move aside. 
        3. _Elder Sign_ (#Elder) A wave of crime and madness has swept the city, a dark Thing appearing in the dreams of thousands. Only discovery and use of an Elder Sign hidden in the library can stop the nightmare intrusions.  >  A Search (:ranged:) check of 13 or above is required to find the tome with the Sign.  Failure leads to an Encounter with an Acolyte and a Rogue.
        4. _Elder Sign II_ (#ElderTwo) Having found the tome with the Elder Sign, the text must be deciphered, but knowledge is power, and power can corrupt or kill... > Make a Knowledge (:magic:) check of 13 or above or suffer a loss of 1 Persona point and 2 health.
        5. _Elder Sign III_ (#ElderThree) The deciphered text requires intonation of a ritual performed at midnight from the center of Miskatonic Grove. > Make two Ritual (:Influence:) checks of 13 or above (must be repeated until two successes achieved).  After the first check, draw a Tier I Horror and begin combat.  Each round a check is failed, add another :Horror: of one higher Tier.  On a roll of 1 draw a Tier III :Horror: .   

        The Library Arcane

        1. _The Irascible Magus_ (#Irascible) The ancient magus in charge of the library doesn't countenance noise disturbances.  > Any failed check or combat encounter summons the Magus. He roughly teleports all offendors outside (Take 2 damage, end all checks/encounters). 
        2. _Golems, Golems_ (#Golems) The most menial tasks of returning books to shelves has long been handled by crafted golems. They do not take kindly to inappropriate use of the volumes, fighting, or destruction of property. > Golems are Tier II opponents with 20 hp. They surge when any area of effect Ability is used (any with more than one target) and immediately deal 2 damage to the offendor. 
        3. _The Spelltrap_ (#Trap) Many a tome of lore is trapped with a potent spell to deter the unworthy.  > Adventurers must solve a riddle, find a password, or dispel the trap.  If they fail, draw a random offensive Magic ability and resolve it against the party. 
        4. _The Red Bull's Sigils_ (#Levitation) The higher reaches of the shelving must be reached by activating  levitation spells set in the floor. They are painted in the shape of Red Bulls. A clever individual could use them to avoid combat or set a foe aflight. 
        5. _Fire Suppression_ (#Suppression) Such a repository of knowledge would never be left unguarded against the mortal bane of books, namely fire. > Powerful wards prevent any Ability or Loot item with "fire" in the description from functioning within the Library. 

        General Prompts

        1. _Illicit Activities_ (#Activities) The adventurers need to extract a rare and precious work from the Reference section. The detectors at the exit will sound if any such work crosses the threshold. What will the adventurers do? > Possible checks: Thievery, Sleight of Hand, Disable Device...
        2. _SHHHH!!_ (#SHH) The adventurers and their rivals both seek the same works in the library, but if they cause too many disturbances, the staff will throw offenders out. > Adventurers will be thrown out the third time they violate the noise rule. Each instance of combat or destruction (or perhaps a failed Sneak check) counts as a violation. 
        3. _Symmetrical Stacking_ (#Stacking) Tobin's Spirit Guide referenced many an instance of symmetrical stacking of books. Some unknown force in this wing of the library has been stacking books impossibly high for years... > Any attempt to bypass the stacks or combat in the area risks knocking weighty tomes down, dealing 2 damage to those that fail checks. 
        4. _The Spectral Spinster_ (#Spinster) Gertrude Dorothea gave 80 years of her life to the library. She's loathe to leave it in death. Her unquiet spirit must be dealt with.
        5. _Bookthrowin'_ (#Throwing) Someone or something is flinging books at the heads of the adventurers! > Make an Agility (Ranged) check to avoid getting "booked". 
        6. _Water Hazard_ (#Whazard) You wished you'd seen the "Wet Floor" sign earlier...granite is unforgiving. > Make a Notice (Magic) or Agility (Ranged) check of 9 or above. On a failure you suffer 3 damage and sprawl on the floor. 
        7.   _Hidden Corridor_ (#Corridor) Why was it concealed?  Where does it lead?
        8. _Fire!_ (#Fire) Nothing could be more deadly in this place. > Make a number of checks to escape burning, collapsing shelves, choking smoke, panicked patrons, and avoid slipping once the fire suppression system is activated. 
        9. _Spitballin'_ (#Sball) Your rival or love interest has dared you to land three spitballs on the series of buns the "Beehive Lady" calls her hairstyle. > Succeed in three successful Ranged ability checks. On success you gain admiration and Loot. On failure you suffer 2 damage and expulsion from the grounds. 
        10. _Locked Doors_ (#Locked) You fell asleep and have been locked in the building. How will you pass the night?   

        Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

        Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at or leave a comment below.

        * Confused by the formatting of the list? The _underscores_ (#hashtags) :icons: and > Special instruction scripts are provided for the ease of Quest Authors, who can copy and paste these directly into the Quest Creator to save time. 

        Advanced Card Creation [The Forge #11]

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        This week we're going to expand upon "All in the Cards" [The Forge #10], wherein we took the Card Creator out for a spin. We're going to add two capabilities to our repertoire today:

        1. Adding Art to the cards.

        2. Using the "Encounter" tab to custom craft your own Adventurers.

        Onward with the Art!  To add an image to a card, add an "Image" column to the Encounter table.  Then use the art files in the existing Expedition database to find the piece you want.  You'll want to put the name into the column space, deleting the PNG from the name of the art.  Observe in the pic below on the final line:


        And here is how it looks when the hound_of_tindalos is entered in the image column for our custom "Dragoncursed" encounter card.  Note that if you have any text in the surge column, you'll have to change the formatting or omit it.  I left a standard surge entry in place to show you that without this change to surge, text will bleed over on top of the art. 


        At the present moment, it is not possible to add your own art to the repository--you are limited to what we've provided.  This is due to copyright concerns, formatting issues, etc. 

        Now on to Custom Adventurers!

        The Adventurer tab in the spreadsheet for Cards does not allow addition of passive abilities or changing the health track.  To do that (as we did in the Level II Adventurer cards that appeared in the Expansion Survey), you can create the adventurer under the Encounter tab.  This will allow you to enter a passive weakness or strength, increase the health bar, and even put in a Surge (not recommended, but possible). 

        Here's how it looks in the spreadsheet:


        And now how they look in the Card Creator:


        We hope this gives you ideas for extending your fun with the game and creating new content (both cards and quests)!

        Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

        Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at or leave a comment below.

        Around the Campfire [The Vault #26]

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        What happens around the campfire doesn't always stay there. Whether as an interlude between locations or the impetus for the beginning of a new quest, strange happenings round the fire can add a lot of character to a quest. Below we offer you 20 options for lighting up the night:

        1. _Nemesis_ (#Nemesis) An archfoe of the adventurers summons an elemental of fire from their very own flame.  It strikes with surprise. 
        2. _Flight_ (#Flight) A cacophony of beasts and birds runs over the adventurers and through their camp, hasty to escape something calamitous. 
        3. _Omens and Portents_ (#Omens) The lambent flames gutter without the presence of wind or rain.  One of the adventurers experiences a premonition of the peril to come. 
        4. _Moaning_ (#Moaning) Moaning begins to come from the darkness beyond the fire, then the sound of shuffling creatures. Zombies or some other undead stumble into the clearing.  Have the adventurers been deliberately targeted? Did they make camp on an ancient burial ground? Do the undead wish to ask the living to complete some task they now cannot, and hence free them (and receive a reward). 
        5. _Refugees_ (#Refugees) Refugees pensively approach and ask to share the warmth and light. From whence do they come and why?
        6. _Wolfpack_ (#Wolfpack) The light has drawn the attention of a starving wolfpack. Normally they'd not approach.  What could compel them to risk harm for food? Something stranger is afoot...
        7. _Thieves?!_ A bumbling member of the gentry stumbles into the adventurers' clearing. Eyes going wide with terror, he takes you for bandits and flings many a precious item to the ground to placate and distract you before fleeing into the night.  Do you take his items or chase him so as to avoid being wrongly accused? He is very fleet of foot.
        8. _Rescue_ (#Rescue) An arrow descends out of the darkness and strikes one of you very near a precious appendage. It appears there is a note attached requesting rescue from yonder high tower... > Struck adventurer takes 2 damage (player with the lowest roll is the victim). 
        9. _Manbane_ (#Manbane) A diverse pack of beasts reveals themselves at the perimeter of camp. You'd not thought you strayed so close to the Dreadwood of Mabus Manbane, dark druid, but perhaps he's branching out...
        10. _Highwaymen_ (#Highway) It seems you've drawn of the attention of ne'er-do-wells.  Are they good men fallen on desperate times or evil ones preying on the weak? Will you take the risk of finding out?
        11. _Illicit Wares_ (#Wares) A scruffy, bleary-eyed merchant enters the clearing. He seems to think you might be interested in his narcotic diversions. 
        12. _Storm_ (#Storm) A fierce thunderstorm breaks upon the encampment. Avoiding lightning strikes and falling hail will be your first concerns, then there will be the chill--if you can't restart that fire. 
        13. _The Law_ (#Law) The local constabulary loudly barges into camp, demanding the immediate surrender of "The Band of the Red Hand".  They have the drop on you, with weapons already drawn in fists quaking from nervousness.  Will you attack or cooperate with the clearly confused local authorities?
        14. _The Book_ (#Book) As payment for recent good deeds, an old crone gifted you a book she claimed had secrets to great power. You crack open the book.  Will you read aloud the words, Klaatu barada nicto...?
        15. _Gypsies_ (#Gypsies) A caravan of gypsies approaches with the sounds of tinkling bells. Do you share the clearing? Will sneaky children's hands lighten you of Loot? Will you dance with dusky eyed beauties? Accept the invitation to have fortunes told? Vie with the men in a contest of knife-throwing? 

        Modern Themes

        1. _Strange Lights_ (#Lights) Strange lights appear in the sky and approach. Moments later a shaft of light shines forth, lifting you toward the dim outlines of the dreadful craft...
        2. _Something in the Woods_ (#Squatch) A series of strange wood-knocks comes from the distance. A sound like a screaming baby makes the hair on your neck rise.  You must investigate, but you may regret it.
        3. _Drug War_ (#Drugs) You didn't anticipate this campground would end up being contested by two gangs, or that you'd get caught in the middle. 
        4. _Trespassing_ (#Trespass) Several pickups pull into the clearing, disgorging smug and malicious looking men.  Several dogs growl from beneath their choke collars.  Seems you've come to private property and have to party with the owners.  They'll give you a headstart...
        5. _Lagoon_ (#Lagoon) You picked a nice spot near a lovely Lagoon. When some of you go swimming, a terrible surprise reveals itself.

        Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

        Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at or leave a comment below.

        * Confused by the formatting of the list? The _underscores_ (#hashtags) :icons: and > Special instruction scripts are provided for the ease of Quest Authors, who can copy and paste these directly into the Quest Creator to save time. 

        A Return to the Vault and Forge!

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        Dear adventurers and authors, we've been on hiatus from our weekly editions of Quest and Forge while we prepared for the Origins convention and our next expansion. Those under our belts, we'll be resuming our old schedule of releasing a Vault or Forge every week. Look here for a new edition of "The Vault" tomorrow!

        Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

        Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at or leave a comment below.

        Putrefying Poisons [The Vault #25]

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        The natural world is full of substances of boon and bane. This week we provide you with twenty poisons and their effects. Perhaps you wish to add one as a specialized Surge event to a Beast Encounter card, or coat the blade of another foe with it.  Maybe a lock, trap, or book has a dusting of the stuff the adventurers must spot, counteract, or avoid with a skill check.  

        Some creatures deliver poisons or venoms by their bite or sting, but others exude the substance through their very skin or via odor. An adventurer engaging in melee attacks might be subject to an effect just by being near enough to attack. Of course, once a poisonous creature is slain, the adventurers may be able to acquire or craft an item exploiting it from the carcass. If you wish to allow your players this option, a Craft (:magic: or :melee:) or Healing skill check should be required to gain the effect. On a failure, the would-be crafter has fallen victim to the poison. 

        A nice touch on the quest writing side is to provide a way (choice) to counteract a poison. Perhaps pouring wine over a contact poison nullifies it, or a Knowledge or Gather Information check could provide an adventurer with the foresight to prepare an anti-venom or remedy. 

        As always, we've provided formatting for Quest Creators so they can copy and paste the entries easily into quests, making an instant screen of its own (you'll still need to link it to other parts of your quest through standard pathways). 

        1. _The Scarlet Spasm_ (#Spasm) A cloud that tinges the air with faint scarlet hues, the spasm causes involuntary muscular contractions. > :Melee: and :ranged: ability users suffer the critical failure effect on ability cards if they roll a regular failure. 
        2. _Spirit Sight Venom_ (#SVenom) Members of the Ghost tribe believe this snake venom imparts the ability to see the realms of spirit. Are the spirits real or not? > While under its influence, any ability or skill roll of 5, 10, or 15 causes a failure, as the poison's victim reacts to the appearance of a spirit (Roleplay this!).
        3. _Lethargy's Kiss_ (#LKiss) Secreted by a slug common to the region, this ooze induces somnolence in those it touches. > Victims don't play an ability every 4th round OR suffer -3 to a skill check. 
        4. _The Bleeder_ (#Bleeder) A favorite of assassins everywhere, it thins the blood. > When a victim takes damage, increase :health: lost by 1 each time. 
        5. _Numbtouch_ (#Numbtouch) Sometimes used as an anesthetic by the Fae, the Duergar delight in coating protected treasure in it. > The effect of this poison grows worse with time. Victims suffer a cumulative -1 to physical skills and all ability rolls until counteracted (Heal check 13+) or 5 rounds/screens have passed, after which it quickly dissipates. 
        6. _Hallucination's Haze_ (#Haze) Produced by some molds, it can afflict others if breathed while being burned or when eaten. > Any skill or ability roll of 5, 10, or 15 results in the victim mistaking a fellow adventurer for a demonic villain. The victim attacks their fellow once (play an ability if this is triggered during a skill check). 
        7. _Creeping Death_ (#CDeath) An insidious poison coating the thorns of some Fae rosebushes... > Make an Endurance (:melee:) check of 13 or above to avoid losing 1 :health:. If you fail the first check, suffer another point of health loss each round/screen until 3 rounds have passed or a Heal :magic: check of 13+ has been made. 
        8. _Falling Darkness_ (#FDarkness) Victims behold the rapid narrowing of their vision, until sight leaves them entirely.  > :Melee: and :magic: abilities suffer a cumulative -1 to rolls each round. :Ranged: abilities suffer a cumulative -2 to rolls each round.    
        9. _The Rictus Mask_ (#RMask) Sometimes used as a paste to remove wrinkles, this salve can have horrifying effects in high doses. > All skill checks involving social interaction suffer a -5 to the :roll: .
        10. _Dust of Transference_ (#DTrans) This curious dust has the quality of grounding magical energy. > If an adventurer coated in the dust uses a :magic: ability or :loot: item, they suffer the full effect of the ability instead of the original target. 
        11.  _Jester's Flux_ (#JFlux) A favorite of tricksters, it has robbed many a haughty noble of dignity. > Any movement risks loss of bowel control. Vigorous motion (ie combat) ensures it. If control has been compromised, the victim automatically fails all checks to sneak by creatures and suffers -3 to social checks. 
        12. _Crooner's Cry_ (#Crooner) A curious substance that induces singing. > During combat, a roll of 12 or below on the ability check means the victim must randomly draw a :music: ability and replace the ability initially played with the new :music: ability.  
        13. _Heroe's Bane_ (#HBane) The spray of the scare skunk of Scarpathia, it induces an instinctual flight response. > When an adventurer or creature would attack, it must :roll: a 10+ to succeed. On 9 or below, it panics and tries to flee instead (suffer -1 damage this round). 
        14. _BolsterBlight_ (#Bolster) Sometimes with great strength comes great pain> Inflict +3 damage on a played :melee: ability or a creature's attack, but the user/victim suffers an additional 4 health of damage at the end of the round.
        15. _The Ringer_ (#Ringer) Often slipped into a drink to make a mark easier pickings later on, an oppressive ringing in the ears makes hearing impossible. > The victim cannot benefit from the next :music: or :influence: effect and fails the next check dependent on hearing. 
        16.  _Erotic Panther_ (#EPanther) Sprayed on a victim, sixty percent of the time, this scent works every time... > All characters and creatures in the vicinity must :roll: a 10 or above to avoid unnatural attraction to the victim (roleplay this). 
        17. _Oedipal Angst_ (#Angst) Delivered by food or drink, this causes irrational rebelliousness toward anyone in rightful authority. > Victims must :roll: a 12 or above to resist opposing the next legitimate authority (a liege lord, officer, social superior, boss, etc.) they encounter. Roleplay the opposition but it must result in a failed action or outright attack (if either is an option).
        18. _Delusion's Dust_ (#DDust) It inspires gross overconfidence. > Victims cannot use :loot: (why would they need to?!) and must play the ability each round that has the highest required risk :roll: .
        19. _Insidion_ (#Insidion) This poison inspires feelings of inferiority and paranoia. > Victims must play one :loot: item each round if they possess any and always play the ability each round that has the lowest risk value.  
        20. _The Howler_ (#Howler) Favored by tribes of imps, this goo coats their darts, ensuring they won't escape. > On a failed :roll: of 9 or below, the victim starts baying at the sky (roleplay this!). All attempts at stealth automatically fail. 

        Like this? Consider sharing or Tweeting it, or joining the weekly Quest Crafter mailing list for more writing inspiration.

        Have an idea for the next Quest Crafter or feedback on how we can make it more useful to you? Email us at or leave a comment below.

        * Confused by the formatting of the list? The _underscores_ (#hashtags) :icons: and > Special instruction scripts are provided for the ease of Quest Authors, who can copy and paste these directly into the Quest Creator to save time. 



        First Round, First Blood...[The Vault #24]

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        We know there are some tactically oriented players out their that have been itching for some realism and movement dynamics. We're not going to throw miniatures your way, but what we can offer you and Authors this week are some ideas for how to spice up your encounters by introducing some strategic mechanics for the first round of combat, before everything would naturally devolve into chaos and the fog of war.

        You might use these (or introduce them to quests) in the following ways:

        • By adding a skill roll to determine if the party can pull one of these off. 
        • By presenting a few as tactical options the party can choose at the beginning of a combat encounter.
        • Have the enemy use one. Or maybe adventurers and foes can use one each, so long as no one suffered from surprise on a Spot or Notice check.
        • Use them for unit based army skirmishes or battles (ideas for how to do this will be forthcoming in a future Vault and/or Quest).
        • Introduce them into Player vs. Player battle.

        Whatever you do, for the sake of play balance we urge you to think of them as a once per encounter, first round Surge (they'd also be ideal for small party play).  Only one should be chosen by the party (even if not all party members participate in the maneuver), to avoid bogging down play.

        1. _Ambush!_ (#Ambush) Someone is getting taken by surprise! > Each participant may choose one foe. The ambushed individuals does not get to resolve Abilities or damage during the first round. 
        2. _Shield Wall_ (#Shield Wall) The ultimate in defensive tactics. > For each participant in the wall, reduce damage taken by 2. Each player may discard a :melee: card to add +1 damage to enemies this round. 
        3. _Diversion_ (#Diversion) Draw their attention. > Designate one or more individual as the diversion. They are the only individuals that suffer a Surge or Ability effect this round. (Can be used on the first Surge round only). 
        4. _Pincer Attack_ (#Pincer) Two attack the target from its flanks. > Gain a +2 to each roll. If the final total of the roll would be 20 or above, apply the critical effect. 
        5. _Encirclement_  (#Encirclement) Strike from all sides! > For each individual that attacks the same target, apply +1 to :roll:s and damage. Any failed :roll: results in an ally taking the effect of the failed ability. 
        6. _Sword and Shield_ (#SS) The measured application of offense and defense at once. > Must discard a :melee: ability to use. Reduce damage you suffer this round from all sources by 1. Deal 2 damage to one foe. 
        7. _Break Formation_ (#Break) By scattering, the group disrupts a coordinated attack. > Lower the Tier Value (against Encounter cards) by 1 per participant or subtract -1 from rolls per participant (against Adventurers) until the next Surge event, then reset all to normal.  
        8. _Charge!_ (#Charge) Bold ferocity may carry the day... > Negate any passive damage reduction of one targeted foe and deal 2 damage for each participant. Discard a :melee: ability to target a second foe. 
        9. _Brace_ (#Brace) Brace to absorb a blow. > Suffer 1 less point of damage this round.  Discard an :Influence: card to negate all damage that would be done to one other party member.  
        10. _Running Retreat_ (#RunRet) Flee! > For each participant, remove 1 Tier worth of Encounter cards from combat. Each participant may discard one :ranged: or :magic: card to increase the Tier level removed by +1.
        11. _Holding Action_ (#Hold) Jam up the enemy advance by holding your ground. > Increase the damage each participant suffers by 1 this round, but reduce the damage of all other party members by 2. Participants may discard an ability to deal 1 damage to one foe.  
        12. _Sword and Sorcery_ (#SSorc) Shock and awe, sorcery and steel. 
        13. _High Ground_ (#HGround) Better leverage, better vantage point. 
        14. _Narrow Pass_ (#NPass) Champions square off in the gap. > Choose one adventurer and one Enounter card. Only those participants can use any offensive abilities/attacks this round. 
        15. _Pit Trap_ (#Pit Trap) Spiked, deep, and cleverly concealed. > Make a Notice (:ranged:) check of 10 or above.  On a failure, one falls into the pit for 3 damage OR the loss of ability play this round. 
        16. _Flanking Action_ (#Flank) Come at em sideways! > Gain a +2 to the next ability :roll:.  Discard a :ranged: card to deal +2 damage as well.  
        17. _Spider Hole_ (#Hole) The ultimate jump scare. > Make a Craft (:magic:) or Survival (:ranged:) check of 10 or above. On success, each participant gains +2 on the first roll and +1 to damage. 
        18. _Cavalry Charge_ (#CavCharge) Ride them down! > Make a Ride (:melee:) check of 10 or above. On success, each participant may deal one foe damage equal to half the roll, but takes damage equal to the Tier Value of the foe. 
        19. _Disarm_ (#Disarm) Take from them the means to fight. > Discard an ability card to reduce all damage done this round by 1.  Gain a +2 to :roll: against the targeted foe next round. 
        20. _Trip_ (#Trip) Taken em down! > Choose an opponent (only one per adventurer). That Encounter card's first Surge doesn't occur until the 4th round, not the third. The participant may also discard a :music: ability to increase damage dealt by other adventurers to that tripped foe by +1. 

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