Vaults

Predatory Universe: Beast Plots [The Vault #21]

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The wild hungers.  It's driven by blood, hot on the tongue, thick on torn flesh and spattered on the ancient bones of the earth. Countless lives have passed unremembered into the maw of annihilation. When the veneer of civilization is stripped away by the primordial laws of nature, who will survive?

This week we offer you some plots to use with the "Beast" encounter type. Unlike every other type used thus far, beasts lend themselves less to dialogue or other interaction other than physical conflict (unless you endow them with speech and intelligence, as in Narnia--which we suggest in some plots below). We recommend these be paired with exotic locations and numerous Tracking, Notice, or Survival checks, for natural environments are not the home of civilized men.  Outside the cities, the beast holds the native advantage.  Face the Predatory Universe in these 20 Beast-based Plots:

  1. _The Maw of Winter_ (#Maw) Starvation is the true foe during an extended trek through tundra. The native beasts are particularly interested in human food.

  2. _The Lost Boys_ (#LBoys) Children are being taken alive by a beast, but where to? Will a brave adventurer consent to having their shape shifted to that of a small child and then allow their own abduction?

  3. _Natural Enemies_ (#Nat) The adventurers witness two groups of beasts at battle, only to discover they can now understand their speech. Can they reconcile the two warring animal clans? How did they gain this ability, and more importantly, why?

  4. _Call of the Wild_ (#Call) A secret society has invited the adventurers to undergo their Initiation Ritual. If successful, much status, treasure, and prestige will be theirs. If they fail they may die. > Begin play without :loot: and only 4 abilities (no draft play).

  5. _The Boar Hunt_ (#Boar) The liege lord of the adventurers has invited them on a jovial hunt for boar. There is much drinking. Are you seeing double the boar, or are there really two of the deadly beasts?

  6. _The Cursed Span_ (#Span) An invasive species of shrieking eels has crossbred with flying fish. Now the most magnificent bridge in the known world--one vital for trade and commerce--has become a nightmarish killing ground. Can the adventurers transport cargo across the cursed span?

  7. _Bounty_ (#Bounty) A bounty has been placed on dangerous game. Eventually, though, the adventurers will discover the collector of specimens has intentions that aren't in anyone else's best interest.

  8. _Ratcatchers_ (#Rat) An outbreak of deadly plague necessitates culling the booming rat population. Even a tiny bite could prove fatal, but someone must do the deed and the prince is paying handsomely...

  9. _From the Deeps_ (#Deep) Legend tells of a creature lured into an old mine years ago, when villagers could not kill it. Now children who were playing around the shaft have gone missing. Can they be found and saved before the creature devours them?

  10. _Uprising_ (#Uprising) Wherein dangerous floods drive hordes of rats and vipers to higher ground, and rising waters aren't the only peril facing the party.

  11. _Endangered Species_ (#Species) A hideously wealthy noble hires you and another adventuring group to accompany him on a "hunting expedition". Only later does the party realize their employer wishes to kill the last members of an endangered species. Will they become complicit in the extinction or contend with their employer and his other bodyguards?

  12. _Hawking with Friends_ (#Friends) A leisurely hunt gets real when the adventurers' hawks return, enlarged by magic, and dropping other beasts that attack. Who has played this deadly prank, and what lengths will you go to in order to restore your birds to proper size?

  13. _Big Game_ (#Game) A group of intelligent, speaking animals has deprived the adventurers of arms and armor, then subjected them to the indignities of a deadly hunt. Will they be able to regain their scattered gear in time to turn the tables on the deadly predators?

  14. _Bearbaiting_ (#Bear) The most popular (and illegal) gambling enterprise in the city is an underground bear-baiting ring. When tasked by the authorities to find it and bring its organizers to justice, the adventurers may run afoul of bandits and beasts alike. And what will they do when one of the beasts speaks to them in human tongue?

  15. _The Familiar_ (#Familiar) A wizard contracts the adventurers to recover his animal familiar alive, only to find the creature doesn't want to return and has learned some magic of its own along the way.

  16. _Trappers_ (#Trappers) The adventurers receive a commission to stop illegal poaching in the King's Forest. The beasts are anxious and riled, but the greater threat may be the profusions of traps, snares, and human hunters.

  17. _Skin Trade_ (#STrade) Under threat of dire snowstorms, the adventurers resolve to outlast the ice and sleet at a camp of fur traders known to them. They arrive only to find a bloody shambles and that the deceased traders' own skins have been taken. Will they stay in the blood-slicked shelter in spite of the ominous holes leading to caverns underneath the camp or risk the fury of the storm?

  18. _Gaia's Revenge_ (#Gaia) Long having tolerated the irresponsibility of humankind, with one will and surprising cunning, all the creatures of the wilds have risen against men. Packs of bears and wolves rampage through streets, making it as likely one will be trampled by the panicked as fall by tooth or claw.

  19. _Of Beasts and Men_ (#Beasts) Fighting for their country on a distant field of war, the adventurers contend with fell beasts under thrall of the foe's potent Archmage. Will they show mercy and restraint when battling the compelled creatures or slaughter them without thought, plunging the ecosystem of the region into imbalance? Can they win through to stop the Archmage and break the enchantment?

  20. _Red of Tooth and Claw_ (#Red) A powerful circle of druids has awakened from ancient slumber and cursed all humankind. With each kill the adventurers slowly turn into the predatory, bloodthirsty animals their actions reflect. Can they confront the druids and break the curse before the metamorphosis is complete? > Create a simple chart with body parts assigned to number rolls. After each kill, change some bodyparts into animal features. Deprive them of abilities as appropriate (certain #melee when they lose hands, #magic if they lose speech, etc.).

We hope we've given you some things to consider in your card and quest creation. Happy Questing!

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Malevolent Mysteries [The Vault #18]

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Click Here for a Master Index of “The Forge” and “Vault”!

"The Horror" is upon you!  Most of you have it in your possession as I write. If not, it lurks, waiting to take you unawares! Of course this means some of you may be pricked with the peculiar madness to craft your own horror-themed quests. Yesterday's "Forge" entry should help with that, and we're not going to stop there. Provided below are 20 plot seeds for your Horrific protagonists:

  1. _Parasitic Peril_ (#Peril) During the greatest Feast Day in the kingdom, infected meats risk making many commoners hosts to larval horrors.

  2. _Predictable Prophets_ (#Prophets) A mad prophet wielding fell powers has enthralled and terrified a village.

  3. _Pharaonic Family of Ra_ (#Ra) A cult of inept dandies seeks to summon a divine being. They awake a Horror instead.

  4. _Sky Beast_ (#Sky) It lives, tentacled, in the clouds. Poisonous rains are the only warning and herald of its approach.

  5. _Minister of Madness_ (#Minister) All he wants to do is teach, and his students have grown to be many. Some are even old associates of the adventurers.

  6. _Dark Deals_ (#Deals) With the adventurers on the verge of death in battle, a horror rips them out of time and space to propose a way out. For a price.

  7. _The Ancient Door_ (#Door) Cyclopean and foreboding, it has stood unopened since the foundation of the city. Now, though, a crack has appeared in the door, terrible light spilling out. Most the light touches become dangerously homicidal. What will occur if it springs fully wide?

  8. _The Offer_ (#Offer) A strange, mighty, and unknown magus instructs the adventurers in the ways of power. The price of such power is sanity, forfeited one bit at a time.

  9. _Unhinged_ (#Unhinged) A riddle keeps driving sages and scholars insane, but leaving it unresolved could cost the kingdom everything.

  10. _Personality_ (#Personality) A pacifistic leader is impregnating his willing followers, with twins, but one of each pair may not be human.

  11. _Dark Waters_ (#Waters) Something from the depths keeps visiting, taking others back to the deep with them. Curiously, it always leaves its victims' left hands behind on the shore.

  12. _The Bower_ (#Bower) They want to make their home here, in the greatest Tower constructed by man. Closed doors seem incapable of keeping them in or out...

  13. _Terraforming_ (#Terra) "Invasive Species" threaten to overtake the area, one bulbous, mold encrusted tree at a time.

  14. _Communion_ (#Comm) The adventurers manifest strange powers, but with each use the fabric of reality frays.

  15. _Eaters of the Dead_ (#Eaters) The local cemeteries are being defiled, bits and pieces of the exhumed dead left behind. Their eaters are slowly becoming more human, with all the memories of the eaten. To what lengths will people go to be reunited with departed loved ones?

  16. _The Thousand Young_ (#Young) A cavern has been found that contains enormous eggs. No one knows the species, or what may come out if they hatch.

  17. _Trojan Tentacles_ (#Trojan) Judging by the custodian's remains and the shattered glass case, the ancient and foreboding statue in the museum may not have been a statue. That means all the companion statues in the excavated city being unearthed nearby may in fact be an army. What set the first loose? How can the others be contained?

  18. _The Legacy_ (#Legacy) The adventurers unearth evidence that the monarchs of most countries are not entirely human, and some may be in the service of more ancient, even less human masters.

  19. _Dreamstalker_ (#Dream) People are dying in their sleep, horrific marks appearing on their bodies from out of nowhere. Can the adventurers find the dreamstalker and stop them?

  20. _The Triangle_ (#Triangle) A shipping lane once vital to the commerce of many nations has been swallowing up all ships that brave its waters. Can the adventurers find the cause and stop it?

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 Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

The Guided Quest (The Forge #3)

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Intrepid Authors, audacious adventurers, this week we propose to you a method by which we hope you can craft a quest in about an hour of time! I clocked the example we're using below at 68 minutes, and you could certainly cut it down by omitting some skill checks or advanced combat scripts. 

You can find it in the Community Quests section of the App under the name "Bacchanalian Revels".

Made from the ideas and script already provided in the weekly "Vault" entries, we hope this method will provide even first-time authors with a way to fashion a custom adventure with ease.

For our first Guided Quest I'm going to pull from Vaults #8-12, which focus exclusively on the Fae, then I'll show you how to pull all this together in the Quest Creator.   So to begin I'll choose (or select by a random roll) a plot from Vault #10 (Inscrutable Intentions)

  • Plot #4: _Bacchanalian Revels_ Several charming and reckless Fae have swept into town, seducing the young with indiscriminate abandon. Much destruction and heartache will result if they are allowed to continue, but anyone dealing with them will also have to face their beguiled victims too."

Next let's choose a name and a Title to give to the Boss/main Antagonist from Vault #9 (The Fae Folk):

  • Title #5: _Lord of Illusions_ While they live, you'll not know what to believe. > Every other round, adventurers :roll:. Whoever rolled lowest finds their ability misses one intended target (they choose which, if multiple targets were designated).

Any proper Quest needs settings for the action, so let's select 3 from Vault #12 (Occulted Environs):

  • Location #4: _Faerie Circle_ This simple circle of stones or oddly colored grass in the middle of a forest clearing is a gateway to the realms of Fae. > Attempts to travel to or from the mortal and Fae lands gain a +3 while in the circle, but such travel can only be undertaken by one person at a time. Alternatively, with a proper offering, adventurers may summon a Fae to answer their questions on a :roll: of 10 or above. The Fae's answers may clear as mud, but that's another matter.

  • Location #5: _Copse of Candlelight_ The profusion of fireflies makes it difficult to strike a target or find one's way. > -2 to all :ranged: and :magic: abilities. -3 to any :roll: to search the area or find Loot.

  • Location #6: _Flickerwood_ So named for the pockets of flammable gas throughout. > Use of abilities with "fire" or "lightning" in the name ignite a pocket of flammable gas on rolls of 10 or less. All enemies and adventurers take 2 damage.

Finally, just to make things more interesting, let's select 3 "Alchemies of Alteration" from the only fae Vault we haven't used yet, Vault #11:

  • Alchemy #10: _Illusion of Control_ You get the impression you’re being toyed with. > Cancel all damage done to one Encounter Card this round.

  • Alchemy #11: _Word of Creation_ An item of worth springs into being from nowhere. > Choose Loot items equal in Tier value to the Fae's Tier value and put them into play under it's control. It can use them against adventurers or for its own benefit.

  • Alchemy #12: _Phantasmal Peer_ A simulacrum appears out of nowhere and strikes. > Draw a Fae Encounter card of equal Tier level to one already in play and place it into play for a single round, resetting the Tier count. After resolving damage (and surges, if applicable) for the round, discard the Phantasmal Peer.

Finally, we'll yank some Skill Checks from the latest Vault (#13).   We'll show you those in the Quest Creator.... 

In reality, while we've done this we've been copying and pasting the Vault entries into the Quest Creator. This will save us loads of time. We do, however, need to add some necessary spacing and pathways (**goto XYZ**) to each entry we've pasted. Let's see how that might look in the Creator:

So you can see the first thing we have to do is put the proper spacing between script that we've pasted from the Vaults. Since we're using the plot (Bacchanalian Revels) as the quest title, it's the only one that'll have the # and the added screen script (_Introduction_). Then we've inserted our skill check _Craft Item_ bumping the text players will see (in white) to the line below, then bumping the instructions (> On an appropriate etc.) to its own line, with a space between them.  Next comes our first selected location, _Faerie Circle_ , where we repeat the process of putting blank lines between screen/card names (_Faerie Circle_), narration text (white font), and game instructions (red font).  We have deleted some instructional text from _Faerie Circle_, since traveling to the Fae realms isn't part of this adventure, and added some story narration about summoning a Fae to question (final two white lines). Next, let's introduce our antagonist...

So you can see the first thing we have to do is put the proper spacing between script that we've pasted from the Vaults. Since we're using the plot (Bacchanalian Revels) as the quest title, it's the only one that'll have the # and the added screen script (_Introduction_). Then we've inserted our skill check _Craft Item_ bumping the text players will see (in white) to the line below, then bumping the instructions (> On an appropriate etc.) to its own line, with a space between them.

Next comes our first selected location, _Faerie Circle_ , where we repeat the process of putting blank lines between screen/card names (_Faerie Circle_), narration text (white font), and game instructions (red font).

We have deleted some instructional text from _Faerie Circle_, since traveling to the Fae realms isn't part of this adventure, and added some story narration about summoning a Fae to question (final two white lines). Next, let's introduce our antagonist...

On the screen above we add some connection narration for the story. Then we throw in a skill check, _Discern Intentions_ that has bearing on our first combat encounter. You'll notice I've scripted some advanced combat to randomize the enemies faced and keep them fresh:  - {{_.randomEnemyOfClassTier("Fae", 2)}}.  I've also added one of the "Alchemies of Alteration" (this one was called "Word of Creation"), that'll appear periodically throughout the combat. This script, which begins with:  * {{_.currentCombatRound() % 2 == 1}} on round  and ends with "benefit" will also buff our low Tier enemies, as well as turn over some additional loot to the adventurers when they win. The first screen (#Slaves) below is what will be seen for any battle lost during this quest. We've written it from scratch.

On the screen above we add some connection narration for the story. Then we throw in a skill check, _Discern Intentions_ that has bearing on our first combat encounter. You'll notice I've scripted some advanced combat to randomize the enemies faced and keep them fresh:

- {{_.randomEnemyOfClassTier("Fae", 2)}}.

I've also added one of the "Alchemies of Alteration" (this one was called "Word of Creation"), that'll appear periodically throughout the combat. This script, which begins with:

* {{_.currentCombatRound() % 2 == 1}} on round

and ends with "benefit" will also buff our low Tier enemies, as well as turn over some additional loot to the adventurers when they win. The first screen (#Slaves) below is what will be seen for any battle lost during this quest. We've written it from scratch.

The battle won, the Fae impersonating "Ariel" can be Deceived or Intimidated (two Skill checks seen above) to get us to our next locations (either the _Copse_ or _Flickerwood_).

The battle won, the Fae impersonating "Ariel" can be Deceived or Intimidated (two Skill checks seen above) to get us to our next locations (either the _Copse_ or _Flickerwood_).

If the adventurers failed their skill checks, they have to take a more circuitous route before finding their way to the site of the final confrontation with the Lord of Illusions. Enter the _Flickerwood_ . You'll notice we have to write some connecting story narration (it's not purely copied and pasted, though the special condition applies), and thrown in combat with teens besotted by the Lord. The advanced combat script for this battle is the _Illusion of Control_ from  "Alchemies of Alteration" (Vault #11)  .

If the adventurers failed their skill checks, they have to take a more circuitous route before finding their way to the site of the final confrontation with the Lord of Illusions. Enter the _Flickerwood_ . You'll notice we have to write some connecting story narration (it's not purely copied and pasted, though the special condition applies), and thrown in combat with teens besotted by the Lord. The advanced combat script for this battle is the _Illusion of Control_ from "Alchemies of Alteration" (Vault #11) .

After overcoming adversity in the Flickerwood or succeeding in their skill checks against the fake "Ariel", the adventurers arrive in the final location, the Copse of Candlelight. This location is simply copied and pasted in its entirety, then we throw in 2 skill checks, to which we've added but a few words to fit them into our story. Next we will see the Lord himself and get our final combat encounter:

After overcoming adversity in the Flickerwood or succeeding in their skill checks against the fake "Ariel", the adventurers arrive in the final location, the Copse of Candlelight. This location is simply copied and pasted in its entirety, then we throw in 2 skill checks, to which we've added but a few words to fit them into our story. Next we will see the Lord himself and get our final combat encounter:

I'm not going to include the alternate combat if the adventurers fail their notice check (and suffer extra damage for it), but here is the screen if they succeed in the notice check. You'll see we have a few instructional scripts, which appear in red and begin with ">" . One script is for the notice check (> +1 damage...), one from our pasted location (> Suffer -2...) and then the advanced combat attack of the Lord of Illusions (in which "A simulacrum of the Fae lord appears our of nowhere and strikes". ) If the adventurers prevail in the titanic struggle, the end is brief but happy:

I'm not going to include the alternate combat if the adventurers fail their notice check (and suffer extra damage for it), but here is the screen if they succeed in the notice check. You'll see we have a few instructional scripts, which appear in red and begin with ">" . One script is for the notice check (> +1 damage...), one from our pasted location (> Suffer -2...) and then the advanced combat attack of the Lord of Illusions (in which "A simulacrum of the Fae lord appears our of nowhere and strikes". ) If the adventurers prevail in the titanic struggle, the end is brief but happy:

So you'll see that our Quest was a total of 182 lines (many just spacing lines, many others copied and pasted) at a total word count of 1,118, again, most of those already written for us in the "Vault" series.  If you've taken the time to get here, we're confident you're about an hour or so from crafting your own short quest. Happy scripting!   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 Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.

So you'll see that our Quest was a total of 182 lines (many just spacing lines, many others copied and pasted) at a total word count of 1,118, again, most of those already written for us in the "Vault" series.

If you've taken the time to get here, we're confident you're about an hour or so from crafting your own short quest. Happy scripting!

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 Authors@Fabricate.io or leave a comment below.