"On the road you meet..." HMD

Author: H.M. Dykstra <hdykstra@titan.ucs.umass.edu>
Length: Medium
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Any
Setting: Road

The Plot

(1) A travelling party crests a hill and comes upon a ford across a shallow quiet river. There is a group of some 25-30 people standing in the water, all naked save for masks/hoods. The group includes a variety of people from young children up through stooped grandmothers. They are performing some kind of ritualistic cleansing. As the party approaches, a stout, grizzled man steps out and invites them to take the blessings of . This would, of course, require the characters to undress and don the ritual masks as well. The nature of the god and the ceremony itself would have to be tailored to the campaign. (2) It is after dark, and the party has been delayed. They are riding along the road in hopes to come to an inn that they expect to find. They come to a building which gives forth warm light and the sound of players can be heard from inside. The sign over the inn has been effaced by time. If the characters enter, they will find good beer and wine, and simple but hearty meals at a decent price. The crowd is friendly and jovial, and warm beds and good fellowship are readily available. In the morning, the inn is gone and the characters will awaken, cold stiff and hungry, on the bare ground. If you want to make it really nasty, one or more of the characters may be stricken with an irresistible urge to return nightly to enjoy the hospitality of the phantom inn. Eventually, he will starve or freeze, and become one of the permanent guests there.

And some short ones...

A group of pilgrims, travelling to a shrine or religious site, possibly for a holy festival...or a human sacrifice.

A small footpath into the hills/woods/whatever, leading to a hermit's house. The hermit may be a sage, a crazed ex-magic-user, an alchemist, a witch...

A roadside gravesite. Lots of possibilities.

The ruins of a castle, city, or something, destroyed in war some hundreds of years ago.

A small, untended shrine dedicated to a local demigod. Failing to make donations could lead to bad luck. The wrong kind of donation could be worse than none at all. (A few of these and your players will start to take more care to learn something about the lands they are travelling through.)

A small, mysterious monastery, that welcomes travellers.

A witch-burning.

A small hamlet, burning and deserted but for a few dead peasants.

[The Net Book of Plots Home Page]
Email: Alexander Forst-Rakoczy