This is Part I of a fantasy adventure for Tox RPG. It is set in Isladja, and designed for premade characters Istvan, Luminitza, Stanteen, and Zihaka. You can use this adventure with custom characters, but hosts and players should ensure that any characters in the game have a motivation to seek out the Tree of Knowledge. Where the adventure gives specific advice for the premade characters, you can adapt the situation for custom characters.
Scene 1: A “Chance” Meeting
Players, one at a time, arrive at a clearing deep in the Irewood as the Autumn sun is setting. Gnarled trees fight for the dying sunlight, and the ground is thick and soft with decomposing leaves. The clearing has a small hillock with an old, mushroomed stump. You can introduce the setting in a few ways:
- Easy: Describe the setting to all players at once, telling the players that they have all come seeking the Tree of Knowledge. It was supposed to be in this clearing, according to a merchant named Bogdan. Each player paid good money (or traded hard work) for the information. The players do not know each other.
- Dramatic: Give each player a piece of paper describing how they are looking for the Tree of Knowledge. A merchant named Bogdam pointed them in them toward this clearing, after taking their money. Players won’t know at the beginning that they all are looking for the same. Describe the clearing to the first player to arrive, then slowly introduce new players as they stumble upon the clearing.
If you opt for the dramtic introduction and you’re using the premade characters, you might introduce them in this order. Stanteen is the first to arrive in the clearing, accidently stepping into a rope trap at the edge of the clearing. He winds upside down, for the next player to find. Lumintza arrives next, finding Stanteen. They investigate the stump, and may not notice Istvan, who spies them before entering the clearing. Istvan may choose to enter or wait, either way Zihaka arrives.
Players have a few obstacles to overcome in the first scene, but most involve introducing themselves, realizing they are seeking the same thing, and deciding whether to work together. For experienced players, you can probably let them do most of the work. With new players, you might encourage them to think about how their characters would respond to stranger, and whether they need help. Here are a few pointers for guiding players.
- Some characters may be reluctant to share their purposes (Istvan and Zihaka in particular being less personable), but you might encourage more outgoing or trusting characters to be open about their goals.
- If the characters are slow to decide on a course of action, or to trust eachother, they might hear the howls of wolves. Let them know that the Irewood is full of darkness wolves that steal mens’ senses and other more sinister monsters. Wolves are much more likely to prey upon lone individuals than groups.
Each character also has individual motivations to join up with others, especially if they learn that the others are sorcerers too. Each character also has unique skills to offer. You if the characters run into dead ends, you might prompt individuals by pointing out the following:
- Istvan – Does not hide his abilities, is used to being seen as different. Will want to find an excuse to keep the company of players who do not seem intimidated by his special abilities, especially if he realizes they are equals and have powers of their own. Can offer help searching the woods and protection from danger.
- Luminitza – May be hesitant to show her abilities (especially to a fellow Northerner like Istvan), but very curious about the abilities of others. Can offer her knowledge of forests and botany, and healing abilities. Perhaps she’ll even hint that she can make herbal mixtures with other helpful properties.
- Stanteen – May be a little tricky, as he will attempt to not care about anything. However, you might suggest that being found my this group of people at the same time is a sign from the universe. Can offer the ability to renegotiate with Bogdan, although his powers would be hard to describe. Maybe he could offer them “luck.”
- Zihaka – Is openly a follower of Il Athwah. Either of the Northerners (Istvan and Luminitza) may or may not be suspicious of her. However, she might benefit from having native companions, as people might not speak as openly to a foreigner. Zihaka also has a lot to offer; she has the most knowledge of things supernatural. She can assure the others that the Tree of Knowledge is old lore and not made up by Bogdan. She might also have information about darkness wolves. Lastly, she can offer her services both in fighting and first aid.
Players may make any number of choices, but the most likely are:
- Examining the clearing at length
- Continue searching for the Tree of Knowledge in the area
- Returning immediately to the village to confront Bogdan
Option 1: The current clearing has no obvious special properties except some useful herbs for Luminitza, clearing the way for this character to introduce her skills set (and special abilities, if her player decides to trust the others). However, if players spend a long time in the clearing, darkness may fall and they may encounter darkness wolves (or another creature of your own devising).
If the players take special precautions (such as banding together, lighting torches to frighten off beasts), you may decide they can return safely back to the town; this may be a preferable if the party has no fighters (like Istvan or Zihaka).
Option 2: The Tree of Knowledge is nowhere in the immediate area, although the search may provide opportunities for Istvan to show off his Tracking skill, or Luminitza to show off her Forestry skill.
Option 3: Characters may hear the howl of wolves on the way home, but otherwise proceed safely to the next scene.
More Scenes to Come
We will post more scenes in following weeks, including finding and dealing with Bogdan, tracking down the Tree of Knowledge, and encounters with the minions of the Ire Tree.