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Aval Penworth
06-10-2010, 01:01 AM
Hey, who wants help me with some high level adventure ideas?

I've got a party of high level characters and I'm looking for some interesting scenarios to challenge them. The campaign has been running for years and I really like the characters and there is a great over-riding political intrigue story line that is playing out nicely. I've got the big picture sorted, but I want to inject a bit of action over the next few sessions.

Between them they can overcome a lot of standard stuff with their magic and skills. eg bags of holding, fly spells, telekenesis , long eye, detect lie, charm, 96% pick lock, 96% disarm trap, teleport.

The last dungeon had loads of anti-magic zones, and puzzles but how many times can you roll that out? (plus not every wants to work out puzzles)

Two weeks ago, I had them tailed by a bunch of equally high level bounty hunters and the players bugged out with teleport .

Ideas? :?:

tilt
06-10-2010, 03:16 AM
other than non-teleporting zones? *lol*
what level are we talking about - and what system? (not that ideas have to be system specific, but sometimes a spell or power or profession or... sparks an idea... )

ravells
06-10-2010, 05:21 AM
Have you seen the latest Kobold Quarterly email shot? There's a great article in there with a long list of ways to mess with your players' heads. Ah found it - look HERE (http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/front-page5375.php)

The thing I like about a lot of these ideas is that there's nothing a high level player can immediately push against. I think this one is particularly good / spooky:

The children start to sing a song about beheading whenever a certain PC enters the vicinity.

Aval Penworth
06-10-2010, 06:20 AM
other than non-teleporting zones? *lol*
what level are we talking about - and what system? (not that ideas have to be system specific, but sometimes a spell or power or profession or... sparks an idea... )

Rolemaster levels 16 to 29th. Plus a swag of magic items with spell effects.

Magician , Ranger, Fighter, Rogue, Healer, Warrior Mage, Assassin.

Aval Penworth
06-10-2010, 06:32 AM
@ Ravs, thanks for the link. Some good ideas. I had to laugh because at various points in the campaign we have had character infected with lycanthropy, vampirism, posessed by djinns, demons and spirits. So in some of those scenarios they would be like; "fair enough, that's a reasonable reaction"

tilt
06-10-2010, 06:45 AM
I can send my 42nd level Fighter to kick their ass? ;)
hmmm challenges ... lets think... "ponders a lot" ... I'll better use my Baltazhar (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDL3NPPDR2Q) machine...

1. Healer suddenly drops - it looks like somebody is transferring their damage to him without his accept and he is fading fast
2. The Assasins past has come to haunt him - the child of a former victim has killed his/her way through the guild and found out who killed his/her father
3. A mad druid has taken over a town, implanting biological virusses into people, now they have to find a way to remove the virus/entity without killing the host whilst battling the very nature around them.
4. A ley line has suddenly changed course (or appeared if you don't use those (I didn't)) making all kind of magical dissasters destroy people and the city it self, is it the work of an evil wizard?
5. A beautiful lady steps out of the sea... oh.. that was a commercial... *lol*... but lets go with that anyway... Her charms seduces and dominates people around her as she have them working on pulling down a huge damm. The whole valley below are at danger.
6. (This requires some preperation) One of the players is exchanged by a dobbleganger, who works to get the whole group to do some evil bidding. The player himself is held captive since the dobbleganger requires him alive to pull on his memories...
7. An evil demigod has found a way to pull energy from human slaves - the group has to find his lair and release the prisoners from their magical prison before he destroyes all.
8. A bard is spreading a not so positive song about the characters, turns out he is hired by a competiting mercenary group trying to get an important job from the local noble
9. A magic item sucks in a player (or two) inside it - now the players on the outside has to work with the players inside to get them back before the evil in the item devoures them
10. All of the above ;)

And finally some famous last words: "Come on, they are only orcs" ... (he didn't know the Rolemaster combat system)

Aval Penworth
06-10-2010, 06:57 AM
Hahaha *LMAO*. Nice ideas Tilt!

And yeah, an ambush 20 Greater Orcs with comp bows would mess up most parties in RM.

Steel General
06-10-2010, 08:45 AM
A kobold with a broken short bow, could get lucky and kill someone in Rolemaster or as we used to call it... DeathMaster ;)

torstan
06-10-2010, 09:04 AM
Kraken under the control of an evil cult is tearing open the sea floor to create a whirlpool that will suck in a local venice-style city as a mass sacrifice to a mad god.

Villain is trying to summon up the spirit of the volcano to destroy the local city in a river of fire.

tilt
06-10-2010, 09:09 AM
@torstan - you like water don't you.. even the fire comes in a river *lol*

Aval Penworth
06-10-2010, 09:30 AM
A kobold with a broken short bow, could get lucky and kill someone in Rolemaster or as we used to call it... DeathMaster ;)

In theory that's true. But the dude has made it to 29th level, despite the miriad kobold attacks.

torstan
06-10-2010, 02:08 PM
@tilt: Yep, I have glacier adventures, fights on ships, whirlpools. I think my players are going to come back in their next life as hydrophobes...

jfrazierjr
06-10-2010, 02:33 PM
5. A beautiful lady steps out of the sea... oh.. that was a commercial... *lol*... but lets go with that anyway... Her charms seduces and dominates people around her as she have them working on pulling down a huge damm. The whole valley below are at danger.

Sort of a twist on this one.... have someone (a woman or child even) with the ability to control minds BUT the person is actually good and being chased by person X(who may be a very prominent and well respected personage but is actually very evil). The mind controller just does not think anyone will help him/her without the mind control. Think of what would you do if you were "the boy who cried wolf" and then all of a sudden you had a REAL problem such as being hunted by someone evil who wanted to kill you. In a very RP heavy game, this could be built up over the course of many sessions so that the players don't trust the "good guy" and perhaps are patrons of the "bad guy" and they have to learn the truth and switch alliances.

Juggernaut1981
06-10-2010, 06:37 PM
I am a big fan of the Horror Mystery type plot. Blame it on excessive HP Lovecraft.
One long plotline I was developing for a group/convention setting was roughly this:

There are a group of Mindflayers attempting to establish an Elder Mind/Great Mind/Hive Mind. They were approached by an evil dragon who wanted to become a Dracolich. They agree, create the dracolich but abduct the phylactery to use to blackmail the dracolich. Separately the Mindflayers are attempting to find out how a civilisation reacts to various strange events (serial killings, mass murders, etc, etc). Dracolich wants to screw mindflayers, mindflayers want to overthrow society and mentally hijack the government.

Gidde
06-10-2010, 11:27 PM
I doubt my players are reading this, but just in case .... ***** SPOILER ALERT *****

I'm running a game right now where the PCs will eventually have to chase the villain through time to "correct" the timeline. Until they do, the world will keep flipping from the world they know to the bizarro world induced by the time-traveling villain -- at shorter and shorter intervals, until it's too late and the flipping stops which leaves them in bizarro-world. I'm incredibly curious to find out whether they'll manage it or get stuck in the crappy altered timeline permanently.

tilt
06-11-2010, 01:07 AM
yep... time is always fun. Had a game where the characters find a magic sword that is important for the campaign, and the sword is personalized for them. Later on they travel to the past where they have to save a city to get the famous weapon smith to ever create the sword :)

Aval Penworth
06-14-2010, 11:35 PM
Okay so Thanks everyone.

I ran a big session on the long week end (HRM's BD) and incorporated some of the ideas.

It was quite a good session and I did freak the players out quite a bit.

I am going to try the mindflayer hive near one of the players' castle.

So in the session a little boy with innate mind powers.. a kind of idiot-savant, could sense the problem. But he could not communicate normally, only through using mind powers.

He approached the characters smiling, and started following them. When they asked him questions he would just smile. Occasionally they would feel an odd sensation.

While the boy was nearby, a spilled cup of water flowed the wrong way. Previously unlocked doors suddenly would not budge. I think I managed to get that fantasy-horror mood going. The boy kept trying to re-direct the characters so that they might discover the sinister hive.

But the magician had had enough.

He demanded the boy disclose his true identity. The boy just smiled and a raven took flight to the west. This was all too suspicious. The mage cast a sleep spell on the boy, but the boy just blinked, yawned and smiled.

"No normal boy could resist my magic! He must be a demon! Get him!"

Soon the boy had been teleported into a sealed room, 200 feet underground in caved-in dungeon 100 miles away.

"He was really bugging me. Lets go and steal the frost giant's Magic Axe of Sundering. My plan is to summon an animal guide to take us to his lair, cast detect object so we know exactly where it is, passwall, through the walls, fly in invisible and teleport it and ourselves out before anyone notices..."

tilt
06-15-2010, 05:08 AM
well... players never go where you want them... perhaps the boy whas to subtle... he should have conveyed fear more... (his own) ...
now for putting your players in place *evil grin*
1. Have the someone point out the players as the last persons to have seen the boy - and fine them HEAVILY to ease the mothers pain, and keep them out of jail.
2. Passwall is always a problem (or sometimes the solution) - of course, sometimes magic works going in, but not out - an anti-teleport field perhaps - a devious trap on the axe - gargoyle guards that screams (both damaging and summoning). Or the axe it self could be a fake with a spell on it that either curses it, or just makes it like a beacon to the giant (low-jacked axe) :)

NeonKnight
06-15-2010, 06:07 AM
Here is how I dealt with high level players for an adventure I wrote for the RPGA's Living Greyhawk campaign a few years back.

Put the player's in a pseudo planar adventure. The dungeon had anti-teleport (i.e. permanent dimensional anchor), was constructed inside a constructed environment that intself was built where a large chunck of solid earth was plane-shifted to the ethereal plane. As a result of this bags of holding/plane shift/passwall and other forms of travel/access that needed to go through the etheral plane would no longer function due to the 'blocking' plane shifted earth. To further throw some fun into the mix, the area was located underwater with some areas submerged and others not. One of the more clamactic battles was against an Iron Golem that would grapple and slam player repeated into an altar with a Dispel Magic/Mordenkainen's Disjuntion trap on it....while entirely submerged in the chamber.

Juggernaut1981
06-15-2010, 06:56 AM
Nah, seriously ramp up the horror.

#1 Kill the head staff in castle in a VERY strange manner (skinned completely, missing blood, hung upside down and drained of blood)

#2 Have members of the staff go missing and turn up as undead or thralls beating on the doors.

#3 Possess various villagers and have them perform bizarre things

#4 Strange animal deaths/attacks (Druids are unaware/confused)

#5 Cult Preachers start appearing talking of strange religions

#6 Large arcane/demonic symbols painted in blood in the village green

JUST RAMP UP THE RANDOM STUFF... Then start pushing it until they start really searching. When they start to try figure out why, give them objects covered in Mind-flayer-lish... keep on dragging it back to the bizarre. Don't give them breathing space. Every time something seems "sorted" you turn around and "unsort it".

And so on...

Aval Penworth
06-17-2010, 10:32 PM
well... players never go where you want them... perhaps the boy whas to subtle... he should have conveyed fear more... (his own) ...
now for putting your players in place *evil grin*
1. Have the someone point out the players as the last persons to have seen the boy - and fine them HEAVILY to ease the mothers pain, and keep them out of jail.
2. Passwall is always a problem (or sometimes the solution) - of course, sometimes magic works going in, but not out - an anti-teleport field perhaps - a devious trap on the axe - gargoyle guards that screams (both damaging and summoning). Or the axe it self could be a fake with a spell on it that either curses it, or just makes it like a beacon to the giant (low-jacked axe) :)

Well some retribution is in order. You can't just go around zapping kids into inescapable caves, willy nilly.

As for the axe... It has a special purpose, so it will try to make the characters take it back to the Dwarflands where it was forged. (They can try their hand at goblin tossing while they are there). The dwarves won't be happy paying for something they believe is rightfully theirs. What level would the king of the dwarves be (30th, 5oth? hmm) and his vizier (40th level cleric/ mystic?)


With regard to attempting a really challenging mind flayer adventure, I like the "dimensional anchor" to stop all teleport/ passwall/ dimension walk etc. Maybe I make them a hybrid mindflayer-githyanki race that the players have never seen before.

A series of increasingly bizarre events forces the characters to investigate the hive. Once inside...unrelenting mind-bending horrors are visited upon them...with no magical escape...ending in a massive an unpredictable battle with a group of pan-dimensional-utra-beings with eerie mind powers who can disperse elemental energy fields, who also fight with +25 two-handed rift swords! And if they can finally defeat the foes and get to the treasure... they can see it but can't touch it because it is partially out of phase. Ahahaha>:)

Hmm, maybe I've gone too far?

Gamerprinter
06-18-2010, 12:32 AM
Our 3.5 gaming group just retired (semi?) a 60 - 85th level combined multiclass characters, who've all died at least once, some on many occassions. We had a psioinicist who had two psionicist classes and 20th level fighter - overpowered brutes, all, my character included, so my recent experience has been much higher than your situation. However, three players exchange the DM's hat about every month, so we don't get DM burn-out. When we DM our own PC are away and gain no experience until we're a player once again. We've kind of developed a formula for building a challenge that I think can work at your lower "high level" game - and I know that Rolemaster is not as "hi powered" as D&D 3.e+.

I develop a side adventure at my turn on the seat, some goal that will take up to 4 gaming sessions to achieve, you can do it in one or two. For ourlevels we are saving the multiverse from some epic horror a 667th level of the Abyss that will turn the balance of power to chaotic evil, or having to go to the Far Realms to stop and multiverse ending scenario on it's home plane - big epic stuff.

Find some villian from the PCs past, bring him in on a short revenge mission against the PCs who thwarted him in the past, perhaps not ever directly involved but their past actions ending some diabolical plot of his own.

Choose one exotic hazard. You mentioned magic dead fields, that's one. Sometimes we invent exotic fogs that severely limit vision, slows missle weapons, halves the damage of area based arcane attacks - fireball, etc. Temporal anamolies, Greater Darkness, floating bits of the Negative Material Plane in pockets in the darkness, unstable terrain or the area suffers many small earthquakes. Then play a normal balanced RPG fight

Basically you need to remove some of the PCs high powered advantages, but differentiate it so not all are affected, all of the time - this let's all PCs shine above the others in small dramatic ways to enrich the story of our campaign over the course of the multi-session adventure. Every once in a while have a normal encoutner or fight unhindered by environmental conditions, so the PCs don't feel they're always getting screwed.

That way you don't have to always go Nova on one trick, make a list of possible exotic environmental conditions that could somehow, affect vision, hearing, magic suppression, magic dead, divine only, arcane only, affects missle weapons, affects saving throws, etc. When building your plot make a logical reason for your chosen conditions that fits the storyline and the villain. Have it vary, have a no holds barred fight with a lieutenant of the your villain without impaired conditions, and end with a powerful exotic condition for the final battle against the bad guy - achieve the goal, take possession of the "artifact" to return to the temple it was stolen from... then we pass the DM's hat to the next person, and come back as a player, once again.

Final note - I didn't read most of this thread and tried to leave whatever story you want to tell out of the description to apply to any high level adventure. Our campaign almost lasted 5 years, we've gained some experience at DMing high level parties, and this is generally how each DM in our group runs the games for effective, and fun high level games. The condition impairments made the job of the DM a bit easier and a touch more dastardly to making exciting month-long adventures (we play most every Saturday night, RL conditions bearing.)

GP

tilt
06-18-2010, 02:40 AM
...we play most every Saturday night, RL conditions bearing.

sooooo envious... if I play more than once a month - its a good month

jfrazierjr
06-18-2010, 09:10 AM
sooooo envious... if I play more than once a month - its a good month

Same here... Most of the time, we miss 1-2 months each year.... Wish I could play more too

Juggernaut1981
06-19-2010, 05:33 AM
What is this regular playgroup thing you mention? :P *looks around* After I left running a 20+ player monthly campaign (as an organiser and DM) I haven't really done any PnP D&D... been writing and making maps and working.

The alternative 3.5-esque system I've been developing is now at around 180,000 words. Still not finished.

Aval Penworth
06-20-2010, 09:00 PM
As I've mentioned elsewhere, I run this campaign every weekend. Usually a 12-14 hr session each week. It's been a little more difficult to get my preparation done lately as I have recently increased my work commitments, and have less time to dream up adventure ideas each week. So I appreciate all the good ideas you guys have thrown into the forum.

On that note, does anyone have or know of a map that could be adapted to suit a "mazey" mind flayer lair? The players, after returning the Axe of Sundering to it's rightful owners, had a change of heart. And in a marathon battle royale, fought their way out of the Dwarf Kings halls defeated the private guard and made off with a schwag of golden goodies. So I need to get the hive adventure ready by next week.

Cheers guys.

Aval

Juggernaut1981
06-21-2010, 08:01 PM
Okay,
The thing about genuine serious horror is that they shouldn't realise exactly what is going on until... "Oh holy crimeny... the humanity of it all" Lovecraftian horror takes a combination of being subtle like a sack of half-bricks to the nose with serious delaying tactics. Striking the balance between the two takes practice but I get the feeling you know your players well.

I'd suggest that you let them have a weekend of "bizarre crapola". Random slayings, sheep spontaneously speaking, crows suddenly invading the market square, etc, etc, etc. Just give them giant wads of bizarre unexplainable stuff (in the middle of some other more mundane adventures), then make it stop (maybe for 2 weeks I'd suggest). Make them think it was "all some kind of strange DM dream..." and in week 4, start it up again. This time you let them encounter something that really makes them think they're about to witness the uprising of an Outer God (everyone turns into hentai beasts, living toilet seats and possibly gribbles...) and toss in some kind of maniac cult as the fall-guy for Wierd-ocalypse.

The PCs will feel happy they have averted the summoning of the Outer God (insert consonants, commas and no vowels here) and saved the universe from a fate worse than my imagination.

Then do it again, just not with a cult... or with the same cult images but the god has a new name (but colours, images of the god, required sacrifices, etc are all the same).

Then wait.

Then do more...

After they've gotten to the point where they are paranoid, aggressive, frustrated and willing to take on the entire contents of the Abyss in one cosmic battle if it will only stop this insane what-ever-it-is... then let them find out about the Mind Flayers. Something simple like one of them spots a mindflayer teleporting out of the room of cultists, or manipulating people in the marketplace...

Then make them have to work hard to find the Mindflayers, etc, etc, etc.

I'm happy to draft out a skeleton of this if you want. But seriously, stick to your regularly scheduled "enter Cave door, kill it if it moves, loot it if it doesn't" program for a week...

Aval Penworth
06-21-2010, 09:39 PM
Hmmm, sounds like fun. I will need to decide just how much power these entities have. Can they intercept divination spells and the like? You see if they cast divination spells to find out what is going on and get weird responses they will realize something very powerful is intervening. They will then go to the capital and seek the help of higher authorities. If the big cahuna refuses to or cannot help them they will think THIS IS REALLY BIG!! and it will be very difficult to get them to investigate further. If they job seems too weird and scary the players will not go.

I suppose the the best way around that is to have a doppleganger posing as a Seer/ Astrologer near the players castle to to feed them false info...thus avoiding an escalation of divination.

They already suspect a dimentional rift has opened up near the castle after hearing of an inside out horse, ducks swimming backwards and a fisherman who turned up with his head in his own belly. (they have dealt with 2 of these before)

So yeah, maybe a break is a good idea.

Juggernaut1981
06-22-2010, 03:27 AM
Let them cast Divinations and get "non" responses. Remember a lot of those divination spells can be very subjective and if they do stuff like "contact higher authority from another plane"... feel free to give them some "I dunno, wasn't paying attention to that" sort of answers. I love divinations in games, but I also love making the PCs know that using Divinations is not a cheat-code to avoid thinking or destroy plots.

I remember having a player talking with a rat and saying "So when did it happen?" and the rat saying "Happened. Sun goes down. Sun goes up. Sun goes down. Sun goes up. Sun goes down. Sun goes up. You talk to me." "So what did the thing look like?" "Looked like no-hair people, like you. Smell like big wet cat" (the rat saw a Rakhshasa kill someone in a Sewer 3 days earlier)

rdanhenry
06-23-2010, 06:45 AM
Then, if they don't get it, have more obvious clues -- planted by the Dwarves who have figured it out and figure a mind flayer/PC fight is a win for them either way. If your players take out the mind flayers, they'll come back to face an ambush by an angry Dwarven army. Never pick a fight with Dwarves unless you're ready to fight every Dwarf in the world.

Aval Penworth
06-23-2010, 07:08 AM
Then, if they don't get it, have more obvious clues -- planted by the Dwarves who have figured it out and figure a mind flayer/PC fight is a win for them either way. If your players take out the mind flayers, they'll come back to face an ambush by an angry Dwarven army. Never pick a fight with Dwarves unless you're ready to fight every Dwarf in the world.

LOL; as they fled the Dwarven stronghold, Healer remarked "I hope we haven't sparked an international incedent." To which the mage replied, "Stupid greedy dwarves. How are they gonna find us? We'll be 1000 miles away by dawn!"

Aval Penworth
07-01-2010, 03:56 AM
@ jugger hehe. good idea with the divination spells. lots of fun:)