Campaign Background and Adventure Hook
The small town of Ludval is surrounded by hilly terrain within a day’s walk, and Ogres and Hobgoblins have been descending from those hills, in increasing numbers, and demanding protection money.
Due to other conflicts, the Baron of Morsang has been unable to send any aid to Ludval, and you and some other residents have had about enough of the situation and are ready to do something about it.
What finally clinched it was that yesterday, two things happened. First, Geoffrey Paulson, a nobleman friend of the Mayor of Ludval, arrived and offered 100 gold pieces(gp) to each person who returned from the quest to rid the town of the evil besetting it. Second, a cottage at the outskirts was burned and looted last night. Her parents escaped, but the little girl Sophia is missing.
And last, you can make a bit extra if you bring back, dead or alive, any of the three deserters from the Morsang army, who supposedly fled into these hills, and the Baron would be grateful to the tune of 20 gp each, according to the wanted poster on the wall of the Stunted Potato Inn.
Overview and intro speech
“Rasper”, Young Minotaur – played by Guy
You are a young minotaur (male or female, your choice) – with a tough, muscular humanoid body with a bull’s head. Orphaned shortly after birth, you were adopted by a middle-aged, childless parents. You were educated and taught the human ways… but the stories they told you about minotaur honor, bravery and glory have lit the fires of violence within you, and you yearn for more than a peaceful life. That… and no one knows what to do with you, now that you’re almost of age.
“There’s no one like me around – and I want to be who I’m supposed to be: a warrior! Ma and Pa don’t want me to go, but I can see in their eyes that they don’t know what will become of me if I stay. There is honor, like in the stories, if I go. So I’ll go… and part of me burns for the battle that will ensue.”
“Ovf”, Cleric of Erastil (Elven): – played by Lesley
Ovf (“Of”) is an alchemist by trade, turned cleric of Erastil. She hails from the nearby forest town of Prescaille, and her priestess equipped her well, suggesting that she check in on the Church of Erastil in Ludval, which was known to be in decline, and also help the town against the Ogre threat. She gladly banded together with the few brave townsfolk who had volunteered to undertake the quest, although she was sorely disappointed that Brother Leo of Erastil (below) was not one of the volunteers.
“Those poor people, and their poor town! Of course I’ll go help, Priestess! Surely other members of our church will volunteer to help – it’s only right that such lawlessness be righted!”
“Goric”, Town Ruffian (Human):
You’re a big, tough brute, and everyone in town knows it. Few will cross you, especially when you’re angry. You get angry a lot, but fortunately you have a few friends who will hold you back before something bad happens. But now, when something bad is happening to the town, the wimps you call friends don’t want to step up. Well, you will. You’re tired of your life as a labourer anyway… and the 100 gold will go a long way, maybe even let you leave this town and find a better life.
“You wimps! Someone’s gotta do this! Fine – I’ll do it, then. I’ll go – and when I get my reward, maybe I just won’t stay in this piddling town, anymore!”
“Trellis”, Apprentice Ranger (Female Elf): – played by Angela
Things are very different now that your mentor is dead. You never realized how much you relied on his guidance, or even his sense of purpose. The blackened silhouettes of horned, wings beings, whether they are demons or devils, is the only sign of what could have killed the experienced ranger. All that’s left is to deliver the yellowed letter you found in his belongings, addressed to “The Witch of Ludval”.
Update: The Witch of Ludval is quite mad, and ate the letter you delivered. You now wish you’d opened it and read it. You really didn’t know what else to do after that happened, but since there’s an Ogre to be fought, gold to be had, and a purpose here, you’ve also volunteered to join the quest against the Ogre and its minions.
“I returned from the task my mentor had given me, but I returned too late to aid in his last stand against an evil I cannot even hunt down in vengeance. Now there’s nothing left for me, here. I will return to that small town, the one my mentor spoke of often, with his last letter, and perhaps find out why he left this woman behind: his one persistent regret. And maybe there, I will find a purpose of my own.”
“Shetland or Sharon” Barmaid/Bartender (Human):
You and your sibling have worked at the Stunted Potato Inn your whole life, as did your parents, now gone. The owners of the inn have always been skinflints, and you had no idea how you’d ever get ahead in life, or even support a family. But now… there’s gold to be had, and frankly, you’ve long ago had enough of these evil humanoids taking from your town. You may not be a fighter, but you’ve got a lot of spirit, and if your people are going to confront this evil, then you are too.
“Don’t worry – I’ve got your back. Yes, I’m quite familiar with this knife, and I once flattened Goric with a full mug of ale from thirty paces. No, I’ve never stabbed anyone… you want to be first? Good. Let’s go do this.”
“Thruvin or Aranda”, Grizzled Dwarven Guard (Dwarf)
You’re getting older, even for a dwarf. Your family moved here when you were a youngster, and it’s your place, now. You suspect there’s a reason that you never made head guardsman, but being #3 was always okay with you. But now some fool is throwing money around, and it’s going to get some folks killed. You’ve always said that the guards should have taken on the Ogre when it first showed up, and now there’s more of them. Well, fine. You’re going along, and you’re getting some goblin ears to bring back.
“You just stay in the back, you hear me? And if you won’t, I hope you remember which end to point at the enemy. But I can’t do everything, so if you want to shoot a few of them, I certainly won’t mind.”
“Grace Madlean” – Child of the Madwoman, the Witch of Ludval (Half-elf) – played by Colin
Your mother is the Mad Witch of Ludval, and your father… well, you have no idea, except that he must be an elf, because your ears are pointy, and you sure didn’t grow up as fast as anyone in town. You’ve been terribly poor, but your mother knew what herbs to gather, what berries to eat, and when Reilly’s forest was safe to enter. Since your mother taught you the Craft, you’ve used it to help the poor in town, even though the church frowns on your methods. Now the town really needs help, and you’ll use the Craft, even what you’ve told no one about, to stop this evil.
“There are ways you don’t know – secret ways. I’ll use them to help you. Don’t be afraid – the Craft is neither good nor evil, it just is.”
Brother/Sister Leo/Lenna, Human Cleric
You’re the last remaining man-of-the-cloth of the ‘other’ church in town, the Church of Erastil. Its popularity has waned, since the priest left. The popular Church of Torag is much favoured in town, and you’ve has been trying hard not to be bitter about your rival. Hardly anyone comes by your church anymore, and you’ve even gotten lax at maintaining your church grounds, which would no doubt horrify your orderly god and his priests. Through boredom and loneliness, you’ve been spending a great deal more time at the Stunted Potato Inn, and have made friends with the staff there. When mention of payment for dealing with the Ogre was announced, you felt it was an opportunity to redeem yourself to your god… but also because you know that eventually, a representative of your church will come calling, and given the state of the church grounds, your stipend will soon come to an end. You’re borrowing some old armour you found, and the Golden Shield. No use for them to rust away here – Erastil would want them to be used in the name of light, against the sins of evil.
“Erastil. Surely you’ve heard the name? Oh, not me. Him. Oh, for heaven’s sake… let me tell you a story, instead. There are laws in the cosmos, and gods who uphold them. But gods cannot be everywhere, and so they gift their chosen with the power to do their will. Yes, that would be me. Sigh. Never mind. I’ll be back, and we’ll speak again…”
“Fast” Thompson, Opportunist / Con man / Messenger (Human)
You move, think, talk and act quickly – that’s how to make a quick buck, your Dad always said. Of course, he met a quick end when the loan sharks found him, but you definitely took his final lesson to heart. It even led you to learn how to fight, so they wouldn’t get you cheaply when… er, if they come for you. Your most recent stop has been in Ludval, and you’ve been making a petty living selling stuff to the army resupply train, and to the townsfolk. Still, it’s really hard to make money without money, so this little Ogre-hunting thing might be just what you need for some seed money. Or traveling money. Or maybe just spending money…
“Ogres are big and dumb, right? Good. Nothing we can’t handle, with you capable folks along. Don’t worry, I promise not to try and sell you anything, this time. Hey! My promises are always good!”
Mayor’s Middle Child (Human) – Lucius/Lucetta “Luke” Brettonbie
You’ve always just winged it and made do, but that didn’t help your studies at the Waymeet Hall of Arcana. Ever since you failed the midterms and moved back home, you’ve been sulking and pining for your sweetheart, who remained in that city, despite your pleas. Your love letters have gone unanswered, Father isn’t paying for any more of your ‘city adventures’, and frankly, you don’t really know what to do now. You are smart, agile, and attractive… and being a bureaucrat is all that awaits you if you stay here. The reward money might get you back to Waymeet, or maybe it will lead to… something. Your father has unexpectedly given you the family heirloom sword, Wyrmtongue, and when you accepted it, you finally saw approval in his eyes. Now, all you have to do is live through this, and life should get a lot better…
“Yeah, I know I haven’t been around much – I’ve been away. Yes, I know how to use the sword. No, you can’t see it. No, I didn’t ‘fail’ school, I just couldn’t afford to finish, with all this Ogre business going on. Yes, I’m going with them, and then maybe you’ll remember my name, for once!”
DM Note: These characters are all technically level 2, but have a first level of an NPC class, such as Expert, Aristocrat or Warrior, except for Rasper, who is a Monster with the Young template.
Pregen Character Ideas (but not created)
Kennel Master (Human)
You’ve trained hunting and guard dogs for the townsfolk your whole life. Max, a giant Bull Mastiff, is constantly by your side, and you’ve defused a lot of situations just by showing up. Still, you know that an Ogre isn’t going to run from a large dog, but that’s what your trusty crossbow is for…
“Oh, don’t worry – Max is very obedient. Just don’t get between him and his meal, though. You’re not going to be a meal, are you? Yeah, we’re going to fight the Ogres. See my apprentice if you need a hunting dog in the meantime…”
Jonathan / Josephine “Angel” Dupree (Half Human, Half Celestial)
You were touched by the gods, at least that’s what everyone told you, and your perfect appearance, complete with bright green, jewel-shaped eyes, and more-than-tanned golden skin lends much credence to their claims. Your rich parents doted on you, and did what you wanted, but the rest of the aristocracy tried to use you, so you started helping those who truly deserved it. Some even called you “Angel”, and the nickname stuck quite rapidly. However, fame grew tiresome quickly, so you took to the road, finally ending up in the small town of Ludval, where, unlike other places, the townsfolk actually sought to solve their own problems, and you’ve stayed longer than you intended. If they really are going to fight Ogres in the hills, they might just need whatever help you can give these worthy folk.
“Me? No, I’m quite human, but you can call me ‘Angel’ if you’d like. Yes, I can do some magic, but don’t pray to me. The gods bless those who help themselves, didn’t you know? Go on, you can do it – I’ll help you.”
Town Outcast (Half-Orc)
Child of a human mother and an orc, you’ve been supporting your poor but loving mother with a life of hard labour. While you often associate with the other ‘undesirables’ in town, they’re the only ones who associate publicly with a half-orc. Denied even a basic education, you nevertheless learned to read and write (mostly), and have picked up some street skills from bad friends, and some wrestling skills from clashes with the town ruffian. Noticing your good heart, the old town guard trained you with weaponry in secret, and even managed to procure weapons for you, after you both volunteered to put an end to the Ogre and his ransom demands. Maybe you both won’t end up going, but you’ll make sure the town is safe.
“Shut up – you’re probably glad to see me going. I’ll take care of this, but not for you. Make sure you’re good for that reward money, because I’ll be back to collect it…”
Vil Hermison, son of the Hilltop Hermit (Human)
Your master kept you ‘in training’ for your entire life… until yesterday. When he saw flames near the town below, he said ‘It is a sign – you must go, now.’ Surprised, elated, and a bit fearful, you descended to the town below. It seemed that the town had a problem, an evil ‘something’ had set the fire, and a call had gone out to those who would put it right. Surely, this is why your master sent you here? Oh, and if you could learn a bit more about the civilized world, that would be nice, too.
“This is a wonderful place! Yes, I was sent to help. I have been taught the Lightning Fist, would you like to see it? What, you missed it? Would you like to see it again?”