Saturday, July 30, 2022

3d6 Quest Hooks for Geas and Quest

lighthouse beach sand sea coast; Pixabay user Hamsterfreund

In the original edition of the game, among the wandering monsters and foes that might be encountered exploring the overland are high level Fighting Men, Clerics, and Magic Users - each posing a hazard. The Fighting Men - Lords of a domain - will challenge the party to a joust: there are rules for jousting in Chainmail - absent Chainmail, a referee has combat rules and can improvise. For Magic Users and for Clerics, the possibility of a Quest or Geas spell is present: a compulsion to do something for the respective NPC.

But... what do they want?

While the target of their intended chore will vary by campaign setting, provided below is a 3d6 method to inspire the referee on the spur of the moment to create the framework of a Quest or Geas - helping to prevent repetition and thus boredom.

1d6 Action
1 Travel To
2 Destroy
3 Retrieve
4 Repair
5 Observe
6 Deliver
1d6 Objective
1 Magic Artifact
2 Mundane Artifact
3 Another Character
4 City
5 Dungeon
6 Landmark
1d6 Constraint
1 Time
2 Equipment
3 Communications
4 Magic
5 Foes
6 Supplies

The Action

The Action is the verb. The Action is what the quest-giver desires (and thus compels) the party to do. For a "travel to" result, for example, the Cleric may be compelling the group to go on a pilgrimage: the site at a destination being important to their alignment or deity. For an "observe" result - this might be a Magic User looking to gain intelligence into an area warded against his seeing-spells. The Action column should inform or inspire the activity intended to satisfy the Quest or Geas' requirements.

The Objective

Idol and Altar at Copan; Fredereick Catherwood

The Objective is the target. The Objective might be the McGuffin - the princess in the tower - which will determine the success or failure of the action. The result of "another character" - perhaps a wayward acolyte of the Cleric's stronghold, Questing to return; the result of "dungeon" - an adventure site at which the Magic User knows something esoteric is marinating! The Objective column should inform or inspire the intended recipient or subject of the party's afore-determined Action.

The Constraint

The Constraint is a twist! Not all Magic Users are going to be cloistered in their tower; not all Clerics are going to be so busy with domain tasks that they can no longer adventure on their own. The Constraint represents the reason why they can't just do it themselves - and what the party is going to have to overcome in order to achieve their action on the Objective. "Time?" Perhaps the party is needed to interrupt a ritual - one which will complete at the next full moon. "Supplies?" Perhaps the Objective to be Actioned is within a saline zone: damaging and rusting iron weapons or equipment. The Constraint should inform or inspire a manner in which the Quest or Geas is made more challenging than (and more memorably distinct to) similar missions.

(Optional) The Assistance

Optionally - the Quest giver or Geas imposer will, to help ensure their success, offer a mechanism by which the party will have an easier time. In the event of a favorable reaction or other similar impulsion, roll a second time on the Constraint table. Based on that result - a special benefit is given speaking to the challenges that the party is likely to face. The result of a "gear" might indicate a key, an ancient and complex key which will open a secret doorway to the rear of a guardian keep. The result of "Communication" might grant the party a borrowed Ring of ESP - to be returned on completion of the Geas, of course. Alternatively - use it as a way to hint at a manner in which the Action can be executed that will result in better expose, better experience, based on your knowledge of the table: do the players like puzzles? Hand them a riddle! The optional Assistance is a gift to keep a party moving - and one which should be conducive to the challenges to be faced.

Let's Try it Out

Having in typical lack of foresight assigned no significance to color and position, let's read these vaguely left to right - producing 4, 5, 6. (Not every day that you roll a straight!) That produces a quest to repair a dungeon, constrained by supplies.

The first thing that comes to mind - the expansion into domain play! For a Magic User Geas - the roll might indicate the Magic User's former master's tower (a dungeon) has fallen into disrepair after his disappearance - and the byproducts of his eldritch experimentation have been leaking out into the countryside, poisoning the donator's own research! The tower must be rebuilt (repaired) - containing these evils within itself - but in order to do it, only special blocks (supplies), concrete aggregated with lead and starlight, may be used - as normal walls will have no effect. 

For a Cleric's Quest, similar would work: say, a temple to the Lord of the Air has been corrupted by monsters (the dungeon) and only by restoring the altar and bailey (repair) can the corruption be removed - but the temple is suspended from a cliff face and traversable surfaces are scant: meaning the party will need to procure and master supplies to climb and swing through a temple more suited to birds than to hominids.

Next - 6, 6, 5. (I wish I was rolling stats at this rate...) So, deliver, landmark, foes

To start with a Quest - the Cleric in question has in his stronghold a statue, adorned by a relic of the Saint, which is destined to be placed among others in a pantheon ring atop a plateau some miles distant. However, the statue is heavy and the way between is a river valley, infested by roving piscine servants of Chaos.

To continue with a Geas - the Magic User, cursed by his own hubris, had excavated a rune-stone from one among the deep places: intent to study it in conjunction with the ley lines of the land. However, it has brought nothing but ruin - and he needs the party to return it into the demon and spider infested hole out of which the previous party he'd Geased had retrieved it!

Now this looks more like the stats I'm accustomed to rolling. But to conclude - we'll throw in the optional Assistance for our last example: 3, 1, 5, 1 - or, retrieve, magic artifact, foes, time. This one'll be curious!

For a Magic User's Geas, perhaps a spell scroll with a rumored and heretofore impossible 7th level spell(!) has lain hidden under a temple to the Lord of Magic - guarded by a mass of star-studded shadows. The shadows are active at night - and the temple is invisible under the sunlight - however: in the transition, the hours of twilight when one circadian cycle gives way to the other - then: they are vulnerable! To assist in the party's success, the Magic User gives them a glowing pocket watch - suspended on a chain: when the pocket watch is activated, time is dilated around it: stretching a precious hour into four. Once its magic is spent - the watch will turn to sand: but perhaps the window will be wide enough....

Or for a Cleric's Quest, the Storm Hammer of the God of the Pounding Surf was stolen generations ago by minotaur blessed with unnatural long life. It and the blood cult surrounding it have held the hammer long enough! While the minotaur is a mighty foe - its long-life is said to be sustained by a green amulet it wears: to assist in their quest, the Cleric has obtained a blessed dart: one which, if it strikes the amulet, will dispel its power: removing the agelessness in time which has kept the blasphemous creature alive.

Angelicals Exposed to the Orc; Jean Honore Fragonard

And Them's My Two Coppers

Sound good? Use it! 

Sound incomplete? Expand it! Leave a comment or hit me up elsewhere if you do: I'd love to see (or to collaborate on?) a d8/8/8 or even d20/20/20 Quest and Geas generator!

In either case - thanks for reading: and delve on!


Public domain or open license artwork retrieved from OldBookIllustrations.com, the National Gallery of Art, and Pixabay and adapted for thematic use. Attribution in alt text.

4 comments:

  1. This is going right in my random tables binder. Thanks.

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    1. Absolutely, my dude! I'm excited to see it helping run the game!

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  2. I am searching for exactly one of this along all internet and only found yours. Looks very nice. I will surely use it (but will surely change something because I am that way)

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    Replies
    1. Make change like a cash register, baby! And feel free to link to 'em - I love to see creative innovation!

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Red Tree Hollow

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