Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Not all that matters is monstrous..."

The rationale for many an adventure is that the party has discovered a rumor / been assigned a quest to some mysterious out-of-the-way place where terrible monsters guard a fabulous treasure, or perhaps to destroy an slowly stirring ancient evil.

But some adventures can start because the location itself is the target of the interest of the dominant civilization -- which might clash with the longtime residents.

Three ideas along these lines:

  • defending the borderlands;
  • there's gold in them thar borderlands;
  • oh, how lovely the borderlands are this time of year.

Defending the Borderlands

The forces that are assigned here (or happen upon it, or are rescued by it) are tasked with standing against any incursion of enemy forces. These could be hordes of rabid elves, barbarous halfling hordes, or even cunning, well-disciplined orc legions.

Short of actual mass combat, adventures here could be scouting sorties, raids into the wilderlands, or even assassination attempts on key leaders of the enemy.

There's Gold in them thar Borderlands

This is less about some underground complex, but a discovery that valuable resources -- like gold, or orichalcum, or hard-to-find magical reagents -- is located adjacent to the current country's land holdings in some unclaimed or contested area.

Adventures here could be about adventurers helping the country lay claim to the land, clearing out stubborn pockets of local residents or integrating them into the society, discovering the secret to the land's wealth, or claiming a small slice of the land for themselves or their patron.

Oh! How Lovely the Borderlands are this Time of Year!

In this scenario, the value of the land is its breathtaking vista. Perhaps there's a striking feature of the landscape that makes of a nice view, or an lovely old ruin from a past civilization (supposedly long cleaned out). There could be interesting restaurants with mouthwateringly good local cuisine that showcase the view, nice little trinkets (that came from the old ruin over there, completely safe). There could be festivals that re-enact old tribal rituals in more conqueror-friendly, tourist-friendly ways.

Adventurers of all alignments and all levels come to this new darling of the travel scene; what could possibly go wrong?

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That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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