We’re back once more for some delicious Adventure Seeds! This time we venture into the ruins of a once proud and grand city, now full of monsters and mysteries to be slain and solved.
The challenge with these was figuring out how I incorporate both the wild and civilized lines of thinking; after all, the city could still house some creatures just fine but also could be a barren ruin. It was fun thinking of how the city’s residents might change over time, and I think I have a few seeds that work for anywhere from right after its fall to many generations in the future.
Because I wanted to explore the span of time, I didn’t have many assumptions other than it once was your standard fantasy city. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge city either, just big enough to be considered a city, generally with walls around the outside and possibly recognizable districts inside. Of course, change and shape them to suit your game!
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And now here are the adventure seeds:
Treasure hunters claim to hear the voices of children playing in a walled off section of the city, but can’t find a way to get in. The voices fade at night but no adults are heard calling them.
A half-ogre calling himself the Baron of the Wastes has taken up residence in the city, and is recruiting any monsters who will work with him. Those who have gotten close enough to hear say that he is looking to build an army to terrorize the countryside.
Strange, colorful lights appear over the city at night swirling and dancing in the sky. In the morning they descend atop a preserved, hard to access tower in the center of the city.
A merchant who has returned from the ruins of the city is selling treasures she has uncovered. A family who claims to be originally from there says that some of those treasures belong to their family but have no proof, and therefore are looking for those who can help.
Giant webs have quickly been cast, covering nearly the entire city in a week. As the webs begin to reach toward local forests and villages and giant spiders have been spotted, panic has erupted and a search for a way to deal with them is underway.
Orcs and trolls have been fighting over control of the ruins for months now, but recently crudely written signs have appeared asking for mercenaries to join the orcs. They claim that they just want to have a place to stay but the trolls are set on destroying the city.
A thick miasma has been emanating from city ruins, making nearby travelers sick with an unknown illness. The local magistrate wants an investigation to take place and put an end to it.
A lone skeleton wearing old, tattered finery was seen near the city, waving arms towards travelers and making strange sounds. Some say it appeared as though it was beckoning them towards the city, but none have been foolish enough to approach.
A large crystal fragment brought back from the city has recently awakened, speaking telepathically to any nearby asking for help. They are claiming to be a soul from the past, and begs those who might be willing to return with them to prevent the city’s destruction to do so.
A black dragon wyrmling has recently made its nest in the city, claiming the area for itself with the help of some kobold followers. A kobold recently came to civilization to hand over a note saying as much and warning people to stay away and pay a tithe.
Ghosts go about their business in an old tavern, not even aware that they’re dead. One lone soul is aware and asks for help finding and burying the physical remains of those inside so that they all may finally rest.
A group of ragged, nearly feral humans and elves have been sighted near the city, causing speculation about their ancestry. Some believe that they are the descendants of those who went into hiding when the city fell and that all efforts should be made to make peace with them.
Every night, glowing footprints appear leading into the city’s marketplace, where they confusingly walk in circles and are hard to follow to any determinable destination. They disappear in the sunlight and show up in a new pattern afterwards.
A giant effigy in the city that can be seen from the road is being built and expanded upon by gnolls, who flock to the city in growing numbers. People are understandably frightened by this, especially since the gnolls appear to be growing in size as the effigy grows.
The Builders Guild is looking to hire some protection in the city as they’ve been contracted to start demolishing and rebuilding parts of the city. Since they started at least one worker gets found turned to stone each day.
Last night, various spells could be seen going off around an intact tower, leading some to believe a wizard has been alive in the city this whole time. A friend of the city’s archmage holds out hope that it is him and wants to make contact with the wizard.
Every year, the villagers that live near the city gather and light candles around the city’s perimeter. They say this wards off the evil spirits and souls of the dead inside the city from coming out and attacking them, but this year the candles won’t stay lit for more than a moment.
Golems made from old debris have been stalking around the city, aggressively attacking nearby travelers by throwing more debris at them. Who made these monsters, and why protect an abandoned pile of rubble?
Buildings in the city have started collapsing, leaving some to wonder what’s going on behind the broken walls. Some brave scouts who have ventured in say that they are seeing huge holes and tunnels appearing under the city, and the buildings are falling in.
A floating castle has drifted over the city and stopped, and long rope ladders have been lowered. The heraldry on the castle and those descending the ladders is entirely unfamiliar to any who see them.
Highwaymen have been harassing travelers and have taken some hostages inside of the city. They are asking for weapons made of silver rather than gold in exchange for their safety.
A beam of red light shines down onto the city, directly onto the temple of the goddess of life. This is an unheard of occurrence, and her followers want answers.
A statue of the ruined city’s first ruler has been successfully excavated and moved to safety into a nearby town. Now, small cracks are appearing and moisture seeps out through the eyes of the statue, leading many to believe it is cursed.
Excavators claim to have uncovered a secret passage under the castle, and say they believe it was filled with treasures unaccounted for by history. However, after the first attack by undead, they would rather experienced adventurers clear it out in exchange for a cut of the treasure.
According to the local alchemist, a very rare gem is required to make the antidote to the plague that is spreading around. The last known location of one is set in the throne in the heart of the ruined city.
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Just wanted to say, these Adventure Seed articles were all really great and I hope you do more someday. 🙂
Thanks- it means a lot to hear that! I actually am planning on posting another one tomorrow. And starting with tomorrow I’m changing it from always being 25 to being anywhere from 15-25; part of the reason that it’s been so long is I unfortunately lose steam usually around seed 12-15 and it takes me a loooong time to get to 25. So by lowering to 15 I hope I can keep producing more articles more frequently. Happy adventuring!