Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Tenebrous Scarlet Portal (Scenario Seeds)

Chaotic Shiny hosted a fun mini-contest to celebrate the release of their nifty Portal Generator back in August. We didn't win, but we did have fun using the Portal Generator--it's pretty useful for a lot more than just Planescape. We used the Random Portal Gen to come up with the following Portal description for our original entry:
"This portal appears as a gleaming, tenebrous scarlet triangle. It smells faintly tangy. The key to opening it is a word."
Here are six Scenario Seeds for this particular portal.

Since those adventurers returned from the fifth-level of the old monastery ruins, people have been dying in a peculiar and grisly manner. A Smoldering Shadow from some broken plane escaped from the tenebrous scarlet portal after they inadvertently dispelled or disrupted the wards that would have kept the thing at bay. Everyone in the local village/town/city is starting to think that the party had something to do with the murders, or that they might even be the perpetrators. Some spells and detective work can reveal that something definitely followed them back from the dungeon, but how will they track the thing down? And can they stop it before it kills again? The locals are restless and angry and a mob is almost certain to form soon--and then it'll be too late to convince anyone that it was some strange monster from another plane who has been on a murderous rampage. (A Smoldering Shadow is essentially a hybrid of a fire elemental and an undead shadow. Labyrinth Lord stats will follow in another post. You can always make up your own version, or swap it out for some other loathsome monster of your own devising or choice.)

The daughter of a rich and powerful local merchant has been kidnapped by a foreign sorcerer. The party has been hired to track them down and return the daughter to her father. It all sounds fairly prosaic and run-of-the-mill until the players discover that the daughter is pregnant and the 'foreign sorcerer' is actually a being from another plane who is using the tenebrous scarlet triangle portal to travel back and forth from this world to another. He intends on taking the daughter through the portal. There's not much time left before they reach the location of the Portal. On the other side things will be much riskier for the party as the sorcerer has allies and perhaps has arranged some nasty surprises for anyone foolish enough to follow him to his home.

Deep beneath the glacier-tunnels of the frost giants who've been raiding your lands is a portal to another plane, a tenebrous, scarlet triangle that opens unto the domains of a fire giant emperor whose massed ranks of fire giant heavy infantry, ogre mage pike-men and dire baboon-mounted lizardfolk janissaries are poised to storm through the Tenebrous Scarlet Portal and invade the icy stead of the frost giant jarl who had been foolish enough to trust the Emperor of the Black Flame. [This is a really fun surprise to drop on a table of players who've been exploring the old G1-2-3 series, or who expect things to be just like in the old modules...]

The word required to open this portal is inscribed inside the dust-jacket of a signed copy of E. Drood's Amazing Collectiana & Marvelous Miscellany. A reliable source has informed three competing collectors and sorcerers that this particular copy of Drood's Book is currently in the hands of a certain disreputable book-seller down at the local open market. This book-seller has known connections to various underworld elements both criminal and infernal. They sometimes act as a fence and re-seller for items deemed too hot to handle by more reputable sellers. The Player Characters have been engaged to serve as either back-up muscle, moral support or witnesses for one of the collectors who are interested in acquiring this book. Or they might have over-heard something of the situation in one of the local wine-sellers and being adventurous-types they've decided to get involved in things a bit. What no one has been told (or bothered to find out yet) is who put the book into this seller's hands, and why...

There is a small, mostly forgotten tomb of a minor noble just thirty odd miles past the other-side of this portal. You know this because you found a map that was hastily copied from one scratched into the wall of a room back at the inn you've had to vacate rather hastily after it caught fire. The map on the dead man's wall was put there by a Grobbly-Bonk demon. You know this because one of your associates sold the poor dead bastard the scroll you'd found that contained the spell required to summon the thing. The demon was rather helpful--it even gave you the name required to open the portal...

In the course of recovering from a previous expedition, your group has found itself inadvertently trapped behind enemy lines and the town/city-state you thought would be a good place to re-supply is now under siege. But not to worry. The local Rector owes you all a favor for your previous discrete efforts on his behalf and it only takes a brief reminder of said services already rendered to get the Rector to agree to assist you in slipping past the besieging army. He knows of a portal deep below the local ecclesiastical compound that will grant you access to an adjacent plane from which you can locate several dozen other portals that will lead you back to at least two or three places you've heard of or know something about. It might sound a bit extreme, at first, at least to some of your associates, but the more you learn about who is behind the siege and what your prospects are if...when really...the besieging army takes this place...you start to see some advantages in making use of the Rector's secret portal. But you'll want to make up your mind fairly quickly--the entire compound is working furiously to evacuate everything before they get caught-up in the mayhem their seers are predicting.


  1. Very nice. I like the way you guys think ;). I'd love to get involved but my current projects and GENCON prep are kinda swamping me at the moment.

  2. I like the way you think too, and your multivalent approach really comes through in some of these, especially the last.

    I was putting something together for the contest as well, but way too late. It's still sitting in creative limbo somewhere in the editor.

  3. Number Six is under construction as a possible scenario to run at a local convention. It has a good deal of potential as a 'portal-crawl' sort of adventure.


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