I'm having brain freeze for the next chunk of my campaign, and would be grateful for ideas. At the moment, my level-3 PCs (7 of them) have just entered a tunnel system and are headed toward a Big Bad Goon type. I may cross-post this...
This is very homebrew. And a little less gross than much DCC because I need gorgeous right now. So I'm making the nasty stuff political & moral & nothing that I have to spend a lot of time with as a judge. Corpses that have rotted into maggoty goo is fine, we've got child slavery so that's fine too, as is persons as currency; PCs with rotten parts is not a good space for me.
All "magic" is uber-tech, but the PCs are from a nomadic polar tribe & don't know that. The world itself is fallen-tech, so pretty much classic RPG technology in the mainstream world, but recently old technology has been discovered so things are changing fast.
And by design the PCs are in over their heads, to some degree. If my players keep having fun we'll take the campaign up to higher-level characters, and they will feel so much more powerful at the end.
The Goon is, according to my plans, supervising the excavation of a vast subterranean area (football-field-sized for my convenience) which is full of, ironically, enormous excavation machines from a long-lost advanced civilization. The Goon is enthused by this because he is tasked with unearthing lost tech buried throughout the region & this will make his job easier and a lot more fun. He has a handful of MCC-type security robots and a good number of local workers with him.
Also he has a supercool metallic shape-changer whose default form is of a 6-legged predator but who CAN imitate persons very well. But the Goon is annoyed with the shape-changer right now so he's keeping it leashed.
ThePCs are accompanied by a tech-wizard NPC, and their goal seems to be 2-fold:
- 1. Kill the Big Bad Goon. They just hate this guy. Way more than I hate him. His relentless search for buried artifacts has destabilized the bedrock & caused their entire village to be destroyed (while the PCs were sneaking out for their "Frozen in Time" funnel) as well as mucked with the capital city of the yeti people, of whom my PCs are quite fond. And he brainwashed the yeti king into turning child-slaver.
2. Stop the tremors/earthquakes that are devastating the region. They have figured out that they possess an artifact that can do this -- a "Crystallizing Sphere" that causes things to freeze up when it touches them, the PCs have it wrapped in Space-Time Fabric so that it doesn't crystallize them or their stuff).
I think that the tunnel system they are in ought to be cool & interesting, but I'm having trouble getting it that way. The purpose of the tunnel system, I think, is to connect the Goon's various sites of activity. But it could also be something pre-existing, from a fallen civilization, and the Goon stumbled onto it and uses it. I myself just need it to go from the outpost where the PCs entered to the big excavation site.
- 1. The PCs were arrested as intruders in an outpost, and snuck into this tunnel system. Not only did they escape, they left a holy mess behind them & destroyed the outposts' power supply. So somebody will be chasing them; I have at my disposal some MCC security robots and about a dozen hoverbots of unidentified ability, plus one NPC who is secretly aiding the PCs. What might make an exciting, scary, ongoing threat of capture/attack that won't necessarily be a TPK?The tech-wizard traveling with them is more powerful than they know, but I don't want her to get all the glory.
2. The PCs have a hastily-sketched map. This could be a source of entertainment?
3. There could be traps in the tunnel. But, since the tunnel's ends have always been secure & the Goon's folks regularly travel here, what sort of traps would they be? And why are they there?
4. There could be treasure in the tunnel. Ought there to be? My PCs are leveling up as they travel. Anything story- or fun- related in that?
I'd be so grateful for ideas on making the final encounter -- the one where they kill/confront the Goon and try to freeze all his machines & maybe his tunnel system too -- satisfying & dramatic. Since I don't know quite what approach my players will take, do y'all have guidelines you can use on the fly? Sort of seat-of-the-pants metrics for Important Encounters.
Thanks in Advance! Even for reading this far!