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1d20 Random Settlement Events for the River of Cradles


Baelor

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Here is a table of 1d20 random events that I created for my Brightwater game set in the River of Cradles. They owe a fair bit to King of Dragon Pass!

Every one of the 20 is a hook for further action of a number of sorts. Depending on how it is presented, the 'hook' can act as quest, or reward, or opportunity - kicking off different kinds of adventure depending on how the characters respond to it. For example, entry #1 could be a dire portent  of a raid delivered by a wandering shaman, a warning that a great spirit has awakened an attempt by the shaman to extort money or treasure, even a warning of the coming of a horde of whirlvishes.

Roll 1d20. You may then be called upon to roll again on d6, d4 etc. If an X appears after a dice notation, any dice "explode" on the maximum value (a 6 or d6) - roll exploding dice agains,a dding them to the total.

  1. A wandering shaman appears, warning of dire spirits in the area.
  2. Nomads appear offering animals for sale [Roll 1d6: 1 – stolen, 2 – their own, 3 – poor quality, 4 High quality, 5 - Diseased, 6 – magical].
  3. Cultists of the Death God, Humakt, come to your stead, claim guest-right and ask for aid in hunting undead nearby [Roll 1d6: 1 – Zombies, 2 - Ghouls, 3 - Vampire, 4 – Wight, 5 – Spirit, 6 – Necromancers]. What, or who will you contribute?
  4. Your hunters discovered strange bones in the wilderness nearby [Roll 1d4: 1 – Troll, 2 – Centaur, 3 – Giant, 4 – Dragon]. There is a 50% chance that the bones are unusual in a second way [roll 1d3: 1 – Magical; 2 – The bones are Black; 3 -Fossilized].
  5. River folk approach, complaining of a nearby hungry lizard that attacked and stole their fish.
  6. Cultists of Uralda, the Herd Mother, appear with a fine looking bull for sale [Roll 1d6: 1 – genuinely high-quality bull, 2 – VERY territorial, 3 – Slow to breed, 4 – Prolific Breeder,  5 Sired by a Skybull, 6 – Near human intelligence].
  7. A sizable tribe of people nears your settlement, their warriors alert, every sign of the entire group having seen many miles of hard road. Emissaries approach: [Roll 1d6: 1 - They hope to trade for food, offering some of their rather road-worn goods and thralls in return, 2 – They need medicines or a shaman to heal their sick, but have nothing to trade, 3 – Out of desperation, they hope to lure some important folk amongst them, then take the hostage to trade for food and cattle, 4 – The whole band is a tribe of brigands who will say whatever they must to get through the settlement without trouble. They will trade equably for supplies in the way of food and weapons, intending to take their profit as they leave the settlement’s lands. 1d2 days after they are gone, pursuers appear with stories of their depredations. 5 – The tribe wants to settle nearby and is willing to offer a portion of their produce in tribute once they are established. 6 – One of their Champions offers to fight one of yours, putting up a well-born young woman of the tribe’s hand in wedlock as prize, demanding you put up gold and cattle: Winner takes all].
  8. Someone or something has put holes in the bottoms of several of your boats  or your granaries, or brewery, or looted your larders, or roll again.
  9. Yinkin cultists appear, offering to lead the local alynxes in a ritual that will make them better mousers, for a fee. They also will sell a litter of alynxe kits and their mother if they can be assured of their good treatment.
  10. A giant predator attacked the herd, slaughtering several and making off with another [Roll 1d6: 1 – Giant insect escaped from trolls, 2 – Wyvern; 3 – Wyrm, 4 – Lunar warbeast, 5 – An unearthed demon, 6 - Dragon].
  11. Hunters spotted a brilliant white beast and shot at it in hopes of taking the omen for the tribe. They appear to have wounded the beast and sent it fleeing. They lost its tracks but wonder what they should do to appease the Hunter [Roll 1d3: 1 - Sun Elk, 2 – Aurochs, 3 – no one could agree on the nature of the beast, only that it was bright white – and its blood appears to be magical in some way.]
  12. A herd of 3d6x fine dun horses was spotted in an island in the Great Bog, but they ran like gazelles when approached.
  13. A broo, wretched and outcast from his tribe, approaches some of your folk, offering information on the bullies in exchange for food and magical aid.
  14. Settlers arrive from afar, asking for land and cattle in exchange for their loyalty and service [Roll 1d6; 1 – Pavis, 2 – Garhound, 3 – The Rubble, 4 – Sartar, 5 – Tarsh, 6 – Holy Country].
  15. A Lunar soldier, weaponless and wounded, wanders close to the encampment [Roll 1d6: 1 – a spy sent by his superiors, 2-3 – only survivor of a disaster: boat sank, camp was attacked, patrol wiped out by brigands, etc; 4 – a squad member who got lost on patrol, 5 – Possessed by a madness spirit, 6 – Possessed by a disease spirit].
  16. Neighboring folk have rustled some of 2d6x animals from your herd [Roll 1d6 for the culprits: 1 – Praxians, 2 – Brigands, 3 – Broo, 4 – Centaurs, 5 – Horsemen, 6 – Lunars].
  17. Your hunters find tracks and evidence of strangers poaching on your land [Roll 1d6: 1 – Praxians, 2 – Brigands, 3 – Broo, 4 – Centaurs, 5 – Horsemen, 6 – Lunars].
  18. Changing river flow nearby has revealed a wonder [Roll 1d6: 1 – a cave entrance previously under water, 2 – an ancient shrine/ obelisk/ statue, 3 – the remains of a magnificent set of stairs descending into the earth, 4 – An exposed grave, 5 – A Chaos Stone, 6 – The petrified body of a beast from the Godtime].
  19.  A madman staggers into camp, raving about raven banners, ghostly horsemen, a black sword, and fire everywhere.
  20. Explorers from your camp return, claiming to have heard a large white stone in the middle of the Bog speak. The words were unknown to them, but it seemed clear that the Stone uttered them.

 

The Link to the original article:

http://d-infinity.net/game-content/runequest-thursday-67-1d20-random-settlement-events-glorantha

 

And a link to over one hundred Runequest Thursday Articles (sadly not in order):

http://d-infinity.net/search/node/Runequest Thursday

 

Edited by Baelor
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This is good stuff.  As you say, it is obviously very King of Dragon Pass inspired, and makes a settled campaign more eventful, and stops it from becoming stalled.  Thanks for the links also, it has been a while since I have read over goings on at Brightwater, and I intend to catch up.  I like the idea of Brightwater.  I suppose Varna and Jezra kicked up too much of a stink about relocating to some godforsaken hinterland?  Who can blame them? 

Back in the day when I ran Borderlands, the village of Weis was a fine place for a bit of comedy relief with the inbred oasis yokels.  The notion that anyone in Weis who was halfway good at anything got out of there, leaving few people with any stats over 12, and they were sufficiently poor that the nomads simply left them alone.  It featured a overly persistent but powerfully dangerous rooster who needed to be chased out of the village every morning by the village idiot.  Even visiting morokanth slavers turned their noses up in disgust at Weis.  I once had a character mention that they leaned against a hut, and I told them that they had accidentally knocked the hut down due to its shoddy construction.  For all that, the people of Weis were always friendly and as helpful as they could be, overjoyed at the prospect of being "civilized at", sometimes too friendly, there were always a fine selection of Weisians of eligible age for marriage, who wanted to lavish their affections on returning adventurers... the prospect of which was only slightly more appealing than mating with a broo.

As to the list above.  Here are my thoughts:

1.  What sort of Shaman are they?  This is potentially a great encounter but I would flesh it out in the way the others have been.  On the other hand, a broo shaman will receive a very different response to a Basmoli shaman, a Trickster shaman (sky dome forfend), or an Oakfed or Waha shaman.  Shamans in Prax... it's a BIG list, and they all do a lot of raving, not all of it helpful.

2.  Good Praxian encounter.  Include the possibility that the Nomads are actually scoping the settlement for a raid.  Also consider the possibility of Herd man lols.

3.  So where are these Humakti from?  New Pavis?  Tourney Altar?  What tribe?  Are any looking to hire themselves out as mercenaries after they kill the undead?  Also, where are the undead, because if the Humakti all die, we might need to do something about it ourselves.  If the Humakti are here, how close are the undead?  Also consider the fact that Humakti hunt things other than undead, such as Zorak Zorani, Chaos, Tusk Riders, Gagarthi, etc.

4.  This isn't bad, but dragon bones? A bit too KoDP.  I think the notion of Prax beasts slaughtered for their tails is more disturbing and would make a more pressing issue as your settlement could be blamed for it by Praxians.

5.  The River folk are a lifeline to civilization for Brightwater.  This encounter needs more fleshing out.  I mean... how big a lizard are we talking about?  Bigger than a cliff toad?  Consider a series of riverfolk encounters here, rather than just one.  Perhaps they would like you to help them open a river shrine in Brightwater?  Or trade with them on a regular basis?  Or help them hunt chaos that is polluting the river?  Or sell you a boat?  Or complain about your people polluting the river?

6.  Potentially this should also include Eiritha and her beasts.  They have bulls too.

7.  This encounter is big and fleshed out, and open ended enough for GMs to have some fun.  I like it.  The GM gets to choose the tribe, and potentially things could go badly or well.

8.  Sabotage.  Again, a good whodunit encounter.  Was it rats, rubble runners, or enemy action?  I like this.

9.  While I accept that Yinkin cultists might be active in the Sartarite areas around New Pavis, the notion that they would show up out of the blue to do cat rituals is a bit too King of Dragon Pass.  I would seriously suggest inserting Agimori hunter encounters here instead.

10. Rather than a nondescript Lunar Warbeast and a demon of some sort, how about an Allosaurus and an extra-huge chaotic cliff toad that spurts acid from its eyeballs and makes an ominous ticking noise?

11.  I think a more general "hunters spotted something odd" kind of encounter here, with the brilliant white beast being a 6 result... Unless you really want to move the campaign in that direction and this encounter is the excuse?

12.  I would probably make it a wild herd of Prax beasts with horses as one of the possibilities, but hell, Dun horses in the bog?  Why not. The real question is, how wild are they and who did they used to belong to?  Left over from the Lunar Invasion or something more recent and problematic?

13.  Interesting, but an unlikely encounter.  Most human settlements simply shoot broos on sight.  A more generalized chaos encounter hook would be good here.  You are more likely to want to go to pains to kill Muriah for example if she has raided you.

14.  Not many settlers come drifting across Prax out of the blue to offer their services, and when they do they mostly stop in New  Pavis.  This encounter might be better if it was a merchant encounter that potentially had the Issaries or Etyries merchant offering slaves/indentured servants, or other goods, or acting as agent for refugees in need of resettlement.

15.  A great encounter.  It would make a great hook for a bigger adventure though.  What was the Lunar's mission?  Is there potential for profit?  Or is it the sort of thing a patriotic Sartarite Orlanthi might get upset about?

16.  Rather than making this an absolute result, surely the characters have security in place?  Make this a raid, and give it a chance of being chased off based on how well prepared the settlement is for such things.  This could be an entertaining skirmish rather than a fait accompli.

17.  Nice adventure hook.  Easily developed.  It is the sort of thing that should make the list.

18.  Another nice adventure hook.

19.  A bit too KoDP.  Also, yet another lone survivor raving about things?  Sounds too much like 1 and 15.  Consider a series of non-human encounters here perhaps?  Not much morokanth action on the list after all, or newtlings, or baboons, or tusk riders etc.

20.  Unless the big white rock in the bog is important to your overall campaign direction, you could make this entry more diverse, with the explorers being outsider adventurers, or Brightwater's routine patrols, and there are many potentially interesting things to find in places other than the bog.

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18 hours ago, Baelor said:

All good ideas, although I will say that several of the ones you suggest changing have led to very interesting sessions.

Heh, I was just getting a bit enthusiastic.  Look at it this way, if you roll the same thing twice, you have an alternative, not that you couldn't come up with one yourself of course.  I know you don't really need help at all, Brightwater sounds like plenty of fun and is a great way of retooling Borderlands.  How did they go against the Carcharids btw?  I hope they had some swimming skills, that looked like a "bit of a paddle".  

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I love enthusiasm! Don;t worry about that. After all, we all get to play the way we want.

The Carcharids were drawn to the area by emanation from an chaos water temple (actually the one in the base of the Five Eyes) but I relocated it because I did not want the newtling wiped out by an invasion of sharkmen. Instead, the Brightwaters found a half eaten newtling with very large, sharklike bite-marks, and went to inquire of the Five Eyes clans. Because of the respectful way they approached the newtling leader Quicktail did not drive them our or attack. Instead, the two groups worked together. Newtlings scouted out the Carcharid base on Three Key Mile Island, determined when several of the carcharids were out hunting, and the Brightwaters went it.

The based was only partially submerged, so it was not all swimming. In some places there was waist-deep water, in others trickles or pools, sometimes flowing from one cave to the next. The carcharids had to stay in the area because they were dominated by one of their number who was possessed by one of the spiritual offspring of the Doom Shark, Sothyurgha. 

There was some fighting, but some important communication with a gravid female about to pup. The Brightwaters convinced her to tell them how to remove the possessed "priest" of the Doom Shark and let her lead her folk back out to sea. They defeated the transformed Sothyurgha, removed the idol (destroying it is another story entirely) and a week later, the fmaled pupped and led her band of sharkmen downriver to the sea. 

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10 hours ago, Baelor said:

I love enthusiasm! Don;t worry about that. After all, we all get to play the way we want.

The Carcharids were drawn to the area by emanation from an chaos water temple (actually the one in the base of the Five Eyes) but I relocated it because I did not want the newtling wiped out by an invasion of sharkmen. Instead, the Brightwaters found a half eaten newtling with very large, sharklike bite-marks, and went to inquire of the Five Eyes clans. Because of the respectful way they approached the newtling leader Quicktail did not drive them our or attack. Instead, the two groups worked together. Newtlings scouted out the Carcharid base on Three Key Mile Island, determined when several of the carcharids were out hunting, and the Brightwaters went it.

The based was only partially submerged, so it was not all swimming. In some places there was waist-deep water, in others trickles or pools, sometimes flowing from one cave to the next. The carcharids had to stay in the area because they were dominated by one of their number who was possessed by one of the spiritual offspring of the Doom Shark, Sothyurgha. 

There was some fighting, but some important communication with a gravid female about to pup. The Brightwaters convinced her to tell them how to remove the possessed "priest" of the Doom Shark and let her lead her folk back out to sea. They defeated the transformed Sothyurgha, removed the idol (destroying it is another story entirely) and a week later, the femaled pupped and led her band of sharkmen downriver to the sea. 

So, better than I expected.  Who says diplomacy never pays off.  I had images of some sort of subterranean Jaws remake :)

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My players are generally happy to talk, even to the un-talkable (which can get you into trouble, say with a walktapus) so I try to give them opportunities to do that. No scenario i have ever written is a straight up monster-grind. Even in my Sci fi game, Knights-Marshal of the Commonwealth, during an infestation of a prison planet by creatures that were essentially "The Thing" (where you might expect a non-stop shoot-em-up), there were plenty of opps for communication and other avenues to success than the fight-y bits.

The complete scenario write-up (including enemies, loot, and map) under discussion here, for those who are just looking at this thread for the first time, is here:

http://d-infinity.net/game-content/runequest-thursday-40-complete-runequest-scenario-caverns-carcharids

Edited by Baelor
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