I am running a Dwellers of the Forbidden City….basically…a old city in the middle of a jungle where the previous…

I am running a Dwellers of the Forbidden City….basically…a old city in the middle of a jungle where the previous…

I am running a Dwellers of the Forbidden City….basically…a old city in the middle of a jungle where the previous builders are gone. There are a few factions…Hobgoblins, Bullywugs, Yuan-ti, a Mage, Mongrel Men (led by an abusive mage who is not from this city and wants to leave), and another group who cannot be rationally dealt with.  I am going to have the party teleport into the mage’s quarters and quite possible have to deal with that awkward situation..

What I am looking for, but I am having some problems with, it to come up with a handful of of things for the players to do in their possible interactions with the competing factions…beyond just killing them.

The players will likely want to leave, and there are a few passages out of this inverted mesa. I was thinking of having a magical way out which the mage would aid them with if they did a mission or two (like stealing some eggs from the bullywug camp).

Since this is  highly creative group….I am hoping for a handful of high level ideas that I can flesh out.

9 thoughts on “I am running a Dwellers of the Forbidden City….basically…a old city in the middle of a jungle where the previous…”

  1. What’s bringing the PCs to the Forbidden City in the first place?  Like, why are they going there?  That’s where I’d start.

    Also, have you read the Conan story “Red Nails?” It’s a great example of “PCs thrust into a populated dungeon with multiple factions.”

  2. I plan to have them come across an amber obelisk in a dungeon…which from an ancient race was a means of transportation….which will send them to this far city.   Their main initial goals will likely be explore and then to get back home……unless I can help generate more motivations.

  3. Tap your players for motivations. Don’t assume that they’ll want to touch this obelisk for fun. Just start them off en route to the lost city, and ask them why they are going there.

  4. Once they are there, I think the trick is to give the various factions things that the PCs might want but that can’t necessarily be gotten through straight-up murder.  And/or make the odds of straight-up murder look bad. 

    The fact that the Mage has a way home is cool; it gives him leverage.  Also, if they appear in his study and he is both obviously powerful and nice to them, they will likely think of him as a “good guy.”  Even if he is trying to, oh, release the Elder God imprisoned in the bottom of the city.

    You can also think about what makes any one of these factions sympathetic (if any).  If your players are anything like mine, they’ll feel bad for the Mongrel Men and want to punk the abusive mage.  Then give the abusive mage some knowledge that they need.

    Make food, water, and supplies an issue.  Some of the original (?) bullywug mythology linked them with corruption and decay.  Maybe the whole area has a fetid air to it, and finding wholesome food is an issue.  Give another faction (the hobgoblins) control of a greenhouse or other source of food.  (Though if you have a cleric who can cast sanctify, that might be less motivating).

    Possibly make some love letters to the PCs tying them to the ruins?  Like…

    Thief: rogues and scoundrels often whisper of the Forbidden City and rich plunder it contains.  Now what were those stories again?  Roll +INT, why don’t you?  *On a 10+, all 3. On a 7-9, pick 2.  Pick one, but not not the first.

     – Ask me about the deadly trap in the Frog Room

     – Tell me about the magic artifact rumored to be hidden there

     – Tell me about the last pack of adventurers who set off after this accursed place, and the special equipment they brought with them

    Or maybe don’t get that complex.  Maybe just a question or two, like “*Bard*, the Ballad of the Forbiden City says that the frogmen worship a god-egg that will give birth to their foul god of corruption and decay. But you know better. What is their god-egg, really?  And how do you know this?”

  5. What do the factions have or control that the party might want? Who knows the safe ways off the mesa? Who possesses a fabulous magical artifact the wizard desires above all—and who else knows a sneaky, risky way to get to it? Which faction is the relatively-innocent, put-upon, oppressed group that needs someone like a paladin to champion them and free them? (And what’s their dark secret that the ranger is pledged to destroy?) If your players already have their party of characters made up, take a look at their alignments as something you can use to bait opportunities.

    But above all, remember, play to find out what happens. Don’t worry about coming up with things for the players to do; just set up a situation of factions with competing interests and goals (and remember the chapter on fronts—what will happen if no one, i.e. the players, stops a faction from achieving its goals?), and ask your players, “What do you do?”

  6. Start them at the Amber Obelisk…

    Have the Mage there, replete with his mongrel men servitors, desperate and willing to bribe, cajole or downright blackmail the PCs to help him. Have the other factions hot on their heels about to enter the chamber with the Obelisk too.

    Ask lots of questions about what the players know about this situation, spout lore and discern like crazy. Your situation will spring to life before your eyes 🙂

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