Adventure Locations and Ideas (DnD Other)
From D&D Wiki
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Cities
- 3 Fortifications
- 4 Religious Locations
- 5 Wilderness
- 5.1 Enchanted Forest
- 5.2 Vast Desert
- 5.3 Wide Ocean
- 5.4 Raging Volcano
- 5.5 Magic Island
- 5.6 Dismal Swamp
- 5.7 Goblin Valley
- 5.8 Tundra
- 5.9 Fertile Grasslands
- 5.10 Savannah
- 5.11 Giant Mountains
- 5.12 Exotic Jungle
- 5.13 Dragon's Lair
Below are a selected number of ideas for places to adventure in, complete with explanations and adventure hooks. Some areas, usually the more sophisticated ones, have more detailed explanations than others. Obviously, the only limits to where one can adventure in a fantasy role-playing game are set by one's imagination, and these settings should be considered no more than a tiny fraction of what the mind can conceive. Below, there are mentioned a number of general fantasy settings, both archetypal and stereotypical alike, and any variant on them can be and ought to be considered.
City settings operate on a different basis than most other locations. In a city, there are usually laws and authorities, and the very dynamics of life are greatly different than in the countryside; the pace is quicker, the street are crowded, the buildings are larger, and the concentrations of great wealth and great poverty are more pronounced. Urban adventures generally take place over less area than those set elsewhere, and are usually done in the context of a set government and society. The most important thing to remember about a city is that it is artificial, not natural; the kinds of foes one tends to face in urban areas are products of civilization, not nature.
Of course, the size of a city can mean little to defining it, if there is some special attribute that it has. Epithets such as "the city of dragons" or "the city of gold" are useful in constituting an urban area's character.
A relatively small urban area, this city has not yet reached its full potential, but, given favorable conditions, shall do so one day. Expect to see a growing population, increasingly wealthy citizens, and new construction in this setting. The greatest problems a city such as this might face are the struggles against nature, having to push back the wilderness in order to settle more people.
- Two brothers who have founded the city fight over its rulership.
- The city's expansion has displaced native creatures which now threaten the urban area.
- A migrating tribe of orcs threatens the city.
- New settlers have disturbed a major entity of the woods when they cleared new land.
- A neighboring settlement has declared war on the city.
At this stage of development, the city and its institutions are fully developed and the population is rather large. Its merchants are rich, its temples are huge, and its cultural, economic, and political influence is felt both regionally and worldwide. The major problems facing the city are internal. Power struggles, crime, and inequality are the major dilemmas. At this point, the city's government is generally competent and clean, and is usually trying to fix the problem rather than be the cause of it. Adventures are likely to focus on preventing problems before they happen.
- Two rich merchants fight over a rare and valuable artifact.
- There are suspicions of a plot against the rulers of the city.
- A great and powerfull act of sabotage is planned, to destroy the city walls and leave it vunerable to an attack.
- An evil organisation plans to weaken the city by unleashing a plague upon it's citizens.
- Wizards from a rival nation bombard the city with devastating results.
A city whose laws, economy, population, institutions, or all of the above are falling is in decline. If this state of being should come to pass, the city's former glory is fading, and although not fully gone, shows clear signs of decline. Corruption, recession, plague, and population loss are all characteristic of the urban area. The schemes players try to stop have usually already begun.
- Laws banning necromancy have been lifted and attacks by undead are being reported in great numbers.
- Rumors say that demon cults are behind a series of recent disappearances.
- The water supply has been mysteriously cut off and people are forced to flee the drought.
- Mass "cleansing" of minority races, in defiance of the laws, have begun.
- For years, the sea lanes which connected the city to the world have been cut off by sea monsters, and business is drying up.
A city that has fallen under the influence of dark powers is considered fallen. In a sense, it is the opposite of the Great City; rather than be an agent for justice, the city is under control of a tyrant whose word is law, or has else fallen under the control of evil magics, devils, wicked dragons, malevolent wizards, or some other power. Rebel forces are common, and good adventurers in the city may be interested in helping them. Alternatively, the fallen city may be in a state of lawlessness, and the streets could be ruled by bands of thugs and criminals. Evil plans have already suceded, and so players may be involved in helping to change the situation.
- An ancient dragon has forced his way onto the throne of the city, and rules it for his own enrichment, imposing crushing taxes.
- The slum-dwelling poor are revolting against the corrupted king.
- Evil clerics in charge of the city plan to kill off half of the city's population as a blood sacrifice.
- Anarchy has reigned ever since the last regent died off without an heir.
- An evil vizier has usurped the throne and plans to summon a great evil.
Ruins occur in one of two main ways; the physial destruction of the settlement they were a part of, or the undermining of the social, economic, religious, or political systems which supported them. Likely to be the home of monsters and the undead.
- A dragon has made its home in the crumbling remains of the treasury, and just getting to the lair may be a challenge due to the ruins.
- A magical artifact still lies withing ruins, but navigating the broken remains of the buildings is a dangerous task.
A towering building that is built to last. It may be the in the centre of a city or on a imposing, defendable location like a clifftop or on an island in a lake. It could be tough and intimidating, or a place of great beauty.
This castle has been abandoned for few to many years and undead or lizardfolk might stalk the halls.
The tower of a mighty wizard, protected by great magics.
Originally just a fence to keep livestock inside at night, and predators outside. Fences were replaced by a log palisade, possibly surrounded by an earthen wall and / or ditch. The walls sometimes include one or two watchtowers which are situated to view the outside of the walls. Keeps strategically have their own water supply, such as a spring or a well. Housing inside may consist of tents, barracks built in the walls, a separate main building or even a cave in the cliffside against which the keep was built.
- The keep is occupied by the enemy. Infiltrate and poison the well. Make sure all their spawn and whores are dead too.
- Livestock is found dead in the morning, completely drained of blood. Find a way to defend the keep against flying monsters. Or is one of the inhabitants a vampire? Time is of the issue, there are only two sheep left.
- A local warlord is not happy that the keep is not paying tribute. Actually he wants the place for himself. Logistics are being sabotaged, shepherds threatened, wounded or killed, crops and fields destroyed.. Help the keep eradicate the nuisance once and for all.
These usually have a bastion or tower on each side, with seriously reinforced gates or portcullises. Consider that any nearby fords will probably be guarded too.
While it doesn't have to be a literal temple (it can be a church, cathedral, etc), great religious structures have been built by races all over the world in order to accommodate a large population.
- An ancient monster, sealed beneath the temple is begining to stir, and must be defeated before it escapes and enleashes it's full might.
Various religions have places that are especially important to them. A healing shrine, the site of a major relic, and the tomb of a holy man would all, among other things, qualify as such a place. Pilgrims and clerics alike can be found in abundance at these places, and the irreplaceable nature of the site makes it especially valuable.
- A sacred icon has been stolen in the middle of the night.
- Enemies of the religion plot to destroy the sanctuary, to spread panic, fear and despair. The adventurers must uncover the plot and save the day.
Unlike a public sanctuary, the monasteries of the world are intentionally closed off to prevent outsiders from interrupting the lives of quiet reflection and passive meditation contained within.
- A traitorous monk plans to overthrow the grandmaster.
- A long-lost tome of deadly magic is found in an abbey.
Not all religious sites stay sanctified forever. Some places are abandoned over time, only to be rediscovered by dark forces. In the case of ancient burial sites, it is not unheard of for dark cultists, such as those of Orcus, to take over and turn the site from a place of eternal rest into one of unnatural horror.
- Two brothers interrupt the sleep of a dead tyrant who unleashes his forces across the region.
Despite their holy nature, not all temples and holy sites are immune to evil. Corruption, schism, heresy, fanaticism, apostasy, atheism, and conversion have all led followers of various religions to abandon their faith, and often fall into a dark path. Sometimes, this leads a religious site to be converted from its original form into a wicked place, where practices which may be antithetical to the original faith that it was built by are performed.
The largest category for adventures for most parties, the wilds are a product of the natural patterns of the ecosystem and geology. Forces of nature, both natural and supernatural pose challenges to those who defy them, and sentient settlement, if any, is limited in scope.
A wood infused with the magic of life itself, an enchanted forest could contain creatures such as elves, centaurs, satyrs, nymphs, unicorns, pegasi, minotaurs, harpies, wolves, bears, and many others. Magic here is raw, wild, and untamed, and any number of spirits and ancient primal powers might be hidden within. The trees are likely to be gigantic ancient plants that cast let little light on to the forest floor, and some may be weird and magical.
It could be a sea of shifting sand dunes or a rocky wastland. Whatever it look like, water and food is hard to come by and only the toughest plants, creatures and people can survive.
- Bandits are attacking the merchant trails that transport much needed supplies across the desert!
- An evil being is controlling the water supply of a desert settlement, effectively holding the citizens to ransom. He must be stopped!
An expanse of water that stretches on beyond the horizon. Occasional islands are hidden. Adventurers may need to sail the seas, facing pirates, storms and sea monsters. Even with water breathing spells its depths cannot be fully explored, due to crushing pressure and freezing, dark trenches.
- A map says that a great treasure is hidden in a dungeon. The problem is, it's on an island far out to sea, so getting there will be a problem...
- Pirates have been attacking ships, killing the crews and then carrying off valuable cargoes, and now a party of adventurers has been hired to provide security for an important shipment.
- Sea monsters have developed a taste for sailors, and so heroes must put them off their meals. Permanently.
It's Big, it's Bad, and you probobly shouldn't get near it if you don't have an immunity to fire damage. Volcanoes can unleash lava flows, ash clouds, toxic gasses, earthquakes and lumps of hot rock. Any beings that dwell in it ould most likely be fiery creatures like fire elementals and Red dragons. However, volcanic ash does make fertile soil, so expect a few villages in the area who don't mind tempting fate.
- The only way to destroy a cursed artifact is to cast it into a volcano. (As long as you group doesn't mind this LOTR idea!)
- A Villain has used magical power to unleash the power of the volcano upon his enemies/innocent villagers!
- The lair of an evil villain is located WITHIN THE HEART OF THE FIRE MOUNTAIN ITSELF, because who doesn't want a volcano base?
The home of Strange creatures and powerfull magic, isolated from the mainland. The island could be in the middle of an ocean, lake or sea, or just off the coast. It's a very good place to hide something important.
It's wet, it's full of bugs, and you just know there's an ambush coming up soon. Creatures like lizardfolk and mosquitoes dwell in swamps. Dangers may include slimy, disease filled waters and mud that can such you down to a sticky end.
- Lizardfolk are hidding in the depths of the swamp, raiding villages. Their camp is conceled by the thick plantlife and there are very few safe trails to get there.
- Treasure is hidden in this swamp... somewhere. Lets hope you have a good sense of direction!
The home of Goblins. There are likely to be thick forests that conceal their homes and allow them to ambush traspassers. The goblins might farm in the valley, or may survive by hunting, foraging and raiding. Traps such as concealed pits and snares may have been created for protection or traping animals for food.
- Goblins are raiding local settlements. Adventurers that try to fight them will face great numbers and the disadvantage of fighting enemies that know the terrain far better than they do.
Encounters & Hazards
In the summertime, the tundra is teeming with life. Flowers peek through the melting snow. Lichens and moss cover the normally dried out ground. Melting water collects in ice-cold streams, fens and bogs. For a short period, the steppes are green with lush grass. As far as the eye can see, herds are grazing, such as wild steppe horses, pegasi, wooly rhinos, mammoths, bison, dire elk, reindeer, moose, caribou, etc.. Insects are buzzing and crawling around. Hunting spiders pop out of their burrows to snatch unsuspecting snow rabbits. Giant landcrabs also lurk just under the surface. Massive flocks of migrating geese or swans pass overhead, or sometimes land to feed and rest. Vultures compete with flocks of crows or raven for carrion. Solitary birds, native to the steppe may include - amongst others - kingfishers, wren, buzzards, blackbirds, thrush, hawks and eagles. On top of the food chain are ferrets, weasels, stoat, packs of relentless hunting wolves, frost giants, ice dragons, polar bears, warm blooded multi-colour-feathered raptors, yeti, wendigo, sabre tooth tigers.. Fens could easily house oozes or trolls, giant hibernating frogs or poisonous snakes, and shoals of predatory fish. Entire armies of frozen travelers stalk the tundra as zombies, skeletons or ghosts. Will-o-wisps lure adventurers into unforgiving swamps. Ice and wind elementals rule the plains. Storm giants roam the clouds. Evil fey whom no-one has ever heard of, are a completely new and terminal experience to be had. Underground predators such a purple worms and bulettes don't give a fuck about the weather and are a constant threat. Even in summer, when food is plentiful and the weather is temperate, the tundra can be incredibly dangerous. Swarms of billions of mosquitos can suck a herd of cattle dry in mere days. But even aside the beasts that come out of hibernation, there are other dangers to consider. A vast bubble of methane may be trapped just under the frozen ground, escaping from uncountable leaks in a large area, possibly replacing breathable oxygen, and certainly forming a violently flammable mixture with air.
In winter, ice covers most of the hard dirt, or snow is heaped up in meters-high dunes. Harsh blizzards are the constant killers of the tundra. Loose packed snow can and will slow progress to a near standstill. Due to the lack of visual landmarks, it's surprisingly easy to get lost on the tundra. A blizzard will reduce visibility to zero, while howling winds make it nearly impossible to hear each other. Explorers caught in a strong north wind would better know how to find or improvise shelter, lest they die an inglorious death by hypothermia. Where snow insulates frozen water, the ice may be too thin to carry a party of adventurers and their horses. Getting stuck under the ice is one acute problem. But even when successfully getting out of the icy water, getting a fire started quickly may be problematic, as solid ground to start a fire on could be impossible to find.
Terrain features vary immensely. Where the thin top layer of dried-out grass or moss is gone, sand dunes are visible. Or the ground can be flat, strewn with boulders that sometimes reach as high as a house. Extensive fens may treacherously lurk under a thin layer of grass. Certain areas will probably have impassably steep canyons, with sinkholes and caves just under the surface for kilometers around. Gently sloping tableland is covered by vast stretches of pine forest or white birch woods. Meadows of high grass-like stalks reduce visibility and movement rate, and probably conceal predators. Cacti efficiently retain water, and carnivorous plants supplement their bare-soil diet with any available protein that happens to wander along.
Barbarian families of strong body and mind, build sturdy longhouses with walls of mud and timber and stone, covered with turf or thatched roofs. Or they dig into a hill like hobbits, exposing only a stone door to the outside. These large families typically occupy only one building, so settlements are small and wide spread. They have a very strong sense of honour and breaking a promise is a mortal sin. Their dead are buried under large piles of stones, or in cairns that are excavated.
The tundra is also shared with nomadic tribes, who have their own code of conduct and may be very warlike. Each tribe has a khan who leads. They respect tradition and their way of life immensely. Hospitality is valued greatly. Nomads can be trusted to repay a kindness sooner or later, but neither is a slight ever forgotten. Their camps consist of tents or yurts, made of sticks or bones that are covered with animal hides. These tents are designed to be dismantled and transported compactly. They break up camp to follow the herds, or they hole up in winter camps. Nomads are proficient riders and know how to use bow and arrow superhumanly well. They have little possesions. Nothing is wasted. Relations between nomadic tribes is strenous at best, but a common cause may unite the nomads to be a force to behold. Nomads may put their dead on tall poles for birds to be eaten, or out in the plains for wolves, so their souls can become one with the steppe forever.
Life on the tundra is brutal and the weak will perish, due to the bitter cold, rugged terrain and difficulty of obtaining food.
- In an otherwise stone free landscape, in an easily overlooked shallow valley, you come across an enormous, overgrown heap of stones. Is this the grave of someone that was very well-respected, as lots of people must have brought a stone to pay their final respect? Some easy treasure may be up for grabs! Or did people from long ago wish for something to stay buried, so they piled as many stones as they could find in a 10-day radius? Still might be some treasure though! Hey what's that, every stone has a rune written on .. BOOM
- Lying on your back, chewing on a dry blade of grass, you notice a big bird flying high overhead. A very big bird... Couldn't be... Where would a dragon even have a lair in this godforsaken tundra. Wait, is our illusionist playing pranks again? Nope, he's still tied up and gagged in the back of the cart. Uh-oh.
- The long dark is coming. The steppe nomads prepare their most beautiful virgins ritualistically. This feeding ground is vast.
This is a perfect place for farming, with open space for planting crops or raising animals, so expect scattered villages and towns. However, that doesn't make it safe.
- Bands of Raiders (Humans, Goblins, Orcs, something else?)are attacking and carrying off the food that villagers work so hard to gather.
- A powerful monster or monsters stalks the Grasslands, thriving on farm animals that farmers have so kindly reared to be delicious for eating.
Drier and less hospitable than a fertile grassland, where packs of predators hunt herds of prey. Civilisation will likely consist of small villages that mainly farm cattle and try to grow crops.
They tower on the Horrizon for many miles around, a vast range of Snow topped Mountains. Dwarves Humans and other civilised creatures may make their homes within them, but so may other, more hostile creatures.
- A Dangerous Creature or Creatures from the Underdark are raiding undergroun mining settlements within the mountains.
- Flying creatures from the peaks of the mountains are attacking Towns and villages in the valleys below, and so heroes must climb to the peaks to destroy them.
Far from most civilization, Exotic Jungles are places of giant trees as far as the eye can see, weird flowers and strange and often dangerous creatures. Exotic Jungles are good places for Tribes and wild natural beasts.
- A Great Treasure,important to a quest is hidden in an ancient city in the Heart of the Jungle, guarded by a dangerous and almost unknown tribe and protected by traps that still work after 1000 years without maintainence.
- Settlements on the edge of an exotic Jungle are under attack from monsters that dwell within the forest, perhaps angered by deforestation of their homes.
The lair of a dragon, usually containing a hoard of treasure. The level your Players are at will detirmine how old the dragon is and how many there are. Kobolds are common in a Dragon's Lair
- A dragon (or dragons) is terrorising local townsfolk. Heroes are needed to slay it before it kills everyone!
- A dragon discovers an artifact/information and destroys a temple devoted to (Deity here).