Friday, 21 October 2016

An Endless Supply of Adventures for Hero Kids

HK Monster Compendium
Hi roleplaying fans, I've been out of touch for the last few months, but thankfully I've just been busy doing a bunch of other things, not actually having a difficult time.  One of my blog readers, Josiah approached me with a wonderful tool he crafted for use with the Hero Kids - Fantasy Expansion - Monster Compendium inspiring me to make this blog post.

Josiah has compiled all the monsters from the compendium, assigned them relative challenge ratings, and cross-referenced them by region or terrain to create a system for randomly generating an encounter's-worth of monsters, adjusted to match both the area you're in, the number of players in your party, and the difficulty you're looking for - and he has produced it as an automated Excel spreadsheet and a PDF of random dice tables for those who want to manually roll.  Josiah has generously allowed me to present this delightful tool on my blog.  He calls it a Monster List, but as you'll quickly find out, it is so much more powerful than that!  By pairing up this encounter generation system with Justin's Monster Compendium, you can now effortlessly create any number of monster encounters for your Hero Kids games.

Josiah's Monster List - Excel
Josiah's Monster List - PDF

The Monster List Encounter Generator in Action
I believe this system is so robust it can create the foundation for a whole adventure as well.  To prove this, and to satisfy my gleeful exuberance for Josiah's extremely cool encounter tables, I'm going to show right here how easy it is to use and how it's output can then be fleshed out into a full fledged adventure.  I will assume two Heroes for my adventure, thus each encounter needs 8 points of Monsters.  Also, I've decided my adventure will have five encounters with varying location types to mix things up.

  • Encounter One will start with an "Any" location.  I roll on the chart until I meet or exceed 8 points of Monsters.  I get a Brigand Archer (3 pts), and a Knight Blaggard (5 pts).
  • Encounter Two is in a Forest, giving me a Weasel Warrior (4 pts), Hissing Snake (2 pts), and a Coot (5 pts).
  • Encounter Three moves into the Mountains with a Tengu Slinger (3 pts), Tengu Groundling (2 pts), and a Tengu Archer (4 pts).
  • Encounter Four takes place in a Castle, so we are facing a Guard (4 pts), and two Guard Nightwatch (2 pts each).
  • Encounter Five is also in the Castle and is the Big Boss showdown, so we're upping the points total to 13, and our opponents are a Guard Sharpshooter (4 pts), two Guard Nightwatch (2 pts each), a Guard (4 pts), and a Guard Spear Bearer (3 pts).

All of this is just a skeletal framework for an adventure though, now we need a story to hang it on and some story-based motivations to entice the players to take part in it.  So let's spin a story to tie this together...

The Duke's Family Jewels
A Hero Kids adventure for two players

The players are approached by the local Duke who tells you that a handful of days ago a number of priceless family heirloom jewellery were stolen from his manor.  He is fairly certain these criminals were hired by a larger unknown group as several other Noble's manor houses in the area were robbed at the same time and none of the thieves have been apprehended, nor have the stolen goods shown up anywhere for sale.  If you can find out where this controlling group is located, the affected Nobles will reward you handsomely.

The Rusty Nail - inequity on tap
All the Duke knows is the pair of thieves whom he suspects stole from him are known to frequent "The Rusty Nail", a local eatery near the lumber mills and carpentry workshops.  Once the players reach The Rusty Nail they immediately recognise them sitting at a table, one is a man known to have no reputable income and be good with a bow, and a Knight who recently moved into the area and has done nothing every day but drink and boast of the many conquests he's had - elsewhere.  The situation will quickly turn into a fight should the Heroes approach them.  After defeating them, the Knight Blaggard confesses he works with a large group of thieves based in an abandoned keep in the mountains north of the forest surrounding this town.  If the players are more lethal in how they deal with combat encounters, this information can be discovered from a letter in the Knight's clothing.

Journeying through the forest towards the mountains, the party is beset upon by a Coot, his pet snake, and his Weasel Warrior companion.  They aren't associated with the thieves, but they aren't friendly to anyone travelling through "their" woods either.  Defeating them doesn't provide any useful information, although some food or healing potions might be suitable loot.  If the players are KO'd by the Coot and his companions, they will awaken at the edge of the forest near the mountains, minus any food or healing potions and with a note pinned to their chest warning them to stay out of the forest.

I swear I saw something moving up ahead...
Leaving the forest behind, the party travels up into the mountains in search of the abandoned keep.  The PCs have never personally been there, so they aren't completely certain of it's location.  If you'd like to introduce some non-combat skill use, you can have the players make tracking skill rolls at a difficulty of 5 or 6; success allows them to skip Encounter Three and arrive at the Keep, while failure results in them being attacked by a band of Tengu who are patrolling their territory.  Defeating them could have two different results - you could simply beat them and gain some loot and possibly directions to the abandoned keep, or you could make them submit to you and agree to assist in storming the keep.

If the Tengu join forces with the Heroes, then they will conduct the advance attack on the keep, allowing the players to skip Encounter Four and go straight for the leaders of the whole thieves organisation.  If the Heroes reach the keep on their own, they are faced with a small stone keep whose gatehouse tower has collapsed long ago, leaving a simple walled courtyard with essentially a large archway as the entrance.  In the courtyard is a two story keep which has its upper story half ruined, leaving just the ground floor usable by the thieves.  The courtyard itself is guarded by two Nightwatch Guards and their Guard leader.  Obviously, they won't welcome you with open arms...

Once this was a nice place I'm sure.
Once the Heroes are past the courtyard they are faced with a stone keep which is essentially just a great hall with stairs leading up to the mostly ruined second floor.  Inside, next to a cooking fire is the leader of the organisation, a Guard Sharpshooter, his Guard Spear Bearer companion, and the second shift of courtyard guards in the form of two Nightwatch Guards and their Guard leader.  Upon defeating them, the Heroes will discover not only the missing jewellery from their Nobleman patron, but the stolen valuables of six other Noble families of the surrounding countryside and a journal listing the contacts for buyers for all of these goods who apparently are wealthy Nobles from a neighbouring kingdom.  Returning home with all of this will see the Nobleman very appreciative, possibly even setting up a valuable contact among the local nobility who could be a source of further adventures.

There you have it, add in a few maps, npc names, and other such details and you have a nice little adventure for two players, courtesy of Justin's Monster Compendium and Josiah's Encounter Generator.  All you need to do is spin a plausible yarn to connect the dots so to speak!  Try it yourself, you'll have a blast coming up with explanations for each of your encounter results.