Last week’s Gamecraft 25 focused on interesting and distinctive locations for your adventures, this week we’re going to take a look at events as backdrops. I created this list with the intention of using these as “window-dressing” for the scenario at hand; events that may help, hinder, or just add color and complication to the adventure. As I looked at the list it became obvious that any of these could be the focus of the adventure itself. Regardless of how you choose to use them, here is this week’s list; 25 Exciting Backdrop Events.
- An ongoing carnival, fair, circus, or festival.
- Market day, auction, or merchant trade summit. This could be anything from local farmers bringing their crops to town to a craftsmen trade fair. Maybe it’s some sort of competition, such as a contest between the greatest blacksmiths in the land. Might even be something messy like a cattle drive or some more exotic herd.
- Before, during, or after an invasion. Who or what the invaders are will play a major role in this event. Is the invasion a land grab or maybe just a resource raid? Do the locales successfully defend their home, or is a conquering force occupying the region?
- During the signing of a major peace treaty. Tension is in the air as representatives from all interested parties attend the signing. Perhaps the signing is occurring in neutral territory such as a foreign city uninvolved in the original conflict.
- There is a serial killer on the loose. Maybe the latest victim was important to the heroes or someone they needed to talk to.
- A major ongoing crime spree. Paranoia is running high and the victims are looking for answers, maybe even vigilante justice.
- A huge regional celebration. The area could be swarming with visitors and foreigners, not to mention thieves and crooks looking to take advantage of the crowds. Getting anything done could be difficult with the mobs of drunken party-goers.
- During an important astrological event.
- A huge group of pilgrims or refugees in a small area.
- Just after the end of a major war. Was the region on the winning or losing side? Are the heroes allied to either side of the conflict? Were they involved?
- During the coronation of a new leader.
- A major natural disaster. If the disaster occurred nearby the town may be flooded with refugees. If it happened in the city what kind of destruction has been wrought? Perhaps there are collapsed buildings from an earthquake. Maybe there are still a couple of feet of water in the neighborhoods near the river. An important temple may have been lost in a city-wide fire.
- During a massive summit between major factions.
- A very specialized harvest of something that can only be gathered periodically. Perhaps it’s a rare flower that only blooms during an eclipse, or an unusual species of fish that spawns once a decade.
- A major sporting event or race.
- A period of public mourning for an important figure. The beloved monarch’s 85 year reign has finally ended; mourners have come from across the kingdom to pay their respects. Meanwhile noble families jockey for position.
- An arcane disaster at a magical university. The problem could range from simply adding a little color to the setting, such as random crazy illusions throughout the city, to truly threatening, a rip between the material world and the abyss.
- An extreme act of terrorism. A secretive fringe group has destroyed a major location killing hundreds. Now they demand something or else they’ll kill more innocents. On the other hand maybe no one has claimed responsibility and now the king has “locked-down” the city during the investigation. Could make life tough on the heroes.
- The marriage of a major public figure.
- During an important religious event.
- On the day that the region is required to pay tribute to something. This could be taxes or treasure to a lord or even virgins to a nearby dragon.
- Just after the birth of someone important.
- In the middle of a war between two groups of monsters. Gnolls and orcs waging war with each other across the valley the heroes call home.
- In the middle of an ongoing guild war. This could be between competing merchant houses, rival noble families, or even a classic war between thieves’ guilds.
- On the heels of an important discovery.
I hope you guys find this week’s list inspiring, feel free to comment about, expand on, or add to these events.
Until next time…