As many of you are probably aware, we are narrowing in very quickly on the Kickstarter going up for the Player’s and Game Master’s Companions. We’ll be getting the announcements out to you once everything is set to go live, so stay tuned.
There are several topics for these weekly blog posts that I’ve got planned once we can get those books out in the wild, but I want to keep some of that in reserve until you all have an opportunity to get your hands on the books (including the one totally brand new chapter that I’m still keeping as a surprise until the books are out).
In the mean time, and in preparation of getting a swell of new material to work with, I thought it might be useful to share a collection of potential hooks to get a party out and adventuring in the world. As with other FASA products, 1879 includes a lot of adventure hooks in the books to help get some ideas started for a GM to bring your players into the world, and that is a focus I want to continue to bring to the forefront with our materials as we move forward. As much anyone can enjoy going over rules and statistics (and as a math nerd myself, I say that unironically), and as fun as it is to create a rich game world to explore, at the end of the day, it’s all useless if your group isn’t out adventuring. With so much material available, it can be hard to sort through what you want to use in order to get started. To make that easier, these are single paragraph prompts for an adventure that can be dropped in to an ongoing campaign, or even used as the starting point of a campaign, with relative ease. As with other adventure hooks, the ideas are loose, giving you as the GM flexibility to adapt it to your story and players.
I’m figuring I’ll drop some more of these in for the blog posts in the future every so often, so consider these first 10 hooks as Part 1.
1. A fairly unknown inventor is looking for volunteers to test out a new device. They refuse to share details on the device or the test until the volunteers have agreed to take the job, and arrive at the test site by privately arranged transport. Though not widely known, their credentials seem to be legit, and the pay is substantial.
2. Two rival scientists are competing for an academic prize that is due for presentation by month’s end, and are each looking for ways to discredit the other. The gentleman’s code most be upheld, at least on the surface. Both come from wealthy and influential families, and could make a powerful ally – or enemy.
3. A mage comes running down the street shouting for the fire brigade, followed shortly after by a fire elemental that has gotten out of control. Fast action is required to save both lives and property. There’s also sure to be an investigation afterward.
4. About a week ago, an unidentified homeless man was brought into a local asylum, consistently chanting in what was at first thought to be simple gibberish. A week on, he has been showing signs of Looking Glass Fever, except he is changing into something far different – and far more grotesque – than the standard boojums. Yesterday, one of the nurses that had been tending to him has fallen catatonic and begun chanting similarly.
5. Telegraph lines have a long history of ghost numbers – segments of transmissions without any apparent point of origin or destination that often seem to be just nonsense. About six months ago, a rail line had their scheduling telegraph system upgraded to make use of Engines in order to automate the displays. Shortly after, they started logging schedule reports well into the future. These were traced back to ghost numbers that the Engine was translating with its algorithm; they have been logged as anomalies, but otherwise dismissed so far. The first of these future reports passed about two weeks ago, and each one since has turned out to be true. The reports for next week indicate there will be major delays on scale of those caused by a massive crash.
6. A group of five people have emerged from the Rabbit Hole on foot, claiming to be the last survivors of their train – one not scheduled to depart until next week. The group was immediately taken into protective custody and kept individually under secret guard, with no one outside of the top military brass and those investigating the situation being informed. The names all check out for people on the passenger manifest (and two Tunnel Rats scheduled for patrol for that day). When going to see them for further questioning, their guard found one of the passengers had vanished without a trace. The military suspects internal subterfuge and is bringing in outside help to investigate.
7. The party receives an invitation from a Mr. Fagin about a potential job. At first the meeting seems like it’s going normally, but as soon as everyone has taken a drink, the contact takes a sealed letter out from his coat, lays it on the table, and then falls over dead. Investigation of his body indicates he’s actually been dead for several days, and there are rapidly fading marks of some sort of runes on the back of his neck hidden in his hair line. The letter is written in Sumerian, and when translated says their drinks have been poisoned, and that they have five days before they will meet their end. To obtain the antidote, they are given a specific artifact they will need to steal – which is currently owned by a dragon.
8. The party comes across a small Gruv frontier village – probably less than 100 people – but it appears to be completely abandoned. Tables are set for dinner, but the food has gone stale and moldy. Tools and supplies appear to have been simply abandoned where they were in use. The few animals that were either tied to posts or kept in paddocks too secure for them to escape are either dead or nearly dead from starvation. There are no signs of struggle or resistance anywhere. In the center of town, a hastily made wooden sign has been posted with words scrawled into it with some sort of knife, saying “A price must be paid”.
9. A local crime lord who runs several illegal gambling rings has a job offering. There is a Byron, who’s identity so far has remained hidden, that has come up with a program that can predict the outcome of match-ups in her underground fighting circuit – so far with 100% accuracy. The predictions are starting to cut into her profits, both from the bets being placed and from people losing interest in fights when they already know the outcome. She suspects the Byron is somehow sabotaging the matches or paying off the fighters to take a dive, but so far she hasn’t been able to find proof of either. She wants the party to figure out who the Byron is, how they’re making their predictions, and put a stop to it.
10. A messenger approaches one of the party and states they have a delivery for them from a contact the group has never heard of. The item in question is a very fancy wooden box, about a cubic foot, inlaid with gemstones and precious metals. If the party takes the box, the messenger gleefully chants “I’m free! I’m free!” and runs off. Upon further inspection of the box, there is no joinery – the wood is solid, though it is definitely hollow inside, and the metal inlay is in a subtle runic pattern indicative of trying to seal some form of evil. If they try to abandon or sell the box, it somehow finds its way back into their supplies the next time they sleep. There are definite signs of magic around the box, both wards against whatever it is containing and a link to the party – specifically to the one who accepted the box. They could try to break the box open, but who knows what’s inside…