Inspired in part by another post and the work I’ve done on my own solo campaign, Sentinels Watching, I decided to run a little free style solo campaign and share it with you to inspire your own adventures. I’ll walk you through the process and share some insights along the way so that you can play out your own campaign.
Choosing A System
The system you choose should reflect the type of game and genre you want to play. It’s no use starting out with the Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game if you want to play something set in the future, but it is a great system if that future involves mice who fight with swords and shields to save themselves from snakes and foxes. A great tip that also makes a load of sense is “play what you know.” It’s no fun if you get bogged down trying to find rules the whole time. That said, solo play is a great method for learning a game, which is one reason why I’m going with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, particularly the rules from the Beginner Box. I recently bought the set and I love that it’s a lighter version of the game but still works with the Core Book. I don’t have a load of time and so the games need to be quick and action packed. Also, I love fantasy so Pathfinder fills all of my requirements.
It’s Easter time, which for me means thinking back to the death and resurrection of Jesus, Easter Bunnies and chocolate eggs! So, how cool would it be if one of those eggs turned out to be a dragon egg? In this little adventure we explore that idea and provide you with a nice little campaign hook and some NPC ideas. I’ve tried to keep away from any specific rules in the hope that you can use this in any fantasy campaign with any rules set, but I have made references to rules from Dungeons and Dragons and similar games since most players will be familiar with those concepts. This is definitely for the GMs eyes only, players should go check out The Guild on YouTube, it’s great (but I warn you about Season 3, it was a little… iffy).
The characters are approached by an old lady, half blind, who’s trying to sell some eggs to make some money. It’s clear from her appearance that she’s hard off. It’s also clear that not all of the eggs are hen’s eggs: one is much larger and has a dark, stone like shell. Give the characters a knowledge nature check or the equivalent skill check to spot that it’s indeed a dragon egg.
What to do with Mamma’s Kid
What the players decide to do next is up to them, but they may realize the need to return the egg to its home. A dragon can be mighty protective, after all. If the players need more convincing to take up the challenge of the egg you can have mommy dragon pay a visit to the village and tear down a few homes while the PC’s aren’t around. She knows that the egg is in town (she’s intelligent and has keen senses, she can figure it out) and just needs to find it. Eventually the characters should either decide they need to do something with the egg or face dire consequences.
The mother dragon should be a high level dragon, possibly a little too powerful for the characters to beat just yet. The players will want to either sneak the egg back into her lair or try to negotiate with her, but should be dissuaded from a straight attack strategy. Ideally you can use the dragon and her little family as recurring NPC’s that can be dealt with finally when the PC’s have reached a high enough level. Give the players knowledge history or knowledge local checks to recall information about the dragon, such as where her lair is and rumours surrounding how powerful she is. Finding the lair should be easy enough, and working through the network of caves and dungeons to get to her lair can be just as long as you want it to be. You could even use the quest to return the egg as a way to kick off the adventure from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box.
It’s Never That Easy
So, just how did the egg find its way into the village? Enter, stage left, the villainous tomb robber Felix Gred. Felix managed to sneak into the dragon’s lair (a heavy dose of luck more than skill) and remove the egg, hoping to use the egg to lure the dragon away from her treasure horde. Felix brought the egg back to the village, where he hid it in Madam Firth’s chicken coop. It wasn’t the best hiding place, but he had realised that there was soon to be a dragon after him and he knew she was half blind. He figured she would mistake the egg for a stone, not a chicken egg, it was way too big. Now the egg is missing and he wants it back. Build Felix as a sneaky rogue with a high level of stealth, and have him follow the PC’s and attempt to steal the egg from them when they’re asleep or distracted. If he succeeds then it’s quite possible that the PC’s might find themselves standing in front of an angry dragon without the egg, or else needing to do more detective work to find the egg again.
This adventure hook can go many ways, but I think the nice thing about it is that you get a couple of NPC’s (Felix, Madam Firth and Mother Dragon) that can potentially see quite a bit of use. There’s no reason to kill Felix, he’s a thief, not a murder, and if anything he should be under lock and key. Madam Firth is a witless NPC that can cause all sorts of trouble without having an inkling of what’s happening. She might even prove useful to the PC’s, she has lived in the village her whole life and she’s eager to make some money. The dragon, on the other hand, is too powerful for the PC’s to deal with directly. They’ll need to be diplomatic in their dealings with her and try keep her happy.
That’s it for this Easter special. Give this adventure hook a try and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you. Also, if you write up stats for any of the NPC’s, for any system, why not share them here and we can all get some use out of them.
Compatibility with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game requires the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game from Paizo Publishing, LLC. See http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Paizo Publishing, LLC does not guarantee compatibility, and does not endorse this product.
Pathfinder is a registered trademark of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility Logo are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License. See http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/compatibility for more information on the compatibility license.
Pathfinder and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under license. See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
This content produced in terms of the Open Game License, a copy of which is available here.
Sentinels Watching is a mini solo campaign using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game for a level one (1) character. Everything is provided here so you can jump straight in, or, if you want to run this game for a player, there’s enough here to get you started.
Welcome to the first of a four part mini solo campaign series. That’s right, instead of just talking about role-playing, we’re going to jump in and play. All you need is the usual dice, pencil and paper and a copy of the Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook™ and Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game Bestiary™. Learn more about the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game at paizo.com. Grid paper, map tiles and miniatures will all be useful, and I’m throwing in an A4 grid map from the upcoming PDF release of this adventure that you can print out for the main encounter location.
How to Play
For the most part, this solo campaign uses the rules printed in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core rulebook, with some additional mechanics to allow for the fact that there’s no GM. These extra rules provide a level of abstraction that should make solo play more fun. Since there is no GM, you need to judge difficult situations that may arise. If in doubt, check the rules, make a choice, but have fun.
Additional rules are given in each weekly post.
Scene 1 – The Pewter Tankard Tavern
Your story begins in a busy tavern on the outskirts of South Fort, a popular trading town. The Pewter Tankard is a popular haunt for merchants, travellers and locals keen on hearing stories from faraway lands. The Pewter Tankard sits at the end of a dark alley behind a run-down smithy and a general store, squashed up against the defensive wall that runs around the main part of town. The tavern itself is warm and friendly, with a bustle of customers – most weather stained and rough – but generally easy going and affable.
You’ve come in answer to a letter from a good friend of yours, Rotham, who is a member of the Blue Capes, the City Guard of South Fort.
Rotham isn’t around, so you have a few options while you wait.
You can talk to various bar patrons.
You can have a meal or a drink.
You can listen to the banter.
You have enough time to do any and all of the above. Choose what you want to do then check your results below:
Make a Diplomacy check. Read the entries below for all the numbers that are equal to or below your result. 10: Regulars of the bar know Rotham and they have no idea where he is. They seem reluctant to talk about his profession. 14: It seems Rotham has been missing for several days. 18: There are rumours, and this is mentioned in hushed tones, that he was on an important case, and it had led him to the sewers. 20: You manage to convince the regulars that you’re Rotham’s friend, and a friend of Rotham is a friend of the Tankard. You get a free beer and a +1 to attack rolls and tests in the Tankard while you are on friendly terms with everyone.
The menu is simple, but the offerings are of the best quality.
Beer 6 cp Pub Stew 3 sp
Whiskey 2 sp Fresh Bread 2 cp
The general banter of the room revolves around the unseasonably warm autumn weather, a merchant caravan that was attacked by bandits earlier in the day, and the beer – a new batch that Erland Prewland, the bar keep, brewed himself.
For every drink you have after the first, make a Fortitude save of DC10, with a cumulative -1 for every additional drink after that. If you fail, you take a -2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks. Failure by more than 5 leaves you unconscious for D4 hours (in which case you can skip right to the next chapter.)
You’re still waiting for Rotham when an overly “refreshed” man starts trying to pick a fight with you. He’s not listening to reason, and making ridiculous comments about your mother. You can try talk him down (Diplomacy DC 10), in which case, his inevitable first punch does half damage. On the other hand, you can try ignoring him, although he’s not ignoring you. The last resort is just to punch him first. Fight him with your fists or improvised weapons. Download and print the map below for this encounter. Drawing a weapon or using magic will mean you’ll have to deal with the town guard, D3 +1 guards arriving in 5 rounds from when you act in such a way. After the first two rounds of combat a man dressed in rags that smell of damp sewers and smoke enters the Tankard. He jumps right into the melee and you must pass a DC 12 Perception check to realize it’s actually your friend Rotham (which you can make each round). While Rotham doesn’t swing blows at you, after you attack him he will use his Combat Expertise feat each round, giving him a +1 to AC and -1 to hit. You must split your attacks between the two until you realize your error. The crowd is loud and you cannot hear Rothams shouts to you in the heat of the brawl. See the “Unarmed Combat” and “Non-lethal Damage” sections in the “Combat” chapter of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
If either you or the brawler is knocked out, make a record of everyone’s status and check back here next week for chapter 2.
Inventory: Long sword, blue cape of rank, manacles and a Potion of Cure Light Wounds.
The quest isn’t over just yet. Continue the fight for justice in Chapter 2. For more information on Avernos, the setting of Sentinels Watching, head over here. I’m indebted to the help I’ve gained from users on www.rpg.net, especially wraithform, AlCook and Kredoc who all contributed in some way to this adventure series, thanks guys!