Inspired by Shenorai on Twitter I have been steadily sharing plot hooks. This has been a fun exercise; it keeps my imagination running while I’m at work and, due to the character limit, forces me to come up with the punchiest way to “sell” ideas. I’ve come up with quite a lot of them, and I thought it would be interesting to compile them all in one place for your consideration. This one post will contain four month’s worth.
I have used some of these in my own games, and I might write a series of short articles on how they panned out for me; how I set the hooks, how and if my players bite and what followed. If you wish to nibble on the hooks as they are released, remember to follow me on Twitter @Questscribe
The hooks are color-coded for the group they were used or are planned for. The default color means they’re not yet being used for anything.
Red: Special Spirit Squad
White: Whitehorn Corp.
Yellow: Wolfsburg Brigade
- The horse that came with the carriage turns out to be a unicorn whose horn was sawed off by poachers.
- A mysterious floating city appears overnight. Farmers complain that it is blocking their sunlight.
- A band of pirates has been terrorizing the trade routes. Its leader is a merwoman who rides the ship as its literal figurehead.
- The band split up, after which all but the lead singer vanished. He performs with a new, much more obedient band now.
- A half-elf has chained herself to a tree scheduled to be cut down. When the lumberjacks show, the tree defends its protector.
- A sect of bard-monks believes this world to be naught but the dream of a sleeping god; they play their lullabies to keep Him asleep.
- A blacksmith’s tools sometimes vanish for days, yet always seem to come back; the smith suspects it might be a poltergeist. (Featured in Chapter 2)
- Flamel Alchemy holds monopoly over potions. Nobody knows what’s in them; only that they’re impossibly cheap and very addictive.
- A halfling cook last seen looking for rare mushrooms in the forest has gone missing. Turns out myconids don’t like being picked
- An old hag sells potent potions and magical items, but only to those who know how to haggle in rhyme.
- The village of Calamity Vale is luring in adventurers with fake quests to con them out of their gold with outrageous deals.
- You must deliver a mysterious package to a minotaur, who waits in the middle of their deadly maze.
- The Circle of Reclamation are druids dedicated to wiping out civilization, which they see as a blight upon the natural order.
- The warlock’s pact is subcontracted to a different patron for a special mission.
- An alchemist’s waste is spilling into the soil, causing the local crops to develop a taste for flesh.
- A party of disgruntled senior adventurers seizes control of their retirement home, taking the staff hostage.
- A bard has unwittingly composed a song so compelling it reduces the listener to a state of catatonic bliss.
- An ancient and powerful Ent has become morose, causing the forest to be in a perpetual state of fall.
- Zoo break! A menagerie of mystical and magical beasts is running amok in the city and need to be put back in their cages.
- A community of happy, peaceful zombies is threatened by a necromancer who seeks to enslave them to his nefarious will.
- The spirit of a writer unable to finish his final work haunts the opera house and will not rest until his Magnum Opus is performed.
- A big lake that was created by an Archmage’s meteor spell still crackles with arcane energy, causing magic to act erratic around it.
- There is a desert that runs through a humongous hourglass where time is said to flow at a different pace.
- Infestation preventing miners from working turns out to be a new intelligent species of mole-people which has druids very interested.
- The Arcane Academy is having some problems with waste removal, the issue being that the waste does not wish to be removed.
- A knight and wizard couple have opened a shop – one procures magic items, the other identifies and sells them.
- The sandcastles that mysteriously appeared overnight are hungry mimics, luring in unsuspecting beach-goers with their artistry.
- A Cloud Giant is looking for tiny exterminators to help clear his vermin infestation.
- A popular children’s card game turns out to be based on tomes of forbidden magic; kids are summoning real demons to do battle.
- Once every year, strangers from beyond visit a small fishing village, trading their advanced technology for local junk.
- Bored of hoarding gold, the dragon is collecting talent instead; famous artists are disappearing, getting forced into patronage
- The sanatorium petrifies patients with an incurable affliction. What happens when all the charm suddenly wear off?
- Taking pity on world’s worst fortune teller, a genie is using their magic to make all of her outrageous predictions come true.
- The strange eggs the chef has in store hatch; the chick’s cries call forth their terrifying mother from across dimensions.
- The prissy hound has a peerless nose for treasure, but will only work for the rarest of treats.
- An item shop is leasing powerful equipment to adventurers willing to explore dungeons in search of treasure to sell.
- The elderly minotaur honestly isn’t trying to kill the delivery boys; she just doesn’t remember where she put the traps.
- Being unable to build a decent ship in a bottle, the clumsy giant steals one intead, not minding the sailors still on board.
- An arctic city heated by a system of pipes that circulate the blood of a magma elemental has been getting hotter.
- The statue of a weeping babe that ordains the village fountain turns out te be a crying baby rock giant, and mommy is coming.
- The dragonborn leader of a mercenary company has hoarded so much gold that people are saying that he might be an actual dragon.
- Earth elementals were sleeping in the golem factory’s clay; awakened, they trash about, wild, misshapen, half-baked & confused.
- A warlock coven is rebranding as a night club, enticing young wizards with drugs, music and demonic rituals in the basement.
- A historic people honored their finest warriors by encasing their skeletons in gold. Could these remains be raised to serve?
- The empire is in decline, and a certain cult thinks that the only one that can save it is its long-dead founder…
- A fat bridge troll is collecting toll; not coin but juicy gossip she seeks; only those who satisfy her curiosity get to cross.
- A wizard turns his enemies into animals and donates them to the zoo. Visitors marvel at their almost human-like behavior.
- Scavengers loot wayside monuments, pawning their heritage for quick coin. Historians and holy-men alike would see this stop.
- Recycling mummy wrappings to rebind old tomes turns out to be a horrible idea as history comes to live, terrorizing the museum.
- The prince’s temper directly affects the weather; this summer his mood has been particularly sunny; the fields lay barren.
- The shaman’s rain dance worked a little too well – It’s been raining for weeks! Sadly, he does not know any sunshine boogies…🎶
- Smoke signals are rising from long-abandoned nomads’ tents. Three puffs – a distress signal, repeating over and over again.
- The dwarves dug too deep. They were expecting monsters, but what they saw was worse: Themselves, staring back through the hole.
- A beauty salon for giants is looking for a new pedicurist; alchemists pay hefty sums for such toenail clippings…
- A nobleman is refusing to pay taxes, so the crown is recruiting burglars to “liberate” the owed sum from the estate’s coffers.
- A giant ent is suffering from dandruff, showering the valley below with an unseasonal blanket of pollen. Achoo!
- Carrier pigeons have been arriving at their destinations without their cargo. The birds appear just fine; what’s going on?
- A giant jellyfish has washed up on the beach. It screams for help psionically, silently calling to all who can hear her.
- Every other weekend hooded teenagers sneak into the park to howl at the moon, pretending to be werewolves, spooking the locals.
- A genie had promised to grant one random wish made upon the well; when it was full of coin, the gold and the genie disappeared.
- An archaeologist needs help excavating a ship. Nothing dangerous – whatever sank it can’t possibly still be down there…right?
- A uniquely intelligent goblin seeks to unite his kind in a single tribe, seeking peaceful co-existence with the other races.
- A rich nobleman hires you to design a mock dungeon to dissuade his heir from pursuing his dream of becoming an adventurer.
- Your loyal barkeep has been replaced with someone who looks completely different, yet no one besides you seems to have noticed!
- Cats have been seen swimming on the ground. Mischievous earth spirits? Skulking displacer beasts? Too much drugs?
- A blind seer with hollow eye sockets charges you with recovering a pair of sapphires from a tomb. His eyes, he says…
- The fire elementals heating forges are on strike! Smiths would gladly meet their demands, if they could only understand them.