Monday, June 22, 2020
Welcome To My Process (part 4)
Thanks for coming back. I hope you're enjoying this little adventure writing workshop blog series. If you're not sure where to start, it's here.
If we delved any deeper into the backstory of Slime Green Concubines of the Blood-Spattered Queen, we'd be in danger of authoring fan-fiction rather than an adventure. In case it wasn't obvious, I'm an old school type of fellow who eschews long-winded history and exhaustive backstory. Let's get to the action, already!
On that note, I'm going to start outlining the rooms of our 9-room dungeon...
Room #1 (Entrance & Guardian): The PCs find their way into Tsuma'al. Since this temple is outside their plane of existence, I assume they'll just appear in a certain spot (possibly a random spot)... most likely the lower-right tentacle/foot thing.
Far too early to introduce the concubines and queen directly, though seeds should be sown.
Maybe some kind of twisted flesh spawn that's been tortured by Tresillda? Such a creature could be a warning, but decides not to warn the Queen if the PCs seem formidable enough to slay her. If the PCs seem weak or ineffectual, the creature would probably warn her in order to avoid further bouts of torture.
Room #2 (Puzzle or Roleplaying Challenge): Hmm, maybe several priests rest, awaiting their use by Tresillda and her wizard, Xa'algex. The Queen has been searching for the relic she needs to resurrect Tsuma'al. She needs willing priests to sacrifice their willpower and sanity in order to teleport the relic through time and space.
Room #3 (Empty Room): It doesn't look like there's anything here, but the PCs can see green slime oozing down the scabrous walls of this place. Touching it yields one or more rolls on a custom random table.
Perhaps some other clue to what's going on should be embedded in this area. No idea what at this point, though.
Room #4 (Trick or Setback): By now, the PCs may be thinking that everyone around Queen Tresillda hates her and wishes her dead. However, her put-upon servants went mad long ago and believe she's the chosen one - the only person who can awaken the Great Old Ones (or at least Tsuma'al).
Perhaps the PCs encounter Xa'algex himself in his arcane study. He acts sympathetic, but then turns the tables on the PCs when they're vulnerable.
Room #5 (Trap): I'll come back to that one.
Room #6... for right now, I think I'm just going to convey the ideas I have for each room without labeling them. Too much artifice may constrict the organic creative flow I'm after. I do like to have a framework in place, but I also dislike being forced to follow rules. In my humble opinion, that push/pull is useful to an adventure writer and helps propel me hitherto heights undreamt.
The concubines covered in green slime should be an encounter. They'll both convey information and be a menace to defeat or avoid.
There's the Queen, too, of course. She'll have the relic by the time the PCs find her (unless they really drag their feet) - maybe include some kind of time-table to add pressure on the PCs. Maybe her sorcerer Xa'algex reappears if he was destroyed in a previous encounter... in a ghoulish undead sort of way, to fight by her side?
And I like the idea of there being a buildup of magical force that needs to be put somewhere, a byproduct of the sorcery the Queen and Xa'algex are using to obtain the relic. It would be like extra-dimensional toxic waste. Is this the green slime that's mutating the concubines? Where does the zoth come in?
I do like the idea of a post-climax room that's reward, revelation, or plot twist... the Queen probably has something valuable besides the relic. If the relic can awaken Tsuma'al or another Great Old One, then Tresillda's own personal magic item could be...
I've no idea and my brain is tired. I'll have part 5 ready in a day or two, so check back!