The first major change and addition to the content in Thelsikar’s Ambition came when I created an adventure called “Thelsikar’s Cultists”. Yeah, I’m not so good at naming stuff. Usually I give something a title that reminds me of what the major antagonists are in the adventure.
At this point, I had bought Rise of the Runelords: Anniversary Edition and I was raiding it for plot points and setting expansions. The first significant NPC I added was Shalelu, the Ranger/Fighter. She was the introduction to the location of the adventure site, a silver mine. It was located in the Devil’s Platter, a place in the Sandpoint Hinterlands that Shalelu would know. For creatures, I used Bugbear slavers, which came from the published description of the Devil’s Platter.
I’m not that good at coming up with completely original content. I have some talent for taking material from other sources and remixing it. So far, the players have liked my adventures based on doing that.
My next idea was figuring out who the Bugbears would enslave. I decided on Kobolds. The are described as knuckling under to more powerful creatures and would not be too much of a challenge of the player characters attempted to fight them as well as the Bug bears at the same time.
The mine layout was pretty simple. I randomly rolled for room size and corridor length for ten rooms. That would be a pattern I would repeat for future adventures. From there, I wrote a dungeon key with room descriptions that made sense to me for that location. The boss fight at the end of the mine was mixed encounter. Three Bugbears and their garbage disposal Otyugh. As I recall, during the actual adventure, the Bugbears were a bit of a challenge, but the Half-Orc Barbarian, in his first adventure, critted the Otyugh and took it out solo.
My players have been surprising me since Session 0, when they created characters according to my house rules. In this adventure, they did not attack the Kobolds. When they found out that the runty lizards were mining silver, their response to the Bugbears was, “Hands off our property”. They crushed the Bugbears in short order and and made a deal with the Kobolds. They would protect the mine from invaders and provide money for the Kobolds to buy needed supplies. All the Kobolds had to do was mine the silver, sell it and give them a cut. This is what you call emergent gameplay, folks!
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