1d8 Plots and Secrets To Happen Right Under Player’s Noses

The King finishes his address and takes his seat upon the throne. Everyone in the court is silent for a moment before dispersing. You and your companions leave the central hall, walking back towards your royal guest quarters. As you turn down the hallway past the kitchens, you see a familiar face. He raises a single quiet finger to his mouth, and whistles gently, holding a fresh beef bone in one hand. From down the hall you see the King’s royal hunting dog reluctantly padding along towards the bone. The man continues down the hallway, leading the dog away, nodding silently to you in thanks for your discretion.


Sometimes bashing monster skulls and springing traps in a dungeon is all the rage, and other times attending a King’s Court can be preferred, but in both cases, most people know what’s going on at one point or another. The best kept secrets can lead to the springing of the best traps, and what people plot in secret can lead to fun or terrible climaxes. Below you’ll find a list of plots, secrets, and schemes that you can hint towards, or not, until they come to fruition.


Glossary:

PC=Player Character


 

1. A Godly Wager

Summary:

Two deities have placed bets upon the soul of one of your PCs. One deity has a bet that they will become a hero, someone truly to be admired and revered across the land, while another has bet that they will die before that ever happens, and that there will be so few who remember them they’ll be lost to history before a decade passes after their death. They’ve agreed not to directly interfere, but may interfere in other more subtle ways, slowly leading the character towards or away from their doom or salvation.


If The Party Finds Out: The player in question may wrestle with their destiny, as so much of their life has been the game played between two deities. They may enter the deal, and earn even more for their ascension to hero status. If they do find out, that would surely be a game session to remember.


If The Party Doesn’t Find Out: The PC in question may experience more strange and more odd things throughout their life, both trying to kill them and trying to help them, and will likely seek answers eventually. If no answers are sought, and the PCs really never find out then very little changes. In this scenario, you’d want them to find out eventually, somehow.



2. Royal Hound Heist

Summary:

Someone has tasked a local prize thief with an odd request: to steal the King’s royal hunting hound. The thief doesn’t even know why, although the employer may have their own reasons. Perhaps they were a child when the King claimed a puppy from their litter for himself, a puppy that as a boy the employer bonded with. Perhaps the employer is a witch who wishes to curse the puppy. Perhaps the employer is a local hunter who wants to win a hunting contest against a distant lord for the glory of his King.


If The Party Finds Out: The party may know the thief, and make be asked to help with the job. They might also try to stop the thief, or make a deal with the employer.


If The Party Doesn’t Find Out: The King may put out a bounty for his hound, which the party could attempt to recover, or perhaps the party only hears of the heist in passing, thinking little of it until a large magical beast is reported ravaging the countryside.



3. Cult of the Unseen

Summary:

There are murders conducted in the dead of night. Strange symbols painted in blood upon people’s doors. Children going missing. No one has been able to figure out how, or why any of this is happening. It doesn’t happen often enough to arouse so much suspicion, nor is the location consistent. It may be a city on the Western coast one day, and a small forest village to the Northeast another day. It would take a party lots of travel, and being in the right place at the right time to even begin to think that the events had anything to do with one another…but they do. The Cult of the Unseen is acting up again. Organizing, and conducting rituals across the world. Part of their operational guidelines are to not conduct missions within so many miles, and not within so many days of each other, making them notoriously hard to piece together, track, and uncover. The party may be present for a single murder, or may be present in a town where the Inn door has been painted overnight, but it will be a long time before anyone is able to piece anything together, if they ever even do before the Cult achieves it’s goals.


If The Party Finds Out: The party may try to discover more about the Cult, and stop it from achieving it’s evil goals. They may try to travel to towns that report similar incidents, and get leads about the cult so they can try to destroy it (or join, if evil PCs).


If The Party Doesn’t Find Out: The cult will continue operating until they have what they’re after. Perhaps they take over a whole city, and enslave the people. Perhaps they find a phylactery, or other artifact of some great evil, and start a widespread religion. No matter what, if unchecked, it will be bad for the world at large.



4. Monopoly

Summary:

A mysterious millionaire has been buying up silver mines across the land, under various pseudonyms and through business agents. For what purpose? To control all the silver in the world. Any decorative or silvered smithing, any minting of silver coins, this man wants to control all of it, and soon, they will. The party may notice people paying for goods with small amounts of gold, and large amounts of copper, but people are holding onto their silver coins. Because of the use of fake names and agents, there are few who know who this mysterious monopolizer is, and even fewer who know his motivations. Without silver, fighting the undead will become more difficult, and various paladin orders and cleric temples are expressing concerns over being unable to afford silver any longer. Perhaps someone will investigate, perhaps it’s nothing worth investigating anyway…


If The Party Finds Out: The party may stop the mysterious silver hoarder. perhaps he’s just a greedy rich man. Perhaps it’s a silver dragon building a nest in which to lay an egg. The party will have some decisions to make.


If The Party Doesn’t Find Out: The will notice a steep increase to the cost/value of silver, including the fee to silver their weapons should they need to. They’ll notice an upsurge in the spread of undeath, undead creatures, and demonic evil, as the paladin and cleric orders have had difficulty outfitting their members for the war against evil. They may also notice an uptick in theft and local crime as criminals and organizations are attempting to steal anything made of silver to hoard for wealth.



5. A Weapon To Change War

Summary:

(This only works in a world currently without guns). There are whispers in certain circles, of a group of engineers, smiths, and tinkerers working on a device that will change war forever. Unbeknownst to the world, they’re working on the first gun. A crude, large boomstick, made to fire a projectile using black powder.


If The Party Finds Out: It could be an adventure hook to have the party investigate the group who is supposedly developing the tool, and may get access to the only guns in existence.


If The Party Doesn’t Find Out: It could be a plot for them to later fall under attack by the faction who developed it, only to find themselves suddenly under fire from a threat they have no knowledge of. Somehow, eventually, if they don’t find out about it, they’ll have to fight it.



6. To Kill A King

Summary:

There is a sinister plot, being hatched by someone, somewhere, to kill a King. The party may be given hints, or may be left completely ignorant of the plot until it happens and the world is shook. Hints can lead to interesting interactions and realizations as the party begins to piece together the type of people from the same organization who keep popping up here and there. A thief, a divination wizard, a mastermind, a royal guard, and an assassin. All who claim to hate the city, or at least how it’s run. All who share some symbolism or ideal of brotherhood. All who are trying to get something, by a specific date and time, for a purpose they refuse to talk about. Maybe the King really isn’t a good guy, and it took these seemingly random strangers to bring it to the party’s attention. Maybe he is a good man, and these people have been wronged personally and plan to take it out on a whole kingdom. Maybe the party will want to help, maybe they’ll want to stop them. Maybe they’ll be able to. Maybe they can’t.


If The Party Finds Out: They could try to prevent, or secure the assassination. They could notify the King, who might reward them, or punish them.


If The Party Doesn’t Find Out: The world, or at least the kingdom will be shaken by the sudden assassination of their King. The party may have to find the strangers again, or discover that it was in fact them. Maybe the party doesn’t care about this region and simply moves on, leaving the kingdom in chaos for a short while. I know I’d want some answers at least, and the party may have a wonderful adventure seeking them.



7. Forbidden Love

Summary:

A princess (or other young noblewoman) has been seeing a poor stablehand in secret. She has been publicly courted by the son of a nobleman, and her father and mother believe it to be a smart match. She keeps up appearances, and is…polite, to the young man, though she has no feelings for him and would sooner throw herself from the tower balcony than marry him. When she goes for walks through the streets with her mentor to purchase bread, and learn about the peasantry, she often sneaks off to be with her love, the stablehand. They’ve been doing this for nearly three years, and she has heard talk of being married off soon. They’re planning to escape together, but the stablehand has no money. They’ll run away together she says, it doesn’t matter if they build a tiny cabin in the woods far away, as long as they can be together.


If The Party Finds Out: Perhaps your players notice them together, caught for the first time in years. Will they tell her mentor? Her parents? Or leave them be, ignoring their situation. Perhaps they bump into the party while fleeing the city and plead for help getting out. If the party finds out, they’ll likely become involved one way or another and will have to tread carefully so as to not upset the nobles.


If The Party Doesn’t Find Out: The King may offer a bounty to find his daughter who was “kidnapped” after they escape. The party may find the girl and her love, but will the party return to the lord as failures, allowing the girl to live happily? Or will they wrest her happiness from her for a sack of gold? In this scenario, it’s probably better to get ahead of the problem, if they can.



8. Dragons Unchecked

Summary:

It’s been a long time since anyone has seen a dragon. They used to be more common, but were hunted for protection, sport, and their treasure. Some believed they were gone altogether, and others spread fanatical warnings about their inevitable return that went unheeded as the words of the mad so often do. Perhaps the doomsayers were not so mad after all, as there are reports of a dragon sighting in nearby mountains, not too far from the city. The King believes the guard to be a fool who has spent too long drinking, but the commander insists he knows the guard to be reliable. Still, the King will not act so as to not panic the people. He may send someone to investigate the mountains, or may ignore the problem. The party may hear the rumors of the dragon and decide to go investigate on their own, or may pass it off as too dangerous, or as nonsense, as so many others do.


If The Party Finds Out: Perhaps your players will be sent to investigate, or will investigate on their own. If they go, they will learn of the meeting the dragons have held, one of each color: Red, White, Black, Blue, and Green. They’ve come together to wreak terror across the land, and destroy as much of humanoid civilization as they can. They agree to claim whatever gold and treasure they collect, and return to their individual lairs to repopulate and grow old and rich in safety. The attack will be soon, and the people must know about it. Otherwise, the party will find themselves in a state of emergency as towns across the country are ravaged by dragon fire, and no lord can organize against the evil lot.


If The Party Doesn’t Find Out: The Dragons will attack, and people will be left unprepared and defenseless. The attack will ravage the land, and the party will need to fight five dragons (if possible for their level), or will need to seek cover and wait out the attack. If they survive, they’ll be adventuring in a scarred world, changed forever.


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