The King is Dead

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Champion of the People Adventure Generator (System Neutral)

This is a pretty cool book. 

For someone who likes Zorro and Robin Hood as much as I do, I suck at coming up with plots for characters like that on the fly. I should have written this for myself way back at the beginning of my Savage 7th Sea campaign instead of now that it’s on its way to wrapping up and Robin’s lowborn swordswoman has discovered she’s actually Queen Elaine’s long-lost child (screw canon). Oh, well... Maybe Robin can use it when I eventually talk her into running a Zorro campaign for me.

Champion of the People Adventure Generator

Whether riding masked across the California hills or hiding hooded in England’s greenwood, a Champion of the People stands apart from other swashbuckling heroes because he defends a population or area rather than acting as an agent of authority (like Dumas’ Musketeers) or seeking fame and fortune (such as most pirate protagonists). The following tables present random elements that can be combined to inspire game masters running such campaigns.

Because Champions of the People are tied so directly to specific places, many of these elements must be interpreted in consideration of those settings. Zorro’s California is much more likely to suffer a drought than Robin Hood’s England.   

Roll once on Table 1 for Villain, once on Table 2 for villain’s target, once on Table 3 for Threat, and once on Table 4: Is This a Trap?

Table 1: Villain
1 – 3 = Local Authority (Captain Ramon, Sheriff of Nottingham, crimelord, etc.)
4 = Higher Authority (governor of California, Prince John, etc.)
5 = Unaffiliated Criminal (roll on Table 1a)
6 = Innocent in the Wrong (roll on Table 2: Innocent) 

Table 1a: Unaffiliated Criminal
1 = A Mountebank (cardsharp swindler, monk selling fake relics)
2 = A Seducer (black widow, lothario)
3 – 4 = A Common Criminal (bandit, thief)
5 = A Rival (challenger for hero’s title as best bowman/best swordsman/etc.)
6 = An Assassin (roll 1d6; on a roll of 1, the assassin is targeting the Local Authority)

Table 2: Innocent 
1 = Persecuted Minority
2 = Friend, Family Member, or Ally of Hero (roll 1d6, on a roll of 1 – 2, their Threat is against a Villain)  
3 = Hero’s Love Interest (roll 1d6, on a roll of 1 – 2, their Threat is against a Villain)
4  – 6 = Local Notable (roll on Table 2a: Local Notable)

Table 2a: Local Notable
1 = Tavern owner / Innkeeper / Hospitality Worker
2 = Merchant / Artisan
3 – 4 = Land Owner / Aristocrat
5 – 6 = Peasant / Laborer / Farmer

Table 3: Threat
1 = Raised Taxes / Seizure of Property / Theft
2 = Abduction / Enslavement / Pressed Into Service
3 = False Charges / Imprisonment / Lawsuit
4 = Challenge (archery contest, horse race, etc.)
5 = Assault / Murder / Wrongful Death
6 = Famine / Foul Weather / Natural Disaster

Table 4: Is This a Trap?
1 – 4 = No
5 – 6 = It’s a trap! (If the villain is an Innocent in the Wrong, roll again on Table 1 to determine what villain has tricked them into this, ignoring Innocent in the Wrong results as desired)

Example:

I choose to roll up an adventure for La Pantera, my Zorro-esque heroine from the “Character Gallery” article in Savage Insider Vol. 2, Issue 2 “Taking Action.” Part of writing that article was giving her a well-eveloped supporting cast, so I have a lot to play with.

Villain = 5 = Unaffiliated Criminal ( = 6 = Assassin)
Innocent = 3 = Hero’s Love Interest
Threat = 2 = Abduction / Enslavement / Pressed Into Service
Is This a Trap? = 6 = It’s a trap!

Well, this is pretty freakin’ obvious. An assassin comes to La Pantera’s home town of Campeche and kidnaps her love interest to draw her into a trap. As it so happens, one of La Pantera’s antagonists is the assassin El Jaguar – who is her long-lost, believed-dead husband – and she happens to have a new love interest in Governor Luis Francisco de los Alamos Constante-Pedilla, a good man trapped between his duty to the people and the commands of General Santa Anna. 

El Jaguar knows La Pantera’s identity but she doesn’t know he’s her husband; seeing how cozy La Pantera’s secret identity and the governor are getting, El Jaguar kidnaps the governor in order to test his wife’s fidelity to his memory (the trap). Bingo! And probably not a plot I would have thought up without the prompt.

4 comments:

  1. I love good adventure generators and this is nicely targeted for populace heroes. With minor tweaks I'd think it would work well for a supers game. It reminds me of the Swashbuckling Adventure Generator by Ralph Mazza. I linked to your post on my blog.

    I'm confused by the parenthetical results in Table 2: Innocent (roll 1d6, on a roll of 1 – 2, their Threat is against a Villain).

    Do you always roll 1d6, so that on a roll of 1-2 a Villain may end up threatening another Villain or do you only roll this 1d6 when the Villain has been determined to be an Innocent in the Wrong? Maybe an example?

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    1. That could use a little rewording. The parenthetical results in Table 2: Innocent are -- as you guessed -- only meant to be used when the Villain of an adventure is an Innocent in the Wrong -- and to then redirect their Threat against a proper villain like the Local Authority or an Unaffiliated Criminal. This then creates scenarios like Will Scarlett going off half-cocked to kill the guy who murdered his wife and the like.

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  2. Thanks Sean. Here’s my attempt at clarification. Rather than use Table 2 both for the Innocent in the Wrong as the antagonist and for the Innocent as victim, I created two tables.

    Table 1b: Innocent in the Wrong
    1 = Persecuted Minority
    2 = Friend, Family Member, or Ally of Hero (roll 1d6, on a roll of 1 – 2, don’t roll on Table 3; instead the Innocent directs their Threat against a Villain, roll on Table 1)
    3 = Hero’s Love Interest (roll 1d6, on a roll of 1 – 3, don’t roll on Table 3; instead the Innocent directs their Threat against a Villain, Roll on Table 1)
    4 – 6 = Local Notable (roll on Table 2a: Local Notable)

    Table 2: Innocent
    1 = Persecuted Minority
    2 = Friend, Family Member, or Ally of Hero
    3 = Hero’s Love Interest (if the Hero’s Love Interest is already the Innocent in the Wrong Villain, reroll)
    4 – 6 = Local Notable (roll on Table 2a: Local Notable)

    I’d increased the odds of the Hero’s Love Interest as the Innocent in the wrong targeting a Villain from 1-2 to 1-3 on 1d6 to decrease the odds of the Love Interest targeting an Innocent. I also added a parenthetical so that the Hero’s Love Interest doesn’t target them-self.

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  3. Oops...
    "...don’t roll on Table 3; instead the Innocent directs their Threat against a Villain, roll on Table 1)"

    This should say "don't roll on Table 2"

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