D&D Players, tell me what you think of this hook

Alright guys, since I tried to run an online game a few months ago (and life interfered sadly) I’m working on a new adventure for a game with some buddies from the theatre. I’m working on the hook right now.

The story is a bit rushed as I want to get the hook out there for you guys to read, I’ll expand and elongate it some. But what do you guys think? Any suggestions?

– IG

What are the characters like? It sounds like it could lead to an interesting adventure, but it’s definitely a hook that only certain characters would go for.

It’s not one you want to hand a by-the-book Paladin, or a Cleric of certain gods, or poor Mishra’ll be smitten as an abomination before the adventure even gets off the ground.

The story’s fine. I don’t know why you relate it in third person instead of second, though.


Tengu, The group isn’t set yet so I don’t know but I’m sure there will be a member of the party that I can pitch it to.

Frylock, I was relating it in the 3rd person for you guys, it’ll be 2nd person for the players.

– IG

I don’t know about your players, but mine never do as they’re expected to. You might wish to have some kind of contingency plan if the players decide to kill him off — for instance: Mishra doesn’t go himself to speak with the characters until he has secured the party’s cooperation. Maybe he sends a zombie with a telegram. Alternately, Mishra has a girlfriend/wife/son/daughter/retainer/butler who tries to secure the group’s cooperation first.

Just in case the party rejects the opportunity to help Mishra, have a backup plan. For instance, Mishra owes the Merchants Guild a lot of money, but since Mishra’s legal status is in question his money is tied up in court. If Mishra is declared “dead,” the money goes to his daughter by will so the Guild doesn’t get paid, but if Mishra is restored, they get their back pay. The Merchants Guild will hire the players to help straighten out their debtor so they can get their hands on the money. This would be an alternate way of making the players accomplish the same goal, so you could keep the Merchants’ Guild in reserve unless you actually needed them. (Of course, you could also throw them into the game in addition to Mishra himself for a little intrigue and a who’s-conning-who deception.)

There could be some problems if the group has a good cleric — I don’t remember that clerics get the option of deciding which undead they’ll turn and which will be spared. If you design this campaign, you might want to be careful how you handle party encounters with undead. The cleric might accidentally turn Mishra.

I like the idea, but it very much depends on what sort of players you have. Some paladins might smite first and ask questions about what else needs smiting later.

If I was playing, I’d crack his Undead skull on the spot.

I’d leave out the undead part until it was absolutely necessary to tell the party. Or, let them find out in an unexpected way! Thats always fun too.
And I’ll second the notion of having one of his minions approaching the group, I’ve played with a great many who like to slash first, question later.
Another good hook would be have the party somehow become indebted to the guy.

Oh, and the other sorcerer should be named Urza. But that’s just me geek-wanking.

Some how I see him getting wasted with a crossbow before he gets a chance to speak.

“Of course, he rests his hand on his sword pommel ready for action if need be…He moves to go around the form…”

You’re telling the player what his character is doing. A DM who does that to me is likely to find me doing the exact opposite to remind him who’s playing the character.

As for the plot itself, I wouldn’t reveal the undead part just yet. The NPC apparently knows the PC is an adventurer, but that would also mean he knows the PC is dangerous, and a bit twitchy. Also, you might want him to have some clue on his body, so the character who kills first and asks questions later can still continue on the adventure.

Thanks for all the feedback guys!

DeadlyAccurate, I would never presume to tell the player what his character is doing, I was simply doing it to allow me to better explain the hook. Sorry for the confusion.

Fish, excellent ideas!

And as many of you pointed out, the problem here is the instant urge to kill first and ask questions later. So the Merchant Guild is an excellent idea.

And yes I would definitely draw out the truth concerning his nature so long as possible, I just threw it in there early on to get the points across for all of you.

Also, thanks for pointing out the possible problems concerning a cleric character. I hadn’t considered that and will have to think it over further!

Awesome stuff guys, thanks a lot!

– IG

What sort of undead is Mishra? Would his nature be obvious or concealable to strangers?


Battlemace for Undead!

As opposed to what? A tea-party mace?

How’s this for a pre-hook: Instead of Mishra, a much less friendly zombie comes staggering towards them. Taking advantage of the group’s willingness to slay first and ask questions later, the DM ensures that the zealous zombie is cut/burned/smashed/stomped into un-undeath. Someone with high INT or a good working knowledge of the undead notices that, uncharacteristically, a piece of parchment (or if burned to death, an oilskin or leather bag with parchment therein) is somehow on the zombie’s person (clutched in one hand?). Inside the bag the adventurers find:

  1. A few gold pieces as payment
  2. A thank you note from the zombie they just slayed, saying that “Mishra assured me that for my troubles in getting this message to you, I would be released from my suffering.”
  3. An offer of further payment for helping Mishra with a similar problem. Mishra can phrase this as intriguingly as possible – “I’m a powerful wizard who needs advocates to speak for me in places that I myself would not be trusted,” for example.

For spice, have one or two people witness the party’s total overkill of the zombie – this will be useful later.

It’s cliche, but it would be simple to get the players on Mishra’s side by having the Merchant’s Guild gouge them on some light supplies (do the players own any businesses or lands that require someone to do purchasing?). The MG would do this because Mishra’s debt and sudden questionable status have disrupted the market in (gems, wood, parchment, whatever) thanks to speculators buying/selling commodities “wagering” on the outcome.

Villains could take many forms:

  • regular undead who have heard that the players will put them out of their misery, and who are trying to sneak into town to be slain by adventurers who can do it right (vice the local brute squad who just bludgeon them and throw them into a ditch)

  • speculators who stand to gain if Mishra is declared dead (or killed!)

  • junior necromancer wannabes who want to capture and torture the players, because they mistakenly believe that the entire party are invincible, rich, and/or undead (thanks to rumors started by the witnesses)

  • speculators who stand to gain if Mishra is declared alive… but who have heard that the party are in town (a) looking for Mishra, and (b) killing every undead they find. This will be especially humorous because (a) and (b) will both be true!


Plus, is the necromancer who cursed Mishra in fact dead? Is Misrha in fact undead? Maybe the whole story is a plot to set up the PCs.

<simpers. YES! One with a lacey fringe!</simpers>

Chicks and ducks and geese better hustle
When I take you out with my cudgel;
The crushin’ little bludgeon with the fringe on top!

I like it, but you’ll have to judge if your players will leave the poor undead guy still undead or help him to be un-undead. I like the suggestion of having him work through a proxy.

One minor thing – Mishra is a major character in the Magic: the Gathering universes, so if you have any Magic players in your group they will find the name brings a lot of baggage – kind of like naming him Beorn or Snape.

Where do you intend to take this? If you can’t tell, I understand, but I’m curious.

Zombie-Gram. Zombie-Gram for Mongo.