donjon

THE BOX OF MICE EXPLODES

Random Adventure Generator

ThemeEspionage
Espionage adventures are active, grim scenarios involving spying and perhaps other cloak-and-dagger deeds such as assassination or rescue.
GoalProtect Endangered NPC(s)
One or more NPCs are in danger, and the characters must protect them. They might be doing this for a reward, or because one or more of the NPCs is a friend or relative of the character. You need to decide what the characters are protecting the NPCs from. The NPC might be a wealthy or powerful person being sought by assassins or kidnappers. The NPC might be a whole village of peasants who are being terrorized by a bandit chieftan.
Story HookOld Enemy
This is a straightforward story hook; the hero learns that his oldest enemy is back and is very active in the campaign, up to something. The hero will naturally want to investigate and will walk right into the story.
PlotA-B-C Quest
This is an epic sort of plot. In it, the heros are given (or undertake) a task to perform: The taking of a city, the rescue of an innocent, the destruction of a monster, the creation of a magical item, the defeat of a Master Villain, etc. But the path to victory is not a simple one. To get to their goal, Event A, they find that they must first accomplish some other task -- Event B. But when they undertake the task of accomplishing Event B, they find that they must first accomplish Event C. This goes on for several encounters, until the heroes accomplish all the obstacle events which prevent them from returning to Event A, their original goal.
ClimaxScattered Duels
In this climax, the heroes have gotten to the end of their quest -- they may have broken into, sneaked into, or escaped from imprisonment within the villain's citadel, or have marched into the little town where the villain is holed up -- and they become separated. You can separate them by having traps and tricks break the party apart, by having them see two or three things they must resolve (such as danger to innocents or the appearance of minion villains) pop up simultaneously; they'll have to run in all directions at the same time or suffer failure. Once the party is broken down into bite-sized chunks, you confront each individual or small group with the enemy or enemies he most deserves to face -- his personal enemy, the monster which defeated him before, etc. -- for a grand series of climactic duels.
General SettingOn the Sea
Most of the action occurs on the sea -- the heroes are shipborne for some reason, docking in lots of ports. Again, this is good for adventures where the heroes are investigating clues left all over the map, are part of some trading enterprise, or are being pursued by villains.
Specific Setting IDemi-human Community
In wilderness areas, this will be a large community of demi-humans -- elves, dwarves, halflings, whatever -- or intelligent nonhumans such as orcs. If your action is taking place in a city, this could be a hidden community (such as a secret underground dwarf community) or a section of the city inhabited mostly by demi-humans.
Specific Setting IIDemi-human Community
In wilderness areas, this will be a large community of demi-humans -- elves, dwarves, halflings, whatever -- or intelligent nonhumans such as orcs. If your action is taking place in a city, this could be a hidden community (such as a secret underground dwarf community) or a section of the city inhabited mostly by demi-humans.
Master VillainSufferer
This Master Villain disguises himself as some other sort of villain. Long ago, he was given an ugly curse -- he longs for death but can never die unless slain by heroes unaware of his curse. (Naturally, the way the curse works, he has to defend himself when attacked by the heroes.) So this villain works hard to make sure the best heroes in the world have sufficient cause to want to come and kill him. He'll insult them, ruin them, kidnap or murder their loved ones, whatever it takes to bring them against him. Often, he can only die -- his curse can only be undone -- in one specific holy place, so he'll have to lure the heroes to that place to face him. If the heroes are doing research on the villain all this time, they may find out his secret, leading to a sad and painful end to the episode as the unkillable villain has to leave and find someone new to kill him.
Minor Villain ISingle-Minded Soldier
This most trustworthy of villain minions is the experienced, competent, persistent soldier -- a field-trained officer who serves the villain with military precision. He is usually encountered in the field as leader of the villain's field operations. He is not encountered directly until the middle of or the latter part of the adventure; until then, the heroes encounter only his subordinates.
Minor Villain IIMisguided Moralist
This fellow has been convinced that only by helping the villain achieve the Master Plan can he improve the world. He tends to be encountered all through the adventure's plot, usually escaping from the heroes and taunting them for their wrong thinking. Fortunately, he's no more effective as a villain than he is as a thinker.
Ally/NeutralRomantic Loony
Somewhere, the heroes bump into a lunatic who falls immediately in love with a player-character and won't leave him or her alone. This character may be a love-smitten village lass or nebbishy adventurer. Whatever the origin, this character must be hopelessly in love with the character but have some trait which keeps the character from reciprocating; perhaps the loony is too plain, too crazed, or too stupid. Whatever, he or she really is sincere in his affection for the character.
Monster EncounterForeshadowing Monster
With this monster encounter, combat may not be necessary. This monster encounter exists to alert the characters to the fact that something unusual is going on, a foreshadowing of their upcoming conflicts with the Master Villain.
Character EncounterBelligerent Soldier
The billigerent one has just had his ears pinned back by his commanding officer and is anxious to take it out on some hapless civilian. If this is a city gate, he claims that the hero's papers are wrong or that he recognizes the hero from descriptions of a wanted criminal; if this is the streets, he insults the hero's lack of military bearing, pretty looks, clothes, smell, companion, or whatever it takes to provoke a reaction.
DeathtrapAnimal Pit
This is a classic trap of the adventure genre: The heroes (perhaps just one hero) are dropped into a pit filled with dangerous animals -- snakes, lions, bears, whatever. They must either fight the beasts or delay them until they can escape -- climb back out, open a secret door, break down a wall, have a rope lowered by friends above, etc.
ChaseFootrace
The chase involves the characters on foot, probably through such terrain as city streets or the corridors of a palace. One hero may realize that the's being pursued by a party of enemies and choose to run for it; the heroes may have caught up to the Master Villain, prompting him to run for his life.
Omen/ProphesyHero Fulfills Prophecy
This is the most useful sort of prophecy. In the early part of the adventure, one of the heroes discovers that he fulfills some ancient prophecy.
Secret WeaknessElement
The Master Villain can be banished, dispelled, killed, or otherwise defeated by some of element or item. The Master Villain tries to get rid of all the examples of this element in his vicinity; he doesn't let his minions carry it or bring it into his presence. But he's not stupid; he doesn't announce to the world what his weakness is. He tries to hide his concern within another command. If he's allergic to red roses, for instance, he orders all "things of beauty" destroyed within miles of his abode.
Special ConditionTime Limit
Finally, the most obvious condition to place on an adventure is to give it a time limit. If the Master Villain is going to conclude his evil spell in only three days, and his citadel is three hard days' riding away, then the heroes are going to be on the go all throughout the adventure -- with little time to rest, plan, gather allies, or anything except get to where they're going.
Moral QuandryHonor Quandry
You want to use this on the character with the most strongly developed sense of personal honor -- someone who has lived all his life by a strict code. Toward the end of the adventure, this character realizes that the best way to defeat the Master Villain is a violation of that code. For instance, the character might be a paladin, who discovers that the only possible way for the heroes to defeat the Master Villain is to sneak up on him and stab him in the back.
Red HerringExtraneous Details
When giving the heroes details on their enemy -- for instance, details they are learning from investigations and readings -- you can give them just a few details too many. This may prompt the heroes to investigate the "extra" (i.e., irrelevant) details in addition to the relevant onces, thus losing them valuable time.
Cruel TrickVillain is Related to Hero
In this very irritating complication, one of the heroes discovers that the Master Villain is related to him. The villain might be his long-lost father or twin; perhaps this relative is not long-lost after all, but has secretly been a Master Villain for years, and only now has the hero discovered it.

Based upon tables from the Dungeon Master's Design Kit by TSR, Inc.