Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thursday Quick Adventure - Skeptic's Guide to the Realms

Dr. No'velha is a studious, human genius, fed up with the world of magic and wonder surrounding him. The adventurers find him out in the wilderness excitedly watching birds through some sort of glass eyepiece of gnomish design. He is so entranced by the birds and the notes he is writing that he fails to notice anyone watching him for long enough for someone to sneak a peek at his open notebook. It reads:

Too much time has been wasted on magic. Too many great minds spend their time fiddling wands and communing with devils. Hard to believe that, although generations have been spent studying griffons, hippogriffs, dragons and even birdmen, I cannot find a single tome on the lifestyle and migratory patterns of the common NON-MAGICAL birds. So little attention has been given to them that many species I've found to have no proper name. This blue one I am witnessing now I will call a Jay.

The notebook then goes on for several more increasingly boring paragraphs about the daily habits of common birds. The reader, quickly becoming too bored to continue reading, likely begins to wonder why someone would study birds when there are so many more interesting monsters in the area.

The strange man notices anyone reading over his shoulder and lets out an excited shriek. Dr. No'velha always tries to address the character with the highest intelligence, except (as is usually the case) if they are a wizard, warlock, or any magic-focused class. 

"Well look at you all sneaking up on me like that. I see that you appreciate the work I'm doing, well of course you do, it is very important work. Those ignoramuses at the college want to spend all their time on the study of magical fire and alchemy. BAH! Saiggin warned me about false intellectuals like them.

"Now I'm going on a tangent, you look like you could use some work. I have money! As long as you promise not to spend it on any stupid wizard spells or something preposterous like that," Dr. No'velha eyes up any magic users in the adventuring party suspiciously. "Well, I suppose its to be your money anyway and you can do with it what you will."

The eccentric professor goes on to explain that his life's work is to understand the natural rules and history of the world. He is fed up with all of his colleagues explaining everything away with magic. How did the birds get to this island? Magic. What created this volcano? Magic. Why are there so many different types of birds? The gods liked it that way, why don't you spend more time reading up on the history of dragons?

------------------------------

The top part was the inspiration, and intro to the character and adventure. I plan on having Dr. No'velha become a recurring NPC in my campaign, giving out small quests such as collecting animal and plant samples, studying geologic formations in a volcano.

It is important to note that while No'velha has a noble cause, magic has far more to do with the world than he is willing to admit. His work is important though, and it is good to give him (and your players) some significant breakthroughs. Maybe discover the cause of the volcano for the first time in the world, or write a book about the evolution of non-magical animals.

One thing that really interests me is having Dr. No'velha and the players uncover some sort of fraud. It could be something like solving the case of the Illusion Army that we wrote about last week, but I'd prefer a story where a magician tricks everyone into thinking he is some sort of god or powerful magician, when in reality he is just a trick rogue using sleight of hand and misdirection.

Have fun with this idea, it will really be fun for your players to learn not to take for granted that everything is magic.