Little Touches Can Make All The Difference


Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 05 April 2010

I borrow from older modules to add interest to my game. One of my favorites is L2 The Assassin's Knot. In addition to having a lot of great description and fluff for a small to medium sized city, it contains a few nice, highly-detailed items. These are concepts one could use in any campaign either as they are or modified to fit your world better.

Top on my list is the "racist" doorknocker. The front door to the castle has a carved lion face holding a door knocker in its mouth. When certain races approach, namely dwarves, elves, or halflings, the magical spell activates and the door starts crying out, "What are you doing here? Guards! Guards!" When the door first did this, my players were pretty surprised. They had a good laugh when the lord of the castle apologized and explained that the door was made during a different time and place. They are trying to fix it, but just haven't had time yet. It set the tone of the campaign area as one where the characters have gotten past most of those sorts of superficial issues even though there was real strife over limited resources.

Another great item is the Statue of Kord. Inscribed into the base of the statue are the following words, "Bring not might of arms to the door of the fortress lest I strike you down." The statue means what it says. Passing by this statue with weapons drawn means chancing an encounter with a watcher. Characters get one warning to put away their arms or they risk getting hit by a bolt of fire. None of my characters caused the statue to arm, so I didn't get to use it in the current adventure.

Besides physical items, the detail of the town's social scene is quite intricate. One nice element is the existence of a "retired" adventuring party in town. This group gave me a lot of tools to use in helping my players accomplish their goals without taking the spotlight off of the PCs. The PCs didn't have to go and convince every member of the group to help them with their quest. Once they had one or two members on their side, getting the others to help was easy. Members of this group also could be sent off to perform more mundane tasks which would otherwise require splitting the party and might seem boring to the players.

These types of details make all the difference in giving players what they need to role play. Even a few minor items can provide a fair number of cues in social interactions.

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Consider your 'racist' doorknocker stolen. I'm sure it would work perfectly in the post-war milieu of Eberron.

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