Tuesday, October 4, 2022

GLOGtober '22: Challenge 2: Plot Hooks Drawn from PCs' Families

GLOGtober '22

This challenge is courtesy of Phlox.

Had a dream that I got into a fist fight with my dad the other night. Wasn't Oedipal, I think it was over an argument about what to have for dinner. We get on in real life. In any case, I won the dream-fight.

Without further ado:

Plot Hooks Drawn From PCs' Families

There's the classic gothic/haunted house trope of a sudden inheritance/invitation from a relative. Variations on that theme (D10):

1. The relative has declared that only one heir will actually inherit their fortune. They've set a contest to determine who this will be. The contest is likely to become murderous. 

2. The invitation is forged. Someone with a grudge against your family is luring you someplace to have you all killed. 

3. The relative was a dabbler in occult matters. They fucked up and got themself killed for it - maybe they summoned a demon, maybe they raised a dead spouse as an abomination, or whatever else - and bringing you in is their back-up plan for cleaning the mess up. 

4. The relative ha somehow translated themself into the living architecture of the house you've inherited from them, and thereby acquired a peculiar longevity. They wish to share this gift with their loved ones (including you) by assimilating you all into their animate building. 

5. The inheritance is conditional on marrying an ugly bastard Rumpelstiltskin-type fairy whose hand you were promised in return for saving your relative's life. The fairy is capable, cruel, and capricious, and will not take rejection well. 

6. Everything's above board, but the mansion you're inheriting is in a shit state of repair that makes it seem as though it's trying to kill you. 

7. There's a wretched old man chained up in the attic - a mortal enemy of your relative they imprisoned over a decade ago. He's privy to a lot of your family's other skeletons in the closet, and demands release and recompense.

8. Monsters have taken up occupation of the house you inherited and are messing up the place. 

9. The house is haunted, but like the plot of The Others you're the haunting. There's some weird quantum bullshit that makes it seem like you're a ghost to people in the future. Only by flexing your poltergeist powers can you prevent a catastrophe that's destined to befall the house and its inhabitants. 

10. The relative isn't actually dead, but watching their funeral proceedings in disguise to see what everyone really thought of them.

For noble families (D10):

1. Your hot-blooded brother fractured his wrist in a drunken accident on the eve of a tournament he was meant to fight in. To preserve the honour of your family, he asks you to take up his armour and fight in his stead.

2. Rumours are circulating that your brother, who was deemed unfit to inherit your family's estate and thus sent off to join the clergy, has taken up a particularly malign heresy. Your family wants you to investigate the truth of these rumours and deal with your brother appropriately. 

3. A cousin from a cadet branch of your family has revealed documents that show their branch is the true owner of your family's estate. Your family has accused them of forging the documents. A representative of the king is on their way to adjudicate the legal dispute. 

4. Renovation of your family's estate's wine cellar has revealed old tunnels beneath it. Your mother is hysterical, claiming that strange voices echo from the tunnels at night, and your father has lost several good and loyal footmen he sent down there. 

5. As a task directly from the king, your family has been granted a run-down keep on the borderlands with the mission to bring the squabbling gentry of that region into line, and hunt down monsters that have taken advantage of the disorder to creep in from the wilds. 

6. Your family sunk a large portion of its fortune into a trade shipment to a distant land. They've lost contact with the merchant in charge of the shipment, and are getting worried. Head east, find out what happened to your boats and your goods, and recoup as much value as possible. 

7. Your sister, who suffers from seizures that see her speaking in tongues, was sent off to a nunnery when you were young. The nunnery was recently raided by a gang of bandits who kidnapped your sister, believing she was some sort of oracle. 

8. Something's disturbed the spirits of your esteemed ancestors in the family crypts. Go sort it out, or they'll keep haunting your dreams. 

9. Your sister is being married off to a rich old brute to seal an alliance that will raise your family's standing. She appeals to you to find some way to render the man under her control, or failing that, help her run away. 

10. Turns out your family's broke and is deep in debt to a sinister banker. Can you pay off the debts (or otherwise take care of them) before your family's stuff is repossessed?

For peasant families (D10):

1. There's a rumble about to go down with another family yours has been feuding with for generations. Some younger members of your family want to escalate it, bring weapons instead of the usual boxing and wrestling, and wipe out your rivals once and for all. 

2. It's a murder mystery, but instead of finding the murderer it's finding the rascal that smashed your family's prize-winning giant pumpkin. 

3. Your family's found a literal goose that lays golden eggs, or some similar supernatural and profitable creature. There's arguments over what to do with it, who gets what share of the proceeds, and its owner (a giant) is searching for his lost property. 

4. A charismatic religious leader preaching violent rebellion against authorities and taxation has been getting popular in your home region - half your family thinks the guy's a fraud, the other half have fallen in deep with him. Make sure the rebellion succeeds, or get your relatives out of there before it's squashed. 

5. Your grandmother survived a harsh winter by eating her parents who died from the cold, and became a ghoul for it. Though she was lost to bestial hunger for many years, she's recently regained much of her former self, and desires to achieve repentance for her monstrosity by going on a pilgrimage. She's asked you to escort her on this pilgrimage, to protect her from others and to protect others from her. 

6. A warlock who lives in a hut in the woods has stolen your newborn sibling. He claims to be the child's true father. Your father has become a laughingstock, and your mother a pariah. Figure out what's really going on, get the kid back, kill the warlock, or don't.

7. The common land your family depends on has been enclosed. Get it back, or help them find new work in the city.

8. Your younger sibling wants to become an adventurer like you. Train them or dissuade them.

9. Your estranged older brother has returned home, claiming he's come back from the land of Cockaigne. He wants your family to go there with him, and enjoy a life of ease and plenty. He might be lying, he might be brainwashed, he might even be telling the truth.

10. Soldiers quartering in your family's home stole off with a valuable heirloom. Find them and get it back without bringing the army's wrath down on their heads.

For those with inhuman heritage (D10):

1. You've been called to the trial of a diabolical ancestor in hell. Expect devilish intrigues and legal drama. 

2. Your distant cousin (a fish-man who lives in an undersea trench) wants to see the land. Your family insists you show them around.

3. The spirit of a sorcerous ancestor is trying to steal your body through your shared blood.

4. Your demigod great-great-great-and-so-on-grand-whichever is languishing a frail for lack of worship. They ask you, as a favour from family, to re-establish their cult.

5. Some dormant heritage has activated in a few of your siblings, rendering their forms unmistakably monstrous. Find a community willing to take them in, or hide them in your attic.

6. Your mother becomes obsessed with sifting through old family records and stories, convinced some revelation of divine heritage is encoded in them. She comes to believe that you all can ascend to a higher state of being - she's right, but the end result will be more eldritch than divine.

7. Your family is descended from the vat-grown warriors of an ancient tyrant-wizard. That wizard has somehow returned, and a few of your relatives have already run off to join his growing army, overcome by dreams and directives programmed into their blood.

8. Your ancestor's a vampire. They seek to bring you into the fold, telling stories of an ancient, blood-soaked kingdom where your family ruled the night. They've got an ulterior motive: as a move to balance power, many ruins and artifacts of this kingdom are bound by a seal that requires one living and one undead member of your family to unlock.

9. Your ancestor, an angel, shows up at your door. They're pushy and annoying, always trying to get you to act more virtuously. The truth they don't want to admit is that they've fallen from grace, and think making you their project is their ticket back to the heavens.

10. A clan of elves bordering human territory invites you to act as a go-between to diffuse tensions. Turns out you're a descendant of one of the clan's still-living members.

Miscellaneous (D20):

1. You wake up one day with a new surname, and a new family. Has history been rewritten? Have you become the prey of reverse-doppelgangers, who force people to take on a new identity? What's happened to your original family?

2. Your charming rake of a brother has cuckolded a man who far outstrips him in martial skill and who has thus challenged him to a duel. Your brother has asked you to be his second, and to rig the duel in his favour somehow.

3. Your sister's been framed and imprisoned for a crime. Then, the same thing happens to your brother. Who's got it out for your family, and why?

4. You receive a letter from your cousin, saying they've discovered a terrible secret about your family. Then they disappear from the face of the Earth. What's the secret? Who among your relatives is involved?

5. It's Romeo and Juliette, but Romeo is your brother and Juliette is the daughter of the leader of a band of monsters in a nearby cave.

6. Turns out your mother's not who she says she is. She was an urchin who took a new identity from a dead woman an reinvented herself. That woman's family, unaware of her death or your mother's identity theft, have come calling for her.

7. Your brother comes up to you with bloodied hands - he's murdered a man in a moment of thoughtless rage, and wants your help covering it up.

8. Your brother says he's met the most wonderful woman in the world, and invites you to their wedding. Turns out she's a dryad who's charmed him into being her servant and guardian.

9. Your sister was apprenticed to a wizard, but couldn't stand her master's cruel and unusual teaching methods and so ran away, taking a grimoire and some enchanted trinkets with her. She asks you to shelter her or take her former master out, as she's reaching out through contacts in the occult underworld to track your sister down.

10. Turns out you've got an identical twin who's got wanted posters for them plastered up everywhere with your face on them.

11. There's a secret technique that's been passed down in your family for generations. Your father does not believe you're worthy to learn it yet.

12. Your brother's joined up with a bandit gang. He's planning to double-cross them and make off with their stolen loot, and wants you in on the heist.

13. All the members of your family begin having the same dream, of a ruined lighthouse by some coast.

14. One day your father hands you a dirty, battered sword. It's magic, he says, and unless it's used to slay your family's ancestral, near-mythic foe sometime soon, it'll put a curse on all of you.

15. It's revealed to you that due to an old curse, all the souls of your family are condemned to an afterlife in a nightmarish pocket dimension. Harrow the hell your family's damned to, lift the curse, etc.

16. Your younger sibling has an imaginary friend that's persuading them to do increasingly-dangerous acts of mischief. Turns out the imaginary friend isn't so imaginary after all.

17. Your mother's contracted a rare and lethal disease. Only a flower rumoured to grow at the bottom of a nearby dungeon can cure her.

18. Your sister is undergoing an apparently-virgin pregnancy, and is exhibiting strange and disturbing behavioural changes and supernatural abilities.

19. Turns out one of your siblings was adopted, an orphan from a town razed by monsters. They've run off in search of answers and revenge.

20. Your sickly father, believing himself close to death, calls you to his side and tells you his life's greatest regret: an affair he had while traveling left a bastard child in a distant city. He asks you to go there and ensure the child grows up safe and prosperous.

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