Friday, October 12, 2018

How to "7th Saga" Up Your Next Adventure

That thing I did with Myth and Drakkhen? Let's do it again. This time we've got the 1993 grind-em-up The 7th Saga, also known as Elnard in Japan. This SNES RPG wasn't as immediately baffling or weird to me as Drakkhen, but I still found it pretty strange once I gave it a closer look. As usual, roll a d30 on the following table for something to add to your next adventure, or just pick something that fits.
  1. A supercomputer, giant robot, or electronic weapon of mass destruction built by a high-tech society in a relatively low-tech world. By the way, it's Powered by Satan. Literally Satan, as in "the Devil." Bonus points if it triggers a massive earthquake and starts to sink an entire continent as soon as it's turned on.
  2. Along with humans, dwarfs, and elves, the playable races now include demons, robots, and aliens. Bonus points if the aliens can make their fists spontaneously combust when they punch their enemies.
  3. A medusa/centipede hybrid who used to be a normal person, and whose child died a tragic death. Now she kidnaps children - not for anything (intentionally) nefarious, but to keep her company, and to "protect" them from what she considers bad parenting and a dangerous outside world. A nearby community would really love to have their kids back, but there's that whole "being turned to stone" thing to worry about...
  4. A snake-themed, whip-wielding bounty hunter who has been hired to kill or capture the party. When he dies, he inexplicably comes back to life in a slightly altered form and tries to finish the job again later. He is really bad at ambushing people, as he always announces his presence before attacking, explaining his purpose and any changes he's undergone since his last death. He refuses to name the person who hired him, though. Bonus points if he does something overdramatic like carving the names of the party members on a tombstone and leaving it for them to discover.
  5. A millennia-old robot with faulty memory banks who wants to understand its purpose in life. Even though it's built like a war machine, it turns out it was originally built to work as an airport janitor.
  6. A spell that sucks the target through a wormhole and into the void of outer space. Strangely, it doesn't work if someone is playing a harp nearby.
  7. Everyone in town is talking about a Nessie-like monster in the nearby lake. It's actually a submarine built by a local inventor. There are previously-unknown underwater tunnels connecting the lake to other bodies of water (or stranger places); the submarine could theoretically traverse these tunnels.
  8. Kingdom A is well-known for its production of high-quality tools, weapons, and armor, made from a rare mineral found only in Kingdom B. Kingdom A's economy is booming thanks to the sale of these goods, and Kingdom B's economy is doing just as well due to the sale of ore to Kingdom A. Suddenly, the mineral supply dwindles drastically in the mines, so Kingdom B raises the price of ore. Kingdom A threatens to declare war if the prices are not lowered again. Meanwhile, Kingdom C is well-known for having the best mercenaries in the region...
  9. That big, scary demon in the haunted castle? He's actually the ghost of an innocent dog who died of a broken heart when his master was cruelly murdered by an evil prince. Putting the poor animal's spirit to rest with a token of his former life is probably a much smarter idea than trying to fight him. Besides, deep down, he's a good boy.
  10. Witches that have fused with pillars of rock to become immortal. Living stone slabs that would love nothing more than to fall on top of you like giant dominoes. Lumpy golems that magically make boulders rain from the sky.
  11. Enemies that light themselves on fire and try to tackle you.
  12. A warlord-sorcerer in an elaborate golden mask or headdress has brainwashed the population of (nearly) an entire town into mindless obedience. He is almost as adept at crafting illusions as he is at hypnosis. His mystical weakness is an artifact secreted away by an old sage he could not charm, who is currently locked up in the dungeon. Bonus points if the "town" in question is a fortress carved into the side of a mountain.
  13. A woman with giant snakes for legs insists that she's a griffin. You'd best not disagree with her: she's really good at kicking.
  14. A sage who curses the party because he had a prophetic vision that they were up to no good. Either the vision was inaccurate, or the party is highly intimidating, because the sage now regrets it. Unfortunately, he does not have the ability to lift the curse unless he gains possession of a certain magical trinket first...
  15. Crystal ball-based radar. Useful for avoiding encounters, as well as finding treasure, towns, or landmarks.
  16. A community that used to get all of its clean water from a magical artifact. One day, for no discernible reason, this strange item stopped providing for them. If you solve the community's hydration problems, they will gladly give you the artifact. It may have other uses. It may have a use for you.
  17. Seeds that increase your ability scores if eaten.
  18. Vast, flat wastelands pitted with craters and separated by steep, wall-like mountain ranges.
  19. Two towers on opposite sides of the world, built by dwarfs and connected by teleporters.
  20. Techno-magic airships that ferry the populations of entire cities away from their doomed homeland. They look like some kind of freaky giant metal bird monsters. Alternatively, the airship exodus could have happened in the distant past, and a scientist or wizard is trying to replicate the design of these aircraft. Yet another alternative is that there is one working airship left in the region (or the world), and it was recently bought for a huge sum by an insufferable braggart who is very picky about who he lets on board. Whatever the situation, the players could really use a ride.
  21. A supposedly wise and just wizard-king, known far and wide for his compassionate and reasonable rule, trains several apprentices in the ways of magic, and hints that one of them will be his heir. He seems completely unbothered by the open animosity between the apprentices and the fact that at least one of them is clearly evil.
  22. A memetic infection causes all of the NPCs to use the wrong names for things. Some examples: Hawks are "wyverns," giant ticks are "hermits," ghosts are "chimeras," eldritch tentacled horrors are "brains," spiders and tall people are both "moons," and centipedes are "spiders."
  23. A hero abandons their righteous quest in order to conquer a small nation and rule it with an iron fist.
  24. Abominations abound: Stranded travelers are mutated by unnatural hunger into antlered wendigo, and proceed to murder whole caravans with summoned storms. Gangly, rubbery, blue-skinned androids wrap their thin, powerful fingers around innocent necks. Half-rotten ghouls haunt the shadows, turning more and more gnawed corpses into the grinning undead. Flying manta rays and giant crabs invade the shores. Males quiver and clutch themselves in fear of the dreaded Manrot!
  25. A small child who happens to be a world-class treasure hunter. They don't always fully grasp the value of what they find.
  26. Monsters that can walk on water. Maybe that's why no one wants to go sailing.
  27. A levitating alien creature shaped vaguely like a sword or a cross.
  28. A player character turns out to be the reincarnation of another player character from a previous adventure or campaign. Alternatively, a player character who dies in the course of the current campaign is reincarnated later, either in the same campaign or a future one.
  29. A stable time loop perpetuated by God and Satan.
  30. A West Marches-style game in which the players are individually looking for seven powerful artifacts. Collect them all and win a fabulous prize! (Ultimate power, perhaps?) The first person to gather all seven artifacts "wins," and the "prize" can only be claimed by one person. While I think this implies a competition between the players, they could theoretically team up. Such cooperation would probably be temporary and strained by the constant threat of betrayal...but sometimes players can surprise you. For example, I could imagine the player of a pious or idealistic character being okay with another gaining the prize, just as long as it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Bonus points if the player characters are all different races and/or classes. Double bonus points if the prize is a trap.

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