Monday, 14 July 2008

Give Me Your Ideas! Right Now! You! The Reader!

So I'm plotting out my Labyrinth Lord sourcebook, and I'm thinking that the setting - stone age Australia, light sprinkling of Cthulu mythos - is not exactly conventional. I know that only yesterday I was rambling on about role players being incredibly creative, but I also know that the further away you get from genre tropes, games tend to become more difficult to just pick up and play. Beyond the 'standards', things require more thought in order to make them work. (I have my fare share of games that I've really wanted to run but never been able to work out quite what to do with. An example being Changeling: The Dreaming: Great ideas, setting and core rules - but what next? What is a Changeling: The Dreaming game?)

So what I'd like to do is include, in the OzCthulu appendix, a Big List of Adventure Hooks that a prospective DM will be able to glance over and get ideas from. They are going to be a mixture of 'regular' stone age adventure ideas, plus more 'Cthulu-esque' ones. (I mentioned this to Arcona in the comments to a previous thread.) But in order to create this Big List, I'm going to need lots of ideas. This is where you, the reader come in. Give me as many or as few as you like, but give me something! You'll even get a credit in the final free pdf.

I'll start.
  • There is a cave in the local range of hills which nobody is supposed to enter by long tradition. Maybe there are rumours that it's haunted, or it's supposed to be sacred, or something like that. But two young children from the band have gone missing, and they were last seen playing around the cave entrance. Someone is going to have to go in and look for them. And it turns out that the cave is really the start of great labyrinth of tunnels....
  • A beast has been sighted, which nobody has seen before. It killed a hunter last week, and it has been decided by the elders that the thing has to be tracked down and killed - because nothing is more dangerous than a carnivore which has developed a taste for human flesh.
  • Last night, a star fell from the sky and hit the desert some miles away. The elders want to know what it is.
  • The peoples far away in the North have exhausted their food supply and taken to cannibalism. The habit has gradually transformed them into ghoul-like wendigos, and they are spreading Southwards.
So let's hear them!


  1. 1). Killer kangaroo
    2). Killer koala
    3). More seriously, given that I remember having conversations with you in the past where you told me that even today much of the centre of Australia is unmapped, how about an envoy from some previously unknown society arriving at the village. They wish to trade knowledge for hospitality, but all is not what it seems...

  2. Good, I like it when all is not what it seems.

  3. 1) The Great Rock has turned black and by moonlight it drips blood. The elders say that this is a sign of a traitor in the tribe, one who secretly worships the dark ones. Can you ferret out the witch without starting a fullfledged panic?

    2) An earthquake has opened a great vent in the earth from which issued strange fumes. The people and animals that got a full dose of the stuff have all had strange changes in personality. By night they sneak out and are building a great pile of rocks for some unknown purpose. They all seem to be in a strange trance when they do this.

    3) To get the full flavor of the stone age lifestyle, a very repeatable scenario would be wide-ranging hunts. The perils of the wilderness: wild animals, bumping into other hunters intent on bringing home the same game, bad weather, getting lost, etc.

  4. A transdimensional being is harassing the great Animal Spirits of the Dreamtime. Though it claims to be a benevolent observer its very presence is wreaking havoc in the Songlines.

    Strange men arrive from the north and east in great multi-hulled canoes, worshippers of Kanaloa, the Squid. Soon after, great cyclopean stone statues appear along the coast and the landscape begins to wither.

  5. Max: Nice. Where can you go wrong with cyclopean statues?

  6. The characters must go on a walkabout for a rite of passage, but is the strange, pale man they encounter hallucinatory, an ancestor spirit, or an actual person? And why does he insist that one of them is fated to perish, but that the others must carry him with them always by eating of his flesh?

    The chief's black stone, his badge of office, is missing. Strange footprints trace from his hut into the desert. Or worse — to a fellow villager's hut. Is someone trying to cause confusion?

    For years, your people have lived upon the mountain. The other tribes fear the mountain, but your shamans say that the mountain is good to your people; you never lack for food or water. But what if there's an earthquake? What if the earthquake opens a fissure in the rock and black things boil out by moonlight? What if the mountain isn't a mountain at all?

    And I'm going to have to agree with Jeff Rients. Dark Sun is awesome because you can have a dungeon crawl, or you can try to avoid starving to death. OzCthulu has that same potential.

  7. I see many possibilities in the extinct megafauna of Oz.

    The nearly twenty foot long goanna (Megalania prisca)or the modern day salt water crocodiles would seem to be the perfect deity for a mysterious tribe, met in a coastal rain forest.

    The retractable clawed marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex) would make the perfect werebeast, preying upon the weaker members.

    I keep trying to come up with a way to use the Dromornis Stirtoni as it came in at ten feet tall, but I honestly can't come up with a way to make Big Bird menacing. Spirit animal? No, it's still Big bird.

    I realize the mythos has a shark God, Raandaii-B'nk, but I'd add in the Maori Punga, God of all things ugly (sharks and mantas) or the Hawaiian Kāmohoaliʻi. Then have shark toothed invaders arrive and despoil coastal families in an invasion of blood and cannibalism. In 1835, the Maori did this to some peaceful hunter-gathers known as the Moriori on the Chathem Islands. I suggest checking the accounts of this invasion for some blood curdling inspiration. Maybe give the cannibals teeth like a shark to reveal at the appropriate times.

    I'm also thinking of the von Däniken Ancient astronaut books, which always had a lot of Aboriginal pictographs. He often focused on ones with white domed heads, which looked a bit like a crude stay puff marshmallow man, but I remember a lot of elongated stick figures. Well what if they weren't figures, but actual representations of beings with long thin limbs, like Praying mantises? One which stalked the players through the outback?