Last night I had a dream that I was recruiting players for a game of Basic Fantasy. In the dream, I was talking to a guy and explaining some of the tropes of “old school games,” in particular the notion of “heroic vs. superheroic.”
“The difference is, ” my dream self said, “that in some games you’re a superhero. In old school games you’ve got a bachelor’s degree and a few self-defense classes at the YMCA.”
I don’t know if dream-me has it or not, but it is fun to think about. I’ve got the kernel of an adventure idea at work in my head. Here’s the premise:
The PC’s find themselves traveling through a war-torn land. A large conquering (but mildly
sympathetic) army has been slowly making their way across the territory driving out the native peoples.
A portion of that army is resting in the city the PC’s are currently visiting. One night at the bar they are approached by a grizzled old veteran with a story to tell.
Not far from the city lies the palace of a minor princeling of the native people. The nobleman was reputedly very wealthy, but fled as the army approached, taking as much of his treasure as he could throw together. In his haste, however, he left some treasure behind. Some was taken by plundering soldiers from the army, but the veteran met a former servant from the palace who claims that even more is hidden away within secret rooms in the palace. The army has been ordered to leave the area to reinforce another brigade elsewhere, but the soldier was hoping that the PC’s might be interested in helping him get to the palace and take what has been left behind, including a rumored gem the size of a hen’s egg. The veteran thinks he can get away the following morning (he is only on supply detail) so the PC’s have overnight to stock up on necessary supplies. If the PC’s agree, he will reveal that he has a map the servant drew for him of the palace which includes some possible locations of the treasure.
Any inquiries about the servant will only be met with a knowing, vicious grin from the veteran and the assurances that the servant won’t be a problem.
The following morning, the PC’s travel to the agreed meeting point, but the veteran never arrives. If the PC’s investigate, they will discover that the veteran has died in his sleep. Now they must figure out how to get a hold of the map in the dead veteran’s belongings, make their way past the sentries watching the city, cross the wilderness, and investigate the half-destroyed palace. The palace itself will be populated with wild animals, scavenging humanoids, and of course traps to protect the treasure. If the PC’s wait until the army leaves, they will find the native people moving back into the area, and the treasure even more difficult to recover.