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A Dark and Stormy Night

Level 1 Exploration Scenario

In this scenario, the PCs venture across a large city at night during a storm. The heroes begin in a shopping district (likely emerging from an inn or tavern) and are hurrying to the palace. Perhaps they have information about an imminent threat to the crown and must throw caution - quite literally - to the wind?


This scenario might be the first time the players deal with human Creature challenges in exploration. The enemies here model the PCs being accosted by opportunistic criminals that are seeking to avoid actual confrontation. Defeating a Pickpocket represents maintaining sufficient awareness and alertness to avoid being pilfered. Damage to a PC might represent a very brief scuffle during a pickpocket attempt, but more commonly it represents the risk of other injuries from either giving chase or getting away from the hoodlums. Because the pickpockets aren't interested in a fight and will always seek to flee (or worst case surrender), no combat scenarios break out here.


Setting Civilization
Type Normal
Lighting Dark
  /   \
C       E
|       |
B       D
  \   /


(Region A) Silver District
The storm rages through the dark city streets. Two routes can take you to your destination; the northwest road winds through a city park and upscale neighborhood, while the northeast road runs through the slums. The roads route around a small lake to the north that's surging with the extreme rainfall.
Exit To Obstacle
Northwest B -
Northeast C -

(Region B) Lake Park
When the weather is nice, this park is a place of beauty and serenity. But on this stormy night, the trees offer no protection from nature's fury.
PCs in this region can choose to treat the setting as wilderness at will.
Exit To Obstacle
North C -
Southeast A -

(Region C) Gated Community
This lakeside residential district is for the upper class. A locked gate bars entry, and in this storm there's no easy way around it. At least there's partial shelter from the worst of the storm.
Exit To Obstacle
Northeast F Standard Locked Door
South B -
Chilled Winds
Fortune Hidden: 1d6

(Region D) Flooding Slums
This silty, marshy side of the lake frequently floods during heavy rains, making it inhabited only by the poor. It is currently raining heavily, which means wading and even swimming is required to progress forward.
Non-flying entities in this region are swimming.
Exit To Obstacle
North E Rough Trail
Southwest A -

(Region E) Broken Roads
This higher ground is less flooded, but the rains regularly wash away the ground beneath the roads, making traversal rather hazardous even on a clear day.
Exit To Obstacle
Northwest F -
South D Rough Trail
Chilled Winds
Shallow Pits
Fortune Hidden: 1d6

(Region F) Maze of Streets
This crowded old district is difficult to navigate when visibility is good, but at least the many tall buildings and awnings provide some shelter from the storm. Still, it'll take some effort to figure out the proper way forward.
Exit To Obstacle
North G Hidden: 1d6
Southwest C Standard Locked Door
Southeast E -
Roving Pickpocket Hidden: 1d4 Respawn: 1, Does Not Pursue

(Region G) Bridge to the Palace District
This arching stone bridge over the river gives access to the palace district. The surface is extremely slippery, and crossing it will leave you completely open to the worst of the elements.
Exit To Obstacle
North Goal -
South F -

Two Players

  • As Three Players
  • Remove G (F-G becomes F-Goal)
  • Consider allowing ambient city lights to lift the darkness enough to counter the penalties (except in B)

Three Players

  • Swimming is no longer required in D
  • Remove the Shallow Pits in E
  • Swap the Standard Locked Door at C-F for the Simple variety

Five Players

Six Players

  • Add a Slick Surface at G-Goal
  • Add a second Roving Pickpocket in F


Darkness keeps the PCs from being able to see any of the entities in this scenario, which reduces their Inflict, Endure, and Search dice by 1 level each. The rain drenches everyone, imposing +1 Cold Weakness and preventing the use of typical light sources. On top of that, one region requires swimming, which stacks another dice level reduction on the PCs.

This can be pretty extreme for an unprepared level 1 party. As a result, the set of Challenges is slightly under-level, which normally makes for a trivially easy level 1 scenario. If you decide to improve the lighting or ignore the wetness, it may be appropriate to add or upgrade a Challenge or two.

To up the drama, you can convert this into a chase scenario by adding a Round Limit; 5 is a good starting point, but you may need to adjust based on PC count. For incremental limits, start with 2 and give them +1 each time they reach a new region moving forward. If all PCs have to clear the scenario before the Round Limit expires, increase it by 1.

If the climate and time of year make the Chilled Winds feel out of place, consider using Fierce Winds instead; though they are higher level, this avoids the Cold Weakness imposed by the rain. If instead you want to focus on winter conditions, you could change the Thunderstorms to Blizzards; this makes the flooding non-sensical, though, so you'll need a complete rework of the east path.

More level 1 exploration scenarios

scenario_e_a_dark_and_stormy_night.txt · Last modified: 2019/06/28 08:13 by triptycho