Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why are we going down there again?

Just trying to assemble a list of motivations for adventuring, beyond experience points.  I'm just starting a list with my usual items.

1. The Philosopher's Stone a.k.a. Cash a.k.a. wealth.  A GM can assemble all sorts of reasons to need cash, but just because it is cash has to be the prime mover.    I guess I'd also include anything gathered with an intent of turning it into cash, such as harvesting strange ingredients for others.  I'd also include being hired to catch a man, assassinate someone, etc...

2. Personal Power. Drinking from a fountain of youth, the dragon's blood, etc...  A goal which will improve the character's power, rather than devices.

3. Excalibur, that is magic items for personal use.   Which covers potions or items you collect parts to make.

4. Altruism.  Only seems to work with the non-cynical.   Seems like everyone I play with wants to be Han Solo, nobody wants to be Luke Skywalker.  I think I've had more people cheerfully sell sentient beings into slavery, then ever unselfishly freed slaves.

5. Favors.  Another form of power, but basically doing favors for people who can do what they can not.  A high level spell, pull with the government, training, information, etc...

6. A home base.  When you start playing a lot of city encounters, when your villains come back for revenge sequels, this seems to be a popular thing to find, some sort of citadel, a secure lab or just a place to keep your henchmen.  
      6-2.  A combination of the two, establishing a home base which has a magical advantage, such as a magical garden filled with flyweed (smokable flying potion), a healing potion font, a shrine which cures diseases, etc...
       6-3. The combination of home bases with a portable magic item, the RV of home bases.  The tent with the palace inside, the flying castle, the ship, etc...

7. Fear  & Revenge.   Sometimes it's a variation of altruism, an attempt to save their world.  Other times it's to take someone out, before they come back again.  You'd be surprised at just how angry players get when people break into their house, wreck things, and run off with their shit for once.

8. Collections. One you get a mage on a lab kick, they can really get into collecting libraries.

9. Pets.  OK so I'm running out of variations here, but I once designed an adventure largely because the prettiest girl in the room liked Pegasi.

10. Home.   Enslavement, tossed naked through a portal as human sacrifice, accidental teleportation, shipwreck, stowing away by accident, shanghaied, kidnapped, etc...  Nest step get out of the soup and get back home.

What else am I missing?


  1. One of the aspects I loved about Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" was the inclusion of the need for money on a daily basis. Food, shelter, gear, wine. How much would a saddle get them, who could they steal from. The "real" world pressure of needing a steady income should be coupled with making physical wealth hard to come by. Starting characters should be under tremendous pressure to come up with enough money for horses, armor, food, weapons, etc.

  2. Sure, I think half the "fun" of the low levels is saving up for plate armor and spell components. Even when the money starts coming in, it still goes out just as fast. I've been mulling a new campaign idea, where everyone starts off as an escaped slave .