For the OSR, what's not to love about Tenkar's Tavern? One of his latest posts demonstrated a way that players can determine their own adventure. This is something I want to do, but I find that I insert myself like the Dungeon Master from the cartoon series.
The grey furry giant man shouts as he lay dying to go EAST OR SOUTH!
One of the things I struggle with is feeling like I give players options to go to far away places. I mention the Floating Island of Ravendra, The Golden Kingdoms, The Jade Emperor, The City of Odd Paths, The Mountains at the Top of the World and more. Sometimes there is interest, but I can't seem to get them to someplace far away without having them just magically teleported there or taking a long sea voyage.
You walk off a boat at Jakalla. Without clothes or pedigree, you seek to build a life is this overcrowded sea of humanity.
At least it's not like Swords of the Daimyo where you risk mutiny only to have your character executed upon arrival and are forced to roll up new local characters. Since I reward exploration with XP, I want those fish-out-of-water moments where the world seems to have some sort of order, but it is totally different than home. I don't mean this in a horrific way where all choices are hideously awful. Hey, I ran a game of Paranoid in college, too. I mean that the players can eventually make a name for themselves in an area of my world called Tanah-Con-Ranh. In Tanah-Con-Ranh, a handful of ultra-rich persons control the fate of thousands within their "family". This includes various levels of bureaucrats responsible for law and order. The state also grants trade monopolies to certain merchants every five years. Foreigners have never been appointed for any monopoly yet, even for goods only available in foreign lands. Maybe one of the players would be the first (if they enjoy political intrigue type sessions). Maybe one of the players manages to own a library in one of the major cities and amass a great cache of magic scrolls.
More simply than that, maybe a non-human PC makes it to the Golden Kingdoms. There are no elves or dwarves in the Golden Kingdoms. Civilization is 99 percent human and everyone seems to be at least part-cleric. Maybe they happen to become faculty in one of their many universities. More importantly, maybe they find a way off the planet.
I am at a real loss at how to setup these opportunities without railroading the party. I consider that a lack of imagination on my part.
So, when I see Erik's post on three seeds for adventure, I realize that he provides two places to get mercenary work and various random rumors that "everyone" just know. Since I start everyone out in quasi-Europe, taverns and the town center make sense. Without further ado:
Postings at the Town Center (paying a crier costs extra):
- Guards for a caravan, ask for Aziz.
- Heroes Wanted! Barthwait Township! Local centaurs have unleashed magic making our town and surrounding valley supernaturally cold. All payment in gold, not silver. See Elear in the Northeast Market.
- Eris bless you! Need to recover stolen relic from our temple. Free Indulgence or Divine Favor. Scrawled under the words Divine Favor is a message asking for money as a form of divine favor. An additional message in the same hand that wrote "Eris bless you!", says money is an acceptable Divine Favor.
- JOIN THE BRIGADES! Help our fair city eliminate the Ork infestation. (Everyone knows how to sign up with them. Pay is lousy.)
- Need heroes, haunted island destroying fishing boats. Find Akari. You will know.
The caravan gig takes characters to Bazhatun. The caravan features very strange, to the characters, creatures that atack the caravan. If the party stays or is somehow stranded, the cleric will get into trouble for starting a temple to a foreign god. Plate mail will become very expensive to maintain and chain will be a inexpensive as leather armor. Since thieves in my house rules have a chance of understanding or reading languages at 1st level, it may occur that the thief leads the party for a while.
In Barthwait, the party deals with a supernatural issue that may or may not be the fault of the local centaurs.
The Temple of Eris just wants a relic. They will offer healing and "services" first, but will pay eventually.
The Brigades are a common way for Fighters to get started. Pay is lousy as it is a government job. Still, it is good for experience. One thing to know is that in my world, Orcs, Bugbears, Ogres and similar creatures are "hatched" as fully-grown creatures. Exterminating them is not against the code of a Lawful character.
If you find Akari, you will find yourself in a modified form of the OA3 module.
In the Golden Kingdoms, gold is so common that streets are plated with gold. (Mostly Not True)
In the Golden Kingdoms, you can find exotic items unavailable anywhere else in the world (True)
The crumbling temple of Set is haunted. (True)
A Lost Continent houses a race of nightmare men bent on destroying the human race. (True in a way, but not in the way the folks spreading the rumor intend.)
In the Southwest region of the continent, you can find magic stones that can grant the wizard a feast of knowledge. (Pretty much true.)
Seen or Heard at a Tavern
The man in the corner can changed cursed items into food. (True)
Dragons burned and ate McGregor's sheep last week. (Not really true.)
The new mayor wants to ban the sale of alcohol. (Not true at all, he is sitting next to you.)
Anyway, that's just some ideas. We'll see where this goes.