Adventure Hooks that Make you Yawn

So, I was checking out the event listing for a gaming convention I'm attending this weekend, and I noticed a disturbing trend. Pretty much all the mainstream 5th edition D&D games sound boring as all hell... and have open seats.

Yawn-inducing hooks are one thing but going into an official Adventurers League demo game at a convention, you just know that player agency and character autonomy is going to be at an all time low. Nothing super surprising is going to happen. Everything will be more or less predictable within the confines of the scenario. Does such a prospect make your blood race? Probably not.

When I run a game, I want the players to know that something magnificent or tragic or inexplicable could happen during that 3 - 5 hour session. Yes, the entire world could explode or the party's magic-user / assassin could be crowned king of the realm. You never know...

It's no wonder there are seats left. If Wizards/Hasbro thinks the following summaries inspire players or their characters to get involved, they've got serious problems. Personally, I think that brand of gaming is dying... and good riddance!

  • For years, the Most Solemn Order of the Silent Shroud has tended the dead at Valinghen graveyard, providing them a peaceful eternal rest. Now, that rest has been disturbed by a necromancer seeking out a key to re-activate the Pool of Radiance. A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.
  • The Iron Route, an important trade road east of Phlan, is beset by competing bandits. An exiled Black Fist officer leads his band of mercenaries turned cloaked ruffians, while a mysterious dragonborn sorcerer commands screaming savages from the north. In this war for supremacy over the trade route, the beleaguered merchants are the victims, and Phlan suffers from a lack of important supplies. It's up to adventurers to strike out and reopen this vital route to the town. A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.
  • Despite the shaky alliance that exists with the elves of the Quivering Forest, they do not suffer trespass in their realm lightly, especially from common folk from nearby Phlan. A woodworker's recent blunder into the forest might set off a diplomatic incident. Can you help find him and mollify the aggravated elves? A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.
  • Scholars Square is a relatively quiet corner of Phlan, but a series of odd thefts have the headmasters of various schools in the area concerned. The headmasters' pleas for help have gone unanswered by the Black Fist, and the Lord Sage of Phlan decides to reach out to you and your kind to bring those responsible to justice. A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.
  • Decades have passed since Sokol Keep was reclaimed, and a small garrison placed there along with a beacon to help guide ships. Now, that beacon has gone dark, and the garrison has disappeared. In Phlan, rumors circulate that something ancient was discovered in the grounds beneath the keep, dating to before the clerics of Tyr built the small fortress. Uncover the secrets of Sokol Keep! A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.
  • The Cult of the Dragon has come to Phlan, a lawless refuge on the Moonsea. Now, with no significant authority to stop the cult, other power groups in the Realms-the Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet, Emerald Enclave, Lords' Alliance, and even the Zhentarim-must unite to stop the cult from fulfilling its dark purpose in the city. Join the fight by participating in any one of five different missions aimed at stopping the cult. Five different one-hour introductory adventures for levels 1-4.


Authored by Venger Satanis


Readers' Rating: 


A boring summary could be used as a set-up so that the players THINK the adventure was ordinary... it would be like a WTF walk in the park.

I was actually asked to run one of these a few months ago because they needed experienced DMs to run their Adventurers League 5e demos. I asked how much leeway I had in the actual running of the scenario and was told there was a bit of room to maneuver. I planned to make it as wild and WTF as I could but then the only time slots left were like 8am, so I passed.