Dungeons & Dragons Online

Need Ideas for Adventures in a Plague-Stricken City

If your name is Barbarossa, Spark, Winslow, Sheila, Luolan, or Ash, stop reading.

Hey guys! I posted here last fall and got some great responses. The campaign has been underway for about six months and everyone is having a blast, but I'm suffering from a bit of writer's block in a situation that I feel has huge potential. Let me do some bullet points to catch you up and save time.

-Party just finished rooting out eldritch activity beneath a major city, stopping a ritual that involved a cursed dagger that could steal voices.

-Magic knife ended up stabbing a ring connected to the Lord of the city, stealing his voice (long story).

-Party wants to help the Lord get his voice back, but has no leads on the dagger. They settled on a plan to build him a new voice.

-Lord informed the party via a letter that a legendary inventor named Cromwell Grimgold is currently in hiding in the city of Helmsport farther up the coast, and that he would be more than adequate for the task.

-Unfortunately, Helmsport is currently in complete turmoil. Starting from the top, Helmsport is governed by two ruling families who constantly bicker. It is currently stricken with a deadly airborne plague called the Wallowing Fever. It is also winter, which is really bad in my setting (continent is under a permaneant state of cold that only ebbs in the summer, with unholy winter storms raising ice zombies called the Rimeborn that harass travelers and settlements). Finally, one of the ruling families phoned the Church of the Silver Flame for help, as they are expert healers and slayers of the undead (humongous Holy Roman Empire-esque establishment, complete with an anti-orc, tiefling, and wizard Inquisition). Almost every party member has bad blood with these guys.

The party was dropped off in Helmsport by a smuggler pal of their's, who said he'd be back at the start of the next month. They would have to travel through the cold on their own if the wanted to leave sooner. I feel like this situation has so much potential to be a huge highlight of this game, but I just can't conjure up anymore ideas than "find Cromwell and dip out." Here are my current leads for plot-hooks:

-One of my players has a PC from an old game that got cancelled who lives here. His name is Smoke, and he is a level 5 Arcane Trickster rogue. He's a treasure hunter and an ex-sailor. Our Fire Genasi Wizard, Spark, is an old friend of his. I've debated whether or not I should use him.

-Our Tortle Bard's ex-wife lives here. They divorced when the tavern he used to own here didn't make enough money to get by.

-A few longboats worth of Goliaths are present here. They are all-female, and searching for their missing Jarl (in my setting Goliath are kind of like the Gerudo from Zelda, except they can be all male or female depending on the tribe).

-Last one, and it's what I would want to be the big finish. I'm trying to set up for a legion of vampire pirates called the Bloodsail Buccaneers. They are led by an ex-member of the Church of the Silver Flame, and would be forced to attack Helmsport to drive out the Silver Flame in order to prevent them from gaining sea-access and attacking their base out on the ocean. Among them is the vampirified Jarl of the aforementioned goliaths, serving as the Admiral's right hand man. They could honestly end up being enemies or allies with my party, considering how much they hate the Church.

This is about as far as I have gotten. I feel like there is HUGE potential for this to be a big highlight of my game, but I'm just stuck. I would seriously appreciate any ideas.

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