Look up, what’s that falling?

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0789

Characters never look up. Let’s take advantage of that in our designs.

Inspired by a recent post from Derek Von Zarovich on his Patreon, let’s turn this soggy Monday into a fun brainstorm.

First, here’s the cool idea and map from Derek Map-Adventure Vault.

This was a tower from a flying fortress that fell down. The mages inside could save it from the worst of the fall. It is now buried in the earth backwards. However, due to the nature of the magic that kept the fortress afloat, the gravity inside the now buried tower is reversed. That’s why furniture is still in its place. If someone finds the entrance through the uppermost section, once they enter, gravity is quickly turned around and the tower can be explored as if it was standing.

I read that and thought, cool! I also started wondering about what else could fall from the sky to make life interesting for the PCs.

  • Dead monsters (from aerial combat)
  • An entire floating city (the source of floating magic has been stolen)
  • Strange items (garbage tossed away by fliers)
  • Organic materials (ahem)
  • Boulders (a rolling stone trap set off from nearby cliffs)
  • A treasure map (floating lazily on a breeze, covered in green blood)

Some things are Adventure Ideas, like save people from the crashed city, then help the city fly once again.

Other things fall into the Traps, Hazards & Dangers category.

But I think a third bucket, that’s oft under-used, is Detail. Romance an upcoming encounter, provide clues, and offer cool touches to make your world come alive.

For example, it seems like in every campaign of late I’ve got a dragon that makes an appearance overhead. It flies a thousand feet up, gliding in lazy circles, spying on and menacing the PCs. In one unfortunate episode, a dragon waited until the PCs exited a dungeon, weak and wanting to get their loot back to town as fast as possible….

But I have not been adding extra details to these scenes. “Make a Perception check. Yup, the dragon is back.”

Better would be: “A large red disc crashes beside you, slicing deep into the ground. It looks like a scale. A dragon scale!”

So take advantage of “drone space” to spruce up your encounters and descriptions. What do you think might fall from the sky? Email me your ideas or add them here. What Falls From The Sky. Let’s see what comes down.