I’m experimenting with a slow but steady drip of rumours relating to a new location in my Hiraeth campaign. The idea has been to provide clues and information about a new adventure site while at the same time giving a sense of time and events moving on in the world.
Here’s the sequence so far:
13th of Leilani, Mother’s Day: In the past week, rain has deluged the village and locals report that it’s easily twice the amount you’d expect at this time of year. The Bogwithy is running very high and much of the land around the settlement is becoming waterlogged.
Rumours are circulating that some of the Dwarves living southwest of the village have been investigating some curious old stone ruins that the rain has uncovered, perhaps a quarter of a mile from Saxnotten on the hills just below the settlement.
This set up the conditions for the discovery that was about to be made in the setting. It also allowed me to add some colour to the setting in the form of rain and the effect extreme weather was having on the nearby river.
14th of Leilani, Last Day: Among the ruins uncovered by the continuing rain, which has become even heavier overnight, a couple of Dwarves from the refugee camp report finding a hole in the ground that appears to reveal an underground flow of water. The rain and mud makes it too dangerous to immediately explore but volunteers who used to work for the Guild of Sewermen in Varberg are keen to mount an expedition.
Some new players in the campaign have been choosing Dwarven characters so I decided to develop the story of recent refugees from Varberg including Dwarves alongside the new events I was introducing. This seemed to peak the interest of one or two players.
16th Leilani, Moon Day: Dwarves from the refugee group led by three fellows formerly from the Guild of Sewermen in Varberg have organised a block and tackle structure over the collapsed underground tunnel in the ruins. They say it’s too water-filled for immediate descent but plan to try in a day or two. Thankfully the rains have eased.
Here I am clearly setting up a new hole in the ground for the PCs to investigate while also continuing the NPC activity which threatens to beat them to it. The next scheduled session is on the 20th Leilani in the calendar, so the development of the tale might take on some urgency.
19th Leilani, King’s Day: Dwarves investigating the ruins and collapsed tunnel have lowered a small party of ex-Sewermen to investigate the waterlogged hole. They travelled southward along the stone-lined tunnel and came upon a side passage. Against the advice of the foreman, one of the ex-Sewermen named Hal went inside the side passage to take a look. Shortly after, his screams were heard and the rest of group took flight. The Dwarves need help to find Hal and the others are too afraid to return.
Tonight’s rumour sets up the beginning of an adventure hook. Do the player characters wish to go and rescue Hal? Are they willing to act sooner rather than later? I don’t know whether they will be interested but I’ve certainly enjoyed adding a new sequence of rumours to the game.
Going forward, I feel I would perhaps do better to see these among other rumours and spread out the sequence over a longer period of time. Perhaps this lacks subtlety but you never know until you experiment. I’m curious to see if the player characters take interest. Either way, this has been a good deployment of my recently developed habit of doing micro-prep daily.