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4. Airship Down
A burning airship is losing altitude and heading towards a nearby village.
What caused the incident? And what do you do?
We all get a bit of writer's block sometimes. Maybe we have a session coming up and we're not in the zone, or we're starting an entirely new campaign and just need a bit of inspiration to get the creative juices flowing. So we've compiled a list of dnd story hooks to inspire you, whether it's a quick one shot session or an ongoing campaign. We'll be updating the list weekly with new plot hooks, so remember to check back regularly!
3. A Disquieting Introduction
On entering a new village, everyone is terrified of your party, except for one man with a wide grin on his face who appears very pleased to see you.
What does the old man know?
2. The Letterless Letter
Your party receives a letter that is completely blank except for a signature.
What does this mystery letter mean?
Your party discover writing in scar tissue on the palms of their hands. The really strange thing: each one is written in their own handwriting.
What was written and how did it get there?
67. Irreverent Reptiles...?
Kobolds have tunnelled into the basement of a nearby temple and refuse to leave.
What are they doing there?
66. One Giant Mess
The rotting corpse of a giant is found alongside a well-traveled road. The giant looks like it has been dead for weeks, but travellers at a nearby wayside inn swear that it wasn’t there when they ventured through yesterday afternoon.
How did it get there? And is it significant?
65. A Poisonous Personality
An emissary from the elven lands arrives in the city, and suddenly high-ranking government officials begin dropping dead, apparently poisoned.
Is it a coincidence or is there a connection?
64. A Dance For Dusk
The party receives invitations for a formal ball held at a local noble’s estate. The invites were sent by a Mr. Dusk.
Who is Mr. Dusk? And what does he want from the party?
63. An Unknown Horror
Some local children come running into the tavern looking for their parents. They are breathless and gasping about a cave behind a waterfall not far outside of town...
And the large, unseen thing that began growling inside of it.
What is it? And what is it doing there?
62. Single Target
Someone has hired assassins to eliminate a single member of the party. They could strike at any time!
Who is behind the plot and for what reason?
61. A Woman Scorned...
A woman storms up to one of the PCs with a member of the town/city watch, points at them, and yells, “That’s the one! That’s the one that killed my husband!”
What do you do?
60. Magic Mushrooms...?
A new drug is running rampant through several cities and is slowly making its way into nearby towns. The drug seems to offer the brief ability to perform minor magical spells, but prolonged use leaves the users withered husks.
What do you do?
59. Mythical Masquerade?
An old man in a dusty, rough spun robe claims to be a gold dragon in disguise. He's very eccentric, but offers to lead the party to a great treasure.
Is he for real? And what treasure does he offer?
58. Eerie Excavations
A long abandoned mine suddenly seems to be alive with the sounds of picks and hammers echoing from within… in the middle of the night.
Who or what is causing it? And what are they looking for?
57. The Troubling Trophy
The stuffed head of a fantastic beast that adorns a place above the mantle in a local tavern suddenly comes to life and screams something in a strange language before bursting into flames.
What did it say? And what does this strange occurrence mean?
56. Clerical Agenda
A cleric gives the party a list consisting of pieces of monsters from the area that she is looking to acquire for her “work”. She offers to pay the party a handsome sum for each piece.
What does she want them for?
55. Dear Diary...
While laying in bed one night in an inn, one of the PCs hears a small thump under their bed. It seems to be a journal that had somehow been dislodged from its hidden resting place. It details an extensive plot to assassinate a prominent leader in a town three days away. The last date in the journal is two days ago.
What do you do?
54. A Village in Raptures.
The players find an abandoned village. Tables are still set as if for dinner, but with moulding food. Clothes and personal possessions are still found in homes. Even a minstrel’s lute can be found leaned against a stool upon a small stage in the tavern. In the center of the village is a well with some rough words scratched into it in elvish (“A price must be paid”).
What happened here?
53. Fallacious Fugitives..?
While arriving in town, the party sees a wanted poster with pictures of their likenesses drawn upon it. It states that they are wanted for murder, extortion, blackmail, thievery, and arson. They are extremely dangerous and there is a significant reward for their capture… dead or alive.
What do you do?
52. A Noble Cause..?
A new noble from an unknown house arrived in the city last month. Around the same time, several vagrants in the area started to vanish.
Is there a connection or is it coincidence?
51. The Future Keepsake...
An innkeeper informs the players that a package arrived for them last night. It is a small silver locket with a date engraved on it. The date is one week from today.
Who sent this mysterious package and what does it mean?
50. A Moonlight Meeting...
A tall, handsome man in fine clothes stands in the centre of a crossroads. He seems to know each of the PCs names and says he has information that would be very valuable to them if they choose to return to this spot tonight when the moon is at its apex.
Who is he and what does he have to say?
49. Drums on the horizon…
A flurry of activity across the whole city wakes the party in the middle of the night. The citizens are running around frantically but without purpose. In the occasional moments of quiet you can hear the sound of war drums in the distance, getting louder.
What do you do?
48. Don’t bite the hand…
The village has been offering tribute to an unspoken creature since time immemorial, they have lived humble but peaceful lives. Until two months ago, the tribute was no longer taken. Since then several outlying houses have been completely destroyed and the families vanished.
What has caused this change and what do you do?
47. Tick Tock…
As your party meander through the market, a young boy makes a direct path to one of the party members. He places an hourglass in their hands as he whispers “they’re running out of time” before the boy evaporates into nothing.
What does this message mean?
A floating landmass has appeared in the sky, hovering high above the city.
Where did it come from and who is behind it?
45. Waters from where…?
The town mine has suddenly flooded killing many men and trapping hundreds more in the mine. The town rally together to save the stranded miners from drowning, but what’s stranger, there has been no rain for many weeks.
Where did the water come from?
44. A rude awakening…
As the party rest in their accommodation, a raven crashes through the window scattering blood and feathers all around the room. Its limp body lies on the ground, a tattered note tied to its leg.
What does the note read?
43. The Forest Inclines
All of the trees in the wood are growing unnaturally. Over the previous days, each tree has adopted an extreme tilt, but all leaning in the same direction.
The townsfolk gather around a city square’s water fountain. The still surface of the water no longer reflects their peering faces, but an unsettling sight…
What image lays on the surface of the water?
41. The Murmuration
A vast flock of ravens appears over the town casting shadows across the landscape as they block out the sun. One by one, they begin to drop from the sky. Their bodies litter the ground and pile up in the streets.
What is causing this?
40. Echos From The Well
A crowd gathers around the village well and murmurs of a crying child are rippling through the small hamlet.
But, a headcount has been taken and none of the children are missing…
What do you do?
All the livestock in the principality refuse to eat and are wasting away, they nip and bite at anyone who gets close to them. But one farmer has managed to get his herds eating again, the problem is, all they will eat is meat.
What has changed the animals so strangely?
38. From The Water Deep
An island suddenly appears on the watery horizon of a costal city.
Why has it come?
37. No Silver Lining
A farming community is in desperate straights. A low hanging cloud has blocked the sun from their crops for weeks, gives no rain and is completely static.
Their crops are at the brink of failure which will mean many starving over winter.
What do you do?
36. The Sun Stands Still
The party has fought hard and vanquished an evil foe. But as they travel back to the town they notice: the sun has frozen in the sky!
What has caused this phenomena?
35. A Different Type of Goblin
A band of goblins assembles outside of the city gates. They stand tall and upright, are dressed in linen and silk and speak common with no slur or gravel in their voices. They ask for an audience with the city prefect.
Who are they?
34. You Can Only Die Twice
Your party enter the city to the roar of a gathering crowd. You push through the masses to see an execution taking place. But as you look closer, you see the victim is a previously thought dead party member!
How do you react?
33. Royal Ructions
Two identical people claim to be the king, they both match the description perfectly but the royal court cannot distinguish the imposter.
How do you distinguish the false royal?
32. There’s No Fire Without Smoke
A fierce fire blazes through the local forest but, with closer inspection, consumes nothing in its path.
What is causing this mystical blaze?
31. Happy Death Day?
The city is facing a series of unexplained murders. The only thing that connects them, all the victims have the same birthday.
What do you do to capture the murderer?
30. Frying Pan or Fire?
A small mining town has spread a call for help. A miner had uncovered a group of golems buried in the rock. As they awoke, they cried a warning message of a powerful buried creature. Without the income from the mine, the villagers will surely starve.
What do you do?
29. And Bears, Oh My!
A mass of wild cats are gathering around the local temple. They encircle it as their numbers grow but show no signs of aggression. They only watch.
What are they doing?
28. The Greater Good
A dark rider on an otherworldly mount demands the execution of every third born son. He shows no aggression or malice but claims the fate of the world depends on it.
Why is he there?
27. Hymn from the Deep
An earthquake has torn a crevasse open in the central square of the town. When all is quiet, the faint sound of singing can be heard from the darkness.
What do you do?
26. The Twilight Child
A child, missing for many years, has been seen playing at twilight in the forest. But runs away when approached.
What does this mean?
25. Seeing Red
A distressed family member wakes up in the middle of a bloody murder scene, their family missing. But, upon closer inspection, the blood isn’t real!
Who’s behind this and why?
24. Wouldn’t Hurt a Fly
A kind hearted, soft handed local women has begun to have regular blackouts during which she becomes rabid and will do anything she can to kill a well known member of the local ruling council.
Who’s behind this plot? Or is it something else?
23. The Lesser of Two Evils
Your party uncovers a plot to assassinate a local slave lord. Many slaves could be freed, but the assassins are going to frame a nearby tribal leader. It will result in a war in which many innocents will die.
How would you save the situation?
22. The Ambassador
The party is employed to escort a visiting ambassador through a rough part of town. The task goes without a hitch, but when the adventurers arrive at their destination, none of the hosts recognise the ambassador.
Why don’t they recognise the ambassador?
21. Thick as Thieves
You’re employed by two mutually distrusting criminal gangs to mediate a trade.It does not go well and they both turn on you.
How would you have it go wrong?
20. The Emperor’s Daughter
A kidnapping attempt was made on the emperor’s daughter. The villains were caught and detained but she has been manifesting some strange behaviour.
What weird things is the emperor’s daughter doing?
19. In The Depths of The Mine
A drunken miner shouts to the whole inn about something amazing he started to uncover in the mine. The inn bristles with motion and several groups pay their tabs and leave hastily.
What would you have had the miner discover?
18. Let There Be Light
The party is awoken in the middle of the night by a ruckus outside. They go outside to see what the fuss is about and see the whole town is pointing at a bright light which has appeared in the sky.
What is the light and how did it get there?
17. No Strings Attached
The local bazaar has been regularly visited by an odd-looking merchant only on the fourth day of every month. His wares are unique items which he refuses to take any coin for. He’s due back tomorrow.
What is the merchant up to?
16. Needle in a Haystack
A travelling merchant has been offloading stolen items to the locals. Mostly trinkets and tat, but one innocuous item is incalculably valuable.
What is the item of value?
15. Save the King
An assassination attempt has been made on the vassal King of the local municipality. Although he survived, the assailant is likely to make another effort. Fortunately, he left behind one damning piece of evidence. Your group has been hired to track down the culprit.
What evidence did he leave behind?
14. The Odd Child
A young child has begun to manifest unusual abilities and is causing havoc.
What’s behind this?
13. The Holding of Grandfathers’ Hands
After returning triumphantly to town from their latest adventure, the party finds everyone in the area is completely still, as if frozen in time.
What’s caused this temporal problem?
12. The First Plague
The river running into the city has all but dried up save for a trickle of red.
What has caused this ominous happening?
11. Sweet Dreams
Everyone in a city has had the same dream every night for weeks, except for one child.
What’s special about the child?
10. They Call Him Rod
A storm has been over the village for a while, lightning seems to be attracted to one person.
What did he do to garner such unwanted attention from the heavens?
9. Stix and Stones
A nearby lake has suddenly drained revealing a wrecked ship, mostly intact. The mystery is, it’s hundreds of miles from the sea or any river large enough to carry it.
How did it get there?
8. Freaky Friday
After a night in the inn — a few too many ales to boot — the party wake up to find themselves in the body of another party member.
Was it something they drank or something else?
7. The Monolith
A huge, black monolith appears outside of town but none of the townspeople can see it.
How did it get there and why can’t anyone see it?
6. The Tattoo Paradox
Mysterious glyphs and ancient writings start appearing as tattoos all over the bodies of the entire party. The blackened shapes crawl back into the shadow when exposed to firelight.
How did they get there?
There have been rumours circulating about a violent criminal on the loose, the description perfectly matches one of your party.
Would you create a conspiracy or coincidence?