So, I want to send my players on a little monster hunt (based on and created with Rampaging Monsters by Zzarchov Kowolski). The PC of my players would rather continue to loot a dungeon they entered through a Skullface in the Mountains, I thereby need a nice hook for them.
One of the PC is a shepherd (and a poucher) from a small village near Spillswick. I decided that the first village that was destroyed by my rampaging monster (a variant of the Faceless Giant) was his village, Mudheath. His mother still lived there. I trust on my player to catch the ball and help me to hook the others in. If this will not do it, two day will pass, the giant will have destroyed another village and the (impoverished) noble will offer… a bounty for the head of the fiend (Rampaging Monsters has a few BRILLIANT and funny suggestions).
EDIT: my new player just informed me about which of the prepared PC he chose: It is going to be Roland, the Sellsword. A pity, the other two would have been easier to hook. That is what happens if you don´t railroad your players: you can show that you are a good GM (and thereby able to improvise). Sooo… the (impoverished) noble, a certain Lord Payton of Boarswood, will have had send out his men already (the few that he had), only to lose his one and only son as well as some of his men-at-arms. Spillswick, being a Angelican city and not in alliance with the catholic noble, will rather defend its own villages and farmsteads then going out on a monster hunt, especially as “others will soon take care of it: the Lord offered the weapons, armor and warhorse of his late son to those that bring him the head of the giant”. Of course, to the characters this means between 1000sp and 1500sp (if they can sell it). This should be enough to entice the sell-sword, while the original three should either be driven by vengeance (Jasper) or by loyalty (the other two). It will be hard to motivate them with coin alone (after all, they plundered GOOD on their last mission).
The general “storyline” will follow the trail of the fiend, until it is confronted.
Three days before “X”: the Giant rises at night and destroys the village of Mudheath in the hours before dawn. Some villagers die, the others flee into different directions.
Two days before “X”: some refugees will have arrived in Spillswick, others at the keep of Lord Payton. His son, Sir Connorly, sets out with half a dozen men-at-arms (half of the standing troops of the Lord and all of their horses) to slay the monster.
One day before “X”: the men face the monster in the ruins of Mudheath. Men fire with arquebuse, the knight charges after the first volley. But in the end, Sir Connerly is heavily wounded and his men are charged by the Giant. At the end of the day, four horses return with two riders and a corpse (as the knights steed still carries the dead man on its back on its way home).
Day X: Lord Payton, his heart full of grief, anger and frustration, sends pidgeons out to his neighbors (and the city council of Spillswick as well) with the news about the monster, his dead son and the bounty he offers. Those arrive at noon.
The PC will arrive in the morning via ship, and later hear a town crier spreading the news.
The fiend rests in the nearby woods.
Day 1: During the day the fiend will have rested enough and travel through the woods to the nearest hamlet, Abbotspit.
Day 2: The giant reaches the hamlet a few hours after noon. The serfs will flee to the abbey which will take them in and close the gates, while the monks entreatingly pray for salvation. This will lead to a small miracle equal to a “Protection From Evil” that encloses the abbey and those within. The giant will be unable to attack the abbey but will raze the village, and later wait patiently in its ruins.
Day 3 to 4: The monks pray without end, but as the sun sinks at day four, the monster will be able to attack the abbey. If the characters did not arrive on the scene till then, the monks are to exhausted to flee. If a battle commences, the giant will flee if threatened to lose or will leave the characters for dead before it turns it attention to the next hamlet. In both cases, the abbey is saved. The monks and their abbot will offer the character hospitality (and their prayers may heal their wounds), but if they rest the fiend will heal as well as it retreats to the woods once more.
The further events on the actions of the characters. They may either follow the fiend in the woods (after a successful fight) for a final confrontation or may try to face the giant again in Applechurch (where a small number of men-at-arms took up position that are out here for the monster, too).