Shadowlands CFS

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  • #4708

    Reply to this post with your CFS (or Hook, Rising Action, Climax), including fun “Limited Campaign” ideas.

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    • #4644
      Honor: 22
      Glory: 37


      The party need to go into the Shadowlands because (a relation or loved one of a PC is part of a Crab scouting party which has gone missing / a ronin or peasant a PC needs to find has been lost during a 20 Goblin Winter expedition / a criminal they need to bring back alive for information or testimony has fled into the Shadowlands). ​

      A thousand years ago, at the dawn of the empire, Fu Leng cursed the ogres and turned them into animals. ​ Tainted ogres lose all their reason, ability to communicate, memories, and are seemingly motivated only by territorial aggression, fear or hunger.​ This adventure works best if the players have encountered these mindless, animalistic ogres previously.

      Recently, due to (the actions of a dark sage or similar miscreant / the activation of an ancient forbidden artifact / the fall of Fu Leng in the Second Day of Thunder / the passage of 1000 years weakening the curse), the curse on the ogres has began to unravel and some ogres have regained their reason and intellect. ​ In order to remain rational and lower their Taint levels, the ogres have resorted to maho (in 4e and previous there was a maho spell to transfer some of a Tainted individual’s Taint into a victim – shouldn’t be too hard to dream up a similar spell for 5e). ​


      The NPC/s in need of rescue by the party have been captured by the free ogre band, and are going to be used for Taint reduction victims. ​ This puts a time limit on the quest, as if the party doesn’t hurry, the NPCs will be ‘used up’ one by one.

      The hidden base the ogres are using as a home is too fortified for a direct attack by the party to be successful and there are more ogres there than there are party members – forcing the party to think of another way to get the captive/s out. ​ In addition, these ogres are not like their mindless, ravenous counterparts, and use tactical fighting, communication between themselves, ambushes, traps, and work effectively as a team.

      The ogres believe the Crab to be barbaric and bloodthirsty raiders who send warriors into their lands to hunt their people – not out of understandable reasons such as hunger or survival or self-defense, but for ‘glory’ or ‘status’ they can get from returning with trophies of their murders (their interpretation of the 20 Goblin Winter events). ​ Having lost a loved one personally to the Crab in this way, the leader of the ogres is going to be resistant to diplomacy or bargaining from the party. ​

      However, the ogres are also trying to remain hidden from some Shadowlands power (The Obsidian Flower? Moto Tsume? Lady Yukiko? Akuma no Oni?) who wants to re-enslave them. This could be a factor that the party can use in their favour.


      Will the party use stealth to free the prisoners, and need to elude their pursuers as they escort them back to the relative safety of the Wall? ​ The prisoners may be in poor condition and this could slow the party down on their return journey, and will require provisions that may be in short supply.

      Will the party use the ogres’ fear of being re-enslaved as a bargaining factor? ​ Alternatively, could the party even tip off the Shadowlands general to the location of the ogre hideout?

      Will the party return to the Wall for reinforcements and get back to where the prisoners are held before the NPC they want to rescue is used as Taint transfer fodder? ​

      Will the party convince the Crab to set up some sort of alliance / truce with the… um… maho-using, Shadowlands-monster, Crab-kidnapping free ogre band…?

    • #4742
      Honor: 34
      Glory: 43

      Twenty Patrol Missions for the Shadowlands:

      Missing patrol. It’s been eight days and a patrol hasn’t returned. Chances are that they are lost, wounded, or dead. Whatever the cause, your patrol needs to discover what happened in case someone can be saved or there is an unknown threat lurking in the region near the Wall.

      Rumors of a new monster. Running low on supplies and on their way back to the Wall, the previous patrol found evidence of some unknown creature stalking them. They were able to determine that it wasn’t goblins or an ogre or some more common threat, but it falls to your patrol to find out what (and how dangerous) it is.

      Interlopers spotted. Scouts from the tower spotted humanoid figures on the horizon, heading south and west. They didn’t move like goblins, nezumi or undead, which means it might be Rokugani – either samurai who snuck through unauthorized on some mad quest, or aspiring maho-tsukai seeking the power of Fu Leng. Whoever they are, track them down and bring them back to the watchtower for questioning.

      Rumor of treasure. Due to the shifting nature of the Shadowlands, some shrines, temples and castles that had been thought lost are occasionally spotted within three days’ ride of the wall. One of these places was seen by an incoming patrol, and records state that it has important documents or items that the Crab want recovered. Find the place and recover the items before the Shadowlands pulls it away once more.

      Track goblin migration. As weak, small-minded creatures with a keen survival instinct, the movement of large groups of goblins can often presage a cataclysm, the arrival of some apex predator, or the gathering of a Shadowlands army. Your patrol must find such a group of goblins and ensure that their movements aren’t a harbinger of something to come.

      Recover missing equipment. The last patrol, either by accident or necessity, abandoned some of their equipment during their mission in order to make it back to the Wall. While the foodstuff and water is certainly ruined, the other items (armor, weapons, secret orders, etc) need to be found before a creature of malign intelligence finds them and turns them against the Crab.

      Probe enemy defenses. There’s been a lull in activity on the other side of the Wall. Your patrol needs to find one of the known threats and discover why they’ve gone quiet – is it an opportunity to eliminate an old foe, or merely the calm before the storm?

      Cull goblin infestation. A major goblin encampment was spotted dangerously close to the main patrol routes. If left unchecked it could block vital access points completely, or be used as a staging ground for an attack. Your patrol must go in, kill the leaders, scatter the rest, and burn the camp.

      Investigate new terrain features. The land has shifted just beyond the horizon, creating some new dark curiosity: honeycomb caverns that call out the names of samurai long-dead, a marsh with floating scabs in place of lily pads, a field of flowers with petals like razor blades. Your patrol has to find it, map it, and discern if it is merely another oddity, or a sign of something worse.

      Track wounded monster. There was a recent assault on the Wall, and while the attack didn’t seriously threaten the garrison, one of the more dangerous beasts managed to escape back into the Shadowlands. Hunt it down before it can recover.

      Counterattack. After a mass battle the enemy army has broken and fled, but many of their troops survived. Your patrol is to methodically track them down and slay as many of the creatures as you can before they either return to the Deep Shadowlands or rally for another attack.

      Acquire test subjects for Kuni. A group of Kuni scholars is working on a new theory of how to defend against certain Shadowlands threats. Your patrol needs to find something, whether the blossom of a forsaken flower or the still-living hand of an oni and return it (intact) to the watchtower.

      Test the new Kaiu device. The diligent engineers of the Kaiu School have developed something – an alarm system for detecting variations of Taint, an ogre trap, a set of clockwork armor – that is ready for a field test. Your patrol is to find a spot in the Shadowlands where the device can be used and return with copious notes on its effectiveness, to include how it might be improved.

      Survey Big Stink. Keeping tabs on the massive goblin settlement of Big Stink is a necessary and unenviable task that often falls to low-ranking patrols, given that it teaches the value of following directions and choosing your battles wisely. Your patrol is to check on the ruined castle and bring back an estimate of how many goblins currently reside there, what their disposition is, and any signs of unusual activity.

      Capture a goblin. Intelligence is a valuable tool in the war against the Shadowlands, and few sources of intelligence are better than an enemy informant. Your patrol is to bring back a live goblin to the watchtower for interrogation to see if there are any new warlords on the march or dark plans coming to fruition.

      Negotiate with the Nezumi. The mysterious ratmen native to the Shadowlands are valuable contacts, often able to scout locations that would be incredibly dangerous for a Crab patrol. They don’t do such things for free, however, and your patrol has been tasked to seek out a Nezumi camp and find out what aid they are willing to offer, and for what price.

      Purge an ogre camp. Far more dangerous than a goblin infestation, a band of ogres has established a lair nearby. Stumbling across such a site unawares would spell doom for most patrols, so yours has been specially tasked to find this place and destroy it, leaving the skulls of the ogres behind as a warning to those who would stand against the Crab.

      Burn bodies. There was a major skirmish beyond the wall, leaving many dead on both sides. While sometimes the dead are absorbed back into the foul earth of the Shadowlands, there is the ever-present danger of a maho-tsukai using such a place to raise a legion of undead. Your patrol must find the battle site and burn the bodies to deny the enemy such an opportunity.

      Find deserters. Driven mad by the whispers of the Taint, some Crab samurai have snuck through the tunnels into the Shadowlands seeking to join the ranks of the Lost. Your patrol is assigned with tracking them down and slaying them before they can become even more powerful.

      Intercept thief. Someone stole a powerful artifact from the Crab or their allies and has fled into the Shadowlands, either to offer the item to one of the dark powers there or to corrupt the item for their own ends. Your patrol needs to track them down and return with the item before it is too late.

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