0 Level Funnel Ideas...

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RevTurkey
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0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by RevTurkey » Sat May 05, 2012 1:51 am

Hi, I thought it might be good to start a thread where DMs can share interesting ideas for the 0 level 'funnel'?

On another thread I noticed some excellent ideas for a meteor crash where the players are the remaining survivors in the village.

Anotherone where the dungeon is the ruins of a crashed spaceship.

I was thinking maybe rework the old TSR Treasure Hunt, Shipwrecked theme. Where the group are the survivors...maybe introduce elements of the TV show Lost but this time with an ending?

Anybody else got any thoughts they want to share, to help each other out?
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by TheNobleDrake » Sat May 05, 2012 2:53 am

Some ideas I have had, though the first is the only one I've used so far:

1. The village is being raided for livestock & slaves while it is being burned as a distraction, the PCs funnel down as they battle during the raid & trying to recover taken goods afterwards.

2. Eye of the Beholder - meaning that the PCs have been unceremoniously tossed into the dungeon beneath the city by the city leaders with the gate locked behind them. They have to get through the dungeon if they want to get out.

3. A number of villagers are spiritually/mentally drawn into a shared dreamscape by some being with power over dreams - those that do not survive the "funnel" simply die in their sleep, the others waking with full knowledge of what has transpired... and any strange items kept in the dream mysteriously present in their homes upon waking.

4. The bland standby - the party wakes up in a barracks-like room, unaware of how they came to be there, and must explore the dungeon looking for a way out. Would work best with alterations to starting trade goods so that the situation is more believable (the farmer is abducted, but his prized goat and his trusty pitchfork are nowhere in sight... though a spear and backpack are near the cot he woke up on, etc.)

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by RevTurkey » Sun May 06, 2012 4:27 am

Nice work :D

I like the idea of a group of villagers being taken and fed into a deadly dungeon for some reason...
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by RevTurkey » Sun May 06, 2012 4:36 pm

I think there may be good mileage in reworking horror stories and films...

Just watching 'The Fog' and a seaside village could be a good starting point?

James Herbert's 'The Rats'... Come on squeaky, squeak out!

John Carpenter's 'The Thing' of course.

That Stephen King 'Mist' short story/film has a bit of a Cthulhu vibe I thought.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers? The Blob? Quatermass Experiment? Etc

Blood On Satan's Claw Anybody?

Most players would pick up on the references but I don't think it would spoil the fun, provided you changed enough of the detail to make it feel original. This sort of idea has been done before but not so as the players have a whole village worth of characters I don't think.

Just thinking outloud. You probably have already done this lot before, I am fairly new to being a DM...but maybe it's a starting point to work from?
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sun May 06, 2012 4:52 pm

A group of modern characters
On a routine expedition
Met the greatest earthquake ever known.
High on the rapids
It struck their tiny raft.
And plunged them down a thousand feet below.

To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by Roderick Usher » Sun May 06, 2012 4:56 pm

I went with a Treasure Hunt theme myself. The group was shipwrecked on a scaled-down version of the Isle of the Ape. It worked quite well, I thought.

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by GnomeBoy » Sun May 06, 2012 7:08 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:...To the Land of the Lost.
Sign me up! :D
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by finarvyn » Mon May 07, 2012 6:34 am

I think that the old "haunted mansion" approach is pretty cool. Toss the zeroes into a maze of traps and things that pop out at them to see who survives and who doesn't.
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by Karaptis » Mon May 07, 2012 10:31 am

finarvyn wrote:I think that the old "haunted mansion" approach is pretty cool. Toss the zeroes into a maze of traps and things that pop out at them to see who survives and who doesn't.
Like a scaled down version of U1? That may work. Maybe tell the group to make one or two more 0 lvls and leave it to scale.

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by finarvyn » Mon May 07, 2012 11:25 am

Karaptis wrote:
finarvyn wrote:I think that the old "haunted mansion" approach is pretty cool. Toss the zeroes into a maze of traps and things that pop out at them to see who survives and who doesn't.
Like a scaled down version of U1? That may work. Maybe tell the group to make one or two more 0 lvls and leave it to scale.
A great example of this was "The Mansion of Mad Professor Ludlow: A spooky AD&D adventure", a cool adventure written by James Ward for Dragon magazine. (Issue #42.)

The premise was that of a bunch of kids invistigating a spooky house. It was modern instead of ancient but a lot of fun. It could be modified to make a zero-level adventure pretty easily, if I remember correctly. (It's been a while since I ran it.)
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by RevTurkey » Mon May 07, 2012 12:20 pm

Yes the Haunted House theme has to be a good one to try sometime.
I was just thinking maybe you could do an adventure set in an Asylum? Or a Prison?
Maybe an evil is summoned by one of the residents and the characters must escape?
Most characters my group make up are nuts anyway so they would fit in nicely. i guess staring equipment and the like might need a bit of modification but...might be fun. Especially if you gave all the group some sort of phobia r interesting trait that might have got them locked up?

I love that the group are 'the zeroes' rather than 'the heroes' :D
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by Karaptis » Mon May 07, 2012 2:06 pm

I was gonna do a series of "evil party" modules. My first one was a prison break scenario. I think that would be fun no matter the alignment.

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by ragboy » Tue May 08, 2012 10:28 am

Roderick Usher wrote:I went with a Treasure Hunt theme myself. The group was shipwrecked on a scaled-down version of the Isle of the Ape. It worked quite well, I thought.
Using Treasure Hunt as my base for my work game, as well, but I've modified it out the wazoo. Never thought of Isle of the Ape...hmmmm.
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by jmucchiello » Tue May 08, 2012 6:47 pm

The classic caravan guard turned on its ear can work. It also explains why 15-20 people might need to work together. Just have them all a part of a traveling group (pilgrims, traders, etc). In the pre-game background they get captured by slavers and you can throw them directly into a dungeon crawl similar to the old A4 module.

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by nstr » Fri May 11, 2012 4:40 pm

I plan on completely reworking and old D&D adventure called Clerics Challenge 2. Their town will be attacked by undead in the middle of the night. The whole town will have to help to fight the undead off including the PCs. As the sun rises and the undead retreat the investgations lead them to the old cemetary and crypt where they will enter an interesting dungeon/funnel.

I think it will work well to transition PCs from nobodys to adventurers. I also plan to have hooks for all the classes in the dungeon.

I am excited!

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by giant » Sat May 12, 2012 12:47 pm

Screams in the night. Something is killing off the villagers one by one. In desperation a few gather together to try to find the demon and end the terror.

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by Mintaro » Sat May 12, 2012 10:43 pm

I love the body snatchers idea. I think that a talented judge could work wonders with that as a plot.

The players don't know who to trust, the characters friends and family are being turned and must be slain. It makes for a really heavy character driven story line.

Plus as an added bonus if you have a player who is good at keeping his characters straight, you can even have a scene where the characters get separated and then meet back up, and now one of them has been changed...but whom?(you know like the Thing).


One I have been rolling around in my head is the standard Evil lord on the hill. Basically Dracula or Frankenstein type story. All the townspeople are saddling up to go and kill the monster in the keep on the hill. And run into more than they expected. Skeleton guards, slavering wolves, then make the last boss be the Lord himself, some ridiculously powerful enemy that starts tearing them apart until they do something special. Like break apart the shudders as the sun comes up, or hold up a magic mirror they find to break a curse.


I also like the idea of having one or two characters getting crippled instead of dying. If the situation is right. Say the blacksmith is struck by a falling axe and brought to exactly 0. Well maybe instead of dying outright his hand is severed off. and if the other characters can bind him in time he can survive the encounter, but never be the same.

Then later when the adventurers return to town they see the smith is trying to make a life for himself after the injury. He has sold his forge and purchased the Inn, treating his old companions to a round of ale for saving his life.

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by RevTurkey » Sun May 13, 2012 8:02 am

Good stuff :D i like the idea of a village or town having many of the survivors from 0 level funnel games... Inn keeps, store owners and farmers etc that the Dm takes control of and uses as the backdrop of npcs for future games. Those that the players progress onward and upward would actually know and have history with some of them before 1st level play even begins. Good.
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by PretentiousMoniker » Mon May 21, 2012 2:26 pm

I had an idea the other night that might work well for its 'fun' aspect, and might be more appropriate for a party of younger kids.
Also, it could be a funny twist for a group that's already played through a DCC funnel and is expecting widespread carnage.

It's Medieval-landia, and you live in a farmhouse. The local Lord leased it to your family, and your grandparents died here, your parents will die here, and likely, so will you. Even worse, you're the 4th child. It'll never be yours. Your parents can't afford to apprentice you for a trade. You'll just work the land until you marry another peasant and you'll work their land. It's the same thing in each village around here, and there are dozens like yourself. But at every equinox, the Lord invites all those between 14 and 16 who wish to apply, to meet the Horrific Challenge and join the militia, or even better - the Explorers.

The Lord has built up much of his wealth by exploring ruins in the surrounding areas and retrieving artifacts, treasures, and knowledge. He also defends the area from local brigands or other more monstrous threats who interfere with little trade still exists, and kills them and takes their plunder.

At the keep (or small hillfort, or fortified manor), you're introduced to a number of disfigured workers who tell you of the horrors of the Challenge (they all actually received their wounds in post-Challenge service). If you still wish to go through, you join your other applicants.

At this point, the players' weapons are exchanged for blunted ones (not that they could really tell, they're noobs), and they enter into a horrific dungeon and/or cave system that is actually stocked with otherwise-convincing non-lethal traps and enemies. If the party is actually blood-thirsty, the enemies could disappear in a cloud of greasy black smoke just before a coup-de-grace, courtesy of some augmented flash powder. Traps could involve sleep-magic where the players appear dead, and 'stage tech ninjas' could help remove bodies of players knocked out in combat, or the rest of the party could be hurried along with a time incentive.

At the end, the least competent of the failures could be assessed and found employment in the manor or in another village, the not-so-embarrassing ones go to the militia, and the survivors become the Explorers.

In the end, the players learn that the other 60% of their party didn't actually die - but they would have if it were real! Their lives are fragile, and their assignments will NOT be non-lethal.

Actually, I like the idea for seasoned DCC players even better.

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by Karaptis » Mon May 21, 2012 6:34 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:A group of modern characters
On a routine expedition
Met the greatest earthquake ever known.
High on the rapids
It struck their tiny raft.
And plunged them down a thousand feet below.

To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
That is how my Hollow World campaign will start... Kinda.

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by Raven_Crowking » Mon May 21, 2012 6:47 pm

Karaptis wrote:
Raven_Crowking wrote:A group of modern characters
On a routine expedition
Met the greatest earthquake ever known.
High on the rapids
It struck their tiny raft.
And plunged them down a thousand feet below.

To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
That is how my Hollow World campaign will start... Kinda.
The survivors of the funnel?

Marshall, Will, and Holly.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by RevTurkey » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:45 am

Just watching 'Gladiator' the other day...

Made me think...kidnap some villagers and throw them in an Arena style adventure.

The victors get to live and level up to 1st.

It would be a nice substitute for a quick funnel.

Just a thought.
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by PretentiousMoniker » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:25 pm

That could work - maybe the villages were raided by the entity that's putting on the games. Sets up the logical 1st level followup of a gladiator revolt. Might be a challenge though keeping track of an entire party named 'Spartacus'.

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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by RevTurkey » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:08 am

Ha ha :D

Knowing my group they'd be called 'Biggus Di....
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Re: 0 Level Funnel Ideas...

Post by Skyscraper » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:21 pm

Heh, I've just posted another thread asking for suggestions for my burgeonning campaign.

In essence my idea is to have the PCs be those that decide to investigate a plague that scourges the vale they live in, when the local noble does nothing to help. They don't know yet, but the plague is one of many, instigated by a demon with whom the baron dealt when the baron didn't uphold his side of the bargain.
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Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.

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