Our second one page adventure (OPA) – download bite-sized inspiration for your RPG sessions!
This one page adventure was meant to present a framework for a single interesting mechanic: having to balance the effects of an illness with the temporary side-effects of medicine. When we tested this one-page adventure, this balancing act let to some interesting strategizing – with the party’s mage trying to take as little medicine as possible to keep a clear mind, thereby exposing himself to more physical danger. However, the central quest of searching for the original pathogen fell apart quickly and had to be fleshed out with some interesting battles along the way.
Recommended RPG: Any
Number of players: Four or less recommended
Duration: medium (3-4 hours)
A deadly disease known as Pestis has spread over the rich harbour town of Fontaine. It starts with a light dizziness and a lowered pain-threshold. Soon, even small stimuli start to cause tremendous pain until the victim is driven insane – an empty husk roaming the streets and inflicting violence on anything which threatens to get near it. The city’s chief medical officer, Marten Hoyt, thinks he can create a vaccine, but to this end he must figure out how the disease spread in the first place. He sends your party out into the city with a rudimentary antidote to find the source.
In this one-page adventure, your party has been infected with Pestis. In an act of desperation, you venture into to a city which has fallen into a state of absolute chaos. Can you find the original source of the disease? Can you cope with your progressing illness? Can you trust Hoyt’s antidote? After all, he warned you it would be “No Panacea”.
Hints, notes and ideas for this One-Page Adventure
The difficulty of this adventure largely depends on how fast the GM wants the illness to progress within his players. The faster the progression, the more difficult every encounter becomes. Having to balance the disease versus the side-effects of the antidote makes for an interesting central conflict. Therefore, having a fast progression at least in the beginning helps to raise the tension.
The players need some way to check the stage of their disease. An in-universe way to do this, might be for Hoyt to come up with a way to measure the progression by testing how much pressure or heat he can apply to their skin before the start to scream.
RPGs with many fantastical elements or spells might trivialize the mystery of the disease somewhat, as players can cast spells such as “detect poisons and disease”.
The battle encounters should be short and must account for the fact that each player now can take way less damage. This gives a lot of roleplay opportunities, as now even comparatively weak enemies suddenly pose a real threat.