This article over at EN World, Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War, has been making the rounds of the OSR. It is a great article, and very insightful. I highly recommend that you read it if you have not. I originally saw the link in a post by Zak, which means you probably already have too. As you might suspect, I am in the combat as war camp, though since I am running a 4E hack game right now, aspects of both approaches make strong appearances.
But that is not (mostly) what this post is about.
Deep into the pages of responses that article generated the original author threw this out:
How I’m planning to start my next campaign is to have the PCs hired as henchmen by NPC adventurers. The PCs and their bosses march through the forest and then the NPCs leave the PCs outside the dungeon to watch their horses while they delve. Then the NPCs never come back. What do the PCs do?
What a wonderful campaign seed. I want to make sure it does not get lost.
Firstly, sell the horses
That is indeed an excellent adventure seed.
Of course, players, being the murder-hobos we know and love would have already killed and or sold the horses before the door closed behind their employeers, and THEN would go on to the dungeon themselves.
Nice. Will be using this.
That is an excellent hook! Must remember.
Something like that is about to happen in one of my games. The PCs — a Ranger, a Druid & a Barbarian — have been hired by a group of NPC adventurers to outfit them for wilderness survival, guide them through the wilderness to a dungeon, and guard their camp while the adventurers are in the dungeon. We’ll see what the PCs do when a loud crash reverberates from inside the dungeon, followed by faint cries for help…
Nice. I’d be curious to know how it goes.
Thanks. I’ll let you know.