Friday, 18 September 2020

Fetch-Quest Generator

 Hey remember back in the day when we I put useful stuff on our my blogs?

This was going to be at the start of 'Vault of Setebos', the dungeon I am doing for Ben L's 'Through Ultuans Door' but will likely be cut so here you go, a means to generate a reasonable-sounding semi-legal item-retrieval quest

Absolute Legend



The Mcguffin

“Bring for me..”

“It’s actually reasonably mine because…”



The Lunar Orb. Said to be a True Moon made small.

I am fighting to save ALL OF REALITY and I need this particular thing to do it.

Quest-Giver is extremely hot & seems like they are into you.


Cup of Horn. Legend says any who drink from it will have true prophetic dreams that night.

I channel the Spirit of the creator who, since they speak through me, is not *legally* dead.

Quest-Giver has proof of deep perversion which, if used as blackmail, will get your long-standing enemy off your back.


The Prismatic Leaf. Said to hold the souls and highest dreams of a realm now lost to Entropy.

I was briefly removed from causality by a mocking God. On my return it had been inherited and sold-off!

Quest-Giver is part of a Multiversal masonic-style order & can get you in too. Room, board, contacts and assistance wherever you go.


Hourglass of Ash. It’s said that while this glass runs, any entity in its presence becomes mortal.

I’m a member of a distant religious order dedicated to preserving the *true intentions* of the creator.

Quest-Giver runs/represents a narco-empire and can get you *anything* you want, free if its for personal use, and cheap rates on bulk.


The Sabre of the Red Dawn. Made from a tear in reality to one where the physical laws are anathema.

It was stolen from me, and used as payment to imprison someone I love. A double-insult which I would see avenged.

A Tame Giant Roc! Ok its just “mostly tame”. Still it can fly you and your crew wherever you need. (You must pay for upkeep and ‘Roosting Costs’ yourself.)


Psalter of Sardinac. The Prayers if intoned continually for a year, will return the Good God Sardinac to life.

That side of the family have been replaced with animated flesh golems, (its why I don’t talk to them), I am the only real one left.

Quest-Giver offers prism-keys to the fastness of Zim of the Fifteen Prisms! A Tardis-like dimensional fortress accessible by refracting sunlight through the prisms. (Zim presumed dead.)


The Quest-Giver is willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money and/or resources, as well as whatever the ‘extra sauce’ is.


  1. The issue I have eternally had with fetch quests is:
    a) If the object is so valuable, why don't I just keep it?
    b) If the quest-giver is willing to pay so much for it, why don't I just take their money by force and run?
    c) If the quest-giver is so strong that we can't defeat them, why don't they just get it themselves?

    Still, these are very good, unquestionably so!

    1. Perhaps one day a greater mind than mine will address those questions in a table.

    2. Hmm, let me take a stab at some approaches to make quest-givers make more sense in light of these questions:

      a1) the object presents some danger if you hold onto it, but less so for the quest giver because they are immune or otherwise prepared to deal with it. (a robot asks you to retrieve something radioactive, or an alchemist asks you to retrieve a volatile compound).
      a2) the object is far more valuable if you know how to use it correctly. the quest-giver has this knowledge and you do not. you may not know that there are hidden properties to the object.
      a3) the item is sentimental to the quest-giver, but not otherwise valuable. or maybe the quest-giver is actually a helpful character, providing more worthwhile and challenging jobs as their trust grows.
      a4) you CAN keep it! but the quest-giver is going to hire rival adventurers to come after you.

      b1) this is dangerous because the quest-giver has the upper hand if you are conducting business in their home or place of business (in the form of traps, deceptively well-trained servants, a wand duct-taped to the underside of their chair, etc.).
      b2) the quest-giver ISN'T willing to pay for it; it's a manipulative ruse. or their gold is stashed elsewhere; they give false gold or counterfeit treasure as payment. now you have a hook to deal with the quest-giver too.
      b3) you CAN take their money by force and run! you just turned a potentially straightforward NPC into a rival or gained the attention of another powerful person or gang.

      c1) the quest-giver can retain plausible deniability if some random adventurers are caught or killed. maybe they've done this before. maybe they plan to do it again if you fail.
      c2) the quest-giver doesn't like dealing with messy situations themselves. too much guilt and blood and curses and whatnot.
      c3) the quest-giver WILL go get it themselves if you take too long. or they wait for some gullible adventurers to expose all the defenses so they can breeze through and get it themselves.

    3. I usually highlight that both the quest giver and the PCs are specialists. Their specialty is deriving value from [maguffin], your specialty is being well positioned to retrieve [maguffin].

      A favorite way to make the PCs "specialists" as compared to the quest giver is to make the quest giver sessile or immobile in some way. Maybe they are just an animate carving or painting paying you in secrets to fetch something for them. You are useful to them because you have... legs.

  2. My players have never been bored of fetch quests. It is the currency of geomancers and great lords alike.