Last year, D20Collective published a list of ideas for Valentine’s Day oneshots, suitable for use with DnD, or any other fantasy tabletop game. The holiday has rolled around again, and we’re back with a few more that you can use for a session centered around romance.
All of the following ideas can be built into a pre-established campaign, either as a side quest, or a method of introducing important allies and NPCs. The party can find them via job boards, word-of-mouth in the local tavern, or just stumbling into them!
Your party are introduced to a beautiful young woman, the youngest daughter of a noble family. She begs their help in a very private matter – she wants her engagement annulled and doesn’t care how they do it. In truth, there isn’t any serious problem with her current fiancé, except that she’s in love with another. They’re wealthy and powerful, though, and an advantageous match for her family, so she can’t just tell him ‘No’ for fear of offending them. Her beloved is also a noble, but ranked lower than even herself.
Here are a few solutions that might be suggested:
- Enchanting her fiancé to fall in love with someone else (for magic-heavy campaigns)
- Locating some treasure or political alliance that would make their marriage no longer advantageous (for sociopolitical and exploratory campaigns)
- Faking her kidnapping or death (for criminal campaigns)
- Whatever ridiculous plots your party can come up with on their own!
The Hawk and the Wolf
One staple of fantasy movies is the film LadyHawke. This idea roughly follows that plot.
The party are assisted by a noble knight in black armor. He asks their guidance to the nearest city in return, but in the night, they find that he turns into a massive black wolf. Don’t worry – he’s not a lycanthrope! Instead, he’s been cursed to turn into a wolf each night.
At the same time, his true love has been given an opposing curse – she becomes a hawk during the day.
As such, the two are doomed never to be together. The reason for these curses is up to you (although I suggest it being the knight’s hand in destroying an evil cult, angering their god, and thereby making the removal of the curses somewhat more complicated than a single spell).
The solution, too, can vary. In the movie, they must confront the man who cursed them during an eclipse (so that there is a “day without a night, and a night without a day”). Perhaps you must perform a ritual in a particular temple. Perhaps they simply require the help of a powerful druid (a good way to bring the party into another quest line). Or, perhaps, the curse cannot be broken, giving you the opportunity for some very tragic storytelling.
The Festival of Lovers
In a small city, celebrations are being set up for Highsummer, and the Festival of the Moon. It’s a serious time, meant for remembering the dead, with memorial services and storytelling about ancestors. But a small group of recent migrants has also been setting up for their own Festival of the Moon, and it follows a distinctly different tone.
These Turmish merchants, who have set up shops and begun to put down roots, celebrate a festival for lovers, not the dead. This rubs many of the townsfolk the wrong way. It’s not helped by the cheery, almost flippant attitude the Turmish people seem to have for the town’s own Moon traditions. It has escalated, and some have even accused the Turmish festival of producing love potions – something strictly banned. The party are asked to make sure that these are not being sold.
Of course, while they’re there, they may want to find a way to help the two groups get along.
Devas and Devils
In the night, the party are approached by a deva – she requests their help, or anyone’s, in return for rescuing her lover who is trapped in the 9 hells. She offers great rewards if they succeed, since she would be sensed, and killed, if she were to go herself.
If the party agree, she sends them to a devilish stronghold. It’s up to the party to figure out how to find this lover. Perhaps they’ll sneak in, perhaps they’ll bluff, or perhaps they’ll simply fight their way through. Whatever option they take, things are complicated when they learn this this lover is, in fact, a decently ranked devil.
The devilish lover tells the party that they would go willingly, but they would immediately be followed. Both devils and devas have particular auras, and defectors are easily hunted down and slaughtered. She has a solution - a potion which would make both of them mortals - but she’s unwilling to use it until they bring her to the material plane, where the deva awaits.
The party can bring them to the material plane, where both they and the deva turn themselves into mortals to live together for the rest of their years. Of course, being turned mortal severely limits the payment your party might get. And a potion to make celestials and devils into humans is an extremely useful item. More underhanded parties might find themselves tempted to keep it for themselves…
Do you regularly run holiday oneshots? Have you ever done a Valentine’s Day one? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!