Running a full campaign can be difficult, especially right now - scheduling for the number of people that it takes to run one is a hassle, and even more so now that things are shut down and online is the best option to play (provided your party isn’t your own family).
When I’ve been running things, I’ve been doing it in the form of oneshots instead of a full session. One or two meetups are a lot easier to arrange than a regular occurrence, and it lets your friends and group burn through some of those 10 million backburner characters.
Holidays are great for oneshots, although Valentine’s Day probably isn’t the first one that you think of. Still, romance and love make for powerful motivators, and can be tons of fun to play around with!
If you want to run your own Valentine’s One Shot, but don’t have an idea quite yet for the content, D20Collective has prepared 6 one shot ideas for you to use. Pick one that you like, or roll a d6 on the following table! We’ve also included various directions and styles that your party could use to fulfill the objectives.
Module 1: Lover’s Oak
The party stumbles upon Lover’s Oak - a blessed location for a goddess of romance, said to bless couples married underneath it. A local lord who married under it is getting divorced, and in his rage has ordered it cut down - angering the locals, the druids, and potentially even the goddess who blessed it, any of whom may ask the party to help protect it!
The party might go to the angered lord, and ask him not to cut it down, giving him various reasons. If he won’t listen, they may need to investigate just why his marriage broke up, and maybe even get him and his wife back together!
The party might set up a watch on the tree - fighting the loggers, fighters, and various forces that come to cut down the tree. Perhaps these forces aren’t actually from the lord, but another sect looking to take the blessed wood?
Module 2: The Case of the Crying Cupid
The party meets a young cupid crying by the side of the road - he’s lost his magic bow, and all the arrows that make people fall in love! It was very foolish of him, and he offers a special reward to the party if they’ll help him track them down and get them back.
The party might go into a nearby town to investigate the missing bow, and find that a local trader has it in his inventory. They might tell him where it came from, and warn him against incurring the wrath of a cupid, but that might make him keep it and up the price, knowing what it is. Perhaps they might get the town worried about the consequences instead?
No matter who has the bow, the fastest way to get it back is likely just to take it, and forget all that complicated diplomacy stuff. Maybe a local lord has it in their treasury now, or a local trader lists it in their inventory...either way, it's the perfect opportunity for a heist!
Module 3: Chemical Reactions
A city’s Alchemist Guild contacts the party, asking for their help stopping a newcomer who has been selling Love Potions all around town (something strictly banned as being unethical by the guild). But the potions are popular, so they’re asked to make sure that no one knows about or suspects the Guild’s involvement, lest the guild face quite a bit of backlash!
If the party has a bard, it wouldn’t be hard to write a song about a love potion that goes wrong - maybe it wears off and the afflicted party kills their lover? Turning public sentiment against the love potion may not be too hard, given the fickle nature of trends.
Breaking into an alchemist’s lab has a number of dangers, but none that can’t be surmounted. Sabotaging a batch or two of the love potion should be enough to create a bad reputation, and essentially force the vendor to move on to another town, where his concoctions aren’t known for...unusual side effects.
Posing as an aggrieved party and taking the alchemist head on is always an option! He may have a few bodyguards or golems to protect his business, but if you make enough trouble, you can probably strong arm him into finding greener pastures, or at least a less dangerous product (and love potions are certainly dangerous, if they cause the likely of the party to come after him!)
Module 4: Faint Heart, Fair Maid
A knight in fairly shabby armor runs up to a member of the party, demanding that they duel him for the hand of his “fair maiden”, insisting that they are rivals for her love. The party member in question may or may not have any idea what he’s talking about….
It’s entirely possible to talk this problem out, if you’re charismatic enough - persuade him that none of the party have any interest in his fair maiden, or go with him to said fair maiden to prove it. Perhaps, though, the fair maiden isn’t exactly what she seems - a fey, perhaps?
It’s only one guy - why not just fight him? This is a good chance to bring a quiet player out of their shell in a 1v1 combat - perhaps while the rest of the party go to find the maiden, to try to clear up the problem.
Module 5: A Knight’s Tale (a la Chaucer)
Two powerful knights have arranged a duel for the hand of a noble maiden, and have asked 2 different gods for help! One has asked the Goddess of Love, the other the God of War, both of whom have agreed to lend their aid, making this a fight for the ages.
Meanwhile, the noble maiden in question has gone to the Goddess of the Hunt (and unmarried maidens) to ask for her help in avoiding marrying either of them.
The party is asked by each of the knights, or maybe even the gods (perhaps some characters are asked by different gods?) to aid their champion in their endeavors, or to persuade the other gods to step back.
Who will they side with?
Any of the party could volunteer to fight in the place of one of the champions - including the maiden herself, since she has no champion in the fight. Multiple party members may even volunteer to fight for different sides, if you want to make things a little more interesting!
The men involved in the duel seem to be fairly set on fighting regardless of the maiden’s wishes, but they’d have to have gotten permission from the king to hold such a duel. Perhaps the king can be persuaded to revoke permission?
As the “prize” of the duel, the maiden is being watched by various guards and watchers, but if she can be smuggled away from the town, perhaps to a druid or ranger enclave (protected groups of the Goddess of the Hunt), then it stands to reason that she’ll be safe from marriage. The difficult part is getting her out...
Module 6: Stealth by Chocolate
A chocolatier approaches the party, claiming that a competitor has stolen his top secret recipe for magically-infused chocolate! He promises the party a decent amount of the magical stuff, and a year's supply of normal chocolate if they’ll get the copy out of his competitor’s hands. But is it really his recipe, or is this a bluff?
The simplest solution here is to steal back the recipe - breaking into his house or office and getting their hands on it. Of course, if this competitor had the means to steal a magical formula in the first place, who knows what fun tricks and traps he could have set up around his offices?
If your party isn’t up to a stealth mission, they could instead attempt to talk it out of the competitor. Maybe he claims that it’s his after all, and the party has to decide whom they believe in this situation. It’s also an opportunity to set up some intrigue, if your party is into that!
Dice to Play With
Of course, if you're looking for the perfect dice to fit with your Valentine's Day oneshot, we've got plenty to choose from!