Quest Hook: Inheritance


I want to try a quest hook on you all:

You are hired by a representative of a wealthy estate to track down the living descendents of [insert name of famous person] because they have potentially inherited a lot of money, or something.

  • What would you think of this quest, as a player? Does it feel cool or unique? Is it too silly?
    (Also … is it suspicious? Pretend I never mentioned the word “suspicious”…!)
  • What would you think, as a GM? If this was the hook given by a module, but intentionally open to how it unravels later?

For context:
I was trying to think of a hook that might require *overland travel (fantasy Renaissance setting) and a bunch of *talking to NPCs, in addition to fighting monsters along the way. I’m not sure where this hook goes, but have a few ideas. This is *somewhat similar to the setup in Warhammer’s Enemy Within. In my mind, though, it’s a little more inspired by Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (for people who’ve played or maybe heard of that game).

  • Feel free to share your ideas or experience using similar hooks? (Or any variation on “inheritance” -OR- “find a list of people who aren’t simply bad guys to take down.”)
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My idea for a similar hook is that the players (all cousins, if possible) have inherited something. Ideally, they have inherited an monster-infested territory. They can’t possibly kill all the monsters, but they may drive out or curtail some of the worst. There’s treasure, of course. Basically, give the setting to the player characters. Then see what they do with it.

It helps if they have reasons to get away from wherever they were to start off. That could be poverty, an ongoing war, being hunted by the same thing that killed their grandfather, or something else.

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That’s a pretty good idea!
I almost forgot about this, but there’s an actual play where the party inherits a guild that’s fallen into disrepair. So not literally inheriting a territory, like your idea, but similar – the area becomes their territory for doing business as adventurers. It’s kind of cute, in a good way. Shut Up and Sit Down - their specialty is board games, but I think the GM here did a really good job guiding them through their first time.

As a player my first thought would be that we should get the inheritance by impersonating the person we were hired to find.

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Hmm, I think maybe the players should have more direct investment in the inheritance/guy then just getting paid to do it, like maybe they’ll get a cut of the inheritance if they find the guy. Generally a pretty darn good setup tho, since it encourages players to think how they might get the fortune, makes them think how to find someone, probs you could also throw in like other inheritors trying to get at the fortune.

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Yeah the trickiest thing here would be maintaining the investment/throughline as they travel about… it would have to be a very strong presence in the setting if its to be the main driver and players don’t just ditch to do something else (not that players shouldn’t get to do something else mind you, but in the sense if you want this to prominently matter to the players, it should feature heavily. Lots of other people trying to get the inheritance running around. Fakers. Maybe a lawyer is traveling with them. Maybe the inheritance is accessible somehow? People trying to steal it. Etc…)

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Ok cool!

My original idea sort of leads to a Knives Out sort of situation (spoilers for the 2019 movie here). In that version, the players might get drawn into helping or stopping various inheritors who are conspiring against each other. (Maybe they offer the party a cut of the $cash). It feels like you sense some of that with your suggestions, so thanks!

This morning, though, I’m sorta leaning in a direction like from Game of Thrones:

Find all of the old king’s bastard children … before another faction finds them and kills them all.

Then it becomes a dilemma of supporting a tyrant (the safer plan, but problematic), or helping this other plot. A (well-meaning) plot to replace a known “evil” ruler with an unknown, but still legitimate, outsider.

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This second one has more stake to it and directly ties into major setting drama and faction conflict.

Simply find the heir get paid doesn’t encourage player interest as much – the goal is cash alone, making the players far more likely to subvert it as soon as they can.

Both work for a reason to be in a new sub-region equppied for search, but the first offers more immediate involvment.

Of course my own impulse would simply be to make this a King Herod situation - reward for all children born on the prophesied date, or with X birthmark. Players can choose to follow or not and you can inject the setting with events, factions and such that relate to the reward