[D&D] 20 first adventure plot hooks!

I figured I’d give out a decent length list of plot hooks I’d run as a first adventure for a Dungeons and Dragons group of 1st-level adventurers. Hopefully, at least one of these will be useful to someone!

Bear in mind that while I’m familiar with all versions of D&D, I favour 3.5 – I’ll try and keep it as edition neutral as possible, but some terminology might slip through.

  1. A roving Orc clan has decided to settle down near a small rural hamlet. They don’t have much money, but they’ve scraped together enough to offer a reward to any group of mercenaries that gets rid of them.
  2. The city’s sewer system is blocked, and the civil engineers we sent haven’t come back…What’s down there?
  3. A previously weak criminal group suddenly, and without warning, overruns their rivals and lays claim to a city district. The Watch hires mercenaries to try and determine why they’re suddenly so strong.
  4. A new shop selling rare, exotic and exceedingly cute animals has just opened up. It’s proving extremely popular, but some people aren’t coming back out…
  5. A vain minor noble with pretensions of being an adventurer has brought back an “artefact” with him from his latest “quest”. Unfortunately, it’s cursed, and tragedy begins to befall his household. Convinced that it’s the work of insidious rivals, he hires proper adventurers to investigate the strange goings-on.
  6. A wizard’s experiment backfires, trapping him and nearby civilians (Including the adventurers) within a maze of illusory monsters and dangers that are all too real.
  7. A Paladin turns up in the city, and immediately confesses to murder, providing all the details of the crime he’s committed and asking to be imprisoned and punished. However, he still has his divine powers, and an old acquaintance of his isn’t so sure he’s in his right mind, or that he even did anything wrong.
  8. A trap-laden Kobold mineshaft is encroaching on a Gnomish outpost – and the Kobolds refuse to stop digging.
  9. Violent storms wrack the coast, and sailors swear they can see a face amidst the swirling maelstrom.
  10. A player character overhears a group plotting to pull off a daring robbery.
  11. Someone has released all the most dangerous animals from a wizard’s experimental lab.
  12. An illegal gladiatorial competition is rumoured to be offering an incredible prize.
  13. A local lord goes missing from a locked council chamber, along with the foreign dignitary he was talking to.
  14. An entrepreneur has set up an attraction in an old, cleared-out dungeon – but when he goes missing, it looks like it wasn’t quite as safe as he thought!
  15. An odd cult following “The One True Way” begins converting people the characters know, drastically altering their personalities.
  16. A Gnome illusionist is terrorising a small village for tribute by pretending to be an Ogre using his magic.
  17. A mysterious plague of locusts strikes only one specific farm in a rural area.
  18. Wolves in a nearby forest are being made feral and dangerous by an unknown force.
  19. At night, peoples shadows begin moving independently, sometimes attacking their owners.
  20. An imprisoned sorcerer escapes, and charms a group of Goblins to protect him.

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