SSAI: Deathmatch Academy

Super-Short Adventure Ideas

There is a terrible, possibly unbeatable threat to all the world. Anyone who faces the Boss Threat (feel free to generate a name for it using the chart below), or even any of it’s (prime number between 3 and 17) evil Lieutenants, and fails to defeat them, is absorbed by them and used to create even more powerful spawn. So fighting them is worse than useless if they defeat you.

So far, a few strongholds manage to both keep the Boss Threat and his Obvious Minions away (but doesn’t stop collaborators or other kinds of threats), and have a bigger area where the Obvious Minions can operate, but not the Boss Threat or his Lieutenants.

While anyone can help protect the stronghold without making the Boss Threat stronger, eventually the strongholds will fall. To defeat them, only the most powerful heroes can be trusted. Every effort to find, train, equip, or build such heroes using humane or reasonable methods has failed disastrously. In desperation, all the remaining free lands have turned to:

Deathmatch Academies.

Each Deathmatch Academy gathers groups of a few young potential heroes, and pits them against other such groups, and local threats much too powerful for them. Most die. Those that do not, grow stronger. The theory is that the strongest will, someday, be able to defeat an evil Lieutenant, and then in time the Boss Threat.

Players make 1 1st level PC each. They then fight a group of an equal number of 3rd level characters drawn from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game NPC Codex, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Villain Codex, or any other NPC repository. Players know this will be fight #1 (in a ruin designated for it), and should make characters that will work together.

When a PC dies, the fight stops at the end of that round. The player who lost a PC gets to replace him, and all PC characters (including the new one) go to 2nd level.

As soon as the PCs defeat an encounter, they all get to pick a bonus Teamwork feat. Each player that picks a feat must meet it’s prerequisites, but ALL the characters gain ALL the teamwork feats they select as bonus feats (even those they DON’T meet the prerequisites for).

Then their next encounter goes up by +2 CRs. About half to a third should be classed NPCs, the rest can be whatever the GM likes the idea of.

Of course the campaign can also have regular school, rivalries outside the deathmatches, political intrigue, crucial patrols in the nearby semi-safe lands, and so on.

Or it can just be a series of tougher and tougher feats, with PCs having to relay on teamwork to survive.

Boss Threat Name Generator
Roll 1d10.
On a 1-4, take one name from column A and one from column C
On a 5-8, take one name from column B, and one from column C
On a 9-10, take one from each column.

Feel free to add “The” anywhere it seems useful in the title.

  1. Lich                 1. Dragon       1.King/Queen
  2. God-               2. Emperor    2. Grave (or “of Graves”)
  3. Archdemon  3. Prelate        3. Slayer
  4. Last                4. Sorcerer      4. Vortex
  5. Witch             5. Storm           5. Lady/Lord
  6. Deathless      6. Elemental   6. Evil (of “or All Evil”)

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About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on December 1, 2016, in Adventure Sketch, Microsetting, Pathfinder Development, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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