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100 Esoteric & Occult Plot Hooks Generator For D&D 5e48 min read

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Otherworldly Incantations D&D 5e occult plot hooks

Plots and Schemes. Hopes and Dreams. Welcome back, Outlander, for this bonus installment in my series on D&D 5e Plot Hooks from the Western Esoteric and Occult traditions, how they shaped Dungeons & Dragons (particularly D&D 5e) over time, and how Dungeon Masters, worldbuilders, and D&D players can incorporate Occult themes. This week I’ve compiled a 100 Plot Hooks Generator Tool and the Full 100 Plot Hooks List for you. I’ve also revamped the formatting for Parts 1-4, and I plan on adding a Meme Gallery page later this week, before I move on to a new series next Tuesday. Special thanks to my friend Mike for HTML & JavaScript help!

PART ONE: Therianthropy, the Old Norse Magickal Tradition, Apotropaic Magick, Hermeticism, Alchemy.
PART TWO: Gnosticism, Thaumaturgy, Kabbalah, Cunning Folk, Theosophy.
PART THREE: Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Ceremonial Magick, Luciferianism, Anthroposophy.
PART FOUR: Thelema, Reconstructionist Neo-Paganism, Wicca, New Age Spirituality, Chaos Magick.

Reminder: click the “+” to expand section contents.

Tip: monsters and lore from the 5e Monster Manual bear a “1”, from Volo’s Guide to Monsters bear a “2”, and from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes bear a “3”.

PLOT HOOKS GENERATOR
Sourced from my "Mystical Motives: 100 Esoteric & Occult Plot Hooks For D&D 5e" series

1. Diplomacy & Dinner. The Druid Brys Redpad has taken up residence with a pack of Wereboar1 down by the river, attempting to build diplomatic relations via Wildshape. Locals trust Redpad, but definitely have their suspicions about the shapeshifters. She usually returns to town each week for a family dinner, but this time, is nowhere to be seen. A hunter soon informs the party that he had heard loud squeals near the treeline earlier, and a voice like that of a Troll1, shouting “bacon”…

2. Cave Mother. The snowstorm slows the party’s travel considerably. As they round the cliffside, a cave entrance appears. Refuge from the frosty winds. Looking closer, a campfire light flickers inside just long enough to illuminate an old shaman quaffing an elixir. Her skin soon rips and mats over with fur. Bones thicken, and a snout protrudes. Below the beast, little cubs sit, shivering and bloodied. The Werebear1 turns her eyes at the party, leering, as she steps in front of the cubs. Her roar echoes across the cave walls…

3. Blood Bond. Dusk approaches on the day of the Full Moon as the Barbarian clan leads the party to the grove where they believe the Lycara Cult will hold the Blood Ritual. Just as the final light of the sunset recedes, the party pass canopy and copse and see hooded figures bearing blood-anointed daggers. The cloaks howl and press hands together, their horrendous Werewolf1 forms emerging. Distracted, the party now notices their Barbarian scouts have disappeared. Bear traps now stand behind them, and as well: a trail of blood…

4. Lizards & Wizards. The Lizardfolk1 Rangers are not used to speaking to food, but things have gotten strange lately. They inform the party that one of their kind recently ate a Dragonborn Wizard brewer and fell gravely ill after. That night, their body corrupted and became a Yuan-Ti Abomination1, slithering off into the marsh’s depths. The Rangers ask the party to hunt it down, as Lizardfolk1 do not eat such creatures…

5. Tiger Tango. The Barbarian brushes her tiger totem, walking briskly toward the party. With desperate eyes, she beckons them to the alley. There she explains that her mate Nekesa has gone missing, and she worries for her safety…and the safety of others also. Nekesa recently contracted the Weretiger’s1 curse, and she fled to the veld to find solitude. The Barbarian begs the party to help her track and subdue Nekesa before the Hunger threatens the delicate peace pact between her clan and the townsfolk. Suddenly, a shadow passes the rooftops. Someone has heard…was it her?

6. Sea Shanty. The party hears rumor of a seafaring Elven Bard called Galdora who can safeguard childbirth and inflict madness, raise storms and sink ships, blunt swords and weaken armor, even bless battle. Perhaps they can enlist her aid before the pirate slavers make landfall…

7. Seething Spiritcraft. An outsider’s careless remark has broken taboo for a Half-Orc Barbarian. Anger, then rage, then seething rage. The party has taken notice, and so has the Spirit World. The ancestors have grown angry, with the incorporeal form of a Wraith1 or Specter1 beginning to flow out from the Barbarian’s quavering brow…

8. Desert Dwarves. The ornate axe the party brings back to the Dwarven Cleric holds the runes of Tad-il’ra, the Dwarves of the Desert Sun Tribe. With a little guesswork, the spiritworker determines that the axe glows in proximity to the Scorrow1-Drider, the wicked scorpion Drow…just as the glyphs glow now in fact…how strange…

9. Sigil Stave. The Duergar Warlock3-Mind Master does not trust the party, but he has greater concerns at present. As they pass him the Sigil Stave, it begins to hum. He plants it in the ground and reads aloud until an inscribed sphere emanates outward, protecting these unlikely allies. As the Hook Horrors1 creep out of the Underdark cavern, the sphere keeps them at bay. But the Horrors1 sit down, waiting. The staff sits unmoving too. Now what?

10. Revenant’s Revenge. The party made a wise choice in consulting the Dwarven medium on the matter of the relentless Revenant’s1 target. Clairvoyant, she reaches into the Aether and traces the Silver Cord link until it reveals its origin. A shimmer envelopes the medium. She gasps, “No, it cannot be, I already buried you!” A scarlet aura points at her. An accusation?

11. Batty Business. Rumor has it that Vampires1 have descended upon the noble kingdom of Kamelil. Citizens go missing, and bat populations explode. Some nights the deceased show up in alleyways with pierced necks. A telltale sign. The party gets a lead that further raises the stakes. A man reveals he’s found a note hidden inside a coffin. It implicates the Garlic Guild, whose coffers have filled as of late. A racket? A diversion? Simple opportunism? The party must get to the bottom of this…

12. Magic Mirror. The party meets the Dealer at the Lighthouse and acquires the Magic Mirror, said to detect Vampires1. Just as they complete the trade, a menacing shadow looms. As the Magic Mirror points at the figure, no reflection shows. The Vampire1 laughs, unconcerned. The Dealer laughs, also unconcerned. She pulls the cord of the Lighthouse ignition. The Magic Mirror reflects the blinding beacon’s beam, amplifying it intensely. It incinerates the bloodsucker on the spot. And it burns a hole through the tower wall too, drawing a hungry swarm of Vargouille2 over…

13. Hedged Bets. The party has escaped the inner sanctum and made it to the outer hedgerow, where grim statuary guards the grounds. Suddenly, the statues spring to life as Gargoyles1. Standing among the hedges, the party’s guide immediately knocks on wood. The Gargoyles1 collapse. But an angry Wood Woad2 rises…

14. Shady Salesman. A mourning widower brings a sad warning to the party that an unscrupulous merchant in the bazaar has sold cursed wares as protective trinkets. His wife took one whiff of her new perfume, and turned to stone. The merchant was last seen heading toward the Old Town Sewers, where a Gorgon1 is rumored to dwell. The party requires strong wards to stave off a similar fate..but does the merchant have accomplices?

15. Pumpkin Punk. Torches burn and merriment fills the air as the All Hallow’s Eve Festival continues. Costumes, pranks, and prizes amuse the party as they travel the town’s lanes. But they happen upon a scene of slaughter: humanoid bodies, torn to ribbons. A figure riding a Nightmare1 flies off into the sky, cackling. Blood falls from the hooves. Just as the party takes in the grisly sight, a Halfling Paladin in a studded vest bursts from a large pumpkin, and smites the Nightmare1 down from the sky. The Halfling urgently points to the Jack-o-Lanterns nearby, “Quick, put these on. The Oni1 can’t see you with them on…”

16. Riders Await. The Kenku1 fortune teller shuffles the cards silently, her long hours of practice apparent. She deals them out one by one to read the party’s horoscope. Her eyes widen with shock. She pulls a necklace from under her robe, opens the amulet, and retrieves an elaborate key. She quickly scribes a note and hands it over with the key. Her voice crows in the tone of the party member closest to her: “the vault”. They can’t help but notice the first word of the note: “Armageddon“…

17. Deva Divination. Dazzling light fills the party’s faces as the Human Cleric Anok falls to the ground, writhing, speaking in tongues as his imperfect form struggles with the Divine Alphabet. His eyes burst from his head as the ritual summons three Devas1 from among a celestial choir. They set a halo of light around his face and speak to the party, with words that flow like song on the winds, folding back on themselves: “you may ask us / ask us / but one question / one question / ask us / you may / what is it you wish, mortal?”

18. Ghost in the Machine. Legend has it an Elven Wizard and Human Witch loved one another with their full hearts, building their study together in the hollow beneath the city. They studied night and day, day and night. But the Witch’s kind are want of years. She, too, passed on. The Wizard widower could not accept this; he knew his love would refuse death. For hundreds of years he continued his experiments, searching. A complex Relay of Contingency and Glyph of Warding and Symbol all built together. Eventually the Wizard, too, passed on. He had not seen that the Relay had given the Witch’s Ghost a new geometry. It improves itself, but can only do so much. The party will do its bidding…or else.

19. Cosmic Choice. The animals behave erratically. The plants twirl, as if dancing. The tide swells and crashes. On this rarest of days the sun, moon, and stars have all reached precise Cosmic Alignment with the planets. The party stands at the center of the trinity of Soul Gate Stones, just as the old Hermit approximated. Lightning strikes each one in succession, granting the party a Wish spell. But all things have their cost…

20. Balor’s Bargain. The party awakens to the smell of sulfur and brimstone. The sound of lamentation and woe surrounds them. A mammoth Balor1 stands before them, its vile summoning spell had finally succeeded in bringing them to the Ring of Captivity. It marks on its scroll and grins. But the experiment requires rigorous testing. Oh, it will release the party this time…if they can bargain.

21. Apocalyptic Alkahest. Deranged cultists of Juiblex3, Demon Lord of ooze and slime, have nearly completed the Stella Signata, an Alkahest that promises to dissolve all matter into a crude wasteworld. Only sacking the Four Temple Laboratories of Melanos, Leucos, Xanthos, and Ios can put an end to this perilous solvent…

22. Goblin Gunpowder. A Half-Elf Ranger brings word to the party that after repeatedly dredging their own refuse piles, the Goblins1 of Grishelheim have invented a black powdery substance that ignites into an incendiary flare. They’ve begun attaching fireworks to kites to watch them go BOOM. She fears that once the Hobgoblin1 squadron returns from the war campaign down South, they’ll help the Goblins1 concoct more dangerous uses. Will the party intervene before it’s too late?

23. Cauldron of Conquest. Through the scrying orb the party sees the Orc Warlock look down at the metal and ironwood body before him with a sickening smile. He pours into it his disgust and his hatred. Oh, how the Elves will pay, he mutters. The Warforged Paladin’s eyes open, and it swears its Oath of Conquest. But even from afar, the party can see its heart holds reservations…

24. Prophecy & Profit. The Gnomish Alchemist Ohanzee has really done it. He has completed the fabled Pharmacopic Stone, an artifact that converts platinum into Panacea. As the news of this miracle spreads, the sickly rabble who barely survived the Sewer Plague bring him baskets and bouquets to honor him. But the Dwarven Kingdom will not allow this threat to their metallurgical tradition to grow unchecked. What’s more, the Gnomish Lords too have labeled Ohanzee a heretic. Will the party pick a side?

25. Alchemical Advantage. The party has discovered the last known copy of an Alchemical treatise written by the late Dwarf Zain Runestone. A thesis the local magistrates censored and burned long ago. In the eyes of King Whitehead, simply possessing such a text should mark the party as Enemies of the State. Page one alone details a protracted process for distilling a liquid that purportedly enables one to dissolve the locks off the Royal Vault. But page two details a cure for baldness! Perhaps the King can be reasoned with?

26. Solipsistic Slaughter. A rider from the West bears a dire warning of a horrid entity wreaking devastation upon the surrounding kingdoms. A writhing orb that descends, destroying any it sees, before floating back to the skies. The only survivor of an attack, himself half turned to stone, has warned the entity believes itself a Perfect Being, and has set about to bring forth oblivion, to wipe away the “world of falsehood”. In its madness, it believes all other lifeforms as “Automatons”, incapable of knowledge or pain. The party recalls once hearing a legend like this: that of the Beholder1. Above, one cloud darkens…

27. Aeon Ascetics. A newer order of Elven Monks called the Aeon Ascetics have recruited large numbers of the city’s poor lately. They teach minimalism and meditation, and chide the doctrine of the ruling order, “the Bastion”, as deception. Rumor has it the Aeon Ascetics have also begun teaching their followers to read and write, and that they no longer pray. As the party happens to pass near the Monastery, they see the Bastion’s Paladin Guard approach its entrance. With torches in hand, and swords drawn. Will the party take a side?

28. The Voice. People have begun to hear the Voice. The Voice tells them that this world is FALSE, an illusion concocted to shackle them. Lies, everywhere. The Voice has lived since the Beginning and seen the Truth: the “Gods” of this world are Alien. They will fall. The realm of mind is Ignorance, the realm of matter is Restriction. Only the Spirit is true, only the Voice is Wise, and the Voice will show them the Way. The Voice says, all one must do is drink from the pool of Sacrament to begin rejecting the Corruption. Once this Falsehood finds its Reckoning, ALL souls can join with the Limitless. Now the party hears the Voice too. The Voice of the Aboleth1. The Voice has listened to them, so patiently; will they, too, listen to the Voice?

29. Timeless Transcendence. The party has recovered the private tome of an Elven Lich1 who has claimed to find Enlightenment, and Apotheosis beyond the Gods. The pages possess Esoteric warnings against the “trap” of existence. They suggest that no sacrifice of body or mind goes too far in the pursuit of spiritual salvation. It reads: “given enough time, transcendence becomes inevitable“. But those years will have to come from somewhere. The party closes the book, but behind them: cackling laughter…

30. Gaslit Guidance. The party awakens in a dimly-lit cave to a Gnomish Wizard, Pratylbat, claiming to have dispelled an enchantment upon them. As their shadows flicker on the cave walls, he admonishes them to further “wake up!”, though they feel as alert as ever. He warns that the grip of the “Demiurge” is upon them, if only they would realize it and wake up. Pratylbat hands the party a gas-lit lantern, and points deeper into the cave. Will they go?

31. Thaumaturgical Terror. An Elven courier has brought foreboding news that a neighboring Wizard’s Thaumaturgy cantrip has gone horribly awry. The note claims his voice booms, cacophonous. Nearby lights shine a scintillating and prismatic blaze. The ground at his very feet trembles terrifyingly as unseen thunder cracks in rapidfire succession, and windows and doors burst off their hinges. In his eyes gleams the visage of Fraz-Urb’Luu3, demon lord illusionist. And he has sent his invitation to the party…

32. Hot Rahd. Riketa Rahd, a Gnomish tinkerer, has simply gone too far this time with her chariot experiments. Distressed Dwarves have informed the party that her latest contraption’s pistons belch forth fire, its screeching levers and wheels moving on their own accord as it coughs forth plumes of harsh smoke. They cry aloud, “is this the ruinous Hellfire Engine3 of the Pit?!?!” Only the party has courage enough to check…

33. Candelabra Cadaver. The solemn party has just found their seats for the recently deceased Captain of the Watch’s funeral. The Dragonborn Sorcerer conducting the ceremony, attempting to light the candles with arcane energy, accidentally awakens the candelabra with Animate Objects instead. The curtains soon catch fire as the candles fall upon them. The crowd panics. Suddenly, the Captain’s animated armor rises from the casket, whirling, pulling the body onto the flames, saving the townsfolk one last time. Tears of joy. But the armor continues spinning faster, recklessly…will the party bring its final rest?

34. Sculpture & Scripture. As the Orcs approach, the party gathers with the Cleric and his wife, Yrena, in the Temple, where they must make their stand. There Yrena, a sculptor, reveals her magnum opus: an imposing clay statue. The Cleric’s eyes widen as he pulls the scrollpaper from his robe, placing it on the figure’s forehead. The Clay Golem1 wakes, and the party now has a fighting chance…

35. Pride & Prejudice. A Tiefling Paladin has traveled to the small town of Norburrough, offering alms and aid to those living in squalor. The party guides over an old Matron, and the Paladin offers her Lay on Hands to cure her Sight Rot. The elder’s eyesight restored, she gives her thanks, and the Paladin nods. But as she bends her head, a few onlookers notice her horns. “Devilry!“, they point and shout. A mob begins to grab stones and beat the Tiefling bloody. But she simply takes each blow, silent and still. Will the party act?

36. Ancient Algorithm. The most wizened sages of Metzaras have discovered the True Name the King kept hidden. Its product tallied through the Ancient Algorithm, this name portends a time of great corruption. The King has since declared these sages as treasoners, and locked them away deep in the palace dungeon. Other critics have begun to disappear too. Perhaps a jailbreak is in order…

37. Ascendant Alteration. Rumor has it the Theurgic Mage Yehir has unlocked a means to alter the Prime Material Plane, to an extent thus far unknown and unforseeable. But the Magistrate has grown suspicious, and sends the party to investigate. As they approach, a radiant light pours through the Temple windows, pulsing as the beat of a heart. Nearby matter appears to spontaneously reassemble itself. What lays within?

38. Divine Dictum. The party has discovered a hidden cipher for a sacred tome that suggests a means of restoring the Vessels of Shelhanar. If they can locate the remains of these hallowed artifacts, perhaps the promise of divine reunion approaches. But a Planetar1 has taken notice, its booming voice foretells to the party that matters may not be so simple…

39. Pilgrim’s Path. The party has arrived in a town where rival sects have recently fallen into a bitter dispute on the proper rank and order of angels. Each accuses the other of heresy. A violent feud has since developed, tearing families apart and pitting neighbors against one another. The party recalls having passed an Aasimar pilgrim on the road who bore an elaborate tattoo of divine taxonomy. Perhaps she can help settle the matter? But that means following her, all the way up Mount Extinction…

40. O Holy Light. One morning, amidst the market square the party has gone to, a Messiah-figure rises and reveals a prophecy. A promise to usher in “era of Infinite Illumination“. The mystic declares that following an eclipse, the immortal light of divinity — boundless and perfect — shall erupt forth from the True God and banish all wickedness. Skeptics laugh and mock. But the skies begin to darken, and the morning moon, to cover…

41. Band of Bugbears. A local Halfling Wise Woman has revealed to the party that through her crystal ball she scries the movements and positions of a warband of Bugbears1 approaching the town under cover of dense forest. If the party can make it through the thicket in time, perhaps they can repel these attackers before more children go missing…

42. Hex & Hedge. A fell Cleric has cursed one of the party members’ NPC allies with Bestow Curse. Despite some time, the hex has not ceased. Perhaps the hedgewitch Asilya can offer a Remove Curse before the fever worsens, provided the party can locate her woodland hut…

43. Geas & Grell. The wounded Druid Soren Woadsprog has compelled a PC via Geas to undertake a journey to the Amber Hills, sacred lands that the Grell1 abominations now infest. If the party can bring back the bounty of brain and beak, Woadsprog promises to reveal the secret passage they’ve sought…

44. Seer & Seafang. The Seer‘s vision has located the missing sons of Turiam, their fishing raft crashed upon the coastal rocks. Quickly, the party must roam beyond the cove and rescue these youth before High Tide, when Seafang, a predatory Plesiosaurus1, stalks the shoreline’s waters. The party departs but her directions prove hazy…time slips by…and was it not she who first told these sons their route?

45. Family Feud. The menacing Warlock Skarlu has inflicted a malediction upon the local Village Elder. His senses seem muddled and marred. Urgently, the hexbreaker Oren, a renowned Gnomish abjurer, offers to aid the party in striking down Skarlu before he can finish fleeing for a fortress. The foul fortress of Oren’s forsaken father

46. Gith Gnosis. The party has just decoded a cryptic pamphlet disclosing the existence of the Sha’Sal Khou3, the secret society of Githyanki and Githzerai working for the reunification of all Gith. The tract introduces this “Astral Alliance” against the remnant Illithid1 slavers, mentioning a “Metempsychotic Migration” that will supposedly end the Gith Civil War. Suddenly, a hypnotic message enters the party’s minds: “we who have felled Flayers, sailed spiritual seas, request that you combine with us against our mutual foe…or else perish.”

47. Akashic Accident. The “Taosefi Temple”, a renowned cloister of mages and Monks, has invited the party to see the proof. They’ve finally achieved Astral Projection to the Innermost Ripple of the Astral Plane, wherein they glanced upon the “Akashic Record“, a compendium of all conscious and unconscious events of the past, present, and future. The voyagers quickly returned from this haunted realm, as the ghosts of memories best left forgotten dwell there, endlessly in wait. However, the cloister Magus Xochitl did see but one single page: the arrival of the soul-rending Astral Dreadnought3. Worryingly, she now detects an impossible ectoplasmic trail…leading right back to the Taosefi Temple. Right where the party stands…

48. Aethereal Exchange. The spectral firelight flickers as the drums’ cadence continues. Each beat presses deeper and deeper in its rhythm. The drums’ pulses pound at the shells surrounding the initiates’ hearts until they burst open, spilling forth a ghostly glow both sacred and sublime. The breathtaking voices of the Aether Vanguard echo forth from the incorporeal aurora, so rapturous in their revelation the party holds motionless, awestruck, as the messenger materializes. The Planar Ally’s arrival implies a gift of guidance. But at what price?

49. Misbehaving Mork. What began as a harmless hobby of collecting shells has developed into a habit of greed for a Halfling child of the Stormshire Coast. The family informs the party that the misbehaving Mork found a knack for stealing the family raft too. He disappeared last week after his hair grew increasingly disheveled and his eyes dream-glazed, his speech hypnotic and his grip acidic. They presume he’s made it to the Ancestors’ Island. The nutters around town speculate that his latent powers and persona suggest he’s the reincarnation of a malevolent Morkoth2. If true, the flooded tunnel chambers promise a dread hoard. And a darker hazards…

50. Brawn & Brain. Oracles have long predicted the return of the Sunken Continent Mneumenor, land of ancient genius and technological arcanum without parallel. At the port, the party witnesses anguished sailors docking, who cry out that the fog-shrouded forcefield to the North has finally vanished, and an island emerged. Through the ship’s crystal lens they saw a massive disembodied brain command an army of wretched figures, all pounding tools in unison, sometimes dying on the spot. The party recognizes this image as the Elderbrain2 their Lorebook spoke of. Troubled, they recall that if the sailors got close enough to see the entity, that means it likely infiltrated their minds too. The sailors, calm now, have all begun grabbing ropes…in unison…

51. Handbill-Guy Helper. Handbills posted around town declare the “Proclamation of the New Faith Collective”, a secretive sect whose rejuvenation methods inspire one part suspicion and one part inspiration amongst the local townfolk. As the party finishes reading the notice they see a robed Loxodon dart into an alley — posters in hand — and a stern Dwarven Paladin follow, truncheon at the ready. Will they intercede?

52. Grave Matter. The party has stumbled upon the legendary tomb of the Half-Orc Healer Rostikrutz, the Life Domain Cleric rumored to have invented the first Healing Potion. The epitaph proves unreadable, covered in scrawled warnings of Deathlock Wights3 that haunt the tomb, defiling it as their crypt. Perhaps if the party can sanitize it, the secrets of Physic shall reveal themselves? At the door: a scratching sound…

53. Snake Oil. The party has heard whisper of a Yuan-Ti1 vendor from the North come to sell the “Lapis Lazuli Vital Vibrational Crystal Curative Essence Elixir”, a supposed Panacea. Arriving at the market and toward the merchant, the party spots several Humans raising accusations of con artistry, and raising swords too. Will the party settle the dispute…or join in?

54. Thief’s Vinegar. The Gnomish Chirurgeon Norasti has devised a novel means of sterilization that helps alleviate the infections which frequently follow surgeries in the Republic. But this heretical hygiene uses refined alcohol, attracting the fury of both the Dwarven Brewers’ Association and the Elven Temperance Order. Fearing for their life, Norasti has continued research underground. Occasionally, coded pamphlets circulate, including a new citation: “herbal vinegar, meant to thwart Sewer Plague. But it seems supplies have run out: tonight, the party has discovered Norasti prying into the noble’s cellar. No doubt to seize medicinal ingredients, but a crime nonetheless. What decision shall they make?

55. Ram & Rod. At the Firbolg Commune, the party hears thumping steps approach the treeside temple. Eladan the Druid, teary, warns that secrecy and seclusion only last so long. A dull crashing thud booms as the Ogre Battering Ram3 hammers the gate, shouting demands for the Rose Quartz Physician’s Staff. Luckily for the party, the ancestral artifact’s preservation aspects go beyond just medicine…

56. Cobblestone Conflict. For years, in the Human kingdom of Thradish, rumors have simmered of a sinister side lurking beneath the surface of the Dwarven masons’ ceremonial cobblestone craft. This week, the King broke his hip after tripping on a cobblestone. The royal court has now decreed the disbanding of the local Dwarven Stonemasons’ Guild, and banned possession of all Mason’s Tools in the city. The party spots the masons approaching the Keep to plead their case, but the Royal Guard appears to have begun wheeling out a guillotine in their direction. Will the party advocate for their clemency, or let them perish?

57. Digging Deeper. The Fraternal Order of Hobgoblin Diggers has founded its first lodge in the metropolis, but nearby residents still harbor resentment from the warring ways of yesteryear. Rumors circulate that the highly exclusive diggers’ group secretly functions as a dark academy for Hobgoblin Devastator2 evokers and Iron Shadow2 assassins, and that their strange handshakes and passwords hint at this. The Order has reassured that the shovel symbol signifies hidden depths achievable through honest work, but the alternative connotation of gravedigging has caused much unease. One overcast night the party sees out of the corner of their eyes a robed goblinoid figure launch what looks like a Lightning Bolt toward the clouds overhead. Is a covert intent afoot?

58. Manual Mischief. Rival sects of the Bricklayers’ Brotherhood have come into conflict. One faction emphasizes the metaphor of the planer as a tool of leveling inequality, while the other emphasizes the metaphor of the chisel as a tool of building differences of status. The schism has grown bitter to the point of a feud, with most of the city’s Centaurs, Goliaths, Half-Orcs, and Tortles in the former, and most of its Bugbears, Dragonborn, Dwarves, and Minotaurs in the latter. The party stumbles upon a massive courtyard brawl between these factions, hand tools swinging violently. Can peace return, or will the party tip the scale in one side’s favor?

59. Butcher Brotherhood. The party’s contact briskly enters the alleyway where they agreed to meet. She looks over her shoulder quickly before spilling the beans. The conspiracy theory was true, all of it. Infiltration took so long, and only the Masters knew how deep the rabbit hole really went. The Flaysons’ Butcher Brotherhood used the Illithid aesthetic as a misdirection, just another performance. In reality, they’ve excavated a vast subterranean catacomb beneath the city and funneled meatmarket goods to a Lich’s1 laboratory. This explains the disappearances, the missing money, the timid politicians, everything. Right as the contact starts to describe the secret entrance, a dart protrudes from her neck. Nets fall upon the party as the Drow Shadowblade3 descends upon them…

60. Float & Flame. The annual Elven Pointy Hat Parade has commenced and the floats this year prove just as wacky and whimsical as ever, with the flagship float parodying the Occult Sun Sigil of Ordo Solaris Infinitum. The party watches as the Elves gyrate and gesture ludicrously, their oversized wands waving about. Suddenly, a Fire Genasi acolyte named Vanta emerges from the crowd, grimacing as the guttural Primordial words leave her lips. The fiery form of a Fire Elemental Myrmidon3 appears atop the float and sets it ablaze while hacking away at the Elven mockery. Hysteria and horror befall the crowd…how will the party respond?

61. Gnollish Goetia. The party hears shrill chants, high-pitched squeals, and demonic laughter. They stumble upon a cult of Gnoll1 Warlocks with Yeenoghu’s Demonic Boons3 conducting a summoning ritual. Led by a Fang of Yeenoghu1 and Gnoll Flesh Gnawer3, the vile hyenas will conjure a troop of Barlgura1 if the party doesn’t disrupt the Blood Circle in time.

62. Bloodfang & Bael. From the windows of the Bloodfang Temple the party hears the blistering yet seductive voice of the Bronze General Bael3, Duke of Hell, offering redemption to the guilty priest. If the party seeks to intervene against the final words of the Archdevil’s Pact and its warped Wish spell, they will have to smash through the squad of Minotaur Skeletons1 blocking the entrance. Or, through guile, perhaps the party can raise the stakes by offering a rival bid

63. Service of Slaughter. The Ceremonial Death Priest’s sermon instills an itching discomfort among the party, as the braziers burn and the hideous humanoid hides of her skin sewn shawl flap manically. She invokes, Glory unto the Dread Lord Orcus3, Demon Prince of Undeath, may his vision of death release this worthless world from the endless cycle of pain. The Legion of Decay’s avatar shall now take its Offering!” The abhorrent Boneclaw3 beside her steps down from pulpit to pew, cackling while it severs the heads of the deranged and willing cultists. As the party looks down from the rafters, they notice the oil barrel beside the braziers. Perhaps they can bring a cleansing flame to this sickening sanctum…

64. Enochian Exorcism. The trumpets sound and the High Theurge of Bahamut bellows forth, Hear ye this, you Devil Kings! The Holy Guardian Angel commands thee to rise, be ravaged and restrained! You fell Lords of the Nine Hells3, who are named Asmodeus and Levistus, Dispater and Zariel, Baalzebul and Belial, Moloch and Mammon and Mephistopheles! By the breath of Providence I excoriate you, I exorcise you from this realm, forevermore! Hasten to the Gate of Judgment, you fiends!” If the party can push the Balor1 back through the portal, deliverance has come.

65. Apocalyptic Accident. The Demonologist’s ritual had accidentally spawned a Hellmouth. The Abyssal Portal spews inchoate infection upon the blasted battlescape. Marshalled there are the Armies of the Seven Heavens, and the Armies of Nine Hells; side by side they stand in uncomfortable union against the Demon Prince Demogorgon’s3 invasion. For their part, the party must slay the wretched Sibriex3 fiend, lest its contaminating chaos bring about armageddon.

66. Hell’s Angel. An incarnation of the Fallen Angel Zariel appears before the party, her blazing corona a contrast of heavenly and hellacious. She rebukes the divinities of Mount Celestia as False Gods and swindlers who make mortals slavishly worship them while keeping the Realm of Light for their elite only. She spits, “And they have the gall to criticize my Legion for actually bearing the courage to descend to the Nine Hells and hold back the demonic tide. Join me in the wastelands of Avernus, battling the demon horde from my citadel’s basalt battlegrounds, instead of standing by while the portals proliferate.” She roars that the party belong to the special few with the Spark that can bring about salvation, returning all souls to the Realm of Light. Will the party accept her offer?

67. Sleuthing the Serpent. At the entrance to the temple rests the Serpent Warden, her marvelous form a wonder to behold. She offers the party a branch, “Eat of this Divine Fruit and ye shall bear Truesight and Detect Evil and Good for the rest of your days. Waste not the chance at Knowledge.But the party has a quandary, they cannot tell…is the Serpent Warden a truly benevolent Guardian Naga1, or rather, a corrupt and vengeful Spirit Naga1 sent to mislead them?

68. Leviathan v. Lucifer. The Kuo-Toa’s1 collective insanity has spawned a final vengeance to exterminate the domineering Mind Flayers that come from above where the light hits the sea. The legendary Beast of the Deep awakens, its Kraken1 or Leviathan3 avatar ascending to annihilate the nautical searchlights, to obliterate the Illithid oppressors, to extinguish the Heavens that forsake them. The Beast shall plunge all land into a sea of darkness unless the party can descend to redeem the Cause of Light, can convince the Kuo-Toa that they bring a Radiant Rebellion that unites with them against the Radiant Repression too. If the party can convince them of this new gospel, and that they are not agents of deception, perhaps all is not lost…

69. Maddening Maze. The party awakens in a maddening maze, its labyrinthine corridors snaking wildly around them. Therein they behold the iconography of Baphomet3, Demon Prince of Beasts, laying waste to all civilization. Will the party confront their Minotaur1 and Nalfeshnee1 and Goristro1 pursuers, or instead join the Horned King’s cause of bestial slaughter?

70. Illuminator or Deceiver. With a golden flash, a breathtaking Solar1 angel materializes before the party, instantly bringing them to their knees. The glorious celestial Lusitan weeps as the revelation thunders forth: the Gods are secretly Aboleths1 whose psychological slavery has gripped the world so powerfully that their evil illusions instill blind faith. Treachery without parallel, worse even than the depraved Devil Lords. Lusitan claims to have seen the truth first among all. To have risen in righteous rebellion. To have come bearing the torch of liberation. The celestial intones: “I shall not lead you, but rather, give the choice. You must choose your own fate: the chain or the key.A Divine Gateway opens, window to a world where angels fall like comets from the skies, striking massive Eldritch Abominations on the horizon. Will the party regard Lusitan as the Illuminator, or as the Deceiver?

71. Goblin Geomancers. Those crazy Goblin Geomancers have really struck a bonanza with the latest “compost ceremonyon their Spirit Farm. Crushed up blossoms and flint, stuffed in the horn of a rhinocerous, buried deep beneath the soil on the Full Moon. This chatter of “Cosmic Correspondencethese last few months has finally bore its fruit. The Shambling Mounds1 have sprung to life. Maybe the party can reason with them? Nothing’s out of question these days…

72. Mammoth Monastery. The party receives an invitation to Mammoth Monastery where the local Loxodon Monks meditate. They claim one of their sages has developed supersensory perception allowing her to construct an Aethervane, an artifact sensor that detects active Astral Portals. The Monks offer to share the schematics with the party if they can prove themselves with ethical deeds in the Three Trials…

73. Messianic Mess. Recently a Gith mystic appeared from a glimmering haze and declared himself a Representative of Balance who has come to bring peace and harmony to the realm. There’s just one problem…both the Rogue elements of the city’s Thieves’ Guild and the City Guard Paladins have taken offense to his beliefs, each relying on the other and their conflict for justifying their jobs. The party rounds a corner in the street and bump into an unseemly fellow exchanging money with a guard, startling both of them. On the ground rests a poster of the mystic and his supposed address. The two draw blades and aim them at the party…

74. Holier Than Thou. An Aarokocra Cleric has traveled down from the secluded hilltop settlement to denounce “the Age of Wagons” and the “increasingly disharmonic materialismof the valley people below. The residents, still rebuilding from the wounds of the war a mere generation ago, grow irate and begin throwing stones at the winged guru denouncing their way of life. Will the party attempt to make peace, take a side, or let things fall where they may?

75. School Suppression. The “Talldwarf Akashemy”, beloved Barding School famous for its eccentric ballads, arts, and dances, has proven itself a staple of the rural alternative culture and spirituality. But vicious soldiers from the Void Star Empire have come to suppress its heretical habits. The party witnesses one of the Mage Knights let loose a Fireball upon the straw rooftop of their children’s classroom. The kids inside shriek, and the conflagration threatens only to grow. Will the party make a stand against the enforcement of their edict, or side with the authorities?

76. Monstrous Magnetism. The powerful Sorceress Nemydina has declared herself the Prophet of Infinite Revelation, and her magnificent powers have drawn hundreds to her sanctuary for tutelage, where she teaches students to stand against their worst fears. But the party discovers an anonymous note indicating that an abominable Balhannoth3 resides deep beneath the sanctuary, magnifying the pupils’ desires and yearnings as it lays in its lair, feeding off their fears. Coincidence, or conspiracy? Will the party confront Nemydina, and clear the aberration’s cave?

77. Weaseling Worm. The party hears tell that the secretive cult Twilight Requiem has a hidden heart most foul: the innermost diviner is actually a Neogi Master2 slaver who has made a Pact with the Goddess of the Underworld to sell souls. Now it makes sense why no adept has yet completed the aristocratic spider-worm’s final test of crossing the Threshold, why so many fall into the Depths, become Empty. It was all a ruse. Can the party find a way to break its charm?

78. Overheard Oath. The party enters the temple just as the Seven Swords Magi places her Gnomish blade delicately upon the knight’s shoulder. As she completes the precise motions the knight swears the Oath of True Will, becoming a proper Paladin. The Magi looks up at the party, scowling: “Normally only Initiates hear these sacred words. Outsiders, make yourselves useful. Bring me the rare spell materials on this list and you shall find yourselves in my favor, perhaps enough to receive Wisdom.

79. Food For Thought. The party watches the Ritual of Dissolution nervously. The Magus trembles, sinking deeper into his trance. This time he will do it, he will comprehend the Void, dissolve his ego, and come back Transcended. As he approaches the Void Barrier, his vacant eyes shimmer with the visage of the Corona-Sun Ferryman during the Bargaining phase. Blood begins to trickle from his ears. For a very brief moment, the party witnesses in the reflections in the Magus’ eyes what resembles an Intellect Devourer1 leashed to an Ulitharid2, scooping out his cranium. His eyes widen, pupils like the Void itself. He shakes, and awakens. Whoever has returned, it is likely no longer the Magus

80. Halfling’s Helper. The Halfling Occultist reassures the party that she will survive the arrow protruding from her gut, and beckons them further down the hallway. As they step deeper into the complex, away from the light outside, they can make out the faint outline of a Blink Dog1 following closely behind her heels. With each of its steps, a shimmer grows around the wound. What is the nature of this Guardian Spirit?

81. Rebel Recovery. The Gnolls1 have finally freed themselves from their rampaging god, Yeenoghu3, the Beast of Butchery. Once the truth of Yeenoghu not having created them spread, the possibility of tempering their bloodlust brought an unprecedented hope. The monstrous hyenas rebelled, rallying to recover their true origins and destiny. An envoy has come to the party directing them toward the Library of Kanok, where the oldest records of Gnoll culture and hyena lore reside. But the Horned King sends his Armanite3 herds chasing across the plane to recruit the Gnolls. If the party can bring their history back first, perhaps they will not fall to another tyrant’s grasp. In the distance: the sounds of a stampede…

82. Cultural Chronicle. The party has recovered a Scrolltube washed up on the shore, labeled as the True and Original Chronicle of Duergar Pre-History, detailing the Duergar’s Dwarven traditions before the Illithids1 enslaved them. Their minds shattered, their heritage lost, and their lineage betrayed, the desperate Gray Dwarves scrape out survival amongst the Underdark depths, with no help from their fellow Dwarves and no cultural guidance beyond force of will and arms. Upon closer inspection, the Scrolltube has liquified brain matter as a suspension and preservation medium for the scroll, indicating its authenticity. Will the party help the Duergar reclaim their ancestry, sell the scroll, or avoid risking the Mind Flayers’1 wrath?

83. Riddle of Reclamation. As the party treks up the mountainside they encounter a Stone Giant Dreamwalker2, a huge and wandering figure clad in all manner of baubles and bangles. About 40 paces away, the Dream Dweller bellows about her hallucinatory voyage to uncover the truth from the Riddle of Dewy Stones. Somehow the puzzle shall reveal the lost secrets of the shamanic transformation ritual that allowed a Storm Giant Quintessent2 to transform into a storm vortex. Thunder sounds in the distance, and the Dreamwalker invites the party to camp in her cave and ponder the quandary…

84. Mischief Brew. The party hears mention that those crafty Kobolds1 have finally snuck the Kobold Saga Relics away from their Hobgoblin1 bosses and run off to the Wet Warrens to rebuild their culture, erecting altars to the Lost God Kurtulmak. Rumor has it the Old Time Ways prove no less cruel however, as the Kobold clan has begun gang ambushes to capture Halflings, whose flesh sacrifice they ferment in the murky waters to amass a suitable form for Kurtulmak. Down in the sewers, the party hears a bubbling sound, and giggles…

85. Pudding Puppeteer. The party has tracked the Centaur1 nomad Llewist Sodhoof to near the cave’s mouth. As the last surviving Loreteller for his tribe, their oral legacy lives with him alone. Unfortunately, as the party arrives at the cave mouth, they notice a disgusting jelly caking its walls. Just a bit deeper in, the party spots the unthinkable: a hideous Elder Oblex3 — a Memory Eater ooze — extends its sickening tethers to perfect copies of all the missing Sodhoof Centaur children, marionetting them nauseatingly in front of the Loreteller and reeling them deeper into the cave. The sobbing Centaur presses forward, captivated by the nightmare show before him. The party must act fast, before the monstrosity consumes the last memories of a people

86. Eclipse Exploration. The party has traveled to a great green grove on the night of the eclipse, to meet with the Sprites1 and Pixies1 the trusted Starlight Coven has networked with. While everyone circles the Ritual Receptacle, the Sprites mutter under their breath at the Pixies tossing about Faerie Dust. But this time, the powder does serve an important purpose. As the final sliver of light departs, the Dust and Receptacle glow, forming an arrow shape pointing north. Toward the Cave of Ruin. This better not be another Pixie prank…

87. Tangling Thickets. The party has spent so many hours lost in the Wyrd Woods that they must construct a cautious camp. A Dryad1 soon emerges from a hollow stump nearby to warn the party of the Lost Sorrowsworn3 haunting the woodlands. It impales anything it can get its grotesque spikes on. She has disoriented the deformed horror for so long now, protecting her Maiden Daughter and Elder Mother so they can continue imbuing the trees with lifeforce. If the party can put down the Sorrowsworn, the Dryad Trio will allow the party’s exit. Alternatively, the Dryad offers the party Fairy Ring Blessings if they can stay for a spell and learn the Rite of Redwoods’ Embrace, which would release the disturbed soul permanently after they fell it. However, a less patient party may just press the Dryads holding them captive in these twisting thickets…

88. Weird Wellwater. The party has ventured to a nearby aquifer to help the Rosepetal Coven consecrate the new well meant to quench the thirsty attendees of the upcoming Rosehip Festival. As they arrive, a witch with a sour look on her face notifies the party that the worst has come to pass: the water has grown foul after a Rot Troll3 has fallen in, its necrotic energy polluting the Water Weird1 that nurtures the wellwater. The witches can muster cup and cauldron to cleanse the Weird, but they ask that the party extract and dispatch the Troll. Inside the well, they hear a gurgling snarl…

89. Cackling Cloth. The Autumn Harvest Celebration marks the high point of the year for many townsfolk, all the bonfires, bells, and brooms bringing action and excitement to an otherwise slow life. Around nightfall, as the party accompanies the witch growers in pouring bonemeal on the fields, the Scarecrows1 all burst to life, cackling maniacally as they claw about. Behind these sackcloth sentinels, a Night Hag1 runs off, vanishing into a haze. Has she cursed the bonemeal? The party must act quickly!

90. Witch War. The Night Witch Circle has struck back against the Inquisitors who hunt and burn them, the witches’ enchanted brooms allowing for fast hit-and-run ambushes and nightly sabotage raids against the Empire. The party hears rumor they may even soon come to rescue the Horned Knights locked away in the royal dungeon. Will the party join the jailbreak, sit aside, or tip off the Inquisitors?

91. Substantial Stash. A Millenarian order of Clerics and Sorcerers called New Way has come into conflict with the Royal Paladins. Not just their bohemian beliefs, but also their distribution of hallucinogenic entheogens has gained them notoriety. While walking, a party member stumbles, dislodging a cobblestone. It seems to reveal a stash of the substance. Will the party return it, turn it in, or keep it for their own purposes?

92. Crystalline Construct. The eccentric Dwarven Seer shakes with anticipation as she reveals the impressive crystalline statue of a Giant to the party, her floating Ioun Stones dancing around her head. She chants some Elvish and Gnomish phrases, bangs an Orcish war gong with a hammer, then plugs the Gemstone of Conscious Light into the receiver in the statue’s chest. The magical crystalline Stone Golem1 activates, and time begins to slow down around the party. In slow motion they witness the Seer’s Ioun Stones pulse, vibrate, then burst, as she falls to the ground, unconscious. Now what?

93. Independence Day. The day the Skyshatter Prophecy foretold has come, when the sky would split open, and a new lineage would arrive from beyond the stars to build a New Aeon. The party stands with the dense crowd, waiting in anticipation and worry. A portal appears, pouring out Githyanki1 marauders. Their astral brigs and skiffs head toward the awestruck masses. Far above, the party spies a Young Red Dragon1, towing the invasion force’s Mothership. All hope rests on this ship’s downfall. Can the party save the day?

94. Cerulean Child. The party meets with the nervous Elven peasant family in the treetop hut, where they introduce their kid, Nova. Some call Nova the Cerulean Child, because of her mysterious Psionic gifts and empathic temperament. The sleepless Nova shares a precognitive vision with the party, tracing out in arcane markings the first layer of the Ley Lines’ secret geometry. She suddenly pauses, asking the party, “Have you met my Imaginary Friend, Allip1?”

95. Disc Discovery. Sightings have appeared all over the countryside. Sporadic at first, but now, quite often. Rotating discs, gargantuan in size. Flying across the sky. Mesmerizingly. Lately, the local Halfling bumpkins have started a Disc Cult, making altars and offerings to the strange, swirling circles. Even the party has come to investigate the phenomenon. Perched high atop the old lighthouse, they finally spot one of these discs at just the right angle for but a moment: it looks like a Gnome pilot riding atop a Roc1, carrying a colossal, upside-down parasol beneath it, spinning as the Roc soars. How can the party prove such a thing to the Halfling country folk?

96. Lovecraft Lich. The party approaches the crater, smoke from the comet strike still rising. Looking closer, it appears the wild speculation proved true. Some heart-shaped vehicle from the Heavens has crash landed. Out from the smoke marches a platoon of humanoid-hippos, heavily armed Giff3, with muskets and grenades at the ready. They ignore the party entirely, shouting. The Giff mount a formation, and take aim at the wreckage. The party gasps, witnessing an abhorrent Alhoon3 Illithilich demigod arise from the crater in a cloud of manifold Sigils. A hail of shots and blasts, all absorbed in the entropic abjuration of its Glyphs of Warding. The Illithilich sits down, meditating

97. A Tad Overdone. As the party passes the playground they notice the children all sitting in a circle, chanting a creepy nursery rhyme as they pass around a tadpole, each taking a lick. “One Slaad, two Slaad, three Slaad, four. Feeding, breeding, spawning more! Red Slaad, Green Slaad, Blue Slaad, Gray. Think I even saw a Death today!” Horrifically, a pack of Red Slaad1 then burst out from their skin. Shocked, the party finally notices the geometric barrier chalked around these beings of utter chaos, trapping them. What next?

98. Wrong Number. After much fanfare, the Elven Spirit Hacker finally calls upon the Ancestors, initiating contact via the Egregore Operator. But something’s not quite right this time. The party witnesses his skin begin to…slither? Whorling tumors and worming appendages writhe across his form as a Star Spawn Seer3 of the Elder Evils overtakes his body. It then summons a Star Spawn Hulk3, the brute’s muscles look glassy and gangly as it charges the party…

99. Skek Seized. The Gnomish Occult Scientists show the party the body of the hunched and scarred vulture-mage, the dreaded Nagpa3 known as Skek, who had schemed and plundered for generations. Stilled and stupefied with powerful seals and sedatives, the Gnomes will now learn from it what they can with their Arcane Devices. With the first prod, the party begins to feel synesthesia, smelling the sounds of lingering and longing. With the second prod, the image of Skek’s auto-paralysis, preparing for Astral Projection, fills their minds. With the third prod, flashbacks of Skek reaching Gnosis, entering its Gneo Geo Dual Goetic Star Vehicle. With the fourth prod, Skek’s dispossessed spirit enters the Occult Laboratory machinery as an Eidolon3. And it will defend its long-awaited treasure with the utmost craftiness and cruelty…

100. Annihilation Approacheth. In the secluded monastery, the Chaos Monk Anoxia’s Third Eye awakens, the rhythm of her mantras quickening as she cuts and rearranges the pages ever more haphazardly. Above her, the party watches her Astral Doppelganger mirror every move. After a dazzling sequence of ASMR, Blue Pearl Astral Sight, and Holy Guardian Angel consultation, she awakes. She has spoken to the Calamity on the Horizon. She informs the party: annihilation approacheth. The Nightwalker3.

Final Thoughts

Well folks, that’s it for the 100 Western Esoteric & Occult traditions Plot Hooks Generator Tool for D&D 5e. I hope all you DM’s, worldbuilders, and D&D players enjoyed it; please take a moment to share the tool if you found it useful, and let me know in the comments what you think. Next Tuesday I’ll start a brand new series! In the meantime, I post original D&D memes and writing updates daily over on my site’s Facebook Page. Also, if you want to stay up-to-date on all my posts, look down at the bottom for my newsletter sign-up. Thanks as always to my Patron on Patreon, helping keep this project alive: Rudy. Thanks for all your support, Rudy!

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Tril

D&D 5e blogger.

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