Whether it’s ancient literature like Journey to the West or the latest Jackie Chan movie, the martial arts genre is one of the most well-loved and longest lasting. The hand-to hand combat of a typical kung fu flick will blend very well with the action-oriented side of Dungeons & Dragons. If the ancient Eastern arts of combat sound like an exciting addition to your campaign, read on for some Adventure Seeds to spark ideas.
Twilight of the Ancient Order
A brotherhood of three elderly monks, the last of their order, seek the party’s help in defending their temple. The monks are the guardians of numerous sacred artifacts, but none more powerful or legendary than the Sacred Shichishito, a seven-branched sword that grants its wielder immense power. (The actual capabilities of the sword are up to the DM, depending on what’s appropriate for the campaign). The local feudal lord has sought it for many years, but was never able to locate the monks’ hidden temple. Now, one of his scouts has found it, and they have little time before the rest of the Lord’s soldiers arrive to ransack the temple.
Liberate the Village
An impoverished community is living under the thumb of a martial arts-wielding gang. Local businesses are threatened and blackmailed by them, innocent citizens are bullied in the streets, and anyone who dare speaks out against them suddenly disappears. When the PCs arrive in town, several locals implore them to meet with them in secret. When they arrive to the secret meeting, the locals plea with the party for help fighting back against the gang, as the gang prevents the townsfolk from owning weapons or learning combat arts, and the party are the first combat-capable people other than gang members to have been to the town in years.
A messenger tracks down a member of the party and delivers a small package to them. The package contains a black shuriken, and a letter written in a strange language. (If one of the PCs manages to recognize it, they identify it as an obscure oriental dead language, and one that finding a translator for would be very difficult) As the party goes about their business, the player who received the package is targeted by a mysterious masked assassin. The mystery of the shuriken, the letter, and the assassin somehow has a connection to the character’s past…
The Rightful Owner?
In exchange for fabulous wealth, a powerful feudal lord implores the PCs to aid him in recovering the stolen relics of his bloodline. (These could be masterwork/magical weapons or armor, scrolls containing martial arts wisdom of ancient masters, a parcel of land in a remote location, or anything else you’d like.) Once the PCs find the relics, they learn that they were reclaimed by the members of a dojo after the feudal lord stole them decades ago when he conquered their land. The party has to make a decision: obtaining wealth for themselves, or ancient artifacts remaining in the hands of their rightful owners.