As the name might imply, this is an adventure designed to springboard a campaign and introduce people to your gaming world. It is especially useful for getting people that have very little experience with RPGs but want to learn, as they will be able to relate to the characters easily. It can be used as a one-shot adventure, but the players are likely going to want to continue if things go well.
The premise of this adventure is simple. The player characters are all very young adults (or almost adults) that have grown up on stories of adventures and want to experience their own stories for whatever reason. Their character sheets start out very ordinary and mundane, but hopefully between the drive of the players and the experiences of their first real adventure, they will come out being quite fantastical.
Have the player characters pick an aspect from each of the categories listed below to build their character. Skill points and stunts listed with that aspect are also added to the character when they choose it for their own. It is, in my experience, a fun way to ease new players into character building. But if you do not think it is a good fit for you or your group, feel free to pre-assemble starting characters beforehand.
Bubbly Barmaid – You’ve been serving drinks in your father’s tavern since you were old enough to carry three mugs at once. A party of adventurers once came through town, celebrating their adventure with ale and mead. Fascinated by their stories, you’ve decided to join up with some people your own age and have some real fun! Gain +2 to allies, charm, and trickery.
Apprentice Blacksmith – You had barely started your apprenticeship when your master needed your help with a special order: an amazing weapon crafted from a material you’d never heard of before. Testing the weapon for balance and poise, you felt the call of adventure stir inside of you. And by a stroke of luck, it seems like you aren’t the only one hearing the call. Gain +2 to artistry, marksmanship, and physique.
Circus Performer – Some people might think it embarrassing to drop out of a traveling circus, but what’s the point of doing something entertaining that you don’t enjoy? While the travel is fun, the pay is meager and the performances are so rehearsed. So you decided to pursue a new career, and it turns out there are folks here that make adventuring sound fun. Gain +2 to flexibility, banditry, and provoke.
Enthusiastic Librarian – Your life has been books, and you wouldn’t trade it for anything. Well, almost anything. After reading so much about magical lands and heroic adventurers it is hard not to want to experience some of your favorite stories for yourself. And all that knowledge is bound to make you a valuable member of a like-minded group. Gain +2 to lore, fortune, and investigation.
Stout Farm Boy – The land is good to you, and you do a lot of good for others. Now you’ve gotten to that age where you have to decide if it is right for you. Secretly, you want to be more than a farmer. You want to see the world. And you might not get a second chance. So when a bard’s tale got some of your friends talking about leaving, you seized the opportunity. Gain +2 to physique, instinct, and tussle.
Compassionate Herbalist – You and the other herbalists do a lot of good for the community. You make salves that heal and poisons to keep bugs out of crops. But really there is only so much you can do with the local plants. You could do a lot more, you feel, if you traveled a bit and got to see what else was out there. And your friends are going to need your help if they are adventuring. Gain +2 to empathy, will, and investigation.
Elfish Impersonator – You have pointed your ears, practiced grace, and pretended so hard that you are not human. The only person you have managed to fool so far is yourself, but at least your friends have come to accept you for who you pretend to be. Gain +1 to allies, artistry, and flexibility.
Uneducated and Ashamed – You never had time to learn to read or write, and you feel like everyone that did looks down on you. You are not stupid or anything. You know all the important things you need to survive. Or at least, that’s what you tell everyone else. Gain +1 to instinct, empathy, and will.
Convinced I Am Cursed – You did a bad thing, and then bad luck struck you. It has left you convinced that you are cursed, and no one is going to be able to convince you that curses don’t exist. The only thing that can help you is finding a way to lift the curse. Gain +1 to banditry, Investigation, and provoke.
Consistently Clumsy – You are a klutz, bless your heart. You try to make excuses and cover it up, but you are close to getting a nickname like “Danger-Prone Daphne”. The only good thing you can say about your lack of grace is that you know how to get up after a fall. Gain +1 to charm, physique, and trickery.
Socially Awkward – You would rather wrestle a behemoth than make small talk at a duchess’s party. You are the wall flower, the shy quiet one that lives a slightly sheltered life and is only comfortable around people that are already your friends. Gain +1 to marksmanship, lore, and fortune.
Emotionally Sensitive – It does not take much for you to get your feelings hurt. Your temper has gotten you into a few fights, many times the result of a misunderstanding. You have a big soft hearth that is fragile and breaks easily. Gain +1 to tussle, empathy, and flexibility.
Prove My Worth – Growing up in a small town, you have always wondered if anything you did ever mattered. You want to be important. You want to change the world for the best, and being an adventurer will give you the chance to prove how valuable of a person you are. Gain +1 to investigation, instinct, and charm.
Loyal to My Friends – Sure the idea of adventuring appeals to you for a lot of reasons, but you would have stayed at home if it was just about glory or riches. You are here because your friends are here, and you want to see them succeed more than anything else. Gain +1 to tussle, allies, and empathy.
Protean Passions – You have dabbled in a lot of things over the years, trying to find your purpose in life. You have not yet been able to hone your passions into one goal yet, but adventuring requires so many skills that you are hoping it will prove to be the answer. Gain +1 to trickery, marksmanship, and artistry.
Love for Shinies – You are looking to get rich, plain and simple. Sure there are other aspects of adventuring that are enjoyable: good company, travel, and fantastical surprises. You are not motivated solely by greed. But someone has to keep an eye on the party’s funds, right? Gain +1 to fortune, trickery, and banditry.
“Forbidden” Means “Wonderful” – You want to have fun, and adventuring sounds like a LOT of fun! Where others perceived danger, you perceive opportunities. When someone tells you something is forbidden, you feel like they are begging you to investigate. Gain +1 to provoke, flexibility, and physique.
Obsessed With Dragon Lore – You want to fly with the dragons, and you don’t care if it sounds silly or childish. You’ve read about them, heard every story about them, and now you are on a personal quest to find a dragon. Whatever it takes, you are going to see your dream come true! Gain +1 to lore, charm, and will.
____ is Dependable – You have faith in a fellow party member’s abilities, and that faith benefits you both.
Secretly Crushing on ____ – You have feelings for a fellow party member that you must keep bottled up inside.
Must Protect ____ – You feel a deep responsibility to make sure that a specific fellow party member is safe.
____ Twin Technique – You and fellow party member have a special combo move that you can use together.
____, The Muse – You find a fellow party member to be a great source of inspiration for your creativity.
Great Respect For ____ – You saw a fellow party member do something that had a big impact on you.
Allies – Everyone needs friends. This skill represents your social connections. You can use it to see if you have a mutual friend with someone, call in a favor, and offer support to your party. If you want to be a socialite, this is a good skill for you.
Artistry – We all have the ability to create. This skill represents your ability to make things. You can use it to craft gear, determine the aesthetic value of treasure, and create tasty food or works of art that other people will compensate you for. If you want to be a tinkerer, this is a good skill for you.
Banditry – There are times when you need to misbehave. This skill represents the skills you do not want to get caught using. You can use it to hind and sneak, pick locks, and steal from people (that are not in your party, of course…). If you want to be a rogue, this is a good skill for you.
Charm – First impressions are lasting impressions. This skill represents your ability to sway others to your way of thinking. You can use it to attract or distract someone’s attention, talk people into giving you a good deal, and convince angry mobs and soldiers that you are one of the good guys. If you want to be a negotiator, this is a good skill for you.
Empathy – Patience is a virtue. This skill represents your ability to read someone. You can use it to detect if someone is lying to you, understand what motivates a creature attacking you, and read body language when you don’t understand the spoken language. If you want to be a helper, this is a good skill for you.
Flexibility – An arrow will not pierce your knee if you move it out of the way. This skill represents how easily you can change. You can use it to dodge attacks, try something that is normally against your nature, and slip through itty bitty spaces. IF you want to be an acrobat, this is a good skill for you.
Fortune – Some people are born lucky. This skill represents your physical and karmic wealth. You can use it to buy things at a market, play games of chance, or allow fate to make things better (or worse) for everyone involved. If you want to be a gambler, this is a good skill for you.
Instinct – You can’t explain how you know, but you know that you know. This skill represents your sixth sense. You can use it to react before someone else does, resist being caught by surprise, and navigate your way in the wild. If you want to be a tracker, this is a good skill for you.
Investigation – Secret doors are much more helpful when you find them the easy way. This skill represents your ability to search. You can use it to find hidden traps, gather loot, and track someone that is fleeing from you. If you want to be an explorer, this is a good skill for you.
Lore – Knowledge is power. This skill represents how educated you are. You can use it to establish knowledge on any subject, understand different languages and dialects, and determine any magical properties an item might have. If you want to be a scribe, this is a good skill for you.
Marksmanship – He split Robin’s arrow in twain! This skill represents your ability to aim. You can use it to shoot an arrow into a monster, cut a rope with a tossed dagger, and juggle colored balls for the amusement of others. If you want to be a ranged combatant, this is a good skill for you.
Physique – If you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything. This skill represents your physical power. You can use it to kick down a door, stop a heavy rolling boulder, and resist poison. If you want to be an athlete, this is a good skill for you.
Provoke – Why do you think I have this outrageous accent? This skill represents your less-than-charming communication. You can use it to intimidate weaklings, taunt your foes into making mistakes, or push your allies to do better. If you want to be a smack-talker, this is a good skill for you.
Trickery – Honesty is not always the best policy. This skill represents your ability to deceive. You can use it to lie convincingly, perform street magic illusions, and catch foes off guard with a feint. If you want to be a trickster, this is a good skill for you.
Tussle – Combat happens on adventures. This skill represents your ability to fight up close. You can use it to throw a punch in a tavern brawl, swing a weapon at a foe, and wrestle someone into submission. If you want to be a fighter, this is a good skill for you.
Will – You shall not pass! This skill represents the strength of your mind. You can use it to resist provocation, push through mind-altering magic, and stand your ground when something enormous and angry tries to scare you. If you want to be a faithful, then this is a good skill for you.
Every first level adventuring party needs some challenges so that they can learn how to get through them and ultimately advance to level two. These come in a variety, though different campaigns will have their favorites. Here are some options
A familiar challenge that offers a wide variety of challenges, combat is probably going to happen in every fantasy adventure campaign. Skills like Tussle and Marksmanship are going to be important for attacks while Flexibility and Physique will be necessary for defense. Sometimes mental games with Will and Provoke will also come into play. Instinct starts the initiative order, and other skills may be used to get information that could prove valuable to assisting these skill checks.
Another popular challenge in the fantasy world is the puzzle room, often featuring an obstacle for the group to overcome. Use Investigate to find it the easy way. Then use Banditry to disable it or Lore to learn about how it can be avoided. You may also be able to come up with a more clever solution using Artistry or let a follower handle it with Allies. If nothing else, Fortune may allow you to avoid the worst of it.
The First Adventure
Right now I am imagining a game of 4-6 scenes, depending on how far outside of the rabbit hole the players want to go. First scene is actually leaving town. This is the chance for the player characters to introduce themselves, gear up, and get familiar with the mechanics.
Next is the first traveling experience. This should be an easy day of travel, followed by their first camping experience. The goal is to establish basic adventuring habits that experienced adventurers do without thinking: walking order, shifts for keeping watch, and reacting to perceived danger.
The third scene is the bandit encounter, which can go one of two different ways: physical combat or social cleverness. Most likely it will end up a little bit of both. Player characters should be encouraged to try out things like sneak attacks, setting traps, separating the bandits, scaring them away, charming into their ranks, or even avoiding them all together.
The fourth scene, fi the party goes through the forest, is the encounter with the fairies. If anyone establishes that magic is not real, then this scene does not actually happen. The fairies are playing a game of hide and tag, and it is up to the player characters to catch them. If they do, they will receive a small blessing based on which fairy they caught.
Depending on what information they got from the fairies/bandits and what their original goal was for the quest they set out on, the last two encounters will vary considerably. Encounter 5 is all about getting to where they are going. Delving into the tomb of an unknown king. Entering the lair of an ancient dragon. Ascending the tower of an ancient wizard. The challenge level should be the same for each (and possibly the base mechanics), but thanks to flavor text and the fact that they will never see those other challenges everything should work out.
The final encounter should spur on another quest. After all, this isn’t Your ONLY Adventure. This is a campaign starter. Perhaps the players are offered gold up front to deliver an item to a king somewhere. Or maybe they find a mystical artifact, one of a set, and they have to go out and find the others. Or maybe the person they meet decides to sponsor them and teach them some things.
- Animal Lover: +2 to Create an Advantage checks to alter an aspect on an animal that makes it more friendly towards you.
- I Have Friends in Every Nation: The GM cannot refuse you spending a fate point to establish an NPC contact so long as you are outside of combat and can explain why they are your ally.
- Summoner’s Calling: You may use your Allies skill to summon magical beings that you have created a magical contract with. They are considered your follower for a number of rounds equal to your roll.
- Lead From the Back: You may give your action to another player character. The must use a skill that is lower than your Allies rank.
- Lord of the Dance: You may use your Artistry to dodge physical attacks, moving in a way that is less practical and more performance.
- Secret Sauce: Anything crafted by your artistry takes 1 less step of time to make and lasts for 1 extra step. For example, making a pastry to give a bonus for 1 scene now lasts for 2.
- Inspired by Teo: When successfully using Artistry to create something, you may give your creation an extra aspect that cannot be removed without destroying your creation.
- A Song of Inspiration: Once per scene you may use your action to give another player character a bonus to their next check equal to your Artistry, provided you can describe how you inspire them.
- Tools Of the Trade: +1 to any Banditry check to disable a trap or pick a lock.
- One With The Night: In a location with a Dim or Dark type aspect, you gain +2 on a check to sneak.
- Finders Keepers: +2 on stealing an item that has an aspect associated with it.
- It Was Not Nailed Down: +1 to any Banditry check that is obviously illegal
- Mama’s Good Looks: +2 to social Create an Advantage checks on anyone that might be attracted to your appearance
- You Can Do It: Once per scene you can give another character a free sticky positive aspect that includes your name. If not in combat, add a second sticky positive aspect that includes your name.
- I Would Consider It a Personal Favor: Your social attacks gain a +2 damage against anyone with less charm than you have.
- You Are Loved – When you are taken out of a scene, any player character that saw what happened to you gets a bonus to their next skill check equal to your Charm.
- “You’re Mocking Me, Aren’t You?”: +2 sense motive checks when outside of combat
- Something Isn’t Right: +1 against all mental attacks, no matter what skill you use against it.
- Delving Too Deep: Once per session when you fail an Empathy check, you can use this ability to still learn one of the target’s aspects. They are aware you know and gain an aspect with your name in it.
- Inspiring Presence: Anyone that knows you care about them can spend time talking with you to help recover from mental consequences 1 scene faster.
- Dance of the Cucumber: You may use your flexibility in place of Artistry performance rolls for acrobatics, dancing, or other similar applications.
- Roll With The Punches: Once per scene you may tag an aspect placed on you by an opponent. The next person to invoke that aspect must spend an extra fate point.
- I Am A Leaf On The Wind: When you invoke one of your own aspects for a physical dodge, you get +4 instead of the usual +2.
- Very Bendy: +2 to any Flexibility Overcome action that impedes your movement.
- Bottomless Purse: When a failed Fortune check would result in a consequence on your character sheet, you may spend a fate point to negate taking that consequence.
- Try To Visualize Your Goal: Once per session you may use Fortune instead of any more appropriate skill check. The GM describes how the result of your roll makes sense.
- Say Backpack! Say Backpack!: +1 Fortune to see if you happen to have a mundane item in your pack. If you do not have a pack for some reason, you can still roll a Fortune check to find a similar item nearby.
- One With The Cosmic Energy: Once per session you may roll a Spiritual Power check. Gain a number of fate points equal to your roll minus 3. A negative result inflicts mental stress.
- Sleeping With Eyes Open: +2 against any attempt to surprise you specifically.
- Trust Me, It’s This Way: Roll Instinct against the number of aspects not known for the current scene. Success allows you to invoke one aspect on the scene to establish the direction you need to go in order to accomplish your current goal.
- See it Coming: Everyone in your group gains +1 to initiative checks with Instinct when you are present.
- Daredevil Senses Tingling: You may use Instinct instead of Investigation to search a location.
- Just the Facts, Ma’am: When gathering information from a town, city, or large group of people the GM must distinguish what information is fact and what is legend
- No Stone Unturned: You gain a +4 to all search checks using Investigation. Search checks with this skill always take 2 extra steps of time.
- Mad Genius: Invoke a scene aspect with Investigation to declare something unexpected is true. This results in an additional aspect with a free invoke for your party in addition to the normal invoke.
- Eyes Like an Owl: Your eyes are big and bright, allowing you to see better than most in low-light. +1 to all sight-based Investigation checks. The difficulty for checks cannot be raised due to dim lighting.
- Lost Grimoire: You can use your Lore for any spell casting checks for any spells you know.
- I’ve Read About This: Gain +2 for Information rolls pertaining to something historical.
- Libraries Are My Playground: Learning rolls at an appropriate location take one less step of time. When tapping a scene aspect that references written knowledge, you get +3 to your Lore instead of the normal +2.
- Ritual Thaumaturgist: You may use your Lore to attempt to discover if an object is blessed, cursed, or enchanted. Be aware that this may cause some of the magic to slip out of the object if your check fails.
- Freestyle Master: You gain +1 physical attack when throwing something you picked up this scene
- Push the Red Button: You may use your Marksmanship skill to attempt to destroy any item in a scene that has a weapons damage rating
- Aim For Their Knees: You may spend a Fate point to declare that the target of your Marksmanship attack can only take Extreme consequences to avoid being taken out by your attack.
- Let It Go: You may use Marksmanship to Attack with a magical projectile blast of any element you are attuned to. Non-elemental blasts are not possible with this ability.
- Like a Fish In Water: You can hold your breath an extra 2 steps of time before needing air.
- Parkour: Reduce the difficulty of crossing physical barriers by 2.
- Crushing Might: You gain a +1 to all grapple attacks and damage.
- Skadoosh: You can use Physique to Defend against physical attacks. If you succeed with style, you also inflict 1 point of physical stress on the attacker that ignores armor or any other special ability.
- The Boulder Is Confused: When speaking of yourself in third person, your Provoke checks gain +1.
- I Shall Taunt You a Second Time!: You may invoke an aspect to make 2 Provoke attacks as your action.
- You Don’t Know Who I Am?: When tagging your main aspect to perform a Create an Advantage check on someone, you get +4 instead of +2.
- Suggestion: You may choose to take 1 point of irreducible mental stress to make your Provoke Attack checks magical, which inflict an additional 2 points of stress on a successful check (including a tie).
- Pretending to Be Off Guard: When someone with a surprise bonus fails to hit you, you may immediately counter with a Create an Advantage check on them with a surprise bonus equal to the one they had.
- Master of Illusions: You may choose to take 1 point of irreducible mental stress to make your Trickery checks to Create an Advantage magical. This increases the difficulty to oppose your check by 2.
- Hands Quicker Than The Eye: You gain +2 on any noncombat check involving sleight of hand
- Lovely Assistant: You can gain assistance on your Trickery checks from another player rolling Charm. If this fails, the target gets to take an immediate action that cannot be an Attack.
- Tavern Brawler – Opponents may not invoke your consequences in combat you while you are drunk.
- Fists of the Iron Elephant: Your unarmed attacks are treated as having Weapon: 1 damage
- Favored Weapon: You gain +1 to attack and rolls when using Tussle with a specific choice weapon.
- Martial Artist: You may use Tussle to defend against physical Attacks. If you take any stress from an attack while using this ability, you may inflict 1 point of physical or mental stress on the attacker.
- Too Stubborn To Quit: Any time you are taken out, you may take one final action. No aspects can be used to benefit or hinder this action.
- Tremble Before My Mighty Thews: Any time you are attempting an intimidation check on a target or group, but not a scene, you may reroll up to a number of dice equal to your will.
- Will It to Be: Once per session you may spend 1 hour in dedicated prayer or cursing to add a +2 to your next will check.
- Pointy Hat: You can use your Will for any spell casting checks for any spells you know.
The Adventure Options
In some ways this introductory adventure is a sandbox adventure since what happens really depend on where the characters go. Since there are currently no seeds planted yet, the party will probably want some options about where to go. So offer them the generic locations below, and reward them with some hints if they succeed at skill checks or clever thinking.
The difficulty for obtaining information should be a 2 for obvious things, a 4 for hints of the adventure, and a 6 to know everything in the first couple of sentences of the location’s descriptors.
If the group is interested in mermaids, sea monsters, or a ruined temple then the shore is the place for them. The temple is said to hold many lifelike statues and once housed many relics of a forgotten power. The group can help a stranded mermaid in exchange for an appropriate blessing or minor magical item related to music or water magic. A leviathan sea monster guards the temple ruins, and a gorgon sea witch lives inside, being the reason people were turned to stone.
Even further in is an angelic creature constantly tortured and drained of blood, which acts as a miracle potion for anyone that drinks it. Finding a way to cure the occupants could lead the group on a much longer series of quests and adventures.
If the group is interested in spirits, undead horrors, or a wizard’s tower then the marsh is the place for them. The wizard that lives at the tower is said to be an enchanter, gifted in bestowing magical properties to weapons, armors, and other mundane items. The group can help a ghost pass on in exchange for a grimoire or minor magical item left behind with the body. An army of skeletons guards the wizard’s tower, for it is a necromancer that has set up residence.
The tower once belonged to a good wizard, and many of his things have not been spoiled by the evil occupants. Also there is an artifact that belongs to a set that should tempt the player characters into completing. Something like the Orbs of Dragonkind or Zodiac Summoning Gems or a Rod of 12 Stones.
If the group is interested in dwarves, goblins, or a dragon’s lair then the mountain is the place for them. They say the dragon sleeps deeply on its own mountain of treasure. A lost dwarf merchant will happily haggle his wares with the group in exchange for some direction. The goblins unwittingly guard the tunnel to the dragon’s lair. Despite rumors of inactivity, the dragon is very much awake when the party arrives, though it may pretend to be deep in sleep.
The dragon is not interested in killing the party initially, though it does not like anyone trying to steal its treasures. It will offer to sponsor the party on other adventures, paying them a generous sum in advance. Not sure who is going to tell a dragon no at level one, but the dragon immediately has one of the other quests in this adventure to send them on.
If the group is interested in fairies, unicorns, or an elven tree city then the forest is the place for them. The city’s location is a closely guarded secret from outsiders, but maybe they will make an exception for you if you prove to be sincere and pure of heart. Or really cute. The fairies are trapped in webs by spiders and soon to be eaten, but they will happily give favors to any party members that rescue them (based on the color/element of that fairy). A unicorn guards the hidden elven city, set to lead adventurers away or kill anything that tries evil. The city its self is shut tight, as the elves inside have no interest in visitors.
If the party can gain entrance into the city, or at least audience with someone, then they will meet a prince or princess that wants to learn about their culture and will try to help them get honorary citizenship into the city. This will probably require the completion of several quests to win favor, which will become a series of quests.
If the group is interested in gypsies, sand storms, or a king’s tomb then the desert is the place for them. The king was the wealthy ruler of a large ancient kingdom, and it is believed that his greatest treasures were buried with him. The gypsies are shunned by many people, but they will gladly trade with the party if they are kind. Sand storms constantly block the tomb’s entrance. The tomb its self is filled with traps and maybe a golem-like guardian or two. Plus, there is the king’s curse.
Inside the treasure room of the tomb is a genie in a bottle that is willing to grant one wish to each character. Of course these wishes have catches though, and a campaign may turn out to be a quest of undoing the wishes that the genie granted them. If the party wants to set the genie free instead, then have the genie point them to another quest in this adventure as a parting thank you.
Scene 1: Vale Winds
The group meets for breakfast and to confirm that they really are going off on an adventure together. Have the players introduce their character, stating their name, their main aspect, and why they want to adventure. This scene could be incredibly short or incredibly long depending on how prepared the group wants to be.
If the group wants to prepare, ask them what all they need. Each character has a note of something they should bring that they are well suited to obtain. If they try to get something they are not suited for, be sure to call them out on it.
Trammil the blacksmith is Socially Awkward about asking for information. Brin the barmaid Cannot Resist a Challenge, so she would probably rather rough it than buy supplies. Rydia the performer is an Elvish Impersonator, so no one is going to take her seriously. Kriv the librarian is Consistently Clumsy, so he will probably knock something over when he goes shopping. Roland the farmer is Convinced He Is Cursed, so if he tries to shop he will probably spend his money on a lucky charm. Tess the herbalist will get uncomfortable if someone writes down directions for her since she is Uneducated and Ashamed.
Give the players aspects, boosts, and gear as appropriate. When they are ready to leave, narrate them leaving the town.
Scene 2: The Road First Taken
The group will need to decide which direction they go. The map is based on the Ocarina of Time landscape, so give directions as is appropriate. If the group is uninformed or just wants to pick a random direction, that’s fine. It will be a great surprise for what lies ahead.
The area leaving this city is pretty much plains territory at first, then a subtle blend as characters approach the intended environment that the party is destined for. Have them set up camp in the plains the first night with no encounters and ask about eating, sleeping, and watch arrangements. If the herbalist is gathering herbs, encourage her to do this while the group travels during the day.
On the second day, describe the shift in landscape as things change. Rising hills, if you are headed to the mountains. Rocky wasteland if you are headed towards the desert. Faint snow if you are headed for the castle. The air starts to smell salty if you head to the ocean. Heavy rain if you head for the marsh. Lots more vegetation as you head for the forest.
When the group sets up camp that night, check to see if everything is the same as it was the first night. A good Instinct or Investigation check will reveal an animal appropriate to the environment (owl, fox, rabbit, lizard, snake, or skunk) that is harmless to the party but may still be dealt with.
Go through this scene quickly, as the main point is to establish habits for the future and nothing more. Allow the players a chance to role play a conversation if they wish, but try to keep things moving along as this is not really an exciting scene.
On the third day, the group will continue traveling until they arrive at the place they were traveling to, which will trigger the next scene.
Scene 3: Trying To Be Heroes
It is at this point that the party encounters what at first appears to be a mundane situation but is naturally more than it appears to be. A group of victims are being hassled by hostiles, and it’s up to the party to help make things right.