John Wesley, famous theologian and founder of the Methodist movement, once described himself as a “man of one book.” The book he was referring to is of course the Bible. This quote emphasizes the importance that holy scriptures play in the life of disciples of Jesus. Christians are people of one book, and this means we are people of story.
The bible is full of incredible stories and believers for generations have devoted time and energy to learning and learning from these stories. One of the reasons why I enjoy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons is because I like stories. Role playing games are very unique because they allow the players to experience a story like nothing else can. The players become the central characters. Their actions shape, mold, and guide the stories.
Role playing games are all about experiencing incredible stories and the Bible is full of incredible stories. I think that the Bible is an interesting place to look for inspiration for role playing adventures. The goal is not to recreate the Biblical story accurately, but rather use the story for inspiration. The biblical story can create a hook that draws the players in and allows them to explore the narrative on their own. Using the Bible as inspiration for roleplaying adventures is not an effective Bible study tool, but it will help the players gain a deeper and more unique understanding of the story.
With that in mind, here are fifteen adventure hooks that come straight from the Bible. These kernels of ideas can be used to craft full adventures for any roleplaying system. They are written with fantasy in mind but they can be easily adopted to other genres. We hope you enjoy this and find it useful.
Fifteen Adventure Hooks from the Bible
1. A vile and evil city is about to be destroyed by a just deity. The players are tasked with finding the one righteous family in the city and escorting them to safety before burning sulfur rains from the sky (Genesis 19:1-29)
2. A favored son was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Due to divine blessing he rose out of slavery to be a regional governor of the king. Now he wishes to be reunited with his family and the players have been recruited to help pull the scheme off. (Genesis 39-46)
3. A land is being devastated by terrible plagues. A prophet of an enslaved people claims these are divine punishments that will not stop until the slaves are freed. The king refuses to release the slaves and promises a reward for any who can stop the plagues. Will the players take up the cause of the enslaved or side with the king? (Exodus 7-11)
4. A nomadic people intend to enter and settle in a region. They ask the players to scout the area out for them. The players find the region to be beautiful and fertile but inhabited by giants in walled cities. (Numbers 13)
5. The deity of a nomadic tribe has sent swarms of poisonous snakes to punish the people for their unfaithfulness. By order of a prophet, the players need to help find and set up a bronze snake that will allow bit victims to look upon it and live. (Numbers 21:4-8)
6. The players are inside a walled city when they have a run with fleeing spies. The spies claim the city will be destroyed by the advancing army and divine power. The spies promise if the players help hide them, then they will be spared destruction. The guards are coming quickly and the players need to make a decision. (Joshua 2)
7. The players are recruited to help defeat a local warlord who has been raiding and oppressing local farmlands for years. However a prophesy has been made that this warlord will only die at the hands of a woman. (Judges 4)
8. The son of a local hero convinces the citizens of one town to back his bid to be the ruler of the region. He then hires “reckless adventurers” to dispose of his seventy brothers. The youngest escapes and the players find themselves in position to help him. Do they help him escape, seek justice, or get revenge? (Judges 9:1-21)
9. In an area occupied by a loose confederation of tribes. Some evil members of one tribe violates the mutual hospitality rules in a horrible way that leads to the death of an innocent woman. Now the other tribes in the region want vengeance. The players must find the guilty party before the whole tribe is violently punished for the acts of a few. (Judges 20-21)
10. A powerful religious artifact is taken as plunder after a battle, but a terrible plague of tumors has broken out in the city where the artifact is being held. The players are hired to return the artifact and remove the curse from the city (1 Samuel 5-6)
11. A cruel and vindictive warlord or perhaps a tribe of orcs is terrorizing villages and demanding they be subject to him. As part of the demands, the right eye of each villager is gouged out. The players are part of the army that is assembled to stop this. (1 Samuel 11:1-11)
12. Two warring nations are in a tense standoff with armies camped out across from one another. One side had a giant and is willing to bet the entire campaign on winning single combat against the giant. The king has promised wealth and the hand of his daughter in marriage to anyone who can do this. (1 Samuel 17)
13. A king is possessed by an evil spirit that is leading him to want to kill his well liked son-in-law. The players have to help the son-in-law escape and get to a renowned cleric who can help protect him. (1 Samuel 19)
14. The crafty son of a good king has spent years subtly sowing seeds of doubt and rebellion. At a critical moment he put his plan in motion and declared himself king. The players need to help the true king escape. (2 Samuel 15)
15. A realm is suffering from a terrible famine, and it is because of an injustice that a former king did on an ethnic group living in the land. The players are dispatched to find out how amends can be made and the famine ended. (2 Samuel 21:1-14)