Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
Thanks - glad someone find it interesting. Seeing how other people run and form adventurers often gives you new input in how it is done, so I hope this can give some inspiration. Starting off being a quite friendly GM I have tried to go more devious to the players so they really are on their toes. These adventures should probably work very well on players not used to it and slowly force them to be reactive or they will be pulled by their noses towards humiliation. These plots are done by common people 0-1 level non spellcasters, so if they have to deal with misdirection and intrigue from spell caster of higher levels then they really need to step up their game.
So just finished the next one:
"Welcome to our village"by Niels Just Rasmussen
The adventuring PC arrives to a secluded walled village - something like Sulescu in Karameikos for instance.
This town is influenced by their Nosferatu Lord to be fairly hostile to strangers, but not becoming a target for further investigation. They rarely get any visitors and really like it to keep it that way. They hope that any adventurer coming to these part will simply leave and tell "colleagues" not to come here or to be so embarrassed they keep it a secret. It's a double bonus if the prank is against a Thyatian. A true blooded Traladaran will get an easier treatment especially if he openly voices discontent against the Thyatian occupation of Traladara.
Furthermore nothing really exciting happens around here, it's a classic farming and fisherman village and if you stray north into the forest you have humanoids running around. They all known it's the might of their Lord that keeps the humanoids away from this village so they are fiercely loyal to him despite he is never really seen.
To avoid boredom in this event-less village the young men of the town are encouraged by the elders to make pranks on travelers so they can feel "like men" in achieving them. It also avoids them making to much trouble since they now have a goal of preparing the prank for the next encounter. The best pranksters might even be invited to the Keep of their Lord for a dinner, which is a huge honour.
So you have a genuinely happy town where people can meet to talk and laugh about these pranks. They will not try this scam on obvious magic users or clerics, because they are after all a pragmatic and superstitious lot - but it's up to GM's discretion. Most of the town people and all participating have the skill "acting" since they have become pretty adept in fooling strangers. All the laws mentioned is for the prank on the PC only, it's not the normal law in his village - though the debt parchment is real enough and common in Karameikos.]
There are only two ways into the village.
The northern gate which leads to the outlaying farms and the Sulescu Keep as protection from the dangers in the forest to the north. Around Sulescu Keep there is a moat with a bridge leading over to its gate. The bridge is up when the PC arrives and by it is a sign saying: "Access only by invitation" in both Traladaran and Thyation with off course the Traladaran above and in big letters and the Thyatian below in small letters.
The other is landing in the small harbour filled with fishing boats. It's just close to the village with access to and from via the southern gate.
Mapping details can be made by the GM.
The village is alerted and ready to prank by pigeon mail from either a watchman at Sulescu keep if the PC approaches from that direction or is stalled by friendly and loud talking fishermen if arriving in the harbour.
[The village of Sulescu is gated up during the night and you cannot enter it - preferably make the PC arrive in the morning, so it can be played in one day and he his shipped out before nightfall. The PC should know that will be the case after nightfall and come at the right time accordingly].
1) Entering Sulescu:
Arriving at one of the gates the PC's is greeted by two guards wearing black cloaks over a leather torso armour and with short swords in their belts. One stands before the open and lifts up his right hand for the PC to stop. "Welcome to Sulescu" - state your name and the purpose of your stay" (in Traladaran, if the PC don't speak Traladaran he will speak in Thyatian and make it even slower and worse than he is, hopefully able to irritate the PC and to make the implicit point of actually speaking the native language can make things go faster). [All people will start talking Traladaran and only if the PC doesn't understand anything will the switch to a slow Thyatian].
He will say that "By the decree of Lord Sulescu you must deposit all your weapons here before entering". If the PC doesn't then the guard will draw forth a parchment (in Traladaran off course) and wriggles it in front of the nose of the PC. "The Law demands that you do so, but rest assured Dear Sir, your weapons are in safe hands"!
The guard points and the PC can see another seriously looking strong guard dressed in the same way standing in front of a small wooden shed just behind to the left of the gate.
There is no other people to be seen around here - the village is full of narrow winding semi-circular alleys, so it's impossile to see very far.
If the PC demand the parchment and tries to take it, the guard will get very upset and say that he is expected to follow the law or they will report to Lord Sulescu, so hand the Lord's parchment over now. [The parchment is made with an insanely over elaborate bookhand that makes it impossible to skim and even really read, which is the whole point]. If the PC tries to read it, the guard will complain that why he took the parchment if he is illiterate and demand it back also starting to call for Guard number 2 ("Hey Juri, we have a troublemaker and possible lawbreaker"]. Now they will only let the PC in the village if he gives some form of compensation......to improve the Law of the Land. Even guards need to make a living.....you certainly prove we could use more.
Only if the PC draws his weapons and get really threatening will they abort but also raise the alarm that a
dangerous character has entered town and the streets will be deserted and no one will trade with him. They will abort the prank but no one will talk or sell anything to him - they just want him out fast since he is obviously a danger and keep threatening him with Lord Sulescu so he better leave fast].
After handing over his weapons (he can manage to have a hidden dagger in the body) it will be place in the shed next to the wall. The guards will point at the narrow street to the left and so to follow it until he reaches the inn of the village. The Inn it is simply called since it's the only one.
At "The Inn":
The PC cannot miss it since it's a pretty big establishment where big parts of the village can assemble. Inside is the old Innkeeper behind the desk. He is a stately man with a black Garibaldi beard. The Inn is filled with a group of local males all sprouting black mustaches and full beards and apparently a lone clean shaven adventurer? sitting with a cloak tugged around him. As the PC enter all eyes turn to him immediately and a silence that could cut through butter fills the room. The Inn keeper ask in Traladaran with a fairly ironic tone of voice "What will it be stranger"?
The Inn serves either kvass, mead (medovukha) and some form of high-alcohol-% homebrew (slivovitz or pálinka) - so a very typical old favourite of the Traladaran palate.
The middle aged fairly gruff innkeeper pours it fast into sturdy middle sized cups not minding spilling a few drops, while the PC stands at the bar desk since no one has risen from their seats. The Inn is all silent while this goes on. When the PC has the cup in his hand he can turn around seeing that everyone looks at him. The adventurer will make a sign with his head that he is invited to sit at the table. Still seated he will extend his hand and introduce himself as Bogomir from Specularum/Mirror. He is able to speak both Traladaran and Thyatian.
[Bogomir is a local and shaved for the occasion and he knows both languages having had his shearing working in Specularum as a guard before he returned home]
He lifts his big cup of alcohol and pours it down in one fluid motion and orders the Innkeeper to give him another slivovitz and one for the PC as well. The PC is expected to drink this fast as well or Bogomir will raise his black bushy eyebrows in surprise. If he drink with a "typical Thyatian finesse" [sipping their quality wine) there will be some sniggering in the Inn but it will quickly be hushed down.
After these drinks Bogomir will question the PC. What he is doing so far away in the countryside? Later on he springs the surprise "You must be some kind of hero walking around weaponless?". The PC will probably ask what he means and Bogomir will put away his cloak so the PC can see his short sword under his cloak. "I always trust to have my weapon ready......"
When the PC describes the guards at the gate, Bogomir looks at him perplexed "What guards?" The Inn keeper will join in the conversation saying: "We don't need guards in Sulescu since our Lord protects us from his keep".
The PC should likely be quite upset and Bogomir is eager to help him [he will try to follow the PC to make sure he doesn't do any crimes on his own]. If the PC forgets to pay before leaving the Innkeeper will shout very harshly and command him to come back and the PC can returned will a lot of head-shaking is done at the Inn at his behavior. The Innkeeper says that: "I'm sorry if someone really did that to you, but you shouldn't punish an honest Innkeeper by not paying. I'm absolutely certain it's not any locals, since we all follow the law strictly in these parts."
Some other guests at the Inn looks at him, saying they are sorry for the loss.
When Bogomir and the PC arrive at the gate the is no shed, no guards and certainly no weapons.
If the PC entered the northern gate he sees a bit away an old women is moving slowly going on the small dirt road leading away from the gate with a cart filled with vegetables. If they ask her she hasn't seen anything, because Sulescu doesn't have any guards of the gates.
If the PC entered from the southern gate he can see a bit away a fisherman tending his net, but he hasn't seen anything and is also perplexed why they should have guards since only the village fishermen comes through here?
2) Bureau-"crazy": (The PC is not forced to go through all this bureaucracy, but since he doesn't know the cost later on and probably is a bit to curious about the end result he will be pulled along with the prank - use Bogomir to slightly help the PC if he falters a bit]
Bogomir advice to go to the authorities to report - he mentions that he saw a town hall walking around the village and can take the PC there. He leads the PC on some detour to give the feeling he is not a local. The arrive before the town hall. inside they find a clerk sitting by a desk. He has several rubber stamps and ink pads in different colour and a stack of parchment.
His is an sinewy old guy with balding hair and an long "patriarch" beard. He doesn't shake hand but sits quietly with his hands folding and first introducing himself "I am Branko the clerk of Sulescu Town Hall" and asks "What is your problem, and how can I help". He listens while the PC explain sitting totally still and just humming (hmmmm) where it seems appropriate.
He then take forth a parchment from the stack and say:
"I will fill out the detail of your complaint". He then takes a goose feathered pen making it ready slowly dips it in black ink and starts to write (slowly). [He writes down in detail the PC account in black, then he changes to red ink and writes an inquest for a further look into the matter by the village Sheriff. Then he stamps the top left of the parchment with a black rubber stamp that portrays the Town Hall - his writing is fine calligraphy, but not the same as the elaborate one he was shown at the gate]. He then tells the PC to bring this account to the Sheriff and points to the direction.
Coming to the sheriff house. A fairly big two story building with a sign in Traladaran saying "Sheriff Viktor".
Inside is a working areas and behind one cell and a staircase leading up. Here sits a tough strong looking man with a black walrus mustache. He has numerous scares of cuts on his face and hands. He leaves his chair and greets the PC with a very hard handshake - one that can cause real pain and even injury of 1 HP to a weak character. If the character is strong he will get a glint of admiration back, if not he will get a pitiful look if the PC reacts in pain. Bogomir and Viktor will make an equally strong handshake (Viktor holding back somewhat) so to make a PC look squeamish.
Sheriff Viktor makes two chairs ready for the PC and Bogomir, takes the note goes to his side of the desk (where they is also parchment, rubber stamps and ink pads) and sits down to read the parchment. He reads it while nodding to himself. Then he puts the parchment down and looks intently at the PC.
Did you feel, see or hear anything unusual while talking to the guards?
Have you in traveling close to the village and even coming in had the feeling like you were being watched or even befuddled? Like something didn't seem quite right?
Have you had any mental illnesses in the past? Being victim of a curse or possession? Having some childhood trauma? [or some other humiliating question the GM can come up with]
After this interview whether the PC answers them or nod, the Sheriff takes out a new parchment and starts to write the account of the interview. He will write it with blue ink and stamp with a rubber stamp showing the letters Sheriff dipped in blue ink. He will then take a red stamp and stamp the original parchment also at the top right corner.
He then advices the PC to go to the Church of Traladara and seek out the Priest Marko.
[Sulesco have a small church of Traladara with statues of Halav, Petra and Zirchev, but Lord Sulesco makes sure that no real priest ever run the church. His village have a veneration for the three Traldar immortals as heroes but no real "worship" as they trust in their Lord Sulescu for protection. Priests coming here often disappear "mysteriously" in the forest].
Arriving at the small fairly well-kept church (for appearances sake) he can go in where the say a robed figure walking around. When seeing the PC and Bogomir and quickly comes towards them smiling. "Welcome strangers to our village and so nice to see fellow believers of the three great heroes of the Traldar people. I am Priest Marko, is there anything I can do for you?" Priest Marko seems to be very excitable small guy with quick arm movement and a fast walk. He is in his 50's having a big grayish beard and a robe that seems actually might be a little to bit for him but he certainly can make it flow when he moves.
If they pass him the parchments he will look with a sudden concerned glance and invite him to an side chamber of the church where they can sit down. It is to no surprise filled with parchments, rubber stamps and ink pads. He will read the two parchments, look at the PC very concerned and without saying anything start writing on the second parchment with green ink. He will green stamp the first parchment at the bottom, the second parchment at the bottom and the third parchment also at the bottom in Green showing at picture of Halav, Petra & Zirchev.
He then explains to the PC that he with all certainty has come under the power of a "dvyorask" - "a dangerous fairy creatures of the forest. It must have been stalking you and slowly gaining more and more power making you see things that are not there. Befuddling you with illusions."
"Only by immediately making a ritual dispelling it's hold over you do we have a chance to counteract it's influence." We must get you ready, but first I must make sure everything is in order with the paperwork.
It will be 1 GP each for the three parchment. 3 sp each for the public services and further 6 sp for the stamping and a final 1 sp for the final count. That is 4 gp in all. If the PC complains about the price, Priest Marko say that he is in very big trouble and the faster he pay they village can help him, but Lord Sulescu is adamant with the paperwork. If the PC doesn't have that money or try to bluff then the priest prepares a loan where he is to sign a parchment that he owes Lord Sulescu the sum. It will be made in two copies (taking some time off course) where the PC is to sign both. - this increases the cost of 2 gp for the two parchments and 2 sp for the ink and 2 gp for the two stamp in gold-ink with the keep of Lord Sulescu so they dept is now 8 gp and 2 SP.
If the PC doesn't sign Priest Marko will remind him he is within a Church of Traladara and in the Domain of Lord Sulescu that doesn't take kind to thieves. "I'm here to help you, but the law is the law"
3) The ritual:
When the financial situation is settled he then goes back into the church and shouts to the small number of people present. "Alert everyone we have a victim of a "dvyorask" here in our village". Shouts of horror comes from the people and noise of running feet as they run to warn the village.
Priest Marko say he has to strip of his clothes and hands him a white long woolen undershirt going to the knees. The priest say he can dress here. While he change clothes he can hear many people arriving with bells and smelling herbs and other trinkets (to ward of evil).
The priest say that he has to take a bath in the sanctuary of the church and to get cleaned by healing herbs. Many eager people brings on a big cauldron to put in the church and fills it with water. Also herbs are crushed and made ready.
He is then help up into the (fairly) cold water (the mass of people will definitely prevent him from fleeing now) and been given a lot of bad tasting herbal-water to drink while a lot of different things are put in the water. If he doesn't drink it they will shout that the dvyorask has almost taken over and try to force it into the PC.
After they make sure he has drunk a a lot, they help him up of the water. The priest explains that they have to take away his scent and to dress him differently so the Dvyorask is thrown of his track when he leaves the church.
The cover him in some stinking herbal paste and dress him in white linen cloth wrapped a bit mummy like around him.
The priests then declares that he must leave the village fast because the dvoyrask probably will end up recognizing him and a couple of men declare they are willing to sail him down the coast to save him. The priest explains that "the dvyorask never will stop bothering a victim - it will only end with his unfortunate death - so it is sadly not wise for him to return, but with the grace of Halav, Petra and Zirchev we should get you to safety". Bogomir wished him good luck but doesn't go with him.
Being somewhat sleepy because of the herbs poured into him he is lead through the southern gate to the harbour and put on a fishing boat with 3 men. Then they start sailing and the PC falls asleep when the night falls. He wakes up on the beach with the forest close by. The fishermen shouts from their boat the direction of Specularum/Mirros and wishes him good luck and saying that he should be fairly safe so long he follows the coast. They have put his clothes beside him and on it placed an old dagger and a days ration. The PC is left mummy-wrapped in the wilderness probably pretty perplexed and humiliated and with a fine parchment of his debt to Lord Sulescu.
Getting back to Specularum/Mirror scholars haven't heard of a "dvyorask", but reasons it could be a local word for some forest fairy creatures that can for some strange reason become angry with a human. So they agree that it was probably a good thing he was able to leave fast if he didn't have any magical ways to kill it. [As is the general wisdom of all fairy creatures for Karameikos Scholars].
At some point later the PC could come back to the area to even with the Dvyorask that humiliated him, but it will be pretty hard to find an non existing entity! He might even meet other adventurers that have been humiliating, that can join in on the quest?!
If he enters the village again all the inhabitants will do their utmost to warn him and getting him out before it happens again. "Perhaps you should seek its lair - must be in the forest north of here. In our village you could never catch it since it is very crafty."