Friday, June 19, 2015

Three Adventures in Archangel

These three adventures are suitable for the halfling Colony of Archangel, as detailed on the wiki.  Presume the details of one adventure has no application to the details of any other.

Archangel Plague

The party arrives in the port of Archangel to find the town in a state of fury and despair.  In the harbor are two large galleons that have arrived to take on a load of timber for shipbuilding; each has a compliment of one hundred human crew.  At present, the ships are in the grip of a hemorrhagic fever.  At present, so is a quarter of Archangel's halfling residents.  Factions of healthy residents and crew are in a state of fury, as the Spaniards and the Archangels are accusing each other of deliberately foisting the disease upon the other.

Meanwhile, the party is stuck, due to weather or lack of transport or for lack of supplies.  The market is closed and the halfling militia is refusing all foot traffic to Sudborough.  If the party arrived by land, there are no ships in the harbor except the two galleons; if the party arrived by sea, by the time they realize what's going on, the ship that brought them will refuse to take them back.  The next nearest market is upriver into gnollish Bjarmaland and there are no riverboats leaving town either.  Meanwhile, humans from the ships are slipping into the town and raiding the populace for supplies, as the people on board the ships are starving.  This creates a lot of opportunities for spontaneous, short-lived combats between a few persons.

The party may attempt to settle the disputes between the halflings and humans, if they are able; the actual reason for the outbreak is completely random, it was started by a halfling trapper who, infected by the animals while skinning them, sold several infected pelts to a human crewman and several infected pelts to the market.  The party may attempt to travel overland along the Dvina but they will likely turn back after discovering the marshes are impassable (an attack by a giant wolverine or something bigger would spice up the trip).  Finally, they might be approached by a halfling thief (recovered from the disease) willing to lead them the long way around through the forest to Sudborough, provided they can prove themselves uninfected by the disease before that journey's end (in which case, the halfling will desert them in the woods).  Of course, the party can come up with a plan of their own.

Yalding Exchange

The party is met in Onega, Sudborough or Archangel by a group of three reputable halflings merchants or town elders who recognize them as adventurers clearly loaded with armor, weapons, scars, a spirit of confidence and fearlessness, etcetera.  Essentially, the halflings will be very possessed with proving their reputation and value - they are on the level and they are able to prove it.

They are anxious to shore up a party of merchants and soldiers in Yalding, in the south colony, who have made an arrangement to meet a group of gnolls at the border of Bjarmaland, from Uk'set.  These gnolls are going to sell 1,000 beaver and muskrat pelts, a value of about 18,000 g.p., for half that amount.  This is a lot of gold for the merchants to carry and they are concerned about how many gnolls they will meet at the border.  The halflings will give 10% of the furs they receive to the party and provide an contingent of equal strength to the party when they meet in Yalding.

This can go in several directions.  The gnolls could be on the level and the halflings not; if there are less gnolls than halflings, the halflings might give orders to kill them all and the party can make up their minds to join or not.  If halflings in the world would NEVER do something like that, then it can always go that the gnolls do try to seize the halflings gold and the party is forced to do as they've been paid to do.

Or the entire affair can go as planned, with both sides willingly doing the exchange - and this in turn could lead to making friends and associates in Yalding for other adventures or the party being conversed with by the gnolls (who prove to be friendly) and being given an opportunity to travel south into gnollish Bjarmaland as visitors to obtain more furs at their source (for even less coin) or make friends among the gnollish tribe in Uk'set (with a potential for other adventures).

A Little Jam

Or Underbarrow or Koswick.  As the town comes into sight of the party, they are attacked by a bear (big enough to at least threaten the party initially).  The bear will run if it isn't killed quickly.  Meanwhile, a crowd of five or six halflings will be witness to the fight and will rush forward and congratulate the party, expressing their admiration and excitement.  One will request - nay, beg the party to come to dinner that night, and won't take no for an answer (though the party might not accept the hook).  If necessary, give the invitation-giver status in the village to encourage the party to believe they are making an important friend.

The halfling and his family will be honest, forthright and willing to give any information they have on the surrounding countryside.  Dinner will be excellent and will end with jam on toast - the best jam the party will have ever had.  This jam will affect them like a clerical Aid spell, giving them 5 additional hit points to their total even above their maximum.  Express the pleasure of eating the jam and actually inform the party of the increase.  Obviously, if anyone decides to refuse the jam, then make it clear they're not affected.  If the whole party has refused the jam, you've been far too obvious in introducing it to the dinner.

If the party asks for more, have the host explain that he is sorry, this is the last of his stock but he will try to get more.  The next day, when the party gets up (now without the extra hit points), perhaps planning to leave, have another halfling invite them to another dinner - and if asked if there will be jam, have the new host answer, "definitely!"

This jam, too, will have the same effect; but once again, the host will give the same story if asked for some more:  there is no more available, but the host will try to get some if the party will wait.  Make it clear that its a bit obvious the host is lying.

So long as the party remains in the village, they will be invited to dinners, until some 16 families have asked them.  No one will sell them jam.  Everyone will explain they have just enough for the dinner and couldn't possibly part with it.  If the party does ANYTHING rude or aggressive, they will be asked to leave.  If the party tries to break into a house to steal jam, the whole village will come down on them.  If the party decides to try to take advantage of the increase by insisting on a breakfast, then going out adventuring for the day, roll random encounters but don't provide them with a local dungeon.  Leave room, however, for some truly clever strategy the party might invent in order to get themselves a little jam.

If, finally, the party decides to turn down an invitation and leave politely, someone will catch up to them on the road and GIVE them three jars of the jam as a farewell present, good for 24 applications in total.


Arduin said...

The last is my favorite of these; an adventure that is exactly as intriguing as the PLAYERS make it. Better still, it encourages them to remember the village, and increases immersion in the campaign world.

This one really struck a chord. Fantastic work.

Maxwell Joslyn said...

Neat. I like the trading scenario the best. It's a focused activity, it shows that gnolls and other stereotypically "bad" races are just a kind of people (which I think is sensible), there's the lure of easy money which may actually turn out to be pretty easy, and the whole thing is a perfect springboard into NPC relations with two distinct groups from distinct areas, cultures etc. Well done.

Zrog (ESR) said...

I also liked the story thread about the jam.