The situation is that many people are looking for the missing Scholar Neftroll. The Caroll family will offer a small reward and Zaff (who is being held in the manor) would likely give a better one if he Neftroll can be found alive.
The rumors say that Neftroll was captured by a band of raiding orks. Strangely, no one saw them before or after taking Neftroll at the manor. No track can be found, tho several people at the manor say that the orks headed towards the hills and gullies north of town.
Mort will order his thugs and the few useful fighters to search for the orks. The thugs will go north and trample all over the place. The real fighters will head north but gradually head west until they can watch the western hills from a high ridge.
The red wizard of Mort's will stay in the manor for a couple hours (until he has regained his fST) and then will put on ordinary cloths and return to his quarters in town.
Though the PC's do not know it, they are in a race. Keep track of the number of hours that go by since the 'ork raid' on the manor. One of the Carrol men will come with the players to search if they visit that family.
Multh Carrol is a 31 attribute character, with dagger and small shield talent, ST 8, DX 13, IQ 11 Thrown Weapons, Shield, Knife, Running, Farming and Rough & Ready Carpentry. He is a tacturn young man but brave and will take instructions well. The idea is that he can show the PC's around the area while they are seaching but he will fight bravely in a pinch. Though not a physicker, he can bandage, and has a pack of bandages and strong wine for splashing on wounds. (If the party has a real physicker, Multh will be very interested in learning what ever he can on medical care.)
If the PC's search north they will find nothing. In 3 hours or so the GM should start hinting that there is not much up here, that there is no sign of orks in the area or having traveled thru the area any time recently. Lots of Morts thugs are around not looking like they are searching very seriously. If asked about the higher hills to the west and south west, the thugs will loudly say the orks came this way and did NOT go to the western hills.
If they PC's try to check out the western hills, a couple thugs will wave at them and yell, "The orks are to the north of here!" If the party asks them why they are to the west, they will say they are here to watch for the orks circling around this way. If the party goes north, that is fine. However if the party continues west these two will wait until they are out of sight and then move north to round up the other thugs.
PC's with tracking will be able to follow the red wizard's path with a little difficulty. Make 4 3vsIQ rolls, each one missed costs 1/2 an hour.
It will take an hour to walk the distance to the hills to the west.
If the PC's are following the wizard's trail, it will lead to the entrance to a cave. If they are not following the trail, then they will have to search for the cave.
If there is someone in the party with the talent Geologist, that person will note that there is a slant of hard rock overlaying softer stone. A logical point to search for ork caves would be just under the harder formation. Doing so allows each party member to make a 5vsIQ with the Geologist rolling 1 fewer dice.
An amount of brush and ferns has been transplanted to hide the entrance. However the plants do not normally grow in that environment. If a party member has Naturalist or Woodsman they get a 4vsIQ roll to notice this.
Someone with tracking (who has not been following the wizard's trail up to now) gets a 3vsIQ to notice a trail that several people have walked on in the last few days. It will lead to the cave.
Someone with Acute Hearing may attempt an 8vsIQ to hear VERY faint yelling. Casting about from the area where this is heard will find the cave in 1/2 an hour. Neftrolls voice is giving out so he will yell for a couple minutes and then wait an hour or so before repeating the yelling.
Clerical calls for aid or divination magics will work as the GM sees fit.
Failing everything else the party can just look for the orks. The party will soon find there is no sign of ork settlements above ground. (This will take 3 hours, or 2 hours if they think to climb to a hill top. Beyond this range of hills is more human settled lands so they can't be that far. The terrain to the north is more wild.)
If the party starts looking for caves for each hour they search roll one die. On the first hour if they roll the one they reach the area with the cave. On the second hour they reach that area on a 1 or 2. On the 3rd hour they reach it on a 1, 2 or 3, etc, until the 6th hour where they automatically reach that area. (All of these rolls should be made secretly.)
Once they are in the area, give each PC a 4vsIQ to spot the cave. Give 1 die bonuses for each of the talents mentioned above.
If the PC's do not find the cave in 7 hours dusk falls. At that time, Mort's chief thug will go to the cave to kill Neftroll. He will work hard at not being seen by staying in brush and the woods. If the PC's have gone to some trouble to watch in the direction of town at this time they will spot him at once. If they have not kept a watch out for others, they have a 1/3 chance of seeing him (unless the GM gives them special bonuses for some reason or another.)
If the party was spotted by the two thugs, then Mort's chief is not alone. He has a dozen thugs with him and the red wizard and since they are not being very quiet, they should be pretty easy to spot.
This cave goes for a short distance into the ground with 5 rooms. In the passage between the second and third room is a secret door, it is two dice easier to spot coming out of the cave than going in, (the shadows and curve of the stone make it much harder to see when moving in one direction than the other).
Thru the secret door is a tunnel that leads down to a stair. At the bottom of the stair is a guard room and 2 cells. Neftroll is in the second cell.
The entrance is very narrow and twists sharply. People will have to slide on their bellies over a hump of rock and then drop a meter to the floor. Then it is a 5 meter crawl (mostly down hill) until the roof gets high enough to crouch. Pole weapons longer than tridents or Javelins will not fit thru the entrance.
The ground, ceilings and walls are very dirty and muddy. Vines and roots are draped down and spider webs are everywhere. (Tho observant people will notice that there is a person sized hole in the webs on the extreme right hand side of the low, wide passage.) People will get very dirty entering the cave.
Just as the tunnel starts getting a bit taller (people can go into a crouch) some of the roots attack the players. They are Blood Tree roots with ST 15. If the players kept to the extreme right they would have to crawl in the mud longer but they will avoid these roots.
First room. Every indication is that one or more orks lived here a long time ago. However the cave has been empty for a long time and the smell has vanished. There is some sign of animal spoor, but nothing recent. If the PC's have light sources they can examine this room in detail, if they do not, then this is the furthest that they can go into the cave and see anything.
If they do have light they can see that some digging on the roof has made the room taller. People can stand almost erect but fast energetic movement is much constrained. (In these caves areas of low roofs such as this room have human sized figures fighting at -2 DX. Dwarves and hobbits are ok, and taller figures get larger penalties.)
Bugs and cockroaches scuttle in a corner near the entrance but there is little else of interest.
The tunnel to the second room has been improved tho it is still a low roof. There is one section about 3 meters long where the floor goes below water. But this pool is never more than 20 cm deep. A bit beyond this poor the floor slopes up and curves a bit to the left until it enters the second room.
Second Room. Much larger than the first it is 4 by 5 meters or so but still has a low roof. In the far corner is a very rusted pick head (no handle remains). The room has obviously been dug out and expanded. There is a faint animal scent and anyone with naturalist or woodsman will guess that a Bear has hibernated in this room last winter. Old droppings and some small bones are the only other decorations.
A careful examination of the room will show that a pile of gravel at the high end of the room has been disturbed some time ago. If dug up the gravel is loose with little clay cementing it together and a small dirty leather coin bag is found. It jingles as it is picked up. If turned upside down a mass of coins can be felt but only a copper and a silver drop out, the rest are stuck together.
The bag is a trap: Detect 5vsIQ, Avoid 4vsDX, Disarm 2vsDX. Fingers being put into the bag can very easily slide into a metal well which will trigger a mouse trap like spring. Thin poisoned needles will be driven into the fingers.
The person who puts their hand into the bag has a 4 in 6 chance of triggering the trap. if missed they will feel something funny and find the trap. The needles will penetrate cloth armor 4/6 of the time, leather or chain 2/6 of the time and can not get thru heavier armor. The needles do no damage but the poison burns and if a person rips their hand free they will take 1 point of damage.
If poisoned, the player has 15 seconds for treatment. A physicker will have some medicines in a physicker's chest that will counter act the poison. A prompt washing with water will halve the effects. A 5vsST will prevent all effects or a 4vsST will halve effects. (If both halvings apply the poison does no damage but gives them -1 DX.) The poison will do 1d-2 pt.s of damage (minimum 1 point) and will lower DX in that hand by 2 for one hour.)
(This bag was prepared by Mort to discourage people from using 'his' cave when he had the two orks who lived in it killed. There is another 8 copper pieces in the bag, most still glued to the contraption.)
Tunnel from 2nd to third room. This tunnel is tall but narrow. Humans can stand up in it but have to squeeze sideways along it. After 4 meters it gets wide enough that you can move quicker, but you still must go sideways fairly often.
In the narrowest length of the tunnel is a secret door. It is on the side that people will most naturally face away from as they squeeze down the tunnel. The shadows lay of the rock require a 5vsIQ to spot it going deeper into the cave system but only a 3vsIQ to see it coming out. If the party finds it skip to the secret passage below.
Third Room. The roof gets low again. This room is little more than a wide spot in the tunnel about a mega hex is size. There is nothing of interest here. This room looks natural, there is no sign of digging or other improvements.
The tunnel to the next room is short and low. People can move along it at a crouch. There is a crack in the rock where water drips into a puddle and then drains into the soil.
Fourth Room. Another natural looking cave, tho it would take an experienced miner to notice that some low spots on the roof have long ago been chipped off. The roof is low. This room is kidney shaped longer to east and west. It is 4 to 5 meters wide and about 8 meters long.
In the center of the room is a faintly glowing ball of energy. Looking like a foul wisp it is far from the rotting trees and swamps where such things are less uncommon. It is 30 cm in diameter.
The ball will stay at the back of the room and PC's can get a good look at the room while staying away from it. There are 3 human corpses laying near it, long rotted to bones. A certain amount of loot lays near them. Clerics (if you allow this) will detect no evil taint, which pretty much proves it is not an undead wisp. Magicians will sense magic.
There is no visible exit from this side of the room. If the PC's drag the corpses away from the thing, it will ignore them. (Some sort of hook that will extend the PC's reach by a meter or so would be ideal. If pulled back by hand the nearest two bodies can be reached but the thing will attack if the corpse closest to it is grabbed.
1st Body:, 22cp, $2. Broadsword, 3 daggers, rotting cloth armor. Booklet with a play for puppets. 3 hand puppets in sack on back with a few simple props. Small harp in good condition (worth $8). Silver whistle and a few good luck charms.
2nd body: 49 cp, $13. Gemstone worth about $12. Bastard sword, spear (cut down to javelin length), Large shield and fine dagger (+1 damage fine). Damage leather armor, unusable but could be repaired for $20. Expensive book with leather covers that wrap around book and oiled to make it water resistant. This book teaches tactics and military history; with it you can learn Tactics and get a head start on Strategist talent. The book is worth $35. Glass vial of Ghost Bane, (this powder drives off weak spirits). Map making equipment, labyrinth kit, 5 torches and a tinder box. Fountain pen (high quality worth $3) and some paper. A dear John letter from a girl. (His name was actually Ranhim.)
3rd body: 33cp, $8. Mace and small shield, Small bow (needs replacement string) quiver with 20 arrows. 2 daggers. Deck of cards, subtly marked (5vsIQ to notice if carefully studied). 3 cat toys (a birdie a little mousie and a rattie all on strings). A harmonica type instrument badly out of tune. A lute (broken). A spare set of shoes with hard soles in sack (these are really dancing slippers). Amulet to prevent pregnancies (bogus).
If the PC's come within a meter of the glowing ball, it will attack.
The ball is a being on the lower astral plane that is kept trapped here by a form of calling enchantment. It can only be truly destroyed by attacking it on the astral plane. However the physical manifestation can be destroyed and the ball will return in a couple days after it has regained its energies.
The ball projection has no ST, 13 fST, DX 11, and IQ 5. Its MA is 1 but it can not move more than a couple meters from the place where it was first spotted. When it casts a spell, it regenerates fST at the rate of 1 point per turn. If it is brought down to 0 fST, it will vanish for a couple days.
It can cast the following spells:
- 1d+1 Electric bolt. Like Lightning spells but costs it
6 fST to cast. It can cast a double powered version but will only do so in no other attacks are able to hurt intruders.
- Nausea. Those affected must roll 4vs Adjusted ST or
vomit (takes one turn). For one minute they are at -3 DX. This nausea will fade at the rate of +1 DX per minute. In 5 minutes they will feel fine. Cost is 4 fST.
- Ember in Flesh. A burst of damage will do one point
of harm to people. It feels like a red hot ember has been teleported into some internal organ. If people retreat from the glowing orb, the pain will fade somewhat. This damage is Illusionary, can not kill, and if disbelieved will vanish. Body parts that have stopped working (blinded eyes, etc.) will regain their function. However as long as people believe this damage they will act as if part of them is badly wounded. If allowed to heal, the damage will heal in a single day and body parts that have stopped working will return to full ability with in 2 to 3 days. The orb will not do more than 2 or 3 Embers in Flesh per person. Cost 2 fST.
- Confusion. Exactly like the Wizard spell except the
effects last 10 turns. Cost 5 fST.
- Paralyze Limb. One limb (usually legs) are paralyzed
for 5 & one half minutes. If cast multiple times the duration doubles for each successive casting: 11 minutes, 22 minutes, 45 minutes and 90 minutes. Cost is 7 fST.
When the orb is not casting a spell it will move erratically making it a one hex flying creature to attack (-4 DX).
To damage the orb, striking it with metal weapons seems to do no damage but lowers its fST by one. (It regenerates this fST damage the same way it does the fST it spends on spells.) Throwing a liter of water on it causes it to burn more brightly and flicker for a while: such treatment does it 1d+1 fST damage. Magical blasts or attacks typically do half damage. The Death spell will eliminate 3 fST for each point of damage the wizard spends. It regenerates damage from all of the types of damage above, except the Death Spell (which shrinks it for hours). Given several days it will regenerate the Death spell damage as well.
If the orb is driven off, further exploration of the cave will show a narrow tunnel rising thru the roof at the far end of the room. This is not visible from the other side. This rises vertically 8 meters into the 5th room.
Fifth Room. The vertical tunnel twist horizontal and opens up in to a room that has perfectly smooth walls and high ceilings It is 5 by 5 by 3 meters.
The wizard Ultor was going on a long term adventure and stored his valuables in this room. (He used open tunnels to expand the room.) After moving his goods in here, he created the guardian in the room below. Ultor never returned (he ended up as a Governor of a distant city & never bothered coming back.) He left some 90 years ago.
Inside this room is a complete wizard's laboratory, art worth $75, various magical ingreadients well stored against the damp worth $335, and a unique potion labeled 'poison' that will allow the drinker to go to the Astral Plane for 20 minutes as per the spell. A magical statue of a brass dog will bark if strangers come near. A spirit is bound inside and the dog has an IQ 9. It is friendly and willing to serve the first person who picks it up for it has deduced that Ultor must have long since died and would like a more interesting existence than sitting in a dark cave.
Secret Passage: Behind the secret door is a tunnel that goes for a few meters to a stair way that steeply goes down hill for about 4 meter. At the bottom is a guard room. It has a door but light is leaking around it. The door is locked but the lock is easy to pick, 3vsDX. If picked the door can be thrown open surprising the only occupant. In this room is a fighter called Holt the Hammer. Holt has been instructed to kill anyone he does not know. Holt is being paid well to guard Neftroll but he bored and sleepy. (He has been playing solitare for the last few hours between swearing at Neftroll for making noise.)
If the party kills him keys on his belt will open the door to Neftroll's room.
The trip home.
If the party rescues Neftroll before dusk, they have no trouble getting him home. (Unless the GM WANTS to have a fight here...) But if it is dusk, a dozen of Mort's thugs have to be fought. This is not as hard as it sounds since they are punks with out real weapon skills. Once a couple die, make a moral roll. On a six on thug (typically one who is wounded) will flee. For each additional thug killed reduce the 'retreat' number by one, for each PC killed or knocked out increase this number by one. The leader of the thugs subtracts two from all of his rolls. If the party is tough, add the red wizard to the Thugs to beef them up some.
There are 3 tough guards that were watching the route west. They were instructed to return to Mort if they saw anyone heading to the western hills. Mort would have organized his thugs (most of them in the hills to the north, to finish off the PC's), keeping his best fighters as a body guard. If the GM wishes to have a final fight, Mort, Emmeni and their body guards could try to escape the Baron. The PC's can mix in if they want, but the Baron has so many experience fighters that they are not really needed.
If they question Neftroll the whole story will come out. Mort thought that Neftroll (who is very broke) would accept a bribe to give false evidence about the fake will. Neftroll angrily refused and he started to stalk out. Mort fought him and a bunch of Mort's people beat the scholar unconscious. Neftroll woke up in his cell. For about 3 or 4 days nothing happened, then this morning (he thinks) a wizard came and talked to him. The wizard claimed there was a huge misunderstanding: they were told that Neftroll was a dangerous criminal and had been left here in this jail. Neftroll thought that the whole story was fishy, but talked to the wizard hoping to get out. The wizard claimed that he would be released in a few minutes and vanished hours ago.
If the players return Neftroll to the Baron, he will be really angry at Emmeni and Mort. The two will each accuse each other of being the only one involved. Emmeni might squirm out of it claiming it was all Mort's fault, but will be under great suspicion. (If the PC's can connect her man to the dagger that was bought earlier she will be snagged.) The Baron will have the pair slapped in irons and dragged away to his dungeon awarding the whole estate to Zaff and Sheena.
Zaff and the Caroll family will be very grateful. A reward of $250 will be paid at once and the PC's have permanent friends in the town. Zaff will give them one of the items he currently has on hand, (which ever one they would like the most.) In addition Zaff will from now on, sell items to the players for 90% of what he will try to get from others. The players can't special order stuff, he buys and sells what ever items he can find cheap so the list of items is what ever the GM feels like.
If the PC's help Emmeni and Mort but find out about Neftroll, they pair will play the PC's a couple hundred silvers and then send large, well briefed assassination squads after the PC's to make sure they never talk.
End of adventure.
Appendix B: NPC's to fight.
- Red Wizard: Real name Aire Todenton Boton the third.
ST 9 (+2 fST superscript) DX 15 (14), IQ 13. A capable wizard whose major weakness is too many expensive spells and not enough fST. His IQ has gone up, but he has yet to improve most of his spells yet.
Staff with +3 damage w/ae on it. Fine silver dagger with +2 fine damage +1 damage w/ae. Padded clothing and red robes count as cloth armor. The robes stop 3 extra hits verses missile damage. (Weak version of w/ae.)
Limited / expunged Leather Flesh Ring (stops 2 hits per attack) costs 1 fST / 3 turns to power. This ring also has a Dark Vision spell on it which costs 1 fST / minute. (Limit / Expunge: May only be used by wizards of his school.)
Has 4 double powered healing potions and will run away and drink these if things are going bad.
He normally travels with two attack dogs but they were killed recently and he has not yet replaced them. He has a book with instructions for Illusion and 3 hex Fire in it. He has $28 and 33 cp.
Talents: Running and Literacy. Spells: Illusion, Image, Summon Gargoyle, Summon Giant, Stone Flesh, Flight, Speed MA, Fireball and Control Animal.
(Note that my Giants have MA 14 and wear armor that stops 3 hits for no DX or MA penalty which explains in part why he has taken this less popular spell.)
- Holt the Hammer:
A poor but tough fighter. Holt has a serious drinking problem that keeps him broke. He has been struggling with this handicap and is slowly gaining a bit of control over this disease. He badly wants to impress Mort and get a regular job with him. Holt has a mean streak and likes the way Mort operates.
ST 15, DX 17(14), IQ 11, MA 12 (8). Great sword, Heavy Crossbow, Pike ax (stored in town), 3 dirks (one fine for +1 damage).
Scale Armor (-3 hits per attack). (Basically chain with out the weakness for impaling weapons.) Note that warrior stops one extra hit.
Bag of quick lime. 3 coppers.
Talents: Running, Sword, Crossbow, Shield, Pole weapon, Sweeping Blow talent (see website), Warrior.
Holt will throw the loosely closed the quick lime at a PC or (in this case) the roof over their heads. The bag will burst open filling the area with corrosive dust. Holt can stand far enough back with his immense weapon to not be affected. People in this dust must make a 3vsDX to close their eyes / duck their heads. If they fail the dust starts burning their eyes. While fighting with eyes closed people are at -6 DX. PCs can open their eyes for a fraction of a second and see where he is. After 3 turns the gritty dust will settle, or the PC's may have moved out of the dust cloud. If so, they are at -1 DX for every point they missed the roll, or each time they opened their eyes while the dust was in their hex.
If he hits someone in the face with this, they must make a 2vsDX or breath enough of the dust to be taken out of the fight as they cough and choke. The dust if breathed will do 2 points of damage per turn, until 2d6 damage is taken or a healing potion is drunk.
Healing potions will heal the damage to the eyes and lungs caused by this dust.
- Thug Leader: Tanlatte
ST 12, DX 13(12), IQ 9, MA 9. A bully who has actually learned some fighting talents. When in a fight with a younger boy years ago, Tanlate was kicked which resulted in a broken leg. He killed the other boy and hid the body. However, his own leg was not set properly and he walks with a distinct and noticeable limp.
Broad sword, Small shield, Cloth armor, 3 daggers. Has 9 cp.
Talents: Sword, Ax Mace, Shield, Farming, Swimming, swaggering and insulting people.
- Tougher thug 1: Thrug
ST 12, DX 11 (10)(9), IQ 10 MA 10. Lt. Crossbow, Broadsword, Lg Shield, cloth armor. Talents: Crossbow, Sword, Shield, drinking and trying to cheat at dice.
- Tougher thug 2: Thuug
ST 13, DX 12, IQ 8 MA 12. Has a shortsword. 12 cp. $1 Talents: Sword, Running, sneering, swearing.
- Tougher thug 3: Thoug
ST 11, DX 12, IQ 9 MA 10. Spear, Horse bow (-4 DX since he does not know how to use it.) Talents: Pole weapon, sex appeal, Kicking people in 'nads.
- Tougher thug 4: Theg
ST 9, DX 13, IQ 11, MA 12. Several daggers. 28 cp, $4, 3 golden rings worth $8 each. Talents: Running, Dagger, Thrown Weapons, kicking people while they are down.
The other thugs are 29 to 31 attribute characters who are armed with clubs or daggers and have no real fighting talents.
The tough thugs have from 10 to 30 cp, and a 50% chance of having a silver. The rest of the thugs have from 0 to 20 coppers and no silver.