While traveling, the PCs happen upon a small town just off the main road. There seems to be quite a bit of activity going on, people boarding up windows, securing field equipment, putting all of the animals inside, etc. This seems odd, being that the weather has been calm and mild for several days.
Stopping to inquire as to the activity, a middle aged woman with long dark hair will offer a small bit of information.
“It’s the seer,” she says “he says there’s a big storm coming soon.”
The woman hurries off to secure her chicken coop.
When the PCs enter the town square the scene is even more bizarre. There is a procession of people from the center of town around the square. They seem to be waiting in line.
Investigation into the matter will reveal that there is a young man, the innkeeper’s youngest son, who has for the past season been uncommonly accurate in telling of future events like weather, births, deaths, and even revealing many people’s secrets.
People have come from near and far with gifts so they might hear what the future holds for them.
Asking anyone waiting in line will get the PCs an answer.
- He is a reincarnated wizard of amazing power.
- He is in possession of a mirror that shows him the future.
- He is favored by ancient Gods. They give him visions.
- He has always had this power but his father, the innkeeper, kept it to himself so that only he might become rich from it.
- He gained his power by taking a necklace from a dying wizard he found by the river.
Further questions will give the same or similar reasons for his power.
There is no way to see him without waiting in line, as the noble lord of the land has sent six heavily armed guards to protect the young man. Waiting in line is the only way to talk to him directly. This will take several hours at the least.
Upon seeing the young man it’s hard not to laugh.
He is slight and fair, with short disheveled hair and a large crooked grin. His robes look as if they’ve been taken off of a scarecrow, sun bleached and threadbare. He holds them together with a long piece of rope doubled around his waist and knotted at the ends. To top off this ridiculous costume he wears an old crumpled wide brimmed pointed hat. It looks as if he found it on the side of the road. It tilts to the side and looks as if it will either fall off or swallow his head entirely.
All around him are various “gifts” the people have brought him. They are piled high and covering the ground around small stage he had built to sit on. All the items seem new and some are quite exquisite. Beside him on the table is a cheap wooden birdcage with a raven in it. It hops about the cage cawing every so often, obviously agitated.
When questioned the Young man, whose name is Aeldren, he will do his best to avoid giving a straight forward answer.
If asked questions like “How did you get your powers?” he will smile and answer “What powers do you mean?”
He will, in fact, answer most questions with a question unless the players give him and easy out like “Is it true that (insert rumor here)?” To whatever rumor first presents itself he will admit it is true and stand by it. He will do his best not to let the players on to what really happened.
At this point an investigation would normally begin. There are several leads.
The father can be found at the inn working. He seems agitated and tries to avoid conversation about his son. He will not respond to bribery, oratory, or threats. If he is pressed without the use of physical threats he will talk openly, abruptly and offer little info.
“My son is a good boy. Not the brightest, but he’s still a good boy. He started this whole thing a few months ago. I honestly have no idea how he does it.” The innkeeper turns to place a glass behind the bar.
He turns back, looking even more agitated than before. “His mother is afraid to talk to him, but does he care? No!” He slams his beefy fist on the counter, rattling the glasses. “He only cares about the attention!”
He settles onto a stool. “Now please leave, I have things to do.” He waves the PCs off and continues his work.
At his home the PCs will find his mother and two younger sisters. The mother will interrupt every time the PCs bring up her son’s name. If they continue to do so she will shoo the girls from the house and speak only in hushed tones.
“He was off to (insert closest city here) to trade some herbs and furs last season. He was gone for 2 days. He returned earlier than we expected, and dressed in what he’s wearing now. I started to ask him why he returned so soon, but he answered before I could ask! I started to ask how he knew what I was going to ask, but he said he already knew before I could get out two words! He kept on answering me before I could ask a single question!” She becomes very distraught and whispers “Can you help him? I think something evil has happened to him.”
She will tell the players whatever she can, but she knows nothing of relevance to his current “condition”. She does mention that he recently received a gift of a raven, but she doesn’t know who gave it to him.
The rest of the townsfolk will answer with a rumor and some outlandish “proof” of its validity. While questioning the populace, the players will meet a youngish girl, obviously distraught and lost. Her name is Aelwin. If asked she will respond that she is looking for her father.
“My father was traveling near here last season, but he should have been home by now. I’m worried for him, he gets distracted quite easily and he always seems to end up in trouble somehow.” She cries softly, trying to continue. “He’s the only family I know. I need to find him! He is never gone this long!” She will petition the players for help, though she has nothing to offer as payment. She assures the players her father will reward them as soon as he is found. She will decline searching with the players, reasoning that they should search separately to cover more ground. She is staying at the inn and the innkeeper will pass any messages they leave for her. She has no idea of her father’s profession except that he makes herbal remedies sometimes for trade.
If the players pass Aeldren while he is outside he will always be flanked by the two guards and carrying the raven in the cage on the end of a crooked staff. When the players pass, the raven will caw and flutter wildly in the cage (will be noticed if the players pay close attention). On close inspection, the raven is not completely black. He has a few dark grey feathers on the sides of his head. He also has very unsettling eyes, almost human. Any player who knows about ravens or indigenous birds will note the strange behavior and odd look and size of this bird. When confronted, Aeldren will say it was a gift from one of his “patrons”.
The players can proceed with whatever course of action they feel is best to uncover Aeldren’s secret and find Aelwin’s father. They are both the same task however. Aeldren’s powers come from the raven, and the raven is Aelwin’s father. Unknown to both of them Aelwin’s father is a rather clumsy wizard who is suffering from a rather unfortunate accident.
The wizard, a diviner by the name of Jeril Corbyn was attempting one morning to turn himself into a salmon. Thought to be the wisest of all the animals, he wanted to share that wisdom by becoming one for a time. After having slipped on the river’s edge several times he decided to set his robes and hat in the sun to dry placing the rest of his belongings in an alcove by the river (he assumed he wouldn’t be in need of them as a fish).
Once fully in the river he found a rock to brace himself and began reciting the incantation. The rock proved to be more slippery than he assumed and he fell in mid-incantation. A slight slip of the tongue turned him into a raven instead (Bradan is the word for salmon, Bran means raven). Being a diviner and not well versed in transmutation he found himself stuck in this form.
This is the state Aeldren found him in, soaking wet on the bank of the river. He captured the raven easily, as flying was a new thing to this one. Finding he could speak, the boy promised to help him, if he returned the favor. Greed however is sometimes more powerful a force than a promise. Aeldren keeps the transformed wizard in check by threats of being cooked and burning his spell book, which he has hidden under some rocks near the river.
I left the details fairly open so every GM has plenty of room to customize it to their own campaigns.