Players are hired by the military of Tarkona to assassinate Count Vilsador. The Count has promised the Danamar Military a small army, and his assassination will prevent those forces from stepping onto the battlefield.
Tarkona and Danamar share a national border. Both countries have been at an uneasy peace for twenty years, a peace that Tarkona is going to break.
When I run this mission, an NPC will be working as a handler from Tarkona's military. It is up to individual GMs to use an NPC or not- and to create their own if they decide to.
The Count is spending a week within the small town of Dresle. Dresle serves mostly as a buffer on the border between Danamar and Tarkona, and its economy is driven by the sizable army contingent within. Mercenaries are not uncommon, and many nobles seeking fame on the battlefield take temporary residence in Dresle.
Dresle is surrounded by the estates of small-time nobles. The estates are mostly agricultural in nature, totally unsuited towards rebuffing attacks. While most nobles maintain a small set of guards, the general plan in case of a Tarkona invasion is to retreat behind Dresle's imposing walls and prepare for a siege. With a sizable population in the area and many nobles willing to conscript their underlings into the military for personal gain, Dresle is ripe for anyone wanting to hire troops.
Dresle has a Mayor who is in charge of administrative duties within the town, under the authority of the Danamar King.
Vilsador was born into his position. His only remaining relative is his brother, Maxwell Vilsador. The Count is more adept at politics than at any sort of fighting. He is almost fearless, unconcerned with the need for guards, protection, or otherwise. Maxwell is universally regarded as the stronger of the two brothers.
The Count promised the Danamar military that he would be able to raise an army for them within Dresle. He is in Dresle to negotiate with the mayor and other nobles concerning his task. Vilsador did not bring any valuables with him. His current goal is only to secure the noble's agreements to lend him troops.
The Count has a bad past history with multiple groups and people. In particular, the Mayor's personal cook, and the Thieves Guild operating within Danamax.
1: Tarkona wants the Count dead. They don't care how. The players have total freedom to behead the guy in public if they want- Tarkona doesn't mind if the assassination sparks a war.
2: The players have a seven day timetable. The Count leaves Dresle after the seventh day there.
Information to be discovered by Players:
In general, the local militia barracks and the town office will be the most informative. The local tavern will be entirely clueless when I run the mission, just to stop that cliche right at the beginning.
Provided by the Tarkona Army:
1: The Count will be Staying in Dresle for a Week, reason unknown.
Easy to Learn:
2: Vilsador is trying to gain troops to meet his promise to the Danamar military
3: Vilsador is staying at the Mayor's house during the week
4: The Count is not a cautious person.
Harder to Learn:
5: The Mayor's personal cook holds a grudge against the Count
6: The Count will be giving a public speech his fourth day in town as the guest of honor at a ball for the nobles and their families
7: Information about which room he's staying in.
8: Vilsador will be meeting the nobles of the town in the town garden the sixth day he is in town.
9: The Count has fallen into debt with a guild from the capital of Danamar. They have ordered his death.
General Player options (more might be possible- players are slippery like that):
1: Attacking the Count directly. This brute-force method is supported by information bits 6, 7 and 8.
2: Shooting him. This is mostly supported by information bits 6, 7, and 3. The garden is not a good place for this type of assassination.
3: The Cook can be easily bribed to poison the Count's food. As to why the cook holds a grudge, the GM should leave it ambiguous or make one suitable for their game. Poisoning might also be possible at the Speech.
4: It may be possible to booby-trap the Count's room.
5: It may be possible to kill him while he sleeps.
6: Information bit nine is the most complicated and effective way of killing the count. Should players contact a member of the Guild with information that would allow the Guild to assassinate the Count, they should find him dead, in a grisly manner. The steps for this should run a bit like this:
1: Learn that the Count has debts to the Guild
2: Discover, find and Contact a Guild Member
3: Give the Guild Member information that can lead to an assassination
4: Watch the resulting mayhem. Depending on what information is given to the Guild, how the assassination occurs might change.
Any attack at the gardens or at the speech will be met by the other nobles in attendance. While the Count is a horrible fighter, the other nobles are not.
The mayor's house is routinely patrolled by guards.
The Cook may give the Players to authorities.
Maxwell might arrive in town during the course of the mission, or seeking revenge in its aftermath.
Tying up loose ends:
The Majority of Nobles around Dresle are young and eager for glory. Most have some proficiency in combat.
The Mayor is a politician at heart. He might be anything from a chipper, slightly overweight man to a controlling puppet master. He is equally as bad at combat as the Count.
The Tarkona Army will pull the players from Dresle.
If part of a bigger campaign, Maxwell might come back to haunt players. If contacted, the Guild might have job offers for the players. Within Dresle, characters will be remembered and attacked if they assassinated the Count publically.
The Cook can either silently disappear or be executed, reveal the player identities to the authorities, or similar.
Danamax might investigate the incident or declare war.
Other nobles killed might lead to feuds with powerful families in Danamar.
Whoever hires the players might be different. It could be a rival of the count, Maxwell, or the guild from Danamax.
The Count's goal might be different. Possibilities include arranging his marriage, negotiating a business transaction, or visiting friends or relatives. The Count's stay may be longer or shorter than seven days.
Conversely, Players might be tasked with keeping him alive from another group who can use this layout to attack him.