I wrote this with one of my co-DMs, Scalyface.
(Feel free to change the names. They are elves in my world, but can be anything you like.)
Coronel Eluldor Oussea’eplith: The Elf King, and father of Zaianna’athtria.
Zaianna’athtria Oussea’eplith: The daughter. She is quite nice, though a bit haughty and demanding of the servants due to her royal heritage. They are not very fond of her.
Eiltae Gyssemitore: The dead lover. He was well liked by his staff, generous and kind.
Aza’athran Dwin’tlarn: The best friend of Zaianna’athtria. Very sweet, she always has a kind word and is willing to lend a hand.
Zareen Rilynnathem: Lady in waiting for Aza’athran. She is extremely loyal to her mistress.
Ahinar Orleanea: The elf who sold the poison. He is your typical shady character.
Lueaias’nin Kille’rae: An ex-lover of Zaianna’athtria. He hold no grudges agenst her, as they parted amicably.
Rhyavel Freanizea: Another ex-lover of Zaianna’athtria. He disappeared while they were seeing each other and has not yet been found.
Eiltae has been murdered. During the investigation, it was discovered that someone had put poison in to the glass of wine he had with his meal the previous evening. The clues that have been found all point to his fianceé, Zaianna’athtria. They are as follows:
1. The lovers had a quarrel that morning about the date of the wedding. He wanted to move it up, she was not ready. This was quite a loud argument heard by the house servants.
2. The vial of poison was found in Zaianna’athtria’s room.
3. The man who sold the poison has been found and is currently in jail awaiting his trail. He said it was sold to a woman wearing a long cloak and hood. He could not see her face, and she spoke in a low whisper.
4. Zaianna’athtria had brought him his evening meal. She intercepted the servant carrying it so that she would have an opportunity to make amends.
The truth of the matter:
The actual murderer was Aza’athran. She has secretly been in love with Zaianna’athtria for many years. With the wedding approaching, she had to act quickly to eliminate Eiltae. The players can discover this if they find the following clues:
1. Aza’athran had been helping out in the kitchen the night that he was poisoned, and had, in fact, poured his wine. This was not an uncommon occurrence, though. She could often be found helping the kitchen servants.
2. If they talk to the man who sold the poison, they will not find out much. How cooperative he is can be up to the game master’s discretion. Perhaps with some bargaining or persuasion they can find out one key clue: The woman who bought the poison has a nervous habit of flicking her nails. This is a habit of Aza’athran. The inclusion of this should be done through subtle emotes when they interview her. Also, all characters they interview should have different idiosyncrasies so this one does not stand out too much.
3. If they speak to Zareen, they can find a huge clue. She found the poison vial in her mistress’ apron when she was doing the wash. Due to her loyalty and dislike of Zaianna’athtria, she hid the vial to frame her. She is well aware that her mistress committed the crime, but is glad to see the other hung for it. It is possible that she holds a grudge against Zaianna’athtria for something in the past. All this should be extremely difficult for the party to discover. Again, it is up to the game master’s discretion.
4. Aza’athran had a book on poisons. It can no longer be found, but if they talk to some of the servants, they may be able to discover that it had been seen in the past when they were cleaning her room. Again, because of their like for her and dislike for the other, this should be a difficult bit of information to get.
5. Lueaias’nin has not been questioned during any of this. He will be mentioned in conversation with Zaianna’athtria if the players ask anything about past lovers. They will need to find him, and if they decide to question him, will find out he once got critically ill after eating a treat given to him by Aza’athran. He did not die, though he did come close. (She will also mention Rhyavel. He is dead, though no one knows this. All that is known is that he disappeared and has never returned or been found.)
Aza’athran is not aware of the argument the lovers had had that morning, nor how the vial got in Zaianna’athtria’s room. She would not frame her because of her love for her. She is hoping that the party will find a way to get Zaianna’athtria off, but hoping they do not discover that she is the true killer.
All the servants are loyal to Aza’athran and not very fond of Zaianna’athtria, thus their reluctance to come forward with any information.
The poison is called “jhinrae vios”. It is a dark hued poison, very much the color of red wine. It has no noticeable taste and only the faintest bitter smell. It will also change color after being exposed to air for an hour or more. It becomes darker, and the smell becomes more pronounced. After enough time, it will turn thick and black. It is a rare poison, outlawed in most lands. When ingested, the victim will begin to feel very tired and sluggish, though not ill. When they go to sleep, they stop breathing and die. It cannot be used as a contact poison.
Coronel Eluldor is completely sure of his daughter’s innocence. He will not even consider the possibility of her guilt, no matter the evidence.
The players will only have three days to save her.
There are a few options for the ending. If the truth is discovered, Aza’athran will spill all when confronted. If it is not, she may confess right at the end to save the woman she loves. Or, the innocent woman can be hung. That is up to the game master.
Also, feel free to make any changes you like. Perhaps Aza’athran was in love with Eiltae. (For those uncomfortable with any same sex situations.) Or maybe they were having an affair and Zaianna’athtria found out so she really was the killer. Maybe it was actually suicide - the options go on and on, I think.
I may have missed things, or you may need further clarification on something. Please feel free to ask, comment and add to it.