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April 1, 2009, 1:19 pm

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Cheka Man

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The Mistress of the Keep

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The Lord has a new girlfriend, and nobody is happy about it.

On the distant frontier of the kingdom is an estate of a powerful warrior Lord.  As vassal of the King he has accomplished many quests and for years has been one the King’s most trusted advisors and generals. As result of his success and relative importance to the current regime, the lord has been granted estates all over the realm and is required to spend much of his year at court.  After the last great campaign the Lord return to the estates keep with a new mistress who took up residence at the keep. Unlike the other noble Ladies or even mistresses she does not ride in the hunt, attend public dinners or services at the temple (or give offerings at the shrine-whatever the local ethos may require). In fact she does not keep any Holy men or women in the keep at all. The guards at the keep are fearful of her enough or loyal enough not to speak of what goes on there. The peasant community that works the fields around the keep is rife with rumors of a pair of black skinned women with white hair that leave the castle at night and ride north into the wind forest.

The breakdown So during the last military campaign, which was a preemptive strike against an emerging Orc-Drow alliance, the Lord became smitten with a Drow sorceress. He decided to or was convinced to bring his new conquest back to the human lands and house her at the most distant of his estates.  Although his mistress is a not a total secrete, her true identity is kept secrete and he cannot acknowledge publicly his affair. The secrecy surrounding his relationship with the Drow woman is partially because of the disapproval it would earn him because she is a dark elf and also because he is already married to a noble woman of a powerful family. His legal wife, however, resides at court all year round while he divides his time between campaigns and his other estates. 

Plot Hooks
1: Three Red-herrings and a Red cap
: Two peasant infants have shown up mysteriously dead in the past two weeks. The town’s people are blaming the witch in the keep. But it turns out it is actually a mad goblin shaman called a Red Cap, cause he dyes his cap red with the blood of children. He has his lair a short distance from the village. The PCs take it upon themselves or are hired to investigate these deaths. 

I have run this Red Cap adventure three times with three different groups. It works well as first day quest. I find that it can be a very short adventure, aka they track the goblin to his lair, kill it and its pet (either a wolf or spider) or it can be stretched out by the addition of several red herrings which provide more role-playing opportunities.  Aside from the Drow mistress, I have stuck in a small tribe of thieving but not child murdering goblins that know of the red cap, and a neighboring town of a different ethnic background (think Celt town vs Saxon town) that has suspicious religious practices. And there is also some kinda of West Side story romance (we have a theme) going on that puts a member of the other town in the wrong place at the wrong time with out an alibi he can publicly admit to.

2: Everybody really wants to be Iago : The Lord’s family gets wind of his relations with this Drow woman and sends the PCs to break it up.

In this set up the Lord and the mistress get to make an appearance, and their personality has to really come into play here. The lord’s personality has to be stubborn.  Either he is completely in love with the Drow woman or he is not the type of guy that is going to give up anything of his no matter the odds.  The same is true with Drow woman she could be in love with the Lord or just using him for some ever self-serving or malevolent purposes.  The PCs also have to contend with her and her priestess side kick.  The trick of this is that the Lord and Mistress are very powerful characters, and the PC will not be able to approach this problem directly.  They instead have to wreck the relationship through subterfuge. There will also have to be several other NPCs here as well, the castle steward (powerful warrior who lost his nerve so he feigns an injury), the man-at-arms (not even a full beard on his chin, hand picked by the lord to replace the fat old swords man, the Lords bastard), the Huntsman (handsome, religious and in the prime of his youth), the Lady in Waiting (youngest daughter of a minor noble, she has been waiting for the 20 years, the mother of the man-at-arms, former mistress of the Lord, a subplot could be why she is here).  At any rate, the NPCs have to have weakness, a jealous nature, greed, a violent temper or arrogance and the PCs have to find the weakness and exploit them.



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Comments ( 11 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Wulfhere
September 12, 2006, 17:13
5xp
This one has potential. You are apparently using the Drow mistress as a character that the players would be suspicious of from the start, so any hated group could be an appropriate substitution for games where a Drow would not fit.

You could play against type: There could be good reasons that the lord avoids his wife's company and has cultivated a Drow mistress. The heroes could then decide not to break up the couple after all, or may be conflicted about doing so.

There are a lot of ways this set of plot elements could develop.
Voted Cheka Man
September 12, 2006, 20:36
0xp
Drows are bad, but this plot is OK.
Voted manfred
September 13, 2006, 5:30
5xp
Short and offering many options. The characters could even be servants that are tasked with the plot hooks. Speaking of them, here is one more:

For the crown - rumours travel fast, and some people have very sensitive ears. A king's advisor/vizier/(insert the equivalent of a secret service chief) is curious, so somebody needs to find out: What if that dark lady is truly a witch, and has a nefarious motive for her presence? Or could she be used for stealing secrets of the state? Or, worst, could that lord's loyalty be waning? Of course, the characters are not likely to know who they work for, just doing detective work on the nature of that relationship, and if there anything suspicious on that lady.
Voted Scrasamax
September 13, 2006, 8:37
6xp
Now this has a good bit of potential as it deviates from the usual hack and slash advanture into a courtly intrigue. A number of implications could arise from this odd pairing.

1. The Lord and his Drow Mistress are officially wed by Drow custom in a political marriage to end rivalries between the humans and the Drow. This ensures the safety of the humans as well as the Drow as they deal with the other denizens of the subterranean realms.

2. The Lord's human wife might be a more than meets the eye evil type of cultist or sorceress, and the Lord is working with the Drow to ensure that her plans of summoning the Demon Klashboo from the Xth level of the Abyss fails. In courtly realms, he cannot denounce her evil nor despose of her, but he can keep her tied up in courtly obligations to the crown.

3. The Lady has 'polymorphed' herself to look like a Drow while her stand in attends the court. Rather than some game of malefiscence, the couple just wants to spice things up and like playing naughty.
Voted valadaar
September 13, 2006, 10:23
5xp
Short, but reasonably unique and original.

There must be an overriding reason why the Drow sorceress is willing to go along with all of this.

Also, the spurned wife may contract the PC's to dispose of the Drow and save her and her family from embarassment. It is amazing what people will do to avoid public humiliation.
Wulfhere
September 11, 2007, 16:49
5xp
Bump! This adventure may not be as subtle or fully-developed as many of the others in the Citadel, but "it has what it takes". I'd like to see what my players make of such a situation. The Drow mistress is a puzzling enigma, a "wild card" that could send things in any of a dozen directions.
Voted Chaosmark
September 12, 2007, 16:23
0xp
What Wulf said.
Voted Murometz
January 10, 2009, 12:54
0xp
What they all said! Good one.
Nocontrivedname
March 8, 2009, 12:36
0xp
Hi I am new to this site, but this three year old post suggests that this community use to be more plot orientated rather than typo and prose orientated. But maybe I just haven't looked at the right posts. I will follow along some the campaign threads now.

Yet here is more what I was expecting. Somebody posts an idea, something they have obviously play tested, and the following posts improve on that idea with suggested variations and improvements to the plot.

NCN
manfred
March 10, 2009, 17:58
5xp
Yeah, we used to do that a lot. Keep digging, there is much more around. Oh, and please add your bit or two if possible.

But don't worry, we still do it at times. Ask what you need and we might be able to help. ;)
Voted Nocontrivedname
March 14, 2009, 16:11
Only voted


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Ideas  ( Locations ) | July 3, 2004 | View | UpVote 0xp


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