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Rating: 3.7778
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ID: 4317

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October 30, 2009, 11:06 am

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Cheka Man

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The Nobleman's Daughter

By:

When a young noblewoman goes missing the real cause may not at first be apparent.

Background

Almost six weeks ago Lady Calindy, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Lord Cazalet, disappeared while out on a shopping expedition. She has not been heard from since.

Lord Cazalet is beside himself with worry. In the six weeks since Calindy’s disappearance he has had no communication from her or from her abductors (and he is increasing convinced that she has been abducted).

No note - No ransom demand - Nothing.

This is all the more worrying because Calindy should be able to take contact herself. She is, after all, studying the magical arts and, although only a trainee mage, she is quite capable of casting a simple message spell.

His Lordship feels that this can mean only one thing: whoever has his daughter is powerful enough to block magical communications, or else rich enough to hire somebody who can.

The fact that such powerful villains seem not to be motivated by greed (if they were they would have demanded a ransom by now) does little to calm his fears.

Where the PCs come in

Lord Cazalet’s people have done the best they can, and to be fair to them they have discovered some of the pertinent facts. However, they have been unable to learn who is holding Lady Calindy or why she is being held.

Even of they could find the kidnappers hideout, confronting villains powerful enough to block magical communications is well beyond their abilities.

They have however learned that Lady Calindy was seen boarding the ferry to the Dragon Isles along with a young man by the name of Sycol Namara (whom His Lordship believes to be the criminal responsible) not more than one week after her disappearance.

What Lord Cazalet needs are people who are experienced in tracking down elusive hiding places and able to confront powerful villains when they get there. In other words, he needs professional adventurers.

He is prepared to offer a substantial reward for his daughters’ safe return as well as covering any reasonable expenses (and in this case he is prepared to be quite flexible on that). Also he would not be at all upset if Sycol Namara were to end up dead, but he will not actually mention this since he is not a killer (and besides to ask it would be illegal).

If the PCs agree to help he will provide them with a formal letter, complete with his personal seal, stating that they are searching for the Lady Calindy, that they mean her no harm, and that are acting on his behalf.

Scene 1 - Entrance

Reaching the Dragon Isles is simple enough; all the PCs need do is board the ferry. Alternately, if the PCs have any seamanship skills they could hire a boat. The real problem is finding out which of the thirty or so islands the villains have taken Calindy to.

Even the most cursory investigation at Fisherman’s Cove will establish that neither Namara nor Calindy is there, nor indeed has anybody by these names been there in living memory. However, more detailed questioning will reveal that a couple matching their description was in the village about a month ago but that they stayed for only few days. The villagers got the impression that they were a rich couple on their honeymoon. {{Note to GM: If the PCs make the connection this is their first clue that the situation may not be exactly as described to them by Lord Cazalet.}}

Eventually it will become apparent that the PCs must systematically search every island in the chain, for which purpose they will need to hire a boat (if they have not done so already) and probably a pilot as well - especially if they lack seamanship skills.

Alternatively clever PCs might realise that if the villains are hiding on one of the uninhabited islands they will need regular supplies brought in from outside. If, and only if, the PCs realise this allow them to locate a local fisherman who does the supply run. They could then bribe, or force, him to reveal the correct island, or maybe even to take them there.

Scene 2 - Role-playing Challenge

Sycol Namara and Lady Calindy are on Maxon’s Island, located some five miles north of Dragon Home. Since the only safe landed place is the cove this is where the PCs must go, after which the only viable option is to investigate the cave. {Note to GM: Feel free to have a little fun with Maxon’s ghost here if you wish.}

Exploring the cave will reveal an old, but perfectly safe, tunnel cut into the rear wall. About fifty yards down the tunnel is a recently installed, and very sturdy looking, door. Solid oak, iron bound and barred on the inside, there is no way (short of several hours hard labour with heavy cutting tools) to open the door from the outside.

There is neither latch nor handle on the outside, nor is there any evidence of a locking mechanism. This is a door clearly designed to keep people out rather than to keep them in, which seems a curious choice for a prison door (another clue that all is not quite as described).

A thin brass chain hangs from the ceiling just outside the door. If this is pulled a bell will ring, followed closely by an irate voice bemoaning the inconsideration of visitors (along with a little inventive cursing for good measure) and a six-inch square panel will slide to one side.

Behind the panel is a servitor imp in a particularly grumpy mood (aren’t they always), who will take one look at the PCs and announce, in his best surly doorman voice, "You ain’t da mistress and you ain’t ‘er man, so show me ya invite or bugger off". (Another subtle clue that the PCs may have been misled. Only a wizard can bind a servitor imp and this one clearly refers to his master in the feminine. Although by no means conclusive this does suggest the Lady Calindy. Strange that she would bind an imp to imprison herself.)

The imp is of course the doorkeeper and the PCs must convince him to open the door for them. This is by no means an easy task since, like all of his kind, he is rude, surly and generally augmentative.

Alternately they could try to trick him. The imp demanded to see an invitation but the PCs do not have one. What they do have is the Lord Cazalet’s letter, complete with his personal seal, and the imp (not being particularly bright) cannot read so it just might be possible to convince him that it is in fact an invitation. This, along with a little fast-talking, just might be enough to convince him to open the door.

Of course they could simple kill the imp and bash the door down but that, considering that the imp (like all of his kind) is very tough and the door is very strong, would be doing it the hard way (or would it?).

Scene 3 - Setback

Beyond the door the tunnel continues for another thirty yards or so before ending in three separate staircases, each of which leads up in a different direction. This is the beginning of a complex labyrinth that leads, after countless junctions, dead ends, switchbacks and loop passages in all three dimensions, to the top of the cliffs.

The PCs are in no real danger here (unless of course the GM wants to have a little fun with them) and they should reach the top safely enough, albeit after a long and tiring climb.

On the cliff tops they will encounter another party similar to themselves (professional adventurers hired by a respectable person for a perfectly legal job). This group is professional, well equipped and clearly the equal of the PCs. {Note to GM: This is important. It should be apparent from the outset that a fight could easily go either way and would, in any event, likely result in casualties on both sides.}

Coincidentally (or possibly not) this group is here on similar business to the PCs: they were hired be Gerrard Namara, a wealthy and well respected merchant, to rescue his son Sycol from the clutches of the Lady Calindy, whom Gerrard Namara believes to be an evil sorceress.

The adventurers will initially be very wary of the PCs, thinking them to be minions of Calindy. They do not want a fight if it can be avoided, but they are both willing and able to defend themselves if attacked.

What happens next is largely dependant on how the PCs respond. If they elect to talk both groups will, by comparing stories, learn enough to guess the truth. If instead they choose to attack there will be an extremely bloody battle.

Scene 4 - Climax

At the top of the cliffs the PCs will find, somewhat incongruously, a neat little stone-built cottage, complete with a slate roof and wooden shutters on the windows. Here Sycol Namara and Lady Calindy have chosen to live in quite self-imposed exile with only a couple of servitor imps to tend to their needs.

The couple are well aware of the PCs’ presence (Calindy is quite capable of setting up a few alarms and detection spells) but there is not really anything they can do about it. If given the option they are perfectly happy to talk to the PCs (after all, there really isn’t much else they can do).

The truth is that they are lovers who eloped together because their respect parents disapproved of their relationship. They had the village priest an Fishermans Cove marry them as soon as they arrived on the island and they have the marriage certificate to prove it (the priests’ discretion, and therefore their own privacy, was secured with a sizable donation to the church restoration fund).

They absolutely refuse to return unless and until both of their fathers accept the match. Furthermore, they threaten to kill themselves, should the PCs attempt to force them to do so (and they mean it too).

Scene 5 - Rewards (or lack thereof)

The PCs now have the problem of getting paid, and this is by no means as easy as it sounds.

According to their contract with Lord Cazalet they must return Calindy to him safely in order to collect the reward. The key word here is safely; if the girl kills herself before they get back the PCs will get nothing. Therefore they must find some way of reconciling Calindy with her father.

Their counterparts (if they were not all killed in scene 3) have a similar deal with Gerrard Namara in respect of Sycol and therefore face much the same dilemma.

Actually the young lovers have already suggested a possible solution. If both fathers will accept their relationship they will gladly return home.

Looks like the PCs may have play arbitrator.



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Comments ( 10 )
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Voted dark_dragon
September 13, 2007, 8:04
0xp
I like it! Its a nice plot, with lots of scope for depth and flexibility. (the journey to the island can be made into an adventure, as can the search, and Maxom's island.) The twist is nice, and allows the PC to use their brains to solve a situation. The addition of a second group can be a great source of roleplay, and the two groups could devlop a long term partnership or enemity, which would come back later during the campaign.

This does, however, strech the definition of 'dungeon' quite a bit!

good one!
Voted Murometz
September 13, 2007, 12:56
0xp
Hmm, what dark_dragon said!
Voted Scrasamax
September 13, 2007, 14:42
0xp
A fun read and I am a sucker for star-crossed lovers. Again, echoing what has already been said, not very dungeon-y.
Voted CaptainPenguin
September 13, 2007, 18:21
0xp
I wouldn't really call it a dungeon, but it could be a dungeoncrawl in the sense of a contained adventure in a limited geographic area. Very well done, and nicely flexible.
Voted manfred
September 13, 2007, 18:38
1xp
It is nicely written and everything, but the wayward daughter plot is very obvious from the start. A little research could show, that the young man is from a decent family, and perhaps that the two were seeing each other... the conclusion is obvious. But it is easy to preserve the plot even with that exposure: the father could claim that she was subjected to a love potion or dark magics, and still needs to be saved.

As to the format, it really shows what can be made of the Five-Room idea - it's clearly not only dungeons!
Dragon Lord
September 14, 2007, 4:21
0xp
Thanks for the feedback people - all perfectly fair comments

Glad you liked it though
Voted valadaar
September 14, 2007, 19:02
0xp
Hmm. Were-princess. Pretty cool!
Voted Cheka Man
March 4, 2012, 19:53
0xp

Fun. And worth an HOH.

Voted MysticMoon
March 5, 2012, 7:45
0xp

This feels like it is missing something. The end seems rather anticlimactic. After all the searching the PCs discover that nothing is really wrong and they can go home. Making reconciliation with their respective parents part of the adventure would help, but then it wouldn't fit in with the 5 room dungeon.

Perhaps trying to force this into the 5 room dungeon mold is the problem. The 5 room dungeon is set up in such a way to include puzzles, fights, and role-playing, the various styles of play that different players gavitate towards, while this adventure is much more about heavy role-playing with a little puzzle-solving and no need for combat.

If I were to run this, I would drop the 5 room dungeon template and expand it. It doesn't need combat or a climactic scene. It needs resolution. (Also, players who will enjoy it for what it is, rather than looking for things to fight, because otherwise the real gems in this will be lost in the bloodshed.)

I would love to give this a 5/5 because I really like the core idea, the descriptions, and the characters. The servitor imps are a nice touch, as is the locked door that they must talk their way through. Having the other party there to "rescue" the boy could be a fun scene to run if done correctly. I think there's a lot of potential for indepth role-playing here.

4/5

Voted montreve
March 5, 2012, 15:12
0xp

Echoing what others have said, good idea a little obvious in the beginning, but a good story idea, and well told.



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