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Rating: 4.75
Condition: Normal
ID: 141

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November 7, 2005, 10:24 am

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To Die For Love

By:

There was He, and there was She. And She was shy of men at first, always being told to distrust them. But He taught Her what love is, and promised Her everything he could. And they lived in happiness, and their love was perfect, for the rest of their lives.

But then, she died while giving birth to her child.

The young widower was weeping for his love, and reconsidering his life. Is there anything more? What should he live for, when She is gone? Then the advocate’s assistant came. He said he could not deliver one of the letters out of his wife’s legacy. As that man was executed last year, and no heir was found, it belongs to him.

Surprised, the name on the letter even seemed familiar, he opened the letter. Moments later he was running on the street, and screaming for help.

—-

The promise He gave Her, and has quite forgotten, was that should she ever die, His heart will break and He would follow Her into eternity. And if not, He would take His life anyway. And She made sure, it seems…

—-

Cassie left several special letters in her last will. Each of them was adressed directly or indirectly to a notorious criminal or killer, contained a few valuable black pearls, and the contract to kill her husband, if he is still alive. More pearls are promised upon his death. Brisson the Blood-Handed was one of them, but is already hanged.

Note: Cassie came from a very rich family, and no one ever asked where the wealth came from. It is a story for another time, of how did a young and poor man win her heart, and persuade her respected father to marry his only child to him.

—-

Starting the adventure:
It would be fine, if the party looks physically imposing, or is reknown as good fighters. Malen is not very smart, and will look for strong and big bodyguards. But not all is in vain, even for other parties.

The party could save this young man from death by an accident (does not have to look like an assassination attempt, at least not yet). Puzzled, he thanks, but doesn’t think about it too much as he is still in grief. Of course, he will come back to them once he discovers the truth.

The GM should create several potential killers. But even a few years can change much. It should be unclear for as long as possible, how many letters were sent, and how many recieved.

- Maybe a killer is old, or has a wound or disease that makes him incapable of true action. But the reward is nice… a reason to let someone else make the dirty work.
- If there is an assassin, or similar class, or mindset in the party (merceneries…), (s)he could be hired or convinced to kill Malen. It could be presented as a part of the training.
- One letter came into the hands of a priest, and sends the heroes to help the vicitm. It is on you whether it is a retired killer, or not.
- A sibling gets a letter for his parent, and greedily decides to act on his own. Easy to defeat for hardy adventurers, but if they kill him, they may have to deal with Daddy later…
- A PC gets the letter purely by chance.

—-

Adventure itself:
Malen will be the target of several killers. It is even possible that some of them offers a reward. The sum (the value of a few pearls) could be enough for little criminals to make a try, and a cover-up for the real job.

The Advocate
...could bring a lot of light into the whole case. It is therefore advisable, that he stays for a while out of reach, a weekend or holidays could do. As a part of the testament, he should keep all his knowledge in silence, and forget it, in accord with laws. But explaining the whole situation (plus a cleverly applied bribe) can make him remember.

The Advocate had nothing to do with the murderous deal, but can give the addresses to which the letters have been sent, giving the PCs a chance to find the killers, or at least learn who they are (insert favoured ways of killing…).

What is more serious, but the heroes are not likely to consider, and Malen has completely forgotten, is HIS testament. In it are letters to the same recipients… with the final rewards. Cassie has made him sign it, and he never looked inside. But even if this hidden trap is found, the killers are not likely to retreat…

The Killers
Not all need be assassins, but all are hardy criminals. All of them also worked for the Family, and may consider this job a kind of duty, with nice pay.

Father Neutris
A priestly friend of the family, or Malen alone, will learn about this situation, and may propose a very strange solution: that he fulfils his oath to Her. Choose a corresponding religion carefully.

—-

Ending the Adventure
If Malen is dead, it may be over. If all the criminals were killed, or imprisoned, it may be over. If the party kept the black pearls, they could be afflicted with a curse, or be hunted by anyone that knows, and doubly so by the killers, that think they deserve their reward.

The Beauty or The Beast?
How could Cassie create this devious plan? Is it all from lack of trust into men? Could it be the work of her father, undoubtly a mafia boss (now dead)? Or could she, knowing the right people, and the contacts, be indeed a father’s daughter, and maybe even rule the local underworld? Such little details may even upset the political balance of this city, and a soon-to-be-murder could become a diplomatic hornet’s nest for the heroes. Covering up this scandal may bring substantial goodwill from the local authorities.



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Comments ( 29 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

CaptainPenguin
January 28, 2004, 8:13
0xp
Excellent!
I love it!
I was wondering what it could be all about when I saw the title.
Skyblue
January 31, 2004, 22:24
0xp
Absolutly Perfect! it's an awesome plot and one of the best ones i've read here. Good work!!!
gottgen
February 3, 2004, 23:43
0xp
Great work!
I might make the change that Malen, himself, doesn't know why people are trying to kill him. He then becomes a deranged paranoid looking to the adventurers for protection...until they see one of his assailants.
It's like a 1930's Film Noir movie with fantasy adventurers standing in for Humphrey Bogart. I love it and I will be using it. Thank you!
Barbarian Horde
March 6, 2004, 21:20
0xp
I quite like this...it will get put into my game quite as soon as I can manage.
EchoMirage
June 24, 2004, 2:20
0xp
Awesome...mouth agape, I must applaud. again, how is it possible to give 6/5?
But Malen will know, as he received one letter that was undeliverable...
manfred
June 24, 2004, 5:29
0xp
That is a possible option: making him target of a few 'accidents', or outright assasination attempts, and let him hire the PC's for protection. And later, when it is finally clear someone is after him, but it is not clear why, comes the letter.

The letter might be only used in case they can't find out (but have enough of other clues).

Now that I think of it, there sure wouldn't be words "Go and kill him.". There might be anything from "visit my husband" to some sort of a code. But innocent words or not, a letter containing such a wealth will be suspicious. Is a clue, I hope.
Cheka Man
July 18, 2004, 13:26
0xp
Very good, I love this story plot.
esaquam
September 20, 2004, 21:30
0xp
Sick. Twisted. Bizarre... I've gotta find a way to use this!

Bravo!
fenixphire
January 23, 2006, 12:50
0xp
Oooohhhh!!! I do so love this one! I'm going to run it on my PW...I think it will make a great event! High RP, and just enough H&S. I'll update and let y'all know how it went... :-D
Voted Cheka Man
January 23, 2006, 16:25
0xp
I love this too...a girl who wants her loved one to join her in the afterlife.
Voted Dragon Lord
January 24, 2006, 7:13
0xp
Hmmm - How DO you protect a man from an unknown number of assassins who do not themselves have any connection with their intended victim?

Difficult to say the least - PCs are gonna have to THINK about this one - can't wait to see how they do (or maybe not)

Love it - 4½ / 5
Voted fenixphire
January 29, 2006, 1:53
0xp
OK, ran this one yesterday. I did modify it a bit to work for a PW, but I must say, one of my best events ever. It was completely amazing. Basically came down to three hours of pure role play, they only had a few fights. Decided to have him hire the party to track down the assassins by going through the contacts that the letters had been delivered to, instead of having them delivered to the assassins outright. They then had to bribe the contacts in various ways to get to the assassins (That was quite interesting...one of the party members *coughs* slept with a contact for the info...), and then find a way to get the assassin not to do the job. Ended up paying one off with even more then he got to do the job, killing one, and catching the third in the act of trying to kill the man. They did ultimately kill her, but due to the actions of one party member, the man did wind up dead. That actually put a great twist on it, as now that party member is in jail for being suspected of being one of the assassins! Going to make his trail in to an event, as well.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for such an amazing idea...I did credit you in the sign up for it, too. ;)
manfred
January 29, 2006, 4:12
0xp
And I am more than happy you have put it to good use. Always glad to see that.


It is also an interesting twist you write about, guaranteed to cause more chaos. ;)

Aside, if there is a fitting character or you find it convenient, they may have a dream of the spirits of the lovers, how they have met and became one again. Or something else.
Voted Murometz
September 15, 2006, 13:48
0xp
wow....never seen this one. Great Work manfred! 5/5
Voted valadaar
September 22, 2006, 9:00
0xp
Man, Devious!

I love it :)

What happened to the child? Just because she died doesn't mean the child does... (Though He needs to find a wetnurse...)
Voted Ancient Gamer
April 7, 2007, 17:28
0xp
An old favourite. I just re-read it and I still like it!
manfred
April 8, 2007, 7:02
0xp
Thank you all for the compliments. Keep doing them. :)


Now, a child could complicate things indeed, making a good reason why the young man wants to survive, and adding yet more drama to the plot - but also mix it up even more. The wetnurse could turn out to be one killer; the child might be kidnapped; or some particularly cruel/deranged murderer could just decide to kill the child as well (though it of course isn't in the contract).

Should Malen die, and baby survive, the PCs will be responsible for it. Given it's large inheritance, there will be more plot hooks attached.
Voted dark_dragon
April 25, 2007, 8:35
0xp
That is a fantastic plot. Such bittersweet cruelty!

5/5-sorry I dont yet have another HoH to give...

EDIT: I do now.
Michael Jotne Slayer
November 7, 2007, 13:01
0xp
Added to favorites, I will re-read this and add a comment and vote tomorrow.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
November 8, 2007, 8:12
0xp
Simply... ::Stamp of Greatness:: ....enough said.

And an HoH to go with that.
manfred
November 8, 2007, 12:25
0xp
Thank you! And thanks to dark_dragon as well - actually, to all those that left the HoHs and high votes. *bows*
manfred
December 31, 2007, 5:14
0xp
Geeze, there was a time when I've actually written up a few of those NPCs!

Sample killers:
Brisson, the Red-Handed - was already hanged for several murders
Kadun, the Psychotic Minstrel - sneaks into the favor of people, then kills them (usually with poison), and sings an eulogy at the funeral as their friend
Odkuas the Weird - arranges three "accidents", then leaves if the target survives
Kalko - the very inept and greedy son of a known assassin Kaldo (daddy might be still angry if someone kills him)
Hartman - actually twin brothers, they act as one to confuse the victim and get an alibi; experienced contract killers, like to use the sword
Gamlar - a spellcaster, uses magic for approach and escape, usually kills with a knife; may impersonate somebody to get close

Other NPCs and red herrings:
- Adam the butler, and Horoskop the gardener, both innocent, but could be impersonated by some of the killers
- Tobias the lawyer - has some pieces of the puzzle, but is not willing to cooperate
- Pol, the delivery boy - has partial information (2-3 addresses), threats of cash will help him to remember
EchoMirage
December 31, 2007, 9:14
0xp
I ran it once, it was great. I wish to run it again some day, with a different team.
manfred
January 1, 2008, 6:17
0xp
Hint: it would be really nice to know how it went. :D
Michael Jotne Slayer
April 15, 2011, 8:44
0xp
Yeah, tell us how it went.
Voted Black Jack Rackham
November 11, 2010, 7:36
1xp

Since I'm going back to give feedback on all the Strolen's stuff that I've yoinked over the years for my own purposes, I wanted to make special mention of this sub.  It's a wonderful addition with a great twist and plenty to get PC interested in helping.  My players took to it with aplomb.  Wondering where the next attack was coming from.

Best of all, I managed to get them believing that the attacks were because of their actions rather than the poor young man. 

I very much enjoyed this, thank you manfred

Mark

manfred
November 11, 2010, 15:02
0xp
Many thanks! That is the greatest compliment of all!
PoisonAlchemist
July 16, 2011, 12:16
0xp

This is a good and interesting plot, but the premise doesn't sit well with me. Mostly because it turns the wife into a sort of psychopath. After all, if both of them are dead who would look after her child? If she cared at all for either of them the plot seems to fall apart. It would make more sense to me if the assassinations were keyed off of some sort of action on his part, like getting remarried. This would also turn the new wife into the prime suspect, as he would have inhereted a good deal of money from his previous wife. No one expects a dead killer.

manfred
July 16, 2011, 13:21
0xp
Perhaps she cared a little too much. (Check also the section 'The Beauty or The Beast?'.)

Anyway, your alternative is very valid, and makes things even more confusing for the poor heroes. Thanks!


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