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August 27, 2007, 7:43 pm

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The Marauders


In a region threatened by rebellion, hideous monstrosities terrorize the land!

The Supply Party
As our adventuring company turned a bend in the meandering river of mud that the folk of the provinces call a road, we heard shouting and cries of fear.  Quickly slogging forward, a hellish sight awaited us:  There, not fifty yards ahead, several men in royal livery faced a group of misshapen horrors unlike anything that we had ever seen.  They were similar to trolls in build, but tufts of grotesque tendrils sprouted from their bodies at random and their hideous faces had no mouths:  Instead, a long, flexible tendril dangled obscenely from beneath empty eye sockets.  Several of the hideous beasts had already claimed victims, and their disgusting probosci slurped blasphemously as they dipped into their victims’ shattered skulls.  The things were aware of our intrusion, somehow detecting our presence with some sense alien to our experience, so we steeled ourselves to offer battle.

While traveling to join the King on his progress through the Border Marches near Magesmoor(or perhaps simply following the same road), the player characters encounter a band of palace officials, sorely beset by horrifyingly-mutated trolls.  These trolls are not the mundane monsters that the adventurers have encountered in the past:  Their jaw structures have been replaced with sucking structures reminiscent of a houseflys and they vomit forth acid, sucking up the resulting digested fluids. 

Hopefully, the heroes will rescue the beleaguered group of servants and palace officials from the hideous mutants.  If they do, the grateful men will ask that they escort them to the King, explaining that hideous creatures of that sort have been seen by others, as well.  Terrors like these are growing increasingly common around the land.

The King, thankful to see his men returned safely, will reward the party, but his seneschal would ask that they assist further, if they can.  Another group of servants has not returned, and the seneschal fears that the multiple attacks may have been insigated by rebels.  The perennial curse of the Border Marches, the borderers’ last rebellion left dozens of villages in ruins and the region’s rich farmland untilled.  Years of peace have given the Marches a chance to recover, but they have never been overly loyal to the land’s distant rulers, and resent the taxes levied to keep the region’s many fortresses well-supplied.

The senechal askes that the player characters escort a group of palace officials as get supplies needed for the King’s household to continue their travels.  Their supplier is not far, and the luxuries that he provides allow the King to meet ancient ceremonial obligations to his vassals.  By an agreement as old as his house, he is obliged to provide the borderer Count of Magesmoor with a golden vessel filled with cinnamon annually or release the man from fealty.  As trivial as such an agreement might seem, it is symbolic of the honor of the King’s house.

Godecooke, No Longer
Sadly, the merchant, Rohemund Godecooke, is discovered dead, drowned in a pot of his own cooking.  Those investigating the scene may be able to piece together what happened:  The busy man spilled some oil on the floor as he was cooking and fell, striking his head on a boiling cauldron’s edge.  The unconscious man’s head falling into the filled pot, he died:  Apparently, the victim of a tragic accident.  One incongruous detail intrudes, however.  Those examining the kitchen closely will note oily tracks in the kitchen:  The tracks of massive, inhuman feet.

Those looking further may search among the provisioner’s private papers and accounts.  Examination of his disorderly nest of papers and ledgers will soon conclude that the unfortunate man was struggling frantically to meet the Crown’s demands, but was burdened by extortionate demands from a man he called "Greybough".  This man, apparently some sort of rebel or brigand, had demanded the cook pay "protection" or have his trade destroyed.  The criminal’s demands were actually fairly modest, as such things go, with one exception:  Godecooke was known for the fine almonds and high quality cacao that he imported, and the brigands demanded all of his supply.

The other people in the tiny hamlet claim that they "didn’t see anything".  Intimidation of the cowed villagers

Becoming aware of the PCs investigation, the villainous rebels send an assassin to intimidate them, or kill them if that fails.  The killer, if caught, carries no identifying papers or other obvious identifying materials, but he has been

Two Great Tastes…
Godecooke had been forced to supply a great deal of his product to a band of rebels who are raising an army of trolls.  It turns out that almonds and chocolate, taken together, have a strange effect on the metabolism of these creatures, horribly mutating them in a variety of odd ways and increasing their cunning and strength.

Clues on the remains of the assassin lead to a powerful merchant that is backing the rebels.  When the PCs confront this merchant, it becomes clear that he hopes to overthrow the monarchy and institute a utopian realm where men and trolls will live together in peace.  Of course, he will be in charge.  His idealistic followers mount a desperate defense while he sneaks off to cause trouble another day.

Several decades ago, the westernmost lands of the kingdom rose against the Crown, exploding into rebellion over the harsh

The Aftermath
The PCs could be asked to hunt down some of the rebels
that escaped the King’s justice.

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Comments ( 2 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Dragon Lord
July 19, 2007, 7:15
Im not quite sure what advice you need here.

This looks like a pretty good variation on the old Mutant Monster Invasion plotline. True, this is something of a cliché, but it is quite a good one so youll get no criticism on that score (well, not from me at least).

There is however one comment that I think needs to be made:

I quite like the idea of trolls being horribly mutated by a combination of otherwise innocuous substances (in this case chocolate and almonds) but I dont understand why the rebels have to steal these from the kings personal chef. Would it not be easier (and a lot less suspicious) if they simply bought them? After all there is no law prohibiting the trade in confectionary, is there?

Do this way and you now have a neat little mystery plot, with enough scope for a mini-campaign (say four or five scenarios). Have the kings men fight all the mutant troll rebels (after all that is what armies are for) while the PCs are tasked with discovering what is causing the mutations.
Michael Jotne Slayer
November 6, 2007, 9:03
You have to flesh this one out further and finish it. I saw the the silver line of something great when the assasin is sent after them. Some incidious plot, but it just stopped- Ending with cacao and almonds:)
Nice touch that. Please finish this?

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Ria Hawk

Perhaps those that practice elemental magic begin to take on characteristics associated with their chosen element. For instance, an earth elementalist might be prone to agoraphobia, while air and possibly fire elementalists might have problems with claustrophobia. Water elementalists might always seek the path of least resistance. A fire elementalist might have a cat's opinion of water. This could also apply to physical differences. Fire elementalists might have a freakishly high metabolism and a permanently high body temperature. Water elementalists would probably never get dehydrated, but might slow down a lot when it's cold. Etc, etc.

Ideas  ( System ) | March 10, 2003 | View | UpVote 1xp

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