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Rating: 4.0833
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ID: 4528


November 19, 2007, 5:33 am

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The Secret Invitation


The adventurers are approached in some public yet semi-private place by a lean dwarf, wearing a colorful cape with black feathers rim wrapped tightly around him. What will come of this?

The adventurers are approached in some public yet semi-private place by lean dwarf, wearing a colorful cape with black feathers rim wrapped tightly around him. He looks around nervously before speaking to the characters in a low near-whisper with a clear tenor voice. "The Pigeon Loft will be open tonight. Two gold pieces per head secures entry. Conservative dress code. There will be the usual refreshments. Be there." The dwarf puts two fingers to his lips, making a near soundless "shssssss", before rising his cloak to cover his face and turns around on his heal dramatically, scuttling off.

Scenario One

The message was a secret code intended for someone else. The adventurers were in the right place at the wrong time, and somewhere near them stands group of bewildered spies wondering why their dwarven contact haven’t shown up yet. Incidentally, there is a pigeon loft in town, a ramshackle tower structure on the town gate or bridge. Entry to this loft is restricted to city officials and Watchmen, and the adventurers might find themselves in a lot of trouble should they try a bit too hard to gain access to this place. After all, the town’s carrying pigeon service is a serious matter.

Scenario Two

The dwarf, Moin, son of Dhrem, has been working hard at enticing the interest of any potential clients, as he and his business partners are hosting a promotion party for their latest business adventure/invention/art display. Their goods/services should be something which the adventurers would potentially be interested in, and it should be within their price range (nothing like luring money from your Player Characters). The happening at The Pigeon Loft will attract many middle class and lower upper class visitors, among them hopefully (for Mion and his people) a few clients and/or investors too. The exclusive nature of the party will secure a large attendance, and perhaps the adventurers will find the occasion a good opportunity for making friends and contacts, and perhaps even the odd enemy (Tip: This might serve as a good starting point for a campaign, the promotion party working as a way to put the group together and launch the plot).

Scenario Three

The ‘dwarf’ is really a hobbit actor, one of the troupes of the secret theater group called the Underground Opera that specialized in political satires and caricatures of public figures. Their shows are daring and skillful, popular with the local opposition and radical students, and has become something of a phenomenon in the towns underground society. The Pigeon Loft will surely be full tonight, as the troupe is doing a satire on the power of the guilds, displaying the local Noble as their puppet. Many people potentially valuable to the adventurers will attend. Likewise, the City Watch has finally caught up with the troupe and will send a squad to infiltrate the audience, to prepare for a town-wide crackdown the following morning. In addition, agents of several enemies of the guilds and the nobles of the town are rumored to attend, as well as an unknown foreign spy known only as the Shade. It will be an interesting night indeed, and remember; "It ain’t over till the fat lady sings…"

This is an experiment in designing adventures in a format similar to that of the short "Tales of Terror" plots that have been used in horror-themed games. In this format, a short adventure setup is followed by three different explanations, each leading in a different direction. If enough of these are collected, a Tales of Adventure Codex will be assembled.

Those interested in seeing the original "Tales of Terror" using this format may wish to go to Steve Hatherley’s website:

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Comments ( 8 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted valadaar
November 7, 2007, 10:04
An excellent city encounter, and not to toot my own horn again, but I have a sub, The city has a thousand stories that is crying for more content, and this would be prefect!
Michael Jotne Slayer
November 7, 2007, 10:20
No problem, glad you liked it.
Voted dark_dragon
November 7, 2007, 10:41
I like it too, especially the underground opera. That is so cool. great plot devices. Simple premise that can have a realistic plot to support it. good one! 4/5
Voted Cheka Man
November 7, 2007, 13:09
All three ideas are good ones.
Voted Murometz
May 15, 2008, 23:32
Underground Opera rocks!!
Michael Jotne Slayer
May 16, 2008, 10:58
I winged that one in a session once and it turned out gold.
Voted Strolen
September 23, 2012, 3:42
LOVE the Tales of Terror format and would probably make an excellent quest setup. You have a great setup and some outstanding uses of it. Sweet!
Voted Gossamer
July 18, 2013, 10:13
I knew there was something wrong when I read, a lean dwarf. :P Really nice idea, I like the little red herring part inherit in this one as well.

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       By: ephemeralstability

A little way up the narrow valley, before they reach the woods, the PCs notice the squat, tumbledown buildings by the riverside. They are hardly big enough for a human to stand in, and the complex cogs and shafts that occupy the central cavity of one of the buildings are perplexing. What were these buildings? And how safe are they to explore?

Alternatively a desolate place is the perfect setting for a derelict chapel or croft. There needn't be any actual physical encounter involved, but it adds atmosphere to a place to see its dead history. For instance, in the Outer Hebrides there are whole deserted villages which were razed to the ground by the English during the Clearances. Such stories give a setting authenticity and character.

Encounter  ( Any ) | September 23, 2003 | View | UpVote 2xp

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