A traveling group of performers moving from town to town putting on shows, plays, juggling, tumbling, singing and dancing etc. They could have a wagon caravan that can attach together with a stage that folds down, or one large wagon that serves the same purpose. The cast of this troupe is made up of outcasts of society. Half-elf, half-orcs, tieflings, or any other disenfranchised group that exists could be present. They may even need to disguise themselves depending on the views of the locals.
For sake of entertaining your players or for flexing your roleplaying skills the performers could speak the common language with thick accents. You could also have some jokes or songs prepared.
They hire the party to protect them as they travel to the next village since the roads are dangerous. While traveling they could challenge the party to some friendly competition. Some feats of strength like lifting the rear of a wagon, or a dexterity challenge like performing a series of gymnastics could be done easily with some skill checks of increasing difficulty. Having the performers ask the players riddles is another option. Some of my favorites:
- It walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three legs in the evening. What is it?
- I am the beginning of the end, and the end of time and space. I am essential to creation, and I surround every place. What am I?
- The letter e. End, timE, spacE, Every placE
- What always runs but never walks, often murmurs, never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, has a mouth but never eats?
- A river.
- At night they come without being fetched. By day they are lost without being stolen. What are they?
- The stars.
- What is in seasons, seconds, centuries and minutes but not in decades, years or days?
- The letter ‘n’.
- What’s black when you get it, red when you use it, and white when you’re all through with it?
These are very simple, but you could make them as tough as you’d like depending on how interested your players are. I’ve really only included them because I like to break up the monotony of random encounters while traveling.
But if you’d like to add an encounter having the performers as take part could also be interesting. A few of the performers could actually be capable of casting bard spells, or the wagons could have barrels of explosive materials that must be protected.