16 · The spy from Angmar
The town of Buhr Thurasig lies forty miles north of the Men Rhûnen, a major east-west highway linking the Kingdom of Angmar to the lands of Rhûn to the east. Rhûn serves as the source of much of the supplies for Angmar, and the road provides the primary transportation route between the areas. Since his access to these vital resources depends on the security of this highway, the Witch-king pays considerable attention to the lands around it, and seeks constantly to extend his influence and even outright domination in those areas.
He generally avoids open battle or takeover by force, as such an effort would require a commitment of resources he needs more elsewhere, nor is he willing to risk full-scale war with some powerful enemies. But wherever he can shake up existing governments hostile to him or subtly foment rebellion, he grasps that opportunity to weaken potential opposition. Through his lieutenants and spies throughout the land, the Witch-king will do whatever possible to fan the fires of existing resentments, spread rumors to drive wedges in gaps and try to widen any cracks in local unity, and even covertly support uprisings against the local authorities.
In this adventure, the players will be asked to help confirm rumors that a spy from Angmar has come to Buhr Thurasig, mingling with the crowds arriving for an annual Trade Fair, and to identify and stop the spy before he can carry out his plan to meet with a hired assassin and assign him to kill an important member of the Town Council. By assassinating one of the Gramuz members of the council, the Witch-king hopes to drive a wedge into the sometimes uneasy alliance of Gramuz and Urban Northmen who control the town.
The trade fair
Each year, in late spring, after the ice and snow have melted, merchants, craftsmen, and traders from all parts of the region load their carts and pack animals to bring their wares to the town of Buhr Thurasig for a trade fair. They set up in tents and booths on the Fair Field in the center of town, and offer their merchandise for the consideration and purchase by the people living in the area.
In addition to the usual weavers, smiths, potters, armorers, woodworkers, and candle makers, all of whom show up to display a variety of styles, colors, and sizes of their wares, some less ordinary merchants occasionally join in the activity. It wouldn’t be amazing to see a bookbinder, or a maker of musical instruments, a painter, or even a small-time mage creating custom spells and charms for the public. Tinkers and junk traders try to convince the public of their desperate need for the peculiar odds and ends they collect in their travels.
In addition to the merchants, entertainers come, singly or in groups, to show off their ability and collect coins from the crowd : musicians, dancers, mimes, and puppeteers. Vendors move among the people, selling hot meats wrapped in bread, cheese rolls, sweet pastries, ale, or fruit juices. Even the attendees, many of whom come only to replace worn-out items, buy cloth to sew new trousers for their family, leather to make harnesses for the plow animals, or new tools for their trade, pull out their brightest, most cheerful clothes to celebrate the end of winter and greet the arrival of milder weather.
The fair generally lasts for about a week, with activity beginning each day at mid-morning and frequently continuing, aided by torch and candle, until well after dark.
Ligrador’s worst night
The keeper of The Wailing Wind surveyed the crowd in the public room, noting the effort as one of his temporary servers attempted to maneuver his way through the packed mass of people. « That boy can’t even remember who ordered the strained meat broth, » he thought to himself in disgust as he watched the youngster offer the cup to one person after another and each in turn respond in the negative. He sighed. Trade Fair was always his busiest time of the year, and he could never find enough satisfactory extra help.
« Master Ligrador ! » The voice of one of his regular girls hailed him from behind. She was one of the competent ones, so if she reported a problem it was a real one. Ligrador sighed again. More problems, he didn’t need. Already today they’d had fifteen more people show up than they’d planned for ; his wife was in the kitchen feverishly throwing together another pot of stew ; two temporary helpers were upstairs converting double rooms into triples or more and squeezing as many extra beds into the larger chambers as they would hold ; they’d found that some of the extra bedding had been destroyed by damp and he’d had to make a hasty deal with the weaver, who’d charged him an exorbitant price, knowing the bind he was in ; a keg of ale sprang a leak as they were bringing it up from the cellars ; several boxes of candles had been misplaced ; and his youngest daughter was showing signs of coming down with something that might be a bad cold or flu.
The girl waited for him to come to her, so she didn’t want the rest of the people present to hear what she had to say. He appreciated her discretion ; it was rare enough to find anyone who knew what it meant.
« Master Ligrador, » the girl said, in a low voice, when he was close enough to hear. « Faelinoth, the Baker’s apprentice, wishes to see you privately. He says it’s a matter of some urgency. He’s in the family parlor. »
Ligrador looked at the ceiling while he considered the request. « Doesn’t he know I’ve got my hands more than full right now ? He can see the crowd. »
The girl ran the end of her tongue across her lower lip. « He seemed upset, and said I should tell you it was urgent. Most urgent. I think… » She lost her nerve.
The proprietor of the Inn thought a second, then shrugged. « I’ll attend him, » he said on a long exhalation.
He found the baker’s apprentice pacing the small confines of the family parlor. Faelinoth was young yet, barely sixteen, and seemed even younger with his round childish face and slight build. He must have been running his fingers through his light brown hair ; tufts of it stood out in various directions.
« Master Ligrador, thank goodness, » he said. « I wasn’t sure if… Well I just didn’t know what to do, but I thought I’d better tell you quickly… I mean it’s terrible, 1 can hardly believe it, you’ve got to stop it… I guess you’ll have to tell the others— »
« Hold a minute, » Ligrador ordered, finally halting the gush of words from the agitated young man. « Calm down and tell me what has happened. »
« It hasn’t happened yet, » Faelinoth answered. « I don’t know when it’s going to. »
« Sit down, take a deep breath, then start at the beginning and tell me exactly what is going on, » Ligrador requested, and watched sternly while the baker’s apprentice made an effort to control his agitation.
« I came in earlier this evening to sit a bit and get a drink of ale, » Faelinoth said after a pause. « Here and we’ve been working without break for days now, to prepare for the fair. This evening my master told me to take some time off and have a rest. So I came here. »
Ligrador nodded, silently urging him to get to the point.
« I was sitting at a table by myself. I was hoping that Mathila might be able to get off and come join me, but 1 guess she didn’t finish her duties early enough. Anyway, after a bit I was starting to get calmer when I realized I could hear this conversation going on behind me, even though they were talking in kind of low voices — not quite whispers, you know, but quiet-like. »
« Who was talking ? » Ligrador asked.
Faelinoth shrugged. « I’ve never seen them before, so I suppose they were in town for the Fair. Ugly looking types. I know they didn’t intend for me to hear what they were saying. »
« Which was ? »
« They were talking about… » He swallowed hard. « One was telling the other about how he was going to pay him to kill one of the people on the Town Council. »
« Kill ? » Ligrador repeated, finally remembering to close his mouth. « Did they say who ? »
Faelinoth nodded. « Daelglid. And they want to make it look like it was one of the other Council members did it. »
« You’re sure about this ? » the Inn-keeper demanded. « They weren’t just… sort of speculating ? »
« I’m sure about what I heard, » the boy answered. « One of them was telling the other he’d pay him a hundred gold pieces when it was done. »
« Did they say when ? »
« Tomorrow or the next day, I think. »
« Why ? » Ligrador muttered, more to himself than to the boy. « And who ? »
« I think it’s just to make trouble, » Faelinoth ventured. « And that probably means… »
« Probably so, » the Inn-keeper agreed. He straightened his sagging shoulders. « I will send messengers to the rest of the Council tonight, after the crowd has dispersed. We’ll discuss what to do. Thank you, boy. It was well done to bring this to my attention. And now I must get back to my duties. We are busy this evening, as you have seen. »
« Indeed I have, » the baker’s apprentice agreed. « Thank you, Master Ligrador. » The boy rose and bowed out of the room.
The Inn-keeper stared after him for a moment, wondering if Faelinoth’s imagination had been running away, or if he’d been working too hard. He’d never heard that the baker had any complaints of that sort about the boy. There was no point in taking chances ; the rest of the council should know of this.
The next thing he did after leaving the room was find two of his regular helpers, youngsters he knew he could trust, and send them to the others to request a meeting for later that night. Then he plunged back into the chaos and confusion of keeping the packed inn running smoothly.
The first messenger returned sometime later to say that the people he’d been in contact with would attend. The second messenger was delayed quite a bit longer, and when he did return, she wore an odd look, combining sadness, shock, and excitement. « There was a fight not too far off, » she reported. « I don’t know who he was arguing with. Strangers, I think, but Faelinoth, the baker’s apprentice is dead. Stabbed through the heart. »
Ligrador felt the mug he held begin to slide from his grasp but was unable to stop it. Fortunately the metal tankard was only slightly bent. Faelinoth in an argument ? Perhaps, he thought. But dead— In a quarrel, an accident ? No. He bent down and picked up the vessel he’d dropped. « No, » he repeated, aloud, but to himself alone.
16.2 The NPCs
The townspeople in Buhr Thurasig are important in this adventure. Refer to section 14.2 for a description of some of the more prominent citizens.
Gorion was enrolled in the army of the Witch-king of Angmar at the age of fourteen and began to train as both warrior and mage. Early on he showed aptitude for both pursuits but found the training in magic more to his liking and so concentrated his efforts that way. Quick of intellect and extremely cunning, he made rapid progress in the arts of magic as well as the skills of a warrior. He also possessed cutting wit and a seductive tongue.
His superior officers soon discovered the young man’s talent and began to assign him the trickier and difficult jobs, particularly ones requiring skills not often found among the common soldiers : discretion, persuasiveness, subtlety, tact, and utter lack of scruple. He not only fulfilled all his missions, but sometimes achieved success well beyond anyone’s expectations.
One job in particular finally brought Gorion to the attention of one of the Witch-king’s trusted aides. Gorion was sent with a small troop to treat with the petty king of an eastern province for permission to move troops across his country. The king knew a bad deal when he heard one and naturally prepared to refuse. Gorion, sensing what was coming, arranged to
have the king assassinated before he could give a negative reply, then told the very young prince who succeeded him that his father had agreed to the request, and so thoroughly terrified the new ruler that it made no difference whether he believed the emissary or not. Gorion returned with the young man’s agreement, plus a healthy contribution to the Witch-king’s treasury.
Gorion is an Asdriag of medium height and build. He has light brown hair and darker brown eyes. His appearance is surprisingly bland — his features are even and unremarkable, so that he is neither particularly attractive nor ugly. His clothing tends to be equally bland — plain brown leggings and jerkin —save for the fastening buckle on his belt which is of beaten silver in the shape of an eight-pointed star with a huge bloodstone at the center. This talisman has a 60% chance of stopping all torso criticals. He also wears a short sword at his belt and a dagger in the top of his boot.
The assassin is such an incongruous figure that it’s easy to take him lightly. That’s generally a fatal error. Torifal is much more efficient at his job than his ridiculous appearance and behavior might indicate.
Torifal is a large, heavily-built man with such muscular arms and legs that people frequently refer to him as a Troll. He isn’t, of course, and he doesn’t take kindly to the designation. The unwary who make remarks of that sort in his hearing tend to turn up later in a ditch or a dark alley with a knife between their ribs.
Someone once told the assassin that he had musical talent, and Torifal took the words to heart. So much to heart that he fancies himself something of a travelling performer. It requires little persuasion to induce him to pull out his lute and entertain the company (be it great or small) with a song. The man has a throbbing bass voice that would add immeasurable depth and richness to a mixed chorus but is grating and tedious as a solo act. In addition he hasn’t quite mastered the art of getting the lute properly tuned. Few have the nerve to tell him that he is off-key, and those that do have a short life-expectancy.
In keeping with his peculiar self-conception, Torifal dresses in what he imagines is an appropriate style for an itinerant musician : breeches in shades of orange, blue, or green, shirts of rose or gold, with coordinating jerkin. His cloak is yellow-gold. The clothing does serve to distract one’s attention from the fact that Torifal is also a walking arsenal of concealed weapons. Seven daggers ride under his costume, ranging from two small blades in his boots to a ten inch length of steel stuffed into the back of his belt. He has blades up his left sleeve, in a leather harness under his right shoulder, under his feathered hat, and one sewn into the lining of his cloak. He can reach and extract any one of them in a matter of seconds. The buckle of his belt is also imbedded with a spell which allows him to cast a Sleep X spell once a day.
Torifal is a Dunlending, with grey eyes and dark hair, which he usually greases to a brilliant shine and combs straight back from his forehead. He smiles easily and heartily, but the good humor is deceptive ; his fierce temper can explode quickly and with messy consequences.
The master weapon-maker comes every other year to the fair at Buhr Thurasig from Dale. He brings with him an assortment of his product —some of the finest knives, swords, daggers, stars, maces, and battle-axes to be found anywhere in northern Rhovanion. He makes the long trip in his wagon, biannually, not just for the opportunity to sell his wares to a larger group of people, but because he has a number of friends in the town or who come regularly to the fair.
Baric is a tall thin man with blond hair fading into silver, light blue eyes, very pale skin, and sharp angular features. He’s voluble and good-humored, but moderately adept at using the weapons he creates. His main weakness is an inability to hold his liquor, which is why he rarely drinks, except on social occasions like getting together with old friends at a trade fair.
The cooper comes from a town even further south than Baric’s home, but he undertakes the trip every year. He makes the best barrels and other wood containers to be had east of Mirkwood, and he does a brisk business with several bands of Dwarves from further north in the mountains, as well as many of the brewers and tavern-keepers in the area. Caviltar is a burly, handsome man with reddish brown hair and green eyes. He’s quiet and not terribly bright or physically adept except with hammer or other woodworking tools. His amiability and kind heart make him almost universally liked.
By her own desire, the glass-blower was apprenticed in the craft at the age of twelve. She is now approaching seventy and has yet to lose her love of the medium or her fascination with its possibilities. The beauty of her creations reflect her care, concern, and continuing search new forms, styles, methods, and uses for her wares. Despite her age Borgenda appears no more than fifty ; although her long hair is silver, her grey eyes are sharp and her face shows few lines. Her frame is thin, wiry, and unbent.
The herbalist is a man of middle years and small stature. Although he has a home some ways to the southwest, Ulred spends much of his time travelling, selling his herbs and cures, and talking to folk of various areas, hoping to find new plants and new ways to use known varieties. Although Ulred can neither read nor write, he seems never to forget any bit of information he learns and therefore has an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and potions. He knows little about anything else, however, and in conversation, other than on the subject of plants of their uses, appears simple and even ignorant.
Glyorivia, Vandorag, and Asgaric
These three, like many others, are Gramuz, rural farmers and sheep-herders, whose holds are too isolated to be considered part of any town. They have come to Buhr Thurasig to the fair, to acquire many of the things they need for their day-to-day operations : animals, tools, cloths, household utensils, etc. They have taken beds at The Wailing Wind for a few days while they conduct their business at the fair. If they’re not asleep on their cots in one of the larger, common rooms, or on the Fair Field conducting business, they will most likely be found in the tavern, celebrating the bargains found, or bemoaning the high cost of good quality wares.
An itinerant merchant, whose considerable apparent success is something of a mystery only to those who don’t know much about his methods, Aldaric is a large man with reddish brown hair and green eyes. His victims know that he has raised blackmail and extortion to a high art ; he has a network of agents who provide him with information he can use to threaten those who have a position to protect. He travels a great deal, collecting information and money, and conducting some sideline business deals.
Aldaric practices a dangerous profession and he isn’t as unarmed as he appears- An unusual silver wristband he wears is more deadly than one would guess. A push on a certain part of the decoration will cause a spring-loaded, collapsible knife to suddenly emerge from it. The merchant also possesses a green ward-stone brooch (+5 Essence Resistance), and a +10 dagger–
16.3 The layouts
The layout for the town of Buhr Thurasig is in section 14.31. The Game Master should consult that layout for the relationship between the Fair Field and the two Inns to the town as a whole.
The Fair Field
The Fair Field is a large, open, grassy area in the center of town, intended for use as a common area, for games, and as a site for fairs and other town activities. The town provides several amenities for the comfort and convenience of merchants, entertainers, and attendees, including tents, stages, benches, and tables. Merchants pay a fee of I silver piece for rent of space on the field or 3 to 5 silver pieces for a tent display, depending on its size.
1 · The City Gates and Guard Towers control access to the town. Consult section 14.31 for more detail on the layout.
2 · A platform ten feet by ten feet, raised a foot off the ground- Six foot tall poles on each corner have hooks embedded in them for stringing cordons around the area. The enclosure may be used for displaying animals, auctions, wrestling matches, etc.
3 · Stone Markers. A series of square, flat-topped stone blocks honor the founders and outstanding citizens of the town.
4 · Public Gardens. Planted among the low-growing evergreen shrubs are a tasteful assortment of perennial flowers. Late spring and early summer is the height of their season, when dense masses of blooms form clusters and spikes of bright color in the two long rows.
5 · Well. A shaded well provided with two buckets on pulleys for the public use–
6 · Area set aside for vendors who wish to pay the minimum for displaying their merchandise. Their fee buys them only space ; they provide stools, benches, tents, or whatever is needed for showing their wares. Most of these people are small-time traders or peddlers, or part-time hobbyist craftsmen, such as the farmer who sells the wooden flutes he carves in his spare time.
7 · The largest of three wood platform stages provided for the use of dancers, mimes, acrobats, and other entertainers. Each group pays a fee of 2 copper pieces per hour for use of the stage, and most pass the hat among the audience to finance their efforts.
8 · Two smaller stages. Rent for these is 1 copper piece per hour.
9 · Backless wooden trestle benches (or sometimes just lined up bales of hay) provided for the convenience of audiences watching the entertainment, people wanting to sit while they eat, or both–
10 · Food and Drink Vendors. Ale, Beer, Mead. Fruit drinks, and flavored waters are available to drink, while a wide variety of food, from meat pies and vegetable rolls to honey pastries are available for purchase by hungry fair-goers.
11 · Tables. Provided for the convenience of the aforementioned hungry fair-goers. Some are placed under the shelter of long tents, others sit out in the open–
12 · Animal pens. Holding areas for livestock, including horses, pigs, cows, goats, and chickens–
Merchants and craftsmen
13 · Woodworker.
14 · Goldsmith.
15 · Silversmith.
16 · Cobbler.
17 · Leatherworker.
18 · Cooper.
19 · Candle maker.
20 · Weaver.
21 · Needle worker (Sewing and Embroidery).
22 · Potter.
23 · Weapons Maker.
24 · Armorer.
25 · Painter.
26 · Musical Instrument Maker.
27 · Spell caster.
28 · Astrologer.
29 · Bookseller.
30 · Glass Blower.
31 · Peddler.
32 · Herbs and Potion maker.
33 · Animal Trader.
34 · Ironsmith.
35 · Baric’s Weapons Display.
36 · Caviltar’s Barrels.
37 · Borgenda’s Glass Works.
38 · Ulred’s Herbs and Potions.
39 · Assorted Traders and Merchants.
40 · The Wailing Wind Inn. The largest Inn in Buhr Thurasig ; it is where most of the reputable merchants will stay.
41 · The Gryphon’s Wing. The other Inn. It is much smaller and holds fewer people. The ale is reputed to be watered down and the food barely edible, however the rates are cheaper and discretion more widely practiced than at The Wailing Wind.
The Wailing Wind
Ligrador’s Inn is a spacious building, showing a wide front facing the Fair Field. In fact, it is the largest building in the town of Buhr Thurasig, with more than fifteen guest rooms, plus quarters for the help. Ligrador and his family pride themselves on a reputation for offering their guests clean bedding, unadulterated ale. hearty and sometimes quite tasty food, reasonable service, a decent level of security, and a good night’s rest. For each guest room the odds that it will be occupied are 10% during daylight hours, 40% from sunset until eleven o’clock, and 90% between eleven o’clock at night and seven in the morning. Each additional person in the room (beyond the first) adds another 3% to the odds.
- 1 · Front (Main) Entrance
- To the Inn.
- 2 · Main Hallway
- A coat rack is on the wall to your left as you enter the building ; a wide staircase goes up to the second floor on the right. The hall continues ahead, then turns right behind the stairs, leading to the kitchen, private dining rooms, and the family parlor. which serves as an office for the operation.
- 3 · Tavern
- This is the largest room in the Inn. It is crowded with tables and chairs. A small, raised dais at the far end can accommodate musicians or entertainers. The Inn doesn’t hire, encourage, or pay entertainers, but does not discourage them either.
- 4 · Bar
- A long bar crosses part of the room at the far end of the tavern. There are no servers here, so all drinks have to be ordered and paid for at the bar, then carried back to the table. Doors to the outside. An unobtrusive door allows the bartender direct access to the stables, garden, storage buildings, and most importantly. the cellars where wine and kegs of beer and ale are stored. Another door, off the far end of the hall, is situated close to the office.
- 5 · Door
- This door allows access to the tavern from the back hall and is primarily for the use of Inn employees.
- 6 · Dining Room
- This is the main dining room where most of the patrons take their meals. It too is crowded with tables and chairs, but meal service is provided here.
- 7 · Storage Pantry
- Situated between the dining room and kitchen, this small area is lined with shelves and cupboards for storage of dishes. glasses, cutlery, linens, and food supplies.
- 8 · Kitchen
- All the cooking is done here. A huge stone chimney consumes most of one wall, and actually has two fireplaces, one large one for roasting joints of meat, and a second smaller one for cooking pots of soup and boiling vegetables. There are several tables in the room to aid in food preparation. and a large washtub and drying rack in another corner. Ligrador’s wife. Sargrid, is the supreme ruler of this domain.
- 9 · Private dining rooms
- These rooms are available for hire by parties wishing to conduct business over a meal, or in need of privacy for some other reason.
- 11 · Family Parlor
- At least that was its original purpose. Since Ligrador’s family has a separate house, this room primarily serves as the office and headquarters of operations for the Inn.
- 12 · Back stairway
- To second and third floors.
- 13 · Double Rooms
- These rooms are intended to accommodate two persons, normally containing two beds, two chests for storage of personal possessions. and two washstands. A third bed has been moved into each and all are taken.
- 14 · Linen Closet
- Lined with shelves, but one person might be able to squeeze in for hiding purposes.
- 15 · Common Room
- This room normally holds 4 or 5 beds with lockable cabinets adjoining each and two washstands. Currently six people are using the room.
- 16 · Broom closet
- Storage for cleaning tools and supplies–
- 17 · Normally a triple room
- (3 beds), it now holds 4.
- 18 · The Royal Suite
- This large, lavishly appointed room is generally reserved for persons of wealth or importance. It contains an oversized bed with silk hangings, fine tapestries, several pieces of excellent mahogany furniture including the bedstead, a chest and a wardrobe. Since no one reserved the room in advance or has since come along and been willing to pay for exclusive use of it, three more beds have been moved in, and five lucky people are staying in this grand chamber.
- 19 · Servant’s Quarters
- Intended to be quarters for the servant(s) of the person staying in 18. The door between 18 and 19 has been locked and two persons are using the room.
- 20 and 21 · Originally intended as quarters for inn servants
- These rooms have space for little more than a bed, a small lockable chest underneath, and a washstand ; each is occupied by only one person.
- 22 · Second floor hall
- Runs most of the length of the building, along the rear, and allows access to all rooms on this floor. Three windows open out of the hall, looking down about ten feet to the back of the inn.
- 23 · Torifal’s quarters
- He expects to make enough profit from this assignment to allow him the luxury of a private room. His quarters contain a single bed, washstand, chest, and a wardrobe. Hanging in the wardrobe and scattered on the floor (Torifal is a slob) are several articles of brightly colored clothing, all of which clash with each other. There is a 50% chance his lute will also be in the wardrobe (out of tune, as always). Whether he is over-confident or just careless, he has left the note from Gorion, discussing the assignment, in an unsealed, unlocked pouch hanging on a corner of the washstand. The chest however is locked (Very Hard, –20, to pick), and contains 80 silver pieces, the amount remaining from the 200 silver pieces Gorion paid him as a retainer. There is also a +5 dagger in the chest, and a +5 stiletto sitting under the bed, where it rolled when Torifal dropped it.
- 24 · Single rooms
- The occupants of both of these rooms have been willing to pay for their privacy.
- 25 · Double rooms
- All now have three occupants.
- 26 · 2 rooms
- These two rooms were intended for the use of the family of the Innkeeper, but are now used by some of the help. Two young ladies sleep in one of them, two young men in the other.
- 27 · Servants” quarters
- Servants” quarters originally, each is fitted out as a single room, and being too small to accommodate additional beds, each has only one occupant.
- 28 · Broom closet
- Same as 16 on the second level.
- 29 · Linen closet
- Same as 14 on the second level.
- 30 · Third floor corridor
- Like the one on the second floor, this one runs most of the length of the building and has three windows overlooking the yard at the back. The drop from these is about 18 feet.
The Gryphon’s Wing
The smaller of the two Inns in Buhr Thurasig has a reputation as a rougher and less comfortable place ; people of quality, wealth, or status don’t stay here unless there is some pressing need. The Innkeeper, Gerdric, has no family and inhabits a room on the premises. The chief cook has a home of his own, but the bartender has a room at the Inn, as do two of the serving-boys. Room rates are somewhat less expensive than The Wailing Wind, and the place is just as crowded at fair time. Like Ligrador, Gerdric will put extra beds into rooms to accommodate as many people as possible and he hires extra, temporary help for the duration. The odds of any room being occupied are the same as for The Wailing Wind (see 16.32 above).
- 1 · Front porch
- Two steps lead up the wide, planked porch which faces the Fair Field. A few broken down rocking chairs lining the front of the Inn don’t really invite a person to sit in them.
- 2 · Front door
- The wide entry way opens directly into the tavern.
- 3 · Tavern
- The largest room in the Inn. There are tables and chairs packed into the room, all of them occupied in the evening of fair days.
- 4 · Bar
- 5 · Main Hall
- Leads from the dining room on one end of the building to private rooms at the other.
- 6 · Dining Room
- 7 · Kitchen
- Equipped much like any other Inn kitchen. A door between the fireplace and the wall leads out and down, via a series of six steps, to the yard at the back of the building.
- 8 · Private Dining Room
- 9 · Small, very private room
- A room for very private conversations, deals, etc. It is extremely hard (-30) to see from this side that there is a door that connects to the closet in Gerdric’s office. The door is locked (very hard, –20, to pick).
- 10 · Stairs going up
- 11 · Gerdric’s office
- All of the Inn’s business affairs arc conducted from this room. It contains a large desk, a comfortable chair, 2 hard chairs, a cabinet for storing papers, fireplace, and a series of shelves. A door in the far end leads to the back yard.
- 12 · Closet
- From this side it is routine (+30) to see that there is a door in the back of the closet, leading to the small private room (#9). Combined with the door to the outside in the office, this door makes it easy for someone to slip in from outside for a private meeting in the small room, with none but Gerdric and the others present at the meeting to witness the passage.
- 13 · Gerdric’s quarters
- A nicely appointed room, neatly kept. The furniture is good quality but not ostentatious, and comfortable rather than beautiful. There is a large bed, chest, wardrobe, a small portable desk on a stand, a washstand, and a hooked rug on the floor.
- 14 · Cook’s quarters
- This room is also comfortably appointed, but very untidy.
- 15 · Hall
- From the stairs going up, this hall allows access to all the rooms on the second level.
- 16 · Double rooms
- Each is currently accommodating 3 persons.
- 17 · Linen closet
- Lined with shelves to hold bed clothes and towels. It’s crammed full.
- 18 · Large room
- The “best” room in the house. The furnishings are more luxurious than in other rooms. Aldaric, a wealthy merchant with a shady reputation has reserved the chamber for his own exclusive use. Although he comes every year to buy and sell at the fair, some of his most lucrative deals are made in the small private room downstairs. The room contains a large bed with a very soft mattress, and the usual washstand and chest. There is also a soft rug on the floor, and a large desk. The drawers are locked, sheer folly (-50) to pick. Most of the drawers are empty ; the top one holds a bunch of papers relating to business dealings, but careful examination will reveal that some of them are being used to blackmail another merchant present at the fair. The latter would be grateful and generously reward (up to 5 gold pieces) anyone who could return this damaging material to him.
It is extremely hard (-30) to see that the second drawer is trapped. A mechanism inside it will set off a very loud alarm if a small button on the bottom of the front panel isn’t touched before the drawer is moved more than a quarter of an inch. The drawer contains 4 gold pieces, 80 silver pieces, and 22 copper pieces.
The merchant himself, should he return to the room or be encountered elsewhere, is carrying 2 gold pieces and twenty silver.
- 19 · Closet
- The only private closet in the Inn holds several articles of clothing, including a heavy-duty cloak of fine wool.
- 20–22 · Single rooms converted to doubles
- Each has two occupants.
- 23 · Double room
- The couple occupying this room paid extra to keep it a double.
- 24 · Double room
- Gorion didn’t wish to draw attention to himself by reserving the best room in the Inn, but he did desire space and privacy and so paid a hefty premium for exclusive use of this chamber.
His room contains the standard bed, chest, and washstand, plus a collapsible writing stand with accompanying stool, and, on another plain stand, a walnut chest, about a foot high and wide and sixteen inches long. A dragon, formed of several shades of inlaid wood, decorates the top of the chest, while the sides are banded with several rows of filigreed silver. Solid, beaten silver strips coat the corners and form the lock. The key that fits in the lock hangs on a chain attached to Gorion’s belt. It is absurd (-60) to pick and sheer folly (-50) to see that it is trapped against picking. Should anything but the key itself be inserted into the mechanism, a series of steel needles dipped in poison will spring out to pierce the hands of the picker. (Save versus level 4 poison or fall into convulsive fits for I-10 days.)
Once the chest is unlocked it is sheer folly (-50) again co see that there is a second trap, activated as one begins to raise the lid. Unless a tiny button on the lip of the lid is pressed as soon as the top is moved an inch, a magical charge will be released from the top of the casket, to stun for four rounds anyone within twenty feet of the chest that fails a 5th level RR vs Essence magic.
When these are disarmed, the chest will be found to contain 100 gold pieces, the price agreed upon to be paid to Torifal, once he has completed his job.
- 25–26 · Single rooms
- The occupants of both paid a premium for sole use of the room.
- 27 · Single room converted to a double
- It has two occupants.
16.4 The task
This job sounds simpler than it actually is : find the persons conspiring to assassinate Daelglid and denounce or dispose of them. The problem, of course, is that no one knows who actually is behind the plot. It will take considerable tact and ingenuity on the part of the players to gather enough information to get an idea who is responsible and where to find them. By attending the fair, keeping their eyes and ears open, and carefully interacting with the characters there, they should be able to get a lead on the likely culprits.
But they will still have to find, confront, and defeat both a professional assassin and a trusted assistant to the Witch-king. Again, careful observation and conversation may yield useful information on where to locate the villains.
Starting the players
If the Player Characters are known from having completed one or more of the previous adventures, it will be quite natural for the council to seek their help when the question of the possible plot comes up. If they are not known to the town, then the Game Master might arrange for them to be recommended for this kind of job by a merchant or attendee at the fair who has witnessed one or more of the players” previous exploits. In either case, Ligrador will relate his story, which contains all that is currently known about the plot.
At this point there are two possible ways the story can proceed, and the Game Master can take his choice. The first, and more difficult way, would be for the players to be left completely on their own to find out what they can about the spy and the hired assassin. The council will suggest that they attend the fair tomorrow, mingle with crowd, make discreet inquiries, searches, or take whatever course they think best.
An alternate possibility would involve Ligrador telling them that he has heard rumors that one of the more peculiar of his guests is possibly a professional assassin. He might not be sure of the identity, but he could tell them that the prime suspects are in rooms 15, 18 and 23 (as numbered on the layouts). The players could then get directly into searching the Inn.
The town council will offer what little assistance they are able. Ligrador can provide a master key that will open any lock in the Inn (except the one to his safe). That key may or may not open the doors at The Gryphon’s Wing (50% chance). If it doesn’t work, the locks there are only hard (- I 0) to pick. In any case, getting into the rooms is the least of the problems the PCs face.
Any other assistance the players receive is likely to come from either Baric or Borgenda. Both see and hear a great deal — they are in touch with many other merchants and browsers, listen closely and carefully, and are adept at drawing conclusions. Either one could provide crucial information concerning the identity of the plotters and where they might be found : They hear many rumors, and see and recognize many different characters on their travels.
In addition, carefully managed conversations or creative eavesdropping in the taverns at both Inns should also be a source of guidance.
The major obstacles are lack of information about the identity and whereabouts of the plotters, and —once they have been identified and located — Torifal and Gorion themselves. Both are formidably armed and trained in the use of their weapons. Neither should be easy to defeat. This would be even more true if word has gotten back to them that someone has been making inquiries about them.
Should the merchant, Aldaric, find the PCs in his rooms, he will be a dangerous opponent (and not just because he will raise a ruckus that will put everyone else in the Inn on guard). The Players should be aware that any gathering of such numbers provides opportunity for less honest and legitimate businesses to thrive : pickpockets and purse snatchers will be working the crowd.
The town council will, of course, pay the group well (10 gold pieces each) for successfully completing the mission. In addition, any money or treasure Torifal or Gorion had — including the 100 gold pieces Gorion was bringing to pay for the assassination—will belong to the players.
Otherwise, the PCs should refrain from looting rooms at the Inn. Most of them are occupied by decent, law-abiding citizens who are just trying to feed their families, and any seizure of their property will be regarded as common theft. The one exception would occur should they meet and defeat Aldaric. He’s generally considered a low-life and no one is likely to object to his ill-gotten gains being commandeered.
The other major reward from this adventure would be the status and increase in reputation the players would gain from breaking up the plot and defeating both a professional assassin and a representative from Angmar.
Merchants, craftsmen, and fair-goers
At some point, the PCs will have to attend the fair. There are a lot of opportunities here for them to renew supplies, and purchase good quality weapons and equipment. But they should also keep their eyes and ears open. It’s almost certain that they will at some point see and notice Torifal. Whether or not the name means anything to them at the time, he is not a figure easily overlooked or ignored. They are very likely to misjudge him, however, since at first viewing there appears to more about him of the buffoon than deadly menace.
In looking around at the booths, they are sure at some point to come across Baric’s weapon-making operation. Baric will have heard rumors (he is a very old friend of Wuthgild) of what is happening in the town and he has kept his ear to the ground. He should recognize the PCs as the group who are searching out the plotters and if he is impressed with them will sell them some fine quality weapons at a decent price. He will also suggest that they consult with Caviltar the Cooper, who has seen something that might be helpful to them, and Ulred the Herbalist.
On learning that Baric has sent the group to him, and being put somewhat at ease, Caviltar can tell the players that a friend he will refuse to name has seen an odd character arrive in the town, bearing a peculiarly worked casket among his luggage. The thing that really worries Caviltar’s nameless friend is that he is sure he recognized the stranger from a previous encounter some years before in a town well to the west. The friend is sure that the stranger is in the employ of Angmar. He also believes the spy is staying at The Gryphon’s Wing.
Alternatively, if the players do not visit Baric’s booth, or don’t impress him enough to make him willing to trust them with Caviltar’s possibly dangerous secret, they may at some point, if they can be cautious and discreet for a while, overhear some other visitors to the fair discussing the arrival of the odd-looking stranger with the noticeable casket at the Inn.
While at the fair they might well see an elderly woman being accosted by a young hoodlum, who is attempting to steal a small purse. The woman will struggle and put up a good fight, but it should be clear to the group that she is getting the worst of the struggle. If the players attempt to intervene, the man will toss the elderly woman roughly aside and flee — without the purse, which she has managed to hang onto throughout the fray. Once she has regained her breath, the woman will thank the players, reassure them that she is unharmed, and introduce herself as Borgenda, master glass-blower.
She will offer them a small cash reward of 10 copper pieces each, which they may or may not accept as they choose. It will make no difference whether they keep the money or not. Borgenda knows a great deal more than she generally acknowledges, although she doesn’t appear to be a gossipy old woman. She will question the players about the reasons for the presence at the fair and in the town. If they don’t tell her outright what their mission is, she will ask if they’ve been to the tent of Baric. If they have not she will strongly suggest a visit.
If the players have already consulted the master weapons-maker, she will ask if they got what they needed from him. Borgenda will use their answer to that question to help her decide whether to tell them anything further. Through her acquaintance with Baric, Borgenda has heard rumors of the plot taking shaping in the town, and it happens that she has recognized the wandering musician who calls himself Torifal and knows he is actually a very deadly and efficient professional assassin.
Ulred the Herbalist is a possible alternate source of the information about Torifal should the players not meet Borgenda or return to her after they’ve seen Baric. If he knows that Baric has sent them, he will also offer the party 2 doses of Darsurion and 2 of Arkasu to assist in the completion of their mission.
Other people encountered at the fair are unlikely to be able to provide information useful to the players, although they may have interesting goods for sale. There is also the possibility, if the players are not careful and discrete, that word may get back to either Torifal or Gorion that people have been asking about them. Though they both generally work alone, those two have a network of informants who will pass on rumors, gossip, and warnings in expectation of suitable compensation.
Guests at the inns
Once they’ve gathered all the information they can on the fairgrounds, the players will have to tackle the Inns. No one they meet or talk with in either tavern or dining room is likely to know enough to be helpful, or be willing to share what they do know with a perfect stranger. Further, there is a possibility that an informant will relay word of their interest to Gorion or Torifal. However, if the players listen carefully, they might overhear a conversation such as the following : « Hey, Valtramil, you better step carefully down your end of the hall ! »
« What ? What are you saying ? You’re the one who has the room right across from the stairs. I hope you don’t walk in your slap. »
(In a lower voice, with a furtive glance around)
« Yeah, but I hear you’ve got a really dangerous one in the room right next to yours. Dark, shady sort —always keeps his hood pulled down over his eyes– »
The players will certainly have to do some room searching. They odds on any given room being occupied are given above in the Inn descriptions, but it should be noted that if the players knock on the door and wait a few seconds with no answer, there is only a 10% chance that the room is currently occupied, and even if it is, an 80% chance the occupant is enjoying a sound sleep. They might also get some hints on the location of certain characters from occupants of other rooms, if they are properly approached. Should someone find a player searching his room, or be present when his lock is picked, he will certainly raise a noisy and embarrassing alarm, but there is only a 20% chance he or she will try to fight.
The merchant Aldaric is a different case. Should he find someone in his room, or attempting to enter it, he will not raise an alarm right at first, but he will assume the worst and prepare to retaliate. In addition to his dangerous wrist band, he carries a + 10 long dagger and is very good at using it.
Torifal and Gorion
The assassin is a dangerous foe, particularly if he has been forewarned of the search. His large size, in addition to his skill with the many weapons he carries and his belt spell, gives him an edge against all but the most powerful of adversaries. He will fight to the death if cornered, and will chase any who come against him if they flee.
Gorion is a different enemy ; one who will rely primarily on his abilities as a Mage rather than on his weapons. He does carry some, as noted above, and won’t hesitate to use anything convenient to hand should there be some advantage to be gained by it. Gorion has a sense of his own importance and will attempt to flee and get away if he sees the battle going against him.
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