"My Noble Lady," drones the vampire's thrall, "seeks to acquire the Holy Crown of St. Aerdwine. It is a relic being brought on a tour of holy sites by monks from the Monastery of the Blue Stones. For the space of two moons it is being kept at the the Church of St. Gelevaard, that the pilgrims may see its bejewelled splendours, and bathe their souls in the holy light of its presence. My Lady cannot enter the Church to steal it; you elves, immortal yet living, are under no such constraints. But do not think this a wicked deed. By this seeming crime you avert a greater Evil."
Setup: unmodified - travel to the church to get the item for the Vampire
Rolling a random treasure results in a Gold Tiara set with Garnets (3500sp).
Fleshing out the Vampire's mission with the d30 Companion produces the following:
Obstacle: race against antagonist(s)
Vampire's goal/reason: noble goal, extreme measures
Antagonists' goal/reason: debt owed
Key NPC: scribe
Characters: Neldir, the Elders of the Elven Forest, Eril the Vampire
Threads: find Neldir & the book
get item for Vampire
Unsure of whether or not to trust the vampire and her minion, the elves also are in agreement that they haven't any other leads. And so they decide to pursue this course of action, at least for now. The PCs buy 2 days worth of iron rations each before setting out on the road. They arrive at Castle Tarm without incident, but the soldiers on patrol outside are decidedly unfriendly and refuse them entry in to the castle. Undaunted, they pitch their camp a short distance away. The soldiers can plainly see their campfire from the battlements, but fortunately make no move against them.
Travelling on the road towards the Church, they encounter 8 heavy horsemen (Ftr0, chainmail, lance, sword, heavy crossbow). Their leader rides her warhorse right up into the midst of the party, and glowers down at them. "Strayed a bit far from yer forest, have ye? Ye've no business here; go back home, little elfies. There's none as want ye here!"
"Please, good knight," responds Oighonlaer earnestly, "we are sent into the world to learn of your kind, not to trouble them. Please let us pass, and we shall tell all we meet of the might of the great knights protecting Castle Tarm!"
[The d30 Companion's road encounter indicated bully/threaten, and I rolled up Arrogant for the captain's personality.
Oighonlaer has the highest Charisma, making him the de facto spokesperson for the party. To flatter his way past the soldiers he'll need to roll over their Morale (of 9) on 2d6. His roll is 10+1(CHA mod.), success: Oighlaer earns 1/2 XP for this encounter (40XP).]
"Great knights, my saddle-sore arse," laughs the soldier, but even so she motions to her troops to follow, rides off, and leaves the elves to their journey.
When the elves finally arrive at the church, they are greeted at the gate by an acolyte, Sister Hertsild, who is scarcely friendlier than the soldiers have been.
[She's a first level cleric. Her reaction roll is 5, Unfriendly
Q: what happened recently? Ambush/Plans - a group of thieves broke into the church overnight, ambushed and killed the guards and stole the Holy Crown of St. Aerdwine.
Q: Is there anyone willing to talk? 50/50: 42 Yes. a Pious Merchant
Q: Did clerics use divination to determine the movements of the thieves? Very Likely: 26 Yes. The destination of thieves is (randomly determined) Castle Vyljusz
Q: Will the merchant offer any aid? Unlikely: 05 Yes, Food]
Sister Hertsild is very brusque and unforthcoming. She ushers the elves into the courtyard, half-heartedly points out the usual points of interest of the Church, and flatly says that there will be no viewing of the Relic this week. She then abruptly takes her leave. None of the clerics, nor the laypeople, nor the pilgrims have anything to say to this group of strange, non-human wanderers. All save one, a woman named Ranwitha, a merchant making a pilgrimage.
"Just this morning," she confides, "the priests said that they will not be displaying the Relic. They tried to placate the crowd with a flimsy theological excuse and a bold sermon. Lies from the pulpit. Such blasphemy! I have overheard some of the younger clergy talking, and they said many disturbing things. A group of thieves is supposed to have broken into the sanctuary and absconded with the relic. And killed all the guards! Thieves and murderers!"
"Pray tell, gentle Radwitha," replied Oighonlaer, "does anyone know where these blackguards are headed?"
"Oh, yes! The high priest prayed to St. Gelevaard, and he received a sign: the thieves made straight for Castle Vyljusz. I don't know why no one has yet gone after them. Though they may fear the witch of Castle Vyljusz, I can't believe they would allow her to just take the Crown!"
"Perhaps we," said Oighonlaer, "could be the heroes needed in this most desperate hour..."
(adventure continues here)