By: Arjan Wardekker
Difficulty: Level 3-5
Game: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D)
The mission starts in or outside Cerm, a medium sized town (of course it can be any town you like).
It is daytime, when the player characters enter the city and reach the central square, they will see a large crowd, gathered in front of the City Hall. These citizens are clearly excited about something. Some of them carry hay-forks, torches, clubs and/or other primitive weapons. If the players try to talk to one of the people in the crowd, this person will look very frightened at the player characters and run away, screaming something like "Help! There he is.... get him!".
The crowd will surround the player characters and threaten them with their weapons. The people will try to tie up one of the characters. This should be the strangest looking or most mysterious character in the party, preferably someone dressed in a cloak. The people are convinced that that character is in fact a Death Knight. They will shout things like: "Kill him, the bastard." and "You murderer!" and "What have you done with the girl?"
What has happened: Someone, a cloaked person, went through the town during the previous night. This person said that he was a powerfull Death Knight and that was going to kill a bunch of people. He did so: the mysterious person has killed 12 people in the streets and he abducted a 18 year old girl, named Sarintia. The people wanted to hunt down this Death Knight and bring him to justice.... that is, kill him. Somehow, the people are convinced that one of the player characters is this Death Knight.
Before the crowd can kill the player character, a high-level wizard will appear at the scene with the Mayor. He will calm the people and tell them that the player character is NOT a Death Knight. The wizard and the Mayor will start talking for a while. When they are finished, the Mayor will ask the player character if he killed all those people. If the player says that he did, he will be brought in front of a court of justice and sentenced to death by public hanging. If the player says that he didn't kill them, the Mayor will say that he has no other option but to let him go. The crowd will respond angrily to this and most attack the character. Again the wizard will calm the people. The Mayor will consult the wizard and the wizard will propose to give the character a chance. The character has 1 week to prove his innocence. If he hasn't proven his innocence after this period of time, he will be brought in front of a court of justice and sentenced to death by public hanging.
The player characters now have 2 options:
1. Flee the city and not try to prove the character's innocence. This will mean that after about 2 weeks of time, the party will be tracked down by lots of bounty hunters. There is a bounty of 100 gp on his head. The bounty hunters will try to make the rest of the party deliver the character into their hands. This will probably include that they will be offered a part of this bounty. Might the party not give the character up, they will be ambushed the next day by a large group of bounty hunters (20 level 5 fighters, 1 level 5 mage, 4 level 6 thiefs). These will use the hit-and-run tactic and will use bows and other missile weapons to try to kill the character. All attacks will be centered on this person. If the character gets killed, the bounty hunters will try to take his head as proof of the kill.
2. Try to prove the characters innocence.
It might be a good idea to give the players some clear hints that they will be tracked down by bounty hunters if they choose option 1. You could make a player character make an Wisdom/Intuition check and if this succeeds, he will get the feeling that the party is being followed and watched constantly.
Might the players take option 2 right away, it could be a good idea for them to go to a gate and start asking the guards questions. The citizens might give the players this idea if they ask them if they know where the Death Knight has gone. If they talk to the guards at the north gate (the other gates are: east, west, south), one of them will tell the players that he saw someone (a cloaked figure) run out of the city through that gate, as soon as the gates opened, early in the morning. This was the person who they are looking for (the guard won't tell them that of course).
The player characters will leave the city through the north gate. On this side of the city, there is a large forest. It would be the perfect hiding place for types that don't want to be noticed for a while.
Once they are walking over the road, they will notice a trail beside it. It looks like something heavy was dragged through the sand there.... (this was the girl who the Death Knight had abducted). They will walk for about an hour or so and then they will meet a ranger named Larkhin.
AC = 6
THAC0 = 19
weapon = long bow, short sword and long sword
Hit Points = 10
XP Value = 65
Equiment = 25 flight arrows, quiver, studded leather armor, 2 weeks of iron rations, 5 gp
This ranger will tell them about some ruins of a Goblin Temple, a day's walk north of here and about a strange, cloaked man who he had met that morning. Of course, this man is our supposed Death Knight.
The player characters will walk on and during the night, they will probably make a campsite. Hopefully, they will be as smart to keep guard during this night. At about 3 o'clock in the morning, a group of orcs (9 orcs and and 1 orog as leader) will come wandering through the woods, out of the east.
If there is a guard, he or she should make a Wisdom/Intuition check. If this check succeeds, the guard will hear some sounds coming out of the east. If there is no guard, the entire party will hear lots of sound when the orcs attack the first person or tent which they encounter. The orcs will attack.
AC = 5
THAC0 = 19
weapon = long sword
Hit Dice = 1
XP Value = 15
Equipment = leather armor, 1 week of iron rations
AC = 5
THAC0 = 17
weapon = two-handed sword
Hit Dice = 3
special = +1 to damage
XP Value = 65
Equiment = studded leather armor, 10 gp, 1 pound of raisins, 5 torches
Once the orcs have been killed, the player characters can rest the rest of the night peacefully.
The next day, in the evening, after many hours of walking through the woods, they will reach a large open field. At the north side of the field, is a huge rock and in front of it lay the ruins of a Goblin town. The temple is the only building that is still standing. Before they can reach the field, they must cross a small creek. This creek radiates magic, if detected for. If a player steps into the creek, he will immediately be attacked by Mudmen. There are 2d6 Mudman in the creek. These Mudmen will attack anyone in the creek and stop attacking them, as soon as they leave the water. This means that all the characters have to do, is get out of the water quickly (for example: run to the other side). If they do so, the Mudmen can't attack very often.
AC = 10 (but they can only be hit by magical weapons)
THAC0 = 19
weapon = mud-throwing
Hit Dice = 2
special = they will throw mud to the opponent, if they are hit, their movement rate is decreased by 1; if the movement rate is reduced to 0, the character will suffocate in 3 rounds (to prevent suffocation, the other characters must remove the mud from his mouth and nose); if a mudman comes within 3 feet of an opponent, he will throw himself on the character, this reduces the movement rate by 3 and kills the mudman.
XP Value = 175
When the characters have crossed the creek, they will probably walk to the temple. When they reach it, it is already dark (night).
The Death Knight resides near the temple. The players will encounter him, when they walk to the temple. He is a mysterious figure, hidden in a black cloak. His face cannot be seen. The Death Knight has a quarterstaff as a weapon. As soon as he sees the characters, he will say that he is a very powerfull Death Knight (make this very clear; he is really convinced of this) and that the players must give him all their money and leave immediately, or else he will kill them. If the player characters do not listen to him, he will some charm-related spells (preferably on non-elves). He can cast 2 spells in 1 round: 1 mage-spell and 1 cleric-spell. Make sure that the players can notice this.
Now for the clue: the Death Knight is actually 2 Gnomes, named Norm (a level 4 mage) and Tirtz (a level 4 cleric). Tirtz is standing on Norm's shoulders. This is hidden by the cloak, so it looks like they are 1 person.
AC = 9
THAC0 = 19
weapon = dagger (but he can't use it, since he has to hold up his friend)
Hit Points = 4d4
XP Value = 270
Equiment = 1 week of iron rations, 5 torches, cloak, blanket, 1 pot of ink, flint & steel, 2 sheats of paper, 25 gp
AC = 5
THAC0 = 17
weapon = quarterstaff
Hit Points = 4d8
special = summon rabbits (1d12 rabbits; see below) once a day
XP Value = 420
Equipment= studded leather armor, 2 weeks of iron rations, waterbag, holy symbol
AC = 5
THAC0 = 17
weapon = bite (1 damage)
Hit Points = 3
XP Value = 7
If the players don't give up, the "Death Knight" will attack them. Once the players have killed Norm and Tirtz (or captured them alive), they will need to go and look for Sarintia. She can prove the innocence of the character who was mistaken for the Death Knight (she witnessed it all).
If the players enter the temple, they will immediately find a large pack: something tied up in a blanket. This is Sarintia. The players must return to Cerm with Sarintia and go to the City Hall. There they will find the Mayor and the wizard. Sarintia will then tell them that the player character is innocent. Might they have taken the Gnomes alive, they will receive a 5 gp reward. Both Gnomes will them be brought to trial and sentenced to many years of imprisonment.
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