The HPs are ambushed three times. Two of the three are arranged courtesy of Zastos, a socialite who failed to bid high enough to buy the painting. If the HPs reach the end of their journey, it will be revealed to them that the painting was a fake and that the real painting was safely hidden inside the scroll case.
Major Events that Occur:
1. HPs meet with Thelindelar.
2. HPs pick up the painting from Palatine.
3. HPs are ambushed in the city.
4. HPs are attacked by orcs.
5. HPs are ambushed by Zastos
6. HPs arrive at destination
Thelindelar sits down at the table, offers everyone a seat and addresses the party:
"I'm glad to see that I have at last found a group of brave, trustworthy and honorable people such as yourselves to escort my caravan to Bossier. Good help is getting very hard to find in these parts. Sign or put your mark on the contract and Eric will give you the 150 BUC advance as you leave."
The contract states that each HP will receive 500 BUCS, 150 up front, for delivering a piece of art, "Flight of the Pegasus", to Bossier. Duties also include normal trade caravan duties, loading, unloading and protecting the three caravan wagons.
Game Master Note:
If any HP requests that they wish to try to read between the lines of the contract and they are literate (Mythus p. 60), have them make a Hard roll vs Trade Phonecian. If the check is successful, the HP has deciphered some of the legal mumbo jumbo contained in the contract. The contract states, in a round about way, that if the painting is not delivered to Bossier as a direct result of the HPs actions, that the HPs must render one year of service to Thelindelar.
Now that your band is officially in the employ of Thelindelar, she explains the details of the party's task.
"Tonight at 3:00 am you will meet Eric at Palatine's art gallery on the south side of town. There you pick up a painting "Flight of the Pegasus" by the well renowned artist Divado Newt. Then you will proceed to my warehouse where you will load the rest of the wagons and leave before first light. You will be escorting the three-wagon caravan to Bossier, a neighboring town three days away. "
Her voice then takes on a somber and somewhat sterner tone, "This is a VERY valuable piece of art make SURE that it arrives in Bossier safely. The buyer want as little attention as possible called to the sale and whereabouts of this painting. And with good reason; there are a good number of merchants, all of who are far less scrupulous than I, that would like to "obtain" this piece of art. Gods speed. When you return, leave word with Jack at the "Winged Pig" and I'll arrange a meeting with you.
As your party departs from the Winged Pig, you notice that the storm has let up some and has been reduced to a steady sprinkle. It appears that the storm has dumped some two or three inches of rain on Shreve's Port turning the streets into a muddy mess. The time is 7:00 pm.
The rain should stop completely by midnight.
Visiting the gallery during business hours (9:00am - 9:00pm):
Allow the HPs to visit the gallery during business if they take the initiative to do so. Everyone at the gallery plays "dumb" if the HPs try to retrieve the painting during regular business hours.
Upon entering the gallery during the day , you notice that this is truly a place of business that caters to the upper crust of society.
Anyone with a SEC of 6 or higher will be warmly greeted and asked to enjoy some of the complimentary champagne and caviar, etc. that are on hand. Anyone with an SEC of 5 or lower will be politely, yet smugly told, that the stables, bath house or brothel is down the street and the HP will be escorted to the door by the guard.
Visiting the Gallery after business hours (9:00 pm - 2:30 am):
At night the gallery is guarded by two stationary watchmen (front door and at the vault) and one roving guard with dog.
Any attempts to retrieve the painting after business hours but, before 3:00 am will be coldly met by Palatine's guard Butch. Arriving too early or too late will certainly not look good on their permanent records if word should get back to Thelindelar.
Visiting the Gallery around 3:00 a.m.:
Give the HPs extra points here if they take extra precautions to keep the meeting inconspicuous (i.e. not bringing torches, being careful not to be seen, etc.).
Upon your arrival to the gallery, the door is answered by Palatine's chief servant/associate Crystal. She opens the door and motions for the party to enter. Once inside, you are escorted to the business office where Palatine will be sipping wine and talking with Eric.
Palatine is very friendly to the HPs regardless of their SEC. Palatine can be described as man in his mid forties, but unlike many successful merchants he seems to be in very good physical shape. He is very fashionably dressed in gold-embroidered dark-blue silk robes. He stands from his desk and greets the HPs with a smile:
"Greetings, I am Palatine. You must be the group that Thelindelar has hired to deliver the "Flight of the Pegasus" to Bossier. The fact that she has chosen you for such a task speaks well for your character. Please have a seat and enjoy some of the drink and food that I have had prepared. By the way, feel free to roam the gallery, it will help pass the time while the painting is being loaded onto the wagon and while Eric and I finish this paper work."
The food laid upon the table is a small assortment of fine wines and brandies, fruits, cheeses, bread and smoked ham.
Palatine, after engaging in a bit of friendly conversation, excuses himself and returns to his desk to finalize the paperwork (This takes about 30 minutes).
If the party wanders the gallery:
The gallery is filled with many famous paintings and sculptures ranging from well know artists to up and coming artists to a few unknown artists.
Anyone closely examining the paintings in the gallery must make a difficult roll vs appraisal or rarities. If successful, the HP discovers that the painting is a clever copy. If the roll fails, simply inform them that the painting has an approximate value of X number of BUCs.
If one of the HPs spots a forgery and informs Palatine of their discovery:
Palatine exclaims, "You're absolutely right! All of the paintings you see in the gallery are copies of the originals. You never know if some scoundrel will try to steal or deface one of these priceless works of art. So when I receive a new painting I have a copy produced for display and put the original in the vault. Potential customers only see the originals after putting ten percent of the purchase price down."
Although the gallery itself seems poorly guarded, the vault is made of granite (two feet thick) and is very well protected with whatever castings the GM sees fit.
After a half hour, Palatine summons the party and Eric so that the receipt can be signed. The receipt states that they have received the painting "Flight of the Pegasus". Eric signs as the receiver ofgoods and one of the HPs will be asked to sign as witness. Once the paperwork is complete, the receipt is put into a scroll case and handed to Eric.
This scroll case is a magical Minimus/Maximus scroll case and contains the REAL painting. When the command word is spoken the scroll case expands to twelve feet long. When the command word is spoken again it shrinks to the size of a normal scroll case. Eric will carry this painting for the remainder of the trip.
If the party does not request to see the painting:
Crystal and Butch load the pre-packaged copy of the painting (10' long wood shipping tube wrapped in paper) directly onto the wagon.
If the one of the HPs request to see the painting before it is loaded onto the wagon:
Without hesitation Palatine warmly answers while shaking his finger at the HP that makes the request:
"Ahhhh! Very good. Yes, very good indeed. Thelindelar has outdone herself this time. I see that she not only hires muscle, but muscle that can actually think. Butch! Go tell Crystal to bring the painting so that our friends can see that Thelindelar's seal remains on the packaged painting." Palatine laughs and addresses the HP. "You seem to have the natural distrust of others which is an innate trait for men in my field. You might consider working for me one day."
The painting is brought before the group in the shipping tube. Palatine points out that Thelindelar's seal remains unbroken. After using a merchant's casting to verify that the seal has not been tampered with, Eric reinforces the painting's authenticity by proclaiming:
"I also can see that the appropriate castings still remain on the tube.".
The teamster will drive the wagon out of the receiving entrance of the gallery and wait at the front entrance for Eric and the HPs.
Crystal and Butch, are on rooftops and will shoot twice at Eric and the wagon driver with sleep poisoned arrows (STR=30 ER=2CT see MYTHUS p266 for more info). They then make their escape off the opposite side of the building down rope ladders. Try as much as possible to keep them anonymous.
The two bandits, Algore and Slick Willie, approach from the rear and demand the HPs deliver the painting. The bandits will fight if necessary, but their main objective is to lead as many of the HPs away from the wagon as possible. These two should act as a diversion for the two warriors, Bruce and Roland to hijack the wagon.
If some of the HPs are lead away from the wagon:
Roland attempts to take control of the wagon while Bruce engages any of the HPs that remain around the wagon. The plan is for Bruce and Roland to escape with the wagon to an abandoned farm house outside of town. They will guard the painting until it is picked up the next day.
If the HPs stay with the wagon:
Roland and Bruce and bandits will attack until they hijack the wagon or receive half of their CL in wounds. They have no reason to fight to the death.
None of the ambush party, except for Butch and Crystal have information that will lead the HPs to Zastos. The other members only know that they're working for a member of the merchant's guild.
If the fight is going poorly for the HPs, have the city guards (use the bandit stats) help them out.
"I was afraid that something like this would happen. It would seem that there is a traitor somewhere among us. Take extra care while on your journey. I will try to get to the bottom of this treachery. Hopefully, I'll have everything sorted out by the time you return."
She then goes on to introduce the HPs to the teamsters that will be driving the three wagons. The HPs are then prompted to load the wagons.
Each wagon has 130 damage points and is well locked (Criminal Activities vs Difficult to pick). Eric has the keys to each.
Driven by: Rowdy
Cargo: fine smoked meats, sausages, and bacon (ventilated), iron rations for caravan members
Driven by: Wishbone
Cargo: fresh fish, mussels and crawfish, five kegs of ICE COLD ale and five small keg of candied liquor.
Note: This wagon is magically cooled by a casting that keeps the interior temperature at a constant 34 degrees.
Driven by: Curley
Cargo: The Winged Horse Painting, one tapestry, gold embroidered cloth, two scrolls, two letters and four large kegs of drinking water (strapped to the outside)
Note: This wagon is like wagon two except the temperature remains a comfortable 70 degrees with a constant humidity. This was done to protect the painting but, Eric has taken advantage of the conditions and set up a cot within the wagon so that he may sleep/travel in comfort.
Although the storm has passed, it has left behind a steaming cauldron of water for you to boil in. Having rained several inches the day before, the sun now turns the wet muddy trail into a sauna. You constantly mop your brow in an attempt for relief but, to no avail, seconds later it's soaked again. Your armor and clothes begin to feel like wet burlap clinging to your skin.
You find yourself gazing helplessly at the condensation that drips from the refrigerated wagon and more often than not your thoughts turn to the freezing cold kegs of ale within.
The HPs are fed iron rations from the smoked meat wagon and tepid water from the kegs strapped to the side of the wagon that carries the painting. If the HPs wish to partake in any of the merchandise the wagons carry, Eric will take advantage of the HPs situation and gladly sell them any merchandise at inflated prices. After all, he is a business man. He will jokingly toy with any HP that seems overly desperate to purchase food and drink.
Nasty Humidity and Heat
Dusk (Use Map 3):
The caravan turns a bend in the road to discover a large tree (3 feet in diameter) blocking the road. Standing on and around the fallen tree are four beady-eyed creatures with baboon like noses, greasy hair, and a mouth full of sharp teeth and tusks. The creatures range in size from four feet to six feet tall and are wearing mangey looking skins and are armed with spears and bludgeons. The biggest one raises an axe and shouts:
"Give food!.... NOW!" The other creatures look at each other and start to chant "Givood!...OW!"
A successful perception check will reveal six other pairs of cat-like eyes hiding in the darkened woods waiting to attack if necessary.
This hunting party of ten orcs (Mythus p. 322 for more info) has come from a subterranean entrance 4 hours travel east of this spot. The orcs will only be satisfied with either half of the smoked meats (2000 BUC value) or one horse (9000 BUC value).
If the HPs try to communicate:
The leader turns to his chanting companions and yells "SHUTUP!" while nearly hitting orc to his left with a battle axe. He then says "Huh?". No matter what the HPs tell him the orc says, "Me Black Fang. Give Food NOW!" After three minutes of trying to bargain or immediately if the HPs initiate combat, Black Fang motions for the others to attack as he yells : "Shutup! We take food NOW!"
If the orcs are being beaten easily:
They will flee into the woods. However, they will return in one hour when it is pitch dark to raid the meat wagon while the HPs are busy moving the log.
If the HPs gave food or horses to the orcs:
Eric reminds them after the orcs leave that it will come out of their pay. After all, they were paid to guard the caravan, not give its wares away to anyone who asks.
Moving the Log:
Four horses must be used to remove the tree from the road. This will take two hours of back-breaking work in the mud. Eric has "a bad back" but, says that he will gladly "supervise the effort".
One of the HPs wakes up with an uninvited guest. A three foot King Snake (harmless) has curled up with one of the HPs.
A party of five cloaked horsemen very rudely storm by the caravan nearly trampling the HP with the lowest SEC to the cry of "Out of the way peasant!". Unbeknownst to the HPs, this is the band led by Zastos that will attack the caravan in the evening. They will not stop or attack unless SEVERELY provoked.
The oppressive heat is broken by a momentary downpour that lasts
about 10 minutes.
Late Night: (Use Map 4)
The party is ambushed by the Zastos and company.
The soldiers, Vincent and Kyle will cover Bonvoi, the thief, as he attempts to sneak into the wagon containing the painting and steal it. Bonvoi must make three Criminal activities physical skill rolls to succeed.
1st roll: getting to the wagon undetected (hard)
2nd roll: getting the fake painting without waking Eric (difficult)
3rd roll: leaving the camp undetected (hard)
Before the encounter, Zastos has cast the following spells upon himself:
Armor Cantrip (dweomercraft black) CG1
Detect Heka Spell(dweomercraft black) CG1
Nightsee (Necromancy Skill p. 193)
Cold Body (Necromancy Skill p. 193)
Shadow Skulk (Necromancy Skill p. 193)
He has also cast the Armor Cantrip on the rest of his party.
If Bonvoi is caught he will yell for assistance. Zastos goal is to steal the painting. Yet, if the attack fails, he will yell "If I can't own it no one will!" and cast flame knives charm on the wagons. Zastos will then cast Untie and fright charms on the horses to prevent pursuit.
If sorely pressed Zastos would cast spells such as :
Force Dart Charm
Zastos and Mikael will remain hidden in the woods and will only offer support through castings and missile weapons. They very much prefer ranged attacks over hand to hand and will flee if directly confronted.
This is where the buyer, William Cooper, resides. The HPs are instructed to unload the painting (or if appropriate: whats left of the painting) and bring it inside. The HPs enter a greatroom in the front of the house where William is waiting for them.
"So, I see you were able to deliver the painting on time as promised. Thelindelar surely lives up to her reputation. Well, let's have a look at what I have squandered 150,000 BUCs on."
If the painting is intact:
Cooper examines the painting carefully with a magnifying glass. Suddenly, his face turns beet red and he explodes at Eric. "What do you think I am!? You bloated idiot?! This painting is a forgery and a very bad one at that! I'll see that the lot of you hang for such a fraud! Guards!....
Cooper is cut off in mid-sentence by Eric who pulls a familiar looking scroll case from his cloak. "My good man there's no need to get excited. My employer, Thelindelar, is no thief I assure you. Yes indeed, this painting is a fake. Observe, what you purchased, I hold in my hand.". Eric tosses the scroll case to the ground and says "Trojanmagnusramseshiek!". Before your eyes, the scroll case lengthens to twelve feet. Eric then bends down, opens the case and removes a rolled up canvas and spreads it onto the table over the fake painting. "I think you'll find this one more to your liking."
If the painting has been stolen, destroyed, or damaged:
This is where Eric gets his jollies by letting the HPs fry for a while.
Eric and the party enter Cooper's house and meet him in the great room. Eric introduces each HP to Cooper and then says, "These fine group of people have something that they would like to tell you."
At this point let the HPs hem and haw their way around trying to tell Cooper that the painting was (stolen/destroyed/damaged).
"(Stolen/Destroyed/Damaged)?! How could Thelindelar entrust such a valuable cargo to these incompetent bloated sacks of manure!!?" Cooper's face turns beet red. "I demand immediate repayment of the 75,000 BUC retainer I put on the painting and that these peasants that you've hired be sold into slavery!! I can't believe this! Do you realize the value of that work? Not only in money but, the value it holds in the art world?"
Eric pauses for what seems to be two hours (actually five seconds) while Cooper looks as if he's ready to assault the party. "My good man there's no need to get excited. My employer, Thelindelar, is no fool I assure you. Observe, what you purchased, I now hold in my hand.". Eric tosses the scroll case to the ground and says "Trojanmagnusramseshiek!". Before your eyes, the scroll case lengthens to twelve feet. Eric then bends down, opens the case and removes a rolled up canvas and spreads it onto the table. "I think you'll find that you've been worrying in vain."
Once Eric reveals the real painting.
Cooper examines the painting carefully with his magnifying glass. "Yes, this is more like it. Tell Thelindelar that I commend her on taking the extra precautions." A smile appears on his face as he examines the painting further. Cooper mumbles and motions towards the door. "You can let yourself out."
But that is another adventure.
M: 103, EL: 81 P: 92, WL: 87, CL: 75 S: 88 , EL: 74 MR: 51 MM: 52 PM: 46 PN: 46 SM: 47 SP: 41 MRCap: 18 MMCap: 19 PMCap: 20 PNCap: 18 SMCap: 19 SPCap: 14 MRPow: 17 MMPow: 17 PMPow: 13 PNPow: 13 SMPow: 13 SPPow: 13 MRSpd: 16 MMSpd: 16 PMSpd: 13 PNSpd: 15 SMSpd: 15 SPSpd: 14
He feels it is better to rely on long range weapons, magic, flight, or surrender-and-escape than to die fighting HTH.
Gaunt, but healthy. Stormy eyes, moves with quick snakelike motions.
Prime K/S Areas SteepHeka : 645
Riding 40 Dweomercraft 42 Necromancy 25 Toxicology 30 Combat, Missile weapon 35 Combat, Hand weapon 23
As a noble, he has more money than he can spend.
Weapons & Armor:
Crossbow w/ poison (sleep STR=40, ER=1BT) arrows
Armor by spell only
Base Attr: +d3 MRCap: 13 MMCap: 12 PMCap: 16 PNCap: 15 SMCap: 13 SPCap: 14 MRPow: 12 MMPow: 10 PMPow: 12 PNPow: 13 SMPow: 13 SPPow: 13 MRSpd: 11 MMSpd: 11 PMSpd: 13 PNSpd: 14 SMSpd: 12 SPSpd: 14
Algore : The typical thief's assistant, he plays the fool to sucker the mark while Slick Willie steals them blind. He also has a short sword.
Slick Willie : A thief born and bred, he'll steal your money and then loan it back at 30% interest, as a favor.
Bonvoi : A specialest at B&E, he is good but expensive to hire. Although he knows how to use a medium crossbow and owns half leather armor, he uses daggers and the armor cantrip when he breaks in somewhere.
Bonvoi's Criminal Activities Physical skill is 50.
Unless otherwise noted the characters described above have the following :
Prime K/S Areas Steep
Criminal Activities Physical 40 Combat, missile weapon 35 Combat, hand weapon 23
Base Attr: +d4 MRCap: 11 MMCap: 10 PMCap: 14 PNCap: 13 SMCap: 11 SPCap: 11 MRPow: 10 MMPow: 8 PMPow: 10 PNPow: 11 SMPow: 11 SPPow: 10 MRSpd: 9 MMSpd: 09 PMSpd: 11 PNSpd: 12 SMSpd: 10 SPSpd: 10
Wishbone : Drives the magically cooled wagon (containing fish and ale). He has just enough heka points to keep the wagon cold. So he will often seem impatient, as it is his fault if the goods spoil. If the caravan is delayed he might shout "We're burnin' daylight!"
Curley : A master teamster, he is respected by Thelindelar and the other teamsters. His many years with Thelindelar have earned him the right to haul the most expensive cargos and to drive the special "climate controlled" wagon. Curley carries an very large knife, which he has affectionately named "Pig Sticker, and has a Combat, missile weapon skill of 45 when using it. He will often try to intimidate newcomers with a statement such as "I haven't killed anyone today, but..."
Eric : A young and ambitious merchant, working for Thelindelar. He has little understanding of how to win friends or the word tact. He only thinks of the sale. For example, he might say the following: "Water! Get your water just 2 BUCs a keg! What!? A drought you say? Water! Get your water just 20 BUCs a keg!"
Unless otherwise noted, the characters described above have the following:
Prime K/S Areas Steep Animal Handling / Riding 40 Combat, Missile weapon 25 Combat, Hand weapon 25
Base Attr: +d3 MMCap:14 MRCap:13 PMCap:17 PNCap:17 SMCap:10 SPCap:11 MMPow:12 MRPow:12 PMPow:15 PNPow:17 SMPow:10 SPPow:10 MMSpd:12 MRSpd:13 PMSpd:15 PNSpd:16 SMSpd:10 SPSpd:09
Roland : Is an excellent equestrian, riding 65. He uses the Scimitar and a Hand Crossbow. He wears Full Leather Armor.
Mikael : As Zastos' bodyguard, he has the best weapons, horses, etc.
Butch : A friend of Crystals, she has conned him into the attack. He uses a short sword and a Medium Crossbow.
K/S Steep Riding 40 Hand Weapons 46 Hand Missile 38