Delays and Alarums in Thistle Hold

thistle-hold-gatehouseThe potential for adventure – or more likely misadventure – in Thistle Hold warrants some careful consideration, but you don’t always have that luxury. Perhaps you’ve already played through The Mark of the Beast and the characters have made friends and enemies that will lead them back here on a whim. Maybe they have started building a reputation with the likes of Mehira or, heaven forbid, Mayor Nightpitch himself.

Anyway – sometimes you won’t have had time to plan and when they return to Thistle Hold you want to remind them things don’t always go their way. Well, then roll 1D6 then 1D4 and consult the entries below.

(Over time, I might expand these entries – or add more locations – in which case I’ll adjust the dice to roll accordingly!)

1: Gatehouse:
1. Bored guard captain insists on giving the party the first degree just to fill his time, but presenting them with a chance to say something stupid;
2. The guard insist on levying a charge on the loot returned from Davokar at an unreasonable rate or based on staggeringly inaccurate estimates. [Persuasive+5] will change their minds, but the characters will then become the target of theft [from a Robber Chief plus Robbers = PC Exp―100] intent of relieving them of the identified treasures;
3. While the characters queue to enter Thistle Hold a cry rings out down the road and it becomes clear a cart has caught fire. The guards present close the gate [Vigilant, but don’t lock it] insisting those waiting for entrance assist in quenching the flames;
4. A clerk stationed at the gatehouse insists that the characters have the wrong license and delays them with reams of paperwork that cannot wait.

2: Boarding House:
1. On returning to your room you find the door ajar and a corpse lying face down on the floor with a knife stuck right between the ribs. The window is open and you can hear something on the roof…;
2. The character awake to wails of despair and discover their lodging place has been quarantined by Black Cloaks on suspicious of an outbreak of erupting blood fever;
3. Having recently returned from traveling, the characters want to rest up, recuperate and top up their supplies, but one the first night of their return someone dies a horrible death in their boarding house. And each night thereafter. Did they anger someone, or something, on their last expedition or did they return with some corrupt relic set to exact a terrible price on those around them?;
4. Wiling away the evening at their lodgings, a bunch of locals approach the characters to take part in a game of cards or dice. If they accept, mid-game a couple of them accuse the character of cheating; otherwise, a character who refused a game becomes the object of accusations on helping another player with secret signals. In short order, a scuffle threatens to break out and someone calls the night guard…

3: Drinking Hole:
1. A wild-eyed crone interrupts the character with the highest [Persuasive] and promptly claims to have witnessed their death in a dream, noting three obscure events that will precede the fateful event – two of which happened in the last adventure;
2. Two men arguing at the bar come over to the characters and accuse one of them [random] of being a heretic of the Old Ways, highlighting some random physical feature as clear evidence of their wrong-doing. While one goes off drunkenly calling for the assistance of Black Cloaks, the other remains to hold the wrong-doer under unrest [Strong―1] to break free from the burly aggressor [stats as Robber, pg 211];
3. In the middle of the night, a rabble of locals spill out of a drinking establishment across from the character’s lodgings and start creating a disturbance in the street. They might throw stones at the character’s window, try to call them out – by completely the wrong name, or seek to start a fight emboldened by drink and numbers;
4. In the midst of a pleasant evening in celebration, an inebriated patron of the tavern starts making loud, lewd and unpleasant comments about (goblins/barbarians/dwarves/changelings). They might want to start a fight or it could be a matter of just making someone feel belittled and bullied. How do the characters respond?

4: Marketplace:
1. A heavily pregnant woman wonders amongst the stalls, [Vigilant―2] the bump appears to shift as she walks and the character sees her swipe something new and stow it into the ‘cavity’;
2. As the characters are about to secure a deal, a flustered fellow races up next to them and he makes an offer to buy the same – and only – item for twice the price, [Resolute―2] it appears to be some sort of scam to elicit more money for a sub-standard product;
3. A young assistant to a trader becomes pinned under a broken wagon as the characters pass, screaming for assistance, [Strong―5] or [Strong+2] if three characters combine their efforts, [Vigilant―3] to spot the pickpocket making the most of the situation, but helping nevertheless offers a reward in a piece of useful information;
4. A rough looking chap with ink-stained hands and red-rimmed eyes offers to sell the characters a license to enter Davokar, as he planned to join an expedition but circumstances have changed. The license seems entirely in order; his price appears suspiciously cheap (or perhaps not!). If the characters pay him, he hands them to license and walks away – only for guards to appear a moment later yelling his name… and he promptly races off at speed.

5: Side street:
1. A sound from an alleyway and a distant shout of alarm is all the warning the characters get that a driverless carriage is barrelling toward them, [Quick―2] to avoid 1D8 damage, struck by both horse and carriage;
2. Cries of pain issue from an alleyway, [Vigilant] the stricken calls of a young woman, [Vigilant―5] who struggled to enter the shadowy passage but a moment ago, succumbing to transition into a Blight Born Human (core book, pg 226);
3. The characters spy a dark cloaked figure skulking through the maze of back lanes and alley on horseback, apparently carrying something of significant weight and proportions on the back of their ride. [Vigilant] recognises the figure as a Black Cloak (perhaps even one the characters know), [Vigilant―2] identifies the ‘parcel’ as a body, [Vigilant―5] recognises a scar, piece of jewelry or other distinguishing feature that picks them out as a colleague, associate or frequent contact;
4. Across the street from their lodgings, the characters see someone stood in the shadows of an alleyway clearly watching out for them. [Vigilant―2] notes something glimmer at the shadows side, as moonlight catches on something metallic. Is it a spy, an assassin, a rival, or just a tired guardsman trying to snatch a break?

6: Blackmoor:
1. Rumour suggests that a goblin scout recently took off with a valuable artifact returned from a trip into Davokar and the Ordo Magica will pay for its return from wherever the thief took it in Blackmoor;
2. A merchant mistakes the characters for enforcers, reaching for his purse and offering them money to smooth his passage through the settlement, just as actual enforcers arrive to ply the man for their cut;
3. As they pass through Blackmoor, the characters are approached by a man asking for assistance getting into Thistle Hold as he has important news to deliver to Father Sarvola at the Missionary Station. He cannot pay them anything, but assures them they will have the favour of Sarvola for their assistance;
4. While traveling through or staying in Blackmoor, the characters witness – or better still experience – a building catching fire. It would appear that this is the fourth building to go up in a blaze in the last week and the character’s investigation finds oil-soaked rags in an alley behind the latest target.

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