50 Rural Encounters
1-2 PCs come upon the body of a man, stabbed, stripped of weapons, cloak, and boots, and left dead at the side of the road. He has a letter tucked into his stocking informing him that a distant relative of his in a nearby town has died and left him his entire estate. Inhabitants of the village take PCs to be an Inspector + their retinue from the Capitol (this explains their odd clothing and behavior) and treat them accordingly. The real inspector is about a day’s ride away. A young man or woman, filthy, covered in small cuts, naked save for a fox’s tail tied around their waist, comes panting over the hill toward the PCs, and hides behind some nearby trees. A group of nobles on horseback appears a minute or so later and, with a chuckle, ask PCs if they have seen a fox passing through. A group of young boys are fishing at a placid lake. They wave lazily to the PCs, just as two squamous, humanoid arms break the surface and drag one under. A fire-and brimstone preacher is giving an impassioned sermon in a hastily-erected tent to a large crowd. The sermon has some bearing on one or more outer characteristics of at least one PC. A group of angry peasants are burning the local duke in effigy, shaking farm implements and cursing his name. The crowd will encourage PCs to join in. An agent of the Duke’s is hidden nearby, taking down names and descriptions. PCs come upon the body of a young woman, but closer inspection reveals that she is playing possum. She scampers away, whistling, at which a party of d6+6 hideously inbred cannibal hillbillies, led by her oldest brother-husband, attack. PCs are waylaid by a masked Highwayman and d6+4 accomplices. He will attempt to kiss the hands of any females present. A group of d8+4 figures dressed as religious mendicants approach, their heads bowed in solemn prayer. If the roll on the d8 was even, they draw back their hoods, produce shortswords from beneath their robes and attack. A travelling carnival has set up on the outskirts of town. They are (1-2) a bizarre and sinister cult of degenerates and necromancers (3-4) Fae creatures in disguise (5-6) mere Carnies. The local duke’s army is drumming up new recruits in the town square. Their methods are brutal and insistant, and will extend to any able-bodied PCs. A magistrate is hearing cases brought by well-to-do local peasants. At the sight of the PCs, both parties offer compensation if any of them will represent them in a trial by combat. Rival adventuring party (roll on table or supply your own) appears at the next crossroads, heading in the same direction as PCs. PCs encounter an NPC from a past adventure or character background in the stocks in the town square. The details of the NPC’s crime can be obtained from passers-by. A group of villagers are celebrating a fertility festival, featuring much drinking, dalliance, and the parading of an ithyphallic mannikn made of straw through the nearby fields. PCs are encouraged to join in. A group of travelling players are putting on a performance in the village square, costumed as the PCs. They are performing an episode from their adventures, though misrepresented. If the deed was noble and valorous, it is depicted as trecherous , cowardly, and bloodthirsty, and vice-versa. A hunting party is being assembled in the town square. Three village children have been killed in the last week by some half-glimpsed monster. The creature was sighted less than an hour ago by a local woodcutter. The villagers plead with the PCs to join the hunt, though some of the younger men grumble about involving outsiders in their affairs. A mountebank has set up his wagon in the village square and is loudly proclaiming the virtues of his new “miracle elixir.” Will call out to one of the PCs to assist in the demonstration. Two men are hurridly loading barrels of moonshine into an already loaded wagon. After percieving that the PCs are not, in fact, the Sheriff’s men, they will offer a barrel or two to the PCs before one of them hops in the driver’s seat and takes off. It is extremely potent, flammable, and illegal under local sumptuary laws. A funeral procession winds its way to the outskirts of the town. A persistant banging can be heard from within the coffin, but this is ignored. A Witchfinder and his retinue arrive in the village shortly after the PCs. The suspect they are persuing closely resembles one of the party, and they will shadow them closely until confronted. PCs find themselves in the middle of a shootout (bows, crossbows, throwing hatchets, etc.) between two families involved in a generations-long feud. PCs are enjoined to declare for one side or the other. Neutrality will be met with incredulous outrage. The whole town has turned out to watch the hanging of a notorius local brigand, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a respectable NPC of past acquantance. Upon seeing the PCs, he will greet them by name, shout a cheerful “See you all in hell,” and leap from the platform with the noose around his neck. 2d8 mounted bandits have arrived at the village first, and busy themselves with slaughter, rapine, and pillage. They will pause in these activities at the approach of the PCs and will either attack (if they outnumber the PCs at least 2-1) or attempt to flee. A poacher runs past the PCs, dropping a large sack at their feet as he leaps a fence and dashes into the undergrowth. A few minutes later, a groundskeeper and 1d4 assistants appears from the same direction. He is interested in the poacher and takes the sack to be the PCs property. The sack contains 2d8 freshly killed eels. If eaten, they are quite tasty and the eater can speak and understand the speech of water-dwelling creatures for 3 days after ingestion. A group of minor demons are engaging in a misical contest at the crossroads with lute, hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, tabor, and harp. They will ask the PCs to judge the contest, and the winner will present the PCs with a coin bearing its sigil, which can be used to summon it to fulfill a single favor. 2d4 Shrouded bandits spring out and attack PCs. At the first sign of resistance they flee. Any injured or captured member of the band will reveal themselves to be a member of the local aristocracy, that the PCs were mistaken for
eager for excitement and opportunity. These garments. It is haunted. A scrap of parchment nailed there proclaims the name of the arresting magistrate and the identity of the corpse (a friend. PCs hear giggling and splashing up ahead. their garments left on rocks. A small boy sits on the fence by a grove of trees playing a flute. A wizened figure in a tattered robe has been nailed to a tree with silver nails. The placard around his chest reads “For Vile Necromancie. offer to join PCs. garlanded with flowers. the PCs can theoretically cast a legal vote. If they refuse. before being returned to the road in the morning. and the PCs are sent on their way in the morning with free provisions. Factions representing both candidates sieze the opportunity with both hands. If they convincingly deny allegiance to the local duke. The participants disperse. A toll-bridge straddles the river at its narrowest point. he plays louder. charming. and the ghostly inhabitants will offer information about the surrounding area (150 years out of date) in exchange for a few drops of human blood left in a pewter dish in the mess hall. PCs meet with an outlandishly-dressed foreign traveller on the road. simple. PCs pass a rotted corpse hanging in a gibbet by the side of the road. The skies open up. Her eyes are glazed over and she walks as if in a trance toward a figure in an elk-skull mask wielding a dagger. and they will be assaulted on all sides with demands to taste an endless array of jams. starting with threats and accusations. and spy a trio of water-nymphs bathing in a nearby stream. and does not quite understand the local exchange rate.” The man’s eyes open wide and he screams. A crowd has gathered around a makeshift stage. and the ale is served with generosity. etc. Will demand payment for his music (name an outrageous sum). The nearest shelter is the half-rotten ruin of a fortress. If the PCs refuse. It is explained that the local lord has taken her as his latest wife. Upon inspection. and none of the 14 women previously chosen for this honor have been seen again. they are merely feasted and entertained. PCs arrive to find village in mourning. and the man has no magic powers of any kind. These have renounced their old ways. as the smell of blood will arouse old appetites and undo the work of religion. their digging has unearthed a bronze door set into the ground at an angle. The only way to stop them entirely is to break the flute. and can be dispatched in the usual manner. grumbling. 81-82 Two rival brewers are competing for the prize at a festival. relative.50 Rural Encounters
55-56 someone else. demand PCs do a taste-test as neutral parties. The fare is plentiful. PCs arrive in the midst of a fair. The local champion is heavily favored. a viable second hypothesis. surrounded by other peasant farmers. startling 2d4 ghouls at their meal. and the trees uproot themselves and lumber slowly but inexorably toward them. Offers of bribes will be constant and not particularly subtle . Betting is frantic. The PCs unknowingly violate some unwritten code of conduct in the town. or past associate of the PCs). A violent. The riddle itself is completely nonsensical. Unless the PCs find a way to screw this up. and a man in a neatly-trimmed goatee will loudly complain that these ignorant shitkickers wouldn’t know experimental theatre if it bit them on the ass. but witchcraft is. they are brought (blindfolded) to the outlaws hideout and receive an offer to join their band. leading to attempted murder and/or rape. PCs arrive to find villagers in a mad. He is affable. Finding in favor of one will earn the violent emnity of the other. PCs find themselves surrounded by d6+10 outlaws with swords and longbows. PCs attempting to intervene will discover that they are weilding stage weapons. and seemingly gullible. horribly wrong. PCs hear shouts from a group of laborers digging up a barren field to lay a foundation. Passing farmer offers to give unmounted PCs a ride on his haycart to the next town over in exchange for stories from afar (more than 30 miles away). and tasty. PCs pass a roadside graveyard. stands in the middle of a field. PCs arrive at a small monastery populated by ogres. and a lynch mob soon forms. Ergot in the wheat is the culprit. 1d6 tough-looking village lads. of course. Competetion for prizes is fierce. hallucinatory daze. cheeses. impassioned scene breaks out in the village square. ales. pickpockets are rife. where a series of bare-knuckle matches is taking place. Since citizenship is determined by baptism at the village church (an office the local cleric is willing to perform). if successfully stolen and worn against the skin make the wearer proof against drowning. and offer shelter for the night. A young girl in a white smock. though any wounded PCs must remain in the storage shed. and the purse to be won is tempting. the evening ends well for all involved. guarded by a colorfully-dressed man who hails the PCs and announces that they cannot cross without answering a riddle. PCs arrive in the midst of a wedding party. and that this was a prank that went horribly. with a young woman in black being escorted down the road. and the rain comes down in torrents. The village is holding mayoral elections. pies.
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