TIntrigue is a essential part of Ambrian noble society. To Silence a Drunkard takes place during travel somewhere in Ambria, and forces the players to intervene or watch as a peaceful caravan with a certain troubadour gets waylaid on the road.
To Silence a Drunkard is a miniature adventure for Symbaroum that could be used as a base for a larger, political campaign or character campaign for a PC with a noble rival. It presents a situation (a caravan getting waylaid by a nobles men, disguised as bandits), three named NPCs and a dramatic event which give the players a moral choice that could end with a scramble for their lives. The scale of the adventure could be increased by increasing the rank and power of the noble interested in Blackhawk’s silence.
|The Location and Setting:To Silence a Drunkard takes place on a road in Ambria when the players are traveling. The encounter could take place during the day, or night – the most important thing is that the players are close enough to see/hear and intervene in the proceedings. See Encounter with the Caravan.|
Three days ago, the famous troubadour Blackhawk were performing at the motte-and-bailey of the small barony of Orlanos Ridge, a minuscule fief in the Duchy of Narugor. A guest of Baron Tarleo and his household, Blackhawk serenaded the ladies of the small court, told his tales of adventure and glory to a spellbound audience – much to the delight of everyone (if you ask Blackhawk himself) except the Baron’s wine cellar.
The Duchy of Narugor have at this time experienced an increase in unrest and bandit raids, followed by minor noble squabbles due to Count Gadramei’s attention being elsewhere.
As the evening dragged on, Blackhawk felt a pressure in his nether regions and decided to excuse himself and seek solitude behind the stables. While relieving the pressure, the troubadour overheard Baron Tarleo in conversation with one of his lieutenants. The preparations to seize control of the neighbouring Barony of Ironlake, belonging to Baron Herio, we’re almost done – with hired muscle ravaging the countryside and causing a menace, the opportunity to seize the the walled tower of Baron Heiro while he was fooling around the countryside were soon to present itself. Stealthily as a Iron Pact elf, the brave troubadour, not yet so refreshed as not to understand that he had overheard something that would endanger his person, snuck back into the bailey to keep appearances up until departure tomorrow towards Kurun (his departure was noticed and he is about to get dealt with).
|The County is interchangeable with others depending on the players location, the unrest and minor noble squabbles should be interjected beforehand for player context.|
Blackhawk, Ambrian, Troubadour. Traveling with the caravan. If the players have encountered him before with a positive outcome (for example in Blight Night) – he is trusting the players with the information and share his worries. Otherwise he will present himself as the famous troubadour, looking worried. See p.215, Core Book.
Oromal, Ambrian, Caravan leader. Stringy, older man with a balding head, and huge large white whiskers. Are suspicious of the players if they interact with the caravan before Black Tooth arrives, due to the unrest in the area.
Black Tooth, Ogre, Second-Lieutenant of Baron Tarleo. Rides what looks like a workhorse due to its size, studded leather armor and a halberd over his shoulder. The ogre is bald, and has a single black tusk sticking out of his lower left jaw. See Pansar p.134, Monster Codex. Studded leather (2).
Barony Soldier, Ambrian. Smeared dirt in their faces. See Infantryman p.134, Monster Codex. Mounted, swap swords to spears for some. Studded leather (2).
The Caravan consists of three wagons, drawn by horses that looks rather worse for wear. The wagons are canvas covered, the first two with simple rough hewn benches on both sides. The last is a traditional merchants cart, with food goods packed inside.
The first wagon, is manned by Oromal and a assistant driver that looks nervously around, especially into the foliage, if there is any, around the road. Blackhawk rides in the back, together with a guard armed with a crossbow and sword.
The second wagon is manned by a driver, and a family of what looks like farmers are riding in the back. Consisting of a father, mother and three small children.
The last wagon is manned by a surly looking man that is rather rotund. He wears a fur collar over his stained but more extravagant clothes – it’s not a far stretch to imagine him being a merchant.
The Encounter with the Caravan
Depending on how the DM want to set up the encounter, there are two broad possibilities see A chance encounter by the road and Spotting a caravan on the road.
Spotting a caravan on the road
If the players specifically are not using roads, due to the unrest and general rumours about danger on the roads, the DM is free to let the players notice the caravan from a concealed position, preferably in foliage just next to the road in earshot and sight.
If the players don’t show themselves or interact with the caravan Black Tooth and his bandit disguised goons are going to ride up and stop the caravan close to the players – within earshot. See Observing a Robbery gone bad. If they announce themselves, see Making friends and adapt it in a logical way.
Observing a Robbery gone bad
The caravan they are observing gets intercepted by riders coming up the road from behind, brandishing weapons and acting aggressively – halting the caravan. See Waylaid.
A chance encounter by the road
If the players are specifically using roads to travel, they will come upon the caravan from the opposite direction or come upon them from the rear.
If they come upon the caravan from the rear without signaling clear and peaceful intentions, the last cart will stop when they get close, and the merchant will jump down and run forwards towards the front cart, screaming about riders – panic will ensue as the second wagon stops, and the same action is taken by that wagons passengers. If the players are passive, Oromal, the Guard and Blackhawk will stop their cart and disembark, approaching the players carefully with drawn weapons. Blackhawk will peak from behind the wagon until the coast is clear, together with the rest of the caravan. See Making friends.
If the players are positively known to Blackhawk (for example protected him in Blight Night), he will intervene on the players behest and present them as good friends. He is not above exaggeration, and will convince Oromal and the guard to lower their weapons. See Entrusted with Intrigue.
If the players are unknown to Blackhawk the players will need to disarm the situation with roleplay. Depending on their actions, appearance and reputation, have the most talkative player roll modified Persuasive. Oromal will grip his sword tight and greet the players “Who goes there, it is considered threatening to approach travelers these days”. If the characters are unable to deescalate the situation, see Waylaid before it gets out of hand. If the players deescalate the situation, Blackhawk comes out from the back of the wagon and introduces himself. In length.
Have the players roll Vigilant-3 in order to hear horsemen approaching from the same direction the caravan was traveling. See Waylaid.
Entrusted with Intrigue
After introducing the players grandly, Blackhawk takes them aside since he “wants to share some old memories, not suited for mundane ears” – he tells the players about why he’s traveling in such a petty manner (see Background), “I saw it in his eyes, the bastard. Cold, calculating. I’m lucky my wits and superior agileness let me sneak away with them unawares”. Blackhawk is very clear that he doesn’t want to be involved. When the conversation draws to an end have the players roll Vigilant-3 in order to hear horsemen approaching from the same direction the caravan was traveling. See Waylaid.
|If the players are keen to intervene in the political landscape, this could be an opportunity for the players to take this information to Count Gadramei, after a hard won audience. Perhaps they are tasked with bringing down Baron Tarleo, trough intrigue or guerilla tactics in his domain. Ending with a siege, or infiltration of his motte-and-bailey?|
Depending on the player choices so far, and approach – the situation that happens will differ. The general theme of the situation is that Black Tooth and [PC+1] barony soldiers, disguised as bandits will intercept the caravan. At first, only Black Tooth will advance towards the first wagon, with the rest holding back. A PC with Tactician may roll Cunning to see that the bandits are well armed, and spread out in a military wedge.
If the PCs are observing the exchange from concealment Blackhawk will actively hide inside the wagon while the guard jumps out from the back, crossbow ready, “These carts are ours now, dismount and form a line”. Blackhawk will then cut through the canvas on the opposite side, and make a panicked run for it – if the GM wants the players dragged into the thick of it, towards the hiding players.
Black Tooth and his band will pursue with the exception of two, who are engaged with the guard, Oromal and the mother of the second wagon who are wielding a meat cleaver. It’s recommended to let this fight play out cinematic, with the death some family members, the guard, the merchant, an an injured Oromal depending on how indecisiveness the PCs show according to the GM.
If the PCs are interacting with Blackhawk, Blacktooth will shout from a distance before charging on horseback followed by the other soldier, “Kill them all, no witnesses”. After the fight, see Guardians or Tardians?
Guardians or Tardians?
If the PCs saves the caravan trough decisive action, see Entrusted with Intrigue paired with grateful nods from the other caravan members, and perhaps a invite to accompany them. If many deaths incurred, trough PC indecisiveness, wails of anguish from the family over their lost children might be more fitting.
If investigated or looted, with a successful Vigilant, PCs could see that the armament and well groomed appearance of the so called bandits, fits with Blackhawks story. A PC with Tactician may roll Cunning to see that the bandits are using standard regulation swords and spears. Necromancy are also viable, the PCs should be rewarded with information for their efforts.
|If the players decides to accompany the caravan to the Duke, or protect Blackhawk during the journey, the GM could chose to harass them since Baron Tarleo won’t allow word to get to the Duke. Perhaps the trip becomes a dash through the outskirts of Davokar, pursued by overwhelming numbers?|