Friday, September 16, 2011

Adventure 11 - The Gauntlet

Continuing the series of (horror themed) September short adventures-

PLACEMENT
The adventure starts in the big city; the characters are requested to meet the constable in the dungeon.  This adventure hook assumes the characters are on good terms with the local law and might be hired for a delicate mission.

SETTING THE SCENE
In a dank cell, the constable is in the midst of a rough interrogation.  The guards escorted the characters into the dungeon past a side room where a beautiful woman, apparently still overcoming a difficult ordeal, is being given a hot drink by one of the guards.

The characters soon learn that the woman was kidnapped by a member of one of the local guilds (assassins or thieves, depending on campaign) and rescued by the watch before she was taken out of the city.  Apparently she was the latest in a series of kidnap victims.

From the prisoner, the constable learns how the local guild is being paid well by an eccentric patron to deliver women to him, at dungeon entrance just outside of town.

WHAT'S GOING ON?
There's a mad cleric or wizard in the center of a (hidden) gruesome trap-filled dungeon just outside of town, with a hapless maiden that needs to be rescued ("She'll only be alive another day", says the half-beaten prisoner in the constable's dungeon.  "He always kills them on Saturdays…"). There's a theme of resource pressure - limited time to clear the gauntlet before the killer ritually murders his next victim.

Holy jumping jumble of genres, batman!  A serial killer, in a D&D adventure?

Why yes! Here's a chance to mush together a bunch of traps and puzzles, put a heckling spell caster / mastermind at the end of the gauntlet, like a spider in the center of a web, and cut the player's loose.

For my part, I'd make the serial killer some demented whacko who considers himself the "flesh artist" - a worshipper of some obscure demon with a corrupted mind and twisted morals.  He's been paying the local guild well to deliver street waifs and urchins as art supplies, but the thieves' guild was sloppy and got caught.  The dungeon could borrow all sorts of dilemma-based death traps like the shticks in the Saw movies, and perhaps the caster has some kind of way to scry and heckle via magic mouths like Jigsaw, keeping the resource pressure on.  Previous victims of the traps, as well as his pieces of "art", litter the maze.  Perhaps his scrying lets him escape ahead of the characters, ensuring he's still alive for "the sequel".

RESOLUTIONS
The constable is in a panic; the last woman kidnapped was the wife of a merchant, and there's a sizeable reward for her return.  She might still be alive!  From the half-beaten thief, the constable gets the notion that the mad killer's would be beyond the skills of the constabulary.  Would the characters take the job, knowing a fat reward awaited them if the woman is still alive?

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Locale:  the city, the jail, and your favorite trap-filled dungeon level
NPCs:  the mad killer, the constable, the rescued woman, and the victim
Monsters:  incidental
Artifacts: na