Friday, September 30, 2011

Adventure 20 - Incident at a Tavern

Finishing off my September of short adventures...

PLACEMENT
This is a short scene that can take place in any tavern; it's especially apt in an area where evil is being hunted by the authorities.

SETTING THE SCENE
While the characters are in the tavern enjoying a meal or having a drink, there's the sound of heavy horses coming to a stop outside, and then many booted feet clomping up to the front door; the front door is thrown open, and heavily armored soldiers clomp into the tavern followed by an inquisitor.

"One of you here is really a monster in human form.  No one leaves the tavern until we've found the monster or have a confession".

WHAT'S GOING ON
D&D is full of evil monsters that lend the game a sense of black and white and moral certainty; unfortunately, that misses the point that some of the worst monsters can be other people.  Power corrupts, and there's nothing greater than the power of life or death over other people.  The most frightening situation is when absolute power is in the hands of a fanatic.

The inquisitor is insane.  While there are others in his line of work who wield their power fairly to combat true evils, this man has lost all judgment and sees enemies where none exist.  His cadre of storm troopers fear his authority.  He holds a powerful place in the hierarchy and has been above reproach.

He'll work his way around the room interrogating the various guests in the tavern, making accusations about heinous crimes and demanding to know who is the murderous imposter.  Things will quickly escalate and get out of hand as the inquisitor moves towards physical coercion.

RESOLUTIONS
The point here isn't to play out a snuff scene for the players, but definitely put them in an uncomfortable social situation with a powerful and psychotic figure.  Although they're outnumbered by the guards, competent adventurers can easily win a physical confrontation with a bunch of zero-level guards, no matter how heavily armed and armored.  But can they handle the social consequences of defying (or killing) the inquisitor?  Or will they stand by and allow innocents to suffer?

Players are clever and resourceful and should definitely be able to turn the tables on the inquisitor, whether it's in a physical confrontation at the tavern, or at a social one later, and maneuver him to demonstrate his insanity and fanaticism publicly.  Stripped of his position, he'll become a long term enemy of the players.

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Locale:  a tavern
NPCs:  various tavern guests
Monsters:  the inquisitor
Artifacts:  na