Trouble on the Road is a short encounter designed for Labyrinth Lord or Basic, but for the most part is system neutral. Included are a couple of unique features, which a more experienced Game Master (GM), might option to use only in part, or discard entirely.
· Blue (classically, Boxed) text is presented in two sorts. The first is scene narrative, which is to be read aloud to the players. The second is dialog, which may or may not be read aloud, but more so intends to present the disposition of the non-player character (NPC) speaking.
· A Timeline Mechanic underlines this encounter. Though for the most part the mechanic is in the background, its execution can alter the sequence of events and so following, change the outcome of the encounter.The encounter is for 3-5 characters of 1st to 2nd level, but some consideration is needed for game balance. Recommended, is that the two NPCs should be slightly less or at maximum, equal the cumulative experience level of the character group. For instance, a group of four 2nd level characters is 8 levels to distribute between the two NPC bandits. How these levels are distributed is left to GM: 5th & 3rd; 4th & 4th etc., and relevant to the mechanics of the system.
The encounter begins on an isolated road, with a carriage robbery in mid progress. Two bandits, Elian Stormspire and Talen Crow, murdered the coachmen and halted the carriage. The passengers are Dorman his wife Ulna and the couple’s eight year old daughter Dorma. Before the player characters arrive at the carriage, Talen has led the family off the road to nearby grove of trees. Currently, Talen and the family are out of sight. Elian is within the cab searching for items of value.
When encountered at the carriage, Elian spins a false account: that he and the coachmen were the victims of an attempted robbery. And that his guard Talen, chased the rabble rousers off and should be returning soon.
Talen and the family are unaware of the player characters arrival at the carriage. He has transported the family using his and Elian’s mount. Talen’s task is to bind the family to a tree and leave them such that they should be able to untie themselves once the bandits are afforded a head start. The original plan to escape with the carriage may be followed through depending on the player characters.
Though indeed Elian and Talen are criminal opportunists and have murdered the coachman-neither are cold blooded killers or willing to slaughter an eight year old girl and her family for a few months’ worth of coin. The two live by the golden rule of lawlessness: Steal enough gold, make your own rules. The level of infamy, if any is left for the GM to decide.
At the GMs preference, Dorman is a successful merchant or minor lord somewhat influential. The family was in route to the funeral of Ulna’s father. Dorman had made haste upon receiving the news, mistakenly traveling lite and under protected.
· The encounter starts (line of sight) as the player characters are 60ft from the carriage.
· The coachman is dead. Upon first impression he is seemingly at rest.
· Elian is within the cab, searching for items of value.
· Talen and the family are 40 feet within the foliage, and out of sight from the road. The perimeter of the grove is 60 feet from the carriage.
· Talen is in the midst of binding the family to a tree.
Talen becomes aware of the character group, if and only when he has finished binding the family. The completion of his task is represented by a Timeline Mechanic. Each member of the Dorman family is representing by 1d6. A Cue: (*Td6*), indicates when the GM rolls this mechanic. A single die total of 6 translates that Talen has successfully bound one of the family members to the tree located on the map. The GM rolls 3d6 when the encounter starts 1d6 for each member of the Dorman family and rolls one less dice on future rolls for any result of 6. Example: rolling two sixes indicates that two family members are bound. The next Timeline Mechanic only requires 1d6.
· If player characters venture into the grove and Talen has not finished his task, the likelihood that he is surprised is 3 in 6. The order Talen binds the family is Dorman, Ulna, Dorna.
Notes: So... It's been slow goin' for Trouble on the Road, my short road encounter (I'm callin' it an in-between adventure) for D&D Basic/LL. Finishing it by August is a no go. I haven't even begun to tackle the illustrations I wanted to create for it; I'm not even in the "warming up my formerly, semi-artistic abilities" stage (seriously, yes, as a creator I'm just as pretentious as that sounds). RPG Reviews have picked up, and I have a whole host of other excuses I'll just not mention... Honestly, sometimes I look at this blog and think ugh! I need to post something! So I'm going to attempt to kill two gnome thieves (evil procrastinating bastards they are), with one series of blog posts.
I cannot emphasize this enough: Comments, critique, grammar and spelling corrections, noting word usage errors (which I'm really good at) and whole host of whatever comes to mind as you read the above is welcome. Keep in mind: This part one other parts will be forthcoming as time allows. Any input and/or discussion is appreciated.