Narrative (to be read aloud) is in blue,
(*Td6*) = Timeline Mechanic, described in Part One
-Encounter Introduction- (*Td6*)“Beside the occasional farm, your travel on the old road is unmet and uneventful. Groves of deciduous trees highlight the countryside. The occasional gust of wind services to cool the warmth of the mid-morning sun. For 100 hundred feet the road meanders up a modest hill…
As the hill plateaus you see the rear and side outline, of an enclosed passenger carriage. The two horsed carriage is off the right side of the road. The horses idle.At the perch of the carriage a boot and pant leg hangs over the road side, presumably of a coachman with his back against the frame of the carriage, seemingly at rest.”
The player characters are approximately 60ft away; approaching the carriage from the rear (Starting position marked by S, bottom center).
If the player characters exercise caution: (*Td6*)If the player characters exercise caution by inquiring more about the carriage or the scene in general, emphasize that the carriage is one of luxury; enclosed and crafted of study wood and iron. The carriage is more common to a city living, than country roads. The carriage door is parallel to the road, at the center of the cab. The oak box step beneath, is trimmed in copper. The carriage has one window (2) on each flank toward the rear. Each window is shrouded by a beige curtain, fastened on the inside. The seat of the perch is at the front and somewhat above level of the frame carriage.
When the player characters are within 20ft: (*Td6*)
When the player characters are within 20ft, perform a Hear Sounds check. For Labyrinth Lord, classes which don’t have this mechanic; House rule: rolling a 1 on a D6 indicates success. Unless a player initiates the check the nature of the roll is unknown to the players.Success entails that the player character will hear Elian scrounging about the cab, hear the squeak of the iron suspension and once heard, notice the slight lateral shift of the carriage against the wheel. In short the character is certain that someone is inside the cab.
If the player characters hail the coachmen or carriage: (*Td6*)
The coachmen’s body is positioned with his back to the player characters. The body is upright on the perch. The head and shoulders rest against the frame of the carriage. The coachman is clothed in leather and dark brown fabric, which makes the stain of blood less obvious. If the player characters attempt hail the coachman, Elian emerges from the cab.
If the player characters sneak up on the carriage: (*Td6*)When the player characters are Within 10 feet they will certainly notice a pool of blood on the ground below the front wheel and which the origin of this blood is of the coachman.
Once within 10ft roll 1d6 for each character. Any result of 3 or more indicates one of characters have spooked the horses. The horses are a bit high strung due to recent events and neigh loud enough to alert Elian to the presence, which he emerges from the cab.In the event that the characters have snuck all the way to the carriage unnoticed and if they should happen to open the carriage door Elian will be surprised. His reaction and whether his guilt is revealed, such as drawing a blood stained short sword, is up to the GM.
If the player characters hail the coachmen or their presence is revealed, read the following
“As you approach (or as you hail the coachmen), the carriage shifts and the side door opens. A shirtless man in leather breaches, gloves and boots leans out from door. He sees you and steps upon the block of step beneath the threshold, with a gloved hand guarding the scabbard of his short sword.The passenger says (or shouts if further than 20 ft. away), “What an eventfully damned day! And who are you? More robbers I suppose?”
The passenger puts his hand to the scabbard of his sword and steps off the carriage; the shift of weight causes the body of the coachman to fall face first from the perch to the road.”
Optional narrative, pending the player character’s awareness (if they had snuck close enough to notice) that that coachman is dead:“The coachman is dead and not from the fall. You can now see the top of his head is a mess of blood and flesh. A savage looking cleave-mark at the crown of the skull exposes brain.”
-Character Encounter: Elian- (*Td6*)Elian spins his “tale” of recent events (perhaps a bit too enthusiastically) while hefting the coachman off the road and inside the carriage. Elian’s story is horribly inconsistent. Upon the first read through, GMs should take note as to what is bolded.
1) Elian claims that he never left the carriage during the (fictitious) assault. An examination of the short sword on his hip (hastily wiped), and/or gloves, reveals blood spatter, suggesting otherwise.2) Later, Elain claims to have attempted to help the coachmen with his wounds. In addition to supposedly never leaving the carriage, he didn’t even take the coachman down from the perch. The coachman’s wound was certainly enough to cause instant death.
The GM can play this a number of ways. Recommended, is to commit to a character that is immodestly self-consumed and slightly pompous. The following dialog is a guideline, but there is a lot of room to make the Elian’s story more or less consistent to what has actually transpired.Would one of you be kind enough to give me hand (with the body) here?
I’m sorry you had to see that, but thank the gawds you’ve come along. We’ve had some trouble here-some bandits killed my man, in front. I was so frightened until you came, I didn’t even think about leaving the carriage. I couldn’t see much of it from my view in the back. Windows here out the back sides. Poor desperate souls tried to rob us, I believe. Whoever they were, the rabble fled once my other man confronted them. He gave chase on horseback into that thicket of trees!Elian points to a large grove of deciduous trees (supposing) northwest of the carriage. Indeed it is the grove Talen has taken the Dorman family. If the Elian’s talk spurs the player characters to charge for the grove, Elian will shout, “No wait! It may have been in that direction,” now pointing northeast, feigning uncertainty.
If the player characters remain with the carriage: (*TD6*)Elian introduces himself: as Elian Stormspire, the highest paid actor and talent of the land, performer for kings, lords and ladies of fine standing. GMs should consider adding as much theatrical flair as they are capable, but a few jazz hands and a bow should be sufficient. Without being asked and once introductions have concluded, Elian continues the ruse saying that his journey is to a nearby city, where his acting and stage talent have been procured for a season festival.
If the player characters press Elian for more information: (*Td6*)In regards to the scuffle, the number of bandits, weapons, or ask, if the bandits were on horseback. Elian will claim cowardice and which he heard the scuffle better than witnessed it, never leaving the safety of the carriage. Once the coachman is inside-Elian finds a shirt (surprisingly) close to fit and puts it on.
If the conversation remains civil: (*Td6*)And if the player characters seem to believe him, he will certainly offer the group employment as escorts for the remainder of his supposed journey, once Talen returns.