Friday, November 12, 2010

Introduction: Solving a Kidnapping?

I mentioned in a previous post that I would be running a game for my daughters and our friend Zoë. We have had one session and I'm looking forward to a second one, possibly this upcoming weekend. I wanted to write a little about the characters that we created together and what the first half of their first adventure was like.

I can post the details of all three characters later, but let me just list the basics.

  • Reese :: female halfling / 1st-level fighter
  • Olivia :: female elf / 1st-level wizard
  • Zoë :: female elf / 1st-level wizard

Since O & Z were playing the same race and class, we discussed the possibility that they could be sisters and the two loved that idea. I insisted on starting the game with all three characters knowing each other and assuming a bond of friendship. I didn't want to role-play the introductions or some sort of contrivance to get them started.

When I was brainstorming adventure ideas and reading over the chart in the DMG about urban encounters, I rolled up a kidnapping event involving a parent seeking help from the PCs for their missing child. I started rolling up stats for a minor NPC father and built a story around this guy who would hire them to find his son.

His name is Jata and he is a 1st-level commoner. His profession is scrivener and he owns a small shop with a few employees. His 9-year-old son, Nik, is missing. Jata claimed at first that he was kidnapped, which turns out to be a lie.

The truth is that Nik ran away from home because Jata is not the nicest guy. When business is not going well, Jata loses his temper and is abusive. Nik left his father a note. A number of clues in Nik's room and elsewhere in their home make this clear.

After the team investigated at Jata's house, they asked questions of his two mousy employees and also go visit the local monastery where they are currently investigating the kidnapping.

In Zethul, I have themed the Monk character class a little. Monasteries and monastic teachings are commonly accepted in the city, but there is a unique arrangement between these organizations and the royal family. To offset the difficulty of keeping the peace within the city walls and preventing crime, all teaching monasteries are required to be registered with the King. As part of renewing and keeping their registration every year, a certain number of young monk men and women are required to serve as citizen constables. They are fully deputized by the city guards and must patrol the streets, prevent or stop crime, and maintain order. These monasteries have each become their own little police station.

This frees up the city's regular militia and soldiery to patrol and expand the borders around the city and it's environs. As a win-win solution, it keeps the monks busy and provides a much-needed service to the community.

The monk most directly in charge of the investigation admits he has almost no leads and is low on the man-power to properly question every lead. But he does give the PCs a copy of a list of all of Jata's associates and clients. Through this list and further interviews with his employees, it's suddenly clear that one of Jata's aristocratic clients was always friendly towards Nik. Perhaps she has seen him recently?

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