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So, Wednesday night I had my first session of my new mini-campaign.

 

Caravan Calamity is set in Maniria.  A trading caravan of wagons and horses is travelling between Jaraz and Yolanda, when one morning the head of the caravan, Road Baron Abbanes, is found dead in a pond.  

 

The PCs

The PCs all work on the caravan:

  • Kullen is a Ditali Wenelian who is the cook and healer of the caravan.  He has been with teh caravan, and with Abbanes, for years.
  • Arlette Scalecoin is a textile merchant from Jubal.  She is very likeable, likes creature comforts, and this is her second season with this caravan.
  • Dara is an entertainer with a rough past that has left her suspicious of others.

 

Key NPCs

  • Abbanes, aka "Honest Benny" is a roguish figure who has made and lost several fortunes over the course of his life.  He has schemes within schemes, and half the caravan is currently blackmailed into working for him.  
  • Lyobun is benny's extremely high strung assistant who knows exactly how much money is invested where.  Neurotic and loyal, he is the mirror image of Benny.
  • Bui Six Point is the head of the caravan guard.  He is a Pralori, he is tough, and he is mean.  I described him as "Jayne from Firefly, on an elk."
  • Mosscalm is a female hunter hired recently as a scout.  Very private, and not good at social interactions.  She's much better at staying motionless in a tree until game wanders by.
  • Lady Featherjoy is an aristocrat from Selgos travelling with the caravan and constantly complaining about the lack of luxuries.
  • Toff Redscroll is a scholar from Solung who may or may not be a fire mage.

 

The players all started the game knowing this was going to be a murder mystery, that it was going to be "PG-13", and that none of teh PCs were going to be the murderer.

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Session 1

 

Session 1 I went over character sheets, the basics of the HQ rules, and introduced the players (Kullen's player didn't know the other 2).  And then we got into it.

 

Here was the setup:

  • A morning like any other, Lyobum frantically goes to find Kullen, one of the longest serving and more trusted members of the caravan.  He also finds Dara & Arlette.  He tells them all that he just found Benny, dead.
  • A 10 minute walk away, they find Benny dead in a pond
  • They find fake bite marks on his body.  After some investigation, there is no obvious sign of death (i.e., no wounds).
  • Lyobun tells them that Benny had a powerful magical bargain with the Elves: If Benny is killed, the Elves will avenge his death.  Now that Benny is dead, the Elves are coming.  If the murderer isn't discovered before the Elves arrive, Lyobun worries they'll just turn the entire caravan to mulch.

The players quickly went to work:

  • They decided (adding a LOT of glorious detail, I might add) that they were terrified of Six-Point taking control of the caravan.  They built him into being a bigger power-hungry threat than I originally planned, but that's fine with me.  So, they need to explicitly back Lyobun as the temporary head of the caravan.
  • They recruited Mosscalm the hunter to help with the physical investigation.  I'm not completely sure why they decided to trust her, but they do.
  • Lyobun found the body, which makes him a suspect, but he's also the least assertive, most loyal guy on the entire caravan, so none of them think he did it.

 

The ACTUAL murder mystery will be relatively simple to solve: Lady Featherjoy poisoned Benny in an effort to take over his spy network that he has operating throughout Maniria.   Toff saw her do this in secret, and is trying to decide whether to keep his mouth shut, make a deal with her, or denounce her.  Six Point is a meat head, similar to the low-intelligence cops one often finds in murder mysteries.

 

I plan to use the benefit rules to have the PCs slowly build up enough evidence that they can link things together and accuse Featherjoy.

The fun will be how many red herrings and distractions I throw at them along the way.  For example, there will be an "ogre scare", and that Benny was murdered by evil chaos worshippers.

 

So far, so ok.

 

Wednesday will be Session 2, and it will be much longer in terms of true gameplay, as the rules and setup are taken care of.

 

Everyone is having fun so far, which is cool.

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