- The PC’s encounter an assassin in a lonely side street or alley, isolated courtyard, lonely field or copse of trees, forest glade, etc., or in the midst of a crushing throng, clearly attempting to complete an assignment, the nature of the threat posed by the assassin and his intent is evident only from his position and the manner in which he is armed, NOT having anything to do with how he is dressed, which should otherwise fit perfectly into the surroundings, the neighborhood and with any residents or visitors visible in the neighborhood, as well. The GM may decide that the PC’s must make a successful Savvy (Perception)/AWA check first to ascertain the nature of the encounter, why the NPC strikes them as noteworthy, before he describes the assassin and the apparent nature of his behavior.
- The PC(s) are approached with a request for professional aid/services. This works especially well if the PC’s have achieved a noteworthy reputation at least locally or are otherwise well-known in the area, and especially if one or more of them is engaged in a trade serving the public. If the PC’s are still generally unknown in regards to Fame and Reputation, then the NPC has come to them based on the recommendation of a friend, family member or friendly colleague. If more than one trade is publicly practiced for profit amongst the PC’s, the GM must choose the one that provides the best hook in regards to the current plot in his game.
- PC(s) approached by a NPC acquainted with the family with a request for aid/services in dealing with a personal matter that involves the PC’s (extended) family (especially if PC family is well-known in the neighborhood or village).
- PC(s) accosted for alms by (true/sincere) beggar(s)/hermit, exhibits old signs of physical abuse that might be either fresh or in the midst of healing (GM’s discretion).
- PC(s) accosted for “aid” or largesse by a Rogue beggar working a con of some sort (see Rogue trade description for ideas in regards to cons, also Merchant description for Tricksters in the Marketplace)
- Road blocked by funeral procession for roughly a full mileway *
- An official Herald cries “Hear Ye, Hear Ye!” and proceeds to announce in a large square or at a local crossroads during high traffic time the day of an execution to be held at such-an-square or such-an-crossroads at such-an-time (by the bells) of malefactors (to be generated by the GM, social rank, station and crimes to be announced just prior to the execution, nobles to be announced and beheaded individually, all others to be announced and hanged all in one fell swoop). Alternately, a special execution for an extraordinary crime (flogging with a knotted rope, burning, breaking on the wheel, drowning on the ducking stool, drawing, quartering, disemboweling, or compound methods); this sort of execution is generally reserved for the truly notorious enemies of the great noble of the region, the Church and/or the Crown. Alternately, a public punishment for malefactors by stocks, pillory, dung cart, branding, or maiming, all of the commonalty in class (specifics to be generated by the GM along with crimes, which in the case of craftsmen most commonly bear directly upon their crafts, individually just prior to carrying out the sentence. The actual setting is to be determined by the GM according to what is appropriate to the PCs’ location.
- An official Herald cries “Hear Ye, Hear Ye!” and proceeds to announce a new statute (decree/law) or its reissuance (especially common when a new statute is not being adhered to particularly well) in the squares before the main gates of a town or city, in any and every local market square and on the steps in the squares before great cathedrals, or at busy crossroads during high traffic time of day, then reading the text of the statute for all to hear. This becomes particularly interesting when the edict so read contains some provision that the PC’s are bound to run afoul of, if they haven’t already.
- One of the PC’s is tracked down by a bedel or constable or other (domestic or hundred/shire government) messenger serving the local alderman or justice of the peace, or sheriff with a Letter Patent dispatching him to take evidence, statement, or affidavit for local court case, or dispatching him and such others as he deems necessary to investigate a crime scene for the sheriff, or dispatching him to take the Coroner’s inquest into the matter of a death in the same hundred or elsewhere within the shire ◊
- Road or street blocked by a tangle of wagons and carts of local farmers’ foodstuffs, merchant caravan, and/or nobleman’s retinue and baggage train, wheels broken and/or thrown on various vehicles, beasts down/injured, goods spilled all over and owners arguing, depending on relative stations, (a result of “1-2” on a d10 indicates that there is some sort of nefarious character or criminal activity being concealed by one of the parties to the debacle, such as brigands about to or in the process of smuggling weapons and armor into a castle or town in order to wreak havoc and take the place over if they can, merchant(s) smuggling goods in without paying local tax or royal impost (tariff, goods lacking the royal cocket seal, etc.) The wrong-doers stand exposed in moments (d5 CS’s) after the PC(s) happen by, and situation quickly devolves in violence as the Bad Guys attempt to silence all witnesses who threaten their plan/operation, drawing all bystanders and passersby into the melée, or atleast the carnage.
- Encounter runaway livestock (goat, pig, cow, chickens, etc. – no horses); if a pig and in a town, the beast is fair game to be killed by any, the carcass to be redeemed by the owner for a cash payment of 4d., otherwise common practice is to turn it in to the local bedel or constable where the owner can redeem it. If the PC’s keep livestock of some kind themselves, this might be turned around so they are notified by a bedel or constable or other (domestic or hundred/shire government) messenger serving the local alderman or justice of the peace, or sheriff (chief shire towns only) that their livestock has been impounded and waits for them to come and redeem
- Way blocked by gathering of spectators guarding the path of a race (either foot or on horse) between (“1-2”) visitors of rival nations, (“3-5”) local rival lords’ retainers, (“6-7”) visitors and locals, or (“8-10”) local political rivals (Guelph-Ghibelline rivalry, or town-gown in university cities, as applicable or appropriate) (d10); or surrounding a fight or scuffle, either unarmed or armed (75/25%)
- 1 or more fleeing NPC(s) crosses the PC(s) path, AGL check to avoid getting run into, trailed by pursuers shouting the Hue and Cry, successful AGL check to keep from getting hit, a successful AGL check needed to keep feet if hit, otherwise both go down in a tangle of limbs and the PC has a chance to Grapple/Wrestle NPC to restrain to allow the pursuers to grab him (GM must determine crime committed and race, social class, and station of NPC), etc.
- Way blocked by gathering of spectators and well-wishers welcoming or bidding farewell (50/50%) to a great regional nobleman, high churchman, or government dignitary who is well-liked, or some similar great personage such as a great alien noble or diplomat who is or has been visiting the area
- Hawker/Huxter with a cart working the street, peddling drink or foodstuff, selling goods either new or used – shoes, clothing, hats, gloves, and other fashion “notions” and accessories (millinery, refurbished and cleverly mended, used goods mended well enough may be pressed and finished and sold as new, GM’s discretion, goods may be mixed in type); if on the road: encounter a regrator or forestaller buying up foodstuffs headed for market (illegal in period, but a law commonly flouted)
- Encounter a summary lynching, beheading, or mutilation of a knave/blackguard of some sort caught red-handed by a local constable committing theft or fraud of greater than 2s. in value or some similar capital crime, surrounded by the locals of the hundred/shire who participated in the Hue and Cry. The malefactor must be generated by the GM, with a [CHM att. mod., minimum 1]% chance it is a friend, [trade SL of main trade]% chance it is an acquaintance), add (trade SL) to this % if there are any Knaves and/or Rogues in the PC adventuring party
- Itinerant Players, Acrobats, and/or Minstrels working the street, performing and passing the hat for alms (4d10 for average trade SL), or on the road in progress to a major town or noble’s castle looking for a place to ply their craft, with a [CHM att. mod., minimum 1]% chance it is a friend, [trade SL of main trade]% chance it is an acquaintance, add (trade SL) to this % if there are any Players, Mountebanks and/or Rogues in the PC adventuring party
- Prostitute or Courtesan walking the street (2d10 for trade SL) travelling, dice for Station, the higher it is the less likely she is “working”, the closer she is in station to the PC(s) the more likely she is to stop and greet them, introduce herself (perhaps let slip where she might be found at need). Perhaps she is looking to improve her “situation”, to land a new patron. There is with a [CHM att. mod., minimum 1]% chance it is a friend, [trade SL of main trade]% chance it is an acquaintance, add (trade SL) to this % if there are any Courtiers, Players, Mountebanks and/or Rogues in the PC adventuring party.
- Encounter a single person clinging desperately to a runaway horse or other comparable mount, or one or more drovers clinging to a runaway cart or wagon, a successful AGL check on d100 required to avoid being knocked aside or down; if knocked down, another successful AGL check required to avoid being trampled as well; the identity of the rider or drover to be determined by the GM. Station results lower than common craftsman or farmer to be ignored if it is a commoner in the case of the runaway horse and rider, and no landbound results allowed; for the runaway cart/wagon, all nobleman results ignored.
- Encounter a friend, either (“1-3”) personal/family, (“4-7”) professional/trade, (“8-9”) neighbor/social or (“10”) religious/Church (d10) out on a (“1-3”) personal, (“4-7”) business (“8-10”) or domestic errand (d10). Perhaps on closer examination they find it is a case of mistaken identity (GM’s discretion).
- Encounter a beating being administered by a (private) force large enough to completely overwhelm the victim, lonely side street or alley, isolated courtyard, lonely field or copse of trees, forest glade, etc., identities of victim(s) and tormentor(s) to be determined by the GM. Those administering the beatings might be highwaymen, Knaves and others from the seedier side of society, or a local beedle accompanied by his constables schooling a recalcitrant or disrespectful malefactor, or the members of a local noble’s household expressing their lord’s displeasure to some individual (GM’s discretion).
- Encounter an acquaintance (“1-3”) personal/family, (“4-7”) professional/trade, (“8-9”) neighbor/social or (“10”) religious/Church out on a (“1-3”) personal, (“4-7”) business (“8-10”) or domestic errand (d10). Perhaps on closer examination they find it is a case of mistaken identity (GM’s discretion).
- Encounter some person of great local fame (recognized due to having seen him on a number of occasions), or even great regional or national fame recognized by heraldic device and/or sum of details of appearance and location encountered, or those in his train accompanying him (in accordance with common gossip), small crowd of well-wishers following along. Most people – even perfect strangers – commonly bid this person a Good Morrow. Scene to be resolved according to the PC(s) reactions. Perhaps on closer examination they find it is a case of mistaken identity (GM’s discretion).
- The PC(s) is mistaken by one or more NPC’s for (“1-2”) cousin or relative by marriage, (“3-4”) friend, (“5-6”) acquaintance, (“7-8”) wanted criminal or man of notorious reputation, (“9-10”) famous nobleman or government minister or member of the royal family, error to be revealed during roleplay.
- Encounter a rival in trade or in local society. Their prickly nature and any statements made by this person clearly reveal the nature of the relationship. Perhaps on closer examination they find it is a case of mistaken identity (GM’s discretion). †
- Encounter an enemy (jilted lover, ex-business partner, abandoned spouse, or abandoned child that has since grown up, avaricious creditor, deadbeat debtor, etc., as appropriate). Their prickly nature and any statements made by this person clearly reveal the nature of the relationship. If the enmity is hot enough (result of “10” on a d10), this may lead to open violence; it certainly involves direct slights and insults. Perhaps on closer examination they find it is a case of mistaken identity (GM’s discretion).
- Encounter a notorious wanted criminal or actual outlaw, successful AWA check to realize/recognize this fact.
- Encounter/recognize a notorious wanted criminal or actual outlaw, IF acted on, realize after the fact, on closer examination, that it is a case of mistaken identity.
- Bumped thoughtlessly in the street or on the road, on turning a corner or coming out of a shop or public facility, or on trying to pass within, at a social gathering, tavern, inn, etc., apparently by accident due to distraction or lack of attention (GM to determine race, class and station of culprit randomly), to be roleplayed out if PC takes issue and pursues the matter. Use the Knock-back rules from the tactical play rules (comparative STA) to determine what the result of this impact is, whether anyone gets knocked back or down. Perhaps the impact is sufficient to warrant an AGL check on d100 to keep feet or fall to the ground, OR it is accompanied by some derisive or snide comment (perhaps, but not necessarily a cover/distraction for a CutPurse, result of “1” on a d5, Sentry/AWA check to Perceive the fact) – again, to be roleplayed out if the PC takes issue and pursues the matter.
- Encounter a Merchant train of carts and/or packhorses with armed guards. Merchant(s) may be local or foreign (still from within the realm), or may be alien (foreign country), may represent a single family, limited partnership, or an entire company/guild, may or may not include smuggled goods lacking the royal cocket seal that acknowledges taxes paid in customs at that border or port (GM’s discretion, “1-2” on a d5), may or may not be accompanied by fellow travellers seeking comfort in numbers, perhaps including pilgrims (GM’s discretion, 50/50 chance).
- Encounter a pilgrim or group of pilgrims, all with requisite garb (staff, scrip, and robe), equipped with letters from their bishops as passports, all headed to the same series of shrines, or having the same single shrine as their ultimate destination (GM’s discretion, race, social class and station, etc. to be determined, as well).
- Encounter locals (free commoners) on the road headed for another local village or nearby town (as applicable, GM’s discretion), going to market or to visit family (especially for a special family celebration) or to court owing suit, or to court to present a suit. There is with a [CHM att. mod., minimum 1]% chance it is a friend, [trade SL of main trade]% chance it is an acquaintance, add (trade SL) to this % if the any characters in the party are from the particular locale and there are any commoners in the PC adventuring party
- Encounter foreigners (from another region of the realm) or aliens (GM’s discretion which country, 50/50 chance) either on their way to another point in the local area or passing through to distant points (GM’s discretion, 50/50 chance). If the latter, they may be headed to the same ultimate destination or a destination close enough by it to make travelling together for the great majority of the road desirable or attractive to them (depending on Reaction checks, GM’s discretion).
- PC(s) inadvertently step out of a shop, away from a merchant’s stall, out of the front door of their inn, or their home, the stables/ostler’s, or the like, and due to timing end up directly in the path of a random NPC (GM’s task to roll and determine race, class, and station), requiring a successful AGL check for the NPC to keep from plowing right into the PC, if failed, an AGL check required for the PC and the NPC not fall in a tangle of limbs, to their mutual embarrassment, to be resolved according to relative race, class and stations by actions and roleplay. Use the Knock-back rules from the tactical play rules (comparative STA) to determine what the result of this impact is, whether anyone gets knocked back or down. Perhaps the impact is sufficient to warrant an AGL check on d100 to keep feet or fall to the ground, OR it is accompanied by some derisive or snide comment.
- Promising rumor of employment in one of the PCs’ main trade due to a sudden need for that type of labor (GM must determine the reason for the sudden market pressure, rise in demand).
- Promising rumor of interest in matter of affection perhaps leading to love, or interest in a more physical affection and dalliance, leading nowhere (GM’s discretion) – race, class and station to be determined by the GM, and character to whom directed among the party members (including NPC’s) – this might be a complication to throw at a character who is already married or involved romantically with another. This may have to wait on a planned encounter with another group of travellers including a NPC of the opposite sex to be attracted to one of the PC party. Not necessarily a suitable encounter for every GM’s game.
- Promising rumor of (“1-3”) local municipality, (“4-5”) local ranking clergy, (“6-7”) local manor lord, (“8-9”) local tenant-in-chief or (“10”) royal building project to commence in the immediate area (within 5 miles) in the next (d5 +4) weeks.
- Promising rumor of up-coming local social event, faire, fête, clergy investiture, guild induction, wedding celebration, anniversary, etc., hosted by (“1-3”) local municipality, (“4-5”) local ranking clergy, (“6-7”) local manor lord, (“8-9”) local tenant-in-chief (“10”) the Crown in the next (d5 +4) weeks. Fertile ground for presenting or furthering any number of plot hooks the GM may have in place or a need to introduce.
- Character(s) suddenly enter a room in a residence or inn (any), alley, clearing in a wood, meadow (as deemed appropriate to the setting for the game of the moment), whatever is most entertaining, most shocking, etc., for whatever purpose and find either a PC or NPC (especially household staff, male or female 50/50 chance, regardless), whether being about to get intimately acquainted, in the midst of getting intimately acquainted (in flagrante delicto), or having just gotten intimately acquainted (GM’s call or d10; 1-3; 4-7; 8-10). If they are not married, the PC must decide if they are to be turned over to the Church and charged with fornication, to be prosecuted in canon court. The GM must time this encounter carefully, and carefully choose who the participants are – of course, if a PC provides an opportunity …. Whether or not this subject matter is considered acceptable for the gaming group is up to the GM to determine, some groups handle it fine, others not so much, usually under the “it’s just a game” clause – some gaming groups prefer to keep their games more light-hearted. Not necessarily a suitable encounter for every GM’s game.
- A plot is overheard by PC contact/acquaintance (as appropriate if a member of a Social Trade) or the PC in person (GM’s discretion) concerning the existence of an imposter posing as visiting or foreign native nobility, alien noble diplomat, dignitary of the Church, wealthy visiting merchant, or the like (GM’s discretion); concerning robbery of (“1-3”) a local noble manor lord or (“4-5”) great tenant-in-chief or (“6”) one of the royal treasuries (king’s own personal wealth as opposed to that kept by the Exchequer for national expenses), (“7-8”) treasury of a great churchman, religious house, (“9-10”) merchant or craft guild, etc. (d10); concerning embezzlement or some other betrayal within (“1-3”) a merchant company or guild, or (“4-6”) from a local manor lord, or (“7-8”) a great noble or tenant-in-chief, or (“9-10”) embezzlement of funds from one of the branches (departments) of royal government (d10); concerning theft of important (tenant-in-chief) noble seal(s), government (departmental) seal(s), official dies for minting coins, or similar objects (rod, orb, and/or crown?) important to the realm and the king; concerning assassination or abduction of the king himself or one of the heirs or other members or ministers of the king’s immediate family and/or household, some great governmental dignitary (diplomat), one or more of the king’s chief ministers, one or more of the great regional tenants-in-chief (head of either the Crown or baronial party), one or more great nobles or manor lords who are key in local (shire) politics. The GM must determine the veracity of such gossip, or whether it was actually news from someone in a position to know. Characters of the social trades might be able to determine who they have overheard and/or use their resources to check on it veracity for them. **
- A plot is overheard by PC contact or the PC in person (GM’s discretion) concerning plan for abduction of rival(s) (as above) for ransom to be negotiated; concerning murder to hasten inheritance or eliminate rivals to inherit, to eliminate rivals in a marriage suit, rivals at law, rivals in craft or merchant business, especially rivals within a guild. The GM must determine the veracity of such gossip, or whether it was actually news from someone in a position to know. Characters of the social trades might be able to determine who they have overheard and/or use their resources to check on it veracity for them **
- Encounter a NPC(s) hiding amongst animals in the barn/stable, or amongst bales of belongings in cart or wagon, or pile of same gathered and waiting to be loaded up on packhorses; they lie about who they are (subject to Savvy/AWA checks to discern), at least by class and especially station, as he is born to the landbound class and his lord is not a kind one, OR he is a slave hiding from his owner(s); in either case he is a runaway; despite the fact that slavery is illegal according to the Church, the slave may well belong to a visiting alien from a land where there is no such law; a pair of serfs, man and wife, newlyweds), fled due to complications of mercheta (license to marry) and primer noctis (the lord’s right to her “first night”), the lord dallied in providing his permission, not wanting to grant the license, they got married on their own by a sympathetic priest who has an on-again, off-again relationship with the lord for just such reasons; primer noctis was considered a pernicious practice by many even in the period, and was practiced far more on the Continent than in England specifically, BUT the ruling class of England came from the Continent, and it would not be surprising to find a lord base enough of character to insist on such a right, although it would be notable for its rarity; whether or not the subject matter is considered acceptable for the gaming group will be up to the GM to determine, some groups will handle it fine, others will not, usually under the “it’s just a game” clause – some gaming groups prefer to keep the games light-hearted. Not necessarily a suitable encounter for every GM’s game.
- Encounter an abduction in progress (victim to be generated by the GM, [CHM att. mod., minimum 1]% chance it is a friend, [main trade SL]% chance it is an acquaintance) in some lonely side street or alley or rural path/road, isolated courtyard, lonely field or copse of trees, forest glade, etc., or even under the cover of a crushing throng.
- Religious zealot, poor friar or hermit, or actual PC-type Mystic preaching the message of the Light in the square before main gates of a town or city, in market square or on the steps in the square before a great cathedral, or at a busy crossroads during high traffic time of day, demanding that folk mend their ways, warning that the Darkness threatens to crush all in its path, in the case of the Mystic, perhaps grabbing one of the PC’s by the wrist, forearm, upper arm, sleeve, etc. and delivering a personal message/warning/piece of advice from the gods (to be used especially in the event that the PC’s do not have a Mystic in their party). A perfect encounter for a character in danger of accumulating Vice scores sufficient to overshadow his Virtues.
- Press Gang, nobleman and retainers/officers bearing official Commission of Array Letter Patent grabs the PC(s) and impresses him into service as a sailor, even if he be unskilled as a Mariner, in pursuit of outfitting ships for war with neighboring or other alien nation (the PC’s should be located somewhere near the shore or a port town or city, and such conflict must be in the works in the GM’s world at this time); alternately, impresses him into service for border war, to put down a native up-rising, or perhaps go on foreign campaign in an alien country. Those of noble blood can protest, if heritage can be proved, and those who can prove privilege of clergy (wearing the garb of a priest or other religious is a good start). Otherwise, only those who are not resident in the shire and can prove it may protest. All others are taken to be equipped and march to the hosting site. Although service is compulsory to all who are taken, all are to be paid at royal wages (better than average) through their commissioners or their officers. Perhaps the Pressgang is a sham, and they have no Commission and no Letters, but intend to sell those they take into slavery once they get abroad. This is likely to come out when they take a nobleman and fail to let him go again, but decide rather to sell him anyway or simply keep him for ransom (GM’s discretion).
- Incognito NPC Rogue and/or Knave-type whispers to the PC indicating he would like to meet and talk at a particular place and time, or more likely, some uninvolved third party is given a penny to convey the message. IF the GM knows the character can read and write and it is believable that the NPC have similar skills, he might pass a note. This is not found until the PC removes outer clothing or has cause to adjust or restore his appearance/apparel. The message or note concerns a (“1-3”) personal/family, (“4-7”) professional/trade, (“8-9”) social/neighborhood or (“10”) religious/Church matter, perhaps in connection with a rumor overheard (GM’s choice as to the exact nature of the matter)
- NPC Rogue and/or Knave-type passes a note/letter/document to the PC (as above) BUT does not realize that he has mistaken his identity and passed it to the wrong person †
- Accosted by a drunk looking to beg the price of another drink.
- Encounters a casual local or foreign traveller who is actually a CutPurse (Road), or a working CutPurse tries his skills on the PC(s) as Stealthy as he may, the PC(s) only being alerted if he fails or they make their AWA check(s).
- Encounter Draughtlatch or Roberdsman either as he enters or as he is leaving the house that is the scene of his latest crime (may require AWA checks to alert the PCs), OR a HorseThief (or thief of any sort of livestock at all) as he commits the crime or as he is departing with his ill-gotten livestock.
- Encounters a Roberdsman/mugger and is grabbed from out of sight with Surprise as they lie in wait and pulled into a lonely side street or alley, hidden court, deep alcove or tunnel, or (out on the road) from copse of trees/bushes/brush at the roadside where the owner has failed to obey the king’s writ regarding the maintenance of the verge.
- Encounter a slave coffle with whatever guards were deemed adequate by the Merchant, who is absent himself. This is an illegal operation, slavery being outlawed everywhere in the Domain of the Light by the Church (most appropriate to take place in concealed locations like subterranean labyrinths and in deep wildernesses, and anywhere under the cover of night to conceal slave transport from public view and knowledge). The GM must determine if the captain of the guards (mercenaries) can read and is carrying his instructions in writing, or if he is acting on verbal directions only, and whether those verbal directions were given him directly by the Merchant or (most likely) through a functionary so he who is responsible can disavow all knowledge in case the operation is discovered. Steps taken by the Merchant’s lieutenant to conceal his own identity and the link back to the Merchant are up to the GM to determine, if any. This depends on how smart and motivated the lieutenant is in the GM’s opinion.
- The PC(s) encounter a situation designed to test their strength in one of the Virtues. The exact nature of the situation must be determined based on the specific Virtue tested.
- Encounter a dead body (GM must determine race , social class and station), raising the Hue and Cry is required by custom and law and can avert suspicion falling on the finder, but it is up to the PC’s to do so or not, summoning the Coroner of the borough or shire is also required, and making a report to the mayor or sheriff, providing affidavits, to be resolved according to the PCs’ actions and roleplay. Perhaps the body is of a (“1-3”) personal/family, (“4-7”) professional/trade, (“8-9”) neighbor/social or (“10”) religious/Church friend or acquaintance (d10). ††
- PC(s) inadvertently gets in the way of a magick, coming between a practitioner and his target just as the dweomer is loosed, the PC(s) become the new target; this presumes that the caster did not know the target personally and was only targeting by eye, specific magick up to the GM. This NOT an encounter the GM should resort to with ANY regularity. The caster should be different every time this encounter is used, UNLESS the PC’s happen to be in the same location where it occurred before, in which case it should be the same, OR unless the GM is specifically trying to trot a practitioner across the PC’s trail by “chance”, keeping the effects of the magick(s) from doing direct physical harm, and using it as a repeat gag for a little bit of humor with the hopes that they eventually get to know the hapless Wizard, who is likely to be cross for allowing his quarry to get away unscathed, and get involved in some adventure through him. Results for characters who are on the road are far more likely to include a member of one of the Druid trades or a Witch rather than a Wizard.
- Encounter rival or enemy’s “doggebolds” (bully lads or actual mercenaries) or Assassin who Surprise the PC(s) by Stealth to administer a beating or attempt to murder them. This requires the GM to give a little thought to the ‘who’ exactly and the ‘why’. If the party has been adventuring for a while together, it is likely they have left a few people disgruntled in their wake for the GM to choose between. ***
- Fleeing NPC crosses the PC(s) path, requiring a successful AGL check on d100 to avoid getting run into, pursued by Night Watch, constable and/or ‘law worthy’ local knight of the shire (with or without guards in livery, GM’s discretion), accompanied by local citizens shouting the Hue and Cry, another successful AGL check to keep their feet if hit, otherwise both/all go down in a tangle of limbs providing the PC with a chance to Grapple/Wrestle NPC to restrain to allow the pursuers to grab him (GM must determine crime committed and race, social class, and station of NPC). A serviceable hook to get the PC’s to ask “what is going on?”, “who did what?”.
- PC(s) are stopped and questioned by Night Watch, bedel and constable(s), or hundred constable and/or local ‘law worthy’ Knight of the Shire with or without liveried retainer(s) (GM’s discretion) looking for a Knave/Roberdsman, CutPurse, or Draughlatch, brigand/highwayman or other notorious person(s) of ill-repute who is said to have passed through their vicinity in the previous mileway (may be prefaced with the passing through of a suspicious character for which the GM might allow an AWA check to notice – either the PC(s) missed him, or no such character passed by.
- The PC(s) is mistaken for (“1-2”) cousin or relative by marriage, (“3-4”) friend, (“5-6”) acquaintance, (“7-8”) wanted criminal or man of notorious reputation, (“9-10”) famous nobleman or government minister or member of the royal family by one or more NPC’s, error to come out during roleplay.
- Encounter a band of Knave-Rogues, brigands, and/or highwaymen, etc. planning their adventure(s) for the night. Perhaps one or more are known to Rogue and/or Knave PC’s in the party, the party’s approach (roleplay) determines how this progresses, whether the NPC’s discover the PC’s close by, perhaps approaching, perhaps spying on them.
- Evening cheap (early evening, only, till c. 9pm), which may shut down for the view of the local law, and then either reopened under cover or moved to another more secret spot and reopened for the “black market” of the evening or for the week, where the Merchant-fences may also be found.
- Back, side, cellar door open at a Merchant shop, inn, tavern, pub, or common alewife’s door found open or seen to be busy with traffic going in and out (with a lookout for the Watch or local constable) receiving the society of Rogues and Knaves, for thieves to find fences, the dregs of society to find food, drink, and “entertainment”: gambling (most commonly dice or “tables” – backgammon) and loose women.
- Encounter a fight, barroom brawl, duel, or pitched battle between (“1-3”) wards or villages/hundreds, (“4-5”) local street factions (Rogue and/or Knave gangs), (“6-7”) political rivals (Guelphs-Ghibellines, town-gown), or (“8-10”) rival lords’ retainers (d10).
- Encounter a programmed haunting, stored emotional energy that replays a violent event from the past on its anniversary. This cannot be interacted with but, if the PC(s) are interested in finding the means, the spirit of the victim in the event can be awakened from the program in order to be freed.
- Encounter a lawful ghost/haunting, this is a spirit with full consciousness and ability to interact with the living who has unfinished business of some sort, generally encountered lamenting the fact that it cannot move on and has yet to find anyone willing to help bring it peace and put it to rest by completing its business or allowing possession so the business can be completed “in person”, so to speak.
- Encounter an unlawful ghost/haunting, this is a nasty soul generally steeped in Vice of some sort, who walked in the deeper Shadow in life, if not actually in Darkness itself, and for purely selfish reasons now refuses to let go of the Mortal Sphere and move on; any unfinished business it perceives itself to have most likely revolves around some unsatisfied desire, perhaps related to its prime Vice, but not necessarily (GM’s discretion); however any interaction with this spirit goes, it seeks any means it can find of getting an even stronger grasp on the Mortal Sphere so it can continue its existence as desired – securing the means of becoming one of the more physical forms of un-dead, or even to possessing a body it considers desirable and evicting the rightful soul to which the body belongs.
- Street urchin(s) working as business criers (“touts”) ‘touting’ the quality of the ale at a particular alewife’s place, the food and entertainment of a given inn, the quality of nearly any kind of victuals for freshness and flavor, a local tavern, prepared or as raw materials, touting a known local minstrel and the establishment he is playing, a company of players and the drama or acts they perform, or the like.
- Street urchin(s) looking for work as a local guide, linkboy, porter, messenger, recommender of people for various reasons and services, especially true recommenders/-resses or a general liaison to the local society for the finding of any specific sort of personality or professional above or below on the social scale – and always with a sharp eye out for opportunities to bring his friends onboard for specific jobs as well – the GM must determine their nature/motivation, whether they are out to clean the PC’s out and go to ground, or on the up-and-up, or if one or two associates might be up to no good in the event friends are brought in for a task; sufficient pay may make for honest laborers, unless excessive wealth is flaunted (GM’s discretion)
- “A blast from the past”, encounter with someone the PC(s) have not seen in literally years, someone with whom they either “had a past” were friends, enemies, cordial casual acquaintances, casual rivals/enemies, or etc., but now resurface for the PC(s) to discover that a) time has changed them for better or for worse, b) they are EXACTLY the same as remembered, or time has merely mellowed them somewhat from what they were, making them a bit easier or worse to get on with … The GM must decide WHY they are where they are and if this is the means he wishes to use to present one or more hooks to bring the NPC into the PC(s) lives on a regular, intermittent, or permanent basis.
- Encounter a special local social event (viewing/funeral/wake, faire, tournament, dubbing, hand-fasting/wedding) which is clogging the streets with traffic, the greater the social class sponsoring the affair, the greater the radius of the traffic congestion.
- One of the PC’s drops an item, especially a personal item or a pastry or other treat or food item, and a pet, whether dog, cat, hawk, exotic bird, monkey, etc. snatches it up and runs off with it, eventually leading the PC to the owner of said animal.
*Roll for deceased’s race, class and station, ignoring all Landbound results and all station results lower than “Franklin” or “Affluent Craftsman/Merchant” among freemen, or below “Abbot/Prior” or “Monsignor” among clergy, or below “Lord” (baron) among noble stations, cause of death should also be determined, as the PC’s are likely get around to asking if they do not ask right away.
**If an “individual” encounter is rolled, roll as a “small”, a group of some sort is required for the conversation between them to have been overheard (if the PC overhears; if the news is secondhand, “individual” results are perfectly acceptable, larger groups indicating other witness’ and friends have come along to lend the story weight, as corroborators.
◊These all require that one of more of the characters in the party be a knight with £40 per year of income from lands, all of which must lie within the shire (‘law worthy’ knight of the shire)
†Notes and documents passed may concern illicit or otherwise covert activities, meetings with smugglers (times and places of goods changing hands), high court or local (shire) political intrigues, alien diplomatic intrigues, secret under-handed business deals, con games, assignations between secret lovers, blackmail, plans for assassinations or murder, the planning of robberies, or kidnapping and ransoms (a backdoor into the plot scenarios listed), perhaps even regarding the Church of the Darkness and its meetings, officers, plans or current activities, and on and on.
The content of the note or document may not state the matter but may indicate the matter due to the nature of the letter of document, which might be a forgery of an official Charter or Letter Patent, whose nature as a forgery might well not be immediately evident, requiring the status of the parties noted and the nature of the rights granted to be researched to see how they currently stand, and how the letter or charter might change the situation. In regards to illicit plans and activities these papers may be very brief and/or vague, even cryptically so. Nicknames have likely been assigned to protect identities in the event of the papers falling into the wrong hands (as they have in this case), even ciphers if the GM has the interest to explore setting one up. These are not likely to be sealed or signed, either.
Here is a great opportunity for the GM to complicate the game or tease the PC’s with a hint of affairs about which they know nothing, and about which there is little, if anything, they can do unless they dig in and start doing some serious research. Unless this is done, it is likely the event passes them by before they unravel it.
††Roll for deceased’s race, class and station, cause of death should also be determined, as the PC’s are likely get around to asking even if they do not ask right away.
*** This rather an extreme encounter, especially for the daytime, and should only be implemented if the PC’s involved/affected have been in play to have acquired enemies who feel this strongly about them. Assassination attempts are likely to be made with Stealth by some worthy professional, or the best the GM deems the NPC responsible can afford, allowing the PC one or more AWA checks to discover his danger (no less than 2 AWA checks is fair to a PC caught alone in this situation), the Assassin having to get close enough to size up his target, evaluate him physically, and then choose the time and specific target on the body to try for once it comes time to do the deed (GM’s choice of weapon – hand-held melée weapons give the PC a better chance if he is attacked while alone). Actual Assassins should only be sent by wealthy opponents who have reason to burn with a passionate hatred for the PC(s) that cries for their deaths, and then only when the PC’s have personally done something recently to warrant such final and personal retribution.
Beatings should be conducted by Stealth first to gain Surprise and be conducted like any other battle, according to the rules for tactical play and combat (Chapter 4. of Part III.) with an emphasis on the NPC’s trying to hurt and Stun the PC into inaction so they can beat on him, stopping only after he is knocked unconscious or he looks a right mess. Family or professional enemies or rivals might get together to waylay a lone PC, pair, or trio, knock them about (or try to), maybe even knock them out and leave them beaten and bloody, not necessarily to cause any real serious injuries unless the PC’s have done something themselves to the NPC’s personally and recently to warrant it by way of reprisal.
The last idea bulleted above can be a great plot device for working in an encounter with a NPC with whom the PC’s would otherwise have no real cause or impetus to meet and speak. It is rather a blatant plot device, however, and not one the GM should use with any frequency. Like many of the ideas contained among these examples, each entry here is a dash of spice which, once used, encountered and experienced by the PC’s, the GM should essentially discard it until such a time as he thinks he might safely use it again, or, better yet, a variant of it. Combining these ideas and compounding them into something a bit more sensational is always an option that can end up being very entertaining, as well. Some of these encounters require attention to timing.
Many of them are only suitable for nighttime, especially after the curfew has occurred (c. 9pm). While phrased in such a way to imply that the PC’s are the ones who are doing the moving about, it is more likely (although not always true) that the PC’s are in for the night with the rest of the good people, which requires that any malefactors come to their location, instead – likely with the idea of preying on them, or those with whom they are dwelling in the case of an inn or guesthouse, or when staying with friends or generous acquaintances. Perhaps the encounter takes place as the NPC’s pass outside the PC’s window, or under it if he is on an upper storey. Obviously, when the PC’s are staying at an inn or are at home, or in some base camp on the road, or wheresoever they may residing for the moment, the GM again needs to do some creative adaptation and apply some imagination. Fights could take place in the common hall or in the hallway outside the PCs’ room(s), or just outside the common garret or hall dormitory, or in an adjacent chamber/room between other guests, perhaps even purposefully to gain their attention, or in the kitchen, stables, cellar, pantry or buttery between staff. PC’s and NPC’s alike can be bumped into or bump into others in the isles between tables at inns, pubs and taverns, and on stairways anywhere, gangways in ships or gangplanks letting on or off them. The PC’s could out of or down from their windows to enter or start a fray.
In the same vein, meetings with friends and acquaintances or enemies can take place at church or in the local chapel, in the square before the church or local chapel, or streets running into or out of those squares, in any town or city street or market, especially the bakery or the butcher or local water source (commoners, especially the landbound), or in public buildings like bathhouses, town hall in borough towns, wardmote hall in boroughs, towns or cities, guildhall if the connection is professional, graveyard or tomb, ossuary, etc. paying respects to the dead, and the like. A funeral procession could pass under or by a PC’s window, or that of his shop (as applicable), by the open door of the hall of the inn where he is staying or having dinner or supper, or by the tavern or pub or vendor’s cart where he is having a drink and/or snack.