The Cost of Doing Business
This scenario can be adapted to any level or size of group. Just adjust
the opposition accordingly. I feel it would be best for 4-6 characters
of lower-middle to mid-middle level.
A family member of a noble, Lord Ansi, has been kidnapped and held for ransom.
Lord Ansi needs a party to deliver the ransom and return the family member.
The kidnapper Reaver is very greedy and is only out for money. Reaver
has gotten a better offer from an enemy of the noble lord. The enemy, Lord
Takemiya, has given the kidnapper a bonus to mislead the would-be ransom
droppers. The party must figure it out.
Places in the scenario
Lord Takemiya's Tower: This tower is located east of the Kidnapper's Keep.
A mounted party would take 3.5 days to travel there while Lord Takemiya's party
would take 7 days.
Lord Ansi's Castle: A modest castle where the good and noble Lord Ansi lives.
It should take the party around 10 days to travel from this castle to the
Reavers's Keep: The central point to this adventure. Never will you find a
more wretched hive of scum and villainy. It is the home of brigands, bandits,
Eastern Road: The Eastern road is the road that heads East from the
Kidnapper's Keep. This is the route that Takemiya's party takes.
Southern Road: The Southern road is the road that heads South from the
Kidnappers Keep. This is the route that kidnapper will say the Takemiya
Lord headed off in with the kidnapped family member.
Western Road: The Western road is the road that heads west from the
Kidnapper's Keep. It continues to the Noble Lord's Castle.
NPCs in the scenario:
Lord Ansi: A good and noble man who loves his family as well as his subjects.
This love has been perceived by the Lord Takemiya as a weakness to exploit.
Currently, the two lords are vying for power and it is a critical point in
Lord Takemiya: A repulsive man who will use almost any means to achieve his
ends. Unfortunately this tendency often forces Takemiya to do the job
himself out of fear or distrust. He will use the Lord Ansi's family
member to gain political advantage over Lord Ansi.
Reaver: A former bandit, brigand, and professional thief, Reaver has now
gone "ligit". Instead of shaking down merchants for protection, Reaver
has gone into the insuring "noble person's safety" industry. This includes
returning kidnapped family members, stopping blackmailers, safeguarding
merchant caravans. When he does this, he extracts a toll from those he is
"Helping". Recently, a member of Lord Ansi's family got kidnapped and
conveniently found their way into the Reaver's hands.
Rumors are a buzz around the castle. Some say that Lord Ansi's son has been
kidnapped by brigands. Others say that Lord Ansi's son has run away after
a long lost love. And even more say he has gone off to join the war. In
any case, you are talking old times with some of your friend's when you get
the message. Lord Ansi would like to speak with you.
- If the party doesn't accept the offer then perhaps some other adventure
will drop in their lap. If they accept, goto 2.
- Castle: When players arrive at the castle, they treated very well and
with great respect. They are offered food and wine while servants fuss about
their persons (Brushing off clothes, polishing the old boots, combing hair,
- The meeting: The setting for the meeting will be very formal yet
very personal. I recommend describing the castle as having good quality
trappings and many items are simple yet elegant in appearance. Quality
over appearance. Lord Ansi is polite but frank with party. His son has been
kidnapped by the scumbag Reaver. He demands 10,000 gold pieces for the safe
return of the son. Lord Ansi can't dare to send official troops or ranking
members of the clan to "ransom" the son. Therefore, Lord Ansi is asking if
you are willing to answer the call. Character's volunteering for the
expedition will be given a excellent light war-horse to carry out the mission.
If player's haggle, the Lord will almost be forced to submit. He doesn't have
magic to give to the players, but, gold, weapons, horses, land, and rank are
available. Players may be much better off volunteering as word will get out
about their demanding payment. Lord Ansi will extract a vow from each
character as follows: "I, your name, vow to return Lord Ansi's son at
whatever the cost." After the vow has been made, a chest containing 10,000
gold pieces will be given to the character's to pay off the Reaver. The
character's will be asked to leave right away. Lord Ansi will warn the party
to be careful in the Reaver's land. The Reaver considers himself a Lord.
Reaver's Keep is east of Lord Ansi's castle.
- The Reaver's Land: While in the outskirts of the Reaver's territory, the
party may run across the local "watch". They will approach that party and
demand a "toll" to cross the land. This should be 10-50 gold pieces per
head. The idea is to get the party use to paying through the nose for
everything in the Reaver's land. Every watch the party runs into will make
- The Reaver's Town: There is a modest town surrounding the Reaver's Keep.
The town is surrounded by a tall stone wall. Nobody is let into the town
unless they have a pass that has been signed by the office of the gatekeeper.
The gate guard's will say they can't come into town without permission and
will charge the party 100GP+ to tell them how to get permission. It will
cost 200-300GP to have the guard arrange to get the gatekeeper to see them.
The gatekeeper will charge 500GP for the pass.
- The Reaver's Keep: Once inside the town, the party must arrange to see
the Reaver. It should take the paying of several officials to arrange the
meeting. The meeting will be scheduled for the next morning.
- The Meeting with the Reaver: The Reaver will have a large entourage
escorting him everywhere. When he enters his throne room many horns blow
tribute to the king of thieves. Many servants run about performing small
duties and unimportant tasks. The character's will be allowed to sit on the
floor while the king towers above in his tall throne. Finally, the Reaver
will announce that Lord Ansi's son is no longer visiting the "castle". If
asked for information, he will uncharacteristically give the party free
information. He will say something like, "I really shouldn't tell you
where the son went to, but, you may find it interesting to take the road
South of town." Now this is not a lie or a deception in the sense that he
really isn't saying anything specific. He doesn't know that the party won't
find the road going South as interesting. Also, it is truthful that he feels
that he shouldn't tell the party where the son went to without getting paid
Note: The Load Takemiya has paid the Reaver 15,000 gold pieces for Lord
Ansi's son and an additional 2,000 gold pieces to misinform the party about
heading South to get the son. The Reaver will keep this promise unless
offered at least 5,000 gold pieces or more. An observant party should quickly
reason that the information could be false and offer money for the real deal.
Note: I highly recommend describing the Reaver's Keep as gaudy looking and
fake. The Reaver and his servants where brightly colored clothing which is
of poor quality. Basically, the Reaver isn't royal and is projecting what
he thinks a king should look like. He is smart enough to know when people
are sucking up to him. He loves it! If the party tries to trick him into
giving up information by catering to his ego, he will still give the false
Movement: Lord Takemiya's party will move at a rate of 1 movement factor (MF)
per day. The party should have horses and no wagons, and will get 2 MF per
day. Lord Takemiya is one day ahead of the party in the Eastern direction.
It takes 7 MF to get from the Reaver's Keep to Takemiya's tower. So Takemiya
will arrive at his tower in 6 days from today. If the party takes the South
road, they have to travel back to Reaver's Keep if they want to head East.
This is due to the mountain location of Reaver's "kingdom". If the party
wants to travel over the mountains, cut their movement to 1/4 to 1/2 MF per
Before leaving the Reaver's Keep, the party can find out the following
information if they search for it and pay for it.
Rumors found in Bars:
- Lord Ansi's son left town yesterday (alone).
- Lord Ansi's son was taken by an enemy of Lord Ansi.
- Lord Ansi has sent an assassin to kill Reaver. He is a member of
a supposed "ransom" party.
- Someone who recognized Lord Ansi's son saw him shackled to a wagon
yesterday. Not sure which direction they were going.
Rumors found in Reaver's Keep:
- For a LARGE amount of gold a staff member will reveal that Lord
Takemiya took Lord Ansi's son and made some sort of secret deal with
- A staff member will sell the party a map to the location of where Lord
Ansi's son is held hostage. NOTE: This is a false map that could lead to
either a building within Reaver's Keep or somewhere outside of town.
Rumor found by asking the Guards at the South Gate:
The guards don't remember anyone leaving the South gate recently who matches
the description of Lord Ansi's son, Lord Takemiya, or the wagons.
Rumor found by asking the Guards at the East Gate:
The guards do remember someone leaving the East gate recently who matches
the description of Lord Ansi's son, Lord Takemiya, or the wagons. For an
additional sum of gold they will say that this happened yesterday.
Closing notes and possible outcomes:
- The party goes South and doesn't figure it out until it is too late.
Lord Takemiya arrives safely to his tower. The party may try to assault
the Tower or try negotiation. The GM should choose the best ending to either
situation. Lord Takemiya will want assurances and concessions from Lord Ansi.
Remember, Lord Takemiya is not trusting and can't be trusted.
Assault should be very tough.
- The party catches Lord Takemiya and his party. A fight may/will happen
unless they can convince Lord Takemiya to give it up. The fight should not
be too difficult for the party. You should figure out what to do if the
party captures or kills Lord Takemiya. Perhaps Takemiya has a trick up
his sleeve to escape capture or death. If the players manage to kill the son
watch out. Lord Takemiya will use this to his advantage and against the party.
He may go as far as mending the fences with Lord Ansi in order to appear
innocent. He may imply that the party was working with the Reaver and even
offered to ransom the son to Lord Takemiya.
Should the party save the son, Lord Ansi will be grateful. He will follow
any commitments he made to party members, but, the word will get out that
they forced him. Party members who volunteered get to keep the light
war-horse and are given letters of mark against the Reaver and his kingdom.
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Email: Alexander Forst-Rakoczy