by Eric Gibson
© 1994 Alliance LARP, Inc.
A local merchant named Jonathan Crane has run a herb shop in Ashbury for many years. Recently a trader from Sutherland offered Crane 50 gold for the hand of his only daughter Rosalyn. That same day Rosalyn was proposed to by a shy healer named Daniel Parker. Rosalyn returned home with the wonderful news only to find that her father planned on marrying her off to the rich merchant. Rosalyn was mortified. She loves Daniel and cannot bear to be away from him. Later that night Rosalyn ran away to Daniel's house where the two plan their elopement. They have hired a boat to take them across Lake Hollym where they will be legally married.
Crane will hire a group to retrieve her and will tell them a lie about Parker. The party must take Rosalyn by force or convince her and Parker to come see Crane and profess their love in order to receive the bonus money. The party will have to swear to Rosalyn and Parker that they will protect the couple and escort them to their boat safely. If they do, Parker will give the party his treasure.
If the party does not get into the last room within an hour and a half, the couple will sneak out the back door to get to their boat and get married. Parker will leave everything behind except his spell book and some minor treasure. Even his family is not aware that he plans on leaving.
ROLEPLAYING BY THE CAST
It is important that the cast attempt to distract and keep busy as many players at one time as possible while still being true to their character concepts. None of the characters care about noble titles and if ordered will generally try to worm out of the order and construe it in some way opposite of what the nobleperson intended.
The NPCs should allow (and encourage) the players to split up by staying together most of the time and not noticing when players leave. The party's thief should be able to sneak into the bedrooms to search while the rest of the party is talking to the NPCs.
It is also very important that things don't move too quickly or too slowly. The NPCs shouldn't volunteer too much information at first but should not refrain from offering it if time is running out.
Jonathan Crane: previously described.
Daniel Parker: Daniel is the master of the house. He is a human earth scholar three levels above the party. Parker is a quiet man who likes to keep to himself. He is very interested in current events as he seldom leaves his study. He would greatly enjoy the opportunity to parlay with an intelligent group of people who can inform him of the local action. However, his awkwardness in social situations keeps him from leaving home much. Parker has loved Rosalyn for years ever since she starting delivering packages from her father's store, and they have both enjoyed each other's company. Daniel would never harm Rosalyn and will react violently if there is any attempt to harm her or take her away. He will not cast necromancy. He is a very intelligent, soft spoken reasonable man. He will become very sad rather than angry if he discovers that his pets have been harmed but will become enraged if his family--especially the children--are harmed. His room has lots of skulls and other items that the party might think are necromantic but are there because one of his interests is anatomy and biology.
Rosalyn Crane: Rosalyn is Jonathan Crane's daughter. She has spent her whole life with her father in the family shop. She has always loved Daniel but was too shy to say. She instantly accepted his marriage offer. Rosalyn is a shy and delicate girl who is desperately in love with Daniel. She would rather die than be without him. She has no in-game skills except Read and Write.
Tobyas the Butler: Tobyas is a Celestial caster three levels above the party. He should be an elf (if the ears are available) and will have both Resists. Tobyas is a very prim and proper butler who believes in protecting the privacy of his master. He will not disclose any information about the master or the individual rooms of the house. If Charmed, he will bring the party to the master but will never betray his master's interests.
Malcolm Parker: Malcolm is Daniel's older brother. He is a fighter on level with the party. Malcolm went slightly insane during his years with the Royal Army after years spent serving in Ravenholt and now acts with some schizophrenia or alzheimer's disease (NPC's choice) but neither should be overacted to the point where he becomes impossible to have a conversation with. He knows that Daniel and Rosalyn are getting married but he forgets how to get into his brother's chambers, the names of his brother's pets, and sometimes the name of the butler. He loves his children very much and his insanity has never made him forget them. He thinks he's a great poker player but he's really terrible and will lose constantly (so the players can get some treasure).
Elizabeth Parker: Elizabeth is Malcolm's wife. After Malcolm's mind went, she was forced to move her family in with Daniel as she could not support the whole family. She resents having to live with Daniel as she has always been a very independent person. She is not particularly fond of the children, seeing them as a burden. If the party lets on that they believe Daniel to be a necromancer she will pull one of them aside and and confirm their evidence and tell them that they live in fear of him. In reality, she has maneuvered Daniel to naming her sole inheritor of the estate. She will allow the party to capture Rosalyn and take all of Daniel's possessions if they wish. She is a healer three levels below the party.
Randal Parker: Randal is the 17 year old son of Malcolm. Randal is the family troublemaker. He loves practical jokes and is a kleptomaniac. He loves to scare his little brother Thomas and anger his mother. He does not care much what the party does as long as they don't search under his bed where he keeps a stash of things he has stolen. He cares little about Daniel and will tell the party that Rosalyn is in the house. He will go along with the necromancer story as long as it's interesting. He takes any opportunity to disrupt things and this includes waylaying party members who happen to be alone and stealing their possessions.
Thomas Parker: Thomas is the 12 year old son of Malcolm. He is the family peacekeeper. He denies that his uncle is a mean necromancer but also claims that he is scared of him and his room full of scary skulls and things.
Realizing that Rosalyn is with Daniel, Crane rushes off to hire a bunch of adventurers to retrieve her. He tells the party that she has been kidnapped by an evil necromancer. He offers the party one gold per level of the group to return his daughter safely home. He gives the party directions to Parker's house and begs them to be quick before they "do something awful to her."
If asked about Parker, he will describe what he looks like say that Parker often visited the store to buy herbs and "components", gave her a drink and then she went off with him. Crane will state that he knows the man is a necromancer because as soon as Parker left the store, Crane chased him outside and had his limbs withered. Crane will tell the party that he followed the two unnoticed and discovered the location of Parker's house. (Of course, almost all of this is a lie.)
The marshal leads the party to the entrance of the building which is in the estate of College on the outskirts of Ashbury city. The house is well constructed, one story tall, and visibly Warded. There is a small porch with steps up to the front door. All the windows are shuttered and closed because of the weather.
At the front door are the two family "pets." The pets will act agreesively towards the party when they arrive. It is possible to get past the monsters by "feeding" them. The rust monster will be happy with anything metal, including a small box or other metal object, but the magic eater needs to be fed a certain level of spells (scaled for the party).
After either dispatching or distracting the two pets, the party can knock on the door where they will be met by Tobyas. Tobyas will ask their business and otherwise do butlerly things. If the party is aggressive he will be very unacommodating but eventually he will let the party into the waiting room (or else there is no module!).
Malcolm is in this room drinking some wine when the party enters. He is talking to Randal. His weapon is on the floor beside him.
Tobyas will offer tea to the guests. He then leaves to tell the master that there are visitors. If the party attempts to follow Tobyas he will do all he can to encourage them to stay put or he will not go to see the master.
A minute or so later Thomas will peer around the corner. Five minutes later Tobyas will enter the room and tell the party that the master is regrettably occupied with his studies and will be unable to make a personal appearance for some time. Perhaps the party should return tomorrow. He invites them to stay as long as they wish, provided that they refrain from bothering the master. He will ask if they want refreshments and will provide them if requested.
When Tobyas leaves, Elizabeth will enter and assault the party with questions about their intentions.
The hallway from here leads to three other rooms. In the hallway next to the door that leads to the master's room is a tripwire armed with a Sleep gas poison. The people in the house know that it is there as a precautionary measure but they've gotten so used to it they just step over it by force of habit and thus forget that it's even there.
There are two beds in this room, with toys scattered around the place. Under Randal's bed is a small pouch with the treasure he has stolen. If Randal is caught, his father will give the treasure to the adventurers to "teach Randal a lesson about stealing."
Malcolm and Elizabeth's room is fairly nondescript. There is a cabinet in the corner with some odds and ends and some treasure. In the cabinet is Daniel's will naming Elizabeth as his heir. The cabinet is trapped with a Paralysis gas poison.
On the wall of this room is a dial that can be turned to one of ten numbers. (If asked, none of the members know which number is the right one and they all will claim that Daniel changes it from time to time). There is an door behind the dial but it is obviously very well locked.
If turned the dial will have certain effects which will change from group to group. It is completely random and there is no puzzle for the players to figure out; it's just trial and error. However, the affects are fairly harmless.
One of the dial settings opens a closet (which cannot be opened in any other way), letting loose a bone golem. One of Daniel's experiments allowed him to create this scalable bone golem, but he can't seem to duplicate the results (so that the players can't get the ritual). This encounter is to scare the party into thinking that indeed Daniel is a necromancer. However, if they are smart, they will note that healing will have no affect upon it, so it probably isn't an undead. The golem will attack the party since that is his order. The family will hide from it. They call it "Herman."
Note that if Herman is destroyed by the party, the bones will fall to the ground. They will not "turn to dust" as undead bones would; they merely become unanimated and fall to the ground in a heap.
Once they figure out the dial, they can get into Daniel's room. On the opposite side of this room is a door leading to the outside. It is camoflagued from the outside and is Warded by the same Ward that covers the entire building. This is Daniel's private room. The room also contains a bed and a dresser with some treasure within.
If the party's time limit has run out, Tobyas will sneak back into the main room and lower the Ward for a minute or so to allow Daniel and Rosalyn to sneak out the back door.
If the players have been aggresive and have hurt the family in some way, Tobyas will have come back here and alerted his master (who can open the dial door from the inside). When the party enters, Daniel will be here, spell packets in hand, ready for a battle with Tobyas at his side. If the golem is alive it will be here as well. Rosalyn will be hiding behind a chair.
If the players have not been aggressive, then they may have a chance of surprising the couple who will be sitting at the table eating. Tobyas will be serving them. (Note that it is important that at some time during the module Tobyas comes back to this room unobserved by the party!)
If the party can convince the couple to come back and talk to her father, the group should travel back to the tavern for some roleplaying. If convinced he can't stop the marriage, Crane will pay the party the money he promised anyway. If Daniel is killed, Rosalyn will cry and curse the party for killing him.
Note that the party needs Tobyas' Ward key to exit the building.