We hope you saw the sneak peek we shared from Enemy Within Vol 2 – Death on the Reik yesterday? If not you can find it here!
Today, we have the final article in the series on adventure hooks by Graeme Davis – the last four have proved very popular and we would love to hear what you think of this one over on our Facebook page? What other areas would you like to see covered in future blog posts by our WFRP team?
Town Mansion Adventure Hooks
The final chapter of Rough Nights and Hard Days took place in a noble’s town house, and your Characters may have occasion to visit similar grand homes in the course of their adventures. If and when they do, here are some adventure hooks to liven things up a little!
The following adventure seeds can be used if the PCs visit a similar mansion in another adventure.
Stopping the Rot
Any witch hunter and agitator worthy of the name knows that the Empire’s nobility is rife with Chaos cults. Slaanesh, the Prince of Pleasure, is the most popular of the Ruinous Powers among hedonistic aristocrats, but the others also find blue-blooded followers from time to time. Cults may operate under a variety of guises from charitable organizations to dining clubs, and many more are closely-guarded secrets.
A noble mansion makes a perfect base of operations for a hedonistic cult. Low-ranking members are admitted only to seemingly innocent events such as dinners and drinking parties; as they progress within the cult and become more trusted (largely by being guilty of deeds they prefer to keep secret), members learn more, and gain access to the inner-circle events, which can go as far as full-blown Chaos worship.
This kind of adventure can start with a missing person – a club member, perhaps, or a “paid companion” – whose last known whereabouts was at a party in the mansion. Getting in will take skill, guile, and connections, and finding anything incriminating will be harder still. Power and influence will be ranged against the adventurers, and they may find themselves under suspicion for all manner of crimes as the high-born cultists try to stop them, or at least discredit them. For an unexpected twist, perhaps the nobles who own the mansion are innocent, and the cult has sprung up among their servants instead.
From the Victorian adventures of A. J. Raffles to movies like The Pink Panther and Ocean’s Thirteen, dapper jewel thieves have stalked the mansions of the upper classes, seeming to be well-bred layabouts even as they pull off skilled and daring robberies. Once such character was Graf Joseph von Angendorf (a.k.a. The Wraith) in Nastassia’s Wedding. If he survived that adventure, such a gathering of the great and good would be hard for him – or someone like him – to resist.
The ball will be a risky environment, but one with a great many tempting targets. Such a concentration of wealthy nobles, decked out in their finest jewels as they try to outdo each other, might well tempt a high-class jewel thief to try a little sleight of hand. More likely, though, he (or she) will treat the ball as an opportunity to scout out the best targets. Then, as their owners sleep, the daring thief breaks into a noble mansion and recovers the jewels from their safe or strongroom.
Skilled rogue characters might even be commissioned to steal particular pieces of jewellery. There might be a dispute over ownership, arising from a contested will or a contentious wedding; the thief’s patron might have some dispute with the jewel’s owner, which can be satisfied by relieving them of a prized possession or holding it hostage; or an impoverished noble might simply need the money that can be gained by selling someone else’s prized jewels.
Needless to say, the valuables may be protected by magic as well as by locks, bars, and guards. Rumours of curses are attached to some jewels in the real world, and in the fantasy world of WFRP these curses could be all too real. The player characters may not be the only one interested in the loot, just as the Wraith found himself in contention with a group of Taggee assassins from Ind. All manner of complications may arise.
A Deadly Grudge
As the story of Gravin Maria-Ulrike and Baron von Dammenblatz has shown, a noble with a grudge is capable of stooping to almost anything, including blackmail, kidnapping, and murder. A noble family with enemies (which is to say, any noble family) might hire a group of adventurers as security consultants and bodyguards if they expect to be attacked. Like the hired guns of the Old West, adventurers have a slightly unsavoury reputation in polite society, but are known to have the kind of skills that respectable folk do not usually possess.
A commission to inspect and overhaul the security of a noble’s mansion can be lucrative, and is far less risky than an adventurer’s normal fare. A challenge to test recently-installed measures can be more dangerous, but still carries little risk to life and limb. However, if a group knows the secrets of a nobleman’s strongroom, or succeeds in defeating new security measures, they may find themselves in danger from their former patron, who now realizes that they can help themselves to the family jewels – or kidnap and even murder family members – whenever they please.
A contract to lie in wait for expected burglars or assassins, and capture or kill them, is far safer, even if the waiting can be tedious. On the other side of the coin, the adventurers may be hired to gain entry to the mansion of their patron’s enemy. Their objective need not necessarily be to kill their target or kidnap a family member: they might be looking for incriminating documents that are being used to blackmail their patron – or which their patron can use to blackmail his enemy. They might be hired, like the Dammenblatz agent in Nastassia’s Wedding, to drug their patron’s enemy and stage a scene that will lead to humiliation or even arrest. Or, in the tradition of the Assassins of Alamut, they might be ordered to leave a dagger beside his head as he sleeps, making it clear that he cannot feel safe anywhere and should do exactly as he is ordered in the note that the dagger pins to the pillow.
Like young people everywhere, the Empire’s young nobles have a talent for trouble. Unlike most, though, their parents can afford to hire skilled help to keep them in line, or at least to minimize the consequences of their bad behavior.
Usually – but not always – the sons and daughters of noble houses get into different kinds of trouble. Young noblemen tend to be rowdy: they go around in braying, drunken groups, harassing and assaulting anyone from the lower orders who crosses them, damaging property, and causing other kinds of trouble. A few fall in love with slumming, and develop undesirable ties to criminal gangs. Some, it is rumoured, even fall prey to the temptations of the Ruinous Powers, and find themselves enmeshed in Chaos cults.
Young noblewomen occasionally fall prey to the same snares, but their parents’ greatest fear is usually of a misalliance: betrothed as a baby to the son of another noble house whose political support is vital to the family’s future, a noble daughter may conceive an unsuitable passion for some other young man – at worst, a servant or tradesman – and the two may plot to elope. Frequently the paramour is genuine, and may even be regarded with sympathy by the concerned parents; all too often, though, the family finds that its daughter has been seduced by racketeers who plan to sell her into slavery or worse; or by the low-born agent of an enemy, to sabotage her long-planned marriage; by a rival who intends to hold her as political leverage; or by criminals who offer to ransom her back.
With all these dangers, the parents of a wilful noble child may well turn to a group of adventurers to make sure the rebellious teenager does not leave the house unsupervised, or to recover him or her from the house of another noble family, where he or she is involved in something deeply undesirable. With a small army of guards and servants, a mansion that is expecting trouble can be as formidable as any ancient dungeon.
Rough Nights & Hard Days offers five interlinked scenarios for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay written by series veteran, Graeme Davis. These can be played as stand-alone adventures, or combined into an epic five-part campaign, where the Characters become embroiled in a bitter dispute between two of the Empire’s quarreling noble houses. Rough Nights & Hard Days also introduces an entirely new playable species, and presents a variety of pub games to amuse and confuse your customers.
Rough Nights & Hard Days can be ordered here and includes:
- A Rough Night at the Three Feathers: a quiet evening at the riverside inn becomes very eventful indeed.
- A Day at the Trails: a much-awaited trial-by-combat becomes memorable for all the wrong reasons.
- A Night at The Opera: an evening of cultured opera descends into farce and horror.
- Nastassia’s Wedding: a celebrated society wedding does not go according to plan.
- Lord of Ubersreik: competing factions gather for a ball that quickly becomes a battlefield.
- Pub Games: one learns of the many pleasant pastimes of which one can partake in the local tavern.
- Gnomes: a mysterious, new playable-species is added to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.
All orders include a PDF.
Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd. © Games Workshop 2020