In short, this homebrew was intended for beginner GM's. The story contains a variety of elements in sequence that gradually go through different terrains, battle situations, and other challenges to allow a DM to become familiar with the rules.
Unless anyone opposes... you make your way to the only multi-story building other than the barn and knock on the door. A few moments later a jovial plump woman opens the door and smiles as she greets you. "Hello young ones! What can I do for you? " Teri peers into the building and notices the dwarf, Roughrider, sitting at the table with a cup of tea sitting before him. He wears some official robes, like those of a policeman or a paladin. "A room for the night? Well I suppose I could have the boys cuddle up. Now young miss there, of course we can't have you mixed in with all of them. You're welcome to stay in the guest room. But, if you're going to be using the bunkhouse, that's for workers. I'll ask you to give me some help in the morning to pay off the debt. How does this sound? "
Mama D looks surprised and then a bit annoyed by Thervold's question. " No, Sonny, this is not a hotel...." She laughs at the second part of your comment. "Commonplace it may be, but it's still work that needs to be done. I can see you're quite the jokester. Anyways, the water pump is out by the barn and the food line is set up outside of the grand stands. As for entertainment, that starts in the morning, don't you worry. It's going to be quite a rodeo this year. "
You are assigned to various tasks around the festival to ensure things run smoothly. You gain a good idea of where things are and of the most prominent competitors. As you pass by tents near where Roughrider is staying, some people begin to recognize you.
"So you're the stand-in's who didn't earn their coin? Just had it handed to you? Interesting. How is ol' Garry anyways? " The reactions are obviously mixed, but none seem less friendly to you than your bunkmates.
At the end of the day, you feel that you have earned a well deserved rest and you settle in to the bunk house. Edelle has trouble sleeping, however. Isolated again from her allies due to her sex, and carrying the group's dragon coin, much rides on her shoulders, to say nothing of the larger picture with the two Kronos. The rest of the group feels a palpable discomfort in the room. The ranch-hands are staying awake in their beds, just watching you. Some times they will ask a question. "From Startville, eh? ...When did you leave?... Hear there was a nasty storm that way about then?..." Eventually, they quiet down and let you rest. You think, perhaps, they are just nervous or excited for the Rodeo in the morning.
You awaken early in the morning as the ranch hands get up to go about their chores. They direct you to a few different things that can be done to help out.
List of Chores:
The men need help loading the animals into chutes from the pens. This task requires strength and the ability to work with animals. They need someone to become familar with the schedule and key locations around the area to direct visitors. A good memory and personability are important here. Next, they need an attendant to check in the competitors and show them to their bunks in the barn. The ranch-hands inform you that they will be staying there with Buttercup. That person needs to be similarly personable, but more importantly, they need to be observant in their searches for any contraband materials that could be used to cheat. Finally, the feast opening night needs to be prepared. This is a job requiring a delicate touch and a wisdom about the delicate art of food preparation.
Casvian awakens in the morning. After chewing on the special herbs he was given for a moment, there is a loud popping noise and his vision returns, like hearing after being underwater, he is back to full capacity just in time for chores.
Casvian awakes and to his surprise he can see. He is so happy, then he remembers the chores. "Oh well I guess the easy life is over." He then goes to find a job that does not involve socializing. Loading the animals from the pens seems like a good idea.
Thervold directs people about. He revels in the social chaos of sending people off in different directions. The people with dragon coins, Edelle included, are sent toward the table where Teriwynth is set-up. He takes a close look at each coin, checking for counterfeits. He then takes names and statistics of the competitors. Some of the stories these people have about gaining the dragon coins are fascinating. Teriwynth thinks of ways he can spin these stories into his performances. While all of this is going on, Alric and Casvian lead the animals into smaller pens and take individual beasts into the final chute where they are about to be released.
Thervold reaches into his pocket and admires one of the coins that he found in the water just a couple nights ago. Someone in the crowd walks up, looking at the coin. "Ah, you're one of the competitors as well? Going to register right away, I imagine? "
Edelle says hello to Teriwynth as she hands him her dragon coin. She is directed toward the barn where several bunks have been set up. There is also a box for accoutrements at the foot of the bed. Several men and women are already in the barn, and a few more come in behind you. You recognize one of the ranch hands as he comes in. There is a hush that falls over the crowd as a dwarf with a large ornate belt makes his way in and takes the empty bunk on Edelle's right. He introduces himself to you and extends a hand to shake. "Rufus, but people around here call me Roughrider. I'm the winner of the Wyvern Rodeo here three years running. I look forward to competing with you. "
"Indeed, but you realize, of course, that this is not just a show of strength. No, one must have wit, be quick on their feet, and must be pure of heart. These are the qualities of a true winner. " Roughrider pauses for a moment. "Pardon me, I do tend to preach and philosophize. It's part of the job, I suppose. I'm sorry, but I didn't catch your name Miss...? "
Casvian & Alric:
As you are loading the calves into the pen for the children's activities, Casvian pauses for a moment. A headache, perhaps. He reaches up to his ears, but pauses for a moment. He can hear incredibly well in this moment. He eavesdrops on a conversation whispered across the arena. It is between two of the ranch hands you have been working with. "Jim's in the barn now, yeah?/ You bet, the coin was the real deal, so they had no reason to doubt it. He came up with some cock and bull story about a kid in a well./ Alright, so which horse is his?/That there, you have the trank?/Yup. That should keep this ride nice and easy for him. Let's get this going before someone sees. " Casvian repeats this message to Alric as his senses return to normal. Alric quickly assesses Casvian's condition, and he thinks that the superior senses were a one-time deal brought on by deprivation and the herbs he has been eating.
Sorry for being so rude Rufus, I'm Edelle Flexhorn.
And while this rodeo thing is pretty new to me I'll be giving it my best go. With an arching of my back and flourish of dexterity Strength isn't my thing, I'll see how my wit and purity stack up in the competition
Do you have any tips for preparing at this late stage?
Roughrider smiles at the woman, clearly impressed by her "I don't think you need my tips, but I have always heard that it is best to calm the mind and think about something else before a test. Fortunately for us, we have the feast tonight to keep us distracted." Roughrider absent-mindedly sets out some ornate robes for the festivities. You recognize these as being the garb of a religious man.
Thervold stops a competitor before he hands in his coin to Teriwynth at the registration table. He asks the young man what the prize is "Well, for starters, you get bragging rights of being the best in the land, but if glory isn't your thing, they say that the magic belt given as a prize protects you from harm. And, of course, there's the cash prize taken from the proceeds here. The coffers are quite full this year with the delay pushing the rodeo back. People are just bursting with excitement Hey! Wait a second, aren't you supposed to be the guy directing people? Shouldn't you know this already? " The young man waves it off and registers with Teriwynth who takes a moment to pat the handsome young man down for any forbidden items and check his bag.
Teriwynth looks at the sun and realizes that it is about time to close up and start the qualifying event. Everyone else seems to be registered. He looks to Thervold, who clutches the last dragon coin in his hand. "Well, are you joining up, or not? "
With the last name registered, the horns begin to sound and Thervold barely has enough time to set down at the last bunk before being filed out toward the arena. The crowd is enormous. Maybe a thousand or more people mill about, snacking, conversing, and making merry. Some groups wear like clothing of the same colour. These groups sit nervously together and wave as their corresponding competitor enters the ring to take part in the first event. Before any of this starts, Mama D enters the tower with the announcer. Suddenly, her voice booms over the crowd. "Welcome everyone to the eleventh annual Wyvern Rodeo!" There is much cheering as people hurry to their seats. The crowd settles into quiet after a moment. Mama D speaks again. "I would like to thank you all for coming and I want to wish everyone luck as the days go on. Thank you. " More cheering. Suddenly the voice changes to that of a nasally speaking man. His voice is not unpleasant, but something about it seems fake. "How about another round of applause for Mama D everyone! Yeah! It looks like we're going to have a great competition this year. Now, as you know, each of these athletes has been chosen by the Wyvern herself over the past year. As we go between events, I'll be sharing some stories with you about how these brave men and women came to be awarded with their dragon coins. We will start with the reigning champ, Mr. Rufus RedHammer, but folks around here call him the Roughrider. " With this there is much cheering as Roughrider walks out into the centre of the ring wearing his belt and waving to the crowd.
The nasally voice reads: "Roughrider has been reigning champ at this rodeo three years in a row. His latest act that earned him a Dragon coin was on investigation all the way north in Royaleton. This was a matter of a missing woman. She had been missing for days, and Roughrider found her moments from death and rescued her out of the hands of Guilders who had left her to die in a forgotten warehouse. The catch? This young lady was actually engaged to be married the next day. She was so grateful, she asked Roughrider to deliver the blessing and now, that happy couple is hear in the booth with me today and they have an announcement. " There is a pause now for a few moments of breathless anticipation. Finally, a duo of voices are heard in the air. "We're pregnant!" The crowd erupts and is brought to their feet cheering as Roughrider waves once more and leaves the arena.
As the cheering settles down, the voice returns. "Alright folks, without any further adieu, let's get this rodeo started! "
Teriwyth does his duties as Usher but otherwise has no real interest in watching people wrangle Wyverns. He does clap with the rest of the crowd when roughrider tells his story and nods appreciatively.
Alric walks purposefully across the walkway in front of the grand-stands, scanning the crowd for any faces he recognizes. Casvian tags along and they come across Teriwynth, looking bored. He joins them for something to stay occupied with, but he can also tell that something is about to happen. The initial scan of the crowd is fruitless, but Alric suspects they are on the opposite side of the arena with the contestants and workers. He, Casvian, and Teriwynth cross over that direction. Alric sees two of the men standing next to the arena drinking as they watch the first rider go. They are conversing casually as the three of you approach.
The first event, bareback riding begins easily enough. The first three competitors successfully remains on the horses for the required eight seconds. Roughrider is next in line and he manages to stay on, but the horse gives him quite a hard time. He manages to pull off a strong landing though, and comes off of the horse with some flare. The next two competitors both fall off in less than four seconds. Finally, Edelle and Thervold are announced and asked to take their place on the horses. three (3) ride checks and any other actions you would like to take. I will be posting a map hopefully tonight after family supper.
Male Half Elf Fighter 1/Sorceror 4/Dragon Disciple 2
Wyverns are the lesser cousins of true dragons. They are intelligent, though not particularly bright. Normally Wyverns are aggressive brutes, but here im not so sure. I saw those men messing with one the other day, and it only asked for help. I wasn't able to find out more before it flew off, but I know there is no way a "Wyvern Rodeo" could become a regular event without some cooperation. Even if you could catch a wyvern once, it would come back for blood as soon as it can, and if you kill it, well, they aren't exactly common stock. So most likely, a wyvern is volunteering yearly for this. Which means we have more that a few questions for those louts.
So, do we want to ask first or just shake 'em down?
Thervold clenches his teeth and holds on for dear life. He wishes he was anywhere else other than on this stupid Wyvern and thinks the rewards really aren't worth this. He realizes this might have been a stupid thing to do.
Edelle is released into the ring with a powerful horse. She thinks that the announcer called it "Highbrow" or something like that. The ride is a thrilling challenge. Her mind races and her body flows along with the movements of the horse...
that is until the last two seconds....
The horse delivers an unexpected twist and Edelle is tossed several feet into the air. She attempts to wing herself back onto the horse, and she very nearly succeeds. Her foot lands back in one stirrup, but the force of her fall means that she can't quite swing back into the saddle. She has one last hope. She drags her one arm along the side of the horse as her body sinks. The horse nearly tips over onto her, but this slow fall is enough to keep her off of the ground for last of the eight seconds. The crowd is in stunned silence for a moment as the judges contemplate. Finally, an announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, in a marvelous display of skill, Ms. Edelle Flexhorn just barely makes it into the next round! " The crowd roars and stands on their feet for this display of prowess.
Moments later, the ring is cleared and Edelle sees her allies standing by the arena. Alric looks quite upset, but Teriwynth is ready to congratulate her on a successful ride. He winces horribly in time with the crowd. Edelle has just enough time to look back and see Thervold thrown from his mount in the first few seconds out of the gate. He lands flat on his face and gets a mouthful of dirt. Adding injury to insult, the horse he was riding, Karma, bruquely lands on top of Thervold with a stomp that very nearly misses his rib cage. Instead, Thervold has the wind knocked out of him and nearly loses his lunch too. 6 points of damage. The attendants in the arena quickly get the horse away from Thervold and assist him in getting up out of the arena.
"How about a hand for this young man. Show him your support, he needs it. " The crowd responds with a half-hearted pity clap as Thervold curses all horses forever. "It was a stupid contest anyway. " He whispers under his breath before rejoining his allies outside the ring.
With the group fully assembled, the two ranch hands notice the growing crowd that seem to be watching them. They shift uncomfortably in their boots and try not to make eye contact, but they make no attempt to start conversation other than to tip their hats at Edelle as she approaches.
As the rodeo continues, Roughrider finds Edelle in the crowd. He walks up to her with a wide smile on his face and as soon as he is standing next to her, Edelle feels somehow soothed. "Congratulations, Edelle, that was quite a save you made there. I'm very excited that you will be joining us at the feast tonight. I would be honoured if you would sit next to me." The confidence of this dwarf man is impressive and his intentions seem pure.
After a few moments, the ranch hands finish their drinks and they watch nervously as the next name is called. "Riding our best horse in show, Sliver, is a local man, Ryon. This hometown fellow is sure to have a challenge. " The crowd gasps as the horse comes out, bucks twice and then lopes about like a limp fish. Eight seconds pass and Ryon halts the horse and hops off as though he were on a leisurely ride. The announcer is speechless for a moment and the crowd is unsure of how to react. Finally, the loud voice returns in the air "Ladies and Gentlemen, in a display of horse-whispering only seen in the Humming hills, Mr. Ryon! " At this point, the two other ranch hands look around nervously and move off away from the arena. They are clearly nervous about something.
The men have a mixed reaction about your question. " Golly, Buttercup doesn't have much to do with us. Mama D was the one who trained 'er. Right from an egg, they say that she can tame any beast. That girl's as loyal as any animal could ever be. No need to accost anything. "
Roughrider continues to speak to Edelle "Certainly so. I do enjoy a good conversation. I understand that you are a woman of the cloth yourself? To what order do you belong? "