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Seven Days to the Grave is a favorite among many AP readers. The mood of the adventure surely contributes to the adventure's appeal. To enhance the atmosphere in the city, I like adding some random street encounters; just a few scenes the PCs witness in the streets of the city to create the right mood. Here are some of my ideas, but I'd love to hear more suggestions.
Note: in my campaign the plague is being spread by rats, so rats play a big part in these street encounters.
- A man has been tied to a post to receive a whipping. His back is badly scarred, he's hardly conscious and he will die within a day of thirst, hunger and exhaustion if no one frees him. His name is Lombard, a man who swipes the streets for a living. To make some extra money, he sells rats to the poorest in the city for food. Since the plague started he's been accused of selling infected rodents and he was punished for it by 'mob' justice.
- A woman walks down the street with a bewildered look in her eyes and screams that the wererats in Korvosa are responsible for the plague.
- A family exits a small house. The family members are carrying a heavy bag which they place on the ground in front of their house. The bag contains the body of the family's mother, who passed away from the plague this morning.
- A hussler is walking down the street: "Rat skulls, get your rat skulls to protect your homes!" he cries. He's selling rat skulls to be placed over your door or window to ward off the living and infected rats.
- A couple of tough guys have cornered a few rats and now they are trying to kill the animals by throwing daggers at them. A few old men are watching and they're making small bets on who will kill the next rodent. "Three pinch say that Enock will get the next one!"
- A man with one eye and thin white hair is preaching on the corner of a street. He claims the plague is a punishment from Urgathoa, who is angry at having been excluded from the Pantheon of the Many. (Officially Urgathoa is among the 17 deities who have a shrine at the Pantheon of the Many, excluding him is a GM's prerogative). The old man says that the plague will only stops when every family in Korvosa has lost someone to the disease. A couple of women are listening with open mouths to the doomsayer.
- Some kids run past the PCs. They have a dog in their midst. If the animal bites at them, they have to bite back. The children believe that they can avoid getting sick by being very active.
- A woman empties her chamber pot on the street from the window on the first floor. There is a dead rat in the filth.
- A group of girls is running from one girl who stumbles and groans like a zombie. When this girl corners one of the others, she starts 'ripping' at her. A sense motive DC 10 or a perception DC 12 is enough to tell that the girl is only pretending to be a zombie. The girls claims that they are already practicing for when the dead rise, which won't take long with all those people dying.
- A mourning family follows in the wake of a body cart with a corpse under a blanket that is being taken to the Gray District. Bystanders give this procession a wide berth.
- A toothless old man walks up to a PC and presses a simple wooden carving of Sarenrae in his hands: "May Sarenrae's light protect and purify you", he smiles. If the PCs try to talk to him, they find out that he is senile. Bystanders know that his name is Silly Matthew and advise the PCs to ignore him.
- A swarm of flies covers three bodies next to the road, awaiting transport to the Gray District. One of the flies winds up in the mouth of one of the PCs. Some women who have witnessed this shy back, whispering something about bad omens.
- A smelly vagrant is skinning dead rats and sewing together their skins without having worked the leather. He's making a filthy cloak which he tries to sell to the PCs. He wants five SP for it, but quickly lowers his prices to three SP, then one, then 5 CP.
- A woman is burning blankets in the street and furiously starts sweeping out her own house. Her husband has just died and now that his body has been taken away to be buried, she's trying to clean her house so she won't get sick. A perception check DC 10 reveals that she already has a bit of a cough while sweeping.