An urban mystery adventure for 1st-level characters.
Everyone in the fishing town of Ilsurian is excited when the legendary Umbra Carnival rolls into town—even if the show is run by members
of the much-maligned Varisian ethnic group. With strange and exotic beasts, scandalous performances, games of chance, and all the other fun of a traveling fair, who could resist such an opportunity
Unfortunately for both the town and the circus, however, entertainment isn’t the only opportunity the carnival presents. Hidden within Ilsurian, a guild of thieves and scoundrels has been waiting for just such an occasion to launch a campaign of theft and murder—leaving the strangers from the circus to take the blame. With tensions mounting between locals and performers, and the body count rising on both sides, it’s up to the PCs to uncover what’s really going on and clear the circus’s name before the entire town erupts in a firestorm of ethnic violence.
Murder’s Mark is an adventure of mystery, illusion, and mob justice for 1st-level characters, written for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and compatible with the 3.5 edition of the world’s oldest RPG. This volume also contains a gazetteer of the traveling Umbra Carnival and a brand-new monster pulled from history and mythology, all of which can easily be adapted for use in any campaign setting.
Written by Jim Groves
Pathfinder Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, adventures using the Open Game License to work with both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set. This Pathfinder Module includes new monsters, treasure, and a fully detailed bonus location that can be used as part of the adventure or in any other game!
Oops, you are correct! I must have glanced at infuse mutagen while I was devising her stat block and mixed it up with infusion. My regrets. Robella should have those extra 2 points of INT back. Good catch!
Quick question for the designer...maybe I missed it in the read through....
If the bad guy escapes...:
the fight in the mansion, it says basically the Sheriff will try to arrest them. If the party fights them, she feels they're guilty. If they don't, they're arrested. So, do we just say they fail here and they're stuck in jail for years or hung or something for murder? I didn't really see a 'bed ending' elaboration. This is super important, especially, for PFS teams.
Okay, let's look at the text and break it down a little.
Refer to page 21, right hand column, second paragraph under Development. Then refer to page 22, left hand column, last paragraph before "Part Six".
What these passages are telling us is that if Borvius escapes:
He's going to run and tell the Sheriff his side of the story first!
That is about as real life as a fantasy roleplaying game ever gets. You see that every day in real life, in the news, and every single police procedural on Tv. :)
And why would he bother? Because he's been spotted by the PCs at the scene of the crime. He needs to explain why he was there, especially if the PCs killed any of his crew—which the Sheriff can identify. If he doesn't say anything, he's the one that looks guilty. So he needs to start the finger-pointing fast, especially if the PCs are strangers to the community.
The adventure covers this, but it's on a different page. Borvius's alibi is located on page 18, right hand column, second to the last paragraph from the bottom.
So how should the GM or the PCs handle this situation?
Well, the important piece of information the PCs need to get at the end of the Manor encounters is the link between the real bad guys and Ilsurian Storage and Hauling. The Sheriff normally provides this, but if Borvius convinces her the PCs are the "real" villains.. they need to get that clue another way. One simple method is to identify one of the thugs as an employee with a Knowledge (local) check. If that doesn't work, the PCs could go into hiding, and a roguish character could sneak around town. Once they spot Borvius (who is a public businessman) they could observe him going back to his place of business. Likewise if one of the crew escapes, that same technique would work as well.
Alternately, Sheriff Feldane is not an idiot. Borvius story is also pretty "convenient." You might permit a contested skill roll between Borvius's Bluff skill versus the PC's Diplomacy skill to see who she believes.
Or, the PCs could run away! They could flee the long arm of the law and fight to prove their innocence! Once they have that clue that connects the gang to Ilsurian Storage and Hauling, there is plenty of evidence in the gang's hideout to expose the Gilded Hands and clear the PCs and the Circus of wrongdoing. After all, sometimes it's easier to ask forgiveness than ask for permission.
If the PCs just surrender and get arrested? Yikes. That's an interesting group that gives up.
If it is a PFS Scenario I would say mission failure. Perhaps the Society bails them out, preventing their execution but the circus is ruined and its an unhappy ending. (If you have time left, by all means consider the paragraph below)
If its regular play and you're not constrained by time limits, I would use their arrest to allow them to learn their accusers are the Owner and employees of Ilsurian Storage and Hauling and give them a last chance to escape jail. Then they would hopefully assault the gang's lair and prove their innocence as I described above.
If that doesn't even work.. boy.. I would hang them. Life has consequences.
Thanks for the quick reply, Jim. I'm running this as an all day event to reward my GMs for their hard work. I just like to be prepared. I like the scene earlier you have written up -- when he's on the staircase telling the PCs of his plans, basically, of making them take the fall. Its definitely written pretty dramatically...between that and that fight upstairs, they should have a pretty clear idea that it's in their best interest that he does NOT get away. But, yeah, I *can* see him getting away, and thereby severing that important clue link. I'm not sure if in the case of the Sheriff wanting to arrest them what they may do. With PFS groups, you get a different mix of players almost every time, and they do some pretty unpredictable things, hahahah.
Overall, its got some exciting moments, though I'll need another read through to put some important details together in my head. Thanks!