A Creos adventure.
The lights flicker uneasily on the wall behind you. Around you in the medium-sized room stand several adventurers, sitting on carpets, seats and sofas. They look nervous, uncertain in the opulence: you doubt many of them have ever been inside the largest room at Harrow's Apple, the premier inn in the small town of Harrow's Bridge. Most are obviously small-time adventurers: couriers, explorers, tombrobbers. A few, perhaps with a few more years under their belt, carry themselves with more confidence. Nothing to match your easy swagger, though. Everybody's eyes flit constantly towards the door. You take the chance to look around the room a bit: there are few luxurious goods about, and those are strewn randomly about: a fine ink pot here, rich clothes there, a medal in the corner. Several large packing cases and trunks lie open on the floor, mostly empty.
An elderly man bursts in with all the energy of the Santos monsoon, two servants in tow. Pick all this up later, he calls to them in a sharp voice. He is a tall, thin man, quite old - in his fifties or maybe even his sixties - dressed in the fine silks of an aristocrat. His face is lean, bony, and intelligent. Then bring everything up from Georgo's room. We move tomorrow morning with the morning bells, and we must be ready to go. As he walks around the room pointing things out to the servants, Georgo, the man who received you when you arrived at the hotel, enters the room and closes the door behind him.
Their circuit of the room complete, the elderly man shuffles the servants to the door and, with a final And do not forget, hot water by my bed at the midnight bells!, ushers them out. Locking the door behind him, he finally turns around to the adventurers. He parlays his disappointment well.
Are these the best, Georgo? The very best adventurers this town has to offer? As Georgo assures him they are, pointing out individual virtues and recommendation each adventurer brings, the tall man walks along the line, examining each of you closely. At the end of the line he straightens up and begins to speak in a clear, low voice. Friends, thank you for coming here at such short notice. My name is Afraim; I am an administrator in the government of Wendon. I have need to hire some of you to conduct a search in a certain ruin in south Santos. This is a risky mission - practically a robbery, in fact. I must warn you: if you are caught, you will find yourselves in the dungeons of Wendon, and there I will be powerless to help you. You will die there.
He pauses to let his words sink in, looking closely at the adventurers in front of him. Around you, you hear people shuffling, clearing their throats slightly. Clearly, some are hardly worth the name "adventurer". You continue looking at the elderly gentleman, unafraid.
But you will not. Because you will not get caught. It is as simple as that. I will tell you of the place - as I said, in the south Santos, down near the tribal lands - and you will head there and retrieve something for the good of the kingdom. It is a very simple thing, tricky to find, easy to bring back. I will ensure that you arrive at this fortress. Fifty gold coins for going. Five hundred for returning this item to Wendon. It is exceedingly simple.
Once again his grey eyes flash over the adventurers in the room. Are you willing? Choose now. If you leave, I will gladly provide you with a few silver coins to recompense you for your time, and I will beg you to remember me in Wendon when next you visit the city. But if you are willing to undertake this quest, step forward now.
Without a moment's hesitation, you step forward.