My cousin has decided to play an Elf Wizard (I made him 2nd level). This will be his first time playing D&D, and he chose Sherlock Holmes (the Benedict Cumberbatch version on the recent BBC show) as his inspiration.
I have a pre-written dungeon crawl
(it's part of the bonus DM kit PDF) that I intend to run him through, but it's not very long and I feel a detective-ish character is kinda wasted by using a mere crawl. (He'll have a DMPC fighter to help him in the dungeon, have no fear.)
I decided to give him some investigative work before having him face the dungeon. A. C. Doyle liked to use misdirection in his Holmes stories, thus I borrowed a bit from The Red-Headed League
. In that story, a man is distracted by an odd, tedious task while unbeknownst to him a major heist occurs. I thought it'd be fun to use a major heist to distract from a (seemingly) more humble crime...The Case of the Haphazard Heist
Sherlock (I'll use that name for the PC) starts out in a medium-sized city, let's say Dyvers in Greyhawk (although it could be any city).
He's recently been assisting the City Watch with a few low-key cases, but now he's being included in a bigger case: a jewelry store burglary. As the adventure begins, Sherlock mentions the robbery in passing to an herbalist friend. The herbalist replies that he also was aware of a nearby burglary that same night: a scrivener's shop was broken into and the copyist murdered, a few doors down from his own herb store! Apparently the City Watch found the scrivner's death to be of lesser criminal importance than the jewel heist as they haven't devoted any men to the investigation.What's Going On:
Hadvar--the more wicked and greedy of a pair of dwarf brothers--learned a few months back about a map to a nearby mine in mountains not far from Dyvers. Somewhere in the mine, according to rumor, is an abandoned dwarven enclave...including treaure. His funds running dangerously low, his clan scattered, and with no financial opportunities in the near future, Hadvar hatched a plan to steal the map and set himself up as a new thane in the enclave. To sweeten the deal, this isn't just any enclave--it's a treasure house for a long-dead king of the Cult of Ore, who knew powerful stone- and earth-magics. If Hadvar could wrest control of those magics...
After convincing his brother, Dalvar, to help him search for the treasure-house, Hadvar needed to steal the map and eliminate anyone who knew about the mine. He planned to create a diversion for the City Watch while he stole the map. Dalvar, a gentler soul, refused to take part of any killing, although his innate dwarvish lust for gold and gems compelled him to help his brother with the rest of the plan.
Hadvar subtly used criminal intermediaries to find brave thugs (expendable patsies) who'd do a specific 'job' for cheap. He was directed toward the Bratva
("the brotherhood"), a group of foreign criminals who had recently arrived in Dyvers looking to establish a name for themselves. The Bratva
agreed to send a trio of their men to rob a jewelery store during the middle of the day and lead the City Watch on a merry chase around the city, especially since it seemed clear they'd walk away with a handful of fencable loot.
At the same moment the robbery was occuring, several streets down, Hadvar quietly entered the scrivner's shop. Hadvar barricaded the door, crushed the scrivener's skull, and rapidly began searching for the map. Once found, Hadvar walked out the back door of the place and slipped away into the shadows.
Within 36 hours, the dwarf brothers had discovered the mine and began exploring it, while the Bratva
hatched other schemes and tried to put the botched job out of their minds, vowing that, with time, they'd take control of all crime in the city.
Sherlock, miffed that the jewelry heist seems so....uncomplicated, is intrigued to hear that another crime occurred on the same day/at the same time. This is where I plan to let my cousin loose....Things that Sherlock could do:
- interview the jeweler's apprentice
- interview one or both remaining Bratva
...once he tracks them down (I'll improvise this, but they will spill the beans quickly that a mysterious benefactor hired them to rob a jewelry store at a specific time
- interview City Watch guards that arrived on scene first, who will explain that the perps ran away from them, but seemed almost to be leading them away from the scene until finally the perps split up and were lost in a crowd
- examine crime scene: unusual features of jewelry store robbery from Sherlock's perspective:
- robbery took place during middle of day
- three hooded men entered store via front door, wielding crossbows and maces under their cloaks
- robbers overcame the master jeweler, knocked him out & bound/gagged him, threatened apprentice
- robbers had an odd foreign accent
- apprentice reluctantly and under threat of life told robbers where strongbox was hidden (in storage cubby)
- robbers quickly found the hidden trap door to the jeweler's storage cubby in the floor
- magical ward in trap door electrocuted & killed one thief [a variation on fire trap
- it was obvious his death set the other two men into a panic
- they didn't bother attempting to pick the lock on the strong-box
- remaining robbers fled the jeweler's shop and are currently 'whereabouts unknown'
- City Watch was alerted quickly and pursued surviving robbers through many streets
- Sherlock will recognize dead man as a member of the Bratva
, a powerful foreign mafia that recently 'branched out' to Dyvers from a distant land--this gang hasn't had a chance to make a big name for themselves yet
- two robbers are still alive (presumably)
- details of lightning trap
can be determined via Spellcraft checks.
- why in the world would someone pull a robbery during the day, when it was incredibly risky to do so?
- examine crime scene:unusual features of scrivener's shop robbery from Sherlock's perspective:
- scrivener worked alone; if he needed help he hired short-term assistance
- scrivener copied documents, but sometimes maps
- burglary took place exact same day, and presumably almost exact same time, as jewelery store heist
- likely one person entered store
- scrivener, an elderly and frail man, was found dead of an odd head trauma (weapon is not of standard make...looks to be a weighted puncturing hook based on wound) [weapon was a craghammer]
- store was 'tossed' in an obvious attempt to find something specific [a map], scrolls in the cartography section of the store seemed to receive most of the attention
- booted footprints suggest a person of short stature may have been in store recently
- jack-booted, smallish footprints in back 'yard' of shop leading away
- mess in shop: paper, scrolls, scroll tubes, writing utensils and ink everywhere, but...there's one scroll tube that seems to be missing it's contents...why just that one?
- empty scroll tube bears seal of Dyvers' Cartography Guild, suggesting a map
Does this make ANY sense so far?
I mean, it's generic fantasy, and intentionally so: my cousin doesn't have the years of baggage about fantasy RPG settings that I do, so it'll all be fresh to him. Plus the mystery is intentionally supposed to be EASY
. Many of the clues will be handed to him, in a not-subtle manner, to help him figure out what's going on.
I admit I'm not exactly sure how the Bratva
will lead Sherlock to the dwarves, as Hadvar is killing off any witnesses/ties to the abandoned enclave and thus wouldn't have shown his face when setting up the Bratva
I'm also not 100% how I can get Sherlock to the mine, where the dungeon itself is.