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Flint, Lock and Two Smoking Barrels
Author: Jacob Busby
System: 7th Sea
This 7th Sea adventure has been designed for 3-5 Heroes of a moderate level. It takes place in the town of Santander in Castille and introduces a new villain, Gustav Lock, as well as a new contact for the Heroes, Reinhard Flint.
Novus Ordum Mundi have decided, for their own nefarious reasons, to replace the Eisen ambassador to Castille with one of their own trusted servants. Naturally being NOM, they won't get their hands dirty themselves, which is why they instigated the downfall of Gustav Lock.
Six months ago, Gustav, then performing under the pseudonym The Magnificent Suprendo, gave a performance to remember to the Castillean court... primarily because every trick Gustav performed went wrong. The final straw came when Gustav inadvertently smashed a priceless locket belonging to Reinhard Flint, the Eisen ambassador to Castille. Reinhard flew into a rage and had the man expelled from the court. Excuses of servant boys tampering with some of the tricks were flatly ignored.
Gustav left the court disgraced and returned to his native Vodacce. However, en route, every tavern that he stayed in seemed to have a storyteller, and each storyteller seemed to tell a tale of great men who fell from grace and sought their revenge on those that destroyed their careers. Pretty soon, Gustav came to believe that all he needed to gain redemption what to get revenge on the man that caused his downfall, Reinhard Flint.
Gustav joined a circus shortly afterwards and, using his hypnotic powers, quietly took control of the troupe of entertainers. Under Gustav's iron discipline, it didn't take long for the troupe to gain a reputation as one of the most well run circuses in Theah. Shortly afterwards they were asked to perform at the Fiesta De San Dorigo This year's festival is a double celebration, as the Eisen Ambassador will also be there, opening a new bridge across The River. Gustav has the perfect opportunity for revenge, unless, of course, a brave and noble band of heroes prevent him...
Act One: By the clicking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes
Scene One: Party Time
The Heroes arrive in Santander during the Fiesta De San Dorigo, a festival for an ancient explorer who reputedly performed several healing miracles when the town was still in it’s infancy. Nowadays, lip-service is paid to Saint Dorigo and the fiesta is used as an excuse to celebrate and attract tourist money.
The Heroes should be thrown into the occasion with gusto. Let them see the bulls running in the street, enjoy the dancing, sample the local delicacies, have jugglers accost them for money and mime artists perform their daring adventures. Spontaneous shows and wonders will abound and many's the party that goes on well into the morning.
The Fiesta brings plenty of tourists. This year the Eisen ambassador himself has been persuaded to open the Fellowship Bridge across The River. Philleas. T. Burnum's Amazing Circus has come to town bringing an entourage of entertainers, the likes the world has never seen. (Well that’s what it says on the fliers, at any rate)
Of course the Fiesta brings tourists who have less noble ambitions. Petty thieves work the crowds, dubious market traders sell stolen goods and muggers rob the innocent in alleyways. If your heroes are new to the world of Seventh Sea, have them run into a Brute squad of thieves (Strength One) to get them used to the mechanics of the game.
Scene Two: The Bear Necessities
After a long night (and morning) of partying the PC's should be woken half-way through siesta to cries of alarum. A dancing bear has broken free of it's shackles, stunned it’s owner and is viciously mauling a man in the street. Heroes worthy of the name will want to save the innocent man.
The bear can be dealt with in a number of ways. A good blow to the head with a heavy object ought to do the trick. ("Now there's a bear with a sore head!") Honey from a nearby house or market trader's stall can be used to lure the bear into a trap. A musician might be able to play music until the bear dances itself to exhaustion. Allow any reasonable or suitably flamboyant activity ought to be allowed to succeed.
Should the PC's kill the bear, the owner, Pepe Penali, will demand recompense. Initially he demands 1000 Guilders (Dancing bears are pretty rare!) but he can be bargained down to 700 Guilders. Miserly Heroes can probably weasel out of this payment by threatening Pepe with legal actions for being in charge of a dangerous animal, but tales of Heroes who care more for money than people may come back to haunt them.
Once the bear has been dealt with, the PCs can turn their attention to Pepe and the wounded man. Pepe doesn't know quite what happened. One moment, Bupo, (his bear) was fine, the next minute it went berserk. He was too startled to take it all in.
PC's checking the bear for wounds will notice a stab mark in Bupo’s back. Looking around (Perception check vs TN 15) the Heroes can find a knife. If the knife is examined, a viscous liquid can be found on it. Anybody who uses knives a lot might realise (Wits check, TN20) that the knife is a throwing knife, the kind find during a knife-throwers act at the circus. The liquid, if analysed by the correct person (Animal Training or Poison vs TN35) is a steroid for horses. Whenever this drug is applied to another animals it makes them go berserk.
The wounded man is Henri Phillipe, a clown who broke free of his hypnosis after banging his head when a stunt went wrong during rehearsal. Horrified by what he discovered, he pretended to still be under the influence, but resolved to determine what was going on and report it to the authorities. Unfortunately, he was discovered whilst searching the Gustav's caravan and was forced to flee. Gustav decided to eliminate Henri in his own flamboyant style.
Henri is delirious. He clutches a red clown's nose in his hand and has a pamphlet advertising the Big Show in his pocket. He mumbles meekly... "The circus... Must stop him" before falling unconscious. Clearly the Heroes will need to pick up from where he left off.
Scene Three: Dee-Dee-Deedle-Deedle, Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee
The circus is on the outskirts of town. A small fence has been erected around the enclosure and the sole entrance is guarded by two sentries. (Henri climbed the fence to escape) It is the job of these guardsmen to remove all weapons from anybody entering the compound. The Eisen ambassador is coming to the show tonight and they don't want any security breaches. The guards aren't very imaginative, and well-hidden weapons evade them, but openly displayed swords and pistols must be left at that gate.
Once inside the Heroes can see that a fair has sprung up around the circus, with a number of stalls, challenging PC's to throw three balls and knock down a coconut, test their strength by striking a hammer against a target, etc. If the Heroes want to take part in any of the stalls use test against the appropriate skill and/or trait (e.g. Throw Improvised Weapon + Finesse or Heavy Weapon + Brawn vs TN20) to win a prize.
In addition to the stalls there are a number of sideshows, charging for entrance, including a hall of mirrors, donkey rides and a Helter-Skelter. Hedonistic heroes can try these out if they wish, but will have to queue to get on them.
The Heroes will probably start making enquiries amongst the staff of the fair and the circus. Although the Heroes don't know this at this stage, the whole troupe has been hypnotised by Gustav. The circus folk respond to the best of their ability, but if asked about any Henri or any strange happenings they respond "I wouldn't know anything about that" You should deliver this line in a wooden and faltering manner and should use the exact same words every time.
After questioning two or three circus folk, a midget approaches the Heroes and requests that they see the ringmaster, Philleas T. Burnum.
Scene Four: Lion Around
As ringmaster, Philleas has the largest caravan of all the circus staff. The interior is lavish with knick-knacks from all over the known world, wine from Montaigne, rugs from the Crescent Empire, a fine oak desk from Avalon and so forth. Upon meeting the Heroes Philleas offers the Heroes a large (and rather noisome) cigar and asks why they are asking questions around the circus. He is rather concerned that they will frighten away the public.
If (when) the Heroes mention Henri, Philleas looks genuinely surprised. He was unaware that Henri had left the encampment, let alone that the misfortunate fellow was seriously wounded. He conspiratorially leans forward and asks the Heroes if they can keep a secret. Presuming that they can, he guides the Heroes to a square-shaped tent with hay strewn all over the floor. Philleas enters the tent and bids the Heroes over to some hay bales in the middle of the tent. Behind these hay bales is a human corpse.
"Something evil has befallen our circus," begins Philleas. "I found Conrad, five minutes before you arrived. I believe somebody is trying to murder my comrades and put me out of business. Please good sirs, I implore you, locate the miscreant."
"That won't be necessary," Gustav appears at the doorway of the tent. He pulls a rope and suddenly a cage door slams behind the Heroes. The whole tent is one large cage and the Heroes (and Philleas) have been trapped inside. Before Philleas can bluster a response, Gustav snaps his fingers and Philleas falls asleep at his command.
Gustav can now gloat over the PC's, revealing how he hypnotised the whole circus. He sorry that Conrad, the Human Cannonball had to cut loose, but he's sure the cannonball act will go with a BANG anyway. Ultimately the Heroes bore him and he leaves them, but not without leaving a parting gift. Turning to go, a small door opens on the other side of the tent and a number of lions (one per Hero) enter the cage.
The Heroes can defeat the lions in a number of ways - the animals are frightened of whips (treat as Fear Rating 3) and could be scared back into the tunnel from whence they came. Similarly, an impressive display of magic, might do the trick. Otherwise the Heroes will just have to fight them, man-to-beast. Once the Heroes have overcome the lions, they may question Philleas and/or examine Conrad's body.
If he survives and the Heroes wake him up, Philleas immediately asks where he is. The last thing he remembers is hiring Gustav about a month ago. If the Heroes tell him that he has been hypnotised Philleas tells them that he is worried - perhaps Gustav holds an influence over all the cast.
Conrad's throat has been slit. Upon seeing the body Philleas turns pale. Conrad was a good artist and a close friend. If asked, Philleas tells them that Conrad is the Human Cannonball act, and that no other circus member can perform this stunt.
The Heroes are still trapped in the cage and need to escape. Raising alarum does nothing: the show has started and the crowd is making too much noise for anybody can hear the Heroes cries for help. A strong character might attempt bending the bars (roll vs. Brawn, TN 35, rolls of fifteen or less indicate a sprained muscle which gives the hero a one raise point penalty on all physical tasks they attempt for the rest of the act). A belt buckle could be used to pick the lock, although a shot from a good pistol would be just as effective. As per usual, judge any method of escape on its own merits and reward Heroes who come up with imaginative solutions.
Scene Five: Send in the clowns!
By the time the Heroes have escaped from the cage the big top has already filled up and the show has started. The Great Bombini (Gustav) is leading the show in the absence of Philleas. He has sent some of his goons to check that on the status of the Heroes. As the Heroes escape from the cage they should see half a dozen clowns coming towards them with murderous intent in their eyes.
Treat the clowns as Strength Two Brute Squads. There's plenty of opportunity here for all sorts of heroic improvised combat. Throwing coconuts from the coconut shy, knocking some of the brutes on the test-your-strength machine, hitting the clowns over the head with dartboards from the darts stall, etc.
You can portray clowns in two ways, depending on the tone you wish to set. If your heading for a more upbeat tone, the clowns can be played as bungling fools, tripping over each other, spilling mess down their trousers and the like. If you want to go for a more horrific angle, portray the clowns as robots: raise your right hand up and down in a stabbing motion and murmur “Kill! Kill! Kill!” under your breath.
In playtesting, the latter approach was used and this led to a rather sinister moment when one of the Heroes threw a bucket of water over one of the clowns. The clown came out of his trance and was bewildered as to what had happened. Moments later his comrades were on him, his body fell to the ground, and the clowns continued their murderous march, their knives dripping with blood…
Heroes who attempt to escape the circus will have a tough time. From a distance it looks as though the guards are still at the gate - until the Heroes get closer and the guards turn round to reveal their painted smiles and red noses. Even if the Heroes do get out and try and report their findings to the town watch, nobody believes their story.
The ultimate aim of this scene is to guide the Heroes into the Big Top, so as to prevent Gustav scheme from coming to fruition. Use Clowns, sceptical guards and any other tools you see fit to guide the Heroes back on track. The Heroes might decide to cut all the guy ropes on the big top. If they do so remind them that there is an innocent audience inside, who are likely to get hurt if the tent falls in on them.
Scene Six: The show must go on
Regardless of any other events, the Heroes should arrive just as Gustav announces the grand finale. A cannon has been wheeled out and Gustav proudly tells the audience that this human cannonball act will be one that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Suddenly, a willing clown lights the fuse and kicks the cannon round to face the audience.
Smart Heroes ought to realise that there is no acrobat in the cannon and that they will need to do something fast to prevent the audience from being blown to Kingdom Come. A custard pie thrown at the fuse ought to put it out, as will any other suitably dramatic method.
If the plan is foiled, Gustav will snarl a curse at the Heroes and order the circus folk to attack them. There is one brute squad of clowns and several henchmen (See under Circus Folk in Dramatis Personae) who will attempt to stop the Heroes. If the Heroes are having too easy a time of things you can throw extra clowns or midgets at the Heroes, or else have the town guard try to arrest them in the confusion. Once more there’s plenty of scope for all sorts of shenanigans involving trampolines, trapezes, hoops and podiums, candy floss in the face, cymbals from the circus band and anything else your Heroes see fit to try… and you see fit to let them get away with.
Initially the crowd think that the fight is all part of the show. However this will change if people start firing pistols or maniacs start wielding heavy weapons. People will panic and head for the entrances, any combatants near the entrance must be a footwork roll against TN10 to avoid being pushed around by the crowd. You can throw in other events, like children getting swept away from their mothers, or a noblewoman suddenly confronted with a malicious looking midget. Of course, preventing the crowd from panicking by pretending that this is all part of the act, would be the better way to go, and ought to be worth a Drama Dice for each member of the group. Announce this at the start of the scene and watch the players squirm as they desperately make out that this is all part of the show.
There is only one staged event that happens during the fight. The clowns line up round the Gustav, blocking the Heroes line-of-sight to the ambassador. Any Hero who is specifically listening will hear Gustav hiss to the ambassador (in Eisen) “You are in grave danger. Follow me!” Reinhard, who does not recognise Gustav from his previous performance, disappears with the ambassador into a side-tent.
Hopefully this will buy Gustav the time he needs, but if necessary you can employ misguided guards, more clowns, magnesium pellets from Gustav and the like to buy Gustav the time to escape. Once he has captured the ambassador Gustav sets about hypnotising him. By the time the Heroes have finished defeating the circus folk, Gustav should have the ambassador in his power.
Scene Seven: Show’s Over
The Heroes need to locate and confront Gustav. If they haven’t realised that Gustav has escaped you can use a number of methods to draw their attention to it. If the crowd hasn’t bolted one of the Heroes might notice footsteps in the sand, leading away from the ambassador’s seat. The Heroes might hear Reinhard fighting for his life. Perhaps a small child might have the impertinence to ask where the big man in the fur coat went. Use whatever method seems appropriate to attract the Heroes attention.
The players enter the side tent to see Gustav fighting Reinhard. The ambassador has been pinned to the wall by several well-thrown knives and Gustav looks as though he is about to finish Reinhard off. Gustav will hear almost any movement and turn to face the Heroes, throwing his knife at the lead one. During this interlude, Reinhard breaks free, seizing one of the juggler’s clubs and clocks Gustav on the head and promptly knocks him out.
Don’t make it patently obvious that this was part of the plot all along. Roll some dice behind your screen, look crestfallen, roll some more, mutter some expletives and then announce that Reinhard has knocked Gustav out. The players should think that the Reinhard has unexpectedly defeated your arch-villain and short-circuited the plot. He hasn’t; the fight scene was staged to make the Heroes think that Gustav has been defeated… but your players won’t know that!
Following shortly on from the Heroes come Reinhard’s men. Reinhard order his guards to clap Gustav in irons, thanks the Heroes for their assistance, and asks them to join him at the ball at the Eisen embassy tonight. Thus ends Act One.
Act II: Gustav's Encore
Scene One: A feast fit for Heroes
The ball is a marvellous affair with a full orchestra and all the cream from society in attendance. This is a good place to make connections (and a good place for you to drop in any future patrons or adventure seeds) Reinhard is quite the convivial host and will personally try to use his position to accommodate any reasonable requests from the Heroes. He can provide connections to the rich and famous, food and drink, beds for the evening (Reinhard will insist they stay at the embassy, rather than return to the inn), doctors for the wounded or any other reasonable request.
Let the Heroes relax and perform whatever activities they desire. There is only one set event during this evening. Halfway through the ball the attendees are invited to view fireworks on the lawn. During the show Reinhard tells the Heroes how much he loves his job as ambassador, how he thinks of Castille as his second home, how the people are warm and friendly and the pace of life is soothing.
In the morning, the Heroes are woken to a ruckus. When they make their way down for breakfast, Reinhard is yelling at one of the embassy guards. It appears that Gustav managed to escape from his cell and is now loose in the city, probably plotting his revenge. (Gustav is an escapologist, remember) Reinhard turns to the Heroes and tells them that today he is due to give a short speech on behalf of Eisen and open the Fellowship Bridge over The River. Reinhard begs the heroes to go and find Gustav before he causes any more trouble.
Scene Two: Bridge over Troubled Water
If your Heroes have been paying attention, they should realise that the most likely place for Gustav to strike is whilst Reinhard is making his speech. This means that they will want to head to Fellowship Bridge.
The bridge is made of granite and has ornate carvings of various important events when the people of Castille and Eisen joined forces to fight off common enemies. A plaque at the centre of the bridge reads (in Castillean and Eisen) “To the eternal friendship of the Eisen and Castillean peoples” On a functional level, the new bridge provides an extra route over The River and will relieve some of the traffic over the Old Santander bridge downstream.
A podium has been erected at one end of the bridge and the mayor of Santander is anxiously rehearsing his script when Reinhard and the Heroes arrive. The ambassadorial guard take up positions flanking the podium, whilst the town guard are stood around the edge of the square, keeping a close eye on the crowd for signs of trouble.
For all its grandeur, there is still some scaffolding beneath the Fellowship Bridge. The scaffolding has been left over from the construction and is due to be taken away on a few days. Heroes scouting around for a while will notice several figures near the scaffolding on the other side of the bridge. There are about half a dozen small figures and a man-sized one wearing a top hat! Watching a little more closely, it appears that Gustav and is cronies are loading a barrel onto the scaffolding.
The players will no doubt conclude that Gustav plans to blow up the bridge. As the town and ambassadorial guards are too busy making preparations for the speeches and keeping the crowd in order, it will fall to them to stop Gustav. This will involve crossing to the other side of the bridge, clambering down the bank and engaging Gustav.
Gustav has planned everything already, he waits in the shadows for the Heroes too arrive, then steps out and thanks them kindly for coming to see his latest performance. He then cuts a rope by the scaffolding, and, seizing one end of it, flies up in the air. At the same time, the other end of the rope, which is tied to a large sack of bricks and timber, drops down on top of the Heroes. Avoiding the trap requires a TN15 roll vs. Footwork, with 4k3 damage for anybody who fails.
Gustav’s midgets then emerge from the crawlspaces and framework of the scaffolding and start to attack the Heroes. See Dramatis Personae for details of the midgets. Once more, there is plenty of scope for all sorts of dramatic swashbuckling involving bags of cement and sand, swinging on ropes, ladders, piece of scaffolding, planks and see-saws, etc. There is one brute squad of midgets in amongst the scaffolding at ground level and another two brute squads amongst the rafters.
Whilst Gustav’s midgets are fighting the Heroes, Gustav is busy lighting the fuse on the barrel. Ideally you want one hero to arrive in the nick of time, whilst the other heroes are dealing with the midgets. Before the Hero can take care of matters, Gustav calls out to him.
“The essence of true magic is distraction,” he sneers. “Whilst you’ve been busy here, Reinhard has been making a very interesting speech.”
At that point the barrel blows up, but the contents aren’t anywhere near as explosive as the Heroes might have been expecting - just large enough to make a large smoke cloud to cover Gustav’s mocking laughter and his escape into the river.
Scene Three: A Revealing Speech
Whilst the Heroes have been fighting Gustav beneath the bridge, Gustav’s real plot has been taking place. Jose has been making pleasantries about “a great day for the people of Castille and Eisen” and “a renewed spirit of cooperation between our two nations” The Heroes should arrive just as Jose hands over to Reinhard.
“I’d like to say a few warms words of welcome to my friend, Jose Farabel,” begins Reinhard. Suddenly, Reinhard’s countenance changes and his body stiffens, “but I’m afraid he’s a Castillean and I hate all Castillean scum.” At this, Reinhard seizes his ceremonial mace and strikes Jose over the head, knocking him out. Understandably the crowd don’t take too well to this and it’s not long before the ambassador’s guards are lined up in front of the podium trying to hold back an angry mob from killing the ambassador. If the players don’t figure it out, allow anybody with the most suitable hero an Occult roll vs TN20 to realise that Gustav has implanted a post-hypnotic in Reinhard to hate all Castilleans.
There are two situations for the Heroes to defuse here: the first is to put and end to the ambassador’s strange behaviour, without killing him, the second is to stop the mob from trying to kill him.
The ambassador can be stopped in a number of ways. Reinhard will fight any Heroes willing to take him on, preferring to attack Castilleans before anybody else. The Heroes might use this to their advantage by having a Castillean Hero concentrate purely on defence, whilst the other Heroes strike Reinhard from behind. Non-violent methods of defeating Reinhard including splashing his face with water (there is a river nearby) or trying to talk him “down” from his trance by pointing out the flaws in his argument (Oratory vs. TN35, with heavy bonuses for good role-playing) As usual adjudge other methods of dealing with Reinhard on their merits and reward ostentatious and/or inventive methods of dealing with the ambassador without killing him.
The mob is more difficult to deal with. A suitable public speech given by a respectable figure (Oratory roll vs. TN35, Reputation dice may be used) might do the trick. Of course, the speaker needs to give the crowd what they want: speaking about Reinhard receiving the justice he deserves in the courts is acceptable, stories about Reinhard being hypnotised won’t wash.
On a more base level, the crowd can be frightened off, if they think there is a danger to their lives. The explosion from Gustav’s barrel would lend credence to stories about a bomb planted in the square. Of course, the heroes could wade in with their swords and scare the crowd away, but this should lead to a significant loss of reputation, especially for Castillean heroes.
If no suitable method is found for dealing with the crowd, the Heroes may end up fleeing with the ambassador and his guards through the city streets to the Eisen embassy. The town guards are your ace in the hole here; if the Heroes are having too hard a time, they might try to restore order before a riot breaks out, if the Heroes are having too easy a time, they might try to arrest Reinhard as a traitor to the Castillean people.
Scene Four: Mirror, Mirror
There should be no doubt in the Heroes mind that Gustav is a dangerous enemy who needs to be checked before he can do any further damage. If they need any more incentive Reinhard will offer the Heroes “the thanks of the Eisen people” to deal with Gustav.
Gustav has fled back to the fairground to destroy any evidence of his existence. If the players don’t cotton onto you can supply the hint via a captured midget, or sightings of Gustav near the fairground. If things went badly for the Heroes in the previous scene and there is a mob outside the embassy, Reinhard reveals a secret tunnel that leads out into the forest on the outskirts of Santander.
Suspecting that the heroes might be in pursuit, Gustav has taken a young girl, Suzanna Pedros, hostage and strapped her into a cabinet, above which is a complicated timing mechanism that slowly fills the chamber with water. Upon seeing the Heroes arrive, Suzanna screams for help, and Gustav, with his usual flair for the dramatic, sets the mechanism into action.
Gustav’s lair is in the centre of the hall of mirrors. In the reflected lights the Heroes can see reflected images of the young hostage in peril. Of course, whilst they are trying to rescue Suzanna, Gustav is hiding in the mirror maze, where he can ambush the heroes at the best opportunity. There are all sorts of opportunities for exciting set-pieces here, Gustav might use the mirror to hypnotise a hero in thinking that his sword is a snake. Gustav could stand behind a glass pane or reflected in a mirror and laugh as the bullets harmless bounce off. There might be secret or one-way doors in the maze, from which Gustav can sneak out, strike a hero in the back and then escape. All the time the Heroes are fighting against Gustav, they catch glimpses of Suzanna reflected in the mirrors. The quickest way to save Suzanna is to split the party up. Gustav is quite happy to take advantage of this and try to pick off weaker members of the party.
In game terms navigating the maze can be handled with copious Wits rolls. There is little room for manoeuvre, so any use of the Footwork knack should be treated as though it were two ranks lower than it is actually is.
Hopefully, one of the Heroes should reach the inner sanctum, just in time to save Suzanna from the death-trap, as he frees her, Gustav can emerge from another entrance and engage the Hero in a climatic battle. Gustav isn’t much of a fighter and the Hero will probably win, so make sure you save a drama dice and an action each round, so that Gustav can use his Brilliant wile. If this is the case, just as the Hero is about to strike the winning blow, Gustav pulls off his top hat and a pigeon flies out, temporarily blinding the hero. In the confusion of the moment, Gustav disappears…
Reinhard’s political career is over. Within the week he is replaced. The new ambassador apologises on behalf of the Eisen people, and, although relations between the two countries are strained for a while, no irreparable damage has been caused. NOM watches on in the background as another pawn advances into position…
It’s up to you what role Reinhard and Gustav play in your campaign. Despite his fall from grace, Reinhard is still a wealthy man and has enough social contacts to be useful to the Heroes. It’s possible that he may want the Heroes help clear his name and reinstate him to his old position, unaware of the obstacles NOM might put in their way.
Gustav has plenty of potential too. His hypnotic powers can be employed in all sorts of ways. Perhaps he becomes the new jester for a minor aristocrat, only to slowly take control for himself. Maybe he hears of an ancient Syrneth artifact that can boost his hypnotic powers, and he begins searching for it. And, should Reinhard ever climb back into favour, Gustav might have a few things to say about it.
Gustav Lock, a.k.a. The Great Bombini
Reputation: -10 (At start of play), -25 (If plot succeeds)
Read/Write/Speak Catillean, Vodacce, Avalonian, Eisen
Left-handed (Plus one unkept dice in combat rolls)
Swordsman School: Cappuntina (No off-hand penalty for knife use, may draw and throw a knife as a single action)
Skills and Knacks:
Performer: Acting 2, Dancing 1, Singing 1, Oratory 3, Sincerity 2, Circus 2, Stage Magic 4, Hypnosis 5, Escapology 4
Knife: Attack (Knife) 3, Parry (Knife) 3, Pin (Knife) 3, Throw (Knife) 3, Trick Shooting (Knife) 3, Exploit Weakness (Cappuntina) 2,
Athletics: Footwork 3, Climb 2, Sprint 2, Throw 3, Break Fall 1, Leap 1, Swim 2
Ride: Ride Horse 3, Ride Elephant 2, Trick Riding 2, Aniaml Training 2
Gustav is the son of an Eisen father and a Vodacce mother. Shortly after he was born Gustav’s father died, leaving his Vodacce mother to bring him up. In a male-oriented society, bringing up a child as a single mother wasn’t easy, and ultimately she was led to join the Cymbr gypsies. It was with them that Gustav learnt the arts of the circus.
Gustav was a naturally quick-witted and flamboyant child who revelled in the life of a showman. He quickly gained much respect as a master of his arts and soon began touring under the name of The Magnificent Suprendo. For five years he was at the height of his powers, but all this came to an end one day after a disastrous performance in front of the Castillean court when he accidentally destroyed a priceless locket belonging to the Eisen ambassador. Since his humiliation, Gustav has turned to revenge. Foremost on his hit-list is Reinhard Flint, the man who had brought about his fall from grace, but meddling heroes who interfere with his goals might also earn his wrath.
Gustav dresses as a typical circus magician, a formal suit and a top hat, a small silver locket hanging from one pocket and a red handkerchief in the other. He has a liking for drama and this may lead him to take risks that might one day get him into trouble.
Gustav can fight if necessary, but works better as a “brain” villain than a “brawn” villain. He loves to manipulate people and sees the rest of the world as pawns in his own little games. If Gustav is forced to fight, he tries to do so in a location which is to his best suited to advantage, preferably striking with ambushes and hit and run tactics.
If it were proved to Gustav that NOM were ultimately responsible for his downfall, he might become a useful ally or dangerous vigilante. On the other hand, joining a troupe of villains who are twisting the world to their own ends might very well appeal to him…
Reinhard Flint, Eisen ambassador to Castille (Hero)
Reputation: 5 (At start of play), -10 (At end of play)
Hubris: Trusting (Obeys orders without question)
Swordsman School: Eisenfaust (May add raises equal to number of raises missed by in combat. No off-hand penalty for use of Panzerhand)
Swordsman Skills: Beat (Heavy Weapon) 2, Bind (Heavy Weapon) 1, Disarm (Panzerhand) 1, Exploit Weakness (Eisenfaust) 2
Heavy Weapon: Attack (Heavy Weapon) 3, Parry (Heavy Weapon) 3
Panzerhand: Attack (Panzerhand) 1, Parry (Panzerhand) 1, Uppercut (Panzerhand) 3
Commander: Strategy 1, Tactics 3, Logistics 2, Diplomacy 4, Incitation 2, Leadership 4
Athletics: Climb 1, Footwork 3, Swim 1, Sprint 1, Throw 2
Even at fifty, Reinhard Flint still cuts an impressive figure. A former military commander, sickened by the civil war that tore his country apart, Reinhard now works for peace as an ambassador between Eisen and Castille.
The war has shaped Reinhard. He is a commanding leader who inspires respect in followers. He can be very demanding, but has earnt a reputation for being stern, yet fair. Sensing that an army must obey orders or be damned, Reinhard obeys his superiors to the letter and expects no lesser treatment from anybody in his employ. Reinhard has no time for fools and time-wasters.
Yet the war also brought about a dichotomy in Reinhard’s psychology: Whilst he earnt a name as an officer and tactician, his country was torn asunder. Whilst he learnt to fight and survive, the war caused the premature death of many of his kinsmen. Because of this Reinhard now works tirelessly to bring good relations between Eisen and other countries, in order to prevent any further needless bloodshed. He enjoys his posting in Castille, as he feels the lifestyle of the Castillean people is more laid-back than his native Eisen.
Physically Reinhard is patently a soldier. He is a tall man, who dresses in full battle regalia and does not look his fifty years. The only clues to this are his war-weary eyes and the scar on his left hand.
Bupo, The Bear
TN to be hit: 15
Attack/Damage: Claws 4k2/4k2, Bite 4k2/3k1
Skills: Grapple 2, Bear Hug 4, Dancing 2
Bupo has been domesticated. His teeth and claws have been filed down and hence the damage has been reduced from the values given in the GM’s book. Treat Bupo as a Henchman rather than a Villain.
TN to be hit: 20
Attack/Damage: Bite: 4k2/3k3, Paw 4k2/3k3
Skills: Footwork 3, Stealth 3
Whopping great carnivores with large teeth. The lions are frightened of whips. Treat anybody wielding a whip as though they had Fear level 3.
Prancer, Dancer, Groover - Circus Horses
TN to be hit: 10 (25 when galloping)
Attack/Damage: Bite 3k2/0k1, Kick 3k2/4k2, Trample 3k2,4k3
Skills: Footwork 1, Long Distance Running 2, Sprinting 4
The circus horses tend to be loyal to their masters. Anybody who is not their master suffers a one raise penalty when riding the horses.
A selection of suggested circus members are given below. You should add or remove members and clowns depending on the strength of your group. All the circus folk count as Henchmen and have the following stats and skills, unless mentioned otherwise:
Circus 2, Footwork 2
Philleas T Barnum (Hero)
Philleas is a fat, jovial man who smokes large, foul-smelling cigars and talks at a hundred miles an hour. Play him as a used car salesman. Although Philleas has many skills, his usefulness in this adventure is relatively low, so no characteristics have been supplied for him.
Jobo The Juggler
Juggle 3, Club 1, Throw 1
Jobo will throw clubs at anybody who comes into range. Heroes attack Jobo face-on must make a raise on their attacks to avoid being struck by Jobo’s clubs.
Inferno, The fire-breather
Inferno is armed with a torch. (3k2 damage) He must spend one action drinking an alcoholic concoction before he can breathe fire. The flames deal 3k3 damage and may set alight flammable substances (cloaks, hair, etc.)
Throw Knife 4, Attack (Knife) 3, Parry (Knife) 3
A Voddace knife-thrower, Vioni is accurate and dangerous with his knives. Vioni has begun studying the Capuntina school under Gustav’s tutelage. He cannot claim any of the benefits of this school yet, but students of the Capuntina School may use their Exploit Weakness skill against him.
Gunther is advertised as half-boy, half-goat but he's just dressed in a very clever costume. Treat Gunther as a strength one Brute.
Sylvia, Trick Rider
Sylvia is mounted on a horse and will try to trample any Heroes who have fallen on the ground. Sylvia only has one point of Brawn.
Ride Horse 3, Trick Ride 4, Whip 3
Gargantis, the Strongman
Gargantis is armed with an iron bar (7k2), which he has tied into a knot. He is slow moving and dim and a bit of a softy at heart. Gargantis is also very ticklish. Perhaps the most dangerous of all the circus acts, Gargantis has five pips in Brawn and three in Resolve, however his Wits and Panache are only one.
The Incredible Domati Twins, Acrobats
Swinging 3, Climbing 3, Acrobatics 3
The Domati twins may try to ambush an unwary Hero by swinging down, seizing ahold of him and then dropping him from a high height. Heroes with the Perception arcane automatically notice this attack coming. Other Heroes must make a Wits + Ambush roll against TN 10 to avoid the trap.
Dhalsim, Fakir from the Crescent Empire
Attack (Sword) 2
Dhalsim, the sword-swallower, is armed with a sword, which he plucks from his throat. On a Resolve vs. TN15 roll (or the expenditure of a Drama Dice), Dhalsim can ignore damage from snake-bites, beds of nails, hot coals, sword-swallowing, etc This ability requires a certain level of focus from Dhalsim and cannot be used to ignore combat damage. Treat Dhalsim as though he had four pips in Resolve.
Painted with white faces and smiles, the clowns look very sinister. A standard horror motif, you can play the clowns as silent killers with almost robotic movements, or as bungling fools. Treat the clowns as Strength Two brute squads.
Malicious dwarves, who are at an advantage in small places. Another horror motif, the midgets should cackle with evil laughter whenever they wound a Hero. Treat the midgets as Strength Two brutes who get a free raise when operating in confined spaces.
Jose is the mayor of Santander. He is an excellent administrator but is about as interesting as your average accountant. Play Jose as a capable, but exceptionally dull man, with a monotone voice. Jose has no skills relevant to this adventure and should be treated as a Strength One Brute.
A sweet, innocent, blonde, six-year-old girl, who never listened to her parent’s advice about strange men. Suzanna has no notable skills and should be treated as a Strength One Brute.
Most of the guards are very jobsworth, unimaginative and bureaucratic. They are unlikely to attack the Heroes unless the Heroes are causing trouble. Treat Town Guards as Strength Two Brute Squads and the ambassador's guards as a Strength Three Brute Squad. Most Guards carry some kind of firearm and fencing weapon.
Hypnosis - An Advanced knack Performers and Doctors
A practitioner of this skill may hypnotise victims into performing particular activites, remembering things that lurk in the recesses of the mind, or forgetting all about other events. Like all skills in 7th Sea, treat Hypnosis in Hollywood style. Heroes can resist Hypnosis on the expenditure of a Drama Dice, but your average Brute can be forced into all sorts of horrific crimes.
Hypnotised victim can be brought out of their trance in a number of ways - a bang on head; being splashed in the face with water; being “talked down” from their hypnotic trance. Most victims who have been forced to perform acts against their will are a little confused at first, and may faint with the shock of what they have down.
To make a Hypnosis attack the mesmeriser may must eye contact with the victim for thirty seconds or longer, after which they should make a Wits + Hypnosis roll against the victims Resolve * 5 + 5. The test is two raises more difficult if the victim is actively trying to resist. The Trusting hubris makes the roll two raises easier. Leaving a post-hypnotic suggestion, or getting the victim to perform acts which are strongly out of character are two raises more difficult. Whilst under the influence of Hypnosis you should treat the Victim as though they had the Misled flaw.
With the exception of post-hypnotic suggestions - which last for a month per point of skill in hypnosis the practitioner has got - hypnotic control lasts for one day per point of skill in hypnosis. The canny hypnotist often puts in a sub-clause that his victims should return to him after a few days, so that he can re-hypnotise the victim.
Hypnosis is based on science and psychology, not magic. Consequently, it cannot be foiled by standard anti-magic measures. It cannot be prevented by the Thomas Knack. A Sorte witch who examines the threads of a hypnotised individual merely picks up static, like a radio that isn’t quite tuned correctly. This is because the victim is no longer acting according to their own destiny, but to somebody else’s wishes instead.
It is recommended that this skill is only available to NPC’s. After all, true Heroes should inspire those around them to perform great acts; only a coward would have to stoop so low as to control people so bluntly.
Be careful about using hypnosis on Heroes. Most players object to losing control of their character, so just use as a general rule, use it to gain an advantage rather than take complete control of a Hero. For instance convincing a Hero that his pistol has rusted beyond usefulness when he is about to shoot the hypnotist is fine, getting a Hero to murder his comrades in their sleep isn’t. Of course, a hypnotic “blank period” may be an excellent way to fill in the Amnesia background and Hypnosis makes a great excuse for the Lost Love background.