Greenville is a peaceful small town in Ameracho – or at least it used to be. Recently, strange events have driven the superstitious people on the edge. As a shocked family comes running to town, screaming of demons, the people have had enough. A firebrand preacher is forming an angry mob to burn down the mansion blamed for the troubles. The characters must investigate the mansion before it is too late!
The town is located in the Green North of Ameracho with about 500 permanent inhabitants. The town has a general store/mail office, a sheriff's office, a small church, several craftsmen and a couple of taverns. The fields are prosperous and the countryside peaceful, save the occasional bandits. The countryside in the immediate vicinity has thrice the population, split into individual farmsteads and small villages. Most of the farmers rent their land from Baroness Margaret of House Gilead. She owns a mansion near Greenville, but haven't been there for years.
Late Baron Gilbert and the Baroness had a very unhappy marriage. The baron was a violent drunk, who treated her poorly. The baroness found love from an adulterous relationship with her music tutor. The baron reacted with vindictive cruelty. He had the lover assassinated and prepared for a public and shameful divorce. Baron Gilbert revealed this all in the mansion. His gloating drove the baroness mad with rage. She pushed the baron from a balcony. He fell on his neck, dying instantly.
People think the death was a drunk accident, nothing more. The baroness – clearly overcome with grief – no longer visited Greenville. She left for her city manse and has stayed there for the last three years. The mansion has been only barely maintained by a grounds keeper and his family.
A few weeks ago, disturbing rumors started in the area. People saw colorful lights flicker in the mansion in the dark. Animals and small items went missing from farmsteads nearby. Strange sounds were heard in the dark, weird marks found with the dawn. Hector, a traveling preacher, has spread further fear among the people.
The disturbances are caused by the ruthless Techdabbler Maria, his lover Hugo and their thugs. The groups is looking for the baron's hidden stash inside the mansion. They use Techmancery and parlor tricks to scare the people. Meanwhile, Hector riles up the population, eventually leading them to storm and burn the ”demon-possessed manor” to hide the evidence.
As a last straw, the grounds keeper Luis and his family come running to the town middle of night. They are screaming of a demonic attack. Hector starts immediately rallying the people into a mob. Sheriff Miguel sends the characters to investigate the mansion while he tries to maintain order.
XX is an introductionary scenario for ARIUS: the Ashen Age. It aims to introduce the basic rules and various game concepts to you as a GM and to your players. As such, the scenario is quite simple in its contents. The goal is to give everyone a solid base to enjoy further adventures in turmoils of the Ashen Age.
Refresh your grasp on the basics regarding main and combat rules before running the game. If you like, you can choose which optional rules to use in addition. The scenario contains suggestions for various checks and their difficulties. Having a check listed doesn't mean you need to make the players roll it. Play it in your own style; some groups prefer rolling more than others.
Remember that the check difficulties are always variable. Lacking proper tools, being wounded, encumbered or otherwise hampered will make tasks more difficult. Players can add extra dice to the checks for additional effects. Good equipment, good planning and other circumstantial effects can in turn make the checks easier. This offers a way to reward the players mechanically for great ideas; make the associated check easier or let them pass it without even rolling. Take into account assistance possibilities.
Remember that the scenario takes place during night and inside a dark building. The characters are assumed to carry torches, lanterns and so forth. If they lose their light, many checks will become a lot harder.
While running the scenario, remember to keep up a sense of urgency. An angry mob is gathering and the night will soon be alight with a sea of torches. The characters don't have time for slow planning or careful finesse. The longer they take before entering the mansion, the shorter the time left for their investigation. Keep up a sense of dread and uncertainty. The characters are going through the place in the dark with only dancing, shadow-casting flames as their illumination. They've been hearing fearsome rumors for weeks. Who knows what is really afoot?
In the Ashen Age, reality is a matter of perception. For that end, choose how your world works as per the defining questions in the main book. The scenario itself offers various options at different chapters. This way, you can fit the events to a frame that pleases you most. If you wish, you can easily move the scenario to some other realm. Just tweak names and other details accordingly.
The players are assumed to use the simple character templates. The scenario is designed for three to five players. The characters are a team of local Shepherds who have been called into the town by the Sheriff. The characters might have families, loved ones and friends in the town, even among the mob.
All began with scratching at the window. Luis Valdez, the mansion caretaker, and his wife Anitra were awoken by something outside the house. They heard their donkeys scream in panic. Soon, the window shattered and a growling thing was coming at them. The couple grabbed their three children and ran into the dark night. They arrived in Greenville bare-feet and shivering, still in their nightclothes and screaming about demons.
Soon Hector had things going his way. He quickly sent his disciples to rouse people and started preaching fire and brimstone. Clearly the forces of Darkness were trying intrude into this world and the mansion was their gateway. As faithful soldiers of Arius, the people would need to steel their hearts, take up arms and tear down that awful place before it was too late. The characters have arrived at dusk, hoping to set to investigate the manor at dawn. They are awoken by the shouting of the gathering mob
Sheriff Miguel One-eye has been a lonely voice of reason in Greenville. Now that things are spiraling out of control, he still tries to keep the peace. The sheriff is certain there are no supernatural forces afoot. He believes a Blighted beast has wandered in the area from the toxic wastelands. The sheriff is glad to see the player characters and asks them to investigate the manor. If possible, they should bring back evidence that can convince the mob to stand down. Should the mob burn down the place, the consequences for the town will be severe. The nobility will surely punish the common people. The sheriff will take the rest of the deputies – those who haven't joined the mob – and try to delay the attack.
The mansion is roughly 30 minutes away from the town on foot or horseback. Forcing the horses to go fast in the dark is risky on bumpy roads filled with holes. Riding hard takes the characters there in 10 minutes, but requires 3D Riding checks. Running hard requires 4D Athletics checks. The crowd will be ready to attack in roughly two hours, after which they take over half an hour to march. Understanding this requires a 3D Tactics or a 5D Intuition check. The marching mob will be visible far due to all the torches they carry.
The characters can either leave immediately or stay to prepare a little further. Time is precious; if they stay in town, pressure them with a sense of urgency. Pepper them with small events like men cleaning old muskets for use or wailing mothers trying to prevent their boys joining the mob. The characters can borrow mundane equipment from the general store. This mostly includes tools and other things a farming community might need.
There is no reasonable way to stop Hector and his mob. If the characters arrest or kill him, it will lead into a full-blown riot. Talking him down is nigh impossible; Hector is too busy preaching to spare time for a personal audience. The characters can delay the mob by sowing doubt among them. This requires a 5D Leadership check (preferably assisted with Religion/Occult) and grants an extra hour. If the characters want to recruit additional manpower, they can do that with a 4D Leadership check. This convinces a couple of deputies to join them.
The characters can locate the groundskeeper and his family easily enough. Unfortunately they are hysterical and distraught. Getting anything useful out of them requires a 4D Human Nature/Diplomacy check. If successful, they'll describe a wailing monster that burst through a window. It was roughly humanoid, but with a skull-like face and eyes burning with green fire. It laughed with a shrill voice when the family ran away. They remember the yard was filled with an unnatural fog when they fled. If pressed, (requires +1D to the check difficulty) Luis and and Anitra can give a rough description of the mansion and the surroundings (see below). They haven't dared to enter the mansion proper for two weeks due to the ”ghosts”. The couple have no idea about the secret passage and the treasure room.
Asking around requires a 4D Streetwise check. If successful, the characters will hear a hundred local ghost stories. In addition, they'll learn Hector arrived to the town a month ago. A small group of strangers passed by three weeks ago. They were equipped like scavengers (the like digging up old ruins for baubles and gadgets) and stopped to talk with Hector before passing on. They were led by a woman.
4D History/Politics & Current Events check reveals basics about the Baron's death. Gilbert was a violent drunk who wasn't much liked by anyone. Baroness Margaret was known for treating the locals fairly and with compassion. Her great grief after the accident was surprising. Perhaps she had intense feelings for the old drunk against all reason. The baroness haven't been seen since.
As always, be ready to improvise; the characters might have unexpected ideas.
Sheriff Miguel One-Eye is a stern, loyal lawman. He is pragmatic and aware that the Empire is not as perfect as it could be. Regardless, he has sworn to upheld the law and defend the people. In his eye, even flawed justice is better than no justice. The sheriff is originally from the Coast of Ash, where he saw plenty of gang violence and lawlessness. He has sworn to never allow Greenville fall into a such sorry state.
Miguel is about 40 with a scarred, bearded face and a large leather eye-patch. He has a dark sense of humor. The general foolishness of humanity can no longer surprise him, no matter what.
Hector is a traveling preacher and occasional miracle worker. He has a talent for inciting crowds like a puppeteer. The preacher is about 30, with a bald head, fiery eyes and a booming voice. He dresses in ragged robes, but loves a good meal.
You can choose what his motivations truly are. He might be the real thing, a fanatical preacher. In that case, the treasure hunters are just using him. They've convinced Hector that House Gilead are vile cultists and the mansion is opening a chasm to the Gloom. Alternatively, he is a part of their plan. The ”demonic attack” was the sign to lead the mob to burn the mansion. Hector will later rejoin the others to share the spoils.
Luis and Anitra Valdez are a married couple in their middle twenties. They have three children, all under the age of ten. When the baroness abandoned the mansion, they were left to maintain it. The family have a small house on the grounds and are paid well. Both are uneducated, religious and very superstitious. Making them believe simple chemistry and gadgets were ghosts was easy.
You can generate other NPCs on the fly if necessary by using the NPC Generator.
Behind the scenes
Maria and Hugo are behind the ”haunting”. They've been using various alchemical and Techmantic tricks to scare the locals for a while. Tonight is the moment they breach a hidden safe in the mansion. The mob is supposed to burn the place to hide the mess.
The ”demon” that attacked the Valdez house was Maria in a monster suit. A Techmantic smoke machine produced the fog outside to create demonic atmosphere. Meanwhile, Hugo killed the donkeys. They've been put into use for decorating the mansion grounds.
If you want more action in town, you can have the religious mania lead into a spontaneous witch hunt. The characters can decide whether to intervene or not when they see a group of men preparing to burn a young foreign slave as a witch.
The mansion grounds are surrounded by a neglected garden with plenty of apple trees. Outer buildings include two storage sheds, the Valdez house, stables, a chapel and a gazebo. The mansion is made of white stone and has three floors. There is a large balcony above the main doors. Baron Gilbert called the place ”simple rustic retreat”, but it is opulent by local standards. The pillars holding the balcony are carved into the likeness of minotaurs holding it with their uplifted hands. In the gloomy darkness, they look malevolent and demonic.
As they approach the mansion, the characters can make 5D Perception checks. On a success, a character sees a dark shape standing on the balcony, as if watching them. Then it disappears. Success and a miss by three notices weak blue light glittering from the attic windows. There is a strange, thick fog hanging close to the ground around the buildings. It seems to flow from the attic of the mansion.
The storage sheds are locked with simple padlocks (2D Intrusion to open). The contents are mainly furniture, gardening tools and so forth. Everything is covered with dust.
Valdez house is left as when the family fled into the night. Two windows have been broken from the outside. There are scratch marks on the wooden walls, as if left by great claws. The door is hanging ajar. Inside, the place is a mess with overturned furniture and broken pottery. There are great pools of blood outside, where the donkeys were tethered. Bloody drag-marks lead towards the chapel. Immoral characters can steal valuables (coins, jewelry, saintly icons) worth ten to twenty omns, if they wish.
The stables are empty and unused, though still stocked with hay. The characters' horses can be left there safely, though the horses will be visibly nervous.
The chapel is a simple round building made of white stone. It has one door and a skylight, but no windows. Outside, the walls have been engraved with images of all Seventeen Saints. The doors are ajar and bloody trail leads inside. The altar and the large statue of Arius have been desecrated with the donkey carcasses. Severed heads grin at the characters, light reflecting madly from their dead eyes. There is blood and entrails everywhere. They form a rough magic circle middle of the floor. 4D Occult check reveals the circle doesn't follow any common school of sorcery. Rather, it is an amateurs idea of what sorcerous symbols might look like. 3D Investigation check reveals bloody footprints around the chapel. They look inhuman with clawed feet. They lead towards the gazebo.
The gazebo is made of green and blue marble with a bright yellow roof. Currently, it is filled with a squeaking, squirming mass of rats and mice! The sight is unnatural enough to cause a 3D Terror check. Driving the vermin from the building is very hard, but can be done with fire and some ingenious ideas. If successful against all odds, the characters locate sticky, smelly residue on walls and floor. It is a Techmantic, pheromonic substance Maria used to attract the animals to the building. Realizing this requires a 5D Arcane Lore check (best assisted with Nature, Survival, Alchemy).
The mansion itself has large double doors at the front. The doors are carved with the crest of House Gilead - an angel holding a clockwork rifle. They have been barred from the inside. Breaking in requires a 5D Intrusion or a 6D Vigor check, but causes a racket. Circling around the building locates servant's entrance that is unlocked. Opening the windows is easier and possibly silent (3D Intrusion), but climbing in silently is difficult with Bulky gear (2D Stealth). Climbing up the pillars to the balcony takes a 4D Athletics check (remember Bulk penalties!). Climbing up the walls requires a 5D Athletics check due to lack of easy handholds.
Behind the scenes
Maria and Hugo prepared the scene for investigators. Hugo desecrated the chapel with the poor donkeys while leaving monstrous tracks on purpose. Meanwhile Maria summoned the vermin.
If you are using Madness Meter, exploring the grounds is enough for a 3D Supernatural check (rats, claw marks, unnatural fog and desecrated chapel). If a character comes up with an excellent rationalization and believes it, make it a 3D Techmancery check instead.
If you want more combat, add an attack by one or two Blighted hounds. Maria and Hugo released them on the grounds after other preparations. The hounds are covered with occult symbols and bony decorations to create an impression of hellhounds.
Should the character prepare against supernatural with religion or sorcery, this can provide some benefits. Protective prayers (4D Religion) provide moral boost against horrors. As long as the characters truly believe in their effect and keep doing religious acts (praying etc), they get -1D to all Terror checks. Same is true for occult rites, but the occultist likely won't share them with the others. Both effects persist through the scenario, as long as the players remember to mention them. (Saying they keep mumbling prayers or using the Holy Scriptures as a shield against something weird, calling a saint to protect him etc.) If your world contains truly supernatural things, they have further benefits. In that case, the characters reciting protections can avoid the worst Alone in the Dark encounters (see next chapter).
The first floor has several empty corridors and a few rooms of note. Furniture have been covered with protective cloth sheets. The mansion has been clearly unused for a while. All mirrors have been covered with sheets nailed in place. 4D Perception notices a faint, eerie music coming from somewhere upstairs. There is a strange, pungent smell in the air.
The dinner room is a large empty space dominated by a long, wide table. The walls are filled with family portraits of House Gilead. The flickering shadows cast by lights carried by the characters make the paintings seem demonic. It is as if they were all staring disapprovingly at the intruders. A huge chandelier hangs from the ceiling, tinkling slightly, as if moved by an unfelt breeze. The chandelier is trapped and will drop when a pressure plate underneath a rug is walked over. Finding the trigger requires 4D Investigation; disarming it requires a 4D Clockworks. If the trap is triggered, the heavy chandelier drops and explodes into a shower of glass shards. 4D Alertness check allows characters to avoid damage. A failure inflicts 3D damage to the character directly underneath; a miss by three 2D damage. Failed Alertness inflicts 2D damage from shards to the others in the room. The dropping chandelier makes a huge racket and alerts the scavengers downstairs.
The library and the lounge are filled with covered furniture. Books in the library are contain mainly chivalric fiction, official histories, biographies and romantic poetry. Of course, books are expensive and valuable – the books of poetry are worth 20 omns if stolen. Other books can be looted as a fine history library.
The kitchen floor is covered with a thin layer of powder easily mistaken for dust. When stepped on, it starts burning harmlessly with an eerie green light. It is unexpected enough to cause 4D Terror checks. If closely investigated, the dust can be identified as a chemical compound (5D Alchemy/4D Arcane Lore). There are several silver and gilded candlesticks on one table, which seem very valuable (worth 50 omns). Close by is a strange knife rack – all the knives have been set upon it blades outward. The kitchen has an entry to the wine cellar, but it seems to have been boarded shut. (See Act V for cellar.)
The servants quarters are empty save furniture covered with sheets. A couple of the doors have been fitted with simple mechanisms that make the door bang shut shortly after opened. (4D Investigation to find, 3D Clockworks to understand.)
Behind the scenes
Maria has trapped the rooms to scare people and to give the looters a warning if people enter the mansion. Banging doors and especially the dropping chandelier can be heard downstairs, thus giving advance warning of intruders inside.
The strange events on the ground floor (eerie music, glowing dust, chandelier, knife trap, banging doors) are enough to cause a 4D Supernatural check if you use Madness Meter.
If you want to add haunting events, remember how bad things always happen in horror genre when someone is alone in the dark! The events might be supernatural, the work of an active imagination and adrenaline, Techmantic tricks or something else entirely. Most of the events call for 4D/5D Terror checks. The wildest events should be used if there really is supernatural elements in your game world. Here are a few suggestions for what can happen to a character left alone:
A wide staircase lined with paintings leads to the second floor. The paintings portray various animals, some of them strangely distorted. The eerie music plays stronger here. 4D Perception check locates the music coming from the master bedroom. In addition, there are shuffling sounds coming from the attic. The corridors between bedrooms are lined with tall candelabras. Most have candles burning with flickering blue flames. 5D Alchemy/4D Arcane Lore identifies it as chemically induced, if the candles are investigated closely.
The master bedroom is the source of the eerie music. It immediately stops when the door is opened for the first time. The bedroom is more of a luxurious suite than a single room. There is a hidden music box in the room that played the tune (6D Investigation to find). It was attached to the door with a mechanism that turned it off when the door was opened. Furniture in the room is exquisite and several cabinets still contain jewelry (worth 50 omns) and expensive clothing (worth 200 omns). A single, unlocked door leads to the balcony.
The guest bedrooms are smaller versions of the master bedroom. They contain nothing interesting, but the doors bang closed on their own as in the servants quarters. Looters might be interested in various objects of art, vases, silver candlesticks and so forth. They are bulky and worth 10-30 omns apiece, for a total of 200 omns.
The study is where the baron used to work. It is completely ransacked, with overturned furniture and old papers thrown everywhere. The most interesting ones are old, coded letters. Breaking the code is nigh impossible given the time limit on the characters. Should they somehow manage it, the letter detail various business ventures. Among them are details about the baroness' relationship and the following assassination.
The attic is accessed through a ladder leading to a closed hatch. The hatch is covered with strange symbols drawn with white chalk. 4D Occult identifies them as wards against spirits. It is not locked. The top floor is filled with old furniture, wooden crates, ornamental suits of armor and other junk. Among them are several portraits of Baron Gilbert, which have been removed from other rooms.
A little girl is hiding among the junk (4D Perception to spot). Seen farther away she is just a dark shape among the crates. If spotted, she tries to run away and hide again. If approached, she screams about ”bad men” and ”evil lady trying to hurt me!”. Calming her down takes a 4D Human Nature/Diplomacy check.
Juanita is the girl hiding in the attic. She is covered with dust and dirt, wearing a ragged dress and less than twelve years old. The girl doesn't want to leave the attic – she is very afraid of the ”evil lady” and ”bad men”. You can use a generic street urchin for her stats. Who she is exactly... you can choose:
Behind the scenes
Maria and Hugo ransacked the study, but didn't find what they sought. Thus Maria simply trapped the place with further ”hauntings”.
If you are using Madness Meter, the strange events on the top floor cause 4D Supernatural check.
Stairway to the cellar is boarded shut. 5D Investigation notices the boarding can be easily removed from one corner, clearing enough space to slip through. Breaking through with violence requires a 3D Intrusion or 5D Vigor check. It causes a lot of noise.
The wine cellar is the first part of the basement. The walls are lined with huge barrels. Unnatural fog hangs on the floor. There are no obvious ways to move onwards. Checking out the room (4D Perception) reveals one of the barrels sounds empty and the front can be removed. Investigating the barrel carefully (4D Investigation) reveals a wire trigger in the opening; it can be easily disarmed. If the barrel is opened (and the wire has not been disarmed), a huge blast of white fog streams forth. It is followed by an otherworldly scream, as if a great beast was attacking. Nothing comes out, but it is easy to imagine a monster in the shadowy cellar. This calls for a 4D Terror check.
An old family tomb is located behind the secret entrance. A short, narrow corridor leads from the barrel to the tomb. Visibility is very poor; the tomb is filled with thick, gray fog. There are four sarcophagi and stairs leading into the treasure room in the tomb.
If the characters have made a racket before, there will be an ambush in the tomb. Noticing the ambush beforehand takes a 5D Perception check. Each sarcophagus has one of the thugs in it. They are wearing long black cloaks and wear crude skull masks. They'll jump out growling and attack the characters. If the scavengers had time to prepare, Hugo made them take bloodroot, ensuring they'll be aggressive and not give up easily. If the character took a long time from initial sounds to entering the tomb, the effect might have worn off.
Hugo observes the fight from the back of the room, hiding behind a sarcophagus. If the characters seem to be winning, he'll throw a smoke grenade for cover and run down the stairs. If the characters have been silent and avoided the barrel trap, Hugo will be in the treasure room. The hired help are playing cards in a dim candlelight in their costumes by the sarcophagi, making a bizarre sight.
Treasure room is at the bottom of steep stairs. It is a small chamber with several iron-bound chests and a safe installed directly to the stone wall. The chests are open and contain accounting ledgers of the late baron's finances. They are no immediately useful, though Imperial tax collectors would find them interesting. There is an escape route – a narrow chimney-like tunnel – leading at the bottom of a dried-out well. Rope ladder hangs from the top. Horses of the group wait near the well in a small copse, guarded by a fifth thug. Maria is in the room, but what she is exactly doing, depends on how much time the characters have taken to get there.
There is an inactive pain gas grenade trap in the stairway. If Hugo is present in the tomb ambush and retreats, he arms the trap on the way down, if he has the time. (There are no characters in hot pursuit.) Avoiding the trap requires a 4D Alertness check (4D Demolitions to disarm safely).
If the characters have been fast, Maria is still working on the safe with her tools. She'll try to finish the job, but will run rather than fight. If the characters have taken a while, she is just finishing breaking inside the safe. She'll try to escape with or without Hugo after looting the safe. If they've been very slow, the treasure hunters are already gone (they left the thugs behind) and the mob is approaching the front doors.
What exactly is there in the safe? Choose at least three from these options:
Chasing Maria through the tunnel and up the rope ladder requires a 4D Athletics check. The characters can continue the chase on horseback by taking any extra mounts left.
You can use generic thugs to represent the five hired minions. They are wearing leather armor and armed with axes or clubs. Two of the men in the tomb have poor pistols, while the scoundrel guarding the horses has a poor musket. The thugs are nervous regarding the strange stuff going on; they can be intimidated or bribed if they are not under the influence of bloodroot.
Hugo is a hard-boiled scavenger, who has seen plenty of strange things in ancient ruins. He has dark hair, rough features and cold, cold eyes. He feels genuine affection towards Maria and trusts her more than he should. Everyone else are expendable to him.
PV 18 (torso) DP 10/13 Mighty Blow 9 Momentum 6
Blessings: Armor Training II Lucky II Pain Tolerance I
Curses: Unlucky I
Criminal (Scavengers) 3 (TN 9)
Skills: Acrobatics 5 (TN 14), Alertness 5 (TN 13), Athletics 5 (TN 14), Fast-Talk 3 (TN 9), Firearms 4 (TN 12), Demolitions 6 (TN 12), Diplomacy 3 (TN 9), Human Nature 3 (TN 11), Leechcraft (First aid) 3 (TN 9), Melee Weapons 7 (TN 16), Riding 4 (TN 13), Stealth 4 (TN 13), Streetwise 4 (TN 10), Swimming 3 (TN 12), Throwing 4 (TN 12), Unarmed 7 (TN 16)
Notable equipment: Steel cuirass, broadsword, brace of pistols, two smoke grenades, gloommask.
Maria is a ruthless Techdabbler looking for the big haul. She is not exactly pretty, but has a deep, attractive voice. Living in a world dominated by men has taught her to do whatever it takes. She finds Hugo a useful protector and his adoration is cute. Still, Maria puts her own survival first and will throw him to the wolves if she has to. She will run or surrender; fighting is not her forte. If caught, Maria will play a damsel in distress, claiming she was a captive forced to co-operate. She will blame everything on Hugo.
You can choose her motivation from the following suggestions:
PV 0 DP 8/10 Mighty Blow 2 Momentum 5
Blessings: Attractive I Harmless Lucky II
Techmancery (Black market techdabblers) 3 (TN 11)
Criminal (Scavengers) 2 (TN 10)
Skills: Acrobatics 4 (TN 12), Alertness 3 (TN 12), Arcane Lore 3 (TN 12), Athletics 4 (TN 11), Clockworks 6 (TN 15), Clubs & Axes 4 (TN 11), Demolitions 3 (TN 12), Diplomacy 6 (TN 14), Fast-Talk 6 (TN 14), Firearms 4 (TN 11), Fleshcraft 3 (TN 12), Golemcraft 3 (TN 12), Human Nature 5 (TN 14), Intrusion 5 (TN 13), Investigation 4 (TN 13), Riding 5 (TN 13), Spiritcraft 3 (TN 12), Stealth 4 (TN 12), Streetwise 3 (TN 12), Techmancery 3 (TN 12), Throwing 4 (TN 13), Unarmed 4 (TN 11)
Notable equipment: Fine intrusion kit, clockworks toolkit, woundspray (two charges remaining), pocket pistol, pain gas grenade, gloommask.
If you want a monstrous encounter, replace the thugs in the tomb with a clockwork corpse or two. Be warned that will make the fight much harder!
If you are using Madness Meter, the encounters downstairs are enough for a 5D Supernatural check. It can be converted to a 4D Techmancery check, if proper explanations are found.
The characters can stop the mob if they capture Maria and/or Hugo. They make a good living proof to prevent the mansion being burned down. Without the captives or only the corpses to show to the crowd, stopping them takes some serious talking (5D Leadership). Whether they can stop the mob or not, the characters get five experience points each for facing the horrors. If they only explored the mansion partially, they get three experience points each.
If the mansion gets destroyed by the mob, the sheriff is disappointed, but doesn't blame the characters. After all, upholding the law is his duty and he was unable to do it. Destroying noble property will bring serious consequences for the town. The sheriff might ask the characters to hunt down Maria and Hugo if they got away, chase down Hector or to go meet the Baroness as the town's envoy. Being representatives of the Church they don't need to do any of these things; but it can earn them favor with the locals (Rabblerousing Influence).
Stopping the mob and not looting the mansion gets the characters a lifelong friend in the sheriff. He will send in good word to the Baroness. The characters get one AP each for being such upstanding individuals (but no monetary reward). The characters get a point of Government Influence or an Ally.
If the characters loot the mansion, but stop the mob, the sheriff will be displeased. Since the mansion wasn't burned to cover the evidence, their robbery won't go unnoticed. Rumors will spread and the characters become know as thieves among the locals. This might count as a Transgression if the word spreads, especially among certain factions.
If the characters loot the safe, but nothing else, the sheriff will never know. Locals will see them as heroes. Eventually, House Gilead sends someone to investigate. They'll find out the secret room, which might cause trouble for the characters. Contents of the safe are by themselves good source for further adventures.
If Maria was captured, she will eventually escape. She might want to revenge the foiling of her plots to the characters or just to get back the stuff from the safe. This might involve her associates, if she has any. Same is true if she ran without looting the safe. If the characters did the unexpected and allied with Maria on the spot, she will involve them in her plans, whatever they were, but see them ultimately as expendable fodder.
If Maria, Hugo, Hector and/or any thugs were captured, the characters can put them on trial. What charges they will put up depends on them - and whether they will buy Maria's lies or not. Hugo won't initially testify against Maria, but can be broken with skilled interrogation. If Maria, Hugo and/or any thugs were killed, they can still be put on trial, as Shepherds judge souls, not necessarily living people. See trial rules for details. Gaining convictions shouldn't be hard, but characters don't necesserily want to use as evidence things they want to keep for themselves.
|Minor evidence||Testimonies from thugs, testimonies from villagers, testimonies from the Valdez family|
|Incriminating evidence||Techmantic tools, confession from Maria or Hugo, testimony from the Shepherds, monster suit & claws, chemical substances (if noticed and identified), blighted hounds (if used in the scenario)|
|Major evidence||Desecration of the chapel (if portrayed as demon worship), clockwork corpse (if used in the scenario)|
It is up to the characters what crimes they choose to charge their captives for. Likewise, it is up to them what punishment they'll demand before the court.