The Tumult

Patron: Merchant
Required Skills: None
Required Equipment: None
Location: Any world experiencing social turmoil

Players’ Information:
The world is undergoing societal problems. The native populace is bitterly torn over social, economic and racial issues to the point that rumors of civil war are flying about. For now, however, the bitterness is confined mostly to increasingly nasty public debates and policy changes, with sporadic mob violence triggered by seemingly minor incidents.

This is the case as the adventurers are conducting their business. Another situation has sparked rioting recently and is still in the news feeds enough to stoke angry confrontations between citizens and local law enforcement. As the heroes try to conclude their business before violence breaks out, they see groups of people gathering, chanting and stoking themselves up. The police, alert to the signs of impending trouble, have also begun gathering in riot gear, hoping their mere presence is enough to deter violence.

It isn’t.

The crowds soon become physical. The police, feeling threatened, let fly with crowd-dispersal methods, and battle is soon joined. The street becomes a chaotic stew of looting, arson, and fights. The PCs, caught in the middle, are assumed to be trying to navigate to a safe area, but this is easier said than done. Each adventurer must throw DEX or less or take 1D-2 (minimum 1) hits from being in what currently amounts to a war zone.

While they are seeking shelter, they witness a battered and bruised woman bravely trying to defend a small storefront. While she is armed with a club, she is horribly outnumbered and on the verge of becoming another victim of an out-of-control mob. If the PCs decide to help her, they have a chance to disperse the group directly threatening her. They may choose whatever method they like, from intimidation to outright conflict, but the fight should not be long (seasoned adventurers, some of whom are no doubt ex-military, will have no trouble dealing with untrained citizens).

The heroes should drive the assailants off, but only for the moment. They don’t go far, and look like they’ll try to loot the store again as soon as they lick their wounds. The shopkeeper hires the group on the spot, promising to pay them Cr 10,000 after things calm down, to help her defend her store.

The shop – image from wikimedia – Public Domain

Referee’s Information:
Three things don’t matter to the plot: what the store sells (as long as it’s not against local law); how many opponents the PCs are facing (as long as the numbers and odds are reasonable); and what method the referee uses to resolve the fight or assign damage.

What does matter is the reason the store owner is so adamant about defending the business. The heroes can use whatever method works best for them to discover why:

1. She is simply stubborn, and wants to protect her livelihood from being stolen and/or destroyed.

2. The merchandise is far more valuable than the surroundings and the owner indicate. She regularly has nobility as clientele and so has the best of everything. This also indicates she could pay the group more, if they insist. On a throw of 9+, several of her customers are trapped within and will be very grateful to be rescued.

3. There’s someone within that she’s protecting: (2+) children; (7+) an aged parent; (10+) an injured spouse.

4. As 3, except the one protected is either (2+) a criminal; (6+) an illicit romantic partner; (9+) someone who is forcing the woman to protect him or her.

5. She has contraband hidden in the store that will get her in trouble if it’s exposed, but is far too valuable to be destroyed. The shopkeeper will sneak inside and save the item(s) at the first opportunity. Along with her subsequent disappearance will go the PCs’ chances of being paid.

6. As 5, except the cops were about to raid the place looking for the contraband in question. A patrol of 6 in riot gear will appear, arresting anyone who lingers in the area, especially anyone defending the store. The shopkeeper will disappear without her item(s) at the first chance, and so will the heroes’ pay.

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