6 Village Encounters for Inquisitors

Greetings! I took a bit of time off after releasing the game (and the subsequent patches), but I have been doing all sorts of weird game design in the meantime. Here’s some village encounters the PCs may come upon while doing their rounds as Lawbringers (taxcollector-witcher-secretpolice-judge-priests) in Inquisitors. Players in my campaign (you know who you are): no looking!

Each encounter has a general setup, and then a random table with various resolutions or complications, on which the GM can roll or pick one to apply to the encounter in question.

The Kind Old Woman

A kind old woman offers the Lawbringers good, home-cooked food and drink, fussing over them as if they were her children. She tells them that her youngest son went off to be a Lawbringer like them, but he was killed by forest goblins while defending a village up north. She would like them to tell her where his grave is, if they know, or keep an eye out for it on their travels if they don’t. Now that she’s old, and her middle son has taken over the farm with his wife, she would like to visit the grave.

The son was a pretty youth of average height, with light brown hair and dark eyes. He acted as a squire to a Lawbringer knight, despite his peasant origins.

1MisinformationThe son is actually still alive, but she was mistakenly told he died. Due to a clerical error, the letters he sends are filed away and never arrive.
2Foul PlayThe son was not killed by goblins, but by men. Something is amiss.
3UndeadThe son’s corpse was raised as an undead; there is no grave.
4Lost in ActionThe son’s corpse was never found; there is no grave.
5Dark MotivesThe son’s group intentionally provoked the goblins into attacking the village – for reputation, profit, or malice – and he paid the price.
6DevouredThe son’s corpse was devoured, and the eater is still out there.
7DeserterThe son deserted the Lawbringers – to be a bandit, a Satanist, a wanderer or a revolutionary – and faked his own death.
8MisplacementThe son was not up north: the grave is very much somewhere else.

The Witch-Man

Villagers claim that they have seen the lumberman, who lives by the river at the northern outskirts of the village, nurse his newborn child himself. His wife died in childbirth, and some speculate he sacrificed her to the Devil to gain dark powers. A few go so far as to claim that he etches curses into the wood he produces, and flies about on a young tree at night, spitting disease upon the village.

The lumberman is a tall, wide man, shaped not unlike the sturdy oaks he cuts. He has thick black hair and beard, and equally thick and black body hair. He lives next to his small waterwheel-driven sawmill, right next to the river.

1Trauma ResponseThe lumberman started lactating as a psychological response to his wife’s death; nature’s own emergency food solution for the child.
2HerbalismThe lumberman asked a wise woman for herbs to induce lactation.
3Bottle FeedingThe lumberman simply fed the child animal milk through a bottle.
4MutationThe lumberman always had the ability to lactate, a quirk of physiology.
5BondingThere was no milk – the baby suckles only for comfort.
6Elves AfootA helpful forest fey looks kindly upon the lumberman, and nurses the child in his place.
7Witch?The lumberman’s late wife was a virtuous witch and taught him some minor tricks. He uses a simple midwifery spell to nurse.
8WitchThe lumberman is indeed a witch. The child is in fact a demonic familiar, sucking blood from his mangled breast.

The Faceless

The village is haunted by a group of faceless monsters; all too manlike things who lurk in the forest, preying on whoever they can get their hands on. When they kill, they leave only the carved-off face – skin, flesh, and bone – and another faceless joins the ranks. The faceless appear as humans with gaping, bleeding holes instead of faces. The supernatural aura blurs their form, making them hard to make out against the forest at night.

The faceless fight as strong, determined normal men with unbreakable morale. They often use hefty, one-handed chopping blades to fight. They appear only at night, disappearing when dawn comes. If at least one faceless survives the night, all faceless in the group return the following night. Despite the faceless having no fear, they will gladly retreat if a fight seems unwinnable, and happily sacrifice members to make sure at least one survives.

1Cursed StoneThere lies a cursed black boulder, buried in the center of the village. The goal of the faceless is to dig it up and break it, to release the miasma sealed within. If the stone was sanctified, perhaps the faceless would disappear.
2VengeanceThe faceless are born from a revenant. The villagers killed someone and removed their face to make identification impossible. The grudge of this forlorn and forgotten individual spawned the faceless.
3HungerThe faceless are simply an evil organism, hunting to “live”.
4MaliceA witch called up the faceless to destroy a person or family in the village. Defeating the witch (or sacrificing the target) may or may not also defeat the faceless.
5CultThe faceless are villagers who are members of a cult. They transform at night, the false faces disappearing to reveal true nature, and go out to forcibly indoctrinate others to their Satanic rites. For now, their goal is to capture the entire village, and to hunt travelers to sacrifice.
6Fallen DeityThe faceless used to be a local guardian deity before the village was turned to the True Faith. Abandoned and corrupted, the former deity simply runs rampage, protecting no one from everyone.

The Ghost Ship

The village is regularly accosted by ghostly raiders. Their black longship glides silently against the tide, tattered sails whipping madly in a nonexistent wind. Along the ship’s sides stand the raiders, clad in rusted mail and battered helmets, hollow-eyed and hollow-cheeked, bony fingers clutching worn weapons and rotten shields. As the ship crashes into the bay, undead warriors leap onto land, charging into the village, killing and stealing wildly, before retreating back to the ship.

1Everlasting TormentThe raiders are simply doing in death as they did in life, cursed to ever pillage and never to find True Faith or salvation.
2DisguisedThe raiders are human pirates, high on bizarre drugs and posing as ghosts. In the haze of addiction and intoxication, they haplessly attack the same village over and over.
3Sorcerer’s RetinueThe undead are the slaves of a dark wizard, who is using them to procure funds and sacrifices for his Satanic affairs. Their limited ability to understand commands have made it so they only attack one village.
4Ghostly RetributionThe ship, bound for another destination, was caught in a heavy storm. The villagers prevented the ship from landing, causing it to sink with no survivors – and the dead seek their vengeance.
5Failed RevengeThe undead ship was conjured from beneath the waves by a villager, to be used as a tool of vengeance against another village. The spell failed.
6Divine JudgmentThe villagers secretly sent raiding parties to other villages of the True Faith, pretending to be heathens to rob and kill without repercussions.  The ghost ship is the punishment for their disloyal ways.

The Dancing Plague

A few weeks ago, a woman started dancing in the middle of the village. More and more joined in and were unable to stop. Travelers by this point avoid the village, and the few physicians, priests, and healers that have passed by have found no cure. The dancing plague must be stopped, or the whole village will perish.

1Ergot PoisoningThe LSD-like compound secreted by ergot fungus growing on the local grain reserves has affected the entire village.
2CurseA witch has cursed the villagers to dance and spasm until they all die, after being slighted by a villager.
3Mass HysteriaA stress-induced psychosis on a massive scale has erupted due to the horrific conditions of famine and disease plaguing the village.
4RuseThe dancing plague is false, the villagers use the “plague” to disperse attention from the fact that they are preparing a violent revolution.
5Satanic RiteThey are summoning a devil through a continuous excess and violent dancing. Visitors must be careful not to be dragged into their evil.
6Divine JudgementThe town reveled in dance and wine, continuously rejecting God in favor of profane enjoyment. Their judgment is to dance to death.
7Genetic ConditionMost of the village suffers from a heritable epilepsy-like condition which was triggered by unusual food or weather conditions. It may be treatable, if only someone knew the cause.
8Demonic PossessionA mass of lesser demons is possessing the villagers, slowly draining the life force.
9DiseaseA spasm-causing disease is afflicting the village. It is not terribly contagious, but extended contact carries a risk of infection.
10Ritual PoleAn ancient ritual pole, used in heathen celebrations, was unearthed and put on display, which invoked its powers. To stop the dancing plague, the pole must be sealed, purified, or destroyed, which may not be trivial.

The Ill-fated Child

A child was recently born in the village, marked by ill omens. There is clearly something unnatural going on, and the villagers are not happy about the situation. However, the child’s parents have not left it out to die from exposure, and rising tension in the village may soon threaten the entire family’s lives. It is up to the Lawbringers to defuse the situation, and decide what is right.

1The child is covered in fur, head to toe.
2The child has a pair of horns sprouting from their forehead.
3The child has a multitude of horns and spines protruding from their body.
4The child’s eyes burn an unnatural gold or crimson, or are entirely milky white.
5The child is incredibly heavy, as if filled with lead.
6The child has fangs and feeds by suckling blood.
1BloodlineA parent unknowingly hailed from a dormant monstrous bloodline.
2CambionThe child was conceived with a demon, leaving it a half-devil.
3ChangelingTrolls or fairies took the real baby and replaced it with their own.
4CursedThe child or parents were cursed by a witch.
5Dark MedicineIt is a matter caused by strange medicine given to parents or child.
6GeneticIt’s simply a matter of an unusual birth defect.

There we go, six inquisitorial encounters, in which your players can inquisit.

Obligatory “get my game at the Steam Winter Sale”: Alkali!

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