Forty Farthings

A Hârn Adventure by David Johnson, June, 1998

The personalities and events depicted in this adventure are located in the manor of Depsut, near Parios in Melderyn. However, the use of alternate locations would be very easy to implement.

The general tone of the adventure is that of "spaghetti western." The gamemaster should enhance this tone through descriptions of dusty roads, grizzled tavern patrons, etc.

Cast of Characters

Aftan the Reeve

He is the new reeve of Depsut. Against all tradition, he was appointed by Agan Nuryndel upon the death of Hale. Aftan does not want the job and is unsuited for it. His decisions are based upon "what did we do last year?"

Agan Nuryndel

New "lord" of Depsut, and son of Danast's elder sister, Meline. Agan is a ne'er-do-well, who would rather be off gambling and carousing than attending to his responsibilities. He has little regard for peasants, measuring others by the yardstick of wealth. While in Thay, he met up with fellow gamblers Gance, Orvin and Jekkir. He is now a pawn in their schemes.

Danast Nuryndel

The previous lord of Depsut. He died from poisoning over the winter. His wife had died during childbirth, along with his daughter. He had no other acknowledged children. He was currently courting the Lady Serinna Azeldan of Miled. He was a kindly lord that regularly participated in the peasantry's celebrations.

Gance Nione

A rather effeminate gentleman but very good with the sword. He makes his living by gambling, and is a superb cheat. He views people as merely tools to an end. His goals are limited to his next victim's purse. He is a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of his current endeavor, but he was talked in to it by Jekkir. He fancies himself nobility, and sometimes passes himself off as such. He can often be found in the tavern lording it up.

Hale the Reeve

Hale is the previous reeve of Depsut. He was hung for striking Agan. His gibbet still hangs from a tree outside of town.

Jekkir of Jeud

He studied Odivshe magic as a youth in Karejia, but his discipline did not match his talents. He left his chantry still an apprentice Mavari. He has subsequently made his living as a confidence man and charlatan. He is constantly scheming and planning. He thinks in the long term, and has little regard for the day to day things. He rarely shows his face around the manor.

Motham

The tavernkeep of Depsut. He does not belong to the guild, and thus is afraid to appeal his injustices to the sheriff for fear of losing his livelihood. He has rooms in the tavern, but it is more of a boarding-house than an inn. Hale told him what he knew before he was hung.

Orvin Tellman

A very large tough. Once a sailor, he is now the permanent companion of Gance, who does all of his thinking for him. He is utterly loyal to Gance. Although Gance is not a homosexual, Orvin is. His feelings for Gance greatly disturb him. He would readily attack any who accuse him or Gance of unnatural proclivities.

Pottor and Stowe

The two yeomen who were implicated in Danast's murder. Their families still farm their lands. The villagers do their best to help them out, but the charity of the poor only stretches so far.

Vallin

He is the unacknowledged son of Danast. He is afraid that Agan will find this out, and have him eliminated. He knows part of the truth about the poisoning, but cannot prove it. He also claims to have seen the ghost of Danast.

Roggar Nuryndel

He is the younger brother of Danast, but he dishonored himself years ago by way of cowardice. He simply left his family in shame and joined the Irreproachable Order of Peoni. He drowns his sorrows in drink, and is rarely sober, much to the consternation of his order. He returned to town when he heard that his brother had died. Danast was the only one who did not reproach him for his cowardice. The villagers don't like him at all.

Overture to Villainy

While in Thay, Agan Nuryndel met the gamblers Gance, Orvin and Jekkir, hereafter known collectively as the "ring". Gance's cheating at various games of chance put Agan 1000d in debt. Agan's debt to the ring was multiplied when he was pressured to testify to the innocence of Orvin, who had been implicated in a prostitute's murder.

Jekkir came up with a scheme to collect a huge amount of money from Depsut Manor. Travelling there with Agan, the ring poisoned Danast Nuryndel, and framed the murder on Agan. His "friends" then covered it up, cementing his false loyalty.

Agan claimed the manor for his own, and subsequently accused and hung the manor's two yeomen for the murder. Up until this point, Agan was innocent of all crimes save stupidity. He is not the rightful heir to Depsut. The true heir is Roggar Nuyndel, since his dishonor is not official. Neither Agan or Roggar is aware of this fact. A valiant deed on his part would surely erase his ancient error from the minds of the villagers.

Death and Taxes

The ring's plan was to rob the manor of its portable wealth, especially the silver. But Agan had exaggerated his uncle's wealth too often. Depsut, like most manors, is land rich, but very cash poor. Only 800d was found. They were expecting five times that much.

A group of common thugs would have then left Agan to his own devices and departed. However, Gance decided that being in control of a manor had a certain charm, and great potential. He decided to squeeze the last bit of wealth out of the place before leaving.

A head tax of 10d was placed on the inhabitants last month for the purpose of "proper security and defenses." They are collecting this as they can. Most villagers are continually promising to pay more next tenday. The ring is currently contemplating the feasibility of further taxes.

Discipline has been harsh. The reeve was hung for striking Agan. In truth, he approached the lord with knowledge that Agan was not the true heir, and threatened to expose him. Agan "appointed" a reeve to replace him.

The shade of Danast is troubled by all of this. His ghost does not know exactly who poisoned him, but knows that those who were hanged were innocent. He has been appearing to Agan every tenth night and asking "Who has slain me within my home?" Agan attributes this to nightmares. Last tenday, the serf Vallin claimed to have seen Danast riding through the manor at midnight. He chased after him, but found only the lord's horse which had gotten loose. The horse was saddled, however

Finally, to add insult to injury, three friends of Gance and Orvin have shown up. They are acting as the manor guard, but receive no pay, since they are preying upon individuals travelling from Parios to Jothet, using Depsut as a safe haven.

The Offer

The peasantry can take no more of this. They know that the two men hung for the lord's murder were innocent. They suspect that Agan is the murderer. Some even suspect that Agan is not really Agan. They labor under unjust taxes and levies. When the widow Dill was beaten by the guards for "mouthing off", they decided to act.

The tavernkeep Motham has collected all that the villages can afford to contribute, forty farthings. With this, they plan to hire what help they can. They don't know what form this help will be, but expect it will only be a messenger to the Earl. Motham will observe his tavern's patrons, few as they are, for any hopeful candidates. He will most likely offer the money to the party after he observes then long enough to trust then, and apologize for the meager sum.

If the party plans to bypass Depsut on their travels, they can be approached in the tavern of another manor by Motham, who has travelled beyond his home in search of aid.

High Noon

Roggar is in a turmoil over these events. He desires to confront Agan and challenge him to a duel. However, he feels that it is not his place, and would rather drink than act. If the party can get him sober and out of his funk, then very likely a showdown between Agan and Roggar will happen. Should Agan notice that Roggar is sober, he will be very concerned.

If the party confronts Agan and the ring in combat, melodramatic timing would require Roggar to show up and call Agan out for a duel of honor.

The Subplot

This adventure is best played out if the events described above are incidental to what the party believes to be the main adventure. Therefore, the party also has an appointment with a barrow on the Korin Downs, southwest of the manor. The exact details of this side adventure are left to the gamemaster's imagination. The party can travel to Depsut on their way to the downs and be hired by the villagers on their arrival. Or they can be approached by another tavern patron who is seeking a party to help in a barrow's excavation. Either way, the gamemaster should play up this subplot as being the main adventure.