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Adventure Hook 016 – The Juggler

ADVENTURE HOOK 016 – The Juggler


Starts in a town (size doesn’t matter) and also takes place at a traveling carnival


An old man, well known to the townsfolk, has requested that the party accompany him to the traveling carnival.  He wants to see his son give a juggling performance, for which the son is regionally famous, and the man fears it will be his last opportunity to see his son before his death.


The man secretly thinks/feels that the son is a disgrace and has arranged to have the son killed.


The players need to

1) Answer the man’s request for assistance

2) Accompany the man to the carnival and make sure that he makes it there safely

3) Protect the man and his nurse-maids (he is very old) throughout the journey and during the carnival

4) Uncover the conspiracy to have the son killed* (here it is likely that the authorities at the carnival ask for any and all help discovering the murderer of the juggler – possibly pressing the party into service)

5) Expose the conspiracy to local authorities*

Things to explore:

1) The man is very wealthy and offers to pay the party a huge fee if they accompany him to the carnival.  He needs protection from any beasties that they may encounter along the way, and he may need a couple of strong defender types to carry his chair, since he is an invalid.

2) Since the party’s job is to stand guard by the old man during the entire show, they will be likely to defend him (or at the very least, offer an alibi) if the man is accused by the guards after the son’s assassination.

3) There should be things that may clue the party in to the fact that all is not right.  Maybe the man doesn’t react as they would expect after his son is killed.  Perhaps the man’s nurse-maid is there the entire time, except for the exact moment of assassination – this may cause them to question the nurse (and/or the man himself)

4) The man may request that the party take him to see his son right before the juggler goes on stage, and they may have a strange or stilted conversation (may clue in the PCs that not all is right). Or perhaps the son is extremely annoying or obnoxious, or maybe the son is a cad or a criminal, and the PCs may immediately dislike him (perhaps an insight check will reveal that?).  Perhaps the son has been stealing from the man, or from the towns the carnival visits.

5) *Perhaps the PCs are very poor (or very greedy) and don’t want to turn the man in until they get their payment – which they fear they will not receive if the man is arrested.

6) *Perhaps the man tries to pay off the PCs, asking them not to tell the authorities what they know.  This may work if the PCs find the son annoying or mean-spirited.


The * above are to denote that this is one hook where the party may not complete all the tasks.  If they choose not to do tasks 5 and 6 they should still have a lot of fun with this adventure.  You can play the son as an innocent or as a criminal, or as an innocent, but rude person.  This may put a slight moral dilemma in front of the players – is avenging the death of a mean-spirited criminal worth ruining the last years of another, benevolent man’s life?  Or maybe it’s the father that is unreasonable and bitter – perhaps the son is just doing what he loves and the father is so embarrassed that he can’t stand it and has him killed.

That’s the end of Adventure Hook 016!

I hope you are enjoying this series – post a comment and let me know what you think of them!  Are they helpful?  Is there something you wish I would address?

Don’t forget to send in your adventure hook idea to gamerdmsamuel AT yahoo DOT com for a chance to will a free copy of Martial Power II!

By the way, my blog will be moving web-hosting services in the next week or two (or three – I want to get it right!).  I will retain the wordpress shell, so not much will change about the blog portion, but the bookmark you use may need to be updated.  I’ll keep you posted!

Until next time, I wish you good gaming!

~DM Samuel


DM Samuel is the Editor-in-Chief here at RPG Musings as well as the podcast editor for The Tome Show. He is also a host of the gaming podcast Play on Target. He plays all manner of role-playing games and boardgames and continues to learn new games all the time (and new things about old games, too). Sam lives in Upstate New York with his wife and their game collection. You can follow him on twitter @DMSamuel.

4 Responses to “Adventure Hook 016 – The Juggler”

  • What if the son is plotting to kill his father to gain his inheritance as well? This could be from desperation (the carnival will close if it cannot pay off debt to a loan shark) or just greed and petty revenge.

    So the PCs will actually have to fight off an attack on the old man possibly by crazy carnival types.

  • All excellent ideas – as always! Thanks for commenting!

  • Make the story more complicated the son is actually part of a thieving guild that using the carnival as a front for moving about the land. The father has no idea that is what is really going on and is himself a part of another thief’s guild and is disappointed in his son for such a low and dismal existence as being just a juggler. This is why the father has contacts with the assassin’s guild and has put the contract on his own son to show that there are consequences to being such a disappointment. The son’s guild can take out a contract to attempt the other guild from revealing their plans to the general population. The story can have a happy ending or a sad ending depending on what is revealed before or after anyone dies.

  • LOL – that certainly would complicate the story. That’s the sort of thing epic arcs are made of!