I was able to follow through on that assassination solo game idea I had a while back in our semi-regular Swords & Wizardry game last night. Instead of skipping the usual session though, Gulch’s player and I just started a couple of hours earlier on our own. To be honest, it was railroady but I was still glad we did it and he seemed to enjoy the roleplaying.
It played out more or less how I’d originally sketched it out here. Two slightly higher level representatives of the guild that Gulch belongs to came to town. A boy messenger had sent word to Gulch at the inn to expect them. They met up one morning before the others had awoken and these two informed him that they were to observe and rate his first hit, and help him slightly by providing lookouts.
The player was a little uncomfortable upon learning that his target was a lawful man, and a storekeeper who’d previously hired the party. I got the sense this was mostly due to his being worried about what the rest of the party would think if they found out, rather than due to any morals. His new comrades (Udo and Urnok) told him that since the target’s home was close to the local militia’s barracks, each would cover a section of road in either direction to delay anyone coming or be able to provide warning or assistance if something went drastically wrong. The night the hit was planned for, Gulch went down the deserted street towards the house - he saw and nodded to the first assassin, Udo, the higher ranking one he thought, knowing that the other must be ahead and out of sight, past the house and further up the road.
He snuck around the back, tried the door, and found that it was unlocked. He stealthily crept inside in the moonlight. This wall all kind of creepy and tension filled, considering he had murder on his mind, knew the target was married, and that the constable wasn’t physically far away. Gulch had been given some poison, and had originally planned on delivering it in some of the new Harvest Festival beer that everyone in town had been drinking lately. Udo had talked him out of it though for reasons that will become clear.
Creeping from one room to another, he eventually found himself in a living room area with a sofa where he saw the snoring form of the storekeeper’s wife. Around her were several large, empty beer bottles. A little relieved, he spotted a door and a set of stairs up. He chose the creaky stairs of course! Fortunately for him, they weren't creaky enough to wake the wife. He used the bannister to distribute his weight and crept upstairs. After poking around up there, he found the master bedroom and heard snoring. In the darkness, he could see the form of the storekeeper. He couldn’t see his face as it was under sheets and seemed to be turned away from him. As he moved closer he almost dove under the bed when the form began to stir and stopped snoring for a moment. Finally close enough to strike he pulled out his dagger and poison.
Just at this moment, the form on the bed pulled the sheets away from his head, revealing the devilishly smiling face of Urdok. “Don’t worry, your man’s already dead. We dumped him in the river earlier this evening… His wife? We drugged their beer. She’ll have a bad hangover and wonder why her husband ran away.” Turns out Urdok was the senior assassin and the whole thing was a test, one that Gulch had passed. Next time he’ll be given his own, real target.
After this we played with the whole party, which decided it was time they left town probably to Gulch’s relief. There were a lot of options I had prepared, with roughly every compass direction covered in some manner. The idea was to go further down river towards Aleger and Olav’s inherited mining claim but that they’d stop off and investigate a tower along the way - well known in the area because of the continuous lightning striking it.
After selling some loot from the temple, they hired passage on a tall ship. Though they could have followed the road the five or six miles or so it might have taken them to reach a turn off to the tower, Agnal knew from previous experience that there were sometimes goblin ambushes that way and was reluctant to travel on foot.
A couple of men joined them as porters when they left the ship, and they made their way to the tower. Thus began their foray into the Tower of the Stargazer.
4 hours ago