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While visiting a tavern in an affluent city, you notice a young man dressed in expensive, lavish clothes enter. He appears to be an entertainer of some sort, sporting a look that you would describe as that of a master of ceremonies. He has a quick word to the barkeep then turns to address the patrons in the common room.
“Friends, guests and travelers from abroad!” he calls in a grandiose voice. “I am Felix Langston, tamer of beasts and purveyor of exotic entertainments from near and far. I bid you come and see my first ever show at the central arena this very afternoon, where I will astound and delight you with an exhibition of beasts and magic!
“The first show for today is free to attend,” he continues with charm and aplomb, “I ask only that if you enjoy yourselves, you spread the word! I hope to see you all there in but a few hours’ time!” With that, he turns and trips on one of the bar stools next to him, but catches himself on the bench to avoid falling flat on his face. He flashes a weak smile at the room before darting out the door. If you’re perceptive, you might notice a ring on his finger that glows with magical light.
Should you wish to attend this free exhibition where nothing could possibly go wrong, you can get directions from the barkeep and be on your way after lunch. Felix must have been doing his rounds all morning, for there are several hundred people standing out the front of the arena by the time you arrive.
You wait for only a few minutes before the gate is opened, and should you proceed inside along with everyone else, you can find a place to sit in the stands while a small band plays upbeat music in the center of the arena.
A few minutes later you see Felix – wearing an even more garish outfit – burst out of the stairs leading down from the arena grounds, to fanfare from the band.
“Greetings and salutations,” he cries, using magic to make his voice heard throughout the arena. “Thank you for coming. It is well known that this city is a safe and pleasant place to live, with some of the smartest and most beautiful people in the region, but beyond your borders dwell creatures who would look upon this crowd as a feast beyond measure!
“Today, I will shock and educate you all with an array of beasts both fantastic and dangerous. Behold, a fearsome dire bear, straight from the caves of the north!” He lifts his hand and a massive bear lumbers into the arena and roars, scaring some in the audience, but the dire bear seems to be mesmerized by the glowing ring on Felix’s hand.
“Don’t worry folks, he may be big, but he’s a kitten at heart,” Felix assures everyone with a sly wink. To demonstrate, he lifts his hand and the bear rises up to stand on its hind legs, towering over the man.
“Next, we have a magnificent beast from the high mountains, brought here for your amusement!” A serpentine head snakes out of the stairs, revealing a huge wyvern that snarls and spits at the terrified audience. Again, the creature seems to be enchanted by the magical ring, and complies with a few tricks Felix compels it to perform.
“And now, for the final member of this act, I give you the mighty—” he stops speaking mid-sentence when he snaps his hand outward in a flourish to point towards the stairs, the magical ring on his finger instead goes flying off and lands somewhere in the arena!
A solid two seconds passes in absolute silence as Felix and his monsters realize what happened, before the bear roars and charges at him, while the wyvern stomps on the ring before it can be recovered, then spreads its wings and flies towards the audience.
“Who would have thought a group of angry monsters would turn on me so quickly!” Felix calls as he dashes towards the basement stairs with the dire bear in hot pursuit! The crowd scream and rush for the exit, only to find the gate has been closed and locked, with Felix likely having the key on him!
The gates to the arena are strong enough to keep the monsters inside, should they break free, and without the key the people here have no chance of escape! The wyvern snaps at passers-by, looking at you with hungry eyes!
The wyvern attacks you while the crowd tries to keep their distance! If you manage to defeat the mighty beast, you hear screams from below as Felix becomes better acquainted with the dire bear. Should you go to his aid, or at least to retrieve the key from his bloodied corpse, you rush down stairs and hear the bear’s roars from close by.
If you move in, you see Felix has locked himself in a cage at the far end of the basement, with the bear trying to claw at him through the bars. It smells your approach and turns to attack you instead!
Should you defeat the angry bear, Felix hands the key to you with shaking hands. “I think I’ll stay in the cage for a while, at least until the crowd has dispersed. Father was right, controlling deadly monsters with a ring of dubious reliability was a fool’s errand! Look, don’t tell anyone I’m here and I’ll give you some gold, okay?” If you agree, he hands you a bag of gold and sends you on your way!
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Inventor of the SabreRPG system (which we love), Steve's the wonderful GM who hosted many fantastic campaigns for the Seafoot family. He's been writing, illustrating, and publishing his own books for over a decade, and is best known for The Aielund Saga. We're so glad to have him on our team writing these fantastic adventure modules, as well as Adventurer's Guides. His experience as both writer and GM makes him incredible at what he does, and we think you'll agree when you read his work!