As a DM, one of my favorite methods of getting the "upperhand" for the villains is distraction. It is sometimes easy to bait characters away from the main quest with side quests and rumors. If they can be baited away at the right time, then the bbeg can strike (or escape) while the heroes are distracted. Presented below are thirteen background events for use in a medium to large town. Use them as bait, rumors, red herrings, or reality, as you choose. Without further delay, here are 13 Mysterious Happenings Around Town. As always, thanks for your time and happy gaming!
1. Cats of all types are disappearing from all over town. Numerous magic users have lost their familiars. Is someone or something killing them, or worse? 2. A mad artist's grafitti chalk drawings are coming to life in the lower ward. So far no one has been hurt, but it won't be long before someone is. 3. A charismatic cult leader has been speaking in a public park and feeding both the local hungry and his own followers seed cakes and cider. His flock grows larger every day. 4. A mysterious serial killer is murdering prominent members of the clergy from a number of different temples and no one is sure who to trust to investigate the murders due to the sensitive positions held by the victims. 5. A number of clockwork servants and guards, along with a few golems, left their masters and fled towards the docks. Town guard closed down access to the docks for a few hours and searched the ships and the warehouses, but found nothing. Where did they all go? 6. A strange shortage elven sun wine has struck the town. No tavern or inn has a single bottle? Who is taking all of the wine, and why? 7. Valendaria Ravenhair, a mad half-elven tinker is working on a process to convert fecal matter into boom powder. She's being funded by a dwarven crime syndicate eager for results and has been set up in a lab in the sewers at one of the major flow junction points. What could possibly go wrong? 8. A flu-like disease has struck the city. Humans are the most vulnerable to it; most get sick for days or weeks, but the other races (dwarves, elves, etc.) barely get sick from it at all. 9. Young virgin acolytes have been disappearing from a number of different sects in the town, but the churches and temples seem to be keeping it all hush-hush. 10. Once again the city has been "cleansed" of its homeless population. Over the course of a week, beggars, urchins, and streetwalkers have all disappeared. This has happened before, always in the early spring. 11. An amazing circus and carnival has set up just outside town. Nearly everyone is talking about the show, the beasts, and the sorcery. Silent, mime-like clowns walk the town and perform impromptu stunts to attract customers. It sure seems like there are a lot of them. Is there something sinister going on? 12. Tika the Reaver and her crew of misfits and thugs tore apart the Narwhal's Horn last night with their drunken debauchery. Rumor has it that Tika now has a letter of mark and reprisal so she will be "protecting" the area on the orders of the King. She's too well-connected to get rid of easily now. 13. One of the larger taverns in town is hosting an axe and dagger throwing competition in 5 days. The criers tell everyone the top prize is 500 gold. You can bet the competition will be something to see.
I hope you enjoyed this pirate's dozen of mysterious events. Next week I hope to bring you more treasures from the sea. If you do enjoy these blog entries, please check out my page at DriveThruRPG by clicking here . As always, I thank you for your time and support.