or: "V" is for Viking
This was an adventure we did on the spot one night. I had a fleeting idea for how it would go and wrote up a single (i.e. one) encounter table five minutes before play began. Everthing about the adventure (continuity, dice rolling) was de-emphasized in favor of humor (silly voices, slapstick gags). Despite this being a rushed and somewhat haphazard preparation, it was one of the most funny and entertaining adventures we ever did. (Maybe there's a lesson to be learned from this...)
This is mostly an Industrialization-themed adventure with some Steampuk elements thrown in as a plot device. I say it's Industrialization-themed, because it largely consists of PCs using any means of transportation available to get an important NPC to home base.
The group meets at Lord Percival Blakely's stately manner just West of Kensington Gardens. He is composing a letter to one of his upper-class friends. His servant, Pierino, is taking dictation as LPB speaks:
"To: Simon Steepleton Bastille III, The Duke of Chutney, Esquire,
"You're a complete and utter ponce and I hate you. You've got all the fashion sense of a Belgian dog trainer. Your wife is a complete tramp who gives it out to every sailor in port and that boy you hang out with is a complete whoopsie."
"Sincerely, Best Regards, Lord Percival Blakely Baronette, six time winner of the Basilton Steeplechase, etc. etc."
"P.S. See if I ever invite you to any of my parties."
Lord Percival Blakely then looks up and sees that the PCs have arrived, and acknowledges their existence. He says he's got a terribly tedious task that needs doing and he can't think of a more deserving lot for the job. Recently, he has aquired the title of overseer of the Royal Engine Research Facility last time he was at the gambling table. As such, he's recently taken an interest in Engine technology. The Queen is interested in seeing how Charles Babbage's Engines could be used in the Treasury, Census Beaurau and other government agencies, and has contracted with some Norweigan engineers to deliver a proof of concept.
Well, the Norweigans have completed their work and an ambassador is bringing in a protytype Engine today as a proof-of-concept. He will be arriving on a steamship on the East coast (Dover? Norfolk? Rochford? -- Doesn't really matter) and will be waiting for escorts at the train station. The PCs are to catch the next train, greet him, and escort him back without allowing him to come to harm. He will be easily recognized, as he will be wearing the "distinctive markings of his country".
LPB offers them money, unique goodies from his mansion, character points, etc. This is the point where the PCs say "We accept".
The PCs arrive at the train station on the East cost without incident. There they see what can only be described as: a Viking, complete with red, bushy beard, horned helmet, battle axe, and thick animal-fur armor. The PCs will note that he is wearing a large satchel at his side that he appears to be guarding warily. He's the only person at the station in eyesight. He introduces himself as "Erik the Unready, Thrice-Damned Son of... Tim". If there are women in the party, he will kiss them. The men he will clap roughly on the back and tell them that he is looking forward to journeying with them, to loot and plunder.
Quick Stats for Erik the Unready:
ST: 13, DX: 11, IQ: 7, HT: 13
Advantages: Prolly Toughness, Rapid Healing, Fit, maybe Poison / Disease Reistance.
Disadvantages: Lecherousness, Alcoholism, Impulsiveness, Bad Temper, Chummy, Delusion (15): Believes he is still living in the golden age of Viking plunder, Vow: Never open his satchel, and 15 points of Odious Personal Habits (be creative).
Skills: Brawling & Battle Axe at 12 or higher.
Quirks: Says "Arrr!" like a pirate might, obnoxious drunk, boasts about his many plunders, often refers to "coming home to Valhalla and sloshing mead with Odin"
His armor gives PD 1 or 2. Between the animal pelts and his toughness, he has DR 3. He might have a knife in addition to the Battle Axe. Said axe is shiny, sharp, and draws lots of attention, seeing as how he likes to whirl it around).
And now they need to get this turkey back to London.
The first thing that makes life difficult on the PCs is that when they catch the next train to take him home. Erik the Unready will take food off the cart without asking and gobble it barbarically, smooch any female passengers, pick fights, and ultimately pee in the corner of the caboose. One way or annother, they're all getting kicked off the train and will need to find their way back to London w/o the help of the trains.
So now it's up to the PCs to find a way home. Here's an encounter table for things they'll run into on the way. You can roll randomly on it or just follow it through from beginning to end. (I'll list the encounters in the order they were met when I ran this adventure.)
If anyone asks Erik ("what's in the pouch") he will tell them that it's a secret and he can't open it for anyone! If pressed, he will say that it's a gift from Tatiana, the Fairie Queen. If anyone manages to get Erik's pouch open, they will find it's full of butterflies, who all fly out and escape. Or you can think of something else to be in the pouch (a dead rabit?), I don't care.
When Lord Percival Blakely sees the Viking Ambassador, he will immediately say: "Good heavens! Who is this ruffian?" and berate the PCs for their incompetence. He'll complain that all his men through the whole city have been chasing them, following the ruckus they've made. He may drastically recude the rewards he originally promised to give them, instead offering them a pardon for all the mess they've made!
So the PCs can now take the train back to the East cost port, and pick up the real Norweigan Ambassador. He's a scrawny, fair-featured fellow, holding a large black bag and wearing both a smile and a broach of the Norweigan flag ("the distinctive markings of his country"). He's extremely excited and giddy about Engine technology, and will bore the PCs to distraction with his stories on the train ride home.
They arrive back at LPB's mansion without incident, just as the sun is setting. He gives them their rewards (if any).