As your party of six enter the king’s great hall in answer to his summons, you instinctively draw a breath before plunging into the sea of bodies before you. Accosted on all sides by a plethora of humans, dwarves, elves, halflings and gnomes of all ages. Minstrels, barons and members of the royal harem all scurry about their business, giving travelers such as you an annoyed glance.
Always with an keen eye for danger, the bard taps your shoulder and directs your gaze to the single dark corner of the hall. You find your stare returned by five sets of eyes hidden behind five contorted, gloomy masks. Attired in bright colors and wielding the tools of the trade, most would assume these were the king’s jesters. Having looked death in the face many times previously, you know better. Your heart skips a beat and suddenly you find your sweaty hand on the hilt of your sword.
“Aren’t Jesters supposed to be funny?” you ask your companion. “I have a feeling these, not so much.”
His eyes darting around the hills surrounding you, the ranger whispers “I fear we have not lost them… but I fear we never may.” Weary from the days of travel with naught but brief rest, “Agreed” you chime in. “The bard was a fool to test the meddle of the green one, but we are prepared now. They have the home advantage no longer.” Gathering the ounce of courage left in you, “This is as good a place as any, let them come!” Not seconds later, the sound of cruel laughter rings out.
Sweat streams down your forehead and your legs burn as you barrel through the forest. Meeting the warlords eyes, he finally nods and the three of you collapse to the ground. Between pants, the paladin blurts out “What will we do now?” “Any respite will be brief, you must remain strong my friend.” The Warlord weakly says. “Let’s build a fire, we will need a warm meal bef…” His statement is cut short by the sickening thwack of a crossbow bolt thudding into his back.
Face flush and eyes swollen with tears, you crawl forward through the darkness. Your friends dead and your strength forsaken you, it is inevitable now. Your ears tell you nothing, but the hairs on the back of your neck give their presence away. They are here. Gathering a mere arms length from you, they sneer down from behind their twisted masks.
A final act of defiance, you murmur through your bloodied mouth “You know… you guys aren’t funny… at all.”
The five lethal assassins that comprise The Smiling Ones are intended to be long term antagonists that are a continual threat to the players. Always slinking in the PC’s shadows, but wisely choosing to strike only when the situation favors them. Their targets find a blade in their back while focused on another foe.
Download the first of the diabolical jesters, The Blue Hand below…
The Blue Hand