Reasons for the smuggling and selling of halflings

Reasons for the smuggling and selling of halflings

Reasons for the smuggling and selling of halflings

Looking to tap your brain juices for a a danger/front that one of my players came up with during our first session.

They were exploring a ship that drifted ashore seemingly without a living soul aboard. Asking establishing questions, Thalda the halfling thief, who grew up as the only halfling in the entire capital, said the ship was rumored to be smuggling halflings. The following things has been established during the subsequent sessions:

* The halflings where fleeing a foreign city where halflings are doing slave labour.

* The halflings aboard the ship where eaten by a sea hag, who also transformed all of the human crew into horrible mutated sea thralls

* The boxes the halflings were kept in was marked with a symbol of a horrible thieves guild in the closest town, the Red Rock Guild.

*The Red Rock is a landmark close to this town, a known place for smugglers

* The Thief has a contact in this town. Together they broke into a noble woman’s house in the capital, and uncovered a symbol similar to a medallion the Thief stole from another noble sometime later.

* The Thief suspects this medallion is connected to the halfling smuggling somehow

13 thoughts on “Reasons for the smuggling and selling of halflings”

  1. Ideas I have so far: Maybe hags love halfling meat. The sea hag has some sisters. A hag is in fact controlling the Red Rock Guild. What does this hag want, except juicy halfling meat?

    But it feels a bit flat. Why would nobles in the capital concern themselves with this?

  2. What do they get out of it? Maybe they made a deal with the hags to attack all ships not bearing their symbol and the payment is in flesh. This way they get rich and she gets food

  3. Jeffry Crews the attack by the sea hag was (at least seemingly) unrelated, a linguist travelling with the same ship sold the rest of the ship to her for a word of power to unlock the secrets of some mysterious stone circles.

  4. I think you have a series of competing fronts:

    The Sea Hag is a danger or front on her own right, who stole the halfling “mechandise” and ate it, while enthralling the crew.

    The ship is operated by the smugglers, who either are the Red Rock Guild, or work for the Red Rock Guild. The Red Rock Guild are another front, and the Smugglers might be too, if they are ever at odds with the guild.

    The Nobles may be tied to the Red Rock Guild, or they may be part of a third front, using the Red Rock Guild to gather up halflings for their nefarious purposes.

    I recommend identifying each threat separately, and then consider the facts that you know about them so far.

    For each, write a series of Grim Portents describing what they are trying to accomplish, if another Threat or the PCs don’t interfere.

    Then, for each, write a series of stakes that will help you tease out interesting elements from each.

    Off the cuff:

    The Nobles serve some Dark Power that specifically commands them to use halfling sacrifices in their rituals. The medallion represents the Dark Power’s blessing on them. The Dark Power is the Front here, and the Nobles are a danger as part of that front. “Why does the Dark Power target halflings?” “What does the Dark Power’s blessing do?” “What more has the Dark Power promised the Nobles?” “What do the Nobles plan to do with their power?”

    The Sea Hag is pure evil, but even she doesn’t want the Dark Power to end the world, once it consumes enough halflings. She thinks the Red Rock Guild serve the Dark Power, not knowing about the Nobles. She targeted the ship to deny them resources (eat em all up so the Dark Power cannot!), and to enthrall some sailors that might be able to infiltrate the Guild. “What does the Sea Hag know about the Dark Power?” “What does the Sea Hag pursue, other than opposing the Dark Power?” “Who else is enthralled by the Sea Hag?”

    The Red Rock Guild are a red herring – they are the unwitting dupes of the Nobles, working for gold and unaware of the Dark Power, or what happens to the halflings. Now they’ve lost a ship, crew, and shipment, and have what they think is an angry but mundane noble client to deal with, as well as a mysterious lost ship to look into. “Does anyone in the Guild actually know the Nobles’ secret purpose?” “What is the Guild’s ambition?” “Does the Guild suspect some members are enthralled/disloyal?”

  5. Andrew Fish those are some solid starters! We already have quite a few competing fronts. There is a horde of linnorm people looking to reclaim their ancestral lands, the above mentioned linguist who seeks words of power to release the four Ur-powers locked away beneath the sea and the forests, and a councillor to the king trying to usurp his power, as well as the kings estranged daughter fomenting rebellion. The dark powers could tie into the Ur-powers somehow.

  6. Sounds like halflings pose a threat to the Ur-powers, and they are being pro-active. Is there a prophecy that a halfling champion born this Age will destroy them, leading them to round up all halflings? Hey, Thalda matches the criteria of the prophecy if you squint just right and interpret the prophecy liberally enough.

    Long ago, a Linnorm priestess refused to leave with her people, and was cursed by the Dark Powers, turning her into a Sea Hag. Now she seeks to interfere with them while her descendants plot their return.

  7. I’d reveal an unwelcome truth: The Sea Hags (yes plural) are draining the life out of the halflings like the Skeksies in The Dark Crystal. Once their souls are removed the halflings are just mindless husks similar to the podlings from the movie.

  8. Andre Comtois I like that. I’m tabling the Hags for now, they might return later. But the evil cult that uses halfling blood to live eternally will leave behind a lot of mindless drones that the thieves Guild can use to manufacture drugs!

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