From the Background:
Gadral the Herbalist. Purveyor of Fine Elixirs and Potions. So says the sign above the door of your shop. Normally your customers come looking for remedies for some ailment or other. But lately it's not remedies they want; it's perfumes and hair-dyes. You've been hard-pressed to keep up with the demand. And all because of this high society wedding. Everyone wants to look and smell their best when they turn out on the streets to see Lord Erulph Rudley-Coxcomb marry his young bride Eliana at noon tomorrow.
Here's a customer right now: a young woman sniffing around amongst the bottles of scent. "You after something for the wedding too, like everybody else?" you ask her.
She looks cross. "I'm not like everybody else. I'm one of Eliana's chambermaids. I need something special for the occasion." She lowers her voice. "Although I must say I'd be happier if she were marrying Sir Lannis. I liked him better."
You agree. Young Sir Lannis courted Eliana for many months, and they looked the perfect couple, until she suddenly jilted him in favour of Lord Erulph. Lannis was by far the nicer man, in your opinion. Honourable but modest, quite unlike rich and arrogant old Lord Erulph.
The woman opens one of the bottles and wafts it under her nose. "This one's nice. In fact, I've smelled it before. What is it?"
"It's sweet musk-rose," you tell her. "I use it purely for its scent. But less reputable herbalists have been known to put it to a more devious use." The maid looks intrigued, so you continue. "Love potions. That's what they use it for. It can be made into a potion that causes the person drinking it to fall completely and utterly in love with the next person they see."
A look of horror crosses the woman's face. "Love potions? By all the Gods... I must tell Sir Lannis at once!"
She races out of the shop, and some time later she returns accompanied by Sir Lannis himself. The tall knight marches straight up to you. "Is this maid's word true? The scent she smelled here can be used to blend a love potion?"
"Indeed," you reply. "But why?"
"Because she has smelled it before. When Eliana first met Lord Erulph."
"It's true," says the maid. "Erulph and Eliana took tea together once, and when I was clearing away their cups afterwards, I smelled this scent."
"And it was shortly after that," Lannis continues, "that she suddenly left me to take up with Erulph. It all makes sense, don't you see? Erulph must have administered the potion to her, and made her fall in love with him!" He grasps your arm. "Now tell me, herbalist, is there an antidote? A remedy for this potion?"
You nod. "The blacktooth root. The smoke of the burning root, if inhaled, will negate the enchantment."
"Then sell me some of this blacktooth root, at once!" says Lannis. "Here: I have gold. Name your price."
But you have no blacktooth root in stock.
"Then where can I get some?" he asks desperately.
"You might find it growing in the Darkwood," you tell him, "if you know what you're looking for. It has a small purple flower, growing high up on a slender stalk..."
"Don't waste time telling me," Lannis interrupts. "Come with me! Travel with me to the Darkwood, and help me find this root. But we must hurry. The Darkwood is two hours' fast ride from here."
"I will come with you," you tell him. "But I have two warnings for you. Firstly, the Darkwood is a place of danger, inhabited by thieves and wild beasts."
"I have no fear of thieves or beasts," says Lannis boldly. "What is your second warning?"
"That we do not know for sure whether Eliana took a potion. She might simply have fallen in love with Erulph, fair and square, without any enchantment, and if so then no root will snap her out of it."
Lannis nods. "If she truly loves Erulph from the heart, then I must accept it, and be happy for her. But if he has charmed her by deception, I will not allow it! Come, let us leave at once."
It will be dark by the time you reach the wood. You explain to Lannis that there is no point entering the Darkwood at night, as you will have no chance of spotting the plant in the darkness. However, there is a lodge just outside the wood where you can spend the night, ready to venture into the wood at first light tomorrow morning.
"But she marries him at noon!" Lannis complains.
"Then we will have to find it quickly," you reply.
Realising that there is no alternative, Lannis agrees to your plan. He goes to fetch two fast horses. While he is doing so you have just enough time to brew up one potion to take with you on your journey. What will it be?
- All-heal? This healing elixir can be used once (by either you or Lannis) to restore 6 STAMINA points.
- Snake-bite antidote? You have heard that deadly snakes live in the Darkwood.
- Speedwell? This potion gives a burst of speed and energy lasting several hours.
Decide which one you will take and note it down on your Adventure Sheet.
You also take a shovel to dig up the root, and dagger in case you run into trouble. However, you are no warrior, and if there is fighting to be done you might be wise to leave most of it to Sir Lannis, who is proficient with a sword. Note down his scores:
- SIR LANNIS: SKILL 11, STAMINA 20