An entry for the Black Industries Scenario of the Year contest. The scenario was published on the Black Industries website.
From the Introduction:
'The Burgher Heinz Haushalter is a respected merchant whose daughter (Etelka) is engaged to wed a minor local noble, Karl Volte. The marriage is favorable to both parties, as Volte is fairly impoverished and Haushalter is keenly interested in social climbing. However Haushalter has a rival, Burgermeister Gunthar Steinhoff, who would prefer the noble wed his own daughter. Although Steinhoff can offer a richer dowry than Haushalter, Haushalter has a distant claim to noble heritage that is very important to Volte. To the bankrupt noble it is vital to maintain the appearance that he is not marrying below his station. In public Steinhoff maintains a friendly mien so that, as yet, Haushalter is unaware of the depth of Steinhoff's animosity to him.
'Although Haushalter's noble heritage is commonly accepted history by many townsfolk, recent rumors (spread by Steinhoff's agents) have sprang up that it is untrue and the Haushalter family has been lying for years about this. Unfortunately Haushalter doesn't have any proof that his family history is true. With the rumors now reaching the ears of Volte, Haushalter is anxious to provide solid evidence of his heritage.
'Heinz Haushalter was aware that his family moved into the town four generations ago and later grew into prominence. But he has recently determined that prior to this his family held lordship of the hamlet of Marlehof, some 3 days journey by foot from the town. Journal entries made by his great-grandfather (Vorster) indicate that a family crypt of some size existed near this hamlet. With the wedding approaching he sent two of his hired men on horseback to ask questions and see if there was anything in the family crypts to prove his great-greatgrandfather's nobility. They were expected back in a week. It's been two weeks and they haven't returned. The wedding is 8 days away, Volte is getting skittish, and Haushalter is getting desperate. This is where the player characters come in.