Arrive at [Name of Small Town] and notice that the people are gathering outside a building. A short bearded man, who you assume to be the mayor, steps up and tells everyone to calm down. He explains the situation: the infamously deadly swordsman and sworn protector of the village, Sir Lionheart, continues to be missing, and all search-and-rescue missions have proven fruitless.
The townsfolk are clearly unsettled; some exchange hushed whispers, while others openly panic or run off to pack their bags. One person asks what they’re going to do about the goblin raiders now that Sir Lionheart is no more.
The mayor is clearly concerned about this and does not know. When he sees your party, he will instantly draw attention to you. Commenting that you all look like real warriors, he asks if you’re willing to take up permanent residence in the town and be the new local heroes (a small ask of course). When your party, most likely, declines this offer, he asks if you could help them locate Sir Lionheart.
Sir Lionheart’s Home
If you agree, you can begin by visiting Sir Lionheart’s home. The door is locked, but you can find a way to break in. Unlocked windows, or if you’re wanting to test the rogue, a door with DC of 15+ Sleight of Hand.
Searching the interior will reveal lots of iron weapons, old armor, and paintings that have clearly been commissioned to demonstrate his acts of valor in slaying monsters and defending the village (see above glorious depiction).
One item is a crude, graphic drawing of Sir Lionheart stabbing an ogre through the eye, clearly drawn by a 6-year-old. In the background, little children are smiling/cheering; the sun has a smiling face too. Unlike the other paintings, this item is in a golden frame and prominently displayed on top of Lionheart’s dresser (a clear item of sentimental value).
Under Lionheart’s pillow, the party will find a journal. Its cover is fuzzy leopard print, and it is sealed shut with a small, frail lock that can easily be broken with a 5+ strength check (give the Barbarian some love). Upon inspecting these pages, the party will notice that they read more like the musings of a teenager rather than some battle-weary, seasoned warrior.
Toward the end, he confesses that he’s tired of being the hero that kills things and that he’s lost the fire inside; instead, he says that he’s going to a cabin in the woods to work on writing his brilliant idea for a romance novel.
In Search of Lionheart
Your party will need to find their way to this cabin where Sir Lionheart is seated at a table, drinking coffee and writing his manuscript. When prompted, Lionheart will tell you all about his trashy romance novel “Saintly Days and Naughty Knights” as well as his idea for his memoir once he’s a published, household name: “Sir Lyin-Heart: How I Stopped My Self-Deception and Found My True Self.” He’s feeling alive again for the first time, but he’s struggling with some writer’s block.
Your party will need to rekindle his passion for fighting and convince him to return. You can do so by…
- Helping him overcome his writer’s block by playing out a flirtatious scene, dressed as his characters: Candy, the voluptuous bar maiden; Bruce, the brooding soldier; and Reggie, the fashionable merchant. If you can play out a convincing end to this love triangle, Sir Lionheart will set to work finishing the story and promise to head back, now that he feels that goal of his has been satisfied.
- Showing him the framed drawing (from his house) and trying to convince him that his real purpose/calling is helping the children of the village. They can also try to convince him that he can be both things and that being a hero might give him lots of story ideas for his second career as an author. He will agree and tuck away his unfinished manuscript, realizing that he just needed his passion for fighting/playing the hero rekindled again and that he can try again with the novel, and overcome his writer’s block, a little later. He will tell you to go ahead and return; he will pack up and head back to the village shortly.
However, if you head back to the village, you will see that it is in the middle of a goblin raid. Start the battle against the goblins and, at some point in the middle of it, Sir Lionheart will come riding in and unleash incredible fury.
- IF your group helped him by finishing his story, Sir Lionheart will stay for the entire fight.
- IF your group simply convinced him to “hold off” on the novelist dreams for a time and try fighting again, then have Sir Lionheart (part of the way through battle) be hit with a stroke of genius and stop combat to go and excitedly write down some notes about his novel (all while the combat is raging around him).
After the goblin raid, the town will thank you for returning their “hero” to them and reward you with some gold/modest gems. Likewise, Sir Lionheart will thank your party for helping him find his true calling (or callings), and he will promise to send you signed copies of “Saintly Days and Naughty Knights” once they’ve been printed.
Sir Lionheart could later appear in your campaign at a more prominent town signing his book. If the party helped him finish his story, he may be swayed into joining them on an additional side quest.