As the party enters the city, a well-dressed young man approaches them, beaming with unnaturally pristine and perfectly straight white teeth. Over his right shoulder is a half-orc bodyguard, staring on intently. The gentleman hands one of the players a brochure that says “A vote for Tyler “Ty” Kuhn is a vote for the future” and slaps an election sticker onto the chest of another player that simply reads “Ty is my guy!”
“Good morrow, fine citizens,” Tyler says, warmly shaking hands with a firm, confident grip. “I hope to see you at the polls next week. Every vote counts.”
If a party member informs him that they aren’t actually residents, Tyler will shake his head dismissively and mutter, “Details…details” before giving a knowing wink. “I won’t tell if you won’t.”
He indicates to them that his platform is outlined in the brochure. If the party reads it, it should sound too good to be true and read like typical political lip service.
“It’s going to be a close one though,” he says, noticing a campaign poster for one of his rivals plastered to a nearby wall. Tyler snaps his fingers, and his half-orc body guard walks over to the wall. He tears down the poster, wads it up, and swallows it whole. “A close race,” Ty continues, “made even closer by this disastrous story that’s going to be released about me.”
If the party pries, he will continue.
“Oh yes,” he says, wrapping an arm around their shoulders like a longtime friend. “It’s really quite embarrassing. See…” he shifts his eyes to make sure that no one else is within earshot. “That rascal Rodrick over at The Skim: Daily News plans on releasing some sensationalized exposé about me tomorrow. He will reveal to all that I, despite my many other achievements, am unable to press my own clothing. In truth, he’s not far off. I tend to burn most fabrics when I use an iron, so I still rely on my mother to give me this clean and polished look.”
He gestures down at his ensemble; indeed, there is not a single crease or wrinkle to be found.
DM Note: An insight check will reveal that he is lying about the content of this upcoming story, but make the DC extremely high; Ty Kuhn is an arrogant aristocrat who’s dabbling in politics, after all, so his deceptive ability is powerful.
“I just think it’s unfair to mock me for something so trivial,” he says, “Sadly, these townsfolk are simple-minded and will see me as only a ridiculous man-child if this story gets out. Maybe though…” he eyes the party,” you strangers could help me…”
If the party agrees to consider the proposal, Tyler Kuhn will proceed.
Getting the Exclusive
Tyler says that the printing presses are in the basement of The Skim: Daily News building, so he hatches this plan for the party:
- Present yourselves as traveling heroes and inspiring adventurers (probably truthful, so no deception required)
- Offer an exclusive interview to The Skim to get inside the building
- Participate in the interview and find an opportunity to sneak away
- Creep into the basement of the facility
- Destroy the printing press
- Escape the facility
If the party agrees to these terms, Tyler Kuhn has his half-orc bodyguard escort you to the the news building.
After knocking on the door, a dwarven man appears. He introduces himself as the editor-in-chief of the local paper, Rodrick Inkwell. By the time the door opens, the body guard has already disappeared, so as to not arouse suspicion.
If the party succeeds on a DC 10 persuasion check (after bragging about their successes as heroes/adventurers), Rodrick will invite them in to his office to conduct the interview. He explains that The Skim prides itself on being a “paper for the masses”, attempting to keep their stories as concise as possible because “reading can be hard.”
Rodrick can ask a variety of questions. Meanwhile, the party needs to find a way to divert his attention: ask for him to brew some coffee, for directions to the bathroom (although it might be suspicious if everyone walks together unless it’s explained as an “in solidarity” thing), etc.
Some questions that Rodrick might ask the party during the interview…
- What brought you all together in the first place?
- What have you done to help the people of this continent?
- Scariest moments from your adventures?
- Lowest moments?
- What are you planning next?
- Any advice for the readers out there who are wannabe adventurers?
- How can they get started?
If the party tries to pry about the story involving Tyler Kuhn that’s slated for release tomorrow, Rodrick will not budge. Instead, he simply says that it’s a critical and important story that will expose “the scoundrel” for who he truly is and just in time for the elections.
Once the party sneaks away, they can descend a long stairwell into the basement of the printing house. Reaching the bottom, they see a single mechanical construct that is, itself, The Skim’s printing press. The constuct won’t interrupt its work unless the party tries attacking it or destroys something in the room; it simply sits, continuing to print papers, while mumbling to itself, in an emotionless and mechanical voice, “extra, extra, read all about it.”
Surrounding the printing press are stacks upon stacks of tomorrow’s paper; it seems the story has already largely been printed.
If the party wishes to proceed with Tyler Kuhn’s plan, they need to figure out a way to destroy the stacks of newspapers, most likely involving burning everything, as well as destroying the printing construct itself. If they start a fire without containing it though, it will spread and burn down the rest of the facility. They also need to work fast before Rodrick comes looking for them.
The party can choose to read the printed papers and investigate further. If they do so, they learn that Tyler Kuhn has been lying to them and is, indeed, a “scoundrel.”
The inflammatory story is not about the politician’s silly ineptitude at pressing clothes; it’s about his grape-pressing/fine wine business empire. According to the piece, Tyler Kuhn plans on using his new political status as city councilman to accomplish his own selfish business ambitions: exclusively selling his company’s wine and prohibiting all other spirits within city limits, building ties with neighboring cities and striking deals solely to push more of his product, etc.
- Option #1: Break the Construct
- If the party destroys the newspapers and breaks the construct successfully, they will have helped Tyler Kuhn.
- However, upon exiting the facility (or even in the basement itself if you want to keep combat in that space), the party will be attacked by an invisible assassin. After it lands its first sneaky blow, the assassin appears and says, “Mr. Kuhn doesn’t want any loose ends.” Enter initiative.
- After defeating the assassin, the party can search his body and claim his Assassin’s Dagger.
- If the party tries to confront Tyler Kuhn after this encounter, he simply plays dumb, acting like he has never seen or heard of any of them before. His bodyguard also keeps the players at bay, not allowing them to get too close.
- Rodrick is inconsolable if his entire building goes up in flames. If the party used a more controlled method of destruction, the dwarf is still disappointed and frustrated, promising to stick with “puff pieces” from now on instead of trying anything risky that might upset the social elite.
- Option #2: Break the Story
- If the party finds out the truth, they may choose to let the story break
- Exiting the building, the party is still attacked by Tyler Kuhn’s hired assassin. This time, however, it’s as punishment because they “failed to complete the boss’s request.” To make this fight a bit more challenging than Option #1’s fight (which involves both a construct and an assassin), you can add Tyler’s half-orc bodyguard to the battle; play him as a standard half-orc fighter.
- Once the the assassin (and maybe the bodyguard) is defeated, Rodrick Inkwell runs over to the party, asking if everyone is okay. He confesses that he tailed the party after they left his office, wanting to snoop a bit further.
- If the party explains to Rodrick about the attempt by Tyler Kuhn to destroy his press and bury the story, the dwarf will excitedly jot down notes on a small pad of paper. “Well then, sounds like we have another juicy story to report on. I’m going to make sure this pompous prick never gets his foot into politics. Thanks again for everything. You have helped this town more than you realize.”
As a reward, the dwarf hands the party Rodrick’s Newsboy Cap.
When worn, this cap bestows the following effects on the wearer:
- Advantage on all insight and persuasion checks
- Once per day, the newsboy cap can amplify the wearer’s voice for 1-minute, allowing them (town crier-style) to exclaim a message that can be heard clearly by every creature within 200 feet, regardless of walls or sound-limiting magic effects.