Encounters for the Back Pocket: The Toll-bridge

Encounter type: Social

Suggested number of enemies: Varies

Encounter location: Toll-bridge

Ahead, you can see the toll-bridge. Two spires flank imposing gates situated at either end of the long stone structure. The bridge itself appears inhabited and you can make out small buildings erected along the length of its span. Below, the river rushes on its endless journey to the sea.

As you approach, you can see a large crowd has gathered in front of the nearest gates. Guards stand in front of them, weapons on show, and are preventing travellers from gaining access to the bridge.

Special Rules

The bridge is home to a market town that is currently undergoing a somewhat violent revolution. Many of the traders have grown to resent the Burgmeister’s tyrannical rule and ruthless taxation. The guards are attempting to keep people off the bridge until the fighting ends.

The revolution itself can last as long as you want it to, but the aim of the encounter is to highlight local politics and present the players with a choice; brave the long journey to the next bridge, or try and get onto this one somehow. If they manage to gain access to the market town, they should be encouraged to help resolve the revolution. They may not leave the bridge until the fighting has stopped and an all clear signal is sent to the guards from the Burgmeister’s tower.

The guards in the towers on either side of the gates are armed and alert but their stores will run out eventually.

Many of the houses are occupied, but a fair number are empty and looting hasn’t started yet.

Among the townsfolk, the players might find; the Burgmeister, the leader of the revolutionaries, a cartographer who was trapped on the bridge when the fighting started, a fisherman with access to a hidden dock at the base of one of the bridge supports and the wife of a dead revolutionary who is looking for partners to invest in her business.

Among the crowd, the players might find; a travelling noble looking for help with a problem on their lands, a priest in need of couriers for a holy relic, a pair of entertainers looking for protection, a young maiden who is far more than meets the eye and a hunter fleeing his lycanthropic pursuers.

Suggested Hooks

The party has a contact on the bridge they need to talk to.

The party must cross the bridge before a deadline is reached.

A member of the party has a family member in the crowd.

A member of the party grew up on the bridge and their home is being threatened.

The party has recently been granted land whose profitability depends upon the bridge remaining open.

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