The Sheriff of Naught in Ham
A short low level adventure idea for AD&D or other fantasy game.
Get Ready: Times are tough and the characters take a job in the vermin extermination industry. Little do the suspect they may be hunting someone's pets.
Get Set:What's an adventurer got to do to get a bowel of gruel around here? The adventurers are stopped on the road to the Hamlet of Ham by a man claiming to be the local sheriff. He tells them they must help them hunt down two bears before they will be allowed to enter the hamlet. The man is actually a poacher who wants the adventurers to do the dangerous work of killing someone's pets for their valuable skins. The two bears are actually pets of a local magic user.
Go!: Little clues may tip off the players about the poacher's scheme. He doesn't know anything about law. He seems a bit too adamant about not letting them go into the hamlet before the job is done. He will avoid other people on the road. When they get to the cave where the bears live, the bears are collared and chained to stakes in the rock. The poacher will make up some far out story about subduing them earlier that day. The bears are actually quite docile. The poacher will brag that they are cowed by his presence.
The bears are actually pets of a local magic user. Their collars give them an AC bonus making them hard to hit. If the PCs don't figure out the poacher is a fake and start attacking the bears, the magic user will arrive with a couple hirelings to feed the bears. (No, he's not feeding the hirelings to the bears.)
He will of course try to put a stop to the situation. The poacher will attempt to flee. If the characters stick around and don't put up a fight, the magic user will cast detect lies to figure out what's really going on. The magic user, in his wizardly wisdom, will forgive the characters but won't be very friendly with them in future encounters.
Notable NPCs: Fake sheriff/shady poacher, two semi-tame bears, a local magic user, two hirelings.