My original plan was to run Skarda's Mirror. Then City of Peril was found in a stack of books. Since I wanted to set this in a modern-type city, it looked good. Then I looked at Slaughtergarde...
So the first part of the story goes along the lines of a local company having lost some its goods to a gang of goblin thugs. The party is hired to retrieve the goods. Why not call the authorities and have the police deal with it? Well, the goods were tracked to a hideout in the wilderness, putting it outside of the jurisdiction of the local gendarme. As this is an affair of private business, higher authorites (i.e., the Crown) are dragging their feet on deciding whether or not to get involved. This shipment is necessary to fulfill a lucrative contract for the Chicane Guild. It will help them get their foot in the door with a juicy market in the southern cities, some choice business pickings indeed! Vintra Marktunsel, an executive at Chicane, has been authorized to hire “contractors” to retrieve the shipment.
(A little background. This world is half Urban Arcana, half Mad Max. The cities are modern, but once you leave the security of the cities and surrounding suburbs, you're pretty much on your own. Guns are limited to police and military use only, and weapons larger than a knife are not allowed to simply be toted around. Humanoids are accepted as citizens if they behave themselves, though personal prejudices can cause problems. The cities are usually overcrowded. Narrow streets make most vehicles impractical beyond scooters, though cars can be found in the suburbs among only the wealthy. The fact is that most people live within walking distance of where they routinely do business. The party, operating under license from the Chicane Guild, will receive some leeway from the authorities for as long as the contract is in effect.)
The party consists of:
Benjamin Ryan- A minotaur raised by humans, his softer life grants him only a +1 to STR and cuts his gore attack to d6s instead of d8s. Fighter, Slayer, videographer and would-be pro football player. BG: Bounty Hunter (which is how Vintra found them). Spec: Survivor (mechanical choice to reflect his monstrous heritage without bending any rules)
March Ryan- Benjamin's human brother (one of a set of triplets, his sisters are April and May). Sorceror, blue dragon, aspiring documentarian and ladies' man (CHA20!). BG: Sage. He's nosy, a fact-junkie, and kicks ass at Trivial Pursuit. Spec: Jack of All Trades. He's one of those guys who can't sit still and always has to see what everybody else is doing. He's a fast learner and picks up new skills easily.
Milo Goodbarrel- Halfling, Lightfoot (just not a light belly...), Rogue and bon vivant. BG: Thief/Spy, Spec: Lurker. He hopes to someday land a spot on the Crown's Intelligence Agency as a spy who runs a tavern and gleans information from shady clientele. This isn't out of any sort of patriotism. It's more out of wanting to run a tavern and have someone else pay for it. If he helps the good guys while doing so, then cool. Otherwise, free drinks!
Ulfgar Dankil- Mountian Dwarf, Cleric, and a very pious one at that. He feels that most churches focus too much on forgiveness and not enough on what he calls “mandatory redemption”. A bit of a zealot. BG: Priest. Spec: Acolyte. He's hard-core Moradin.
Tharivol Siannodel- High Elf Wizard and proud of it. He never fails to remind those oaround him of his family's long tradition of excellence at Arcane Education at Sumberton University. In fact, his grandfather was the Dean of Arcana for three hundred years, were you aware of that? He's a social climber, but the fraternity that his father belonged to doesn't just accept anyone. Even though he should be a shoo-in for membership, he still has to at least make the attempt to prove his magical mettle. The frat can always put the blame for failure on some other factor, such as the Halfling getting in the way. (It's an exclusively elven fraternity and they have no compunctions about blaming “lesser races” for any troubles they may encounter.) BG: Sage. He's a student and is hoping to meet and exceed his father's and mother's academic achioevements. Spec: Magic User. Elves are naturally born to it, don't you know? My Aunt was the Court Wizard at Foxvale for two hundred years before the war with Ironwood caused her to leave in disgust. My cousin (yadda yadda yadda) and my uncle's half-sister's brother-in-law's neighbor's friend was (yadda yadda yadda)...
Nadia LaFey- Human Warlock and former stripper “Nasty Nadia”, says she only did it to buy her way out of Denach, a city on the verge of darkness (and potential future adventure site...). Normally a quiet person, she can unleash total fury when she wants to. She calls it “Practiced Magical Selectivity”. BG: Commoner, Farmer. She hopes to just blend in and not have people expecting her to put on some kind of exotic show. Spec: Healer. Part of her act involved a nurse's costume. While walking home from a show one day with her costume on under her coat, she was mistaken for an actual medical professional from a person who had been mugged and was badly wounded. She found her knack for healing was also a bit of a salve for her soul. Now she really wants to leave her past behind her.
The guys will be by this afternoon (PST) for the official kick-off. We did the intro via Skype. It's early, but so far the modern take on things seems to be working well. I expected it because it's just flavor. My only complaint about mixing modernity with 3e and 4e was that the fluff was so steeped in the medieval flavor that it took quite a bit of rewriting on my part.
Since nobody in the party can afford a car (base price 25,000gp), they have arranged travel down the river with one of Milo's many relatives who work the waterfront. To haul the cargo back to its rightful owners will be a trick, as there are no decent roads leading to the hideout and there is little call for 4-wheel drive vehicles in the city. As DM, though, I have plans that will help... for a price.