One of the ways that I keep ahead of the players in my games is to design skeleton encounters that can then be slotted in more or less any order depending on where they go or how they choose to deal with a set of situations. For any given arc there will occasionally be bits I end up not using – and in this case due to the utter chaos of the assassination attempt on Thorin in the last few weeks I decided not to use the following scenario that was aimed more at a murder-mystery feel. Its a bit more Agatha Christie meets Dr Who with a side of murderhobo. It felt like it would be a bit too jarring on top of what they had already encountered.
So the unused scenario in this case would have had a series of mysterious deaths through the train – locked room mysteries where the victims all mysteriously died of a wasting disease overnight despite no previous signs of illness. Two of the passengers would begin to look suspicious – a distinguished elven general and his Undying wife – as it was worked out that they had all recently been seen talking with each of the victims.
In the end it would be revealed that one of the luxury suites was retained by a guest who has not been seen – a Deathlock Mastermind transporting three Mummies in a portable hole and using dimension door to access locked rooms. The Mummies under the creature’s control acted as muscle, rotting the victims while they were paralysed with fear and the Deathlock ransacked the room for an artifact wanted by its patron in the Emerald Claw. In the end the common thread of the murdered people would be that they had all adventured together years ago and it was rumoured they split in an argument over something they found.
With only one Mummy seen at a time, having three in the hole would allow for some misdirections and strategic scares with attention on the shambling horrors rather than the fallen warlock flitting around in the shadows.
Ah well – I’m sure its something I can properly develop for another time, but feel free to use and tweak the concept for yourselves.