Karthwasten Quest Idea: Aggressive Competition
I hope it's not too forward of me to be thinking of quest ideas for Karthwasten, given that we haven't got any other quests implemented yet, and that the Karthwasten NPCs aren't yet written. But I had this idea and think it has potential, even if it needs refinement. Let me know what you think of it. Also, this post is quite long. Continue at your peril
- There are three smiths in Karthwasten. The Nord and Imperial blacksmith work on opposite sides of the main road (#40 and #65, nice narrative for a division between them), plus there is a poorer Orc blacksmith in the Redguard Quarter (#79).
- Concerning the Imperial and Nord smiths: One of the smiths (call him Smith A) was recently out-bid on a tender to the other smith (Smith B). The City Barracks / Armory / Stables wants to have [some swords, horse tackle, crate bindings, Industrial Grade Iron Nails (Class 7), whatever] manufactured in bulk. Smiths A and B are long-standing rivals who often compete; A is sick of it. He wants you to do something about it so that he gets the contract instead.
[option 1] Death
[1a] Kill Smith B. This is not the recommended path and has a severe penalty, as well as the Smith A disavowing you for it [they were rivals, but not to the point of killing the other for it]. Result: Smith A severely dislikes you and thinks you heavy-handed, but won't utterly hate you or report you, since he thinks he would be implicated in it. Entries added to [latest rumors] that is quest-relevant. If you get caught by the guards then appropriate consequence & post-quest dialog. (this last part relevant throughout where appropriate. I hate it when quests don’t have follow-up)
[1b] Kill them both. Definitely not good, at this point quest is over, guards start asking questions; outcome depends on where you are in the quest. Smith C (the Orc in the poor quarter, see later) could have extra dialog saying he's had an influx of business if you do this!
[1c] Kill Smith A - if you do this without talking to anyone else about this quest, the quest ends, if you do this halfway through the quest, there are reactions appropriate to whatever stage of the quest you are in.
[option 2] Questing
You go to Smith B's shop and investigate, where you learn that he has been hard at work smithing the requested items (which are handily located in a *sealed* crate in his house, or just outside, somewhere it is tricky to access, but still possible to do so). Depending on how complex the script work gets it might be better to make this crate an activator with message boxes for relevant choices.
[2a] You can replace the consignment with lower-quality rejects from Smith A. This is the path Smith A recommends since he gives you the replacements to place in his rival's crate. Result: Smith B loses contract since the Barracks/Stable/Armory feel he can't provide good quality goods. Smith A gets contract, Smith B suspects you were involved but may or may not have proof depending if you got caught replacing stuff. Smith A likes you more and gives you a reward. You have to do something with the stolen goods to avoid the guards finding you with it (dump it in the river, maybe.) or to avoid Smith B finding it again and shipping it off as he was going
to in the first place.
[2b] You can steal the consignment (this will probably be heavy, so is difficult to do?). Result: Smith B is charged for a late delivery of [stuff], since he has to smith it all again, and suspects you slightly but has no evidence. Smith A likes you a bit more for getting one over on his rival but is annoyed you didn't follow his advice [see 2a] so that he would get the contract.
[2bi] You can go up to Smith B and offer to sell the stolen goods back to him. He scoffs and threatens to call the guards unless you pass a Speechcraft check or something. If you pass, he has an idea for getting back at Smith A. You are to place the "stolen" goods in Smith A's business and Smith B will tell the guards that he suspects Smith A of being involved. Accept or reject his proposal. Accept Result: Smith A is found with the stolen goods and and fined / carted off to answer some questions. Smith A hates you (obviously), Smith B very happy, gives you better prices or something [could do that by creating functionally identical weapon or armour duplicates with a lower base cost that are added to his inventory. Or maybe he just has some better stock to sell to you.] Reject Result: Smith B calls the guards on you. Smith A annoyed you mucked it up, especially since you didn't follow his idea.
[2c] You can tell Smith B that Smith A is trying to double-cross him on the contract. Smith B suggests informing the Barracks / Armory / Stables of this fact so that they will be hesitant to trade with him again. But you can't really do much without proof, so unless you show the reject ironware from Smith A, not much else happens; if you do, then Smith A gets a slap on the wrist (minor fine / punishment) and is unhappy with you. Result: Smith B likes you a bit, Smith A dislikes you a bit, Barracks / Armory / Stables master likes you a bit more.
[2ci] You can tell Smith B that Smith A is trying to double-cross him on the contract, he suggests the course of action as in [2c], but you go plant the lower-quality stuff in his shipment anyway and inform the Barracks/Armory/Stables that Smith B looks to be making sub-par stuff. Barracks/Armory/Stables laugh saying they've never had issues before. Result: Smith B finds out you double-crossed him and asks you for his stuff back, or calls the guards. B dislikes you, A dislikes you (you mucked it up!).
[option 3] The Guards
[3a] You go tell the guards about what's happening with Smiths A and B. They laugh it off saying their rivalry is well-known and they're always trying to get at each other, but advise you not to get involved. Nothing really comes of this, and it doesn't stop you from choosing any of the other options. If you're at a stage in the quest where you have done something for either side,
and you actually mention it and offer proof, the guards have appropriate reactions (including giving you fines and reclaiming the stolen / defect items, and saying they'll take action against the relevant smith!)
[option 4] The Fourth Option
[4a] The fourth, less obvious option, is to ask around and learn of the third smith (the Orc in the Red Quarter). Smith C (as we shall call him) is well aware of the rivalry between Smiths A and B and thinks that if something were to happen, it would be a great chance for him to step up to the level of the more skilled smiths and their commissions. He asks you what the commission was and suggests that you plant the reject ironware in Smith B's shop, whilst he works on a good-quality
replacement. If you don't have the reject stuff yet Smith C gives you some of his. Smith B will ship off the defect goods and Smith C will be on-hand to offer his work when the Barracks / Armory / Stable receive the sub-par stuff. Result: Smith B loses contract to Smith C, Smith A hates you, Smith B dislikes you (doesn't know you're involved but might suspect), Smith C is very happy and gives you a discount (he's in the poor quarter, so he probably can't give you much in the way of a real reward.)
I think there's a lot of opportunities for crossing- and double-crossing the rival smiths with some creative solutions. Let me know what you think (it might not be at all good, this is my first ever quest idea :3)