The Most Serene Republic of Venice was a major player in Mediterranean trade and politics for at least nine hundred years, but in the 17th century the city's power went into a terminal decline. It went from being a commerical and naval power to being a tourist destination. Foreigners came to enjoy the Carnival season, which gradually stretched to last half the year. The canals and narrow streets became a hive of carousing, intrigue, crime, espionage, and seduction. The party lasted almost two centuries, until Napoleon's army put an end to Venetian independence for good. But during the Baroque Era, you could meet almost anyone in Venice . . .
ENCOUNTERS IN DECADENT VENICE
Roll 1d20 when moving about the city or seeking encounters, or 1d10 if the characters are staying in one place.
- Roll Twice and Combine.
- Plot-Advancing Encounter: Someone or something related to whatever brought the heroes to Venice in the first place.
- Assassins! 1d4 professional killers armed with long knives dipped in poison, hired by someone to get rid of the heroes. It's possible they've got the wrong target, but try telling them that.
- Con Man: He's got an elaborate scheme tailored to some wealthy mark — possibly one of the player-characters. Details vary, but the schemes always promise a great reward but only if the victim can provide a lot of cash up front.
- Flood! An extra-high tide and unfavorable winds have raised the water level. The piazzas and alleys are under a foot of water — as are the ground floors of most houses.
- Historical Character: Hey, it's Casanova! Or John Law, or Mozart, or the castrato singer Farinelli. The player-characters can hobnob with someone famous (or someone who will be famous later), and possibly get involved in some secret adventure.
- Secret Police: 1d4 agents of the secretive Supreme Tribunal, investigating the player-characters as possible foreign spies or criminals. (Someone slipped an anonymous tip into the lion's mouth.) They're armed with swords and wear creepy full-length cloaks and masks. Resistance is proof that you're guilty of something.
- Thieves: 1d4 house-breakers, stealthily entering through an upstairs window and looking for cash or easily-portable items of value. They have knives but will fight only to get away. If there's some MacGuffin in the adventure, that's what they're looking for.
- Vampire: She's found the one place in Europe where someone who never appears before sunset isn't unusual. Posing as one of Venice's high-class courtesans, she drains her lovers of both health and wealth. And now she's got her sights on one of the heroes.
- Wealthy Traveler: An English "Milord," or a political exile from France, or maybe an exotic visitor from Russia or America. He (or she) has money to spare, but is woefully naive about how things work in Venice.
- Abandoned Palazzo: It's a huge, grand house but nobody has lived there for decades. Nobody except the hideous octopus monster which oozes up out of the canal every night to prey on whoever it finds.
- Ambush! Your enemies (or maybe just a gang of robbers) are waiting in a dark, narrow alley. There are 1d6 men in cloaks armed with swords. En garde!
- Boat Under Bridge: If you're on the water you can swing up onto the roadway; if you're on foot you can drop down into someone's boat.
- Crooked Gambling Salon: The dice are weighted, the cards are marked, the dealers use sleight of hand to give you a losing hand, and if you complain there's a huge bouncer ready to throw you into the canal.
- Masked Roisterers: 2d6 drunken gentlemen and courtesans in Carnival attire. They're at the aggressively friendly stage, but may feel insulted if you don't want to join them.
- Neighborhood Church: One of dozens in the city, and at the moment Mass is being celebrated. Anyone can enter, and not even the most hardened thug would dare disrupt the service.
- Spies: The player-characters stumble across a secret meeting, as a foreign agent passes information to her handler. The spies could be from any of Europe's great powers — and they'll kill to preserve their secrets.
- Sunk! Your boat has sprung a seam or collided with another gondola. Whatever the cause, everyone on board is going into the water.
- Water Ghost: The phosphorescent corpse of a drowned woman appears in the waters of the canal, beckoning for you to follow.
- Tracks/Aftermath: Reroll to see what you just missed.
SITUATIONS IN DECADENT VENICE
Roll 1d6 to determine what the situation is, then roll on the table above to see who the participants are.
- A desires B
- A wants to capture B
- A wants B dead
- A wants to go somewhere
- A wants to solve a mystery
- A wants X