The PCs notice a commotion in the town square or city center of a village, or perhaps even a good sized city.
In the middle of town, an elf woman is tied to a stake, an angry crowd ready to put her to the torch. A scruffy looking man explains that this “witch” cast a mind control spell on him; causing him to attack a bystander in the street and begin damaging nearby shops and vendor stalls. The man has the crowd convinced that this dangerous wizard will cause greater harm if not put down.
Truth be told the woman is a wizard. The townsfolk claimed her personal effects (including some potentially magical and potentially very valuable items) and are eager to divvy them up to the crowd’s after she burns. However her spell-book and testimony clearly demonstrate she’s barely more than an apprentice – not yet able to cast any spell as as the man describes.
Her accuser is a noted town drunk – angry that she jilted his grog-sodden advances, he took out his frustrations by attacking the bystander (whom he had inebriated arguments with in the past) and wrecked the shops as further expression of his impotent rage.
While the townsfolk know of the accuser’s despicable reputation, there is also an undercurrent of mistrust towards wizards and other arcane and primal practitioners in the village. To exacerbate the matter, the young mage, in a desperate attempt to evade capture, made several threats and cast a few impressive orisions (Ghost Sound and Mage Hand) to deter her captors. Aside from their anger and close mindedness, greed at the thought of keeping this “criminal’s” personal effects has deadened the people’s normally rational senses.
The PC’s will have to make a hard sell to keep the townsfolk from killing the poor elf. Though the crowd is substantial, most have been whipped up into a furor of mob mentality and would back down from any real threat – though this might make them an unwelcome sight in the village henceforth; or earning them a negative reputation in some parts of a city.
Possible EXP and Rewards
Grant the PCs experience equal to one monster of their level. In addition, the thankful mage might reward the PCs with a magic item that “has been way more trouble than it is worth.” Alternately, if the PCs side with the mob and are forceful or convincing when the dead mage’s belongings are being shared, they could acquire a magic item for their fortunate timing.