Quest Idea - Find the Stolen Painting
This fun quest can be inserted into just about any world or situation to provide an easy storyline for a few gaming sessions. Everybody understands stolen artwork issues!
A wealthy person in town gets word to the adventurers that he (or she, of course) needs assistance getting back a stolen work of art. The painting is not very large - maybe 1' by 1' - but it is a precious work by a famous painter. You can make the painting be whatever works well in your world - a religious symbol, a great landscape, a famous person.
Because this person is wealthy, you can offer as a reward to your players whatever is appropriate for their level - lots of gold, a valuable suit of armor, a magical item, etc. The wealthy person really values this painting and wants it back, to pass on to their children.
The group now asks around to see if anybody has heard of this painting. They find out that other paintings of around that size have been stolen from nearby towns as well. The paintings aren't always valuable - sometimes they are just local works sold at festivals. None have been recovered so far.
Along their research, the players run into an artist who had one of his own paintings stolen. He is upset because this was a painting of his daughter that he did a great job on. He had been planning on bringing the painting to the big annual arts festival being held at the local main castle. The festival is in a week.
The group should decide to go investigate this festival, and they can meet with the event planners and the local ruler that lives in the castle. The players are shown around the castle, and it's explained that different areas will hold different types of exhibits. Large paintings are shown in the main hall, ceramics are in the lower rooms, and smaller paintings are shown in the upper rooms near the lord's family rooms.
The art works start to be brought in by artists from around the lands. One set of small format paintings is brought in from a neighboring land, and they don't seem to be very good. If the party is able to investigate one, they find that the paintings are actually done on the back sides of the stolen paintings. A bit more work will discover that the 'artists' who painted them are actually members of an enemy organization planning to kill the lord and his family, since they now have access to all the personal areas. Hopefully the party can foil the plot and return the paintings!
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