PS, this is way more written out than the notes I took on my notebook. You don't need to be nearly this verbose in your prep. Bullet points are fine:
- Goods: City Prices
- Obvious Features:
- Cathedral Clock Tower
- Frequent rains
- Sewage stench from abandoned quarry (E)
There's a town called Thrush Hill. It's well populated with a rigorous economy. It has all the usual things you expect of towns, but a few things stand out to anyone there. There's a big cathedral to The Lady Temperence with a mechanical clock tower, a point of pride for the town that can be seen from just about anywhere. It rains frequently, which lends the town a slightly morose atmosphere. The rains are both blessing and curse, as they cleanse the air of the sewage stench that rises out of an abandoned quarry east of town... and the dampness always causes the smell to return stronger just after.
Thrush Hill has a good trading relationship with Aldwyn Keep a few miles down the road, and a number of its craftsman find regular employ at special orders from Lady Orphone, a wealthy matron who lives on a secluded estate to the south.
Everyone who meets Humphrey comes away remembering three things about him. Firstly, he fusses constantly with his elaborate powdered wig, which he often adorns with jewelry. Secondly, he considers himself (at length, loudly) a great collector of art, though- like all who consider themselves a great anything- he's probably more interested appearing a great collector of art. Thirdly, he is suspicious of everyone- doubly so of his servants, and quadruply so where money is concerned.
One of his servants, you see, has gone missing. A quiet man named Oliver Poff, who served Bostock for the last 12 years. The man seemed quite interested in a new painting Humphrey had hung on the north wall of his study- "A Lady In Chains"- across the room from the imposing red and black "Pater Familias". Humphrey repeats a number of times that Poff made multiple inquiries regarding the painting, its origins, and the figure depicted within it. He doesn't particularly remember what exactly was asked, but it was far too much for his liking.
And so, this morning, with Poff nowhere to be found, Humphrey has had want ads tacked up all over town-
Thieves and rapscallions abound in Thresh Hill, and this gentle son of her noble breast will not stand idly by while her treasures are secreted out from under her languid gaze! Humphrey Bostock offers simple lodging and accommodations for trustworthy guards seeking a one month contract. Experience with thieves and passing familiarity with one Oliver Poff preferred!
Generous payment of 60 silver pieces to be rendered at the successful completion of duties.
NO EMPLOY WITHOUT LETTER OF REFERENCE FROM A CITIZEN OF GOOD STANDING"
Of course, as soon as the PCs begin their watch in the evening, moonlight fills the study and the "Lady in Chains" begins to move....