Intentionally crafted to go easy on Investigators, the Peru Prologue does serve up a particularly gruesome demise for at least one non-player character. Poor Trinidad Rizo, the industrious undergraduate assistant, lays critical groundwork for the Investigators. In exchange for her efforts, the campaign expects Señorita Rizo to meet her untimely, fat-ful demise (yes, he went there – Ed.) in a dank basement storeroom at the hands of Luis de Mendoza. At Prospero House, we believe in rewarding solid research work, so we would like to offer some suggestions to potentially get Trinidad a bit more Prologue face-time.
Though hard-working, Trinidad may occasionally sneak away from her books and artifacts to enjoy Lima’s nightlife. Consider introducing her as a chance encounter on the street with Jackson and the Investigators as they return to the Hotel Maury. In such a circumstance, Jackson might have met her before while consulting with Professor Sánchez, and she’s eager to impress her friends by introducing them to the worldly American author and his friends.
More directly, Jackson could arrange for her to meet the group at or near the Bar Cordano after the introductory dinner with Larkin. This option may prove helpful in supporting Jackson’s suspicions about Larkin, as Trinidad could furnish artifacts or documents casting doubt on Larkin’s credentials and claims. She can reveal that she has started working on a useful translation, and believes she will complete it before noon tomorrow (or whenever convenient).
As suggested in the campaign book, if the players demonstrate a high level of concern for Trinidad or Professor Sánchez, you can consider advancing de Mendoza’s attack on Rizo, or you may allow the Investigators to glimpse a lurking figure outside Rizo’s apartment to foreshadow his upcoming attack by de Mendoza or his accomplice, Pedro de Velasco. If Rizo meets her demise prior to the meeting with Professor Sánchez, you can consider leaving a clue, such as row and shelf numbers, to guide your players to the Golden Ward in the museum basement the following day.
By introducing her earlier in the chapter, your players may demonstrate a greater level of concern for Trinidad’s safety. Using the campaign book’s suggestion, we considered the professor’s initial comment about Rizo’s trip to the basement as the marker for her survival. Although my Investigators had met her the night before, they became too engrossed in their conversation with Sanchez, and initially missed his off-hand remarks about her absence. When they eventually went to check the basement, de Mendoza had already killed their new acquaintance. Meeting this young, aspiring scholar the night before truly drove home the shocking discovery of her emaciated corpse. Of course, you could also choose to prevent her death entirely, allowing the encounter with a frightened Rizo to distract from de Mendoza’s follow-up attack on Sanchez.
Should your own players seize the initiative and interrupt de Mendoza’s feast, Trinidad can become a valuable NPC in the chapter and, potentially, the campaign. Having survived the encounter, she may be eager to accompany the expedition to the pyramid and potentially settle a score. Her knowledge of the local customs and burgeoning archaeological expertise could prove useful, not to mention her value as a native Spanish speaker. By the time of the main campaign, she could be as old as 23, finished with her studies, and looking for adventure. She has a ready-made connection to Jackson Elias and could easily serve as a great backup PC (or a new player addition to the group).
Regardless of how you choose to deploy Professor Sanchez’s diligent research assistant, we believe she holds the potential to bring much more to the Peru Prologue than simply serving as a kharisiri snack and clue node.
How did Trinidad Rizo fit into your Prologue? Was her death unavoidable or did your players have a running clock after arriving at Sanchez’s office?