Henri-Philippe Rocheteau, Mayor of Pritzstock is a large, stoutly built 42-year-old man, with an olive complexion and shoulder-length black hair. A decade of good living has made him slightly overweight but he still enjoys robust health.[1a]
Originally a wine merchant from Bretonnia, Henri-Phillippe visited the area on business and recognised the excellent potential of soil and climate for cultivating a Bretonnian grape. With borrowed money Henri-Philippe purchased a substantial amount of land from the locals (at a fair price) and settled in the area 14 years ago. These locals now work the land as tenant farmers. The new vine soon got established and, having paid off the initial loan, Henri-Phillippe has enjoyed increasing profits ever since.[1a]
He married Elisabet, a local girl, two years after arriving, being attracted by her good looks and innocent nature. However, since learning of the affair with Stefan Maranaeur he has been very bitter towards her, and now treats her as a servant rather than a wife. He also blames Elisabet for not bearing any children; a fact noticedby the rest of the village, who believe this to be the reason for the marriage’s failure.[1a][1b]
Henri-Phillippe is very much the typical Bretonnian, given to exuberance and “theatrical” displays of emotion. He has a lot to lose if the harvest does not go ahead on time and will welcome adventurers as potential rescuers. He believes that the skulls have indeed come from some disturbed battlefield; perhaps all that’s needed is to seal up some tomb entrance to stop the skulls getting out. During their period of hire adventurers may sleep in the fermenting shed and will receive free food and drink.[1b]
Rocheteau’s house is not mapped, but searching the cellar will reveal fairly recent brickwork behind one of the large wine barrels (there is only 1’ of space between wall and barrel).[1b]
If asked about this, Rocheteau (who may be wondering what people were doing rooting in the cellar since the only entrance is via the kitchen) will state that the alcove was sealed to combat damp. Dwarfs or others with skill in mining will notice that the brickwork is less than 5 years old and that there is no sign of damp anywhere in the cellar (which, Rocheteau will note, is proof that it was a sound idea).[1b]
Getting into the sealed alcove is difficult. Lack of space prevents the use of a sledgehammer. If the wall is to be knocked down then the large (heavy) wine barrel must first be moved or smashed. If access to the alcove is gained, a desiccated body can be seen, one hand chained to the wall. A wine barrel and ladle are next to the body. If the body is searched a letter can be found. Part of the letter has been eaten by mould; the remaining text is as follows:[1b]
- "My Dearest Stefan
How much I have missed you. How much longer can we keep up the pretence? One day we will surely be uncovered. I hardly dare see you when you visit for fear that the look in my eyes will reveal the love in my heart. Can you not see the way I tremble when our hands meet in greeting, do my eyes not follow you when-"
- —Elesabet Rocheteau.
If, during the course of the adventure, Henri-Phillippe comes face to-face with Dieter Maranaeur, he will turn pale, as if seeing a ghost. He had no idea that his victim had a twin and will assume Stefan somehow managed to escape. Henri-Philippe might break down and confess at this point, perhaps running into the cellar in temporary madness to check on the “cell.” Alternatively, Henri-Philippe might be overcome with anger that his enemy still lives and attack Dieter immediately, saying something like, “You! I don’t know how you did it but you’re not going to escape death a second time.”[1b]
However, if confronted with the evidence of his crime (i.e., a body in the cellar) Rocheteau will attempt to bluff, bribe, or fight his way out.[1b]