Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Tale of Potential Poop

In Sunday night's Black Hack game, the party (Allison the 12 year old 21st century alice, Kalasso the wandering saurian priest, and Chevalier d'Eon the mage) made their way to one of the saurian towns in the Hojo Mori rainforest. I didn't have any specific NPCs or events in mind, so it was pretty much all driven by the players and the dice.

The guards stopped them on the way in, and Kalasso almost immediately asked if anyone inside needed healing. It turned out that there was something wrong with the local lord's heir. Before approaching the castle though, they wanted to go find a beastmaster and see about incubating this rotjaw egg they'd acquired previously. After a brief discussion, they elected to have a sort of coffin-cart made, in which they'd simulate a rotjaw nest by filling it with dung and mulch, and bury the egg in that. Then they got distracted by a crazy-eyed fortune teller.

Once some gems were sold off and a deal had been struck with a local carpenter, they went up to the castle. Inside, they learned that the hatchling had been in a coma for a week now, and the court healer was stumped. Kalasso examined the patient but failed to make a concrete diagnosis, even with the comprehensive book on jungle diseases that Allison suddenly realized she had stashed at the bottom of her backpack.* Then Chevalier thought to cast detect magic, and discovered that this was actually a curse designed to look like a disease. The party went to ask the crazy fortune teller what to do, and she told them to talk to the spirits in the caves at the other end of the map.

*If you aren't familiar with the Alice class from A Red & Pleasant Land, they have this "exasperation" ability where if they get really stuck, the situation changes in their benefit in some randomly determined dream-logic kind of way.

So the plan at this point was to stay the night at the inn, then go pick up the completed incubation wagon from the carpenter's shop, find some farmers to fill it with fertilizer, and start a three day journey to the spirit caves. This plan was derailed when I rolled for that morning's weather and got "flash flood." When the PCs got to the carpenter's shop, he and his family were bugging out in high quality canoes. The PCs found a boat in the attic that was big enough for them and the (still empty) wagon and got out alive, but headed in the opposite direction from where they wanted to go.

So now I have a group of players with "gather a big pile of shit and rotting plant matter" as an explicit short-term goal.


1 The local lord's hatchling has been in a mysterious coma for 3d4 days. The healers in town are all completely stumped because it's actually a magical curse. The hatchling will have a 1 in 8 chance of dying every day after day 14.

2 The town is about to begin its week long Festival of Ancestors. The sequence is: opening procession, drug fueled partying, ceremonial defeat of death & peak partying, final night devoted to somber reflection.

3 A famous acting troupe is in town. Their play recounts the events of one of Hojo Mori's legendary exploits and takes advantage of illusion magic. The conquest of the goliaths and the binding of the cave spirits are popular subjects.

4 The town is currently besieged by whichever of the other local lords likes this one the least. The two sides are evenly matched and waiting for each other to make a move when the PCs show up.

The town is celebrating the hatching of the lord's healthy new heir. The egg has been secretly been exchanged with the offspring of a sorceress and a powerful demon.

6 Slave revolt! These towns usually keep a variety of species as slaves. If the lord of this town doesn't believe in slavery, the saurian citizens are rioting.

7 The majority of a hunting party has been slain by a jungle tyrant. Their funeral is today. The ceremony is a sky burial on the roof of the castle's tallest tower, with the whole town watching the sky lizards in mournful silence.

8 The local lord is hosting a Tournament of Champions tomorrow. The prize is an amulet that gives its wearer a +2 bonus to all saving throws. It also has the secret, nearly undetectable power to act as both eyes and ears for the lord.

9 An ambassador is here, with servant and bodyguards, representing one of the other lords in the region. There is a 1 in 3 chance that the ambassador is a spy and/or an assassin.

10 Grisly murder scenes are the work of an unsuspecting saurian were-raptor.

11 The town is currently rebuilding in the wake of a flash flood. Expect all goods to be sold at 1d4 times their regular prices. 1 in 3 specialty items simply aren't available right now.

12 The eggs of four peasant families have gone missing over the past three weeks. The party may enter but no one may leave until the culprit has been found.

13 The whole town is convinced that a local hatchling is some kind of messianic figure, loudly agreeing that obviously mundane, routine occurrences are miraculous portents.

14 The local lord's financial advisor has been assassinated. His three potential successors are the only current suspects; each has a 1 in 4 chance of being guilty (leaving open the possibility of a conspiracy or another killer with a different motive).

15 The PCs arrive in the middle of an execution. The condemned tradesman's wife is convinced that he was set up. She's right, but no one wants to hear it. The man is being executed for possession of heretical documents that were planted in his desk.

16 One of the local tradesmen is trying to unite the rest of them into a guild. The various business owners in town have agreed to hold a vote one week from today. The local lord is opposed to this, but must allow the vote or risk an uprising.

17 A goliath enslaved as a pit fighter has become so successful that he's almost ready to buy his freedom. His master would see him die before allowing that to happen, but would risk a riot if this charismatic fan favorite was openly murdered.

18 Slaves and citizens alike have been falling prey to a brain-eating plague. Every day in town, each PC has 1/12 chance of contracting the disease via mosquito bite. INCUBATION 24 hrs, DURATION 7 days, INCREMENT 6 hrs, EFFECT 1d2 permanent INT damage.

19 A power-hungry mage has recently failed to take the stronghold, causing lots of collateral damage. Expect all goods to be sold at 1d4 times their regular prices. Everyone is suspicious and resentful of all visiting spellcasters right now.

20 The local lord has recently had a mystical experience that caused them to add a core belief to their personal philosophy, possibly calling one of their previous beliefs into question. Conversations in town are dominated by this paradigm shift and its implications, which are still trickling down, slowly, to the general populace.

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