Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Village Elder: A Quest-Giving NPC For Your Next Rural Adventure

(PCs hear rumors of missing young people in a close-by farming village… sounds like an adventure hook! Traveling to the town, they are directed by the barkeep at the local public house to the Village Elder, who is the father of the local blacksmith. Following the clink of the smith’s hammer, they find the right place in no time. Once the blacksmith, a big, burly man fitting his profession, realizes the strangers are not here to see him, he shouts in a rather unmanly manner: “Daaad! DAAAAAAAAAAAD! You’ve got visitors! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAD! He’ll be right out. DAAAAAAAAAD! Hurry up!”

(in a few minutes comes an ill-dressed ancient man, spine curved horribly and staying upright only with the help of a knotty old cane)

“That’s enough of that shouting! I’m old, not deaf! Now what do you want… oh, strangers. What do you want? Don’t you know how rude it is to visit unannounced? I see you’re not from around here, that might explain why you don’t have the good graces that the gods gave a worm. Well what do you want? Spit it out, don’t stand there with a look on your face like a bee’s just stung your bits. Spit it out!

Missing young people? Yeah, I heard those rumors, but I wouldn’t believe them. See, all those rumors were started by the shepherds out in the hills, and I don’t trust those shepherds. They are not honest men. If they were, they’d work their land instead of just walking all over it. If you ask me, I think they’re all just looking for an excuse to screw sheep all day long. Awfully suspicious that these people would disappear into the hills with no human companionship, hmmm? And they get so jealous when you touch one of their precious sheep. Yeah, they’re always looking to say something that will distract you from the truth.

But they say that some young people have gone out for strolls into the hills and have not come back. Some of the women around here just won’t shut up with their wailing about their poor Johnny or Cecilia or whatever dumb shit names people are giving their kids these days going missing. Well if they are, it’s their own damn fault!

People their age should be working all day, not going off for long walks. Certainly not with members of the opposite sex! My goodness, can you believe what young people do these days? In my day we had proper courtship! We’d look nervously across the crowd at each other during festivals, and then the man would work up the courage to go serenade the young lady underneath her window one night, only to find out it’s the wrong window and you’ve scared the lass’ younger brother to death so their father comes out and kicks the shit out of you. The mother gets worried that her husband’s almost killed someone so they take you inside to nurse you back to health and it’s the original girl’s ugly-ass sister that takes care of you and BAM, you marry that one!

That’s how I met this useless piece of flesh’s mother, and that’s how it should be done.

(“Daaaaad”)

Oh shut up boy, you’re the worst blacksmith alive today, and you know it. The only reason you have the job is you’re the only one with arms big enough around here to use a hammer at all. But your brain is too small to learn to do it properly!

Where was I? Oh, these kids today. Back in my day, we never ran off to the hills to “frolic” or whatever code-word these snots use today. For one, the hills were dangerous! All sorts of monsters and bandits and assorted evil kept us in our homes with our windows shuttered tight when we weren’t in the fields risking our necks to feed our families! “The hills” were just another word for DEATH!

Not to mention how improper it is! In my day, a young man would never be alone with a woman before marriage! You wouldn’t even get to hold the woman’s hand until your wedding day and you liked it that way because that meant you were being proper and honorable! Take this waste-of-life’s mother, for example. You couldn’t find a more frigid woman. We had marital relations just one time, on our wedding night, because she was proper and honorable enough to fulfill her obligations, and she kept telling me to hurry up the whole time!

(“Daaaaaaaaaaaaaad!”)

Oh shut up, boy! Your mother was colder than a yeti’s balls and she was proud of it! And I loved her for it, because that’s the commitment I made. Kids these days, they don’t have that kind of respect. “Oh, love is a natural thing, it should be given freely!” The very thought of it makes me sick! They were probably stealing off in the night to go elope in the nearest big town or something, because they don’t care about proper standards or morals in those town things. Nobody in those places does a proper day’s work, you know that? Here we work with our hands and we work the ground. In towns there are people that get paid to count things and write down what they’ve counted! Can you imagine? Getting paid to do that? That sounds like woman’s work, if women would be allowed to have anything to do with money or business.

So yeah, these missing kids probably ran off to the city to engage in a life of endless orgies and lotus sniffing and other meaningless, frivolous things. They were probably screwing the whole way and those pervert shepherds sat there watching them. I’ll say one thing for those dodgy shepherd folks, they may be sheep-fuckers, but at least they’re not defiling the honor of an honest-to-goodness woman with their wicked ways.

But even a blind man hit’s a bulls-eye once in his life so there is a remote possibility there is something to all this talk. I doubt it, because you know how women gossip, this is probably blown all out of proportion, but if these kids have been going out among those hills there, hmmm. I do recall years ago there was some trouble up that way. Some sort of cult or another taking up by the lake and causing trouble. You people don’t look like you have any honest work to do so maybe you could trouble yourselves to take a stroll a few hours’ walk that-away and make sure everything’s the way it should be – deserted!

What? Reward? You want a reward for doing this? What kind of adventurers are you? Back in my day, you couldn’t take two steps around these parts without tripping over some do-gooder who was begging to solve all your problems! ‘Are there fair maidens in need of rescuing?’ ‘Is your cat stuck in a tree?’ ‘If you had a problem, the adventuring lads of yore would be there to help. They had honor. They had stones.

Look around you. Look over there. What do you see? Fields. Over there. Look. See that? Fields. And over there. Look closely. More fields! You want a reward? Really? We’ve got onions, carrots, and celery. If you want to drive a hard bargain I suppose someone around here could give you some beets. We’re a farming village you dolt! You think we have big piles of money sitting around just to give away to strangers? Don’t be such an idiot!

Think about it! Cultists – and it’s always cultists – are morons. Why else would they put on fish masks and dance around some idol in the dark? “Ohh, oooh, I’m dancing and being blasphemous! I’m sooooo evil!” Why in my day I’d go give them what-for for the fun of it! I didn’t need no reward! But say these youngsters have been kidnapped instead of just running off to endless screwing and snorting and that sort of urban life. These cultist idiots always have some sort of golden junk or another.

That just proves how stupid they really are! Why, if I were young and aimless and without the good upbringing a farming village gives you and I came across a big hunk of gold, I’d buy some land. Gold can buy a lot of land, and a lot of security against bad harvests. I could provide for a large family quite easily for the rest of my life with a good chunk of gold! But no, what do these dullards do? They make some Golden Guppy to worship. “Ooohh, hear our pleas, oh Great Golden Guppy.” Idiots! How wasteful! That gold isn’t benefiting anyone! It’s not feeding anyone, clothing anyone! It might as well be a polished turd for all the value it has sitting in a room not being looked at because these pinheads avert their eyes from the object of their worship.

Oh if I were only a few years younger, I’d march up them hills and kick all their asses just for being stupid! And then I’d kick all their asses again for messing with our young folk!

What? Rambling? Show some respect! I see you’ve got one of those pointy-eared bastards with you. Have you ever heard one of their poems? They take weeks to finish! I’ve been there, in one of those mosquito-infested parks they call a homeland. Lazy shits never mow their lawns, I tell you that! And we were the “honored guests” for one of these songs or poems or whatever the hell it was. I think to this day it was a treacherous betrayal and an assassination attempt because I was damn near bored to death! “Oh, look at me, I’m all skinny and ageless but I have great sorrow and I will now warble on for six weeks about twigs and weeds and the majesty of the stick insect!” Don’t you tell me I’m rambling, boy, you don’t know the meaning of the word!

Oh, look at this. I’ve gotten all excited and I’ve pissed myself. And it’s time for my nap. You’ll be wanting to go past them hills, there’s an old ruined church that these fish-heads used as a home base years ago. The geniuses around here said they burned the place down the last time there was trouble, but the damn thing’s made of stone. Stone don’t burn! So you can prance up them hills and since you’re all obviously greenhorns that don’t know your asshole from a hole in the ground, you’ll probably all get killed, but if not, you bring some of those cultists back alive, you hear? No need murdering them all through stealth, since you’re probably too cowardly to stand up to those pricks in a stand-up fight. Get some of them back here so we can give them some good old-fashioned country justice! We haven’t had a decent hanging around here for weeks!”

10 comments:

  1. Fantastic !
    It was great when you did the live performance and it is still great when written. Only difference I can spot is the elf-imitation.

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  2. James, that was pure genius.
    This is you at your best.

    Imagine an NPC supplement book where you received example narratives such as these in lieu of a paragraph and stat blocks?

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  3. I am lifting this crotchety old fu*ker as a cloth for the next go to guy for my group. ;)

    Thanks!

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  4. Oh. My. God. *steals NPC and finds the soonest moment he can introduce him into my campaign*

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  5. I love the quest-NPC's in Jim's games. They are all complete bastards.

    What I'd love to see more of, though, is the same kind of genius portrayals in the actual dungeons, instead of the usual "Kill the Infidels!" -cultits. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but variety is always good.

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  6. Nice and crusty. ;>
    A bit long tho, imho.
    -- FM

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