Sunday, March 1, 2009

Campaign: Sunday Night At The Pig

The evening begins to wear as our five companions make their way back in groups to the Pig tavern. First, the assassin, fighter and cleric; then not long after, the bard and thief. They find that the tavern is full of guests, as it is nearly every Sunday night, but that their beds have been faithfully kept by Helmunt. By the time they grow comfortable on their first ale at their usual table, the market stalls and goods are completely gone from the square; all that was being sold in the Merchant’s Hall is packed up and carried away until the following Sunday.

But the town is not quiet. A scaffold and stage have been set upon on the front steps of the cathedral facing the square. A small crowd has gathered to watch some of the preparations - a crowd that grows steadily larger, and includes both the poor and wealthy citizenry. While the party discusses the matters of the day (and they shall find the time to do that for themselves, while all that is described below will occur after, during or before their tale telling), a performance is staged.

It is a “mystery play.” Promoted, in this particular case, by the brewer’s guild of Dachau. The thrust of the drama is quite simple, and follows the tale of the good Samaritan. Only in this tale, a man is beaten for his goods by Turkish bandits on the road leading from Dachau to Augsburg. He begs for help from a Frenchman, who ignores him. Then he begs for the aid of an Italian, who likewise ignores him.

Finally, the man is found by a German, who immediately puts the poor fellow on his horse and takes him to his house, where he cares for him. And the robbed victim is discovered to be tremendously wealthy--he gives everything he owns to the German before parting from this world and finding salvation.

When the play ends (assuming it has not been interrupted by a thief thinking he will filch a purse or two), it is quite dark and the square is lit by torches alone. These are extinguished as the audience departs, until the only active place at all near the square is Helmunt’s humble abode. Soon, within an hour or so, Helmunt will close the tavern in accordance with the law, and all its residents will find their way to their beds in the common room upstairs.

39 comments:

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

After each of us recounts the happenings of the day, Anshelm, re-filling for his ever-present snuffbox, says, "Well, it appears that our friend Kazimir has had the best and the worst fortune of the day. He does seem to have found the most promising avenue leading from this place. What do we all think?"

Anshelm will also be keeping an ear out for any murmurs of discontent among Helmunt's patrons or if anyone mentions the Jan the innkeep.

Josef Mieszko said...

"An interesting day, gentlemen...
"Delfig - Anshelm - what did you find out on the north side? Perhaps tomorrow we can see the south...
"I believe it would be good for us to discuss some goals, for te short term - to figure out what we are interested in doing -though I also think that some discretion is necessary to maintain until we've some privacy...the powers of this town seem wary, watchful...
"I would like to know what you like to do, and will tell you the same about myself, though my goal is perhaps too long-term to be implemented immediately.
"Eventually, I would like to return to my home, where my family is persecuted, where my people are being enslaved by the cross and coin. It would be a long journey to the north-east, through Bohemia - and I am not equipped for such travel now I'm afraid - been too long in the academy and these towns. Gotten soft...
"Anyone else have any particular goals, ideas or interests?"

Alexis - I'm reckoning that a 'walk' to Glatz might take something on the order of a month. Is this assumption wildly inaccurate? I'm working off a decent map of 1648 germany, but the town/cities marked are only the largest of them, and the area we're in has little practical detail - being given over almost completely to the jigsaw puzzle of the 'borders'...

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Before the play begins, I will sketch a rough outline of what happened to us at the North gate:

- We found a burnt out Inn that had formerly belonged to several generations of the same family. Apparently the innkeeper fell afoul of the town's leaders (who seem to be merchants or well connected to merchants) who had the family hung and the inn burned. It is empty of anything of value.

- The commoners of this area are extremely unhappy with the events of this murder, as well as the general greed of the merchants of the area. They are squeezing the commoners for every pfennig they can get.

- The landowners are either being bribed or are involved in greater politics.

I'll listen to any tales that the others might have before taking any further action. (The hint was noted... *chuckle*)

Josef Mieszko said...

ah, Kazmir - what is this 'promising avenue'?

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

(oops...Tiberius, not Kazimir...)

Josef Mieszko said...

(gotcha!)
BTW - since I made my character sheet private between Alexis & myself I've put up a google doc with a more 'superficial' description of my character - Alexis: it may be a better link off the side of the page than the one no-one else can look at!
I thought about posting up my map on Google docs to share with you guys also. Is that cool?
Description:
http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dhfxqd69_0d4qnw2fk&hl=en

Josef Mieszko said...

oops!
that address is wrong!
This one is right
http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dhfxqd69_0d4qnw2fk

Alexis said...

Gentlemen,

I’m going to have quite a busy few days, so these sessions will go slowly. Bloody real life, ay? (Canadian)

Josef,

With periods of rest and unexpected delays, and none of you having mounts, yes, I would estimate the journey would take about a month. Now that you’ve seen the actual Germany map, you can see that I’ve simplified things quite a bit, huh?

Tiberius said...

As there are no ladies present to impress, Tiberius tells a relatively unembellished account of what happened that day, including his arrest, subsequent acquittal, and his meeting of an old acquaintance, Johann Mizer, a prominent merchant in Dachau.

Regarding the plight of the common folk, Tiberius shrugs his shoulders. "It's a sad story, but there's not anything we can do, is there?"

Regarding what to do, Tiberius thinks their best bet is to hire themselves out Mizer and try to make some gold in the process. How exactly this will be accomplished will become more clear once Tiberius speaks to Mizer and discovers any employment opportunities the merchant might have.

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

(no problems on slow sessions!)

Anshelm nods in agreement with Tiberius. "Much as the cotters' plight tugs at the heart, I'm not sure it's wise to raise the ire of one related to the Duke of Bavaria. Your option also seems most likely to put a bit of jingle in our pockets."

Josef Mieszko said...

simplification! I wouldn't have done a 10th of the detail you have! :)

"I'm not disinclined to such service for the nonce, Tiberius - and would be grateful to keep occupied - provided that his requirements do not demand that I act against my faith. Is this Mizer a religious man?"

(For that matter, are any of you guys?)

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

OOC: Anshelm is fairly sincere in his belief, though he's not one to be particularly impressed by the ritual and ceremony of the Church, which he considers a bit ridiculous. He attends services as expected, but only because it's expected. His faith is more personal in nature, and not something he overtly refers to in the normal course of a day.

Kazimir said...

(Whoops, sorry about the deleted comment...forgot to sign in to my character profile)

Kazimir says "All I know is that I'm for getting some coin in our pockets, lads. What say we take this fellow up on his offer?"

(and, for the record, Kazimir is cheerfully non-religious)

Josef Mieszko said...

"my poverty is a hindrance - so long as I walk these Roman roads..."

Tiberius said...

"Mizer hasn't actually offered anything. We have to put our best face forward and hope he has a job for someone with our certain... skillset."

Regarding faith, Tiberius has a silver cross at his neck. Whether that means anything is up to you.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Delfig purses his lips as he listens to the rest of the group and nods.

"Our need for income does seem to prevail most on my mind, but I am mindful that if *whispered* something of a revolt is brewing, it would not hurt us to have friends in many places. *normal voice* It can't hurt us to listen to this merchant, yet I also find it interesting that this friend of yours just happened to be here."

I look at Tiberius carefully. "And one should not discount commoners as the herd can trample someone quite dead in the stampede."

Delfig is decidedly quiet about his religious beliefs, although the group has seen him 'go along' with anything that would be considered good manners or prudent practice to not stand out.

[OOC - Alexis, what are the types of things a bard would do if he's going to cast a spell? Let's say for instance I wished to cast that "Perception" spell to hear a group talking... would it be more about playing a specific tune and singing in a certain way? I'd like to know just in case I need to use such spells and I don't want to ... erm... cause any attention to myself.]

Josef Mieszko said...

"I do not mean to be impolitic and would come between no man and the interior of his beliefs. It is in practices inimical to life, the freedom and vigor of life, undertaken to exclude other beliefs and ways of life that I make my only caveat.
"I am young - and only in the last few years in relative safety from such persecutions. Please ignore my rudeness...but I think that our skill-set, as you say Tirberius, is an impotant conversational topic.
"It seems to me that this group may be well-suited to walk some dark paths - should gosc Mizer's business include such tangents...

Alexis said...

Delfig,

You may assume that any spell you throw will involve playing your instrument and sing-songing the words to the spell. Just so you know that there can’t be any error in detecting the difference between a spell you might cast and an ordinary song, the instrument will begin to gently glow (it won’t be bright enough to cast light).

A surreptious spell-casting might be managed by means of a small instrument, such as a Jew’s Harp or a piccolo. Since perception is good at 140 feet, you could easily cross the street and move a healthy distance up it before turning away, casting the spell on your lyre and then homing in on the sound you want.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

[OOC - Alexis, that's awesome because that's very close to how I imagined it in my head. Thank you.]

Assuming that the party is done discussing the events, I'll go wander out into the crowd and see if I can see the town fathers/important figures gathered in an apparent discussion. I'll try to move close enough to try and determine if they're having a discussion worth listening to, but not too obviously close. I'll also try to pay attention to how the crowd reacts to the play and music.

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

Anshelm will watch the play, as well, keeping an ear out for any mentions of Jan the innkeep or anything that might be interpreted as a murmur of discontent against the town fathers.

Much as he'd like to ply his thieving abilities in a scene filled with marks, he has no wish to risk tangling with the guard. Tiberius has used our luck on that count for the day! :-)

Josef Mieszko said...

I don't think I have any other points to bring up, though certainly will speak if spoken to.
As the content of the play progresses, I will fight the urge to leave again, instead say sitting at the pig, considering silently the virtues of the Italians I have known, and any Frenchmen I may have met (assuming they had any!).

Otherwise, I'll wait to see what transpires, up to calling it a night and then dealing with Tiberius' interactions w/Mizer

Alexis said...

Delfig,

You hear but one snippet of conversation which you might find relevant:

The first spoken from one fairly wealthy gentleman to another, each sitting upon high cushioned stools nearest the play as it is about to proceed:

- “…then we should make a move to acquire the building when?”
- “In two months. The sotted masses have accepted the tale of smuggling. They will just as soon accept the employment of the building for the defense of the town…”

But you hear nothing more as they begin to laugh at a juggler who has begun his performance—a fellow about your own expertise, you would wager.

Anshelm,

You hear only this, between two coachmen who are standing well back from the crowd, tending the horses of wealthy audience members.

- “How many?”
- “Four last month. And one again last night.”
- “And they were found—”
- “—with their throat’s cut. Yes. Inside the grounds. A stable-boy heard it happening, and although the gates were sealed directly there was no sign, no killer. They say there was blood everywhere, but no one in the house so much as had it on their shoe. Except the boy, I suppose.”
- “That’s awful.”

Whereupon they chance to find you standing a bit close (failure to hide in shadows), and they stifle their conversation.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I'm going to keep my eye on them, if possible, and move to where I could cast "Perception" without being noticed. I'm waiting for them to engage in what appears to be deep discussion again. If that happens, I'll cast the spell (assuming I'm not going to be noticed) and attempt to listen in. If not, then I'll simply keep an eye on them and anyone else that might be interesting, and wait for the play to end.

Depending on that, I'll hold any other actions (there's something I want to do at the end of the play, unless more interesting things happen).

[OOC - hope you guys can bail me outta jail if I end up being seen.]

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

Anshelm nods politely at the coachmen and moves off through the crowd and back to the Pig. Signalling Helmunt, he asks their worthy patron if he has heard anything about sinister goings-on around town (without actually mentioning the murders the coachmen were discussing).

Tiberius said...

"You may be right, Delfig. But that day is not today!" Tiberius gets up and will socialize with the local womenfolk.

Alexis said...

Delfig,

Not long after you hear their brief conversation, they split up, to speak with other gentlemen and ladies. Their demeanor seems quite pleasant and non-businesslike, so you couldn’t be sure what the spell might reveal.

Anshelm,

Helmunt knows nothing, “NussING!” This last is said quite loud before making a big deal about dressing down his brother-in-law, Hans Schultz, for failing to order more ale.

Tiberius,

Haven’t women gotten you in enough trouble already?

There are some fairly buxom women hanging around the rear tent when they seem to be keeping the costumes and props.

Josef Mieszko said...

The play was put on by the brewersguild
"Helmunt! Let me help you! Where is Herr Schultz now if not helping you here?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Delfig will look to see if he can figure who the "director" or person in charge of the production is. If so, he will go over, introduce himself and inquire if there is a performing company in town that would be interested in a bard?

Alexis said...

Josef,

Helmunt (and I) are a little confused. Schultz, his brother in law, is at the moment behind the bar and not a member of the brewer’s guild. Rather than having Helmunt ask you if you’re saying you have ale to supply him with, could you clarify?

Delfig,

You’ve clearly never encountered performers during a performance. No one has any time for you, a couple of large bruisers in the employ of the church might make your life difficult if you don’t stand back and at any rate, you’re not a member of the brewer’s guild. This is not a company of actors, but the Sunday of the year when the brewer’s guild, as opposed to the hackers, the wagonwrights or the cobblers, put on the night’s mystery play. So what they might know about a local performing company is negligible.

That was a little rough. Let me just say, you’re unsuccessful.

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

Do I get the sense that Helmunt is covering for something with his bluster?

After considering the matter, Anshelm drifts back out into the crowd. He attempts to join in on any small talk he hears, trying to introduce the topic of recent unpleasantness in as natural a manner as he can (Jan the inkeep, the murder he overheard the coachmen discussing).

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

[OOC - Nono, rough is good! I'd rather you tell me the lay of the land in those blunt terms because that helps me to understand how to think like a guy in your world. ]

Let me back up and do something actually constructive. You mentioned a juggler - was he part of the brewer's guild or someone just putting about for coins?

If he's part of the guild, I'm not going to mess with him. I'll head back to Das Schwein and strum up a a few tunes that would be pleasing and perhaps earn me a tip or 3.

If he's not part of the guild, I'd like to approach him, introduce myself and made small talk about the life of a performer in Dachau and find out what he's about.

Josef Mieszko said...

"I thought I might help with the clean-up - I thought perhaps you did not know the whereabouts of your brother-in-law, that we might find him for you - not knowing that he was already here."

Tiberius said...

Tiberius says hello to the women at the rear tent, but if they're busy, he'll mosey on along.

Alexis said...

Anshelm,

The crowd is remarkably xenophobic and ignorant. Those who might know to what you refer to would resist giving their opinion, or doing anything but turn away rudely, because of your being a stranger. The rest would simply know nothing. What would uneducated, townspeople care what might happen to a few country people?

As regards the murder, it was clearly something reserved among a certain, inaccessible class of people.

OOC: I just wouldn’t make it that easy, would I?


Delfig,

The juggler was certainly someone part of the brewer’s guild (you recognize the patch). I’ll give you 3 c.p. and a silver piece for the tune playing.

Tiberius,

They’re certainly not busy. They are, however, prostitutes.

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

OOC: Ha! I would expect nothing less. Gotta give it a try, though. :)

Anshelm pats Josef on the back. "You know how he gets, Helmunt," he says and leads his companion back to their customary table.

When they are seated, Anshelm lets Josef know what he has gleaned from his wanderings about the town square.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Delfig gratefully pockets the coins and moves over to his companions before they need to move to the common area.

*Sotto voce* "It would appear that our town fathers are busy plotting using the blockhouse for something else other than a warning. We might be wary of what our friend's merchant contact asks us to do. Did you hear of anything?"

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

Anshelm shares what he's overheard with Delfig.

"I would say the town fathers are no better than the curs that call them master. I agree; we should trust no one, and enter into any agreement with wide-open eyes."

Kazimir said...

Kazimir perks up slightly when if he also overheard the tale of murder that the coachmen were discussing. He looks sideways at them, trying to see if he recognizes them from the guild. He also ponders over any guild news he's heard lately... does this sound familiar to him?

Alexis said...

Kazimir,

You've heard nothing of or from the assassin's guild in Innsbruck since your departure. A part of you would doubt sincerely if a practiced assassin would produce a great deal of blood in a murder--you would think either an amateur or some personal vendetta.