Welcome to Wednesday where we look at twists, turns and otherwise secondary plot hooks for the adventure. This week, coupled with the main driving plot from last week, we will expand the existing plot because, lets face it, the creepy family and daughter with nightmarish visions is probably plot enough.
So like most adventures we will find the party stopping over in a tavern, this weeks port of call for a drop of the good stuff is The Broken Tankard, a dwarven run tavern where the lads at the Broken tankard bring you a themed menu, drinks and service that’s almost as gruff as it is warm and inviting.
So let’s kick off our boots, loosen our bracers and visit what promises to be a great night and tale to write home about.
The three siblings
Weary from their travels the party enter the quiet village known to travellers as Bracken Hollow they walked to the only building open and sporting any sign of life and warmth as the weather had turned cold on the steady climb up to the village.
Pushing on the door they entered the room to a near crushing silence where the eyes of twenty odd people stared at them. A stout, muscular dwarf in what appeared to be a leather breastplate walked backwards, careful to not spill what they carried, through the saloon style doors that separated the large warm dining hall to a kitchen where rich roasts could be smelt cooking.
As the dwarf turned around, a large platter of food on a tray nearly overflowing with roasted vegetables and some meat the party could now see that the stern, imposing and commanding figure was a young dwarf maiden, her long golden hair tied in a tight top-knot. Noticing the silence she slammed the food down on the table before grabbing a dented tankard from the bar and strode foward.
“Right, back to it ye’ sons of oxen. I’ll deal with this” the called out as she strode towards the party, placing a hand on her hip as she stood in front of the party before urging them to lean closer to her.
“Sorry for this, the villagers here don’t like strangers, well anyone ‘new’ really.” she then squared her shoulders and grabbed the first person in front of her and lifted them an easy six inches off the remarkably non-sticky tavern floor. “You create any trouble here you’ll ‘ave to deal with me. You hearing me?” she said, giving them a sly wink before setting them on the ground as she strode off toward the tavern bar. As the party watched the matriarchal dwarf stride through the room, a dull roar of merriment now coming from the room – content that the strangers had been thoroughly warned.
As the party moved forward, the grins, laughter and smell of good food lifted their spirits and eased their nerves. The few travellers they had passed on the road were either leaving Bracken Hollow or had nothing good or polite to say about the town or its people. Sitting down at a large table, occupied by a pair of farmers, brothers apparently, they quickly became acquainted with the pair before the plates of food and drink they ordered were set before them. A few minutes passed and as they enjoyed their meals and the company of the brothers a small cheer broke out and a rather attractive bard with golden hair appeared on a small barrel and stool with a lute. She strummed out a few chords before getting off into a merry jig about a crazed hermit who the whole village despised for good reason as it was though that the hermit cursed their crop and stalked their kids to eat. Despite the dark omens and shady character the jig was merry and full of humour where the hermit would always fail spectacularly and in the most publicly embarrassing way possible.
Two other dwarves, males and by their appearance identical twins, appeared from the amongst the crowd and they began do dance around the room picking up tankards, plates and taking money and orders from people. The family resemblance between them and the gruff matron of the tavern was uncanny. It was at such a moment where the tavern was roaring with laughter that the door opened again, letting in such a chill that it startled the room.
The man who entered seemed to slither-crawl across the ground, his sickly pale-yellow skin was met with an nearly insatiable grin that he carried as he nodded to each and every person in the room.
“Just a bottle of wine Milly,” the man spoke, his voice seemingly the only normal thing about him as the room was dead quite watching him. As the tavern hostess went to the back room to retrieve a bottle of wine the man turned to the party and the two brothers on the table. “Say, new faces. Pleased to meet you all, everyone calls me Father.” he said, his grin setting the nerves of the players on high alert.
“They just came in, here from Daye” the younger of the brothers said loudly, grinning as he sipped on his tankard. The older brother pushed the kicked his sibling under the table causing a confused look of pain to spread across his kin’s face.
“They are just passing through Greg,” the older brother began, “say, do you need help with your fences before this weather gets any worse? We would be glad to be of assistance again” he said as he turned around, a smile coming to his face but not his eyes.
“Yes, Colin, that would be appreciated. I will tell Mother, uncle and Aunty to expect you around the house as to not alarm them. Also please call me Father, it is my real name after all” Greg-father said, his grin never leaving his face. As he leaned in to begin more conversation a stomping began at the barrel and stool where the bard was singing. The party only now aware that the whole tavern was staring at the man called both Father and Greg. Turning his head to the bard she began to sing a tune about a monster in the woods and the villagers who grew tired of it preying on their stock, households and lives. The message clear to the party from the way the bard stared at the man next to them. The man simply smiled more, if possible and began to nod and sing along before turning to the party “I really do like this song, the beast in it is quite…” he was cut off by the thud of a bottle next to him.
“There ye are father. A bottle of the good stuff, I brought a second one out not sure if you were wanting more than one” Milly said dusting off her hands on her kilt.
“Thanks Milly dear, that’s very kind. Yes we will take two so we can celebrate with Katya when she recovers. Well I best be off before the weather turns worse” he said sliding over entirely too much gold for what the bottles were worth, instantly waving Milly off when she began to protest.
As the man left the room began to brighten up again and some people even began to sing along with the bard.
“The songs she sings,” the older brother said between mouthfuls of roasted potato, “they are about him and his family. They have a daughter but she is never seen outside and they do not take kindly to visitors. I really do fear for that girl. There is something.. Special about her” he said almost wistfully before realising what he said and returning back to his food.
There we are, a bit more of a glimpse, a tavern, a dwarven maiden who is maybe more than what she seems called Milly and an introduction to Father. What will the party do and make of this situation?
Don’t forget that if you use this in one of your games to let me know! I am curious to see how other parties work through these adventures and what you would/will and do change about them. And, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe