Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Clare's Criers (Harper Affiliated)

(Part of my series on building more specific sections of the WOTC 5E factions.  Read the previous section on the union-affiliated Order of the Gauntlet group here)

In the capital city, new ideas are spreading.  A strange fusion of traditional street performance and modern-day investigative journalism has taken the streets of the city by storm.  The Criers gather crowds with a distinctive three-note whistle. These entertainers and bards proceed to regale the crowd with salacious gossip and indecent puppetry woven together with shocking tales of civic corruption. No person is safe from their stories, and Boss Peet, a corrupt minister of the Council of Lords, is a frequent target.  The stories which form the basis for these plays have so far proven true, and the investigation into the Averroist Controversy has brought down several high ranking weaver's guildsmen.

The reaction by Boss Peet has been swift and harsh, but so far ineffective. The distinctive three-note whistle sets corrupt guardsmen running towards the source, which has lead to foolish young men whistling the tune wherever they go, sowing confusion.  The rising three-note sequence has been worked into popular songs and ballads, the better to thumb one's nose at the machine while retaining plausible deniability.

Clare's Criers are a motley mix of old school troubadours, idealistic young puppeteers, and one old, slightly demented king's jester who was forcibly retired.

The group could make a good addition to a city random encounter table, with the party encountering a full-blown expose in progress.  For inspiration on civic corruption for the tale, just pick up a newspaper.  The guards move in after a few mins.

1. Roland the Farter (demented ex-jester) tells the party of a secret entrance into the castle where they can wander through the hollow walls and secret passages, looking into various rooms via paintings with eyeholes cut out, one-way mirrors, and peepholes. The party scoops up hints and ideas on corruption in the court by the shovelful but must contend with the ancient spiders which have taken residence in the hollow walls.  Remeber the party must try to remain silent or nobles will send guards to check out the walls. Also, the coded language the nobles use to discuss their corrupt dealings could be a great chance to work in thieves cant.

2. An important selectperson election is approaching. The twelve elders on the town council are accepting bribes, but their vote is only as good as the most recent bidder.  The party is tipped off by verse in the Criers Pupper show as to which elders are on their side and which must be greased.  The party must traverse the city, fending off threats and competing bribes to the elders on their side, and attempting to contact and bribe the rest.

3. The board of United Coal has come to you in a tizzy.  The Criers are singing a new, fanciful play where Boss Peet and his allies verify fake stock papers for "Assembled Anthrocite," allowing a weak and stupid relative to seize control with Peet at his side.  They want this plan shut down.  If the party approaches the Criers for more info, they propose stopping the fake stock AND robbing United Coal blind. 

4. Volunteer firefighters in this city are arraigned by ethnic and regional ties, and function more like gangs.  They often brawl with one another while fires rage.  Rowland the Farter wants to travel the city and perform his play meant to shame the firefighters into cooperation.  He needs muscle to protect him from the vicious firefighting goons.  Questionable if his play is actually good or will just further enrage the firefighters, but if he survives the day he will reward them with knowledge of a secret dockhouse used by the mob to store easily stealable loot.

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