Baron Hanswurst the "Loose Catapult"
"Just... Just let me stay for a couple more... Listen, I swear I'll shape it up...
HOW can you SAY I gotta go when the view is so BEAUTIFUL...
and SOO-WEET JEE-HOSPHAT! The LADIES are so beautiful here, too..."
"SOMEBODY'S gotta regulate on that fool! Not me. Not again. YOU go talk to him, girl!"
Recently, Bryce Lynch of Tenfootpole.org reviewed Stephen J. Grodzicki's Revelry in Northgate.
Commenters agreed with Bryce that the premise of having to retrieve a drunken nobleman on a jag makes for a lot of potential fun, but urged that the mechanic for finding the noble should be improved: greater player agency, meaningful player choices, etc.
Aaron Fairbrook/Malrex- who recently released the high-quality 39-page Norse blood-sacrifice-inspired adventure The Red Prophet Rises with Prince of Nothing - made some suggestions for this mechanic. Others, like Edgewise, also brainstormed.
You know when Michelangelo saw a chunk of granite and just HAD to carve it? Ahem! So I HAD to make this adventure!
I didn't buy or read Grodzicki's work at the time to protect myself from inadvertent plagiarism (NOW I can - it costs $1) and I decided, for proper good karma and due diligence, to credit him and provide a link to his piece in my re-think.
Besides the lack of an optimal search-for-the-sauced-noble mechanic, Grodzicki took different aesthetic forks in the road than I would have taken. He wanted the setting to be vague and generic for DM's greater ease in dropping into their campaigns. What cultural details there are, are English. The lost nobleman is Lord Hargreaves. Maybe that's a subtle shout-out to Arduin, but I decided for my rework to go for a 90% specific flavor-saturated setting and to go FULL CZECH!
I was blessed to visit (1991) and then live in my great-grandparents' country from 1994-1999. What an amazing culture, history, and people!
Not only positive, but also embarrassing details, were the inspiration for my adventure THE LOST LUSH: Extracting a Carousing Fool Before He Obliterates Peace, Prosperity, and Basic Human Decency.
For my one of my jobs in Prague, Czech Republic, I had to take groups of Americans and other foreigners on cultural orientation tours. There was this one Virginia Tidewater dude who was an OK guy when he was sober, but after I took the group to a fancy restaurant, he had drunk too much.
"I was raised well," he drawled as I took him aside, "So I HAD to finish a fine dinner with PORT!"
Time was running out before the group needed to go across the street to the National Theater - holy ground for the Czech people - to take in Dvořák's opera Rusalka, which is about a water nymph from Czech folklore. The theater was built with materials and funding contributed from Czechs in all corners of the Czech Lands in 1881. This was part of the National Revival, in which determined Czechs revived their language and culture after the ethnic-German-dominated centuries in which Czech-language schools were closed, Czech books were burned, and Czech as a language was suppressed and dying out.
So the American nudnik assures us earnestly that he will behave and we have him drink coffee. We all enter the theater, get seated, the opera starts. So far, so good.
At the 1st intermission, I seek out young Foghorn Leghorn to see how he's doing. He is firmly in apologetic, trying- to-behave mode. He seems in clearer condition. He says he wants to find the restrooms. That's not a bad idea. We go off in search of them and push through heavy doors onto the outdoor balcony overlooking the city. A gorgeous panorama of the lights of Prague on a summer night is the backdrop for gorgeous young women of Prague to elegantly drape themselves, equipped with bottled water and plunging-neckline opera dresses, against the railings.
I say: "Well, this sure ain't the restroom. We'd better hurry up and find it before intermission ends."
Dude exclaims: "But it's such a gorgeous night!"
He shines the full force of his huge-mouthed smile directly onto a pair of smoky-eyed Czech Aphrodites in front of us: "And such a gorgeous view..."
I winced inwardly as the young, lubricated hybrid of Rico Suave and Colonel Sanders tried to chat them up, despite their limited English. Reminded Dude we had better find the restroom so we (but more urgently he) wouldn't soon be in difficulties during an endurance-test aria. Told the women in Czech (it sounds weird, but this is the way to politely excuse yourself to hit the facilities): "It was very nice to meet you, but pardon us, we must jump up."
Smoke-eyed neo-flapper #1 quips: "Takže, odskočte..." ("Well, jump up, then...")
At that point, I made a poor decision. I let someone who was an even poorer decision-maker at that time assure me that he'd catch up and find the restroom. He swore up and down he wouldn't be late back into the theater when the bell would signal the end of intermission.
Minutes later, the bell sounds, the National Theater lights darken, velvet-muffled doors shut. Dude isn't in his section and his seat, and so I sit down in mine for Act II of the opera. Maybe he took too long and is waiting out Act II in the lobby, I reassured myself.
Then, awful sounds punctuated with bawling in English:
"BOOM! BOOM! Let me in! LET ME IN! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! LET ME IIIIIIINNNN!"
Long story a little shorter: The chicks had abandoned him out on the balcony. He got confused.
I told the other members of the group to meet us on the front steps after the opera. Dude and I got cheap coffee, loosened our ties, sat on the stone steps to wait.
Ruthless DMs: How cruel are you to your players? Do you dare to give errant drunk Baron Hanswurst von Possenreisser a Foghorn Leghorn accent!
But check for yourself: