Tavern Shots: Gumption

You are a rockin’ GM.

You’ve nailed the voices, the descriptions, and general atmosphere.

Or maybe you haven’t.

Or you want a little inspiration tonight because it’s been a long day.

Check out our tavern shots and get a quite glimpse through the window at life inside our taverns.

Today We Explore Gumption 

Where: Middle of Nowhere

Located far away from just about anything, this strange little homestead is a haven for weary travellers who manage to stumble upon it. Originally made viable by a druid, this oasis in now home to a halfling and two adopted human children who work the land and help out those who pass through. With no nearby neighbours, some of them are a little starved for attention, while others are leery of strangers. 

If your PCs are wandering the barren lands of the Wasted Waste, the demon ravaged landscapes near the Worldwound, or another seemingly endless uninhabitable terrain, break up their travels with a stay at Gumption. 

Who: Faces of the Tavern

Harbrum

A friendly halfling who has lived here almost his whole life, Harbrum is happy to give visitors a good meal and a safe place to sleep for the night. He works hard and believes others should do the same. He is also remarkably knowledgeable about waterfowl, especially ducks

Bill

A young, hardworking adolescent, Bill aspires to be a brave, kindhearted adventurer in his adult years. He is eager to learn from competent travellers, but wary of those who seem cruel or menacing. He would make an excellent apprentice, if someone could convince him to leave the farm. 

Magenta

A talkative young girl, Magenta is more than competent in the kitchen and has a special way with animals, especially “Buck” the resident horse. She is eager for any information from outside of the valley and could be considered something of a gossip. She seems to know everything that happens in and around Gumption. 

“Buck”

Lost and abandoned after his caravan was attacked by bandits, Stanley found himself wandering the barren land around the valley. By chance he was taken in by the dryad who made the valley what it is today, and he hasn’t strayed far since, doing all he can to care for the land and the people who reside there peacefully.  This majestic horse is more than what he seems, a secret he shares with only other one resident of the valley.

What: Stuff For Your Players to Explore

Each of our taverns includes a table of rumours and a table of events, giving you quick ideas to feed to your players. From animals in labour, corpses found nearby, and a kidnapped child there is something for every PC to show off their skills with.

In the short piece below, we introduce a mysterious traveller. Just what does he have in store for the caretakers of Gumption? And can your PCs arrive in time to stop him? 

Pick up your copy of Gumption today.


A Shot of Gumption

“What are you doing, boy?” asked Harbrum, lifting his straw hat to wipe his brow.

The horse just stared at him, refusing to move from the hay bale.

“It’s time to go inside,” he said, turning from the horse. “The other animals are settled in. Am I putting you in the barn for the night?”

The horse moved from the hay bale and blocked the man’s path.

The sun was low in the sky and Magenta had already let Harbrum know they had a visitor. He didn’t like leaving her or Bill with strangers for too long and was eager to get up to the main house and greet them. He was also getting hungry.

“Come on, Buck. We’re done for the day,” he said sighing and trying to move around the horse.

The horse blocked his path once more and neighed insistently.

Harbrum sighed.

“What do you want, Buck?” he asked, his usually cheerful demeanor starting to fade.

The horse moved to the hay bale once more.

“There’s plenty of hay in the barn,” said Harbrum distracted. “Come along. You can have some there.”

The two of them stared at each other for several moments before Harbrum threw his hands up in the air.

“I’m going inside, Buck,” he said. “We’ve got company, and we can put the hay in the barn tomorrow.”

The horse neighed in protest and moved to block Harbrum’s path once more.

“I’m going to talk to Magenta,” said Harbrum, frustrated. “Maybe she’ll know what to do with you.”

The horse moved slightly to one side, allowing the halfling to pass.

Harbrum made his way over to the main building and went in the side door. The savory smell of a well-seasoned stew met his nostrils and a smile spread across his face.

“Smells delicious!” he exclaimed to the young girl who was stirring a pot over the fire.

“Thanks, Harbrum,” she smiled, wiping her hands on her apron.

Harbrum took in the man sitting at one of the hand-crafted wooden tables. The stranger looked tired, dirty, and in need of a good meal.

“He hasn’t been any trouble?” he asked Magenta quietly while washing his hands in the basin of warm water she’d put out for him.

“No, no,” she assured him, taking a small spoonful of stew from the pot.

He nodded.

“Oh, Buck seems unhappy about something. I’m not sure what though. Refuses to go into the barn, but didn’t want me to come up here either,” Harbrum said almost absently. The good smells were already easing his mind.

Magenta frowned slightly.

“Okay, I’ll be back in a moment,” she said, disappearing through the same door he’d entered.

Harbrum made his way to the table and the man looked over at him.

“Must be the owner of this place,” he said gruffly, surveying the halfling.

“Just the caretaker,” he responded. “Dinner should be ready here shortly. You’ve already got a room for the night, have you?”

“Ay, I do,” he nodded.

Harbrum smiled at the man, and moved back toward the cooking area.

Something about the man was off-putting to him, but he wasn’t certain exactly what.

“I don’t like him,” said a young boy quietly as Harbrum stirred the pot of stew.

Bill, who had just come in from fetching a pail of water from the well, began to pull bowls off one of the shelves for the stew.

Harbrum nodded as the side door opened once more and Magenta reappeared.

“It’s going to rain,” she said, looking at Harbrum and Bill.

“Not tonight,” said Bill shaking his head.

“Put the hay in the barn,” replied Magenta softly, taking a bowl from him and filling it with stew. “Trust me.”

Harbrum sighed and, surveying the guest once more, nodded at Bill to follow him back outside.

Bill frowned, but followed hesitantly.

A small smirk crossed the face of the man at the table as the side door swung shut.

Place this tavern in your game with Tangible Taverns: Gumption.

Available now on DriveThruRPG.

Deadworld with Drama System

If you follow our blog, you may have noticed a few mentions of Deadworld campaigns. There is something we find enticing about these post-apocalyptic settings, and as a result, we keep coming back to them.

Recently I decided to try running a gaming session for Ken, which isn’t something that happens often. We agreed to take a break from our current campaign, one set in a series of hidden, magical kingdoms, and have a one-off gaming session.

Why the Drama?

After some consideration, I decided to use DramaSystem (published in Hillfolk by Pelgrane Press) as our recent attempts with it have created a lot of tension and allow us to focus on the interpersonal drama, something I thought would be ideal in this setting.

Something I love about DramaSystem is the ability to share game-mastering duties, and for all participants to feel like they have a say in the story.

As it turns out, the one-off session really took off, and between the two of us, the game is going as smoothly as any game set in a world that is falling apart would.

Interested in hearing how it went? Below is the introduction as the main character, played by Ken, made his way to his girlfriend.

Have you used DramaSystem? Ever tried a post-apocalyptic setting? 


The Beginning

The crunching sound of metal in the distance made Andy jump as he pedalled down the abandoned side road. The silence that followed was unnerving but he kept pedalling, forced to move toward where the sound came from. He wiped the sweat from his brow.

“They’re evacuating us, Andy. I’ll wait as long as I can, but we have to go.”

Her voice still rung in his ears.

“Please, Andy. Please get here.”

The vehicle came into view up ahead.  It was a small blue car, and the front of it was now wrapped around the telephone pole on the left-hand side of the road. Smoke billowed from the engine. Andy slowed down, hopping off his bike and walking it closer. He kept his distance from the vehicle but peered in the half open windows from the other side of the street. He could see still figures in both front seats.

“Hello?” he called out cautiously.

Silence.

“Hello? You alive in there?” he called again.

This time he heard a groan from in the vehicle. Setting his bike down in the middle of the road, Andy glanced around before approaching the car carefully. The body in the passenger seat moved, groaning again as he raised his head.

“Hey, you okay?” Andy asked, lowering his shoulder bag to the ground next to his bike before moving around to the passenger side of the car cautiously.

“Oh, my head,” murmured the passenger. Andy still couldn’t get a good look at him. He was wearing a dark blue hoodie, and his face was twisted in a grimace of pain.

“Alright, but you’re okay? You’re alive?” he asked. His heart was pounding in his chest, but he was standing still, poised to move forward to help, or run toward his bike.

“Yeah, yeah,” responded the man, a bit disorientated. He sat up now, rubbing his head and grimacing once more. Andy couldn’t see any blood on him. The airbag had deployed and the man seemed dazed more than anything else. Andy moved forward quickly and opened the passenger side door as the driver’s hand twitched.

“Your friend, is he okay?” asked Andy, glancing the stirring figure nervously.

“I don’t know. Chris?” the man asked, turning to look over at the driver. The body twitched again, and then suddenly sat straight up before vomiting a black liquid all over the dash and deflated airbags. A guttural howl emerged from his mouth and he turned to Andy and the passenger.

“Come on, you’ve got to get out of the car,” Andy said frantically, pulling a pocket knife.

“Chris?” the passenger asked, looking toward the driver’s seat in horror while fumbling with his seat belt clasp.

“Get out! Get out!” Andy called, slashing the seat belt with the knife.

He grabbed the groggy passenger and tried to pull him free of the car as the driver lunged toward the passenger seat screaming.  A hand reached out and grabbed Andy’s arm as he pushed the deflated airbag out of the way. The driver, his face twisted in rage, lunged toward the pair. He was not restrained by a seat belt, and the grip on Andy’s arm was tight. Andy, grip still tight on the passenger, tried to pull away. The driver’s leg seemed to be caught and he howled again, mouth wide open. Andy gritted his teeth and wrenched both himself and the passenger free. The pair tumbled to the ground outside the vehicle, and Andy managed to kick the door closed.

He scrambled to his feet, holding a hand out for the man, who took it and stood up himself with Andy’s assistance. The pair backed away from the vehicle as the drive let out another guttural howl and began to feverishly alternate between banging on the car window and extending his arms out of it toward the two young men.

“What’s your name?” asked Andy glancing at the stranger and back at his bike. He quickly picked it up, setting the tires on the asphalt and straightening the strap of the side bag he had slung over his backpack. The weight of the bags was heavy, but he knew the contents could be useful.

“Matt,” said the man in shock, staring at the car. He was wearing well-worn jeans and a pair of beat-up sneakers with his hoodie.

“Where you going, Matt?” asked Andy, wheeling his bike away from the vehicle. “We should walk while we do this,” he added.

“Oh, uh, away from here….” Matt trailed off, running a hand through his short hair.

Andy nodded and glanced back to see Matt making his way to the trunk of the car.

“What are you doing? We have to go,” Andy said, glancing nervously at the angry driver.

“My bag, it’s in there,” he gestured at the trunk.

“What do you have in there, man?” asked Andy, eyeing the driver who was still flailing his arms angrily out of the car window.

“My bag, it’s got food in it, and my stuff,” he replied, looking helplessly at the lock and then back at the driver.

“Yeah, you can probably find more food, lets just keep going,” said Andy.

Matt looked at the trunk again and glanced doubtfully at Andy.

The thing that was once the driver let out another angry scream. His head was now out of the window, his arms reaching for Andy, who stood a good ten feet away.

“Matt, let’s go!” said Andy sharply. “He’s going to get out of there at some point and he sounds pissed. Let’s get a move on.”

Matt shook his head, almost coming to and nodded. The two of them started off down the road, Andy pushing his bike and shouldering his large backpack and shoulder bag, Matt empty handed.

The two of them walked briskly in silence for a few minutes, the hostile screams of the driver still echoing down the abandoned side road.

“What happened?” asked Andy. “Why’d you crash?”

A look came across Matt’s face. He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again. He shook his head and opened his mouth once more, almost not believing what he was about to say.

“A wasp.”

Andy frowned and looked over at the man. He had to be about seventeen, a few years younger than Andy. He was wearing jeans and t-shirt, which was now flecked with dirt and a few pieces of grass from the fall out of the car. The boy ran his hand absently through his short blonde hair again and winced as his hand ran over a bruise on his head.

“A wasp?” Andy clarified.

“A wasp,” Matt confirmed. “Chris is,” he started, “was, really afraid of them. Freaked out every time one came near him. One flew into the car while we were driving and he started yelling and flailing his arms around at it. Next thing I knew that pole was coming right at us.”

Andy looked horrified.

There a moment of silence.

“Where you heading to?” he asked Matt.

The boy gestured north, toward the direction Andy had come from.

“We were trying to get out of there,” he said. “It was getting bad. No real destination though.”

As if on cue, a series of small explosions could be heard from that direction.

“We need to pick up the pace,” said Andy worriedly.

Matt nodded and tried to speed up, still a bit shaken from the recent accident. He rubbed his arms.

“Where are you going?” he asked conversationally.

“Olympia,” said Andy thoughtfully.

“Yeah, you got people there?” he asked.

“Hopefully,” Andy replied.

He closed his eyes for a moment, remembering the end of the call.

“Andy, there’s something I have to tell you.”

Her usually confident voice had sounded scared, pleading. And then the line went dead.

What did she need to tell him? Will he make it to her in time?