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ID: 3113


October 29, 2007, 12:24 pm

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Cheka Man

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Goeric's Bountiful Creel


What appears to be a simple fisherman’s basket has a storied past and secret usage.

Full Item Description

Goeric’s Bountiful Creel appears rather unassuming.  The basket is loose and wide, tapering at the bottom, made from finely plaited reeds.  A triangular canvas flap is sewn to the top of the basket, well-worn with use but still a crisp white.  A simple embroidery has been made in the center of the flap, a fish attached to a string and pole.  A dark leather strap is attached at the far ends of the basket, suitable for draping over the shoulder to hold the creel at the hip.


The people of the Kition River have always prided themselves on their independence and fishing skill.  "Give a Kitionan a rod," the saying goes, "and he’ll build an empire."  A loose confederation of families, the Kitionans often quarreled and competed among one another.  Often family feuds were settled over fishing contests or feats of strength.  This constant bickering and competetive nature made the Kitionan people fiercely independent, even from each other.

This nearly proved to be their downfall in the Great Drought.  The Kition River all but dried up, making fish—their chief diet—extremely scarce.  The Kitionan families stiffened their lips and tightened their belts, but starvation quickly became a serious threat.  The bitter old feuds continued, however, families refusing to share their food or help one another.

One such family was the Mabyns, a moderately well-off but small family headed by the young patriarch Goeric.  Each day Goeric, along with his brother, sons, and nephews, went out to the river and cast their lines into the low and muddied waters, and each day their catch got smaller.  The proud Goeric refused to admit defeat, even when his family did.  He continued to fish alone, sometimes standing at the river for days on end.  After one such long bout of stubborn fishing, catching only a single trout, Goeric broke down and wept.  He cried out to his ancestors and the river spirits, "If you have any care for me, any care for the Mabyn family, or any care for the proud Kitionan people, you will give us a harvest!"  Goeric finally returned home late in the evening and fell into a deep sleep.

When Goeric woke late the next morning, he found the house empty; his children, at the behest of Goeric’s wife Casdoe, had gone fishing and Casdoe herself had gone to tend her garden.  But she had left him a gift: a finely made creel, with a plaited basket, leather strap, and canvas flap.  Touched, Goeric gathered his tackle and new creel, and went out to fish with his sons, who politely avoided discussing the previous night.

Unfortunately, the catch was par for the drought: Goeric caught a mere two catfish, and his sons scant more.  As they trudged back home, Goeric swore his creel was getting heavier.  "Just weakness," he convinced himself, "from lack of food."  When they reached home, Casdoe came out to greet them and see their catch.  As Goeric dejectedly opened his creel, he looked with wonder at what was inside: His two catfish had doubled in size, and now there were six of them.  Shocked and overjoyed, Goeric gave thanks to his ancestors and the river spirits, and the Mabyn family feasted that night.

The Mabyns used the creel for weeks, growing their food supply and becoming the envy of the other Kitionan families.  Many would give anything to have but a tatse of the Mabyns’ catch - anything, that is, but their family honor.  But the threat of starvation does queer things to one’s ego.  One day, as Goeric returned home with yet another minor catch turned haul, a lithe man dressed in a fine tunic approached him.  Goeric hardly recognized him as Boud, head of the Kignet family and his usual rival at the annual contests.  Aside from his fine tunic, he looked in horrible condition, all skin and bones and vastly grayed hair.  Boud marched up to a few feet in front of him and stood proud.

Goeric, you know my family to be proud.  We have always lived nobly and strong, without want or need.  This drought, though, has starved us.  We have had little to eat for weeks.  My wife- she is with child.  I fear for their lives.

I have prayed to the spirits and my Kignet ancestors for guidance, but it seems the river favors only you, Mabyn.  I know that if my family does not eat soon, we will die.  Something must be done.  But my family will never, never beg or be indebted to anyone.  The Kignets cannot be dishonored.  A man, though… a man is but a man.  I come to you not as a Kignet, for I would dare not tarnish our name.  I come to you only as a lone man to beg you: give the Kignets some of your bounty.  For my family’s survival and honor, I will forsake my name.  The Kignet family will never owe you anything - but Boud’s life shall be yours.

With that the man fell to his knees and exposed his throat, a tear falling from his eye.

Goeric was passionately moved by Boud’s gesture.  He too knelt, much to the Kignet’s surprise.  With a hopeful smile, Goeric spoke:

For far too long, Boud, the Kitionan people have been divided by our arrogance.  Yes, we are proud, and each family should be proud - but at what cost?  Why do we let ourselves suffer so as to appear better, when all can see we are pained?  Your family will eat, Boud.  I will share our catch, not as a loan or a pity offering, but as a gift to be shared between brothers.  I give our food freely to you, for we are of the same proud race and I would pierce mine own breast before I see my brothers starve.

Boud accepted the gift, and that night the Mabyns and the Kignets feasted as one family.  The next day, Goeric called together all the families to bring forth their catches that they could be multiplied and shared.  The quarreling families of the Kition were united as one people at last.  Two months later the drought ended and prosperity reigned, but the Kitionan people did not forget their unity.  Kitionan culture remains very proud, not only in their individual families but as a whole nation.  And though the annual contests are still held, there is a new feast: the Feast of Plenty, a gathering of all the families united as one.

Goeric’s creel remained in the Mabyn family for generations, always present at the Feast of Plenty.  During the Year of Floods, the Mabyn homestead was washed away and the creel with it.  Its current whereabouts are unknown.

Magic/Cursed Properties

Unlike an endless food basket or the like, Goeric’s Bountiful Creel does not produce food.  Instead it takes food that is already provided and increases it, either in size, number, or both.  The creel only has an effect on edible aquatic creatures such as fish, crab, lobsters, or clams.

Once a day, if there is an edible aquatic creature in the creel, roll 1d6:
1 - no effect
2 - 1 creature grows by 50%
3 - 1 creature is doubled (add 1 creature of same type and size)
4 - 1 creature grows by 100%
5 - 1 creature is tripled (add 2 creatures of same type and size)
6 - 1 creature grows by 100% and is doubled

This effect works on both living and dead creatures.  Note that dead creatures are not preserved; leaving a fish in the creel for three weeks will only result in a large amount of rotten fish.

Roleplay Hooks

Something’s Fishy - While the PCs are staying in a town, the well water mysteriously runs afoul.  The culprit: crayfish, a seemingly endless amount of them.  If the PCs investigate the well’s water source and manage to get past the endless crustaceans, they’ll find that a crayfish family has made a nest in the creel, which has apparently been at this water source for some time.  Remove the creel, save the well water, and fire up the pots for a low country boil.

Family Honor - The PCs meet a fisherman who boasts the largest and best catches of any in the land.  His real secret is not his skill, but the creel which he somehow go his hands on.  The Kitionans hear of the angler’s fame and suspect the truth, but no one buys the story of the "backward river folk."  Maybe the players can get the creel back to its proper owners, either by diplomacy, espionage, or force.

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Comments ( 12 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Wulfhere
October 31, 2006, 3:10
I like the legend. I think that I prefer the item as a legendary "This is how our people came together" item, but it is an original twist on the "really! it was THAT big!" fish stories that we've all heard.
Voted manfred
October 31, 2006, 5:01
A pretty unique item, not overpowering, yet still of a decent impact on history. Good work.
Voted Cheka Man
October 31, 2006, 8:31
Another one of those really good minor items.
Voted Murometz
October 31, 2006, 8:55
wonderful legend, tale and item! Love it Dozus!
Voted Scrasamax
October 31, 2006, 12:17
let me tell you about the fish I caught the other day...
Voted MoonHunter
November 1, 2006, 14:49
Nice solid piece. Well executed. Good use of story, nice explanation, good dramatic hooks, and nicely writen.
Voted the Wanderer
December 19, 2006, 21:36
Nicely done. I was actually riveted through the whole read. This is the kind of item I love, simple and with history.
Voted valadaar
December 20, 2006, 6:23
No idea why I didn't vote first time through- This is excellent!
May 22, 2007, 15:45
Bump! great item.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
October 29, 2007, 8:17
I would use this more as a tavern tale or a legend for the campfire as I find this item somewhat too "fairy taleish" for my style of GM'ing. But I will still use it for that purpose though, because it is a well crafted story indeed! Nicely written and not bogged down for a second.
October 29, 2007, 13:16
Exactly what I feel with many Items around here - not exactly willing to employ them in a game world directly, but having a great story that just begs to be used even on its own, as a fairy tale, legend, or even tavern talk.
Voted Moonlake
June 18, 2013, 0:29
I quite like this and I think the very first comment captures the essence of what I want to say abt this sub.
*Commented on for the Commenting Challenge

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Ideas  ( Items ) | December 31, 2009 | View | UpVote 5xp

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