While traveling in the countryside, fellow travelers warn the heroes to beware the accursed village of Abyrwythynsternwdt, for its inhabitants’ strange ways soon infect those who travel there. Visitors often find themselves accursed with The Syllabic Ague, a strange naming disorder that has afflicted the townsfolk. Despite its convenient location along the Royal Road, most travelers avoid the wretched place.
Arriving in the village, undeterred travelers will discover that Abyrwythynsternwdt is an unsavory little hamlet whose reclusive inhabitants avoid contact with the outside world. The Lord Mayor, Sir Fryrgnumthoft, is courteous enough, but the rest of the village is surly and distant. Even the innkeeper, Esdibuv Fam, is reluctant to speak with outsiders.
It takes a great deal of coaxing before any of the locals will relate the strange tale of the villages history. They will explain that many years ago, their village was known by a different name. Unfortunately, a foul spell was placed upon them after they captured a vicious hag and burned her at the stake. She cursed the village and its people, telling them that nobody would be able to say their names. That night as they slept, dreams came to them, dreams of a strange force tying their tongues in knots.
The next day, when they awoke, their village was no longer Trollethorpe: It was now Abyrwythynsternwdt. The Lord Mayor, Sir Bibor, was now Sir Fryrgnumthoft. His lovely lady, Dame Viviana, had been changed to Dame Figsojisdv. No matter what they did to address this bizarre curse, it failed. For some reason, they cannot remember or call each other by any names but these bizarre polysyllabic monstrosities. Even if they try to call each other by a truncated version of the name (for example, Sir Fry), they can’t. Similarly, they are unable to explain the problem to anyone who doesn’t have the curse. Even their animals suffer from the curse, such as the innkeeper’s fine horse, Wecrajvitm.
1.) The village is indeed under a curse. Years ago, the area was preyed upon by a sinister witch, a stuttering peasant woman named Polly Celabic. This malicious woman wielded potent magic and relished the imaginative and bizarre curses she could place on her enemies. While she was eventually caught and was dispatched with rough peasant justice, the foul hag uttered a powerful curse upon the villages well that still torments the villagers to this day. Anyone who drinks from the old well is subjected to the vile enchantment. If the basis of the enchantment could be discovered, the curse could be lifted.
2.) There is no curse: Some years ago, the villagers were visited by a strange holy woman: This charismatic beldame convinced the villagers to convert to her unpopular sect. The villagers and everything around them were given holy names, in accord with the customs of this strange group. Concerned about being punished for their heterodox beliefs, the villagers keep the true origins of the names secret, along with the rest of their religious beliefs. The witch tale is merely a joke played on pushy visitors.
3.) Its not a curse, but rather an odd blessing! When the village captured and destroyed the witch, they were rewarded for their brave stand by an ancient god whose abandoned and ivy-encrusted shrine still stands near the village common. The tongue-twisting names that have been given to them reveal amazing insights about their character and capabilities, if anyone could only comprehend the dead language preferred by the forgotten god.