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Comments: 18
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Rating: 4.25
Condition: Normal
ID: 3818


April 11, 2007, 5:21 pm

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The Songpit


As you come near the Songpit, the sounds of sweet angelic bardic singing as if from heaven mix with the sounds of screams of agony. Your guard grins and turns to you. “You’ll either entertain us with your voice or with your pain, but either way we are going to have some fun with you.”

Queen Amber of Vallermoore allways had a weakness for minstrells, when she was a young princess, during her unfortunate stint standing in for Princess Crysta, and then as Queen in her own right. So much did she like them, that she decided that those criminals for those crimes that were not hugely severe, would have a chance to sing their way out of severe punishment.If they could not or would not do so, then they would sing a different tune as they were flogged and beaten by the guards. And so the Songpit was created…..

The Songpit is a pit that has been dug down and carved out of the ground.On the outer rim are the cells with beds of rushes and straw. In the center is the gallows and ten whipping posts.Entry is by a metal cage that is wound down into the pit. At night all the prisoners are locked in their cells and a lattice of iron bars is placed over the pit itself and padlocked in position.

By day those prisoners to be punished for non death-penalty offenses are dragged out and chained to the whipping posts. Then the guards pick up their whips and batons and three cleaks and one of the Royal Bards take up position. The prisoners are told that they can either sing or scream.

For the small offenses (such as carrying a weapon within the city limits) they may be able to get away with singing an existing song and escape with mild humilation, or if they refuse to sing a few swipes and thumps. But for the more severe offenses such as armed robbery, burglery and complaining about Her Majesty, they must make up a totally new song and sing it well. If they hesitate they get a swipe from a cane or a whip.

If they refuse to sing or cannot think of a song, they are beaten and whipped until their bleeding bodies pass out from the pain. (if you have ever seen the real life film “The Passion of the Christ” that gives you an idea of the violence that these guards are willing and able to dish out.)Singing satirical songs against Her Majesty is not reccomended and will only earn the singer painful punishment.

How long they are kept there varies according to the offense committed (the average time is only a day or two but some unfortunates have been locked up there for weeks.)
For those who do sing well enough to escape being beaten and flogged, the songs are written down by the clearks and the copyright passes to the Crown.

It is not unheard of for certain prisoners whose songs are good enough and whose crimes are judged severe enough,to be marched around the country and spend their days singing in arenas to entertain the masses and their nights locked in the County Songpits but with proper bedding. Those who want to hear them must buy tickets, and the money gained goes partly to the Crown and partly to the victim/s of their crime/s. Such groups are given names, such as the Sugabrats, Wet Wet Dry and U3 and are set free after a certain number of years. A number of great songs and odes such as “Emma’s Resturant” have been composed in these pits.

People have also been known to be beaten to death in them, and the floors are a dull reddish brown with the dried blood of those prisoners who did not make the grade.

For murder or high treason the prisoners are put on the gallows and told “When you run out of decent songs, you will be executed.” The longest survivour is known to have sung for five full hours before his voice gave out and he was hanged.

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Comments ( 18 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Siren no Orakio
April 11, 2007, 21:26
This is inventive, unique, and something easily used by just about any GM in a multitude of settings. Two thumbs up.
Voted Scrasamax
April 12, 2007, 11:08
I want to say something witty about desperation and art and innovation but other than those words, I got nothing. I like the idea though the execution could use some polish.
Voted Murometz
April 12, 2007, 20:38
execution does need some polish and clarification, but the concept Cheka...wonderful!!

The visual of someone singing for five hours, before finally losing his or her voice, knowing death is near, is priceless! Melancholy torture at its finest!
Voted valadaar
April 12, 2007, 21:14
As the others have said - awesome idea, but needs a bit of polish. Get out the 'ole Brasso!:)
April 12, 2007, 21:18
what the heck is a Brasso?
April 16, 2007, 13:13
It's a metal polish..


Used a lot of it during my Air Cadet days.....
February 6, 2011, 6:55
you were a air cadet cool what did you fly
February 6, 2011, 6:57
needs only a smidge
Voted Maggot
April 15, 2007, 22:09
It's a cleaning detergent I believe.
April 19, 2007, 13:08
Hmmm..i thought it was ok. Maybe to similar to the normal world for my liking with stuff about copyright haha and non-death penalty etc. The idea is pretty cool though
February 6, 2011, 6:56
what this happens in the real world
Voted Eclipse
April 26, 2007, 15:01
Love the backstory.
Voted Stomphoof
June 18, 2008, 11:15
I actually got a kick out of the idea. I would so want to use this to mess with my bard players :D
Voted CaptainPenguin
June 18, 2008, 20:28
Very nice! Probably one of my favorites of yours, Cheka
Voted punkcasher
March 17, 2009, 1:35
Good stuff. Rich in flavor.

Voted MoonHunter
March 17, 2009, 16:55
A little hard to read in spots, but still a nice job. An excellent idea that has sooo many applications.
Voted gulkien
February 6, 2011, 6:54

cruel and unusual punishment nasty I would not want to be stuck in there 

Voted Hologram
August 19, 2014, 18:00
Only voted

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       By: Almar

While setting up camp for the night, the PC's are aproached by another group of adventurers who seem nice enough. The road is somewhat dangerous and the other group suggests camping together. The two bands split watches, one adventurer from each group watching at once. The night goes by without incident, the next day the PC's travel with the other group as they are going the same way.

The group consists of Hordel the ranger, who is skilled with the bow. Hordel is a quiet man who speaks little but appears quite skilled. Dremar is a barbarian who is a little excentric, he seems to be an excasive drinker and thiunk that battle is the solution to everything. He appears to be a stout and powerful fighter with his greataxe. Ferrin is the leader of the group, a rouge by trade. He is daft and witty, speaking with the PCs often and asking many questions. He fights with finesse with his rapier. Preminitat as a cleric but he will not say which god he worships. He uses his spells to empower and heal his party and fights with a club. He sticks close to Ferrin. Ferrin is a great talker and tells much of himself and his party, but asks even more about the history and capabilities of the PCs. He tells of some adventures his party has had, and they seem like an interesting group of mercenaries. Hordel is quite and has little interest in speaking with the PCs, he ignores most questions. He spends a lot of time with Dremar and sometimes Ferrin. Dremar seems to not care about any questions ansked to him, nor does he seem to know the answers. He seems battle hardened and is a simple man. Preminitat rarely starts conversations but will speak with the PCs. However, some of his accounts of the party's history seem to condradict those of Ferrin.

The Party spends another night and day with Ferrin's group. One of four things can happen on the third night.
1: While eating dinner around the fire, Ferrin gets into an argument with one of the PCs when he/she mentions the discepincies between Ferrin's stories and Preminitat's.
2: Hordel gets mad after repeated questioning about his life from the PCs.
3. Preminitat gets mad after repeated questioning from the PCs about what god he worships.
4: One of the PCs rejects the offer of a drink from Dremar and he takes it as an insult.
All of these scenarios result in a battle between the parties. If Ferrin's party is defeated and still lives he swears vengance. His party may then cross paths with the adventurers again.

Encounter  ( Locations ) | November 15, 2003 | View | UpVote 0xp

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