What is this
I was looking for an interesting, gathering of players, hook. Something a little different than the old, you meet in the inn.
You each, as individuals, unknown to each other and at different times, arrive as the darkness sets upon the local Inn.
The hook begins
You walk in and after tossing a few shaks on the bar, you inquire of a meal and lodgings for the night. The innkeeper greets you with a warm smile and slides a tankard of ale towards you, ‘we have the most comfortable beds in this realm’, he proudly boasts. He gives you a key to your room and offers you a seat at a table, Ill bring you your meal shortly he says, turns and walks away.
The inn is like any other, the patrons drink away their hardness and talk of the days workings. Some feast on meals while others, long finished, are now into the serious end of the drinking. A warm fire blazes in the center of the room, casting, flickering shadows that fall haphazardly on the various wooden chairs, tables and sojourners.
Disturbed, nor approached by any one, you retire after your meal and make your way up the stairs. Finding your rooms door you unlock and enter. A low, red amber fire, nestles in the far corner and attempts to subdue the night cold . It also offers little in the way of flame or light but enough shadow is cast to reveal a wooden table, residing at the foot of a bed. A bed which seems larger than normal. A window breaks the starkness of the far wall, a modest desk and chair rest at its footings and a small pitcher of water and a basin lay on the floor just inside the door. Locking the door behind you, you uncloak your apparel, placing them across the bed table and slip in under the layers of animal skins and cloth bedding.
The ale sloshes its way around in your belly and washes gently in your head like waves of a deep clear pool. The wind makes little noise as it gently drifts past the window but it does not intrude past the frame or disturb the cloth hangings. The cold nip in the air wisps past your cheek and you snuggle ever deeper into the coverings. Gentle waves, of the darkness of sleep, lap at your consciousness. A reflection, of the innkeepers boastful words, still lingers in your forethoughts. He was right to boast you think, the bed is exceptionally pleasant, spacious and soothing. At last a distant remnant of an echo of thought wanders your mind, wondering what could possibly make this mattress so comfortable… so warm .so…...
Light incessantly creeps its way into the room, under and over the door, slipping between the door edge and the frame. It falls effortlessly through the glass window and seduces its way past the meager cloth hangings. Unhindered, unabsorbed it reflects and ricochets off every surface in the room, the ceiling, walls and floor. It deftly, routes its way between the upper layers of bedding and gently taps upon your eyelids. A susurration of light, enhances a whispering of the words, awake, awake.
You reluctantly crawl out from under the covers, wash and re clothe, noticing that the room looks somehow different from last night. You also consider, why the expected clatter of breakfast sounds , racket and rumpus of the wakening patrons is all but absent. Unlocking your door, you exit the room into a hallway and head for the stairs. But something is wrong, something has changed. Mystified you turn and look expectantly down the opposing length of the hall. While there are many rooms along its sides the end comes to a dead stop at a window. There is no other stairwell, your initial suspicion of heading in the wrong direction are quelled. You feel adamant, that you walked up a flight stairs and into your room the night before. With no other choice you slowly ascend the spiraling staircase. The further you go the more drapes of apprehension peel off and fall away. You rise up into a largish room, at eye level with a wooden floor. Tables and chairs neatly aligned, some of which are occupied by a number of folk who, like yourself, wear a slightly bewildered mask. As you rise ever further you notice the strong thick beams, on which rests the thatched roofing. And then behind the occupied tables, towards the back of the room, your eyes are drawn to a tall standing, charismatic man.
Silky, leather laced gauntlets run along his forearms and a deep black leather tunic, cause your eyes to wander no further. He raises his arm and beckons you onward. You feel no reason to resist, no fear or suspicion. An aura, an ambiance, that feels safe, secure and nonthreatening envelopes the room.
‘Come in my friend, be seated with your fellows. I am Ruufon and I hope your sleeptravel has refreshed you and washed away the weariness of your wanderings. Please, come good sir, you are amongst like peers, be seated’, the man says. He turns from you, addressing now for the first time those present, as a group, ‘Welcome, I will explain everything….’
I have left plenty of possibilities to expand this beyond a simple introductory hook.
Is it the one inn or a chain of inns spread across the realm. Is Ruufon a sorcerer that owns the inns or simply a powerful man that is hired to professionally assemble the party. Has he lured them all to the one inn and transported them elsewhere or does he wander the realm selling special bed coverings that allow him to spirit characters to him. Is he part of the plot itself?
But then maybe its just a neat way to assemble the party.
Explanation of the sleeptravel is also left open. Is it the bed, or the coverings. How far and where are they transported too. Is it just a dream that implores the dreamer to follow some path or quest.