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.
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? Responses (19)
Abosofreakinglutely sexy, if I do say so myself.
For some reason I can picture the witch's burnt ashes, rising and scattering in the evening wind unseen, long after the villagers have returned to their homes, after their staged conflagration. As they sleep, the ashes dance and swirl in wisps, making their way through window cracks and beneath doors. Unknowingly, the sleeping breathe in the ashes. They begin to dream, as they remember the words of the witch's curse.
OR, Poss. Exp. #3 Thats a beaut too. Who knows what wonderful secrets may lie in their twisted names.
#2 is pretty good too actually. Works well if the Inquisition visits the village.
Esdibuv Fam is quite pronouncable however! :)
Of course, exploring the village, the party may meet:
The comely tavern wench, Namkhhopea
A local drunk, Bn'axzwae
The energetic stable boy, Fwequc Verjlx
and an elderly veteran, Sergeant Qefocj.
should I consider that to mean, that this is now a scroll? :D
As an act of mercy, no way!
Two things do come to mind:
1) There will be markers along the road and the trail. These will hve the blue band of magical plague (i.e. curse) on them. These would be the akin to the road markers that showed the path to a plague village in Europe.
2) The King, worried about the spreading of the curse, might create a loop of road that goes around the village. Thus a traveller might have an option to take the safer detour, or pass the markers for the boundries of the curse.
Here comes the Drama
The villagers might be angry at some of these measures. They might attack the markers (vandalism) or even the road crews.
Strange mages might come to the area to deal with the curse. Most will be snake oils salesmen. Others might be honestly trying to help. A few might be there to study the curse so they can duplicate it.
Thank you! Those are excellent suggestions!
Well done! The village of the Vowel Impaired!
Do you think the freetext 'Silly' should be added?
The village was written as a homage to one of my favorite charities: Vowels for Wales.
Now here's a pretty one, definitely something you would want to throw at your players just because. :)
Now, consider two following sentences:
- 'It takes a great deal of coaxing before any of the locals will relate the strange tale of the village's history.'
- 'Similarly, they are unable to explain the problem to anyone who doesn't have the curse.'
It may have been a mistake (or author's devious thought), but it shows another option:
To make the people explain the real cause of the curse could mean to contract it yourself. In this case, there could be a way to remove it: just forget the reason! So as soon as all the villagers forget what they did to the hag (which would require at least one generation of silence), they would be free. For individuals not of the village would be forgetting enough, if a little hard.
sweeeeet! I like that angle!
I didn't explain my version of 'Syllabic Ague' very clearly: I pictured them unable to use, remember, or respond to simple names. For Example, if a stranger were to introduce himself as Tom, they might respond, 'Ah! I'm pleased to meet you, Tluorsnetr!' Despite any effort to the contrary, they would remember him as Tluorsnetr. They sense that something's wrong, but can't explain it clearly, similar to a form of aphasia.
Well written, funny submission Wlfgarxfrjrtr!
This is a novel and focused rendition of nonfluent aphasia, I think. Quite amusing as a concept, although I could see it afflicting each villager to a different degree based on how involved they were in the burning of the hag; one person might stammer and sputter a dozen syllables in response to someone's name being 'Tom', while another might only make it 'Twthmr' or something.
Vowels for Wales. Yes, they could definitely use some of those. Their language is so very bemusing...
This is a very cool idea!
Too funny. Sounds like one of the twisted ideas a former GM would abuse our party with.
The plots are really quite good, and this small town can fit well into any game.
S(t)ir Fry! Love it!