The Inn of the Wild Geese
"Hey, Hultz. What are you doing in here?"
"It's gonna move. I don't like it when it moves," the stableboy replied, sitting by the hearth with his arms wrapped around himself.
"What's going to move?"
"The Inn. I don't like it when it moves."
Five minutes later, he gets up and goes back outside.
"What was he talking about?" the newcomer asked a burly fighter.
"Go outside and take a look."
He goes over to the door and flings it wide. "See, it's all still ... Wait! Where did the town go!"
"Welcome to the Brotherhood of the Wild Geese." The fighter comes over with a mug of ale. "Here, you'll probably be needing this. I know I did, when it happened to me."
The Inn is widely known to a select few. It has a will and a consciousness of it's own and has been around for as long as any can remember. It shows up, coming and going on its own, in this world and maybe in other dimensions. When it arrives in a location, all the locals remember it as having been there for years, and can give directions to it. When it vanishes, all the locals remember the location as housing some other building that was burned down, or razed, or something. (The Inn? Sure, it's right over there, around the corner. Been there for generations. // The Inn? Never heard of it. Over there? No, that lot's been vacant ever since Charlie's Warehouse burned down last year.)
The Inn will not allow Evil creatures to enter. Evil creatures will feel a very strong disinclination to enter. If they persist, they will experience a constant drain to EGO, WILL or something similar and a continual telepathic order to "Leave!". (The Inn can allow Evil to enter if it suits it's purpose, but that is exceedingly rare.)
Likewise, the Inn can make it's needs known. It will phase in near an adventurer that it would like to recruit. Adventurers meeting the requirements will get a restless urge to wander, looking for they know not what, and wind up at the Inn. If they decide to join, fine. Otherwise, the Inn keeps looking. The Inn does not seek out particular people; in fact, it is doubtful that it really comprehends people as self-willed individuals.
When the Inn is about to move, anyone in the Inn who is not privy to the Inn's secret will suddenly get the urge to leave. (Well, folks, time for me to be going home.) Likewise, those not privy will not be allowed to rent a room here. (Sorry, sir. We are full up. Try the hostel down the street.) Although the Inn has only two stories visible from the outside, the stairs going up do not stop at the second floor, but continue up as far as necessary.
The Innkeeper, who calls himself Lennie, is an elderly man of indeterminate age. He is very wise and a very powerful magic-user. He is very oracular, rarely answering questions with anything but another question. Speculation is that he is one of the Wizards of the Gate, the ones that made the Gate and warned the Peoples of the coming disaster. Other speculation maintains that Lennie is actually a metallic dragon or a demigod. He neither accepts or refutes any of these speculations. He says, "I am as you perceive me." Some refer to Lennie as the Master of the Inn, but he maintains that he is only the Inn's hired help. He does respond more favorably to Sensai, or Teacher.
A brotherhood, called the Brotherhood of the Wild Geese, has developed around the Inn. It is very loose, but those who are in it have been vetted and are more to be trusted. Others can join on adventures, but may be viewed with some distrust by members of the Brotherhood.
Dimbold the Gloomy, handyman
Dimbold, age 43, looks to Lennie as a combination older brother and father. He isn't too bright, but is very willing, despite his sad eyes and gloomy disposition. During the day he helps in the garden and around the Inn, doing most of the heavy work. At night he works behind the bar. He is married to Fat Gertrude, the cook.
Fat Gertrude, cook
Gertrude (age 39) is a jolly, happy lady who loves to cook. She is motherly towards those younger, and a cordial friend to those older. She has no enemies, takes a happy view of everything, and is impossible to hate. She spends most of her time in the kitchen, cooking or puttering. She is married to Dimbold the Gloomy.
Edna and Ludmilla, chamber- and scullery-maids
Edna (age 25) and Ludmilla (age 60) assist Gertrude in the kitchen, clean the rooms, and take care of various indoor chores.
Edna is an orphan who was being cruelly tortured by the locals of her area because the daughter of the village headman had turned sick and Edna was accused of being a witch. Lennie does not talk about it, but rumor has it that there is an area where the fear of magic-users is very fresh and very real. He rescued her, healed her, and gave her a home. She is very shy, worships Lennie, and anyone who is kind to her will win her loyalty.
Ludmilla is a pleasant but slightly senile person who mothers everyone. She is well-meaning, but always manages to show up at exactly the most inconvenient time to do some minor chore in exactly the most exasperating manner.
Selene Lightfoot, serving maid
Age 26, Selene is a beautiful but practical girl who's parents were poor peasants in a backwater hold. She ran away to seek her fortune. She serves in the common room or upstairs, flirts with customers, dances with sensual abandon while accompanying herself on the tambourine, and radiates sex appeal. She has great ambitions and is always lured by money. Selene is pragmatic, spurns romance, and will freely sell herself for a night to a guest if the price is reasonable. She affects a happy-go-lucky "bird brain" attitude, but it only takes a short chat to see she's brighter than that.
Hultz (age 30) was kicked in the head by a horse while a child. He has grown up to be a very slow thinker whose attention wanders. He is very strong, very gentle, lives life in a daze and everyone knows he is "without his wits." He has been the Inn's stableboy for the last twenty years and has a very gentle hand with animals. It is hard to get him riled, but cruelty to "his" animals will do it every time, and he will wade into battle, fists flying, bellowing at the top of his lungs. His great pride is his rock collection, and he may ask travelers if they have brought him a new rock.
Whenever the Inn is about to move, Hultz will come inside and sit by the fireplace with his arms around himself; otherwise he stays in the stables. If asked, he will just say, "It's gonna move. I don't like it when it moves." It may be in 5 minutes, or it may be an hour, but he will sit by the fire, scrunched up with his arms around himself, until suddenly he'll get up and go back outside. The Inn will be in another place, although no-one else can detect any sign that it is going to move, is moving, or has moved.
We use the Inn in my campaign as a sort of base for our characters, since we are all over the world. It doesn't get too powerful, since it is GM-controlled, but it cuts down on all the excessive wandering that we would otherwise have to do. The Inn just drops us off where it (ie the GM) wants us to be and we trek on in to wherever we need to be. Works for us.
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? Responses (14)
Um... Wow. You seem to have rolled up quite a few stereotypes into this one interesting submission.
The first thing that stands out about this one is the text format. It's not often, at all, that we see that style used, and especially not for an entire submission. Some might not like the change, I found it a little distracting and hard on the eyes but it didn't detract from the submission.
The second thing I noticed, upon completion of my reading, was that there was nothing on the surface to mark this as a unique Inn. I found that remarkably genius. It takes a nondescript place like you have described to be able to travel like that, nothing stand out about its interior or staff, yet it seems to have immense magical power and even intelligence. I like that.
Overall, it works. And that amazes me for such an outlandish concept. I highly doubt I will use it, but I enjoyed the novelty of it and am glad it works for you and your group.
Update: Changed the font from the old-style Courier to Times New Roman, which is easier to read. Thanks, Pieh.
A great method of PC movement I must admit. Allows them to see much more of your world. Could tie an overall mission into it as the adventures seem to follow a theme and perhaps the purpose of the Inn would be deduced. While an adventure facilitator for the group it would also make a great culmination of the campaign as well. I do like the idea a lot. Great solution to the need for a lot of traveling, I definitely agree.
You know what this reminds me of? The Ship that Sails Between the Worlds, of Moorcock's Elric Saga. A strange, construction that takes our heroes wherever they need to be, without all that pesky wandering. And of course, there could be the seed of a greater conflict here, such that the inn must gather the world's greatest heroes in order to defeat a great evil. An old idea, done in a fresh way. I agree that its not perfect, but it certainly is your best sub yet, Ramhir. Keep it up (And by that, I mean that I wish I were still pumping out subs like you. Don't let yourself run out of steam like me!).
Actually, sverigesson, I don't see how I can avoid slowing down later on. Right now I have a lot of half and three-quarters finished subs written up for my GMing. All I'm doing is filling them out as needed and posting them. Later on, I'll need to start with simple ideas, etc. and work them up. Still a good idea, since my gaming group will also get the benefit, but the quantity will have to drop. Like it has with you. You've had some great subs, too. Don't give up on yourself, either.
Well thanks, Ramhir. Glad to hear that someone is still getting something out of them. That was very encouraging, and who knows? Maybe I will start posting subs again.
Anyways, keep up the good work. You have potential.
I particularly liked the Winding Stair. Copied it out to use in my world. I like the wizard bit.
Well done, Ramhir! I agree with sver -- easily your best sub to date. I might even have a place for this in my campaign, so thanks for taking the time to write it up.
Very nicely done! As the others have mentioned, a useful device for getting your PCs where you want 'em.
I like this sub. Sure, the formatting could've been better, but that is a minor nuisance and I won't deduct any from the score for that.
The Inn is, as others have pointed out, extremely useful. I will not repeat their arguments, just join in on the chorus of praising voices.
I would not have people not knowing about the secret to "feel the urge to leave". That kind of defeats the fun of this place, but I see that it might be necessary to avoid it being widely known.
Instead I would say that it wanders at random in myriad places, only very rarely reappearing in the same spot more than once or twice during a decade.
The following section is more of a note to self, really:
I would also rewrite the "goody good" vibe of the place. The whole "Gandalf behind the counter and a nice multidimensional god-house" thing is not something I would have used. Rather, I'd have the place occupied by some kind of astral wandering nomads or something. In my setting it would have been the Ethenorden http://strolen.com/viewing/The_Ethenorden. Some neutral outsider party, thats all I'm saying. The house itself would be a tainted place, perhaps the haunt of an elder thing or the former residence of a deity.
I can't add much - I'd parrot AG on this one.
I will say I like this method and it seems it would be very useful for long running, low frequency campaigns as well. It has a kind of 'Quantum Leap' or The Magic Treehouse feel to is as well, and I don't think that is a bad thing.
Put me with those reminded of Moorcock's Ship that Sails Between Worlds or his Vanishing Tower. It also made me want to look up one of my old pieces, Mumwertzs Affectionate Elixirs. Perhaps heroes accidentally transported while shopping for potions might seek out your inn to find their way home...
A very well written inn, it reminds me of the Tardis from the Dr. Who television series, (especially with it being larger inside then out) which is a pretty neat concept to see adapted to a fantasy setting.
A solid sub with lots of potential for campaigns where the gm is tired of lengthy overland travel, or wants to let adventures explore far off lands without spending several weeks on a ship or caravan.
Seeing a few plot hooks added to the sub revolving around the featured npc's or other difficulties the inn could find itself in, (such as appearing on the outskirts of a town in the middle of being invaded/razed by an enemy army or pirates) would add even more to the usability of the sub.
A nice take on the flying inn/merchant concept.
This one also reminds me of a Stargate episode, where the team is inside an inn, invisible to the eyes outside..