The Lazy Goat is, for the most part, just a quiet little tavern a few days out from the nearest significant settlement. Although out in the plain, it has a reasonable patch of wood growing behind it, enough to yield firewood for the tavern through the year without depleting. There's a garden growing between the tavern and the woods, fenced off to keep the deer out, and the tavern rarely has need to buy supplies for any real reason, always seeming to have enough to make do.
At any time, there are two or three travellers present, enough that, added with the family that runs the place, it feels warm and lived-in without being crowded or noisy. A simple stable juts off to one side, well-made against the heavy rains that rolls through each spring and autumn. It's a pleasant place, although some have wondered how it can really stay in business like this. The family all just smile at the question and inform the questioner that it's a family secret.
The secret - and there must be one, of course - is that the family is comprised of the descendants of a rather strong devil-binder. While none of the present family has the arcane might of their ancestor, they do have a pact with a pair of moderate devils through their bloodline; if, every now and then, a traveller goes missing, well - this is the wilderness beyond the cities, and who knows what might have happened to the unfortunate?
A carefully-hidden trapdoor in the floor of the tavern's cellar leads down to the humble space where these unfortunates, drugged and drunk, are lashed down and left to sober up before one of the family's patron devils are drawn forth to take the sacrifice.
The first devil is a goat-headed creature with an exaggerated male form, overendowed in every sense of the word. A creature of sick and savage lusts, those sacrificed to him often linger for long hours in hellish suffering, while the family waits upstairs, grateful for the way the earth and floors smother the tormented screams. This devil has an affinity for animals, and it is by his dark blessing that the woods behind the tavern are well-stocked with animals to provide food and other materials for the tavern.
The second devil is little more than a feminine shape of utter darkness, and she is much swifter than her counterpart; smothering the victim and savoring the panic and terror as their lifeforce is drained away. It is her gift to the family that ensures the woods and garden grow strongly each year, yielding more than enough to keep the place in business.
Neither devil requires sacrifice for their boons more than once per season, perhaps the only thing which keeps the family's actions from being noticed.
-A friend of the party has gone missing; a merchant into the city last saw him stopped at the Lazy Goat.
-A minor mage or priest has disappeared, and his last check-in via magic placed him at the Lazy Goat.
-The party visits, and notices one of the trinkets on the walls resembles something from a friend they haven't heard from in years. When questioned, the family passes it off as a gift from a happy customer a long time ago, but seem a bit nervous; and the next morning, the ornament is gone.
-A PC with sensitive hearing is woken up by the sound of tortured screams from underfoot; the family, if he goes to check, insists they can't hear anything, but get agitated if the character wants to check in the basement.
-One of the children - an elder daughter, perhaps - can't abide by the villainy which sustains her family any longer, and comes to a PC in the night to beg the adventurer to either take her away from it or to destroy the evil down there. In either case, the rest of the family will be quite upset at both the daughter and any heroic meddlers.
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? Responses (8)
Yes, I do know this is a near-cliche. I felt vaguely compelled to throw it up anyhow.
I didn't dislike it. But you are right about the near-cliche part. The some more on the family members and motivational details about the devils would have helped. However, it's always nice to see a new sub throw up even if it isn't worth a solid 5 and a HoH.
I would be quite disturbed by anyone who voted as high as a 4 on this. It's literally just a one-off tossout while I'm half-sick with some unidentified bug.
A cliche but I like it.
cliche yes, but the execution is enough to keep it from being passe.
I think this is a handly little encounter to use. Quite nice.
I must like cliches because I like it. And the entire fact that something is a cliche is because it has worked so often it has been proven.
I thought it was a great little piece. That the place is self-sustained and the owners are so nonchalant about sacrifices, it is crazy creepy. Sort of matter of fact that they have to find the perfect wayfarers to sacrifice.
Hook: They ask a lot of unusual questions of the PC or of travelers within listening distance of the PCs. Are you alone, do you have family, did you meet anybody in the last town, etc. Then the next morning they go missing.