Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bryce, The Spirit of Plenty and Good Cheer

"I awoke to a commotion outside. As I rubbed my eyes, wondering the time, I could swear I heard the animals in the barn in an uproar. Dozens of voices, from cows, horses, ducks and geese, all babbling at the same time. Assuming there was a wolf or fox harassing the barn animals, I grabbed my pitch fork and lantern and went to investigate. As I left the house, I became aware that there was a rhythm to the noise, as though they all were singing. Was that a harmonica I heard? Was someone in my barn? I saw a dim, flickering from between the planks walling the barn. Approaching cautiously, I peered in the crack between the two, weathered doors to see a most amazing sight.

Suspended in the air about the barn were several will-o-the-wisps. The animals were gathered around a short, round bellied fellow that dipped a ladle into a cauldron, from which he produced a variety of victuals. For the horses and cows, what appeared to be cabbage or lettuces. For the ducks and geese, each a ladle-full of corn. He then retrieved from the cauldron what seemed a small bit of steak or ham, which an owl fluttered down and took from his fingers. A loaf of bread for a family of mice perched on a hay bail. A rat climbed up his leggings to his shoulder, and for it the fellow produced a bit of cheese which it carried down and ate next to the barn cat, who paid it no heed she sat, patiently awaiting her meal.

After giving out foodstuffs, the fat man set the ladle in the cauldron pulled a harmonica out of his pocket. He reclined against a bail of hay, and began to toot out a lively tune, to which the animals began to sway and stamp their feet. Was he bewitching my animals? My livelyhood? Was he going to steal my livestock? In a few moments the mice, having finished their meal, climbed aboard his paunch and--I could not believe it--stood on their hind legs, dancing in a circle. Joining forepaws they circled to the left, then the right, hopping to the jolly tune. I found myself bobbing my head, almost unable to resist joining in the catchy rhythm. And then I sneezed.

Abruptly, the music stopped, the animals were still, and the fat fellow removed the harmonica from his lips, and turned toward me, looking at me through the gap in the doors. He extended a pudgy finger and beckoned to me. I couldn't help myself. I let my pitchfork thump to the ground, and entered, seeing all the animals of the farm gathered around this fat man and his cauldron.

At once the bouncy tune began again, and the larger animals bobbed their heads, and the mice danced. From behind the milking stall came a raccoon rolling the milking pail, which he flipped over, and began to drum on the underside to the rhythm of the song. Enchanted, I too found myself hopping in gaiety about the room, round and round the fat man as he tooted on his harmonica, the will-o-wisps pulsing to the music...."

In the woodlands, there is rumor of a short, round bellied fellow with a gray beard known as Bryce. Descriptions vary from person to person, as indeed few get a chance to have a look at this creature. He's said to carry a magical iron cauldron, from which he can produce all kinds of edible goodness. Sometimes he is seen off the woodland trails, other times in barns, in orchards, in the fields. This person was Bryce, the spirit of plenty and celebration. Animals that normally would not get along, hunter and hunted, put aside their differences for the festivities.

PCs approaching with goodwill or gentle caution are spelled, and join in the festivities. It is said that even rampaging ogres and trolls are stilled, some even joining the meal. PCs may test luck if they desire to not join. Any approaching with violent intent must pass a Test of Luck or be entranced by his magic. During this time he will gather his cauldron and attempt escape from the aggressor. From his pot, Bryce will get for them their favorite meats, breads, soups, vegetables, anything their hearts (and their stomachs) desire. After food, drink and dancing the night away, the fat fellow will take his cauldron and disappear, in search of the next site to celebrate.

Anyone passing a test of luck and aggressively disturbing the party will find Bryce a fierce opponent. While not evil in nature, he will defend himself and those invited to his parties. In one hand his ladle serves as a club, and in the other he will grip the handle of his cauldron and thump enemies with it for 4 points of damage per hit. In addition, any creature at the celebration has a 2 in 6 chance to join in Bryce's defense, the rest have the spell of joy broken and returning to their normal proclivities. Bryce can summon magical flying lights for illumination as well as control them to confuse and blind his adversaries, allowing his escape.

Should his cauldron be taken, the thief will find it filled with 1d6 worth of provisions of his favorite food. The ladle can be used to draw 1 provision per day, per person using it, from the cauldron. Bryce will do everything in his power to get his cauldron back.

Bryce, The Spirit of Plenty and Good Cheer

Magical Light
ATTACKS: 1 (special)
A successful attack will bewilder or confuse a sighted adversary, giving a -1 penalty to SKILL the following round.

1 comment:

  1. I need to change the wording of the test of Luck, as it's confusing:

    "Anyone approaching the celebration must Test for Luck or be spelled: Hostile creatures ceasing their attack and friendly creatures joining in the celebration. Any PC may of course choose to not roll and join the celebration."

    I think that's must simpler.