Throughout the ages, there have been cities known for the caliber of people that live there. Crete was filled with liars. The warrior culture of Sparta has never been forgotten. And everybody thought the Philistines were huge assholes. Our story takes place in a village known far and wide for the people that live there. It is called Krunkeldor, the Village of Idiots.
When someone is run out of their town–not for their crimes, but for their incompetence and uselessness–they find their way here. It is a village filled with fools, layabouts, buffoons, and a hapless people consigned to a terrible fate–enduring those fools, layabouts, and buffoons.
But how does such a village operate? For the most part, they capitalize on traveling adventurers looking to make a name for themselves. These adventurers, eager to fight evil and save the day, are easy to trick into laboring for the lazy villagers.
Recently, the village has been re-branded. In an effort to attract adventurers, the village was renamed I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT RIVENDELL. Pamphlets have been sent out far and wide, describing the province as filled with intrigue, dangerous monsters, and countless riches.
A Gameplay Example
Galdric the Great, who once dined with Kings and slept with Gods, stands before the QUEST BOARD, a bulletin board in the village center. A card has been tacked to the board, which reads “A creature has tainted the village cistern. A hero is needed to deal with it. See Dimothy for details.” Galdric seeks out the villager known as Dimothy, who is busy selling mugs of artisanal gruel. Dimothy leads Galdric through the outskirts of the village, to the cistern (represented by a bucket of water). Expecting to face some terrible foe, Galdric is instead greeted by a dead rat floating in the water.
“Oi, that must be it!” says Dimothy. “You figured out what’s polluting the water!” the peasant bows his head in awe and respect. “Can you, uh, fish it out for us?”
Galdric wrinkles his nose and removes the rat, holding it between thumb and forefinger. “Ugh, gross…” It drips foul water on the ground.
“You saved us!” shouts Dimothy, “You saved the village!”
Galdric’s narrows his eyes. “I was expecting something more… dramatic.” Dimothy, already hiking back to the village proper to get paid by the Street Sweeper, is just relieved he didn’t have to do that himself.
Chore Board I mean “Awesome Epic Quest Board”
Every villager has chores, tasks, and duties. Before a villager begins a chore, they need to set up any props needed for that task to be completed. While doing this, they will roleplay failing at that task.
For example if a villager has the chore “painting the fence”, the player may need to visit the quartermaster to grab paint, a brush, and wooden fencing. Then they’ll set that stuff up somewhere on the campsite, and in the process, play out a scene in which they fail to do it themselves.
Don’t go alone! Include members of your ensemble in your gameplay. Unless you’re setting up something secret, it’s more fun if you have someone to play with and react against.
In the center of the village, there is also a QUEST BOARD, where the adventurers look for work. Most of the tasks on the Quest Board are just chores in disguise. (ie “Prevent goblin attacks by painting the fence with goblin-repellant paint”) There might be a real opportunity to save the day somewhere on that list, but even so, it’s possible the heroes won’t even get to it because they’ll be too busy collecting ritual components (cleaning the dead rats off the streets), hunting a werewolf (roughing up Dimothy’s mean boss), and delivering important medicine to the doctor (Dimothy actually just needed to get rid of some old boxes taking up space in his house).
Each task on the quest board should also tell the adventurers which idiot to seek down to begin this quest, and any props they’ll need to bring.
The Pottery Festival
The villagers are excited for the annual pottery festival! On Friday night, the villagers will spend some time making paper mache pottery. It’ll dry overnight, and then the villagers will paint their pots on Saturday morning. Per tradition, each pot will hide a piece of treasure.
When no one is looking, Adventurers will smash the pots and take the loot. Sorry, Street Sweeper!
Beyond the Village
The village is in the outskirts of the kingdom of Valdezar, ruled by King Halvor the Second. It is a generic and typical fantasy kingdom. Imagine a place kind of like Middle Earth. Humans are common, fantasic elements are uncommon, but it’s not unheard of to see elves, dwarves, demons, golems, castles made of slime, magical talking fishes that grant wishes if you can answer riddles, etc etc etc. Fantastic elements are rare in this region and most people will react to them as if they are extremely weird.