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Collection of Curiosities: The Minstrel’s Lute

Collection of Curiosities: The Minstrel’s Lute

"Jiro the Kobold" by Pat LoboykoSometimes minstrels are up to no good. Or maybe they’re up to every good — who can tell? Perhaps, by checking out the minstrel’s lute, you might find something interesting about this particular entertainer. You can use any of these details as starting points to flesh out some other interesting things if the player characters choose to look around a bit more. If you want to roll randomly for one, use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.

d12. Curiosity

  1. The rose of the lute is a symbol that means, in an ancient tongue, “Death herein.”
  2. The strings of the lute are made from unicorn gut.
  3. The wood of the lute comes from a treant—and the treant wood still possesses some element of intelligence: The lute tells anyone who seeks to mishandle the lute to back off in very crude terms. And are those treant-like eyes on either side of the rose?
  4. The light that shines forth from the rose of the lute is pink. Inside, a pixie makes its home in there. Somehow. You’re not sure how the furniture remains in place. Pixie magic?
  5. The lute is composed of a swarm of glittering black insects that disperse into the ground when the minstrel is done performing. Presumably the lute forms up again for the next performance. Or maybe that’s an interesting illusion?
  6. The words uttered or sung by the minstrel form in the minds of those listening in their native tongue. Of course, not everyone is literate.
  7. Every time the minstrel plays the gorgeous dark red lute and sings, a ghostly form appears at her side and sings tenor accompaniment to her song.
  8. The lute seems to be formed from bone. All of it.
  9. You’re not sure why, but when the lute is strummed, the person next to you chooses that moment to tell you how you’re about to die. It’s . . . imaginative as well as disturbing.
  10. Every time the minstrel would ordinarily sing the word “love,” instead the minstrel drops into a deep, gravelly voice and utters something about dark rituals made to summon an avatar of the deity of lies.
  11. The lute can play itself, but the song it chooses to ALWAYS play is some song about eating fish heads. What happens if you sing along with the lute?
  12. You’re pretty sure you could do better than the minstrel playing the lute right now. In fact, you need to prove that. Right now. In front of everyone. (GMs can allow for opportunities to avoid the compulsion; if failed, it is not a bad thing to ask the player to do a bit of live-action karaoke. Or maybe it is. Your call.)

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