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Collection of Curiosities: What’s in a Portrait?

Collection of Curiosities: What’s in a Portrait?

Portrait of a Girl - John Everett MillaisThe portraits that painters sell to patrons might be more than adventurers expect as they wander into a gallery or into a keep’s warmest common room. You can roll randomly for a result below, or 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 brown-haired fellow in this picture winks at you, and you hear a tinging sound when his very white smile gleams at you. You feel entranced and yet somehow uncomfortable as his eyes follow you. Strangely, you find him in every framed piece hanging on a wall from this point forth. Is he following you?
  2. A young girl waves at you from the portrait, then giggles and runs off. She leaves behind her a stuffed cat, which falls out of the portrait as she leaves. The cat lands on its feet and seeks out attention from you.
  3. The stern matron in this portrait glares at you. A winged fey creature in the background admonishes you to go away, then indicates through pantomime that the woman in the portrait has every intention of killing you.
  4. An adolescent boy works some form of disguise talent as you watch, changing his face from a human boy to an adult orc’s face with the help of things he pulls from his bag. When done, he offers the bag to you.
  5. A young woman with a defiant gaze pulls out a piece of parchment, which she offers to you. On the parchment is a list that states: “Provide me with these for a reward beyond your imagining: The tears of a mime, the last beam of moonlight, and tomorrow’s broken promise.”
  6. The strange old man in this portrait has a mischievous gleam in his eye. Each time you pass by this portrait, the table below the portrait contains another slip of paper with a truly terrible joke on it. (GMs are encouraged to have some jokes handy — perhaps in the form of candy that has such things on the wrappers.)
  7. A gorgeous man and woman share this portrait. Each time you look at it, they’re doing something different. At times, word balloons show up over their heads, but the language is none you’ve ever learned. Yet. Perhaps a sage would know?
  8. You’re not sure why there’s a frame around what seems to be a swirling spiral of black, purple, and blue. Though, the more you look at the swirl, the more you’re sure that something is lurking within the darkness. And now why do you feel as if someone has touched your hair?
  9. A horse has apparently thrown its rider in this piece of art. The comical look of disbelief on the rider, along with the attitude evinced by the horse make it clear that the horse meant for this to happen and is quite happy with the result. Oddly, each time you see the portrait, it’s a different rider, but the same horse.
  10. You feel as if you’re looking into a mirror — the person in the portrait is you! But with slight differences that are forming an uncanny valley effect.
  11. The hunter in this piece of art is proudly holding the antlers of a deer. Behind her, in the forest, a very large shapeless creature is about to spear her down. Who would commission such a piece of art? And who would paint it? And why are you now sure you’ve been that hunter?
  12. A fool cavorts in this portrait. It’s frame is carved with several more cavorting fools, and you’re positive that they change position every time you blink.

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