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Your Whispering Homunculus—A Dozen Obscure Village Feuds

Your Whispering Homunculus—A Dozen Obscure Village Feuds

Your Whispering HomunculusMaster Pett’s Your Whispering Homunculus presents only the finest in British gaming. Indeed, you are not likely to find a more comprehensive assortment of miscellany anywhere. (So much more than just another bloke in a dress.)

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“What is it now, tapewormlet?”

“There appears to be some sort of ruckus outside in the snow, with one side of the street lining up against the other, both armed with pitchforks.”

“Really? Doubtless they have fallen out again over who maintains the drains this week.”

People do fall out quite regularly, especially around festivities, and such times bring out the worst in some. While you’re tucked up warm and happy with your friends and family, spare a thought for those less fortunate. Imagine being cooped up in a place where hardly anyone has the time, money, or ability to leave; it must make things tricky. Imagine having to meet the same person you loathe every day for your entire life. Life in villages in fantasy settings also must get pretty stressful; who knows when the next troll will march over the hilltop demanding tribute, and who can tell when her ladyship will awaken in a bad mood and double the taxes. Such uncertainty must make people tense, and tense people are even more likely to squabble.

Imagine, then, how a major falling out or disagreement might lure everyone in and become all-encompassing. Here are a handful of such feuds that encompass villages. These feuds are deliberately ridiculous, and in some cases the PCs land right at their center. Some have open endings or beginnings to test your imagination and GM skills; push yourself by quickly improvising such situations from time to time. It’ll make dealing with important tricky situations easier in the future.

When people take sides in these feuds—often whether they wish to or not—they are likely to be seen by friends of their enemies as enemies, with delicious consequences.

  1. The three primary village families—the Habbs, the Montrills, and the Wheasels—have not spoken for generations. The village inn, the rambling Noxious Crofterman, hosts nightly three-way abuse among the families’ servants, almost always ending in bloodshed. Often, others join in the fighting, anxious to make friends with new allies or employers, or simply ingratiate themselves into one of the three families for personal gain.
  2. They still contest ancestral ownership of Grumpton Manor, and agreed some time ago to take turns at being the local lord to avoid bloodshed. The Priggs and the Hydes have recently had their turns and left, but now old Captain Humbart Frothewell is refusing to leave after his turn, and he has declared a new set of laws outlawing the other families. The PCs arrive just as a fight erupts between the villagers and local militia, and even as the latest decree—a ban on strangers, anyone whose surnames begin with P or H living within 62 miles of the village, and public dancing—is announced by his herald.
  3. The villagers couldn’t agree which Fortherington Twin came out first—Abigail or Ruth—and now, after the recent death of their father, the matter has almost resulted in a civil war. So they hit upon the novel idea of allowing the village to be ruled by the aged family pig Gruthwell the Magnificent, who passes decrees by the cunning use of which turnip from a neatly and fairly arranged trio he eats first. Abigail and Ruth share the local hall, but are far from happy with the arrangement about the pig, which is guarded and attended by local nuns. Now each Fortherington sister separately approaches the PCs and asks them to murder the pig, promising Manor Farm and its astonishing orchards—as well as a good pork supper—as a reward if they help her secure her rightful inheritance. And to make matters worse, the pigs start to pronounce some pretty strictly religious decrees that few locals can stomach…
  4. The locals are busy arguing with the king’s steward, who is mapping the empire. The problem is nobody can agree what the village is called—is it Darrit-by-the-Marsh, or is it Darrit-in-the-Marsh? As tempers fray, blows are exchanged and blood spilt. Can it be that there are other, darker grievances seething in Darrit, and what have they got to do with the dark fey who have taken to whispering into locals’ ears as they sleep, planting the seeds of disorder and anarchy?
  5. When the village of Jungfram awakens, the whole place is covered in oily giant fungi that smells like dead rotting badgers. These fungi squeal loudly when picked or harmed. Some villagers are quick to blame the earnest and remote local school of magik run by kindly Magus Quaraim Humblyties; others blame the local druidess Olem Forthright and her celestial badgers. As the clean-up begins and the squealing starts, a fight begins in the middle of the village and two sides form. Then suddenly, all eyes fall upon the strangers, and broad smiles break out as the true culprits arrive; who needs to know the truth when there are scapegoats at hand…
  6. Everywhere the PCs look as they arrive in Blea Moss they see the name JuggerMaester—it’s above the general store, the inn, the blacksmiths—everything seems to be owned by this person. In public, everyone sings the praises of their benefactor, and what a fine fellow he is. In private, however, they are putting about a story that Olaf JuggerMaester is actually a demon wearing human flesh who dines on recently married goodwives and has agents throughout the village dressed as humans and ferrets—and sometimes both. The true culprit of this misinformation is none other than JuggerMaester’s estranged wife Ivy; a witch who has eyes on his burgeoning empire and the lofty manor he dwells in. She is busy sowing the seeds of discord and awaits her rightful reward…
  7. As the PCs arrive in the village of Mildew, all eyes turn to see which regal pig the PCs are sniffed by first. Will it be the Pig Dreblin, the Regal Boggly Pig, or the Sow of the Family Toggly-Rempinwell that first gives them the seal of approval? For, once the pigs have spoken, the allegiance and future of the strangers is decided; they are destined to be friends with one family, and enemies of the other two, the same as every generation of Mildew for these past five decades…
  8. The river splits the village right down the middle, and that in truth is the start of the sad tale. Schizophrenic Lord Hamled sometimes believes he is his bastard half-brother Bad Rolf—who truthfully vanished with a serving girl twenty years ago. The trouble is, when good Hamled becomes his brother, he moves into the south manor in the village and invites the near-do-well local squires and landowners from the wilder parts of the parish to feast, wench, and indulge. No decent girl is safe from their attentions, and now Bad Rolf is back. Young Bessie Gribb decides that she’ll approach the handsome strangers for protection…
  9. Bogwell the Giant demands annual tribute of the eldest unmarried female virgin from the village each midwinter, or he’ll come along, eat several locals, and squash their houses and sheep. The trouble is, Nadge Rootcrop says it’s Bob Cratchett’s daughter May, and Bob says it’s Nadge’s daughter Ermintrude. And tonight, they must decide who is sent or the whole village will suffer! When the PCs arrive, both Bob and Madge are in the village stocks being force-fed cabbage until one of them relents and offers up his daughter for tribute.
  10. The Fortune Stoat—a magic statue imbued with special qualities to bring fortune and good harvests upon its owner—and terrible and dire consequences if it is ever lost—has been stolen. The score or so farming families in the village take turns at keeping the Fortune Stoat, but now it’s gone. The latest keepers—Wriggly Jake Coppercrund and his family—blame the theft on the Reffels, the Crudds, and most other neighbors. The other families, for their part, are busy ransacking the Coppercrund’s homestead, and when they don’t find the stoat there, everyone will suddenly become figures of suspicion—especially strangers…
  11. Terrible days are upon us! For the first time in history, the clockwork iron giant on the village clock has removed his own head. The annals say that if the giant ever removes his own head, the world ends at midnight. As villager turns upon villager looking for a reason to blame for the coming apocalypse, a group of strangers arrives—perhaps if the villagers offer them up as a sacrifice to their goddess, she will relent and save the world. The villagers begin to plot the stranger’s demise, behind strained smiles and sweating brows…
  12. When they awoke this morning, the villagers of Grumbling-by-the-Marsh found they were not alone—the entire number of those recently deceased rose from their graves overnight and stood swaying outside the church. The villagers have them all trapped in Big Barn now trying to decide who is responsible, and what to do with them. Now all eyes fall on the new vicar, who is very shifty-looking because he has eyebrows that meet in the center. A small portable gallows has been erected, but the vicar’s loyal handful of staff refuse to cooperate and confess to the crime of practicing necromancy without a public license.

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