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September 10, 2021

Stopping to Smell the Roses

Title: Stopping to Smell the Roses
subtitle: Following the Actions of a Misguided but Well-Intentioned Desperate Man

Gram One-Shot Game #1 of 2, 4 Sept 2021 in NYC


  • Mark Taylor, bounty hunter woodsman, human male, skilled tracker, no armor, here on vacation; lasso & small composite bow [Korwin Briggs]
  • Tissy, female fox, good tracker, friend of Mark, can ride in a pouch when needed [Korwin & Edwin]
  • Baba, 5'2" dark-skinned grandmotherly figure, mage and steward, originally from the Southern Realm (African) but adventured (mostly organized adventures) a lot in the Reserve, magic bracers, great sense of smell, works as a docent in the Museum of Wine-Making [Heather Smith]
  • Ty, human male, sage specialized in human food and ancient architecture, knows alchemy and likes potions, curator of the Museum of Wine-Making, no armor, Chelsean, has a nice picnic basket for picnicking, has lots of dates with younger women but no serious relationship [Aside: Ty appeared in another game when he helped rescue Buck (PC) from a Melbonian underground basement lair.] [Joel Green]
  • Wiess Mayberry, cleric-minister of Nevron, chain armor, wears formal battle regalia of Nevronian church [Joel Green]
  • Captain Sarah-Margaret "Sarge" Touliet, captain of the palace guard in Loral Bay, broadsword & boxing, brass knuckles; skilled fighter; has househusband and 2 kids; magic chain & shield, formal [Korwin Briggs]
  • Gram, male human bard, elven chain mail, lute [D.T.Chappell]

excerpted from The Further Adventures of Gramaliustranstalus

In 2178, Gram finished the 4th edition of The Telvar Gazetteer and decided to take a little vacation time to get away for something fun and something relaxing (two different things at the same place).

In May 2179, Gram went to the gorgeous resort island of Fairwind in Cromwell to offer help get rid of evil undead that were near the Cave of Echoes on Sybarate Island. The concept of these undead had been nagging him since his first travel here. He had researched the situation and realized that an exorcism was necessary. He expected it to be a fairly simple process of protecting the cleric who cast the exorcism spell, and he had sent some nice letters to the government offering to assist. The government wrote back arranging for him to meet with the Commodore of Fairwind to discuss it.

Gram hung out in Melbonia a couple weeks beforehand enjoying the many cultural and magical experiences there. In the Town of Loral Bay, capital of Fairwind, he waited for the Commodore, who kept delaying Gram's appointed meeting due to understandably more important business. Meanwhile, the annual Pierina Wine Festival occurred, and that was fun and exciting with a focus on a ewer that travels around the province with a party in each town and village.

Gram wound up not making the appointment with the Commodore, and there was some confusion that the Captain of the Palace Guard (Captain Sarge) tried to sort out, but it was still off a bit. It turned out that Gram was correct on the exorcism's being really simple to do, and that got taken care of in July 2181. Also, they sealed up that dangerous cavern (that had held the evil undead). The undead apparently had been robbers wanting to steal from Porpherio's Garden even though it doesn’t contain anything worth taking. Even though the exorcism was simple, Fairwind is a wonderful resort place, and Gram wound up staying there several years where he enjoyed the beautiful weather, nice flora and fauna, and good company. He also made friends with a really foxy girl, though in the long run it turned out that she already had a man. Gram left with no new treasure (except some trinket souvenirs) but some nice memories of a pleasant vacation and having ignored his mail for far too long.

[This chapter of Gram's memoirs elaborates on all the wonderful things to see and experience on Fairwind Isle and Sybarate Isle, such as the spa, wineries, restaurants, excellent Museum of Wine-Making, ancient ruins, resorts, boat tours, towers overlooking Porpherio's Garden, amazing palace of the Commodore (not open for public tours), annual Pierina Wine Festival, extinct volcanoes, etc., etc.]

Moral of the story: Sometimes it's smart NOT to stop to smell the roses.

Gram investigated the Desperate Man in an effort to learn why one of the Grey People would be so desperate and take the risky actions that he did. Gram spoke with the locals on Fairwind of Grey People heritage and learned that in Fairwind, the Grey People and the Westerners had intermingled peacefully ever since the time of Caerwyn and Porpherio, and now they form a blended and interbred culture. Elsewhere in Cromwell (and the New World), however, the indigenous Grey People suffer from downtrodden lives and are the victims of rampant racism from the Western colonizers. The Desperate Man was clearly not from Fairwind, and even though details of his desperation remained unknown, the generalities of it shone through clearly.

Learning all this opened Gram's eyes further and made him reflect on what he'd seen of the Northerners in Latt and the Coastlanders elsewhere. As a product of Western culture himself, he had always mimicked the typical Westerner attitude of a focus on Realmish and Western culture. This new mindset having seen the Grey People's view partially later guided Gram to pay more attention to a new, young bardic student whose mixed heritage had some similarities to Gram's (yet also a glaring difference) but who was 1/4 Coastlander. In turn, that bardic student's staunch pride for his Coastlander heritage (taught him by his Coastlander grandfather) influenced Gram to change the tone of his later publications, especially the famous Telvar Gazetteer, to treat the Grey People not as second-class humans but as equal in worth to the Westerners who settled and conquered the New World and Cromwell. Such writings spread, and the effects may be small and may be subtle, but some of the readers' attitudes over the years were undoubtedly influenced by the tone of the famous author's works. And so it was that the actions of a Desperate Man, though they may not have directly undone any wrongs by the Westerners despite his good intentions, did indirectly have lots of little effects to ease slightly the plight of the Grey People.

Moreover, that 1/4 Coastlander bard would go off to have adventures of his own, some of which he and his party left unresolved. And one of those unresolved adventures was handed back to Gram to finish: an adventure that he worried might involve something as dangerous as a lesser demon prince. But that is a story for our next Gram one-shot game, which probably will be much more dangerous and less certain of success than this first one. (Gram one-shot game #2 of 2 is tentatively October 4 in NYC.)