Friday Game Notes: Goliard Town of Bouclans

 

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Bouclans is a small walled town built at the edge of a small lake. Two gates protect it from an overshadowing hill, the houses cascading into the hollow of its tall towered walls. A large church towers over the smaller buildings its chapel facing out into the water.

The town has little interesting trade, making and exporting barrels as part of the cooper guild, the oak barrels either getting filled with fish from the lake or shipped empty to nearby breweries. The cooper’s guild keeps a wealthy guild house by the small docks where they sample some of the oldest ale vintages from their favourite breweries.

The church is famous for housing the body and treasure of Sir Goliath, a supposed giant who sacked an entire heretic city in the crusades himself. His body, still in his personally made iron armour lies in a hidden crypt far underground. Myth says that he was buried with three chests of gold, all that remained of his plunder after indulging in every tavern on the way home.

The town, being built on a lake, has many passages under the town to let streams flow off the hill under the streets. These are just big enough to get small row boats underneath and smugglers until recently used to use them to smuggle whisky across the lake. Bouclans being perfect because if they were caught they could pour out the ale and claim to be selling empting casks from the Cooper Guild.

The walls circle the entire town, including most of the water side, but small passages have been made to allow fishermen out to their boats on the lake. The lake mostly serves up eel which the locals eat with abandon but most neighbouring towns disdain.

There is no Ordo Vagus already here. The bishop of the church is notoriously fickle and uncaring while the smugglers who sometimes use the tunnels are unkind to thieves. Occasionally vagus will come to try their hand at finding Sir Goliath but most give up in sheer frustration.


Gate House

Architecture

Bouclan is surprisingly well defended though it has never been attacked. Two gate houses mark the bottom and top of a tall hill that separates the lake side town from the rest of the world.

Free – The walls are easily climbable and there are probably passages to let fishermen in and out.

Easy (2)  rolls to climb wall or find a secret passage.

Guards

The soldiers in the gate houses are paid for by the king and therefore are more rigorous than if they were local men. This is perhaps to stop the smugglers that used to use Bouclans as a hideout.

Day

Guards in both towers make sure to keep track of the wagons going in and out of the city and inquire after each strange traveller entering the town.

Night

At night the gates are shut. Guards patrol the walls and man the towers but the heavy wooden gates are kept shut.

Militaria – The soldiers in the gate houses don’t look like they ever relax and their insignia show them to be king’s men. They are probably more rigorous than local men.

Lore of Thievery – Bouclans used to be a well known smugglers hideout for getting whiskey barrels around royal tax collectors. Perhaps that’s why foreign men man the gates.

Commerce – It looks like only wagons are being stopped and searched, peasants and travellers on foot are free to pass.

Hard (6) rolls to bluff or sneak past the guards without suspicion.


Coopers Guild

Info Gathering

Tavern

Whispers in all the pubs about town all confirm it, the guild is not doing well ever since the Guild Master got in an argument with the owner of the closest brewery. Supposedly he agreed to marry the owner’s daughter but then went back on the deal when he saw her for the first time. No one really blames him but he’s kept the dowry.

Now that the brewery wont buy Bouclans barrels other coopers are undercutting them from elsewhere but the Guild Master refuses to give any of the dowry back, a large sum in gold and a precious cask of whisky, and he wont sell to any of the fishermen whose eels could fill the growing surplus of barrels.

Commerce/Accounting – Many wagons are leaving Bouclans only partially full and most heading along routes to distant towns. There are a lot of richer places they could be selling to.

History/Research – Bouclans is famous for its well crafted barrels which it would sell to breweries all around the country. Famously Bouclans is the only town where they made more money moving empty barrels than full ones. There once was a lot of money in the business.

High Society – The rich in the city, especially the guild members are getting more and more angry as their market fails. They think they could sell off the huge amount of surplus barrels to the fishermen if the Guild Master would let them.

Fanny Boisselot – Disdained Bride to Be

Stays day and night in a house across the street from the Guild House.

After being left at the altar by Manuel Fanny was not put off, rather stubborn she made her father’s servant hire her a house near the Guild House and now she is camped out waiting to get another chance to marry the Guild Master. She is very business minded after working with her father at the brewery and already has plenty of ideas on how to save the failing Cooper Guild.

Negotiation – Fanny will be happy to leave well enough alone if Manuel gives up the dowry or agrees to marry her. She thinks she can work out something with her father once she’s in charge of the guild. She’ll trade the famous cask of whiskey with any noble person who manages to get Manuel agree.

Omer – the Villainous Paymaster

During the day in the Paymasters office keeping accounts and handing out cash to coopers or wagon drivers. During the night he sneaks out to a gambling den near the Guild House. He sneaks back early at night.

In charge of the Guild’s accounts and paying merchants is Omer, a small dark haired man. Omer likes sticking his long sharp nose in every business he can. Largely in debt to the local gambling den he steels cash from the Guild Coffers correcting the accounts the next day.

Accounts – The account books in the guild are carefully changed to hide a small amount being stolen every couple of weeks.

Streetwise – a gambling den meets every week near the Guild House and a short cloaked man is seen sneaking inside every night. He seems to lose every game.

Intimidation – Omer is an easily dominated man. He will happily give up his keys to the coffers or the Guild House if pressed.

Exterior

The building is a large wooden three story building, filled with meeting rooms, dining rooms, and bed rooms for guests. There is a small private chapel as well. A well stocked stable houses horses and wagons connected to a wagon yard at the back to load barrels for sale.

The area around the guild house are the cooper workshops and homes. Interspersed with these are hoopers shops where blacksmiths pound out hoops for the barrels.

Architecture – The ground floors of the Guild House are filled with a dining room and large kitchen. Below must be a cellar where they keep the drink their barrels are famously filled with. Upstairs are guest rooms and probably the Guild Master’s private quarters.

  • 1 point spend: The second story flares out from the base of the building but the stables lean against the back and the loading crane make easy ways to sneak into the upper two stories of the building. Of course the neighbouring workshops and houses all overlook the Guild House.

Common Touch – The loading yard at the back is constantly filled with wagons loading up newly made wagons even with decreased business. A lot of strangers go in and out to the paymasters office.

  • 2 point spend: One of the smugglers tunnels goes directly underneath the building and there is a secret trapdoor into the kitchen.

Normal (4) rolls  to climb up to the upper stories.

Easy (2) rolls to sneak amidst the wagon drivers without suspicion.

  • But any suspicious action will alert people to a strangers presence.

Guards

Lightly armed men hired from the pool of waiting wagon drivers. They are ordered around by Mathis Polvo, a seasoned hand and soldier.

Mathis Polvo – Guard and Horsemaster

During the day wrangles the wagon drivers and their horses. At night camps out in the dining room trying to catch Omer stealing money.

The organizer of the guards and horses around the guild house Mathis is a hardened ex-soldier who fought with Manuel’s father in the crusades.

He even remembers seeing Sir Goliath collapse in the streets when he was a child. He suspects it was one of the town whores who had enough who poisoned the giant in the end.

Day

During the day the guards work as wagon drivers. Mathis Polvo works with the horses in the yard during the day.

Night

Three guards patrol around the outside of the building. Two more sleep next to the door of the Young Master’s room upstairs.

Mathis Polvo sleeps next to his sword in the dining room.

Militaria – At least five guards patrol the guild house at night. During the day there are a lot of armed men in the yard to guard the wagons as well.

  • The guards are clearly inexperienced. If in a group they may be dangerous.
  • 2 point spend: Three of the guards guard the bottom of the Guild House, the other two must patrol the upper floors.

Camaraderie – Money has been going missing so Mathis has had to hire more guards and with the Young Master keeping so much money upstairs he’s had to put guards up there as well.

  • 1 point spend: He thinks Omer is robbing the Guild for everything he can but he can’t prove it. He thinks Omer takes the money at night and so stays in the guild at night trying to catch him red handed.

Normal (4) rolls to sneak past the guards around or inside the guard house.

Near Impossible (7) rolls to sneak past Mathis Polvo.

Interior

The kitchen, stables, and Paymaster’s office both open onto the loading court. A locked door in the Paymaster’s office hides the coffers of the Guild House. The doors of the Guild House are locked up at night while three guards patrol outside. A stable boy tends the horses in the stables. Bruno, Manuel and Roselyne all have rooms inside. Mathis has been sleeping in the Guild House dining room hoping to catch Omer red handed.

Bruno – Cook

During the day working in the kitchen and serving the Guild Members in the dinning room. At night sleeping on a cot in the storage room.

A polite but quiet man Bruno enjoys cooking for the guild but he preferred it when they did a better business with the breweries. He enjoys talking to other people who enjoy good food and happily shares food with the wagon drivers and guards who come through the yard. He keeps the key to the cellars.

Flattery – Complementing his food will get Bruno to open up about his young employer. He thinks Manuel is just nervous about getting married, Bruno goes and brings Manuel food, the only time Manuel unlocks his doors. He knows the money and the cask are all still up there untouched.

Guild Members – The Coopers

During the day they feast in the house during the evening. During the night they sleep at their houses.

The coopers in town are well to do but are quickly becoming annoyed with the surplus of barrels not being sold by the guild. At least five turn up each night to eat dinner and discuss what is to be done but without Manuel’s seal they can’t do anything.

Performance – The guild members could do with a break from worrying and will happily pay some performers to entertain them with song and dance in the Guild House.

Roselyne Auguste – The Guild Master’s Sister

Stays the night in the Guild House, but during the day does business around town.

Roselyne is the sensible one, canny and straightforward she knows how to run a business and just wishes her brother would understand. She thinks he’s being childish that he wont marry Fanny Boisselot. She knows Fanny worked quite closely in her father’s business and should be an excellent spouse to help her brother run the Guild. The only thing she wants to do is move away from all of these eels and have an adventure somewhere else.

Flirting – Roselyne is very keen to get away from Bouclans and its many eels. If she can just get her brother to stop sulking and marry Fanny she can leave.

Reassurance – If someone can promise to get Manuel to marry Fanny she will happily let people inside as guests to talk to him. Of course she can’t promise he’ll come out of his room.

Normal (4) rolls to engage with any of the people who live in the Guild House.

Guild Master’s Room

The Guild Master’s room is on the third floor and Manuel keeps the door locked. He has the dowry in a chest as well as the small and ancient cask of whisky. He keeps his keys in his pocket and his seal in his desk. He keeps the windows locked most the day and only opens it to dispose of his chamber pot.

Manuel Auguste – The Guild Master

Locked up in the tower all the time.

The Guild Master has locked himself up in the Guild House sulking after his ruined betrothal. He is quite young, only twenty three and wishes his father had bothered to make his will out to his business minded sister. However he had been looking forward to getting married but chickened out at the last minute. After the scolding of a lifetime from his sister he’s locked himself away and refuses to sign any of the forms she brings him.

High Society 1 point spend – The Guild Master has locked himself in the Guild House ever since that silly marriage thing. Everyone knew that the owner’s daughter was a troll he should have accepted it.

Common Touch/Carouse – According to many of the fisher men and carousers in the pubs the Guild Master was to marry the daughter of one of the breweries in Marchenoir but refused her even after taking her dowry, a precious cask of ale and a heap of gold besides! They say he has it all in the guild house and refuses to let anyone near it.

Bullshit Detector – While rumours are spreading that Manuel refused to marry Fanny because of her looks in reality Manuel never even saw the poor girl and never showed up to the chapel.

Hard (6) rolls to sneak into the room without Manuel noticing.

Targets

Fanny’s Dowry

A small chest of gold and gems and a cask of expensive ale.

Guild Coffers

A large store of gold.


Church

Architecture

A large and towering church with a large and towering bishop.  The largest building in town it’s wide doors open onto the central square better sculpted even than the Mayor’s House diagonal to it.

The Church was built by the Freemasons ten years ago. It follows the standard design of most catholic churches but the masons carefully constructed the windows at irregular angles to create a crisscrossed space of light and shadow.

The altar is fairly bare, missing a normal cloth covering and topped by a large iron cross. The only valuables are the silver candlesticks.

The iron cross is actually Sir Goliath’s sword re-forged after his death. The Freemasons set the sword as part of a lever and if twisted the niche where the epitaph is carved opens to reveal a narrow stair case downwards into Sir Goliath’s tomb.

Notice – In the late evening the light perfectly light up a small alcove at the back of the altar. In the hollow a stone is slightly offset with a carved epitaph:

Slayer of men in battle,

But held up by many men,

He turned from battle,

To hold up Christ himself.

Research – Sir Goliath was a giant knight famous for sacking an entire town on his own. He supposedly killed three hundred infidels himself with his giant bastard sword. When he returned he used his massive wealth to keep himself in ale and whores across Europe until he arrived in Bouclans where he settled down. One day he fell dead in the street and was buried in the church. Supposedly the last three chests of treasure were buried with him.

  • Document Restoration – A mostly destroyed finance account mentions that after Sir Goliath’s death his sword was melted down by a blacksmith and sold to the church.

Occult Studies – The Freemasons built the building, famous for secret passages and occultism they almost always left secret marks for other members to find.

  • 1 point spend: One such mark is the poem meant as a riddle, the answer usually would refer to some other part of the building which would be the entrance upon pushing on a nearby secret button.

No rolls  needed to talk or sneak past the priests.

Inhabitants

Bishop Cyril

Bishop Cyril is immovable, worthy of sainthood being so stubborn it almost accounts for a miracle. He refuses entrance to any beggar or clerk who comes to his door. When he gives sermons he reads flatly from the Bible without a single shift in tone. He is yet to wonder why attendance drops. The Bishop Cyril runs a tight ship over his  own priests and would never allow them to live like the Ordo clerks.

Bishop Cyril tries to supress the stories of Sir Goliath but many of the towns people are proud of the gigantic city icon. To make maters worse a monk living at the church has vanished and the people say he found the secret entrance to Sir Goliath’s tomb and was killed by the traps inside.

He tells people that the missing Priest ran off and that he is too busy with his duties to God to worry about it. However the Bishop knows well where the brother is hidden. Wanting to swell trade during the cooper’s crisis he began to ask smugglers to work in the town. However now that the King’s Guard have moved in he is being threatened and is paying them their lost profits.

Bullshit Detector – The good Bishop is austere, but perhaps not so good. He certainly is hiding something.

Surveillance – The Bishop leaves lights on in his house at night. However careful observation notices no movement within.

Hard (6) rolls to trick the Bishop.

Priest Durand

A more kind hearted clergy man but constantly in tears, Priest Durand is worried about his friend Priest Périer who has been missing for a week. He knows that Priest Périer was obsessed with finding Sir Goliath’s tomb so he suspects that the towns people may be right. However after a traumatic attempt at begging Bishop Cyril to help him search Durand has forgotten anything Périer told him.

Interrogation – Durand just needs a firm questioning to remind him to think clearly. Once he’s shaken off his tears he remembers that Périer told him there was a strange cubby at the back of the altar. He said there was a strange saying carved above it that he thinks was about Sir Goliath.

No rolls to talk to Priest Durand.

The Tomb

The stairs from the church descend to a hinged stone door into a small vaulted chamber. Once a whole chamber, walls on either side have been knocked away to connect it to the Smuggler’s Tunnels. Trash and rubble cover the floor where the walls were destroyed. No further tomb is obvious.

Father Périer managed to get this far but had the misfortune to be kidnapped by the smugglers who are hiding out inside the tunnels.

Notice – Scuff marks show a struggle happened above the shaft. A pry bar and some rope are lying in the corner.

 Antiquary – A close examination of the floor reveals that one corner of the room has rougher flagons than the others, perhaps they were laid later by less experienced masons.

Underneath the stone is a shaft down into a water filled passage way. There are small footholds where stones have come loose over the years. Marks on the walls makes it obvious that the water has raised during heavier rains flooding the passages below.

As befitting a tomb there are two traps inside the passage. Built under the water line of the lake the flow of water from a stream above works against grave robbers. First of all there are two stone locked doors featureless on the inside easy to unlock from the outside but not the inside. Both open inwards forming an small section. Once inside the water pushes the door shut locking the thief inside.

Infiltration will easily get the doors open and Athletics or a good stone block will prevent the door from opening. Sense Trouble will tip them off that something is wrong. A permanent wedge is needed to keep one open while they figure out how to get the other one open. It can be smashed with a ram or chiselled open.

The final trap is a door. The door is completely flush with the ceiling and sticks as it swings open. Once opened a flat stone falls letting the stream above into the chamber hopefully drowning anyone inside.

Behind the final door is Sir Goliath’s resting place. A large stone casket holds his bones and shield emblazoned with a picture of a white giant on a green field covered by a massive sword. Three iron chests are set high up in alcoves on the back wall. All three are badly rusted from the wet air and practically come apart as they are lowered down.

The contents are:

  1. A waterproof leather package containing an original Liber Abaci.
  2. A set of lead soldier figurines with the inscription on the biggest one “For my son”
  3. The third one has three gold coins in it and an iron cross.

Of course the gold was really melted down into the cross and covered in iron.

Normal (4) rolls to notice or avoid traps before water starts flowing.

Nearly Impossible (7) rolls to reopen or avoid traps once the water starts flowing.

Target

Sir Golaith’s Treasure

An original Liber Abaci, a lead soldier “for my son” and three gold coins.

Cross of Sir Golaith

The iron cross of the church is in fact mostly gold. If the thieves can figure out how to steal it…


Smuggler’s Tunnels

Underneath Bouclans are small arched channels for the streams to flow out into the lake. Not long ago these were used by a gang of smugglers using it to get whiskey barrels across the lake and past tax collectors. Now however the king’s guard have come to town to try to stop the smuggling and the criminals are laying low.

Secret trap doors open into several houses, including the Mayor’s and the Guild House. A camp of king’s guards are staying in the Sultan’s Head and are making inquiries but no one has opened up to them.

Law – The King’s Guard are allowed to search buildings when they want. Clearly their presence has been doing enough to stop the smugglers since they haven’t bothered to do more than ask around.

Easy (2) rolls to find and enter the tunnels.

Bishop’s House

If the king’s guard explored the tunnels extensively they would find a hidden entrance into the Bishop’s House. It happens the Bishop was quite keen on extra business in town and helped the smugglers himself. He has told the criminals that he will try to get rid of the guard and meanwhile the thugs are extorting him paying for all their lost profits. They threaten that they’ll tell the guards that he’s involved if they get arrested.

Each night the Bishop buys food as the market closes and takes it through the tunnels to the hideout. He can be followed with Surveillance.

Hard (6) rolls to sneak into the house.

Hidden Boats

A small hidden dock underneath the town wall is only accessible from the tunnels or by a low boat. Five small sleek sailing boats are kept, masts lashed down, wait to ferry casks of whisky across the lake. Three smuggler guards are kept here on shifts to make sure no one steals the boats.

Streetwise – Fishermen use a secret gate in the wall to get out to the other side of the wall.

Camaraderie – The fishermen know that smuggler boats sometimes slip from under the town. They do so pretty rarely now that the King’s Guard are on look out for them.

  • 1 point spend – There is some smuggling going on outside the town ever since Coubron was locked down.

Hard (6) rolls to sneak past the smugglers.

Hideout

Far in the tunnels beyond the broken into tomb is a chamber, once a cellar, now being used as the smuggler’s hideout. A staircase climbs up into a house right at the edge of the city walls where the smugglers sleep and keep the casks of ale that would have been brought into town by wagon. Nine thugs are staying inside. They also have Father Périer tied up since they figure he’ll tell on them. His weeping and screams they’ve stifled with a rag in his mouth.

Inside the house is the trussed Father Périer and a chest filled with gold stolen from the Mayor.

Streetwise/Commerce – A house up against the wall seems to have no one go in or out even though lights burn inside at night.

Taunt – Anyone being annoying enough outside the house will be received by two large men. They’ll come out with clubs and try to scare the offending party off but will not stoop to kidnapping them off the street if necessary.

Hard (6) rolls to sneak past or trick the smugglers.

Target

Smuggler’s Ransom

A chest of gold extorted from the Mayor. He’ll be happy to see it again…

Father Périer’s Return

The reward money for saving the good Father from the smugglers.

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Author: Nicholathotep

I am a LEGO builder, writer, and traveler.

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