Monday, 25 May 2015

Random Encounters At The Opera

The stalls are the flat bit at the front of the auditorium, next to the stage. The gods are the highest balconies, way up the back. The boxes are along the walls on either side and are private. In terms of price and prestige it goes boxes-stalls-gods. If the PCs are poor as shit they might get seats in the gods, if they're well-to-do adventurers it's the stalls and if they're extremely rich or a local dignitary has invited them the lucky bastards will get to sit in a box.

If you're going to use these on some kind of carousing table - and you should - you should probably also include some kind of positive effect, I guess. Like going to the opera gives you more spell slots or something to talk about w/ the King? I don't know, I am only good at inventing horrible things

Also if any of these don't wind up w/ you exploring some sort of incredible labyrinthine backstage catacomb opera dungeon w/ masked figures fluttering about the catwalks and soul-eating piano organs carved from human bone and terrible cold lakes below the city where a legion of faceless men teach a vast blind pale squid to play a cello the size of a horse then what are you even. What are you doing. You fool. You madman.

  1. Person with extremely large periwig sitting in front of you. You can't see the stage. If confronted, person will affect dignified ignorance. Periwig infested w/ highly poisonous white spiders that will begin to tumble out if it is touched
  2. Person sitting behind you is assassin, will wait for most poignant/absorbing moment of opera before whipping out silken cord, covertly garrotting you. If caught, will feign mortification at having mistaken you for real target, attempt to strike up unlikely friendship, garrotte you again at earliest convenience
  3. You overheard terribly intriguing bit of social gossip on way back from lavatory. 50% of being true, 50% of being semi-true but horribly distorted in some way
  4. Lock eyes w/ clown playing minor role. This clown has marked you. They will reappear in your life at an unspecified later date in some brief but horrible way
  5. Lock eyes w/ beautiful soprano playing lead role. You are now in love with this soprano. That is because the soprano is an evil succubus who has cast charm person on you with their music. You will have to fight off legions of other admirers for the privilege of letting them eat your soul
  6. Lock eyes w/ handsome tenor playing lead role. They immediately recognize that you have the soul of an ultimate party animal and insist on inviting you backstage for post-opera drinks, which quickly turns into the most insane thing that has ever happened to you
  1. People next to you not watching opera at all, in fact using privacy of back rows to engage in some kind of highly illicit transaction. Maybe drug dealers, maybe spies (spies probably more interesting). Will not be pleased to discover themselves overheard
  2. Mythological characters painted on theatre ceiling come alive as you watch them, form terrified expressions, silently plead w/ you to get out. Halfway through opera ceiling will collapse
  3. You are utterly mesmerized by opera, wake from a daze to find yourself sitting alone in the theatre, cheeks stained by tears, overlooked by the ushers, hours after it has ended. Fail a Wisdom check or become addicted to opera
  4. Sit in right seat in right way, accidentally open secret passage to theatre roof. Gang of urchins are up there w/ ears pressed to tiles. They were stealing the lead off the roof and got distracted by the pretty noises. You might make friends w/ them or get mugged by them, it's really on you
  5. Return from intermission to find a well-dressed, cordial gentleman in your seat. He is polite but refuses to move. There is a concealed hole in this seat cushion and he has just placed a diamond necklace in it, which he is eager for you not to find. He is also eager for a scene not to be made. The ushers will search you on the way out of the theatre but not tell you that the duchess has been robbed
  6. Person sitting next to you is SECRETLY A GHOST!!! This is always the best option on any random table
  1. The doors of the box slam shut, the curtains draw air-tight and it begins to fill slowly with unbreathable gas. Clever murder engineers designed it to simplify assassination centuries ago. You will appear to have died in your sleep
  2. Box has reputation for being cursed, and is. A witch was spurned by an actress here, many years ago, and unwilling to turn her spite on the object of her desire she instead condemned the location of her failure. To lift the curse that is now on you you must find the witch's skull and have a descendent of the actress kiss it
  3. Torn, yellowing pages of musical score tucked under your seat. Last known cantata of brilliant, melancholic composer, thought lost when she killed herself. Worth a fortune, contains a terrible secret for anyone whose music is sufficiently advanced to read it. Asking the cleaning staff will reveal it wasn't there yesterday
  4. Obese denizen of next box accidentally-on-purpose bumps into you during intermission, offers you huge sum of money if you will willingly undergo operation that makes you an extraordinarily beautiful singer, remove your genitals
  5. Angry, spoiled nobleman insists that you're sitting in his box, even though you patently aren't. Happy to throw a tantrum about this. Is a petty, childish bully, so highly-placed as to be effectively above the law, employs utterly humourless and diabolically efficient retainers. Everyone would secretly be pleased to see him taken down a peg or two
  6. Opera is just a howling, scratching mess of angry noise, like a child w/ broken fingernails scraping away on a blackboard. Everyone else in theatre reacts exactly as if it were normal, extremely good opera. Close examination of box reveals curious sigils in corners, around doorframe
but doctor, i am pagliacci

1 comment:

  1. Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.