Thursday 3 September 2015

Barons of the Kingdom of Calvino

  1. Split in half by cannonball in wars w/ the infidels. Each half leads separate existence. Bad half runs the barony, executes peasants for trifling crimes. Good half hops about doing good deeds and living in the forest. Both are in love with the same person.
  2. Lives in the trees. Swore an oath when twelve years old never again to set foot on the ground. Has kept it. Goes pretty much where they please - barony heavily forested.
  3. Does not exist. An empty suit of armour that maintains itself through sheer willpower. Stickler for rules. Obsessed with counting and organization. If you can prove its title to the barony is in error it will fall apart and disappear.
  4. Obsessed with birds. House is an aviary. Due to an absence of crows in the kingdom, has trained storks, flamingos, parakeets to prey on flesh in their wake.
  5. Is a book detailing the life of a fictitious baron whose decisions always correspond to those which must be made at the exact moment of reading. Turning ahead to predict the future is strictly forbidden by the order of the baroness.
  6. Is a guy's reflection in a mirror. The guy is not the baron; only the reflection is the baron. Mute, because sound cannot travel into or out of the mirror, so must communicate in hand gestures. Writing is backwards, deeply incomprehensible.
  7. Was swallowed by a tiger when very young and cannot get out. Lives quite comfortably inside the tiger, although quarters a tad cramped. Orders can only be heard by pressing one's ear right up against the tiger's belly. Professional tiger tamers constantly on standby, as tiger rampages cause total political paralysis.
  8. Is, by order of the queen, the poorest person in the barony at any one time. Life in barony a feverish race to the bottom. Winners accumulate huge amount of property in single executive order before having it all confiscated by the next guy. That or starve to death.
  9. Wanted for murder in a dozen counties, arranged to be put on trial by himself. Legal proceedings against him cannot legally proceed until the resolution of the current case, which has been going on for fifteen years now. Jurors, barristers, witnesses all barred from leaving courthouse.
  10. Baronship communicable by touch. Current baron lives in a barrel. If they were to move about in public the barony would disintegrate into a massive and bloodthirsty game of tag.
  11. Thinks clouds are people and people are clouds.
  12. Power-sharing arrangement in low-lying country means first baron has authority over everything above sealevel, second baron has authority over everything below. Sea level in most places about waist height. You can kick someone to death and avoid extradition by walking about on stilts.
  13. Believes self to be hideously ugly. Has made illegal mirrors, portraiture, the act of description. Individuals caught using words to represent visual images are disfigured with hot pitch.
  14. You're the new baron! Village archivists just dug up a bunch of old papers that prove your claim conclusively. You have also inherited an ancient feud with the family of the count next door, who have a tradition that you can't come of age until you have wreaked vengeance on an enemy of the bloodline and (it turns out) are resorting to forgery in order to generate more enemies.
  15. Has memorized every square inch of the barony, every stray thought in the heads of its inhabitants. Hasn't left study in years - passes laws based on deterministic model of events that they maintain in their imagination. This worked infallibly up until two weeks ago, when the baron forgot to account for one tiny detail and the whole thing spiralled out of control. Now people are getting executed for crimes they would have committed in an alternative universe where a single sparrow never fell.
  16. Terrified of a monster that changes each time they describe it.
  17. Citizens tell you sorrowfully that the baron has gone mad and believes herself to be a crocodile. They offer a hefty reward for a cure. In fact, the baron is just a crocodile they have put a hat on.
  18. Barony is a vast empty desert. Each grain of sand is subject to the baron, making them ruler of the greatest empire in the history of the world.
  19. Fears assassination and usurpation by their future self. Plots to assassinate and usurp their past self.
  20. Village of a thousand barons and one subject, who has a difficult life as they are the only one expected to grow any food.
First three are from the endlessly gameable Italo Calvino, rest are more or less (in some cases less) my own invention. Use with bandit table to engage in maximum literature.

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