Adventure Background.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
 GM, 27 posts
Tue 21 Jul 2020
at 05:47
Adventure Background
This is the adventure background, as originally written in the adventure.  [This represents all of the information that you have gathered so far, and a little extra - information which is readily apparent after questioning even a few towns people - it is not all of the information that you can find by asking around, though]

Adventure Background

Callery Frickard never bargained on all the trouble that plagued him in the town of Bordton. All he wanted was to improve his wares and increase his profits, as any businessman might reasonably be expected to do.

Frickard was a penmaker by trade, with a shop and rooms on Mercantile Street. He did well, buying goose quills from the local poulterers and fashioning them into pens for the many scribes about town: the well-paid clerks of the town’s guilds and council, the lowly itinerant letter-writers who served the wider public, and even the occasional mage requiring nonmagical notes in the course of his researches. Callery Frickard was a well-known figure in Bordton, and respected for his craft and skill.

Goose quills, though cheap, have their inherent disadvantages. They tend to scratch and split at inopportune moments, thus turning writing into a laborious art. Frickard had time to think about these problems, and he reasoned that if pens could be made more trustworthy, more people might buy them.

Goose quills could be phased out eventually, with the loss of repeat customers negated by the upsurge in first-time buyers.

It was this simple idea that caused so much trouble. Callery Frickard invented a reliable metal pen nib to replace the irritating but traditional goose quill. Shortly thereafter, all hell broke loose in Bordton.

The first to call for the abolition of Frickard’s new invention was the Guild of Scribes, which prophesied mass unemployment and hardship among its members, not to mention a scandalous regression and degeneration of proper penmanship if the commoners took to using letters on a regular basis. The first steps to anarchy, the guild claimed, began with the distribution of Frickard’s metal pens.

The Inkmakers’ Union, though, was not upset by these claims. Steel nibs, mass-produced and distributed to a wider public, would increase demand for ink. There would be more profits for inkmakers, more taxes for the town council, and, quite possibly, extra jobs in Bordton.

Naturally, the Goose Breeders’ Association didn’t go along with this view. They believed the Inkmakers’ Union was quite rich enough, and besides, it was the breeders who would be the first to suffer if goose quills became a thing of the past. Even the scribes weren’t as threatened; they could adopt their Writing styles to the new instruments (or, at worst, become social workers). But what about the goose market? Or the egg sellers among the breeders’ womenfolk? No! The Callery Frickard pen couldn’t be allowed.

The paper manufacturers came out in support of both the Inkmakers’ Union and the Callery Frickard steel-nibbed pen. Universal literacy, they proclaimed, was a right of all, especially when paper products had a limited use at present. And the Frickard pen would open up a vast market for the paper manufacturers. At least one man—and maybe a gnome or two—might be needed to take up the extra workload, and didn’t the lumber yard look empty these days? The woods could be cleared for paper pulp, the land could be settled, and Bordton could grow to the size of a city! Yes, the metal nib was a great invention, a mark of progress!

The druids of the Dark Wood got wind of this talk and decided a firm “no” was their official line. Deforestation meant a loss of wildlife, and Bordton was already having trouble with loss of topsoil since taking down several acres of trees that had always protected the farmlands from the east wind. What about the loss of land further downstream as the rivers rose? Fewer trees meant floods, calamities, compensation claims from wet villagers, and worse: irate druids. Perhaps (if it wasn’t too much trouble) the town should reconsider theuse of the Frickard pen.

The town council was divided. In private sessions, it listened to the views expressed and considered its line. Certainly, the employment of scribes by the council cost the town a fair amount of money. Couldn’t the redundancy of superfluous scribblers be a good thing for the council coffers? One scribe equipped with a Frickard pen might do the work of five scribes in one day, albeit using a modified writing style.

The taxes of the Goose Breeders would be lost, of course, and the enmity of the druids of the Dark Wood could be dangerous to the well-being of the town in more dramatic ways. What if the druids called up a plague or something? Then again, what about the dangers inherent in an informed populace reading and writing dangerous ideas to each other?

Perhaps the issue of Callery Frickard’s steel-nibbed pens was not as clear cut as it seemed.

A definite split occurred in town.

Those in favor (the pro-Frickards) clashed in the streets with those who were against the idea (the anti-Frickards). Trouble flared further when a protest turned into a riot, and the warehouse of the Inkmakers’ Union was broken into and its many jars vandalized. A number of geese were wantonly slaughtered on a farm outside Bordton, while masked men terrorized the land owner and his family.

Finally, the crunch came when the unfortunate Callery Frickard was found murdered in his bed, in a room above his Mercantile Street shop.

All faction fighting ceased for a time as both pro- and anti-Frickards began lobbying the town council for action on the killing of the penmaker. A more serious breach of public order was brewing as accusations were rife. The divided council couldn’t claim any judicial independence due to its members’ many interests in the case. Eventually, the council agreed to ask independent investigators to look into the case and apprehend whoever killed Callery Frickard.