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Casino Town Rumours [WIP]

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The rumours provided here are spurs to adventure. The Game master should take care to present the rumours in an interesting manner, often with the intent of provoking actions by the players.

Each rumour is prefaced by a single letter code dealing with the veracity of that rumour – but, ultimately, any rumour can used in whatever manner that best suits the campaign!

Rumor Indicators:

(T)     Indicates that the rumour is true.

(F)     Indicates that the rumour is false.

(M)    Indicates that the rumour is meaningless.

(R)     Indicates that the rumour may or may not be true at the GM’s discretion.

(B)     Indicates that the rumour is generally true but it also has a substantial false component.

(A)     Indicates that the rumour is too awful to contemplate.

  1. The rules of Casino Town are simple: No Killing, No Cheating, Everyone Makes a Wager. (T)
  2. There's a metallic statue in a special niche at the town gate. Who it originally was is uncertain – perhaps Zzabur himself – but over many centuries the punters have worn its features so smooth it has taken on the generic appearance of a woman. It is now colloquially known as “Lady Luck”. (T)

  3. Touching “Lady Luck” is like a Tap spell, only in reverse! (F)

  4. Everyone residing within the walls of Casino Town pays a weekly vigourish. To ensure the Great House receives what it is due, each year the Talar appoints the Synod of Visitors. This is a committee of Ingareen citizens from Refuge, selected for their highest moral probity. (B)

  5. Argil Arcry, the current head of the Synod of Visitors, is said to have a “wide stance”. (M)

  6. Brithini age if they lose at gambling. (T)

  7. Despite the Brithini prohibition, the Ingareens' obsession with abstract numbers has led them to be inveterate and superstitious gamblers — "It’s not gambling if you always end up ahead", is one rationalization they often use, though on the whole Ingareen punters appear to be no luckier than others. (T — certainly there are few Ingareen professional gamblers of advanced age.)

  8. Talar Barat and the Brithini appear relatively indifferent as to who controls the different gambling concerns in Casino Town, provided the weekly vigourish is remitted in full. (T — even the Vadeli have recently been allowed to set up an establishment.)

  9. The new Vadeli establishment, known as the Vadotto, has a secret basement, where all manner of depraved and forbidden pleasures may be indulged. (B – the Vadotto doesn’t have a basement; such activities actually take place on the building’s exclusive top floor.)

  10. All the casinos and gaming parlours in Casino Town set their own table limits (what minimum and maximum bets permitted). They also set a house edge (a factored-in mathematical advantage) on all games, which varies from establishment to establishment. (T)

  11. The Faro Wheel itself has no table limit. (B — this is qualified by the fact Belintar the Stranger did actually “break the bank” when the Talar finally blinked after the house lost a 60x or nothing bet.)

  12. The odds offered by the Vadotto are subtly different to those offered elsewhere in Casino Town. (T — the Vadeli claim it is their practice to pay on odds “for”, rather than “to”. For example, on a successful bet at 5 silvers for 1 on a roulette table at the Vadotto, the winner receives 5 silvers but the Vadotto keeps the initial silver piece.  At establishments offering “to” odds, the winner would also receive back the original 1 silver wagered. The Vadeli do not make this distinction clear to new patrons.)

  13. Longstanding Light and Illusion spells make many of the buildings on Casino Town's Main Strip look more impressive than they really are, especially at night. (T)

  14. 'Hangers' on the Main Strip is part of the famous Esrolian restaurant chain catering to the elite. It can often get very rowdy. A key attraction is the cock-fighting pit (T — although this has nothing to do with poultry.)

  15. Dayzatar’s Casino & Revue is the premier show venue in Casino Town (though some headline acts have recently defected to The Vadotto). A stalwart of the stage here is the seemingly ageless entertainer Unkle Shine, “the hardest-working horal in show business”. (B)

  16. Red’s Globster offers an all-new “Vormaino sushi” platter, but it is advisable to at least stun each piece before attempting to swallow, or preferably use the Disrupt spell. (R)

  17. The Lupenar is Casino Town’s largest and most notorious bawdyhouse, said to be able to cater to any carnal desire. As vividly remembered in a series of erotic wall friezes, Harrek singlehandedly engaged the Lupenar’s entire company during his 1618 visit; such was his amatory enthusiasm, the building had to be completely rebuilt afterwards. (T — fortunately he left a tremendous tip.)

  18. Tombolar’s Bingo Hall is a rather drab establishment, but is very popular among the Ingareens (T — they use various arcane theological justifications from Zzabur’s Abiding Book to rationalize why Bingo should not be considered gambling.)

  19. The blue-skinned perfumer who operates The House of Hemrehana is from distant Garguna. (F — he is actually from equally distant Polostan, the fragrant city of a thousand delights in Fonrit.)

  20. Silvermane the Shaman’s game with betting sticks enables you to wager against the living and the dead. (T)

  21. Gorp-wrestling is much harder than it looks. (B)

  22. The only thing Basmoli have to lose when they gamble is their pride. (M)

  23. Talar Barat actually died decades ago but the Brithini maintain the pretense their leader is still alive. (F)

  24. Talar Barat’s beard turned gray that day Belintar "broke the bank" on the Faro Wheel. (B)

  25. The Faro Wheel literally fuels the Brithinis’ ongoing way of life here, but a curious side effect is its ability to produce random combinations determined by Luck and Fate. (T)

  26. Because wagers on the Faro Wheel can be made with intangible concepts (runic affinities, mana, life-force, perception etc), Ingareen statisticians have long disputed what the Great House’s house edge actually is – hotly argued estimates range from 2.70% – 5.26%, but the mathematics remain elusive. (M)

  27. The Tournament of Luck and Death is about to start again – this time for sure the God-King Belintar will return to save us all! (R)

  28. The Talar stopped paying back Belintar’s massive Faro winnings after he disappeared. (F)

  29. The circular outer walls of Casino Town are actually the foundations of a much larger Faro Wheel, but Belintar’s massive jackpot put an end to Talar Barat’s grand plan. (F — the outer walls were raised after Belintar broke the bank.)

  30. On the fall of the Clanking City the Talar stole away the machine god Zistor. To this day it lies chained up under the Faro Wheel! (F)

  31. The glow of the Faro Wheel can be seen for great distances and serves as a helpful navigational beacon, drawing in ships through the Troll Straits and from across the Mirrorsea Bay. (T)

  32. Although he won (and lost) big on the Faro Wheel during his soujourn in Casino Town, Harrek's favourite sport was the crude but entertaining betting game from the Shadow Plateau, “Pull my Finger”. This is offered every evening at the troll eatery Thunderbreath Gobbleguts. (R)

  33. The only reliable source of fresh water in Casino Town is a well at the Talar’s Great House, which is generously piped to the nearby Pool Hall (T —about the only thing in the city that’s free, some people joke.)

  34. The so-called put-put barges used by the Ingareens are foul Zistorite abominations. (M)

  35. Don Duras is actually Duke Raus of Rone, an exiled Lunar nobleman. (R)

  36. Jammy the Beak's off-sider Bluster is the only Wind Child in the world with a five o’clock shadow. (M)

  37. Mock Wing notably has several other keets working for him as collectors and enforcers, including Big Bill (a pelican keet) and the voracious Bluefoot Brothers (booby keets). (T)

  38. Grand Master Shamat claims to be the greatest ouranekki player in the world. An émigré from the Lunar Empire, he confides to anyone that he lives in constant fear of Yolanela the Taloned Countess of Spol, who he long ago once offended. (R)

  39. Professor Artingale is a fallen Ingareen who styles himself “the Wizard of Odds”. He can be found at the Pool Hall, where he claims he knows various “foolproof” systems for winning, which he’ll share for a price. (F — The Professor’s “surefire” strategies are dressed up with all sorts of complicated mathematical flim-flam, but essentially center around increasing bets after each loss in the hopes that an eventual win will recover all previous losses.)

  40. Despite dressing like an archetypal Western wizard, Professor Artingale actually comes from the dronar caste. (T)

  41. The Lounge Lizard is a very unusual crested dragonewt that has resided in different gaming establishments for well over a century, and is fondly considered a sort of mascot. Rubbing its scales is said to give good luck. (M)

  42. Leonardo the Scientist regularly infiltrates the Clanking Ruins. (T)

  43. Leonardo the Scientist and Talar Barat are one in the same person. (F)

  44. Leonardo the Scientist belongs to the zzaburi caste. (F)

  45. A fire breathing metallic turtle keeps the curious away from Leonardo the Scientist’s island hideaway at Crab Key. (T)

  46. Woe betides anyone mistreating the fisherfolk of Fishertown, for they are under the protection of the Ludoch. (B — technically, their protection comes from the High Admiral of the Boats.)

  47. A Trollball match is planned for the Squeaky Sands – the bookies are looking for a human side to go up against the Uz! (R)

  48. Small groups of Wolf Pirates have been seen in various establishments around the city, but they say they are just on “shore leave”. (R)

  49. Talar Barat has concluded a secret deal with the Wolf Pirates for them to stay away from God Forgot, but who’s going to pay for it? – the punters of course! (R)

  50. Beware - the Lunars are preparing to invade God Forgot by land and sea! (R)

  51. Why did the God King have his magic bridge terminate at the Clanking Ruins instead of Talar Hold or Casino Town? (M)

  52. It’s said there’s a tunnel under the Troll Strait, connecting the old God Learner fortresses at the tips of the Rightarm and Leftarm Islands. Could this be a way to get into the Iron Fort, which has been sealed since the Second Age? (R)

  53. A secret passage leads into the Machine Ruins from the deserted Jrusteli fort at the southern tip of Kostern Island. (B)

  54. At low tide it is possible to walk across from Thoxos Island to Tosk Island, and thence even to Refuge on the mainland, if one knows the way and can avoid the giant cranes, swarming were-crabs, and other perils. (T)

  55. The Machine Ruins are guarded by fiendish traps and curses, but these are designed to keep the mechanical horrors locked inside from escaping, rather than preventing anyone getting in. (B)

  56. Foreigners are forbidden from visiting Talar Hold because the inhabitants there still brazenly use forbidden Zistorite technology! Abominations include staircases that move, machines that dispense hot cooked food, and tiny boxes that play music as if there is an orchestra trapped inside. (B — true enough, but Talar Barat has other reasons why outsiders are not welcome at his capital…)

  57. Because the traditionally ordained agricultural practices of the Brithini are better suited to humid Old Brithos than rain-sodden Heortland, the Bandori who come to God Forgot to work on the Talar's farms keep one field for show, and do things their own way on the rest. Just before harvest-time, they will surreptitiously "dress" the show field with the finest produce from the back fields. (T)

  58. Porthomekan cigars clear the mind and aid concentration. (R)

  59. Attempting to skip town without settling the gate wager invokes swift retribution.  Swarming metallic creatures nicknamed One-Armed Bandits hunt deadbeats down and drag them to the Clanking Ruins, never to be seen again. The superstitious say they are Our Lady of Credit’s spirits of reprisal. (B — defaulters must face and defeat one, then seven, then fifteen, then thirty and finally sixty of the One Armed Bandits before their debt is written off. The other option is to return to Casino Town and pay up!)

  60. The tables at [choose any gaming establishment] are rigged. (M)

  61. The tables at [choose any gaming establishment] are running hot! (M)

  62. The tables at [choose any gaming establishment] are cold. (M)

  63. The tables at [choose any gaming establishment] are easy etc. (M)

  64. While it might seem incompatible with the Brithini law that utterly forbids gambling, the Talar’s view is "he doesn’t gamble, he invests". (R — though Talar Barat's enduring immortality and the success of Casino Town seems to prove the case.)

  65. Red’s Globster on the Main Strip is a cheap and popular “all you can eat” buffet (provided you’re happy eating endless portions of vaguely fish-like material cut into various shapes then deep-fried or boiled). The proprietor “Red” hearkens from the Lunar Empire, and keeps a live walktapus out the back. Pieces are continuously hacked off for the pot. His first walktapus apparently escaped in the confusion during Harrek’s visit, and he’s only recently been able to import a replacement. Just what was Red serving up in the intervening time? (A)

Edited by MOB
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A few comments on an article which I really liked.

Rumour 50 seems dated if RQ supplements are going to be set after the Dragonrise.  The Queendom of Jab might be a more terrifying foe.

Rumour 44.  Pretty much had it sussed that leonardo was a commoner rather than a wizard.  Glad to see somebody else had a similar idea.

The bank breaking has its origins in a fan theory that Belintar broke the bank of Casino Town to enforce its sovereignty over God Forgot.  Jeff's pored cold water on it in that Casino Town was not around at that time.  However all that means is that the Breaking of the Bank sometime during Belintar's four centuries of rule rather than at the beginning as a result of now obscure political events.

Rumour 57.  Like the idea that the farmers are actually Bandori rather than Brithini.

Rumour 59.  Liked the mention of the one-armed bandits.  My own thinking is that there are three types - Copper which do 1d6 damage through to Golds which do 6d6 damage.  People can halt a One-Armed Bandit's attack by feeding them with the appropriate coins.  One coin allows one spin (roll 3d6 with rewards based on doubles and triples).

As to how Casino Town might have come to be, I think Rumour 64 is literally true.  The Brithini used to run a primitive insurance market there for ocean-going vessels.  Later bored sailors, wanting for a favourable wind, hit upon the idea of borrowing money for gambling purposes and found the cagey Talar all to willing to lend and things went downhill from there.  I'm basing this on the RW interaction between gambling, insurance and the development of probability theory (which could also mean that the Brithini have interesting ideas on the concept of cause and effect - Hume was a inveterate gambler who based his theories of reality on the "lucky streaks" he had from time to time).

 

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1 hour ago, metcalph said:

Rumour 44.  Pretty much had it sussed that leonardo was a commoner rather than a wizard.  Glad to see somebody else had a similar idea.

It makes a lot of sense - he makes physical devices. Leonardo is just exposing the general Brithini idea that of course sorcery and philosophy are intrinsically linked and the highest logic as the dubious Zzaburi classism that it is. 

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17 hours ago, MOB said:

Rumor Indicators:

(T)     Indicates that the rumour is true.

(F)     Indicates that the rumour is false.

(M)    Indicates that the rumour is meaningless.

(R)     Indicates that the rumour may or may not be true at the GM’s discretion.

(B)     Indicates that the rumour is generally true but it also has a substantial false component.

I always liked (A) Too Awful to contemplate

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4 hours ago, soltakss said:

I always liked (A) Too Awful to contemplate

65. Red’s Globster on the Main Strip is a cheap and popular “all you can eat” buffet (provided you’re happy eating endless portions of vaguely fish-like material cut into various shapes then deep-fried or boiled). The proprietor “Red” hearkens from the Lunar Empire, and keeps a live walktapus out the back. Pieces are continuously hacked off for the pot. His first walktapus apparently escaped in the confusion during Harrek’s visit, and he’s only recently been able to import a replacement. Just what was Red serving up in the intervening time? (A)

Thanks, have added to the above entry!

Edited by MOB
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6 hours ago, davecake said:

It makes a lot of sense - he makes physical devices. Leonardo is just exposing the general Brithini idea that of course sorcery and philosophy are intrinsically linked and the highest logic as the dubious Zzaburi classism that it is. 

Made me think of the two Dronari living in that town somewhere along the Janube (I forget the name), who are famous craftsmen. Would make sense of Leonardo to be a really skilled Dronar as well. 

As a bit of a sidenote, I like to view the Brithini castes as all having some unimaginably powerful members who can do things that outsider would gasp at - not just the Zzaburi. It reminds me of Lord of the Rings, where the elves of Lothlorien give the Hobbits their "magical cloaks", but insist that it's just a product of elven craftsmanship. In both cases, we might be dealing with craftsmen who are so skilled that their works are indistinguishable from magically derived items (and in Glorantha the distinction might ultimately be meaningless, since everything is, at its heart, "magical".)

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

As a bit of a sidenote, I like to view the Brithini castes as all having some unimaginably powerful members who can do things that outsider would gasp at - not just the Zzaburi. It reminds me of Lord of the Rings, where the elves of Lothlorien give the Hobbits their "magical cloaks", but insist that it's just a product of elven craftsmanship. In both cases, we might be dealing with craftsmen who are so skilled that their works are indistinguishable from magically derived items (and in Glorantha the distinction might ultimately be meaningless, since everything is, at its heart, "magical".)

Nice twist on an old chestnut, you're getting into sic fi/Traveller territory here.

Quote

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.Arthur C. Clarke

 

Edited by Bill the barbarian

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35 Is Don Duras's daughter a pillar of Casino Town social life?

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I'm kinda getting the impression that Harrek's current mustache comes because he like the look of it on a frieze at Lupendars.  

No mention of a group of eleven merfolk seeking to rob Casino Town?

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5 hours ago, metcalph said:

No mention of a group of eleven merfolk seeking to rob Casino Town?

Love it. They probably run the caper out of here:

66. Doctor Hierogamos’s House of Pleasure is a smaller establishment than the Lupenar, but is famous for its mermaids. Current aquatic attractions include the so-called Zabdamar Princess of Kylerela and the fantastically obese Ouori-girl. (R — the Ouori-girl really is one of the walrus-folk, far from her home in the remote reaches of the Banthe Ocean, but in reality the so-called "Princess of Kylerela" is just an ordinary Ludoch-woman from nearby Seapolis with some magical augmentations and a fanciful costume.)

Edited by MOB

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21 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

As a bit of a sidenote, I like to view the Brithini castes as all having some unimaginably powerful members who can do things that outsider would gasp at - not just the Zzaburi. It reminds me of Lord of the Rings, where the elves of Lothlorien give the Hobbits their "magical cloaks", but insist that it's just a product of elven craftsmanship. In both cases, we might be dealing with craftsmen who are so skilled that their works are indistinguishable from magically derived items (and in Glorantha the distinction might ultimately be meaningless, since everything is, at its heart, "magical".)

67. After the horrors of the Iron Crusade, the surviving atheistic Ingareens gratefully accepted Talar Barat as their new overlord. Under the guidance of the Talar's wizards and by carefully mimicking his followers, Ingareen society has adapted many elements of Brithini culture. As a consequence, they too have taken on a measure of longevity, at the price of certain vitality and innovation. (T)

68. Once Ingareen ingenuity helped spawn the hubristic mechanical abominations of the Machine God Zistor. Now however, Ingareen originality tends to be directed to the more abstract—and harmless—arts of speculative philosophy, mathematics and game theory. (B — Leonardo the Scientist is perhaps the greatest counter-example, and he takes care to never make more than one of his physical creations, lest he be branded a Zistorite.)  

On 6/7/2019 at 5:04 PM, metcalph said:

Rumour 57.  Like the idea that the farmers are actually Bandori rather than Brithini.

69. Like the Ingareens, the neighboring Esvularing tribe were once atheists too, actively supporting the construction of the Machine God Zistor. But for them, the spectacular fall of the Clanking City led to a henotheistic revelation, and rather than take on the Brithini way, the Esvularings embraced the Aeolian variation of Malkionism, which holds that the Orlanthi gods are but emanations of the Invisible God. (T/F, R)

70. The Esvularings have a long-standing alliance with God Forgot, particularly the people of the neighboring Bandori valley. As the Brithini way of life is not especially productive here, many Esvularings come to labor for them in God Forgot. They are well compensated by the Talar, and look on him reverently as their Godfather. (T)

Edited by MOB
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On 6/6/2019 at 11:06 AM, MOB said:

The rumours provided here are spurs to adventure.

Lots of fun ideas here!

Browsing back through the original introduction to God Forgot in the old RQ Companion, I noted a few ideas that could add into rumors:

"Its name comes from the wail of its inhabitants at the Dawn, who long bemoaned the loss of their favorite deity."

  • The wails of those losing help empower the deity to return - when all fortunes have been lost, the deity will truly return.
  • The Red Goddess was the true deity of God Forgot - when the Faro Wheel hits each number in sequence, she will be reborn there.
  • Belintar was the true deity of God Forgot - and he has been lost again!
  • If you hear the wail of the forgotten, place a wager immediately - it's a sure sign that your luck has changed.

"The people who survive in God Forgot retain their individual nature and are considered weirdly different by others in the world."

  • Before starting any task, and always at the start of a new day, the native Ingareens always make a wager - it's their wager that life will continue for another day.

"But they are a small population and considered less harmful than they used to be."

  • An Ingareen will happily wager her own soul vs. yours as she knows her own has no value, but yours is a fine treasure to gain.
  • Beware what you agree to with an Ingareen lest you find that what you agreed to was a wager, and that you've wagered something of value - which the Ingareens will be sure to enforce.

"All that was left behind were cursed ruins set with traps, disease, and ghosts."

  • Don't believe what you see! Casino Town is a cursed illusion, a trap for the unwary, and all the inhabitants are really ghosts!
  • Beware Casino Town - without a god to protect it, it is the domain of Mallia and she has unleashed the most insidious disease here that infects the minds of all who enter: Faro's Madness

 

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