005 - Building: The Better Tomorrow
From the moment Manny picked the nearly destroyed building to be his new base of operations (and thus the nucleus of the scavenger encampment) people have been vocally unimpressed. For his part, Manny took to responding to such criticism with a quick “It'll be better tomorrow.”, and that has stuck and become the current working name of his Inn. With only three bedrooms, a single table, and a poor selection of food and drink, it's not much of an establishment, but it's all the entertainment the scavengers have within the valley, so it is always active, and sometimes packed.
There are a few things that can be learned with persistence and patient talk with the villagers. For each half-hour spent gathering information, roll twice on the following table. (Roll three times if free alcohol is offered and a medium difficulty diplomacy check can be passed).
- Much of the death and destruction occurred at the moment the creature tore itself from the ground, but it continued throughout its rampage, almost as if waves of physical destruction were radiating from the creature. Some survivors can give accounts of people being torn apart just from standing in an exposed location.
- From the moment the behemoth appeared, it was beset by heroes who had come to oppose it. Most died nearly instantly. Some from counterattacks, others from incidental damage, some from some sort of magical backlash from attacking it.
- The entrance to the nexus was at the heart of the city, and that is where the creature surfaced.
- The hundreds of thousands of dead, few properly given last rights, and almost none buried on hallowed ground, are not all resting easily. Each scavenger has their own tale of something glimpsed, and none of them will willingly be out in the ruins after dark.
- Many great heroes fell in the battle, and some of them had legendary gear, but all that's been scavenged from the ruins has been the broken, twisted, or half-melted remnants of these powerful items. None have been useful for their original purposes. Scarver the merchant alone has been willing to buy up such artifacts.
- While the smell of death and rot pervades the valley, the vast carcass of the beast does not seem to be decaying naturally. No one in the encampment is desperate enough to try eating such fare (except for the unfortunate beggar, Gill) but there is speculation as to when the some of the survivors driven to madness might turn to it as a source of food.
- Manny's ambitions are real enough and his connections good enough that he has arranged for shipments of food and drinks to arrive at the Better Tomorrow weekly.
- Before the disaster, there were people in the city who were trying to warn the inhabitants. Mostly they went unheeded, but it means that some of the more canny may have taken steps to secure or hide their valuables, which is making the scavenger's looting harder.
Manny - The effective owner of the Better tomorrow, he is rebuilding it from a still-standing structure and repairing it with salvaged goods from the nearby ruins. He is earnest in his desire to make it a permanent establishment, and can be made friendly by even small shows of support for his enterprise. He's particularly interested in any preserved foods (pickles, salted meats, dry and jarred goods) or alcohol that can be salvaged. He's also hungry for news. If made friendly, he can help out in any number of small ways, including watching over valuables, or reporting on events that occur while the party is out and about.
Ingrid - Manny's wife. She works as a barmaid, bartender, tidies up, and prepares the rooms for guests. She puts on a friendly face, but her only real concern is Manny's welfare, and can be quite ruthless if she thinks it's in his best interest.
Enos - A halfling cook who survived the city's downfall because he was passed out drunk in a root cellar. He's a fairly good cook, but he's not being given a lot to work with, and his talents are not exactly shining with the thin soup and flatbreads he's currently capable of producing for guests.
Trask - A surly half-orc who's been greatly disappointed with what he's been able to salvage from the ruins. This is largely because he lacks initiative, so he's mostly only finding areas that other scavengers have already been over.
Unfortunately, Trask is not terribly self-reflective, and is looking to take out his frustrations on someone smaller and weaker than he is. Drunk when the party arrives, he'll pick out whoever looks the weakest and offer deliberate provocative insult, and if he's insulted in turn, will not be at all shy about throwing the first punch. He's hoping to start a tavern brawl, but will settle for a one-on-one fight if other folks stand back rather than getting involved. The barroom is too small for a good fight, so he's perfectly content for it to spill out the door, or to "step outside" to resolve matters.
Trask is a reasonably competent fighter, who has trained in unarmed combat. He really is just blowing off steam, and his blows will be non-lethal unless lethal force is used against him. If a general brawl begins, he's as likely to start punching another scavenger as he is a member of the party, and a sort of free-for-all will ensue, with Bardak, Dragan, and Gless being the most enthusiastic potential participants. If things get more serious, Trask may be on his own unless his half-orc ancestry has been insulted, in which case Bardak may involve himself as well.
Manny, Eagle, and Ulgart will all recognize the danger of things getting too far out of hand, and will individually or collectively try to restore the peace if they see an opportunity to do so. If the party works hard enough to avoid violence, that may also be a way to get into Manny's good graces, converting him to an ally.