Friday, February 5, 2021

The Junebug Inn - Nightsky Encounter 21

Here's another enounter that probably needs a map, but any coaching inn map should work for the ground floor. I came up with the basic idea for this encounter early on when thinking about the Nightsky, but it took a while for me to get the inspiration to write it up properly. Admittedly, its been a while since I have been inspired to write anything on here, but I am going to ignore that for now and I am sure that you will pay me the courtesy of doing likewise.

This encounter is also unsubtly inspired by parts of Kentuckt Route Zero, and one of my favourites scenes in the game (also the Roadhouse from Twin Peaks, as a weird liminal space where music plays). Nevertheless, there's a part of me that says the information about the second floor should simply be ignored, and this encounter should be used as an excuse to run Rough Night at the Three Feathers.


A run down, ramshackle coaching inn is perched incongruously on a spit of land jutting from the cave wall. The timeworn, but seemingly intact, exterior is lit by the soft glow of lanterns and a flickering firelight can be seen beyond the forest glass windows. In contrast, the attached stables sit dark and empty--far from any road. 

A makeshift dock stands at the edge of the small landmass, contiguous with the short paved road that leads to the entrance of the inn and its stable. A sweet singing voice reaches the ears of travelers as they set foot on the dock, invoking feelings of inexplicable melancholy and nostalgia for a forgotten past.

The public areas of the lower floor of the inn consist of a small entry hall, the main bar, a courtyard and a private dining room. There are also baths and a laundry that can be accessed for a fee. The lower floor also houses a kitchen, a brewhouse, store rooms and accommodations for the innkeeper, Evelyn, and her husband Slade.

The main bar room contains tables and chairs, along with stools at the bar. A large fireplace is lit and gives off a cozy warmth when sat next to, but further away from the fire the bar room is balmy with hints of tropical fruit and spices carried on a cool breeze with no obvious source. The bar itself is generally nearly, or completely, empty save for Evelyn and Slade--there are no other staff.

The bar serves a variety of beverages of variable quality. The names of the drinks and their makers are unfamiliar to the PCs, save for the wine produced by the Monks of Order of the Insalubrious Decanter (Evelyn gets a good deal on this from the Monks, and has no need to purchase any from the PCs should they have acquired some, see encounter 16). The food available consists of a range of seafood caught fresh from the depths of the river, bat meat, mushrooms, and a range of fruits and vegetables that are unfamiliar to the PCs.

If questioned about the unusual fruits and vegetables they serve, or the beverages of unknown provenance, Evelyn and Slade will say that they are delivered regularly and always have been since they started operating the inn. They have never seen the person who makes the deliveries. 

Inside the main bar there is a small stage, dominated by what appears to be a painted marble and iron statue of a tall, ethereal woman, reminiscent of depictions of the elder fae. Closer inspection reveals that the statute is in fact an automaton of impeccable craftsmanship, and that it is the origin of the sweet singing voice. The singing continues sotto voce at all times, but if anyone listens intently the singing appears to them to increase in volume. If a person attempts to describe the lyrics or melody to another person, their perceptions will noticeably differ; however, it is not clear if this is a difference in what they are actually hearing or whether the aspects of the music that are important to each person simply differ.

If a PC listens intently to the automaton’s song, they will realise they know the song from some long lost memory (it may be their own, or somebody else’s) unremembered until now. If a player describes their character’s memory and the relevance of the song to that memory, the PC is filled with a mix of sadness and nostalgia and becomes immune to the effects of fear and mind-affecting spells for 2d6 days, and immediately recover up to 1d4 lost attribute points.

If asked about the automaton, Evelyn and Slade will inform the PCs that its name is Junebug, from which the inn derives its name, and that it was here long before they became owners of the inn.

Rooms can be purchased upstairs for a rate commensurate with the local economy outside of the Nightsky. However, when the PCs ascend the stairs to the second level of the inn, they are greeted with a strange sight indeed. The second floor is a single large room with a wooden floor and no windows. There is no roof and the timbres of the wall bend and stretch off into space in weird and impossible geometries. Above, a clear night sky, full of stars, stares back at the observer. If any PC is knowledgeable about astronomy or astrology they will immediately realise that this is open sky, not the cavern ceiling, and that the stars they can see do not match any known constellations.The exotic smells that were weakly apparent in the bar room suffuse the place.

If questioned about the situation upstairs, Evelyn and Slade will profess ignorance. If they accompany the PCs upstairs they will describe what they see as the second floor of the inn and walk around the room as if moving through doorways and avoiding furniture. If they speak or are spoken to, the sound will sometimes be muffled as if by invisible walls. If the PCs move through an area that Evelyn and Slade appear to regard as being blocked by walls, doors or furniture, they do not seem to notice.

If the PC’s are able to find a way over or beyond the walls of the room, they will find themselves in another place, another time or another world. This is left to the GM’s discretion.