I've had this knocking around in my head since the beginning of October. I love Halloween and make a big deal of decorating the house/garden and have spent far too much money over the years on various decorations, (the big debate this year is should I buy the 6 ft animatronix Clown, how does it fit in with the gothic feel we go for with the Graveyard and the Feast of the Damned, things like Global Warming can wait LOL
So this stems from imagining what Halloween would be like if all of the things we imagine were real and they celebrated Halloween in the FR. And nobody bats an eyelid at the dichotomy of pretending that none of it is real for the purposes of Halloween when in fact all of it is. Plus of course, the main reason, BG is such fun to RP.
Based on the playthrough "The Partridge Family", my party takes a break from investigating Sarevok and the Iron Throne for Halloween in the City of Baldur's Gate. Oh, and somehow Korgan has found his way into BG and joined us, put it down to magic.Chapter OneTraditions
It was late afternoon when Ayla finally got away from the Thieves Guild after collecting her reward for helping out Narlen Darkwalk. People around her were hurrying home and she could smell woodsmoke on the air as she made her way back to the Elfsong Tavern where she was lodging with her companions. She'd gone on her own as the others made the thieves nervous, especially after they had dealt with the mage who tried to double cross them. That was partly the reason why she had agreed to take part in Narlen's various schemes, the rewards were meagre and she didn't need the money anyway. But better to keep them onside and she had to admit she had had fun running away from the Flaming Fist through the back alleys.
Still smiling at the memory and not really looking where she was going, she was suddenly accosted by two small children. "Trick or Treat" they called out hopefully, holding out a battered paper sack. She pulled up short and glared at them, "Oh no you don't, Halloween is tomorrow you cheeky monkeys". The pair looked crestfallen and mumbled something along the lines of not realising, thinking it was today and sorry and she wouldn't tell their Mum would she, please. Ayla relented, she wasn't really cross and they had shown a surprising amount of courage approaching her considering she was carrying two swords and a massive long bow across her back, let alone wearing the Shadow Armour and Balduran's Helm (after the mage debarcle it was prudent to be careful around the Thieves Guild). She fished out her purse and gave them a few coins with the warning not to let her catch them trying it on again. They ran off well satisfied and her thoughts turned to the following night's celebration. Halloween, and the first chance she had to celebrate it away from Candlekeep. A city no less, where there were people who actually wanted to celebrate it as opposed to Candlekeep where the efforts had been half hearted at best. Now all she needed to do was get her companions on board, that was going to be a struggle.
Ayla left it until after dinner when the wine and beer had been flowing for a time before she broached the subject of what the group was going to do for Halloween. She was met with polite (and not so polite) disinterest however much she enthused about how much fun they would all have. She decided on a different approach,
"So how do you celebrate Halloween in your countries?" she asked innocently knowing that boasting of their superior cultures was something few of them could resist.
"In the Underdark," Viconia pronounced (in the tone she aways used), "We have a great feast followed by ritual sacrifices to Lolth followed by an orgy... the usual." She paused before continuing, "Though some of the Matron Mothers do make an effort. They make carvings in the torsos of the sacrificed and stick a candle in the ribcage...just for the children of course."
At the mention of "Orgy", Edwin and Korgan had shown a spark of interest. But it was quickly extinguished as they, and the rest of us, tried hard not to imagine the scene Viconia described.
"Mmmm, not sure if that's going to be doable in Baldurs Gate, the FF would object for a start off" Ayla turned to Branwen, she could depend on Branwen, "you must do something in the Norheim Isles?" she asked.
"Oh yes, we too have a great feast and listen to stories and drink...a lot" she answered but without her usual enthsiasm.
"That sounds more like it, ghost stories around the campfire" Ayla replied brightly.
"Actually epic poems, epic poems in blank verse recited by the old men of the village that last for five hours or more. And it's always the same ones. That's why we drink, if you're lucky you can pass out before they get to the bit where the hero (always a man of course) descends to the hells to rescue somebody." Branwen explained in a morose tone before taking a large swallow of her wine and shuddering at the memory.
At this point Korgan spoke,
"So Lassie, yer want to hear a ghost story do you? I can tell you a tale of murder and betrayal that would make your blood run cold. You be typical long limbs, always looking outside for the darkness when what lives in the breast of men is far darker than anything you can imagine. I know, I have looked in the eyes of men and dwarves and watched them slaughter their own without pity or remorse for power or for the bloodlust that lives in all. When you've stood toe to toe with the darkness and felt it creep into your soul until the only thing you can do is pick up your axe and... "
"Yes, yes, yes, "interrupted Edwin rolling his eyes, "your father killed your mother, your uncle killed your father, yada, yada yada, we've heard it all before (numerous times I might add). Time to move on."
Grateful for the interruption, they had heard the tale many times as was said, usually when the beer had been flowing (and it always seemed to be flowing where Korgan was concerned), Ayla turned to Edwin,
"What do you do in Thay, I would think it's quite spectacular being so rich and civilised and all?"
Edwin puffed up at the thought of demonstrating his homeland's superiority, but then surprisingly seemed to deflate a little.
"Hmm, actually not much." He continued, "It's the necromancers you see, they have the Halloween rights, anybody found outside after dark they can harvest for fresh Minions. Tends to put a dampner on preceedings. Not that they would dare attack other Red Wizards. But there's unspoken agreement amongst the Zulkirs that let's them get on with it. Truth be told they usually don't get out much and can be a little strange (that and their personal hygeine leaves much to be desired)".
"Sounds worse than the Underdark, What do the non wizards do?" asked Viconia.
"Stay indoors, lock the doors and windows and pray I suppose", Edwin shrugged, "I don't concern myself with the inferior classes."
Realising that any enthusiasm for Halloween was rapidly disappearing amongst these horror stories, Ayla turned to Kivan as a last hope to rekindle the mood she had been hoping to create, and a desperate hope it was considering who she was asking,
"Kivan. Eleves. They know how to celebrate what with their frolicking nature and culture and stuff, what do you do?"
The deadpan look Kivan directed at her told her all she needed to know and she wished she could take the words back, this was going to be bad, very bad. In a mourneful voice that wouldn't have been out of place at a funeral, Kivan addressed them,
"We remember our dead and consider ourselves cursed for still being alive."
Well, at least it was short she supposed and she tried hard to ignore the heavy silence that had fallen on the table as the party stared into their drinks before taking large swigs and draining the glasses. Not for the first time Ayla wondered how she had ended up with these companions, more worrying was the thought that she rather liked them. She had always considered herself normal, but what did that say about her? Taking a fortifying gulp of her wine, she decided to brazen it out, diplomatically of course,
"Well, moving on from your helpful contributions, thankyou everybody for those, I think it's about time you embraced the culture of the Sword Coast and take part in a traditional Halloween. I have tickets for the gig Eldoth is playing with his band at the Helm and Cloak but before that we should get dressed up and go out Trick or Treating."
She didn't mention that was usually considered something only the children did. But on the other hand, with their current reputation for good (and a few not so good) deeds and excessive violence, who would refuse them a few sweets? She looked at her companions, none of them seemed impressed,
"And I will pick up the bar tab" she added.
That got through, and as each of them gestured to the waiting staff for refills and "bottles of your best wine, My Good Man/Women" smirking as they did so. Ayla thought to herself, for smart people they really are dumb when it comes to remembering that their party leader was also the party thief.