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Postfest XVII(Richfest 2012): The Sign of the Gibbeted Goblin
Posted on Thu, July 05, 2012 by Ullmaster
smillan_31 writes "The friendliest inn... well, really the only inn, in the village of Pelgaryn on the Wild Coast.


The Gibbeted Goblin – On the northern edge of the fishing village of Pelgaryn, where the Bay Road, North Bay Road, and North Route to Narwell all intersect is an inn; the only one in the area. For one hundred years the inn has stood there, though it has only carried the name it is now known by for the last odd fifty, and to tell the truth no one even remembers its original name. How it got its current name is an interesting tale, or at least an amusing one, if you are the kind of person to be amused by such things.

Until its recent subjugation by forces sworn to the Free City of Greyhawk, Pelgaryn was long known as a nest of brigandage, piracy and other unlawful professions. Granted, most of its inhabitants did sometimes engage in lawful fishing and farming, but few were left sore-tempted when the opportunity arose to make easy money through nefarious means. And on the occasion of a ship-wreck along the shore, even the most honest farmer and fisherman could not resist the chance to loot the flotsam washing ashore. It is to such an event that our tale relates, for in 540 CY, or thereabouts a ship was wrecked on the hook on the southern end of the small bay the village lies upon. The way it is told by the inhabitants of Pelgaryn, it was a lean pirate galley out of Blue in the Pomarj, though a passing ship reported the remnants matched the description of a fat carrack out of Scant that never made port in Hardby. Those not of the village have embellished the tale in the years that passed, accusing the inhabitants of drawing in the ship with false lights, although any reputable sailor will snort and shake his head at such tales, knowing that lights ashore are used to warn away and not beckon in. Whatever the truth the tales all agree on one fact, that there was only one survivor of the wreck, a small goblin, dressed as a sailor. Most took him to be something of a mascot, not believing one of his race could rise to the level of competent seaman. Regardless, the truth will never be known for the inhabitants of Pelgaryn gibbeted the creature straightaway, hanging him in a gibbet cage on the tree in front of the inn that is now named after him – the Sign of the Gibbeted Goblin (1).


Set back from the intersection of the roads, travelers coming into the inn-yard are greeted by the stable-boy, a freckled, tow-headed boy named Keen. He will lead all horses to the stable, which lies in back. The travelers may then enter the inn through the front door, over which hangs a sign, proclaiming its name and depicting a comically sorrowful goblin imprisoned inside a gibbet.


The first thing one usually notices when entering the bar is the chandelier, hanging over the center of the tap-room. It is constructed in the form of an iron gibbet-cage from which arms holding numerous lit oil lamps project. Inside the cage are the skeletal remains of the unfortunate namesake of the inn. The cage is not the original cage used to execute the goblin, that one having been constructed of wood, and long gone.


The second thing one sees is the innkeeper, standing behind the bar. He is a huge, scarred, bald brute of a man, known as Arn Mickelsen, though most know him as Thumb-less Mick. Rumor says that his real name is Arn Clawsen and he is the brother of the notorious pirate Solomon Clawsen(2). He is not really thumb-less, missing only that digit on his right hand. The tale is that the thumb was bitten off by his brother in a fight over loot. Unable to wield a cutlass or pull a rope, Arn lost his place among the crew and after some wandering retired to be the tap-man for the Goblin. He then inherited the business when the former owner passed away with no other heir. Of course no one repeats these rumors within his hearing, for whatever the truth, he has learned to used his left hand well enough. Whenever trouble breaks out he is not shy about wielding a huge bronze-bound cudgel that he blasphemously refers to as “Saint Cuthbert,” or simply “The Saint.” Despite this, Arn is an amiable enough man as long as one does start trouble, pry into his business or look too intently at his wife, Morra.


She is a middle-aged but still very attractive woman. Her pale skin and grey eyes, along with a head of curly black hair gives her an exotic appearance, and on previous occasions there had been more than a little trouble when patrons have gotten “grabby” with her. It is for this reason that she spends most of her time in the curtained kitchen behind the bar. Rumors say she is a witch, but no one can present the least shred of evidence for this other than tales about something unfortunate that happened to a distant relation’s wife’s sibling immediately after he or she argued with Morra. Most of the serving and cleaning is done by three young women – Willa, Tyne, and Dara-- who are orphans, like Keen, the stable-boy (3).


There are four tables with stools available on the floor of the tap-room, and two booths that seat four along the back wall beside the stairs. The customers in the tap-room are usually a mix of locals, having a drink, and the occasional traveler, stopping for the night. On the second floor are four rooms available for rent for 5 sp a night (3 gp for a full week). The rooms are fifteen by twenty feet and simply furnished with two beds with a chest at the foot of each. Between the heads of the beds is a small table with a simple oil lamp and wicks (oil soaked reeds) on it. The shelf beneath holds an earthenware pitcher full of water and a bowl for washing. Hot water for washing or a brazier full of hot coals to keep warm on cold nights may be obtained for additional cost (2 cp each).


If the upstairs seems small from the outside, it is because the back half is closed off from the rest of the floor and is reachable only by a set of stairs from the kitchen. This half holds the bedroom for Arn and Morra, as well as a room shared by the serving girls. No one besides Arn, Morra, and their employees are ever allowed back behind the bar or in this area.


Secrets: Arn is not the brother of Simon Clawsen, but is in-fact a former pirate. Known as Arn Firemane, for his flaming red hair, he served as the first mate and lover of the equally-notorious female pirate captain, Gravedigger Merci (4). When she ordered him to carry out the order to kill the crew members who had just buried their latest treasure haul, to keep its location secret, he refused. In the resulting melee he lost his thumb and went over the side of Merci’s galley when he was slashed across the head. It was presumed that he drowned in Woolly Bay. He doubtless would have if not for a timely rescue by a selkie, who carried him to shore and cast him up just south of Pelgaryn. Wandering into Pelgaryn he was able to find work on a fishing boat and later became the tap-man for the Gibbeted Goblin. During this time he was visited by the selkie, who had fallen in love with him, as he had fallen in love with her. Eventually she decided to come live on land, so she could be with him always. This, of course is Morra.


Arn has kept his head shaved since coming to Pelgaryn, wary of being recognized, especially considering the close ties many in the village had with Woolly Bay’s pirate community before the takeover by Greyhawk. He views the new rule and cleaning up of the village as a good thing, having become a somewhat law-abiding citizen. Still, he has never forgotten the treasure, and believes from the rumors he has tracked down, that Merci never did recover it. The regime change gives him hope that he might encounter a group of reputable adventurers who could be trusted to help him recover the treasure for a share of it. It is located in a series of caves in a sea stack known as Sekolah’s Tooth (5), which lies at the mouth of Blue Bay in the Pomarj. Morra does not like this plan, but seeing as Arn is determined to retrieve the treasure, is willing to use her supernatural abilities in any way she can help an expedition.




Note:
(1)This is inspired by the story of the Hartlepool Monkey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_hanger)

(2)Solomon Clawsen is mentioned as a legendary pirate of Woolly Bay in Slavers p. 37

(3)Much of the town’s adult population died in its subjugation by the forces of Greyhawk and Safeton, leaving a large part of the remaining population made up their orphaned children , Pelgaryn – Mysterious Places(http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=lg/lgmp/20071023a)

(4)Gravedigger Merci is also mentioned in Slavers pp. 37-38.

(5)By way of example of how I imagine Sekolah’s Tooth, I give you Ball’s Pyramid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball%27s_Pyramid), located east of Australia.


"
 
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Re: Postfest XVII(Richfest 2012): The Sign of the Gibbeted Goblin (Score: 1)
by Argon on Thu, July 05, 2012
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Smillian,

Another well written and researched article. Great story for an inn. Glad you could contribute your skills for this postfest.

Later

Argon



Re: Postfest XVII(Richfest 2012): The Sign of the Gibbeted Goblin (Score: 1)
by Phalastar on Fri, July 06, 2012
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Congratulations Smillan, a very enjoyable read. It makes me wish I did a bit more with the characters in my Inns. Most enjoyable and original.



Re: Postfest XVII(Richfest 2012): The Sign of the Gibbeted Goblin (Score: 1)
by SirXaris on Mon, July 09, 2012
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I agree with the others - this is a very well-written, succinct account of an exciting location in the World of Greyhawk.  Very nice job, smillan! :)

SirXaris



Re: Postfest XVII(Richfest 2012): The Sign of the Gibbeted Goblin (Score: 1)
by DrassustheGaunt on Wed, July 11, 2012
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Excellent work.






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