What the Plot?
|Picturesque Sketches of London (1852) by Thomas Miller|
A lot of adventuring in a town like London happens in the street. Sure, you could try for encyclopedic knowledge and describe ALL THE STREETS. But you can also make a few nice tables. Which allows you to introduce a lot more of oddities that the encyclopedic approach.
So if you need a place to meet, your players follow someone that goes into a building, a recurrent question will be: “what’s on the other side of the street?”,then roll on the table and improvise!
As always, Odd numbers are odd encounters.
|A tidy entrance to a stone house with a rosewood plaque: “Heinrick Burke, Alienist & Lobotomist, Research in Scientific, Clinical & Chirurgical Neurology”|
|This manor was a nice residence, before Francis Augustus, Lord Heathfield let it derelict. The wind howls through the walls, or are these noises made by ghosts?|
|A Torii (japanese gate) opens to a wasteland. A rumor says that on full moon nights, the gate shimmers with white energy and people step out of it...|
Sound of fanfare and horses come from this enormous building: “Astley's Amphitheatre”, master equestrian, entrepreneur, and showman.
A porter stands before a pub and invite to enter and have a refreshment. He addresses everyone by their name, adding a Random Title to their name
This little shop is tiny, narrow, and full of shelves overloaded with paper. At his pulpit, in the middle sits: “Augustin Leaden, public writer and copyist"
A bank of thick fog obscures the view of this address. 10 paces into the fog, you fall into the Thames near the pier of a warehouse of the east indian company
Loud metal smithing noise, a smell of soot and some neighing horses can be heard coming out of this workshop of the Worshipful Company of Farriers
A fountain looms over an old wash house. Throw a shilling in the fountain and it disappears. Next morning, you wake up a year older but with a £ in your pocket
A feather shop, full of colors from peacock feathers, but also white from geese feathers for pillow-making. Lots of fine people wear feathers on their hat.
This house looks like all walls are made of mirrors. The reflections you see are very gloomy and all beings but yourself are reflected as zombies
This building looks like a fortress, complete in stone and iron bars. Soldiers patrols the perimeter. Over the gate: “Embassy of the Kingdom of Syldavia"
This building is carved in a gigantic mushroom. The mushroom doesn’t seem to suffer from being carved and is supposedly occupied by a coven of witches
Before you stands a replica of 8000 years of history: the Sphinx on a smaller scale. It houses a prosperous Kilim shop: “Aladdin's stunning carpets imports"
This plain looking house cancels all noises in front of itself. You even cannot hear your heart beating or anything said. A celebrated hotel opened opposite to it
An artisanal dwarf smith from Scafell Pike works out of this address. He has a roomy workshop, his metalwork being in great demand in London’s high society
On the wall of the house, a “Wanted”-poster hangs with your face on it. Everyone sees his own face on that poster, but with a different reward in U.S. dollars
This loud place is a renowned workshop for music instruments. “Fratelli Ferrari’s Mandolins and Bagpipes” is the place to buy an exotic instrument
A person hangs willingly on a cross over the door of “Christabel’s exorcism and unburdening boudoir”. People getting off the cross are miraculously cured
This very busy place is staging post combining a pub, hotel and stables which allow horses to be unhitched and replaced with fresh one, during daylight
Anytime an arcanum is used in this street, the bells of this derelict “Antithaumaturgic Church of England & Salem” starts to ring a gloomy melody
A strange colored cloud smokes out of the furnace of this kludgy repaired ramshackle. A gas lantern reads: “Jason Galwax, genius Inventor & Alchemist"
A buzzing sounds originates from the roof: Aldwin Bjornbuzzle sells here honey. His bees seem to never attack anyone unless ordered to...
The best armored clothes of the City are made here, invisible under garments! O’brien’s: neither the prettiest nor the most protective, but the best compromise!
This halfling Tattoo shop is renowned for its moving tattoos. They have a life of themselves, are self-conscious, and leave their hosts if they feel disregarded
The Clockwork-house ticks all the time. It indicates the time in different places, time zones, some you never heard of… This is also a watchmaker’s shop...
This house is burning. Always has been burning since 1666. It seems it will never stop to burn. The smoke can be used to find your way through London
Here stands a 5m high statue of “Sir” Jeffrey Dunstan, “Mayor of Garrat”. He holds a wig in his hand and makes fun at the Tower Bridge
This small house with garden would be lovely if not for the fact that it’s covered with spider silk. Rumors go that the monster is big enough to eat humans
Inside this colossal Orangerie, you see verdoyant & wild-growing jungle plants. The gardeners tending the orangerie always walk in armed with a machete.
A Baobab, exactly as broad as a house, takes up this lot. A house is carved inside it, but Goutysnarl doesn’t mind. He’ll douse any fire magically, though...
This slaughterhouse has a black market, in the back, only open between sundown and midnight. You can get human flesh there. Ask for white venison...
Only people who have brought a cat to purr in the last 7 days can see this temple to Bastet. Luckily there are a lot of cats around this “invisible” house...
This shop sells mushrooms, fungi, bottled spores, yeasts, toadstools… Edible or not. Apparently, they are grown under the Big Smoke. In the Sewers?
An venerable oak supports a derelict treehouse, accessible by a ladder of braided evergreen vines, only climbable by invitees and persons of interest to the Faes...
A small pier and a derelict warehouse stand on the side of a narrow canal to the Thames, under the neighbouring houses. This is only used at night by smugglers
- This is a reference to Johann Gottlieb Burckhardt (24 December 1836 – 6 February 1907), a Swiss psychiatrist. This is highly anachronistic, most of the research in psychology and neurology starts with Freud at the end of the 19th century. But who doesn’t like a good transorbital lobotomy?
- A very wild growth of a mix of rose and strawberry starch make it impossible to get to the manor without ripping your clothes. The smell of the garden is refreshing, though...
- A Torii generally signals the entrance of a Shinto shrine. This one leads (if open) to steps in the middle of a forest in Usa Jingū, Ōita Prefecture.
- Historically, this place was in Westminster Bridge Road in Lambeth. Philip Astley (8 January 1742 – 27 January 1814) is regarded as the "father of the modern circus"
- He uses an arcanum that let him know the True Name of anyone he speaks to. The title can be his own imagination or also given by the arcanum, as you prefer
- Not everyone can properly read in the lower classes, but letters are the only cheap way to stay in touch with relatives
- The guards of the honourable east indian company will probably not be welcoming unless you have a very good excuse, or the means to bribe them
- The Worshipful Company of Farriers is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Farriers, or horseshoe makers, organised in 1356 and received a Royal Charter of incorporation in 1674. At the beginning of the 19th century, they are extremely important to the economy, since horse and windpower are the backbone of the industry. Steam-power is still quite experimental…
- Do not tell your players right away that they age a year, describe muscle and joints aching, maybe a few new white hairs or some balding. If they use the fountain regularly for monetary purposes, MAKE THEM PAY!
- In London 1814, the pollution of the air is such that everyone wears a hat to protect their hair. Feathers are a good way to personalise or decorate your hat.
- Will you ever be able to trust the other members of your party after seeing their zombieface?
- This is a reference to a fictional Balkan country that is part of the universe of “The Adventures of Tintin”. If you are interested, read on wikipedia: Syldavia
- Think more like morrowind mushrooms than smurf mushrooms. The witches are descendants from witches that fled Salem over 150 years ago
- A chase on the roof of the street could lead to a character or NPC to unintentionally break the nose of this wonder
- The house actually EATS all noises and grows, minimally, with every noise made in front of it. The house loooves gunshots. “The unwinding sleep hotel”, on the other side of the street refuses any client that behave loudly, since the silence of the street does not expand into the hotel
- The Scafell Pike dwarves are secluded but loyal subjects of the crown. They inhabit the highest “mountain” of England and their craftdwarfship with metal is known all over the Empire.
- Paranoid, beware ! If your players are a tad jumpy, take each one apart to tell them what’s on the poster. Let the paranoid games begin!
- The Ferrari Brothers existed in the 19th century and were celebrated mandolin creators, but operated out of Napoli (Italy). This could be a cousin with scottish ties, or a plain impostor selling knockoffs
- The cure only lasts for 40 days, unless the “patient” strictly adheres to the fasting rules of the christian Lent (40 days). Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem “Christabel” (written between 1797 & 1801) has influenced the development of vampire fiction
- If you want to know more about Stage or Relay stations, check the description of this very important establishment before the steam age: The Swan with Two Necks
- The “Antithaumaturgic Church of England & Salem” is against all forms of magic and miracles unless cast by Jesus Christ. Good luck explaining to these witch burners that you ARE the son of god, reborn or otherwise
- Jason is very good at producing laxatives and sleep potions. Apart from that he experiments a lot. Explosions occur regularly. He has not yet thought of weaponizing the explosion power yet…
- Aldwin is an old Elf, a former Fey-king from Scandinavia. Any kind of druidic power you can imagine, he possesses. His mission is to help the last flowers of London survive…
- O’brien is a mercenary smith that has seen all the conflict zones of the empire, repairing arms and armors all around the world. In Zambesi, he bought a slave that he later on married. She’s learned to tailor clothes with the best masters in London and knows the art of combining textile with protective armor, without emcumbering the wearer nor damaging too much the look of the vestment.
- The quill used by Nibelung Målarson is an Arcanum. It is in his family since the time an Ice Queen gifted it to his grand-father, as his tribe, the Rus’, saved scandinavia from a dragon. He is in his 12th reincarnation since his family and quite bothered, since whether his father nor his grandfather have been rebirthed (or not found since the rebirth)
- The clocks show the time in very strange places on small side clocks, like in “Skavenblight”, “Agartha”, “Hesperides”, “Camelot”, “Thule”, or have strange clocks like the one for “Warhoon” (Capital of Mars/Barsoom) which is 37 minutes longer than a normal clock, another one with 85H12Min named “Sidon” (Capital city of the moon Europa), a clock including the seasons for “Arcadia”, and “Gehinom” which only counts up, endlessly, the number of hours, days, months and years since the opening of the gates of hell (if traced back, the clocks shows January 18th 749 A.D. to be the date where they opened - 1065 years before 1814). The clockmaker is Andreas Junior Schindel, a descendant of the maker of the Prague astronomical clock.
- This house started burning during the Great Fire of London in 1666 (historical). It was Thomas Farriner’s bakery. He left an arcanum unattended, that started to produce massive amounts of flour, which ignited when it came near the oven. The arcanum continues to produce highly flammable flour
- “Sir” Jeffrey Dunstan was a wig maker and was Mayor of Garrat. For more information on the Garrat Elections, read : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrat_Elections. There was historically never a statue made to the image of “Sir” Jeffrey Dunstan
- The gigantic phase spider that lives in the basement of the house since she got through the Veil per accident. She only gets out to eat what her nets fang. She is very discreet about it. She is able to teleport up to 50 m with each “jump” and will only fight to defend the eggs she is brooding in the cellar. The neighbourhood may be eradicated once the army of small phase spiders hatch…
- This building is an industrial sized Orangerie producing the citrus fruits that Buckingham palace devour every breakfast. The royalty spares no cost to keep this place heated over 25°C at any time and very damp.
- Goutysnarl was brought back from Australia (the penitentiary colony) by a reformed thief that had made friends with some aborigenes… His deeds might have been redeemed by his exile, but his victims had not forgotten his deeds and took revenge on him. After they burned down his house, the gigantic tree grew within a week
- “Boyd’s finest meats” also sells very cheap meats, provided you do not ask for the origin. Their “Spiced kibble” is composed of rat, dog, cat and other mammals meat, mixed with beef, pork or wild game, to cover the strange taste. Still, it’s a secret where the meat comes from (Zoogs are frequent suppliers)
- This house is completely invisible and if anyone tries to touch it while not seeing it, something happens to distract them (two cats fight or attack someone, a cat comes nearer to be petted, a pyramid of vegetables from the nearest stands collapses, …)
- The owner of the shop, Christiaan Hendrik de Schweinitz, is a grumpy old man with a rattish nose. He will never disclose any information on the use or effects of the fungi, but will sell them. Any fungus can be bought or ordered there (but it can take up to 6 months for exotic mushrooms to be delivered) by using its vernacular or scientific name.
- This is the place of residence of the Raven King, a legendary Fey Lord. The house is much bigger from the inside, a real palace. Being allowed inside means a wealth of trouble in the future. Humans are the favorites pawns of the immortals...
- At the beginning of the 18th century, the government collected a lot of its income from customs taxes, paid on the import of tea, cloth, wine and spirits. Such taxes were high, up to 30%. Smuggled goods were a lot cheaper. This pier is operated by the Water Snakes, a ruthless gang dealing in contraband tea and opium (which gives them some monetary power they can use to bribe officials)
So which one was your favorite?Write it in the comment section!
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