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Czech New Wave as Gaming Inspiration

I watched The Firemen’s Ball recently and enjoyed it quite a bit. The way Forman extracts humor from the banality really struck me. It also reminded me of the Electric Bastionland mini-campaign I’ve been chewing on.

I mean, tell me this isn’t a Bastion Council at work.

The leadership of the local firemen, gathered around a table, looking at something off-camera.

You could just run the whole movie as a background thread while other things are going on. “Ah, no, Monsieur Bagatelle can’t speak right now, he’s at the Firemen’s Ball.” “Well, I’m willing to do you that favor, but you need to make sure my daughter wins the beauty pageant.” “Huh, when did that building burn down?”

But it also intersects nicely with the Piertown Borough ideas I’ve been toying with. Don’t read after the cut if you’re playing in my mini-campaign. By which I mean if you want to play in this, drop me a comment, I have two slots I need to fill.

A fireman's axe, with a commemorative plaque on the handle.

The first item of importance in the movie is this cool ceremonial fireman’s axe, which is going to be given to the fire department’s ex-President on the occasion of his 86th birthday. There’s some argument about whether or not that’s a good idea but that’s not important right now. Although seriously, see this movie, because it’s hilarious.

I have an NPC named Captain Vulp, who is currently leading an uprising of the Fisherman’s Guild against the Piertown Borough’s Council of Scales. I knew I wanted my first treasure hunt to revolve around him hiring the PCs, just to get them firmly situated in the political action.

So this is a cool weird item. In Piertown, the Council of Scales had it commissioned for Chief Stockl, the retiring President of the Fire Department, as a way to ensure that the Fire Department would remain in their corner. Unfortunately for them, it was promptly stolen by an unkindness of Mockery ravens, who are holed up near the Saurian Play Park.

Captain Vulp got word of this through mysterious Mockery backchannels, and is willing to arrange to clear £2,000 of the party’s debt if they can get the fire axe to him. He wants the Fire Department in his corner, or at the very least he doesn’t want them to ignore fires involving Fisherman Guild ships.

Also, since this is an interesting item, I’m going to say it’s an Oddity. Let’s give it some value in practical terms as well as sentiment. Captain Vulp does not feel the need to share this information.

Commemorative Fire Axe: when someone uses this axe to strike a wall, ceiling, or floor, it makes a hole large enough for a normal human to pass through. This only works on constructed buildings — no caves, no tents — and it only works if the building is in danger of burning down.

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