The Rules, as remembered by Vitenka, and less politely stated than is entirely proper:
Start a round by requesting an explanation of an implausible adventure.
The adventurer tells his tale. Pausing periodically to take refreshment.
Others may interject a limited number of times. This number shall be twice. Hold a count of this.
The interjection may not directly contradict events as stated - but may add almost anything.
You may imply that the events stated to date are implausible. "But sir, aren't you allergic to cheese?" The intent is to leave the storyteller a way to explain.
It is highly impolite to ever accuse a gentleman of lying. Blood may be spilt.
The teller has a similar limited resource in their companions. People of great and unusual prowess in limited fields. These companions play a great part in overcoming the obstacles.
(Practically speaking, although they were in game represented by tokens, they add nothing since the teller can introduce any story element they please anyway, so I'm omitting that. They remain for flavour only.)
Should a teller find himself unable to explain how he escaped a particular situation, another person seated at the table may help him out by reminding him how it was overcome. "Ah, but the cheese had been made by orangutans" They take a token from the tale teller (thus allowing them another interjection later.)
Once all tales have been told, people decide upon the best tale teller.
For online play, I (Vitenka still) suggest the following changes:
Start with two tokens.
Interrupting gives the player you interrupt a token.
Everyone plays their stories at once.
To clarify: in the absence of interruption, is this at the rate of a few sentences per edit, a couple of edits per day, or some such? --AC
I think I meant both - don't paste in something huge in one go, and don't paste in too fast - so as to give people a chance to interrupt. Though I guess it's a lot less hard to go back and interrupt what someone said yesterday in this format, so it may not matter too much. --Vitenka (I'm aiming at a post a day)
That should keep things moving...
MoonShadow kicks off with: "So, Vitenka: Won't you tell us about the time you singlehandedly prevented a zombie apocalypse armed with nothing but a kitten?"
Why, MoonShadow, that old story? Well, if you insist. It began, as all such things do, not with a "Eureka" but with a "Hmm, that's funny." I speak, of course, of my almost accidental discovery of the de-necrotising gel.
As is traditional when discovering the dread secrets of science that man was not meant to know, I was in the bath, practising my 'Eureka' (one has to be prepared) when the telephones fell tones reminded me that I had forgotten my appointment with Prince Philip.
Vitenka kicks off with: "Your hat is very shiny this morning, Alex - would you care to remind us of why the empress of Bavaria honoured you with it?"
Ah, my hat. Many are the occasions I have been congratulated on it, even by those not aware of its Bavarian origins. The story started, you'll recall, when I was actually travelling through Switzerland, with my butler and his tightrope-walking wife, to visit my second cousin once removed. Dear old Perkins normally manages to co-ordinate our travel arrangements so well, but on this occasion we did find ourselves on a steam train heading to quite the wrong part of Europe.
ElliottBelser wishes to formally congratulate ChrisHowlett, his Excellency the Duke (duke duke duke) of Earl (duke duke duke) on his fine taste in games, and wishes to ask him to regale us of the tale in which he singlehandedly sunk the entire Spanish Armada armed with nought but a sausage.
Why, of course. It all took place in the year 1576, and I think I had best start in the April of that year. I was boarding in Portsmouth after my adventures hunting Yeti in the orient. I had just sat down to my morning coffee, with Mrs Bigsworth the housekeeper busily preparing my breakfast in the kitchen, when there came a knock at the door. When I opened it, who should I see there but the press - and not the sort that wanted to write newspaper stories about me!
Well, I had nothing much else doing, and I thought I should help out old England where I could, so I was picking up my coat and telling the fine chaps that I'd see them on the docks in 10 minutes, when Mrs Bigsworth called through that "it was looking right parky out, and wouldn't Sir be better to have a good hot meal in him before he went?" Well, obviously, the dear lady had a point; but it wouldn't do to keep the RN waiting, so I asked her to wrap it in paper to take with me. This she did, and I set out carrying a somewhat greasy parcel containing two rashers of bacon, some fried bread, a large flat mushroom and... the sausage.
Now, Mrs Bigworth is, by-and-large, and excellent cook, but the dear lady can't cook a sausage for all the tea in China. For some reason, she feels that the poor things need to be fried for a good hour before they're quite done, and the result is a shrivelled blackened thing that would shatter your teeth, and then stick in your belly quite indigestibly.
Your Excellency, I was under the impression that Mrs. Bigsworth was formerly Miss Rosenberg, raised as a member of the Jewish persuasion - and that to this day she neither eats nor cooks pork because of it. This seems to be a fairly odd contradiction... - ElliottBelser
You are not wrong, and I should clear that matter up. What you are perhaps unaware of is that Mrs Bigsworth - née Rosenberg - has a brother, who happens to run a very fine Kosher butchery in Portsmouth. I don't pretend to understand how he does it, but Mrs Bigsworth assures me that he does a very nice line in beef sausages, all prepared in accordance with their laws.
I see, your Excellency: I shall have to look into their culinary practices. Do continue.
AlexChurchill tips his Bavarian hat to ElliottBelser, and casually mentions, "Isn't that your family coat of arms upon your pipe? Tell me, I heard that it once got you in quite a spot of trouble with a detective and the head of an African tribe - could you tell us how that happened?
Nasty business, that. I was going on safari at the time, hoping to acquire some ivory for a quite lovely woman directly from the source (said source being an elephant), when I came upon the scene of a grisly murder: a Frenchman, shot dead, then stabbed with an elaborate glass knife for good measure.
ChrisHowlett raises a glass to Pallando, commenting "An absolutely capital claret this, wouldn't you say? Which rather reminds me, I never did hear the full story of that little contretemps in Bordeaux with those Dutch rapscallions. How was it that you managed to get away with that exquisite Raphael in the end?"
Capital indeed, my friend. At least the equal, I'd wager, of the bottle I shared with the Pasha three years ago. Your cellars are of the very finest. And speaking of deep holes, so to speak, that is how the affair began. I was out riding with Count Castiglione near his estates just north of Bordeaux in the hilly countryside by the coast. A vast gentleman, I think I have never met his equal as a trencherman, for he ate 12 courses where others would have a light breakfast, and enough for a small company of soldiers at other meals, such that his side board required especial reinforcement, not to fall in two with the weight. However he remained spry, putting this agility down to the quality of the local water, which also goes to explain why the wine pressed on his estate sells so well.
It was a chill morning, near the start of Autumn, slightly misty, and as we topped a small rise there came to us a noise of some distress, both animal and a confounded clanging, from behind a thicket of brambles. Dismounting and cutting our way in with sabres we came upon a most extraordinary sight. Sprouting from the ground, like Athena springing from Zeus, rose up a bull. Or rather, half a bull, but still very much alive, with wicked horns and a snort that would make hardened Cossacks take back a step or two.
"My prize Miuras! My precious Ibericus fighting bull!" cried Castiglione, "What mischief is this?"
Truly he was distraught; such was his love for his beast that great steaming tears streamed down his face, turning the clay to mud beneath our feet. "Hold hard", I responded. "Let us investigate.". We approached with care, or so we thought, but luck was not on our side. As we neared the bull there was a groan, followed by a loud CRACK, and the ground gave way beneath us (spurred I think by my friend's most imposing stature, though I would never say anything against it for it saved us all in the end, as you will soon hear). Pulling to our feet, we perceived ourselves to be in a long cave, sloping deep down further into the hill to the west and sloping steeply up to the east where the main entrance pit was entirely blocked by the hind quarters of the bull, and a fair measure of fragrant droppings produced by the distressed animal. Fifteen feet directly above us, the cave roof was broken where we had fallen in, illuminating the scene.
For hours we argued on the best course of action, even resorting to drawing diagrams on the wall with our sabres using wet clay. No amount of pushing would shift the animal, we could not reach the hole above, and the Count would not hear of slaying the bull, claiming that any death short of facing a matador and having an equal chance to kill back would be far too ignoble an end for such a spirited champion. Finally we resolved to explore unto the reaches of the cave's utmost tenebrosity, to search for other exits and so seek assistance. Binding some of the dried droppings to my saber, with a strip cut from the Count's cloak, I used my eye glass to focus the rays of the now fully risen sun, setting it alight.
In the flickering light from this improvised torch we trod deeper, past fathomless crevices, vaulted halls with dripping fangs that would do credit to any dragon and many a wonder that those who live only on the surface of this good Earth would ne're admit possible, such were their beauty and strangeness. Ever deeper we delved, guided by a faint breeze and the slightest whiff of salt upon it. The trickling sound of water grew a little stronger as time passed, which gave hope. But also did the torch burn lower, and that to me seemed a greater threat.
"Shall we return and slay your bull, Count Castiglione?" I asked, "For a decision must be made. If we do not start back now, I fear our light shall fail before we surface, and without being able to see the bull pictures you have used to mark the path back, I know that I for one will not be able to remember the turnings."
"Not though we rotted here a thousand years" he replied adamantly, "Besides, is that not a voice ahead that I hear singing?" Baron MoonShadow, last year a minstrel visiting my castle related a tale of how you won a singing samovar from Baba Yaga in a wager, and how you escaped her vengeance to return it to the rightful owner using a golden spinning spindle, a silver weaving shuttle and a wooden carding comb. But the confounded fellow got so drunk on mead he told half of it in Yiddish, and the other half while striding around the room trying to enact a battle using salt cellars to mark the positions of various forces. Come, have pity and tell the tale aright!
Harumph! Yes, well, I had been hoping to keep that one close to the chest, as it happens, but mead will talk, I guess. It was the winter before last, I believe - aye, the very dark of winter, when the nights are long and the frost bites hard; the month of dreadful ice that chills the very bones. The time that is best spent before a roaring fire, with a tumbler of hot glintwine or glogg and a warm blanket close by; as, indeed, I was doing the night the knock came at my door.
He was a sorry, bedraggled sight: ragged clothing that would've been far too thin for the season were it new; frost on his eyebrows and in his hair - for, aye, the fellow had naught to cover his head! - and I do fancy his fingertips were starting to go blue. I did not wait for him to speak - there is only one thing a man in his state could possibly desire. In I dragged him, and straight to the banya I had had heating for myself since that afternoon. Ah, but did his eyes light up! If ever I saw a man half-dead come alive again, it was then. Off his clothes went, and on the hot rocks went the water; his face was shrouded in clouds of steam, a bliss-filled look upon it. I went to fetch the vodka and the birch switch; he was glowing quite pink by the time I returned.
Sometime later as he lay, having once more rejoined the race of the living, spread before me on the rug by the fire, a tumbler in hand, I felt my burden of hospitality was discharged for the moment, and asked him if all was well with him now.
"I am grateful for all you have done for a travelling stranger in the cold", the man said, "but I can never again, I fear, be happy, though it is no fault of yours. For she has taken my kapelyush, my coxcomb - my very soul; what is a minstrel without that?"
"Aiya! Who could do such a cruel thing to a fellow; and in this season, too?" I asked.
"The crone, the alter machashaifeh, the wizened one in the hut on chicken legs in the forest - aye, in this very forest, for she has come to winter here this season; Baba Yaga herself!"
Now, as you all well know, I have had my dealings with Baba Yaga before now. The old biddy, curmudgeony as she sometimes may be, is not all she seems; I knew something was rotten here.
"Come", I said to him; "why don't we go and see if we can do something about that? I'll lend you some warm clothes."
"What", he gasped, "now?"
"Seems like the perfect time. It's nearly time for the evening meal, and whatever else she is, she is a good cook. Her schi with klyotzki is to die for."
"Aye, and many do. Those funny foreign herbs she uses, they turn the head."
"Oh, pishtosh. Don't be such a wimp. A little chervil aids the digestion."
I shuffled him along to the wardrobe; and eventually, properly attired for the weather, we set off.