Day 5-Intelligence Test
Another body is discovered in the countryside, again brutally mutilated. The priestess of the Crone, upon examining the body at the temple, notices that the bite marks suggest a human-like set of teeth. If a Character suggests a Gherent attack, the priestesses thoughtfully confirms this as a plausible supposition, although werewolves and other creatures could not be ruled out. The townsfolk are really incensed now, because this victim was a local woman, not an itinerant showgirl. Rumor, however, continues to suspect Samadrian troopers or guards. (Now that he has tasted fresh blood, the Gherent's hunger has become harder to control.) With another delay, the contests begin under a cloud of mourning. To keep things interesting, the GM should make a secret INT roll for each Character and perhaps even every contestant. Anyone making the roll by 4 or more remembers that they saw the character who is the Gherent leaving an Inn or Tavern with this woman last night. Anyone who fails the roll by 4 or more should be given the name of one of the other major NPCs as the person they recall seeing the girl with during the previous evening. (Players should not know the actual number rolled on behalf of their Character, so as to sustain suspicions).
The Intelligence Test
What the Priestesses Say
Butterfly Girl's suitors sought to impress each other with their intellects, and would often hold great riddling contests. As the suitors drank and feasted; each tried to outdo his companions in posing the cleverest riddle or the most pleasing toast. You too have a chance to demonstrate the quality of your wit in the Intelligence Test. This event was once a riddling contest, similar to those traditionally played when rival shiplords meet for the first time. (Competitors who found themselves consistent losers in cerebral tussles, began bringing more and more alcohol to the Houndsgor riddling contests. Good-natured locals acknowledge that, though the modern Intelligence Test is a travesty of the original form of the contest, the current version is greatly preferred by the public.) Whatever it might have been, it is now mostly a drinking contest and one of the most popular events. The rules are simple. The competitors sit at a long table, and each one composes a poem, or asks a riddle. All apart from the one who first guesses right or whose poem is best, drink a large mug of ale. If no-one guesses right, all except the one who posed the riddle drink. What normally happens though is that after multiple rounds, it simply degenerates into a drinking contest with the contestants sitting and drinking round after round. This goes on until they pass out. The last person conscious wins, and receives three points. The second to last person to slip under the table earns two points; the third-last earns one point. While vomiting earns the vociferous derision of the spectators, it does not disqualify that contestant.
A list of suitable riddles the GM can use for NPC contestants are here.
'Consume Alcohol' Ability
This is a simple CON roll. Other constitution based skills might also be available at a penalty if the GM agrees (such as Resistance). The roll may be modified by Life support (immunity to toxins).
Pint by Pint
The beer consumed in this contest is barley beer, brewed locally. It has been deliberately watered down, to make the contest last longer. The alcohol accumulates in the drinker's system as long as the drinker continues to drink, and each pint adds 1 to the dice for the CON roll that is made as the last of the pint is drained. No rolls are required until the number of pints drunk equals one half of the drinker's (possibly adjusted) CON.
3 under CON roll
The drinker doesn't even notice the effect, and immediately reaches for another tankard
2 under CON roll
With nary a pause for breath, the drinker grasps another beer
CON Roll made exactly
Hesitating only to let out a resounding belch, the drinker bravely proceeds with the contest
1 over CON roll
Looking slightly green around the gills, the drinker nonetheless proceeds manfully
2 over CON roll
The audience holds its breath. This competitor isn't looking well. He grips the table and takes a few uneven breaths, but then settles down. That was close!
3 over CON roll
Oh! Back it comes! The drinker hurls the contents of his stomach onto the ground, and the last pint he drank is disallowed. (This still adds the +1 to the Con Roll dice)
4 over CON roll
The competitor's eyes defocus and he slumps slowly forward onto the table and begins to snore
5 over CON roll
Yuk! With a rather unsightly display of regurgitation, the competitor collapses backwards off the bench and is carried unconscious from the field
Contestant Strategies in the Intelligence Test:
Carylon - He has +4 due to his enchanted armband and can use his "True Grit" ability, giving him a CON roll of 17-.
Promidor - He has no magic to help him here: he'll just have to chug it down as best he can. His CON roll is 12-.
Vathmar - His famous gift from the Forest Man comes to the fore - he has a CON roll of 16-. During the revel, Vathmar boasts that he's sorry there aren't any Samadrians around, "Cos I just love killing those heeereetics, hic!"
Myrrhyn - With the benefits of the Stormapple (see below) he gets a +3 to his CON roll of 12-. If the spiking barrels cheat works, he gets a further +3 bonus.
Sir Barharach - In his enthusiasm, Sir Barharach turns up to the event already well lubricated - but he too is fortified, having recently eaten the unripe stormapple he secreted in his clothing during the Qurrock Race. The consequence of this has been to raise his CON rolls by +3 points to 15-. He is not totally immune to Alcohol, but has truly astounding capacity - roll for his "immunity to alcohol": on a 14- do not count that drink.
Jarst Daro - Like Promidor his magic cannot help him here. However he has a stormapple, so his roll is 15-.
Samadrian Trick - The Samadrians stole an unripe Stormapple, and now have the same advantage as Sir Barharach. The only way to halt this trick would be to steal the Stormapple from Agrestis, and prevent him obtaining another. If the barrels were spiked, add +3 to Myrrhyn's CON. This is due to the addition of a toxic substance to which Myrrhyn alone is given the antidote.
Gherent's Trick - The Gherent has also stolen a Stormapple. He goes all out to win maximum points, and gains the +3 bonus to CON rolls.
The Intelligence Test Prize:
It chagrins the priests of the Sage who sponsor this event to think that their Intelligence Test has degenerated into a drunken revel. Nevertheless, they still offer the services of the Cult of the Sage at the Kasshert Temple free to the winner for one year. (This is taken to mean letter writing and translation services, as well as answers to simple queries. However the winner may instead choose to learn any single KS, PS or AK, they can teach) Perhaps more widely appreciated is the keg of barley beer the local brewers throw in. The thirsty crowd expects this keg to be tapped that night while the winner toasts his victory.
Vathmar, worried about the murders, gets a room at the Bartered Beast.
If Cathilion was satisfied with the Character's performance yesterday, he approaches him again. The official would like him to act as his "runner" for the rest of the tournament, and will give him a small purse containing five Sails for the favor.
Tiring of her present beau, Lady Jezra invites another Character to be her escort at a Samadrian-sponsored feast tonight at the Bartered Beast. If the Character accepts, a furious Lord Raus privately offers him 150 Sails to leave town tonight. The spurned Character, subtly misled by an Evil GM into thinking that Raus has forbidden Jezra from seeing him, may courageously confront Raus and cause a scene. If Jezra's new paramour ignores her father's threat and attends the feast, Jezra does her energetic best to ensure that they are caught in 'flagrante delicto' sometime during the evening, hopefully by both the Lord and the spurned Character.
At the same feats at the Bartered Beast, A local lass (obviously miffed because she wasn't selected to be Harvest Queen) snidely remarks to a Character that "perhaps Melisande shouldn't be in that white dress - after all, the maiden selected is meant to be, as they say, a maiden." Her accusations are groundless, but an out-of-towner bandying such hearsay about might find himself confronted by young Melisande's burly older brothers Mort, Mack, Mick, and Mart.