In honor of April Fool’s Day, I’m devoting this post to frivolity and fun.
Last month saw the launch of my first full-length tabletop roleplaying game, The Curse of Er’Mah’Gerd. As the title strongly suggests, this fantasy adventure doesn’t take itself too seriously, and no character embodies the game’s cheeky, lighthearted spirit like the player character Tom Foolery.
A missionary of a mischievous goddess, this prankster dwarf comes equipped with skills that make him not only a threat to Good Company’s enemies, but also a nuisance to his own teammates at times. Yes, Tom Foolery loves a good laugh. (Hopefully, you do too!)
The Curse of Er’Mah’Gerd is packed with a plethora of playful puns, so for 4/1, here’s the 4-1-1 on Tom Foolery’s favorites:
The best medicine
Those who have read The Lost Tale of Sir Larpsalot, my YA fantasy novel and inspiration for the new TTRPG, know that Tom Foolery is classified as a clerogue—half rogue and half cleric. He serves Quinlehar, the chaotic neutral goddess of change, freedom, and pranks.
Since Quinlehar is sometimes called the Divine Fool, it is only appropriate that her name is an anagram of the word “harlequin.” According to myth, Quinlehar delights in confounding mortals and is often depicted as a nimble jester clad in black-and-white fabric of every pattern imaginable. Her presence is heralded by the jingling of unseen bells or a disembodied chuckle.
Tom Foolery champions Quinlehar’s capricious attributes with such spells as can-trip, a minor conjuration that causes an enemy (or ally) to fall prone, and whoopee concussion, which sends a thunderous sound resembling flatulence out in every direction to deafen—and maybe disgust—his targets.
Silly spells aside, The Curse of Er’Mah’Gerd contains magical and mundane items that anyone can use to illicit a laugh or two. Open your bottomless bag and be sure to stock up before hitting the road:
- Ghoul’s Gold — Bewitched to look like a legitimate golden coin, this heavy wooden token is, in fact, worthless.
- Stank Water — A vial of this clear, smelly liquid has vile consequences to the bodily functions of anyone who drinks it.
- Jar of Bees — A creative mind can think of myriad uses for this classic combination; however, rumor suggests it could have a strategic purpose against a particularly powerful foe in the game.
What sin, a name?
The satirical realm of Mezzo-Earth is home to many people with unapologetically quippy appellations, not the least of which is Tom Foolery himself!
Brace yourself for some real groaners as you meet some of the game’s lesser-known nonplayer characters:
- The proprietress of a frontier town’s only tavern, Mary Maker knows when to flash a pretty smile, lend an understanding ear, or conk a rowdy customer over the head with her hidden club.
- Rick Ghastly was surely saddled with his surname because of his gaunt stature. Sadly, the stablemaster owns only one horse himself, an elderly mare well past her prime. But he’s never gonna give her up!
- The dwarven Emperor Stalagmight rules with an industrial-iron fist. Some think his son, Prince Stalagtyke, has promise as a statesman, though he is still too rough around the edges to speak on behalf of the Civilized South.
- If the Disorient delegate Noh-Wei fails in their duty to secure the Forbidden Frontier for the Masked Ones, an equally oblique substitute emissary waits in the wings: Noh-Hao.
Gamemasters who run The Curse of Er’Mah’Gerd can choose up to 13 optional encounters to sprinkle throughout the adventure. While their players won’t likely learn of these inside jokes, GMs are privy to instances of wordplay planted in the encounters’ names, including a few that pay homage to other adventures:
- Riddles with a Drunk is an ignominious (and inebriated) tribute to Bilbo and Gollum’s subterranean tête-à-tête in The Hobbit.
- You won’t find any gunslinging cowboys in The Lone Granger, but you will find a cow—of a kind.
- A Song of Ice & Lava has far less political posturing than George R. R. Martin’s magnum opus, but the scenario could prove just as deadly to participants.
Whether Tom Foolery and the other heroes of Good Company succeed in their quirky quest is never certain. But players can be sure they’ll share lots of laughs along the way!
Get in on the joke
The Curse of Er’Mah’Gerd is available as a hardcover book and digital download at DriveThruRPG.com.
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