On Sunday, one of the players rolled a 17 and received this juicy rumor:
"17) The snakemen of Morthand hate the orcs, I hear - for a bunch of money they'll hire on as mercs if you promise them they'll fight orcs."
What I was really trying to say here was:
- There are snakemen in the world, and they live in the deserts of Morthand (which is, South By Somewhere Else of Stericksburg.)
- They aren't cheap.
- They do get a reaction bonus (possibly a Loyalty bonus, possibly a willingness to work for less) if you hire them to fight orcs.
All of that can really boil down to:
- I have a couple snakemen minis I've painted, including that guy from the Bones Kickstarter, and I want to use them as potential allies, not enemies. For once.*
What's amusing is that later discussion spiraled this rumor into a vague plan to tell the snakemen of Morthand that there are orcs north of Felltower, and maybe even hire them to go up and attack the orcs as part of a two-pronged assault on the orcs. Who knows? Maybe the snakeman army could ally up with a potential confederation of orc-haters: snakemen, cone-hatted cultists, hobgoblins, gnolls (well, maybe not if Raggi has a say), etc.
It's funny because this is exactly how rumors work. The one-two figures I have painted up become an army, because the rumor could have been referring to an army. Rumors are filtered through what you know, and non-specific language only encourages the pattern-recognizing portions of our brains to fill in all sorts of perfectly logical craziness. My cool wording on the rumor leaves enough room to expand it to an oncoming snakeman horde, looking for the next army of orcs to smash. Imagine how everyone would react when one snakeman slithers up. Disappointment? Or rumor that snakemen are so badass, one is as good as an army?
Or who knows, maybe this is a sign that I need to buy a lot more snakemen. I've bought minis with less justification than that!
* In a way, this is the Traveller approach. The tentacled telepaths? Friendly! The herd animal vegetarians? Violent killers! Etc. So, clearly these are the friendly slithering allies of humanity who are so well spoken of by Barry White Maybe the females need Sex Appeal.