Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 31

The entry this week for my Serial Setting for Ubiquity adds another entry point into the lives of the residents of the mysterious Windlet Islands. The Serial Settings series of posts is intended to provide usable setting material for busy GMs. Series 1 is for those looking to run Daring Tales of Adventure or Hollow Earth Expedition.

31) The Stalwart Cup, The Tart Banana, Windlet Settlement, Greater Windlet Island

Throughout recorded and unrecorded history there have been many foolish things done by men, with and without cause. Over the years of settlement on these islands, the cause is usually a mixture of madness inspired by the constant threat of death, a paradoxical boredom brought on by the illusion of living in paradise, heat and humidity beyond ken, ego, and the homebrewed concoction the bartenders of the Tart Banana like to call beer, but the locals have branded, “Bottled Death.” With a mild, sweet, dark taste reminiscent of bread and molasses mixed with stolen kisses, the brew packs a surprising wallop, checking in at just slightly over 10% alcohol per volume. Unlike most beer at that strength, it does not taste like paint thinner and yeast – therein lies the danger. Cheap, and with a taste that is easily acquired, Bottled Death is the fast lane to inebriation. It also tends to bring out musical tendencies in its imbibers. Sadly, it does not impart skill – just desire.

Some of the most common rumours floated about the islands are of prowess at so-called manly arts. While there have been more than a few women who have walked or staggered away from these late-night demonstrations of skill and idiocy, the lingo has not yet caught up with the realities of this place. Contests ranging from target shooting, bare-knuckle boxing, wrestling, weight-lifting, eating and/or drinking contests, knife-throwing, duels to first blood, trivia, running a gauntlet, chess, timed course plotting while being buffeted by various objects soft and hard, push-ups, and juggling have all been conducted at one point or another in the history of this curious establishment… some more than others.

One can never be sure when a contest will be sparked, but once the fever for competition catches, anyone present is swept up in its madness, expected to compete or relive the futility of trying to reason with a drunkard, and his 50 drunken friends.

Usual Suspects: Matthew “No Dice” Byrne

A regular at the Tart Banana, an indolent man of seemingly unlimited means, but no visible source of income, No Dice Byrne is frequently responsible for inciting his fellow patrons to acts of drunken competition. Tall and lean, with a vague hint of a Scottish brogue, he is married to the bottle, and never strays from his vows. His longish dark hair and dark eyes give him a mysterious air, but this is soon dispelled by his boisterous and fun-loving voice, which is often buoyed aloft by a bubbling stream of profanity that is as amusing as it is shocking. It is said, and so it must be true, that even nuns approve of the way he takes liberties with the language. No nuns have ever verified this claim, but it feels right at about 4am, when the bar floor looks more comfortable than your own bed.

Byrne hates dull moments, silence, and sullen drunks. He possess knowledge of a truly vast repertoire of barroom sing-a-long songs and is not afraid to use it. As an added weapon in his arsenal, he also has tremendous skill on the saloon piano which, like the pipes of the pied piper, is an irresistible force, compelling people to follow him into song… or other silliness.

Few die during these contests, and when they do, it is always a sad occasion marked with much tale-telling, yarn-spinning, and drinking. Byrne is said to have eulogized more dead strangers than any man living or dead. That feels true, too.

Rumours: heard primarily among the drunkards of the islands

  • Matthew Byrne is the son of the wealthiest man in England.
  • Matthew Byrne would be the wealthiest man in England, but hates living in England
  • Byrne once ate a horse on a dare, in one (very long) sitting
  • Byrne is living on the island ‘temporarily’ while en route to adventure
  • The longest run of ‘bottles of beer on the wall’ ever sung was sung on the side porch of the Tart Banana, stopped only by threat of force by the assembled women of the island
  • Byrne knows what you are thinking before you do
  • He lived above the Tart Banana… when he bothers to leave the bar
  • He hates Chopin beyond all reason


All will be revealed!

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