In accordance with the post-a-day challenge by SunderedWorldDM, whose dreams bore the Orbseeker and whose deeds send the world shuddering. Thank you for writing this year's prompts. I look forward to next year.
|art by John R. Neill
The Pumpkin Knight
This is an adventure, or a series of adventures. It is also a spell that can make you a better person. It is also a character. That character is the Pumpkin Knight. The way you start the spell is by putting him in your next game on or after Halloween.
Anywhere in your weekly game is fine, but in the woods halfway between town and the dungeon would be ideal. He is clad in blackmetal plate and carries lance, shield, bow, and knife, and has three wrung-neck fauns draped over his charger. He carries a pumpkin. He proves arrogant and hateful, obviously strange, and will antagonize the party throughout the session.
Someone (anyone) will tell the party that he is the pumpkin knight, and he can be sated by being given candy. Make sure to include the opportunity to get some that very session. If he is not sated by the end of that session, he will have to reappear after next halloween. If he is...
The second year, whatever game you are running, the party is transported to the same location where the pumpkin knight first appeared in your game. He will recognize any players from last year (not necessarily PCs), but they might not recognize him right away. He wears his pumpkin as a helmet, and where before he was ruled by wrath, he is now ruled by sorrow. He has only two wrung-neck fauns on his diseased horse. The pumpkin knight feels as though he is dying, and is starting to note that he is disjointed in time. He will recognize any harm he's done to the players in the past, but knows not but the behavior that will renew their wrongs. Like last year, he can be sated by candy.
If he is, he will not reappear until the third year, when this third party finds themselves in the same location as the last two years. The pumpkin knight is dying. His head is a pumpkin, his armor sagging into his rotting body. For a mount, he has only a dead faun. He will forswear all candy, for deep down he knows one more jump will kill him and his delerium leads him now not towards wrath or sorrow but joy. The knight will attempt to aid the party in their mission. If he is given candy despite his protests, he will fall apart and reveal a content infant curled around a small pumpkin, as well as any treasure you deem appropriate.
Each year, for the spell to work you must internalize how the players interact with the pumpkin knight. Think deeply about it, and be intentional about returning to their relationship a few times in the year. What did you approve of? What do you forswear?
More facts about the Pumpkin Knight
- He gives his name as Sir Wrothnaught, but is just as likely to rattle off his "arms"-- "Per-chevron purpure and sable, on a bend or, two reindeer's heads gules."
- In the woods is a simple grave, far from any trail. This is the grave of the pumpkin knight, and destroying it will totally kill him. You must include this, even if it never comes up.
- After the first year, the party may meet a middle-aged woman named Sevrine. She hates and hunts the pumpkin knight, for filling her head with ideas that could never come true. This part is optional.
- Each year, consider incorporating something that you fear or resent from the real world in the person or aura of the Pumpkin Knight. For example, this year I might have him breathing poisonous fumes and infested with some dread disease.