Thursday, November 7, 2013

In The Valley of Babababa


From the journal of Major Eustace Shortbread Hootenanny -

I fear we have wandered far from our goal in the attempts to follow Heatherington's trail, yet avoid some of the more dangerous regions his expedition encountered.  Nevertheless, our motley party has found a few bright points, not least of which was our visit to a secluded, verdant valley inhabited by a friendly, if odd, people.  The sides of the valley are dotted with their domiciles, and the basin is lush with banana and starfruit trees.  These folk call their valley Babababaland, and though they are civilized and ruled by a Queen, they live a simple agrarian lifestyle dominated by zealous adherence to a very strange religion.  The Babababalanders - or Babababarbarians, as we have taken to calling them half-jokingly - follow some kind of pantheistic faith, and they are ever-concerned that their actions please the various gods and never offend them.  Their savage superstition seems to be agglutinative in that, over the generations, they have developed a lengthy list of laws which control their lives.  We spent only a day and a half in their valley to restock and rest, but we saw the apparent laws change five or six times during our stay - in the morning it was illegal to touch a cow, and by nightfall one could touch a cow, but could not wear the color red.  The Babababalanders believe the gods are always watching, and any violation of these ancient laws could offend the heavens and bring disaster upon the valley...


LAWS OF BABABABALAND

The laws of the Babababarbarians shift regularly according to their byzantine holy calendar.  On any given day in the valley, roll one Must (a thing which everyone must do) and one Must Not (a thing which is forbidden).  Every few hours of game-time, change one; if that isn't manic enough, change faster.  Roll multiple times for the sabbath or holidays.  The people of Babababaland have lived in the valley so long they have a near-instinctual sense of which laws are in effect at a given time; however, they're not very good at predicting what the next law to take effect will be, or when.  Some explorers who have visited the valley seem to think the heretical thought that there are no holy calendars, and the Babababarbarians just make it all up via silent consensus as they go along; however it is also possible that the calendars exist, but are hidden away from outlanders.  Major Hootenanny's journal suggests the former, and notes that the Babababalanders seem to switch laws faster (and add multiple laws) when they are agitated, or in times of crisis.

Failure to follow the strange laws of Babababaland is punishable by imprisonment, fine, dismemberment, or death, depending on the violation.  Outlanders must also follow the laws, and ignorance is no defense.  Refusal to submit to a punishment will, of course, incur more punishments.

You MUST:

1.  Greet others with a sound smack across the face.
2.  Wear a banana-peel on your head.  (These are plentiful in the valley, as babababanana trees are everywhere)
3.  Punctuate the end of each sentence with a loud WHOOP.
4.  Declare yourself the Queen and act as such until the law changes.  Note, however, that the Queen does not have the power to change the laws.
5.  Do everything backwards to the extent possible - walk backwards, reverse word-order when speaking, spit tea into empty cups, etc.  When this law kicks in during binge-drinking, it is not a pretty sight.
6.  Dance.  Chair-dancing is acceptable should you need to sit or ride a horse.
7.  Refer to everyone by the opposite gender.
8.  Sit down immediately, wherever you are, and stay there til the law changes.
9.  Make sweet, sweet love to the nearest person.
10.  Sing holy hymns at the top of your lungs.  You may engage in other activities whilst doing so.
11.  Put a fish down your pants.
12.  Pretend everyone else is invisible and inaudible.
13.  Hold hands with someone.  No holding hands with yourself, with animals, or with inanimate objects.
14.  Fist-fight anyone who says your name.
15.  Hop everywhere you go.  One-legged hops are considered particularly pious.
16.  Pretend to be an animal.  No doubles - you have to pick an animal that nobody else is being.
17.  Replace normal speech with gibberish.  Locals favor "bababa", of course.
18.  Grab any paper you see, rip it to bits, and throw it over your shoulder.  This also applies to paper money and spellbooks.
19.  Jam a finger up your nose til it hurts, and keep it there.  If it stops hurting, shove farther.
20.  Catch and eat a butterfly.  Note that the pretty blue butterflies in the valley are fairly poisonous, although natives have built up an immunity.


You MUST NOT:

1.  Wear pants.
2.  Look anyone in the eye.
3.  Belch, fart, hiccup, or cough.
4.  Lift a foot from the ground.
5.  Touch livestock, or the products of livestock (meat, milk, cheese etc).
6.  Walk on the grass.
7.  Urinate.
8.  Bear arms.
9.   Eat or drink anything.
10.  Open your eyes.
11.  Use the definite article, in speech or in writing.
12.  Handle money.
13. Remove or change your clothing - this means no unbuttoning, no doffing of hats, and no dropping trousers for any reason.
14.  Touch another human being.  (The arrival of demihumans in Babababaland may trigger some debate on this one)
15.  Light or extinguish a fire.
16.  Make any noise above a whisper.
17.  Wear or touch a certain color (pick one or roll on your favorite color table).  If you're particularly cruel and pick a color humans can't normally see or distinguish ('ulfire', perhaps?), the Babababarbarians will be particularly paranoid and refuse to touch anything just in case it's that color they can't see.
18.  Whistle, hum, or sing.
19.  Say "no" in any way.  You cannot deny anyone anything, and must always agree and acquiesce.
20.  Touch, or be touched by an insect.


PUNISHMENT:
Roll d6 for failing to do a "Must"; Roll d6+d8 for doing a "Must Not".  If you're playing DCC and need another excuse to roll a d14, roll a d14 for everything, because why deny yourself the simple pleasures?

1.  Minor fine (d6x10 dollars)
2.  Major fine (d4x100 dollars)
3.  Divested of all property.
4.  Exiled from the valley.
5.  Indentured servitude to a prominent Babababalander for 2d6 weeks.
6.  Mandatory marriage to an eligible Babababalander.
7.  Head shaved and painted blue.
8. Scourged with braided-banana-peel cat-o-nine-tails.
9.  Tip of pinky-finger clipped off.
10. Loss of a foot.
11.  Loss of a hand.
12.  Tongue pulled out with heated tongs.
13.  Death by stoning.
14.  Death to you, and the last person you touched before committing the crime.

Vintage portrait of Major Hootenanny as he was when he commanded the Sunset Lancers.  In his later years, he worked as a mercenary and was very inconveniently turned into a snake-man.


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