*knock knock* “Hold your horses” shouts a woman, getting up from a meal she just down to eat. As she reaches for the door her guest knocks again … *knock knock* … “I said …” she starts as she pulls the door open, only to be interrupted. “Why, good evening, my apologies for interrupting your meal!” the well dressed (if somewhat dusty from travel) man exclaims, spying the food over her shoulder. “Today is your lucky day, and I don’t wish to keep you long.” he rushes before she can stop him. “I happened to be passing by and noticed you have an outhouse. I was wondering, would you be interested in an In-House? You see, I just happen to sell …”
Hello again, and welcome back to Groundbreaking with me, Randal! Today, let’s take a look at an up and coming business in Marathis’ Cradle: In-House Services.
GM Note. My mind was drifting tonight as I was putting my kids to bed, and for some reason I kept thinking about all the ways to provide plumbing for sinks, showers, and primitive septic systems. I thought it would be fun to sort out which towns are likely to have indoor plumbing, but somehow I wound up on this tangent instead. I think it was the use of magic and possible drama that drew me in.
The Business. “In-House Services: We Bring the Out House In!” a fancy wooden sign, in the shape of and out house hangs in front of this two story affair in one of the quieter sections of Lakeside Proper. The sign says it all. In-House Services is in the business of creating what they call “in-houses”, a place to make waste inside the house. Two major factors in out houses are the smell and the fact that they eventually fill up. After the installation crew is finished, and the “pit” seeded with a spongy ball that is reminiscent of a jellyfish, In-House Services only needs to return every three months to reseed the pit (for a very modest price, of course!). It is that simple! What started as a bit of an experiment has turned into a popular little, but growing business. In the last year, their orders have steadily risen such that the inventor hired proper craftsmen, delivery crews, installers, and even traveling sales folk so that he can stay and oversee the construction.
The Inventor. Lissie Fa’thel’tl (half-elf) used to be a cleric of Nethys. After many years of faithful service, something changed. During this time he came be be very interested in alchemy and began devouring any books, notes, or treatises he could find on the subject. The decades spent in dedication to the god of magic instilled in him an ability to focus and learn that few others can even comprehend. He started spending nights studying, then working at the lab, then would stay overnight once a week. Then twice. After a year, he barely came home. To pay bills, he would create and sell various alchemical goods. Aside from his focus keeping him from realizing time was passing, his experiments altered his lifespan beyond that of most half-elves. By the time he completed his greatest works, and was ready to unveil his invention, his family, along with all his friends, were gone. He finally completed his vision, and had nobody to share it with … so he moved somewhere he could start over and founded “In-House Services”.
The Invention. After an “incident” with a lab he was renting, he found himself in the rubble of a city’s sewers inside of, but not being dissolved by, a sewer cleaning ooze. After years of testing and experimenting, he realized that the accidental explosion had soaked him in chemicals that treated him immune to the ooze! While, he was able to confirm this information, he was never able to duplicate the mixture again; even after recreating the explosion. During all this time, however, he did discover that types of ooze could be bred to create pleasant fragrances when digesting their food. Additionally, while crossbreeding oozes for his experiments, he happened to create a type that could sense the presence of holy water, and when within 10 feet of it would remain perfectly still … as if trying to hide. This particular breed starts small, the size of an apple, and grows to about 6 feet in diameter after about three months … give or take depending on how much it feeds.
From Order to Delivery, and Beyond. Once an order is placed with a traveling sales person, the craftsman and carpenter work with the buyer to plan size, shape, and installation location. The master woodworker ensures the design is compatible with the destination and purpose while being sturdy enough to last not only delivery, but installation and use. The “In-House” itself is made from a specific combination of woods of specific ages, all soaked in holy water and cured before being sealed. The master carpenter travels with the delivery team to perform the installation with their help, accompanied by the master alchemist that seeds the pit. Once installed, a schedule is maintained for a maintenance crew to arrive every three months. This crew, led by a master alchemist, arrives in a covered wagon and uses something akin to a ship’s bilge pumps to “cleanse” the pit before reseeding it.
No Complaints. All customers are satisfied, are all too happy to recommend the product, and consider it one of the best purchases they have ever made. Except for the woman that was found face down in the pit of her “In-House” … rumors are that she kept telling people that she heard voices whispering to her every time she used it. She was only found because the house burnt down, but only her top half. Oh, and there was a man that went crazy, saying that he kept seeing shadows following him around his house. It got so bad that after his wife took the kids and left he boarded the place up so that no light could penetrate … he did so from the inside, and has never been seen since.
The Legacy. Surely these two incidents are completely coincidental. It doesn’t matter that nobody, not even his own employees, knows what he does with the grown oozes that they remove from the pits every three months. What are the odds that his sudden departure from religion and magic to a life of alchemy and public service are somehow part of a nefarious plot? The world may never know …
… or will it?
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