FULL DISCLOSURE: This is an adaptation of a DnD campaign I wanted to run a while ago. Consequently, there is a major RPG/fantasy flavor intended for this story. Please keep this in mind when creating a character and writing for this story.
You live on the continent/kingdom of Sondelion. It is a large land with a variety of biomes that had been a very open to all persons and cultures. Consequently, despite being separated from the rest of the world by an ocean, the country is home to a wide diversity of immigrant races, though some races are more regionally clustered around regions with climates more suited to them.
This is not to say all races are equally common, nor that everyone lives in harmony. The bulk of the inhabitants are humanoids (humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, etc), with a fair number of your more traditional fauna-based races (dragonborn and such). Due to the diversity of the continent, its pretty uncommon to have a race that receives more than a prolonged stare or raised eyebrow. However, as probably expected, racism isn’t unheard of, and stereotypes are a regular struggle to overcome for the more uncommon races. Nevertheless, Sondelion was a fairly peaceful place with no major struggles to speak of, prosperous and culturally rich.
This changed a couple years ago. A major three-way war broke out. Two militant nations began individual attempts to conquer other countries and expand into empires, dragging otherwise neutral countries into the conflict in order to preserve the status quo, as well as protect themselves and allying nations.
(Note: I have little intention of making this war a part of the story, except for set up and reference. It’s not out of the question if you want to make it relevant, but, honestly, don’t worry about it too much)
Sondelion was one of these neutral countries. Many people have gone to fight in the war, and with sea travel becoming dangerous due to the maritime combat, civilian travel has all but ceased. With many separated from their loved ones overseas and the ever-hanging gloom of war, morale is at an all time low in the country.
This is where you come in.
One of the few places people can escape from their troubles is the circus. Surrounded by bright colors, music, and wonderous attractions, it is a place where anyone can immerse themselves and briefly lighten their worries. And your circus, your troupe, the Hightop Circus, is the most fantastic of them all, in your obviously unbiased opinion.
Markus Trine, the owner and manager of the circus, has gathered a large mismatch group of individuals and provided them a home in the circus. For many of the troupe, this is rather literal. Despite their differences and oddities, everyone shares a background of alienation, of not fitting in… of feeling alone. It’s because of this that the troupe is relatively tight-knit and close, like a family. A really big family, with extended relatives and some complicated politics and grudges, but family nonetheless.
The Hightop Circus also employs at least a hundred other staff to man the many stands and do various jobs around the grounds, providing employment and community to those who often would otherwise have none. Thus, even the extended members of the circus have high regards for and are emotionally close to it.
Current State of Affairs:
The war has been affecting the economy. With international trade diminished, people are financially struggling. And with it, attendance to the circus has been falling. It’s not that the price of admission is unreasonable, nor is popularity any lower, but people can’t justify the cost nowadays. Many individuals have grown more pessimistic with the decreased positive influence in their lives, and another force has taken the opportunity to profit from the growing cynicism.
The Granveil Carnival is a rival show that has been around for nearly as long as the Hightop Circus, and though less popular than the circus, they often tried to siphon some of the crowd. Ethically questionable, with “freak shows” and rumors of less than legal dealings and terrible living environments behind the scenes, the carnival fostered an environment that thrived on negative emotions. With the growing negativity among the populace, the carnival has grown in popularity.
In order to rekindle interest in the circus, as well as to try to compete with the Granveil Carnival, Markus made the ambitious decision to add several new creatures as an “Exotic Creatures” display to the lineup. Unfortunately, on the way to the circus, there was an accident, and a number of the creatures escaped and are now on the loose. Besides being expensive, Markus explains, some of them are either delicate specimens that need to be cared for or are extremely dangerous. Being a part of the traveling troupe, you are better able to go out and collect the lost creatures.
Be careful, though. Besides the dangers of the task itself, it seems that Ripley Granveil has caught wind of the incident and may take measures to acquire them for himself…
Hosted and narrated by:
Scenes played: 1
License: Community License w/ Creative Commons