Friday, December 1, 2017

Dog Alley

Dog Alley should be one of the most frequented pathways of the city – it connects the market square with Butcher Street – but because of its sinister reputation it’s rarely visited by travelers, and almost never by city residents. For many years people who decided to walk down the Alley have been attacked by a pack of feral dogs. Some of them died. Some of them carry nasty scars to this day. City watch patrols didn’t help. Hiring trainers, trackers and enchanters didn’t help either. Over time those who lived by the Alley decided either to relocate to a safer part of town, or to protect themselves by buying guard dogs of their own. Unfortunately the hired guard dogs had a tendency to run away and join the feral pack. Nowadays nobody visits the Alley, unless they absolutely have to or are unaware of the Alley’s history.


“Stray Dog” by Daido Moriyama, Misawa, Aomori, 1971
Any traveler crossing through Dog Alley has a 25% chance (50% at night) of a canine encounter:


Number of dogs:
  1. a single dog (gets reinforcements after d6+1 rounds)
  2. 1d6 dogs (exploding on a 6)
  3. 2d6 dogs (exploding on a 6)
  4. d30 dogs


Roll for each dog:
1-5. Normal dog (1 HD)
6-10. Whoa, this dog is big! (2 HD)
11-12. By gods, that one’s even bigger! (3 HD)
13. That’s not a dog – that’s a wolf!
14. That’s not a wolf – that’s a dire wolf!
15. Escaped guard dog (roll here)
16. Crazy (cursed) bugbear, thinks he’s a dog
17. Blink dog
18. Hell hound (only at night, if it’s a daytime encounter – reroll, always aggressive)
19. Death dog (only at night, if it’s a daytime encounter – reroll, always aggressive)
20. Werewolf (only at night, if it’s a daytime encounter – reroll, always aggressive)


Dog reaction table:
1. Silent, watching, creeping. Will only attack lone, vulnerable targets.
2-3. Pack runs at the travelers, barking, but won’t attack, unless vastly outnumbering their target. Can be appeased with offerings of food.
4. Aggressive, hungry, attacks on sight.


Dogs will break pursuit if travelers successfully escape the Alley. They never leave the safety of their home.

Five different types of dogs, woodcut, 1547
Apart from the pack the other Dog Alley denizens are:


The unfortunate
There are about 40 people – homeless beggars, cut purses and other wretches – who just have no other place to go. They dwell in abandoned buildings, makeshift shacks and ruined houses. Some of them are wanted by law, some of them are just too poor to relocate. Or both. They know never to travel the Alley by night and to always have a scrap of meat as an offering to the pack.


Branimir the Butcher
Branimir owns a butcher shop located at the corner of Dog Alley and Butcher Street. If he hears about anyone crossing the Alley, he will offer to sell them scraps of meat and instructs them how it can be used to appease the dogs and escape them. Branimir will support any moderately sane plan to clean up Dog Alley, as his business suffers because of its proximity.


Horpyna the Hag
Horpyna lives in the tunnels below the Alley. She treats the whole pack as her pets, but her favorites are Phantom (blink dog), Sulfur (hell hound) and Tombstone (death dog). As long as she’s alive the pack will continue to grow. Fear the citizens of the city have for Dog Alley is the secret source of her power.


Kres the Wrestler
Kres was a member of a bugbear war band that raided the city a few years ago. Kres and his allies ventured into the Dog Alley searching for loot  and made a mistake of running afoul of Horpyna. Other bugbears were quickly dispatched by the pack, but Kres fought bravely. Horpyna decided to award his bravery with a curse. Now Kres thinks he’s a dog and runs with the pack.


Rogned
Rogned owns a pawn shop located at the southern end of Dog Alley, near the market square. Few years ago he decided to bring order to the Alley. He gathered a posse and started to slaughter all dogs he found in the vicinity of the Alley. That got Horpyna’s attention so she lured him into her underground lair and cursed him with lycanthropy. Since then tormented Rogned runs his pawn shop during the day, while prowling with the pack at night. He dreams of Horpyna’s demise but is too scared to reveal his curse even under duress.


Dog Alley rumor table:

  1. Branimir the Butcher offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to anyone who will end the canine menace in the Alley. (T)
  2. Dogs terrorizing the Alley are actually werewolves. (almost completely F)
  3. You should always carry some meat while crossing the Alley to distract the dogs and escape. (T)
  4. Branimir profiteers of Dog Alley, because all he sells is dog meat. (F)
  5. Dogs of the Alley are lead by a demonic hellhound, this must be a punishment for the city’s vile sins! The end times cometh! (kinda T)
  6. Dogs of the Alley can be calmed with soothing sounds of music. (F)
  7. Many caves and tunnels under the city are connected and used by occultists. (T)
  8. No dog ever killed anybody in the Alley. It’s the Thieves' Guild thugs! And I bet that Rogned fences their loot at his pawn shop. (F)