The Gabling Domerer offers an additional variant Living for characters created for Maelstrom using The Beggars Companion. You can use this variant to expand the alternatives available for new characters, ‘developing’ characters, or designing non-player colour for your adventures.
Gimmick: Fake mute, who may also fake deafness
I have had frequent opportunities to inspect the mouths of several persons, who were taken prisoner by the Algerines and Turks, who had their tongues cut out by those barbarous people… Some few instances of the like nature have occurred… of a man… who having had his tongue cut out… after three years could speak distinctly.
From The Gentlemen’s Magazine, January 1743
A variant of the Dummerar (The Beggars Companion, p 33-34) with a similar tale to tell, the Gabling Domerer communicates a sorry story through sign and the written word. Whether they claim to have suffered the barbarous tortures of the Turk, affliction from some malign rot, or accident at the hand of some agricultural tool, the Domerer seeks alms from those willing to part with it. As with the Dummerar, the beggar feigns disability through physical restraint or manipulation of the tongue. Alternatively, they may have suffered some minor injury to the tongue that they make ghastly through make-up or herbal concoctions.
While begging a Gabling Domerer cannot communicate verbally, except through occasional outbursts of noise or gibbering, from which they claim their name. To communicate intelligibly would break the spell and forfeit any chance of return on their begging efforts. To support this, the player running a beggar of this form should make no direct communication to other players at the table while begging unless achieved through written word or sign language. Unless the player clearly describes, or recreates, any effort to communicate the character suffers a general penalty on Persuasion and communication saving throws of between -10 to -20.
Effects of training: ADDITION Perception, Persuasion; SUBTRACTION Attack Skill, Endurance
Nefarious knack: Adroit Sign – The beggar can very competently and rapidly gesture and signal to communicate concepts and simple messages. The Domerer can effectively communicate via sign language over long distances and despite of noise that would hamper verbal communication efforts. The beggars signing allows them to communicate to anyone within direct line of sight.
A Favoured Haunt: The clientele of the characters’ favoured tavern includes an apparently deaf/mute patron who keeps his own company and nearly blends into the background. Any questions about the character reveal very little other than the obvious – a poor soul, occasionally employed in light work, with little else to reveal. However, the characters would have to overtly take an interest to even find out this much. In truth, this man makes a living as a Domerer, though he genuinely did lose part of his tongue following a serious canker sore and an over-zealous doctor. He listens very carefully to everything going on in the tavern, every bit of gossip, every whispered plan. During a future adventure the characters may find themselves sidestepped, overtaken or second guessed – the work of idle gossip reaching their rival’s ear courtesy of the Domerer. Whether the characters discover the truth or not depends on the beggar drawing their suspicions or some keen-minded planning/thinking to uncover the spy in their midst.
A Fateful Encounter: A young Gabling Domerer wanders into the characters’ presence signing furiously for help or alms. Whether she receives it or not, she leaves and disappears. If the characters provide her with assistance, the Referee should reward them with a positive experience – perhaps a lucky find or a positive modifier on a Saving Throw. If the characters refuse to offer anything, the characters suffer a plague of poor fortune for the rest of the day. They can only lift the curse if they find the girl again and seek forgiveness for their mean reaction to her request. She may know nothing about the curse or she might be responsible for it – the Referee must decide.
An Itch Scratched: A beggar, John Gray, who suffers from genuine selective mutism pleads with the characters for help. He has no money and needs a specific herb from a local apothecary to alleviate his symptoms, a moderately expensive relaxant. If assisted the beggar will owe them something and promise to make good that debt however he can. In the current, or a future, adventure when the characters require some key piece of information, an item, or to find a specific location, John will have a vital clue to help the characters on their way.