A Clown Venture

We played Venture by Riley Rethal this week, but placed our troop of adventurers in the early twentieth century. We are the quiet rogue, Shadowblade, who values freedom above all else; Ember Suzudz, a soothing and compassionate cleric who definitely will not be sacrificing herself for you; the unarmed fighter, Calvina, who fights to protect the weak; Zizzo the clown who entertains by inciting joy; and Menalania, a good-natured, cheerful wizard whose magic is very enchanting.

Our story begins with Menalania meeting with Zizzo after a show, asking him why he pretends those mishaps are part of the act when we both know that his magic makes it happen. Zizzo complains that these things just happen, that he can’t control them. Menalania chides him for never seeking any training to better control his powers, and she suggests he needs to find himself a wizard to train with. Now, if he only knew a wizard….

While walking through town, Calvina and Shadowblade encounter a group of thugs roughing someone up, probably a mugging gone wrong. Calvina dances around and taunts them, relishing the opportunity to fight, which takes Shadowblade aback, but he manages to get the victim to safety. Later at the temple, Ember sees all the injuries on Calvina and insists on performing the healing rites. Zizzo comes to Menalania asking why she’s been avoiding him, and she admits she doesn’t know how to teach someone to do magic. They discuss how she learned, and the exercises that her mentor would have her perform, but how to do that with magic that causes mishaps to befall people? Calvina recommends a magically imbued straw-man, like they use in martial training.

As we make the straw-man at the temple, Shadowblade keeps having bad things happen to him: an impossible water balloon falls from the sky, slipping and falling, and mouse running up his trousers. He decides to slip away before things get worse; he hates drawing that sort of attention. Prompted by Calvina, Menalania animates the straw-man, which seems to suffice to activate his power, as a fish emerges from a bucket of water and interrupts the straw-man’s attack. They keep at it for some time, but Zizzo never makes the bucket do exactly what he wants. Calvina and Menalania conduct an experiment, in which one boos a Zizzo performance while the other cheers. Each time, no matter which of them it is, some mishap befalls the heckler: a heretofore unseen monkey jumping at her face or a rubber chicken falling on her head. It seems Zizzo’s magic protects him, non-lethally, from the ill-intentioned. He’s taken his first steps into a wider world.