Thursday, April 4, 2019

Weddingcrashing & Random Tables for the Royal Wedding

Been reading this book A Distant Mirror. It’s pretty good, about history and shit, whatever, who cares. One passage that stood out was this:

On arrival in Milan, Lionel was accompanied, in addition to his own suite, by 1,500 mercenaries of the White Company, which had switched from the Pope’s service to that of the Visconti. Eighty ladies all dressed alike—as was customary to enhance the pageantry of great occasions—in gold-embroidered scarlet gowns with white sleeves and gold belts, and sixty mounted knights and squires also uniformly dressed came in the train of Galeazzo to greet him. In addition to a dowry for his daughter so extensive that it took two years to negotiate, Galeazzo paid expenses of 10,000 florins a month for five and a half months for the bridegroom and his retinue.

The stupendous wedding banquet, held outdoors in June, left all accounts gasping. Its obvious purpose was to testify to “the Largeness of Duke Galeas his soul, the full satisfaction he had in this match and the abundance of his coffers.” Thirty double courses of meat and fish alternated with presentation of gifts after each course. Under the direction of the bride’s brother, Gian Galeazzo the younger, now seventeen and father of a two-year-old daughter, the gifts were distributed among Lionel’s party according to rank. They consisted of costly coats of mail, plumed and crested helmets, armor for horses, surcoats embroidered with gems, greyhounds in velvet collars, falcons wearing silver bells, enameled bottles of the choicest wine, purple and golden cloth and cloaks trimmed with ermine and pearls, 76 horses including six beautiful little palfreys caparisoned in green velvet with crimson tassels, six great war-horses in crimson velvet with gold rosettes, and two others of extra quality named Lion and Abbott; also six fierce strong daunt or war-dogs, sometimes used with cauldrons of flaming pitch strapped to their backs, and twelve splendid fat oxen.
The meats and fish, all gilded,* paired suckling pigs with crabs, hares with pike, a whole calf with trout, quails and partridges with more trout, ducks and herons with carp, beef and capons with sturgeon, veal and capons with carp in lemon sauce, beef pies and cheese with eel pies, meat aspic with fish aspic, meat galantines with lamprey, and among the remaining courses, roasted kid, venison, peacocks with cabbage, French beans and pickled ox-tongue, junkets and cheese, cherries and other fruit. The leftover food brought away from the table, from which servants customarily made their meal, was enough, it was said, to feed a thousand men. Among those who shared the feast were Petrarch, an honored guest at the high table, and both Froissart and Chaucer among the company, although it is doubtful if the two young unknowns were introduced to the famous Italian laureate.”

In addition to confirming the essential decadence of the Italian character, this got me thinking about how weddings (particularly medieval-style elite weddings) could be made into gameable material. Like auctions (e.g.: the bones are there for a solid social-focused session:

  • A formal, relatively enclosed event which just about every adult human will be familiar with the basics of
  • A great concentration of potentially accessible wealth and power in this event
  • A network of characters and factions with ready relations with and attitudes towards each other because of the nature of a wedding
  • Lots for those characters and factions to feud with each other over, both grand and petty, under circumstances that reward subterfuge and diplomacy over open violence
  • Scales well from lowly murderhoboism to high-level domain play
  • Glut of inspiration to draw from in media and so on
  • Organic worldbuilding opportunities, establish the power players and gossip, explore what a wedding between a troll-king and a dragon might look like, etc
Some related tables:

Also, ‘daunt’ is a cool name for a dog or a monster. Maybe even a dog-monster.

D66What is the fashion of this guest of the royal wedding?
11Horsehair waxed into their eyebrows, shaped into imposing horns.
12Gloves of the thinnest silk, filigreed with gold thread. The slightest exertion would tear them. A servant is always near to act as their hands.
13An enormous codpiece with a furious face on the tip.
14Ludicrously long shoetips, held aloft by a pair of trained ravens so they can still walk.
15Arms buried in the poofs of lacy sleeves.
16A necklace inlaid with rubies to look like shining drops of blood dripping from a slit throat.
21A beloved pet falcon, long dead and taxidermied on their shoulder, sapphires staring from its sockets.
22A rosewood mask carved into a starling facsimile of life, fresh and perfumed bandages covering any skin their clothes don’t.
23An impractically tall, floppy-topped hat.
24A gauzy scarf that flails in the slightest breeze.
25A puffy brocade jacket, innumerable little pockets within. Is that a flask you saw them secrete within? The glint of a knife?
26Extended, scarlet-lacquered nails, cut into the shapes of cutlery.
31A black hat broad enough to completely shade the ground beneath it, so that the bluish lights of the glow-worms dangling from the underside can be seen even in daylight.
32A chaplet and garland of laurels.
33Banners on poles worn across their back, fluttering behind them like wings.
34A bronze breastplate molded to resemble pronounced musculature, pressing down the paunch behind it.
35A nosegay worn around their neck.
36Boots shaped to resemble an eagle’s talons with iron nails scratching the floor.
41A lace ruff so thick and dense that its wearer can’t help but hold their head high.
42A belt hung with bells, the buckle of which is a little gong.
43A black velvet cape embroidered with the constellations of the night sky and astrological symbols.
44A veil covered in embroidered eyes with faceted onyxes for their pupils.
45Silver-framed spectacles with smoky quartz lenses.
46A hood with a stiffened rim that resembles the rays of a sunburst.
51A silk cravat stained by spatters of the event’s catering.
52Medals and trophies from a lifetime of campaigns coating their chest.
53Emeralds cut and embroidered to resemble vines growing across their outfit.
54A blunted, wool-wrapped bollock dagger hanging by their crotch.
55Long metal tines jutting from sides and shoulders, on which choice morsels have been impaled.
56A conical hat with three pairs of dove wings attached down the sides.
61Music boxes tied around their ankles, wound by the motion of their stride.
62A long blue tunic trimmed with seal fur.
63A large gold and amber fibula shaped like a warrior impaled upon a spear.
64Fox tails worn like tassels.
65Bejewelled brass clasps worn around braids.
66Delicate needles capped with emeralds, pushed through the thinnest upper layers of skin.
D66What is a gift that was brought to the royal wedding?
11A rich tapestry depicting the bride and groom entwining like serpents, in the process of transforming into a merged androgyne.
12A jewelled reliquary bearing the prepuce of St. Vitalio, said to bring its holder virility well into old age.
13A monkey chained to a silver harmonica. It plays the instrument masterfully.
14A cape of tropical birds’ feathers, all the colours of the rainbow and a few others besides.
15A drinking cup carved from alicorn, which blackens if poison is poured in it.
16A man-shaped automaton of adroit design, able to perform some basic tasks of butlery when its key is wound up.
21A crystal spyglass of dwarven make, ingeniously crafted to concentrate light and make even a moonless night seem clear as day when looked through.
22Immaculate white silk kites dangling with silver chimes.
23An exceptionally large and ferocious destrier with the blood of Diomedes’ mares.
24An enamelled suit of plate, covered in grievous, calligraphied insults in the languages of the couples’ enemies.
25A beautifully illuminated genealogical tome tracing back the bride’s and groom’s ancestry back to Adam and Eve. It becomes increasingly fantastical the further back it goes.
26A two-headed hunting hound adorned with spiked armour and velvet padding.
31Enough gold and silver dinnerware to serve a feast-hall.
32A nacreous horn carved from the spiralling shell of some gargantuan mollusc.
33Stacked casks of alchemically-distilled liquor, infused with the virtues of medicinal herbs.
34A glazed bone china leech pot, containing little child-faced leeches: some much-vaunted upirkurts of Deep Dendo.
35A heavy ermine cloak.
36A chess set made of ivory and ebony.
41An ornate box of ambergris-fixed fragrances.
42An indulgence for any venial sin, signed by the pontifex himself. The recipient of the indulgence and the exact sin to be indulged are yet to be written in.
43An exquisite spruce lute, painted with dancing capripedal figures.
44A room-smothering quilt embroidered with the couple’s blended heraldry.
45A shielded molded in the image of a mooning demon, the barrels of a pepperbox pistol peeking out between its cheeks. The trigger is placed conveniently by the grip, so that it may be held and pulled with the same hand.
46An epic-length ballad commissioned from a famed poet for the couple.
51A saber, old and storied, of more use now for evoking those old stories than as a weapon.
52A sack of unadulterated gold coins minted in celebration of the occasion, printed with an image of the couple on one face and their oath of undying love on the other.
53A triptych icon inlaid with pearl and polished coral.
54A gold-plated clock-watch on a gold-plated chain.
55Rugs cut from the hides of lions and tigers, wolves and bears.
56A license which grants its bearer immunity to all sumptuary laws.
61Barrels of exotic drugs and spices.
62Fine servants’ livery in identical styles and colours.
63Bolts of purple and gold cloth.
64Seven healthy red heifers with unblemished hides.
65a coat of orichalcum ring mail.
66Gilded chairs, tables, and armoires.

D66What course is being served at the royal wedding?
11A tub of live, soft, fat fish. Little spears tipped with salt and spices are served with them. Pierce and eat raw.
12A whole roast whale carried fresh from the coast. Take a walk inside its gaping body and carve off a slab of your choice.
13An archipelago of liquer jellies floating in a dark wine sea.
14An orchard of spun sugar trees on which candied fruits have been hung.
15Breaded piglets nestled up to a deep fried sow.
16Row upon row of lamb shanks like a meaty centipede.
21A pastry fortress with sweet stuffings in the walls, stacks of pies for towers.
22Broiled herons posed to pierce their own chests with their beaks, letting out a trickle of the brandy they’re filled with.
23A thick stew of barley and beef and piquant peppers, slopped into deep bowls of hollowed bread.
24Salted mice set in tableaux to seem as if they’re in the midst of a battle with soldiers carved from a dozen sorts of cheese.
25Carrots and parsnips bathed in honey.
26Rabbits bound in sausage links like chains, the sins that let the hunters catch them painted on their backs in saffron: “foolish”, “slothful”, “coward”.
31Pickled onions, pickled cabbages, pickled eggs, pickled ox tongue, if it can be pickled it must be somewhere in this melange.
32Roast duck posed comically atop hard-boiled ostrich eggs as if incubating them.
33Cakes drenched in syrups and treacle, silver coins sequestered within some.
34Smoked beef ribs arranged like a longboat, hanging bacon as sails.
35Sweetened cream scooped up with gingerbread.
36Pike and sturgeon on a bed of roe.
41Portraiture painted with marmalade and other colourful preserves on a canvas of marzipan.
42Partridges in tremollete sauce.
43Crayfish stuffed with butter and garlic.
44Lampreys in beef gravy.
45Battered fish and onions slathered with bright green sauce.
46Capon boiled in cinnamon sauce.
51Frumenty flavoured with currants and rosewater.
52Venison marinated with verjuice and cloves, carved with knives made from the antlers of the stag whose meat it was once.
53Fantastical chimeras made of calves, sheep, goats, fish, and chicken sewn and stuffed together.
54Wide omelettes stuffed with every conceivable combination of fillings: some sweet, some savoury, some meaty, some nutty, some vegetable, some a mix of all.
55Platters of dumplings, boiled and fried, stuffed with marrow and cheeses, fruits and nuts, onions and liver.
56Bletted medlars with honey and cream.
61Mutton in plum broth.
62Fried whitefish in apple sauce.
63Steamed asparagus, radish, and pears.
64Calf souse with toasted tranches of wheat-and-rye swirled bread.
65Peacocks cooked then redressed in their resplendent plumage.
66Tarts, custards, and fritters.

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