Twelve May Day story hooks for you to draw inspiration from - or use directly!
In case anyone is confused as to the titles let me explain one way of looking at them:
May Queen - female
May King - male
May Jack - an individual not identifying as either of the above
You could create some interesting stories around the triumvirate. After all, those titles don't have to relate to sex. It could be the three aspects of life - young, adult, old or some other metaphorical meaning. Or maybe the Jack, is the non-humanoid representative - centaur or treant?
Lots of potential, and thanks to my twitter followers who suggested 'Jack' as a good, non-binary title to go alongside King and Queen.
The Beltane festivals are happening this evening and the local lord wants some personal security for his daughter who is attending the festival. She has just come of age and he wants her protected from unwanted suitors.
Local druids are arguing over where the main Beltane fire will be situated. Things are getting heated (excuse the pun) and the two rival druid factions are becoming aggressive. Someone needs to keep the peace.
A dryad from the local forest approaches the party. They would like to invite the group to a private gathering deep in the forest to celebrate May Day. They are vague on the details but hint that someone very important might be in attendance and keen to meet with them.
On the eve of May Day everyone who was eligible to become this year's May Jack, King or Queen have vanished. The only clues are some strange tracks that lead to the Forest of Hundra, across the river. Few locals are willing to enter that forest as it is rumoured to be home to night hags, trolls and lizard fiends.
Last year at the height of the May Day festivals, a demonic apparition appeared over the maypole in the village square. It demanded that the following year’s May Jack, King or Queen (whichever one was appointed) must be sacrificed by the maypole, on the midnight of May Day or pestilence and famine would sweep the local lands. The locals are still going ahead with the selection of this year's May figurehead, but they are split over how to deal with the threat. Tensions are high.
Three days after the end of the May Day celebrations, the ceremonial ashes from the Beltane Fires were collected and placed into seven jars. Those jars were then sealed and placed, under guard in the church vaults. The following morning the guard was unconscious, the doors ripped open and the jars are gone. These have some magical value but mostly they are used as traditional gifts to the neighbouring kingdoms. The locals are very worried about the offence that will occur if the jars cannot be retrieved and sent out as gifts as planned.
A local handler for stolen items approaches the party and offers them a job. They are trying to smuggle a shipment of jars out from the kingdom to a location far to the south. They will pay well for some assistance.
A message reaches the party from a well trusted and liked NPC. The region they were travelling through is ruled over by an ancient red dragon. It demands a blood sacrifice once a year on May Day. By ancient law, anyone within the local limits at the time of the draw is a potential candidate, with all names going into a giant barrel and the victim’s name being drawn out at random. The message retells how the NPC’s horse became lame and they were stuck in the region for the time of the draw. They were obliged to put their name forward and, to their horror, it was drawn from the barrel. They want help! It is only a month from May Day.
A shady merchant approaches the party and asks for their help bringing in a shipment of forest wine from the neighbouring kingdom. They would like to avoid paying the border taxes and wonder if the party could help. They claim to know a secret, if slightly dangerous route, through the local swamp. The wine is for the May Day celebrations in two weeks’ time. It will be a ten-day trip to fetch the wine assuming no delays.
The May Jack was found dead from poison on the morning of the festivals. They had been crowned the night before and suspicion has fallen on the chieftain’s daughter who came second in the voting. She denies any involvement and her father has asked the party to clear her name.
The May Jack was found dead from poison on the morning of the festivals. They had been crowned the night before and suspicion has fallen on the chieftain’s daughter who came second in the voting. She denies any involvement. The parents of the May Jack have approached the party. They claim the chieftain’s daughter absolutely did it out of bigotry and envy. This is the first year ever that a May Jack and not a May King or Queen was nominated.
The most attractive member of the party has, without them knowing they were in the running, been voted May person of the year. (King, Queen or Jack depending on sexual orientation.) The locals are insisting they honour tradition and take part in the Beltane rituals. A friendly local however has whispered a warning to them that a ritual sacrifice will be involved this year as the recent harvest was so poor.
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Some material from thegrinningfrog.com
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