Spotted! A Foolish Fish

“I can’t wait to trout out my new jokes. I even went to school for it. Did you catch that? School!”

— An Orcward Statement by the Poisson D’Avril

Subject: The Poisson d’Avril from France

Threat Codex Rating: Unknown

File Notes

The first documented sighting of the paper-thin Poisson d’Avril was in the 16th century on the heels of a French proclamation. The Council of Trent, in 1563, decided to move the beginning of the year from April 1 st to January 1 st per the Edict of Roussillon. The date change affected more than just the Julian calendar, however, it spelled an end to Boxing Day celebrations as well — for some French citizens, but not all. Slow to adapt, due to the lack of Internet at the time, the French committed many faux pas ranging from public drunkenness to awkward, one-sided gift exchanges. Following one such occurrence, in which Mireille d’Aubergie gifted an expensive brooch for an elderly aunt she typically visited once a year, the Poisson d’Avril was spotted stuck to Madame d’Aubergie’s back. The sight of the fish out of water plastered on the dress of a courtier was so popular, several would-be artisans copied the event and created colorful fish-shaped cut-outs to glue on other, unfortunate transgressors of the royal decree. The rest, as the Poisson d’Avril would say, is fishstory.

Since that first sighting, the Poisson d’Avril’s popularity has spread beyond its home in the French waterways, and its annual return is often celebrated throughout France, the British Isles, the Nordic countries, Romania, India, and America. Unlike any other sea creature, the Poisson d’Avril is aware of its celebrity status, and has spent its long years learning how to communicate with all who encounter it. Though it has never once been captured, in part due to its unusual ability to transmute its physical body to a thought form and back again with ease, investigators continue to pursue the Poisson d’Avril. Some would like to prevent the legendary foolish fish from reappearing ever again, while others want to confirm the rumor that the Poisson d’Avril possesses some human bones, like the humerus.

Thanks to its ritualistic habits, investigators may seek the Poisson d’Avril on April 1 st of any given year. Though it is unknown how, when, and where it hibernates, some scientists believe the Poisson d’Avril can be lured to the surface with a well-timed series of pranks, tasteful adulations, and fresh tributes.

Goals

Poisson d’Avril is a simple saltwater fish with simpler goals. Its purpose is to add brevity to an otherwise dreary day. Though the maritime beast can communicate telepathically in multiple languages, its influence is often seen, heard, and felt on April 1st .

Story Hook

The legendary Poisson d’Avril has been known to make people laugh, but its behavior has recently shifted to be more aggressive as of late. Now, it seeks gullible victims to laugh for a reason known only to itself. What could be the mystery behind Poisson d’Avril’s sudden appearance? Is there a rational explanation for its mischief and mayhem? Or, are its potential victims at risk of hearing too many fish stories? Bad puns? Whales of a tale?

System

The Poisson d’Avril spends three hundred and sixty-four days a year beneath the depths of the Atlantic Ocean in a deep, restorative sleep. Then, once a year on April 1 st , the Poisson d’Avril swims to the surface and heads for populated shores. Though it is believed the Poisson d’Avril is not one-of- a-kind, it never appears in the same location twice and its paper-thin consistency often makes it difficult to detect. It can, at will, dissolve into an infectious thought form that causes a victim to either chuckle or growl with discontent. A Poisson d’Avril has the following abilities:

Skills: Athletics 2, Close Combat 1, Persuasion 4, Technology 1

Attributes: Cunning 3, Intellect 3, Resolve 4, Might 1, Dexterity 1, Stamina 1, Presence 10,
Manipulation 1, Composure 4

Special Rules

Wordplay: The Poisson d’Avril can communicate telepathically, and often targets the unwitting and gullible by assailing them with fake news (e.g. hoaxes), fish stories, tall tales, and bad puns. Players must accumulate 1 success on a Cunning + Intellect roll at standard difficulty to avoid doubling over in laughter. Each success represents one groan at the player’s discretion.