The Vessel with the Pessel – The Court Jester #ifthiswereaTTRPG

This week’s #ifthiswereaTTRPG post comes from the legendary 1956 musical-comedy The Court Jester starring Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, and a fantastic supporting cast. As always, spoilers ahead!

The Court Jester is one of my all-time favorite comedies. It features moments of true genius and never fails to make you smile. Danny Kaye is an all-time great triple threat and his abilities are on full display in this film. Kaye plays an ex-carnival worker, Hubert Hawkins, who has joined a Robin Hood type band of rebels dedicated to restoring the true king to the throne and removing the usurper currently occupying the seat.

Hawkins of course, gets embroiled into a ridiculous series of hi-jinks, many of which are classic pieces of comedy. Lines like “Get it? Got it? Good.” and “The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!” come from the Court Jester – all-time great scenes! And the latter sequence is what I’ll be re-imagining as a group of people playing a tabletop RPG for this week’s #ifthiswereaTTRPG.

The scene begins near the end of the film with poor Hawkins being pitted in a duel against Griswold, an incredibly experienced knight. Hawkins is standing with his love, the maid Jean, when the witch Griselda interrupts their conversation with some hope for Hawkins in the duel. The scene is a fantastic illustration of pure role playing joy personified. Hope you enjoy!

“You two are finally alone.” says the GM to the Hawkins and maid Jean players. “Given the state of things, this may be your final moments together.”

“If I die, just pray that I die bravely.” says the Hawkins player to the main Jean player, a look of grief etched on their face.

“I walk up to them.” says the Griselda player to the GM, who nods. “You’ll not die, you’ll not have to fight him. Griswold dies as he drinks the toast!” they continue to the Hawkins and maid Jean players who share a confused look.

“What?” says the Hawkins player in reply.

“Listen, I put a pellet of poison in one of the vessels.” says the Griselda player.

“Which one?” asks the Hawkins player.

“The one with a figure of a pessel.” the Griselda player matter-of-factly replies.

“The vessel with the pessel?” asks the Hawkins player.

“Yes. But you don’t want the vessel with the pessel, you want the chalice from the palace.” quickly replies the Griselda player, who is starting to get skeptical of the Hawkins player’s learning comprehension skills.

“So I don’t want the vessel with the pessel, I want the chalice from the…what?” asks the Hawkins player, a smirk creeping over their face.

“The chalice from the palace!” interjects the maid Jean player.

“It’s a little crystal chalice with a figure of a palace.” says the Griselda player seriously, not quite catching on that the Hawkins player is messing with them.

“Does the chalice from the palace have the pellet with the poison?” asks the Hawkins player, their smirk becoming more obvious.

“No, the pellet with the poison is with the vessel with the pessel.” answers the Griselda player, becoming a little frustrated.

“Oh, the pessel with the vessel.” says the Hawkins player, breaking out into a smile.

“The vessel with the pessel.” mirrors the maid Jean player.

“But what about the palace from the chalice?” asks the Hawkins player, barely able to suppress a laugh.

“No! Not the palace from the chalice, the chalice from the palace.” answers the Griselda player, getting a little riled up now.

“Where’s the pellet with the poison?” asks the Hawkins player, prompting a laugh out of the maid Jean player. The GM watches the conversation like a cat watches a pinball go back and forth.

“In the vessel with the pessel.” says the Griselda player through gritted teeth.

“Don’t you see?” says the maid Jean player “The pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pessel.”

“The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.” finishes the Griselda player.

“So easy, I can say it!” says the maid Jean player.

“Well then you fight him.” says the Hawkins player, chuckling to themselves.

Now quite frustrated, the Griselda player continues: “Listen carefully: the poison is in the vessel with the pessel and the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.”

Becoming quite animated, the Hawkins player exclaims: “The poison is in the vessel with the pessel and the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!”

“Good man!” yells the maid Jean player.

“Just remember that!” echoes the Griselda player as they get up from the table to refill their drink – and no doubt decompress from that scene.

“You guys are out of your minds.” says the GM as the Hawkins and maid Jean player finally let out the massive belly laughs they were holding in throughout that whole exchange.

Leave a Reply