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The Sword, the Crown, and the Unspeakable Power of Bodemere

Started by Cramulus, April 14, 2020, 04:01:39 PM

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The Unwanted (the rebels against the crown) are situated in their new hideout. In the sewers underneath the city, they now have a hidden headquarters. Most of their number have made it there okay, but some were captured. Luckily, those captured do not know where the hideout is.

Lord Camus tasked his knight, Crow's Eye, with finding the Unwanted hideout. They must be somewhere in this city... Crow's Eye objected that he is not an investigator, but Camus sent him anyway.

The Ghouls have retaken the road, the city is now isolated and crowded. Those merchants which came here once the road is clear are now stuck... ghouls menace the forest surrounding the city.

Crow's Eye visited Commander Lehigh's tomb, a grave just outside of the city walls. Desperate and confused, he asked the unspeakable power for guidance. He received a vision -- he saw an image of Lord Camus Seneca asking the unspeakable power for guidance too. And the unspeakable power whispered back to Lord Camus, that it knows who he really is. (this is essentially a flashback to an earlier scene) Crow's Eye thought about this... what does it mean? Could it mean that Camus' twin brother, Voltaire, actually sits on the throne, in disguise? (the answer is yes, btw) Then, Crow's Eye saw a vision of the death knight he faced in battle. Perhaps a prophecy, perhaps a warning, he saw himself perish at the death knight's hands.

The members of the Unwanted captured by Lord Seneca were kept in cells beneath Deacon Augustine's church. Inquisitor Drosera tortured them, learned that a man named Vicar LeBlanc is agitating the Kin. He now occupies the chapel once presided over by Simon Van Leyden. She also learned that their worst fear is that the inquisition returns -- they still have terrible memories of the mass executions.

The king assembled his court and announced a public execution. He will execute the captured Kin, to make an example of them. Reeve Jean Reynard (the kin's representative in the royal court) fell to his knees in objection - banish them, punish them, anything -- but to kill them will just lead to more violence. Lord Seneca denied this request. He ordered a gallows to be constructed.

Crow's Eye snapped, confronting Lord Seneca, calling him out in the middle of his court for being an imposter. Sir Bastion drew his sword to make Crow's Eye stand down, but the king waved him off, insisting that his personal knight must be manipulated by witches or magic. Consumed with emotion, Crow's Eye accused the king of being an impostor, then stormed out of the castle. Camus let him go.  The court was shaken by this. Reeve Jean Reynard seems to have believed Crow's Eye, the others did not telegraph their reactions.  In private, Jean Reynard met with other members of the court and asked "Isn't it interesting how the king scapegoats "witches" everything something bad happens under his rule?"

Metal Legion met with Deacon Exodus, entering through the window of his study. He and Exodus agreed that they shared a common interest. Metal Legion formed a pact with the young Deacon, but Exodus was wary of being double crossed... he made Metal Legion sign an agreement, basically creating evidence of the pact so that if Exodus goes down, Metal Legion will go down with him. Metal Legion now owes Exodus a favor.

In the dark of night, the distraught Crow's Eye visited the grave of his former mentor, Commander Lehigh. He decided to break his oaths and leave the Swords of Seneca. He hid his sword and weapon in Lehigh's tomb, instead equipping his nondescript armor and sword. Praying again to the evil force that cannot be seen, Crow's Eye begged the Unspeakable Power for information about where to find Metal Legion. Attracted by the presence of evil magic, a ghoul tore out of the forest and raced at Crow's Eye. Crow's Eye knocked the ghoul to the ground, cut off his head... the severed head croaked the answer to Crow's Eye's question -- seek out Reynard Manor.

Meanwhile, Metal Legion had just left a tavern... the kin drinking within had started to sour on the Unwanted, thinking that most of the harm done to the kin is done in the name of stopping assassins and witches. They were upset with Metal Legion, but he made a speech, reminding them of the injustice they have faced at the hands of the knights and the crown. Metal Legion left to cheers, and headed to Reynard Manor. Planning to form an alliance with the Reeve, he arrived at the same time as Crow's Eye. Jean Reynard invited them both in, and discussed an alliance. Crow's Eye was finally ready to leave the King's serve and join his enemies.

Following the meeting, Crow's Eye was taken (by Metal Legion) to meet the Unwanted. Blindfolded, he was led to the secret chamber underneath the city. Orton No-Nose was impressed, excited to have Crow's Eye's help.. But Serena, herself an ex-Sword of Seneca, was not so quick to trust the king's former knight. She made a demand: if you wish to join the unwanted, you must spill the blood of a knight. Metal Legion objected: Crow's Eye is no subtle assassin, and he will serve our cause better if no one knows he has joined it. Serena instructed Metal Legion that he should help Crow's Eye make this kill quietly.

TL;DR this was another super tense episode! In the beginning of the game, the King had a secure political configuration, and the game seemed to be about gaining power within that system. But things are shifting now, there are more swords pointed towards the king, and the king's enemies are finally coming together. Crow's Eye switching "sides" is a huge shift in power, and was a long time coming.


I've also established three threats:

The Undead outside the city will become a bigger problem if nobody does anything about them. I'll probably have a big attack take place if nobody goes out there with an army and clears the road. I will eventually establish some kind of "super haunted" region where the undead are rising. At some point in the near future, I plan to reveal that when ANYONE uses magic (whether it's the Heretics or the Church), it makes the undead stronger. This should destabilize the king's relationship with the church.

Deacon Casamir is trying to put together an Inquisition to root out sin and heresy in the city. Their plan is first to take Confessions from the public, gathering evidence about who may be heretics. Then, they'll arrest heretics and torture them into ratting out other heretics. Then they'll have public executions to put the fear of the Four Moons into people. If this succeeds, it will drive the commoners crazy with paranoia, making them turn on each other. In this state, most commoners will trust the church, believing that it protects them when the king cannot.

Vicar LeBlanc is the agitator within the villagers. Right now, he's holding secret sermons which preach about the dangers of monarchy and religious hegemony. If that's not stopped, he'll escalate to inciting violence - his congregation will begin inciting riots and acts of destruction within the city. And if that's not addressed, then a revolutionary crowd will form at the castle gates.

All three of these are examples of threats with "countdowns" -- when you design a threat, you figure out what it's big goal is, and then what steps it takes to accomplish that goal. You need to give the PCs warning that these things are happening, and an opportunity to react to them -- but if the PCs fail to address the problem, then the countdown advances.

Oh yeah, one other threat going on -- the Church does not have permission to retain soldiers. The Faith Militant was disbanded in order to end the last Inquisition. But all four Deacons, despite their conflicts, are united in wanting the king to grant them the right to raise another force of Faith Militant. If they can get permission to raise an army, then they will eventually want to compete with the Royal Army for control of the city. If that is successful, they will replace the king with a pope.


I think you're underselling the possible threat of a revolutionary undead Inquisition here.


 :lulz: :lulz: yeah if all three Bad Things happen at once, they should just band together against the king, church, and heretics.

It's kinda interesting that the threats are asymmetrical. Drosera would benefit from the Inquisition. Metal Legion (and now Crow's Eye) would benefit from a revolution. And the church might even want to tolerate the undead if it means they can keep using magic and scapegoating the heretics.