Infectious Plot ~ 1: Premise and Basic Arc (All for One)

All For One: Regime Diabolique – Campaign Premise

Turn and Turn Again

This campaign seed is built on the idea of a one-year cycle, and will be influenced by the ideas that the world of the spirit and the world of steel and gunpowder have a very uneasy and convoluted relationship.

The start date for the campaign is midnight September 21, 1636 – the night of the actual Autumnal Equinox. This date for the equinox was chosen by me purely by convenience and should I determine the actual night of the equinox for that year, it will be changed. France adopted the Gregorian calendar on December 9th, 1582, and the tradition of having festivals or observances of one sort or another relating to the harvest and the departed near the end of October, beginning of November was already well-established in many places in Europe so I could have chosen Friday, October 31, 1636 as the start date (which would have been 11 or 12 days earlier than in England, and other places), but I felt it might be more advantageous to obfuscate what is occurring more than that date would allow. YMMV. In essence, the premise used throughout this campaign will be that the  division between one world and the next is influenced by actual astronomical events and situations, not calendar dates, so for the corrupting entity at work here, the night when this is appropriate is the night of the equinox, not the very human festival of All Hallows.

The Seed:

The characters encounter a tempter, and are offered a deal for one year. At stake, of course, are their very souls.

Planting the Seed:

Begin the campaign as the characters walk down a dark lane near midnight. They have been out of the city for a reason of no consequence (such as to escape a potentially messy entanglement at the behest of their patron, who deems it the easiest solution to a silly problem) and plan to return tomorrow. They have been out carousing and it is time to return to their lodgings.

Jay N. Davis

Decisions, decisions...

As they walk they come across a house or inn in the last stages of burning to the ground, and before the building is a man, watching it burn introspectively. He is covered in soot and ashes, and does not seem at all pleased. Near him on the ground is the body of another man, clearly a victim of a sword thrust through the heart, some personal items, books, and heirlooms, a scorched wooden sign with the logo of a sword and the name Salon de Caranza et Didier, as well as several fire-damaged sword cases.

It very much looks like the man standing here was attacked and his salon (fencing school) was set on fire, and after dispatching his attacker, struggled to rescue what he could from the blaze. He is now simply watching the fire burn itself out, and contemplating this sudden change to his circumstances.

The man will speak to them even if they do not approach him, and will engage them in conversation about their prowess as swordsmen. On his hip he bears a bejeweled rapier with a small fortune in rubies embedded in it. A man could live comfortably for years on the wealth selling them would produce. The sword itself is a work of art in gold and steel, and silver.

He does not wish to discuss the events that transpired, saying that he has just now vowed to dwell on it silently for one year as ‘vengeance belongs to the Lord God,’ but makes the characters this proposal: If they dedicate themselves to sword training under his tutelage, he will provide it for free for one year. If they are satisfied with the quality of his instruction after that year passes, he will then ask each of them for a favor in return for services rendered. If they are unsatisfied, he will grant them a duel 1 on 1 to first blood, with a jeweled sword as the prize – if he wins, they will continue as his students as clearly he has more to teach them. If they win, they may take a sword as their own. The other swords are not revealed, but implied by the heavy cases on the ground near the corpse.

From this point on, the temptation has begun. It does not matter what the characters choose in regard to his offer, the offer itself is merely window dressing for the attention of the corrupter. In every case, the characters will be ‘attacked’ through the sins of pride, greed, and envy as exposure to certain circumstances over and over again throughout the year erodes their resistance and clouds their judgment.

Accepting:

If they accept, their training will begin one week later, once the characters have returned to the city, and the man has had a chance to set up a new salon there. He promises that they will be his exclusive students for that year, and that if they follow through on their lessons, they will be numbered among the most feared swordsmen in all of Europe.

He is as good as his word, and characters will not only receive the benefit of superlative training, they will come to find that they have limited access to the resources of the Salon as well.

Situations will arise over the course of the year which will make the upper levels of membership in the Salon will seem very attractive, such as legal disputes, financial troubles, and seeing opportunities given to lesser men because of their greater political connections.

There will be much to talk about and negotiate for at the end of the year of training.

Refusing:

If they refuse the man will be cordial, and wish them well.

Events and people, however, will be influenced so that the characters are often embarrassed, socially bested, or replaced by, a close-knit group of rivals for whom everything seems to come easily, and upon whom, luck seems to smile. Rumor will have it that they are members of a secretive sword school with highly-placed and influential members who regard all members as if they were actual brothers.

Further investigation might turn up that the name of this hypothesized school is the Salon de Caranza et Didier.

Murder & Mayhem:

If they succumb to temptation and seek to rob the man, play it out. He will not submit to threats and will instead draw his sword as if to fight all of them. He can certainly best each of them 1 on 1, but will be overcome should they press him as a group or resort to the use of their firearms.

His purse will contain a large amount of coins not evenly divisible between the number of the characters, and while there are indeed more jeweled swords of the same decorative style but different classifications, there is one fewer than the number of characters.

Keeping the weapons will attract thieves, challengers, and other unwelcome attention. Their beauty and perfection as weapons are difficult to bear the thought of losing.

Selling the weapons will expose the characters to greed, cheating, and treachery, but the returns will be lavish and the resulting lifestyle-upgrade will be very hard to see dwindle.

Whatever happens let them get away with this crime. Make it seem as though crime does pay, and each time they consider stealing as a means to solve their monetary problems, make it seem like the stars are aligning by luck in their favor to do so. Consequences will come later.

The Authorities:

Should they opt to turn the man in for the death, he will go without complaint (as he is confident he will be vindicated and released) – but he will be imprisoned.

As the year drags on he will correspond with the characters by note and messenger, begging them to do whatever is necessary to secure his release. Investigation of even the most cursory nature will reveal that the characters’ initial impression of the scene is true. If that is so, he does deserve to be released. The jailers, however, are of a different mind, and the courts, without pressing reason (bribes) are too busy to open a closed case. It seems no one but they (via a lot of coins) or the King, can set him free.

The price of his freedom is more than the characters can raise, or will require a daring prison raid and the deaths of many ‘innocent’ guards….or earning the favor of the King through nearly impossible heroics.

Running the Campaign:

For the most part, run the events of the campaign as normal, but from time to time – when appropriate, allow the influence of their decision on this first night to be felt.

Slowly build things so that at the end of the year, regardless of what they chose that night, the anniversary of their decision will have them in a position where they are clamoring for something, and are in peril of endangering their immortal souls.

Tempt them with promotion, mistresses, rich patrons, glory, and whatever else their hearts desire, give them tastes of success if they have taken the deal as offered, but even then leave them wanting more and more of their good thing. Keep shifting their standards so that what was once enough (a good sword, dry powder, a fast horse, a faster woman, and above all the safety of the King) is now taken for granted.

On the night of the equinox, one year later, the man (or the Salon if he should have been killed) will present them with another deal, and ideally this cycle can be maintained for at least one more year of game time before the characters are faced with the ultimate deal of temporal power and command of demonic servitors in exchange for their souls.

More to Come:

This entry will be joined by one of story hooks which play up the themes of subtle corruption mentioned herein, one of a cast of characters one might use to further such plots, and one to deal with the dawning realizations of the characters and how they might get free of their predicament.

Speak your piece~

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Revelations of Glaaki

  • Invocation

    Do not summon up that which you cannot also put down:

    runescastshadows at the intersection of Google and Mail.

    Find us on Google+

  • Role-Playing Stack Exchange

%d bloggers like this: