Saturday Seed – 26 (All for One)

This week’s seed is for All for One… mostly because I cannot get the game out of my head, despite all the wild Battletech action going on in my campaign.

This idea is perhaps best for a small group or perhaps even a solo story thread. I feel it is most appropriate for an inexperienced character, but then again… there is no fool like an old one.

The seed:

An anonymous letter is delivered by lackey to the lackey of one of the characters, politely requesting a discrete meeting in the gardens behind a nearby cathedral late in the afternoon the following day. The handwriting is exquisite, the paper expensive, and the tone is clearly that of a person born and bred a noble.

The meeting, should the character attend will be very strange. Two obviously well-trained footmen, wearing ill-fitting livery that is very likely borrowed, will present the character(s) with a very fine bottle of wine, and a second letter, asking them to sit on a quiet bench nearby, surrounded by hedges, and to please enjoy the wine.

If they comply with that request, a hooded man, in a heavy cloak worth more than some pay to dine for a month, speaks to them through the hedge, begging their aid. If the character(s) will aid him, he will reward them with a bag of precious stones won by his ancestors in the crusades, and favorable mention at court.

His request is simple; he wishes the death of a renowned duelist and womanizer who has made him a cuckold. He fears that should he undergo this duel himself, he will surely lose, and that too-painful admission is what is behind all the secrecy.

“I am neither a fighting man, nor a vengeful man, but some things no man should have to endure. I cannot bear the thought of that man being allowed to walk the streets like a proud, prize cock, while I cannot even show my face without ridicule. He must be put down like the no-account dog he is, and I pray that you are the one(s) who can see that it is done.”

Complications:

Regardless of what the characters decide to do, they will find a letter awaiting them, again on expensive paper, but this time perfumed, and clearly written by a lady. The letter begs them to spare the life of the womanizing duelist in return for a stipend which, with a little prudence, could improve their living situation.

The next morning, two more letters arrive on a similar theme, with similar offers, from two distinctly different writers. Outside their lodging, a valet awaits them politely with still another request for clemency, and an equally healthy offer in reward.

Not far down the street, a closed carriage awaits, and within it, a noble woman with a lady in waiting and two footmen. One of the footmen will politely address the characters when they leave their abode, and ask them if the lady might have a word with them… again on a related theme, but with a much higher reward, and the hint that she might even be so motivated as to offer a more personal and intimate relationship as reward, and all the social perks that going along with having a noble woman as one’s mistress, should mercy to the womanizing swordslinger be shown.

All this before breakfast.

The Womanizing Duelist

This cat is truly a piece of work. Neither handsome nor all that charming, he seems to capitalize on cruelty, swagger, and a fascinating grace which lends credence to reports that he is one of the deadliest blades in all of France. While that claim is made by most men one meets these days, for this one… it has an air of truth.

Armand Bellegarde is known as being able to out-drink the best drinkers, out-swim the best swimmers, out-wit the best thinkers, and out-fight damn near everyone. When he gambles he wins, when he prowls for companionship he gets it, and when he duels… people die. Can it all be true? Can this swaggering little dog of a man be so formidable?

What is going on

Bellegarde is a very capable swordsman and while might be quite the match for many men, he cheats, and that makes all the difference. He cheats at everything, and he is perhaps the best cheat in all of France.

Whatever he gains, he gains by deceit, trickery, blackmail, coercion, and foul play.

The noble, close to the King, well past his prime, and very susceptible to scandal has indeed been cuckolded, and is really doing what he sees as the only thing he can to get a husband’s revenge.

The noble lady, the wife of the noble, is… not satisfied with her married life, but is quite satisfied with the perks of nobility which attend it. She is willing to do anything to save Bellegarde because he is blackmailing her; and because she is bored and its something to do.

The other ladies are in various states ranging from blind lust to horrified blackmail.

It will be quite difficult to uncover all of this deceit, as Bellegarde and his victims cover their tracks well. Once a lead has been found, however, the whole process will be easy to unravel. You can take good cues from the source material for this~

Resolution

This could go in many different ways, from the merely physical to the purely investigative, to some combination of both, or it might end with the characters simply collecting the loot not to harm Bellegarde and living out a comfortable year – hoping that no harm comes of it.

Depending on the mood of your campaign you will have to decide how things go. I might have the noble seek out Bellegarde and die at his hands if the characters opt not to intervene, or I might have them cross paths with Bellegarde and have an opportunity to form opinions of him on their own either before or after this whole episode takes place.

It will be important to play up the man’s fearsome reputation as a swordsman, and to also emphasize the man’s ferocious success in woo-pitchery. The man pitches woo like a demon!

Hmmmm… is he a demon?

Have fun!

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