Saturday Seed ~ 119 (All for One)

This week we have a seed for All for One: Regime Diabolique. I have been participating in another Adventure Seeds project on the Triple Ace forum, and so many ideas have been taking shape, not all of which are appropriate for the format required. The result, of course, is one presented here for this week’s Saturday Seed~

The Casting Shadows blog offers Saturday Seeds and campaign starters every Saturday (go figure…). Seeds from the blog also appear on Ancient Scroll.

The Seed

A dear friend of one of the characters thinks he is in trouble of the worst kind. He wants help to get out of France before the Inquisition comes for him. He hopes his dear friend will be willing and able to help him avoid the fires of punishment, but cannot be certain he will.

Planting the Seed

This seed is best planted in a garden of surprise, so it is best for established play groups of musketeers which have contacts, friends,and allies throughout the city. Discovering a close friend has been a member of a secret and heretical society should not be something revealed in an intro blurb – it should be savored.

The Details

Unbeknownst to the musketeers, a good friend is a member of a heretical, if seemingly benevolent, secret society outlawed by the Church. They know him to be a good man, but then again we all know what is said about the road to Hell. Although the have known him for some time, they have had no inkling that he is the member of any sort of society, least of all one considered to be so dangerous, and tied to so many conspiracies. As a member of the FRC, known to us as the Rosicrucians, this friend has earned a high rank in one of the plentiful French Masonic lodges, and as such, is considered a threat to France and an affront to the Faith. His rank in the FRC ties him to conspiracies spanning all of Christendom and indeed, links him as much to its enemies as it does to the forces of Satan himself. The Church states that such lodges practice all manner of foul deeds not the least of which being murder, fraternization with the enemies of Christ, and the study of black magic. It is small wonder they are secret.

Fearing for his life, but unwilling to put the musketeers in immediate danger, he sends an urchin with a thinly coded note which does not use names, only referents to past events, to communicate a desire to meet. The characters will have no trouble decoding the meaning of the note, but the reason behind it should leave them baffled and concerned. It may be that they have already heard rumours of the Inquisition’s interest in their friend, or this may be the first indication of trouble. Either way, they now have a decision to make: Aid a friend who has shown them no villainy in his heart, or turn him away for fear of guilt by association.

This is not a case of “Inquisition bad, Friend good.” This is a case of dealing with the pressures of public perception, risking one’s standing in the Church, experiencing the very real prejudices entrenched in the society, and confronting the alien concept these orders, lodges, and secret societies represent. Fear and distrust may billow up out of nowhere, revealing itself and justifying itself with very little provocation all of a sudden, and the challenge in this seed is in enabling your players to find these moral questions and quandaries as well as their answers in play.

Think back to the Three Musketeers and the tale Athos tells about how he as a younger man executed his own beloved wife, and think on how that decision haunted him afterward. Think about that wife, and how that day changed her too. Much can be gained in this sort of exploration of character without leaving the realm of swashbuckling horror. Much.

Of course, part of the route toward providing these opportunities of character exploration is to balance the representation of the friend with enough hints of an utterly foreign and dangerously radical outlook that the characters must question the moral footing of the man they took to be a man like any other. They should come to believe him possible of consorting with sorcerers, men of other faiths, and of conspiring to bring down the Pope in favour of a new religion of their own devising.

On top of that… this man is asking them to save him, to smuggle him out of France to escape the fires of the Inquisition’s justice.

What is going on

Quite simply, the friend should by all means be a Rosicrucian, a good man, and in very real danger of imprisonment, torture, and ultimately a horrific death. His intention in life could be equal parts educating and elevating all the people of the world, and preserving his comfortable position in society for the simple joy of participating in his own intellectual and artistic pursuits, many of which cross boundaries set by the Church into the realm of the occult.

What is going on, is a decision. If made in favor of the friend, this decision leads to daring plans, moonlight escapades, chases, escapes, investigation into which spy or mistake betrayed the friend to the hounds of the Inquisition, and protection against falling prey to those hounds themselves. It also opens them up to choosing, or having to choose doing this all over again should they be successful…  Either as help earnestly sought, or help bought through self-serving blackmail, the future holds more than a slight chance of further dalliance with the FRC.

If made in favor of their own safety, the characters might find themselves called to testify against the battered wreck of their friend, confused and babbling whatever confessions his torturers want to hear… and of course, called to watch him burn.

Will they see revenge lurking in the darkest shadows thereafter? Will it be there?


2 Responses to “Saturday Seed ~ 119 (All for One)”
  1. That is very nice sir. Touches on some great concepts, and gets players to think about the role faith had in a society where devotion to the church was often seen as more important than devotion to its teachings.

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