Saturday Seed ~ 152 (RuneQuest)

The latest version of RuneQuest, now published by The Design Mechanism, has been a topic of much interest and enjoyment around here this year.  This seed is a little idea that might be a way to introduce one of the magical additions made to the game for this 6th Edition, mysticism.

My Saturday Seeds also reappear on Ancient Scroll on random Saturdays~

The seed

The seed features the discovery that for quite some time, a community has been watched or perhaps watched over extensively by outsiders that no one knew were there.

Planting the seed

The seed can be planted at any point the characters are in or near a community for which they feel a strong connection and with which they have some history.

The Details

To keep things simple, this description will assume a moderately sized community with primarily agrarian interests on a plain near a range of mountains. This setup is not required. What is required is a place of relative seclusion off the beaten track within a few days travel on foot from the community. It could be a fishing community, a bustling trading port, the central point of cattle country – it matters not. What does matter is that for quite some time an enclave of strangers has been observing and recording life within the community in the written word, carvings and sculptures in a surprising array of media, song, and curious illustrations focusing more on character than form.

The discovery comes as many do, while some other task was occupying the full attention of the person making it. In this case, the search for something lost (a sheep, a foal, a lost child) took a party of people from the community along a path they do not remember being in such a long disused stretch of untamed land. Ultimately, this well-maintained path no one knew, took them to a well-maintained holding no one knew reminiscent of monasteries and private mountain retreats of reclusive men who turn their backs on the world. Signs of self-sufficient living show in every stone, every carefully trimmed fruit tree, every garden row.

Only the shattered door, heavy wood with strong bands of iron, lying in pieces on the clean cobblestones of the courtyard hints at trouble… that and the utter silence that no human community can ever muster.

Inside the wall of the holding, the neat buildings arranged within are a nightmarish tableau of brutality and death. Monks, young and old, children in training and old ones awaiting the transition to the next world, are discovered hacked to death and strewn like chaff within the walls. Around the inner spaces are statues of townspeople the searchers recognize. Wall murals of community life are everywhere.

The monks wear simple, and identical garb. Each has their head shaven and ritually burned on the crown with the sigil of a bird in flight superimposed inside the palm of a hand with outstretched fingers.

Drying on racks near the well are clothes more suitable for the community, plain and unassuming garb that would blend in with anyone on the streets.

Even the most casual search will reveal that the people who made this their home were focused in a very real way on making a record of community events small and large, and that this has been going on for generations.

Who could have wanted such a peaceful, unobtrusive, and artistic group as this murdered so violently?


What’s going on

Deeper investigation from more experienced and well-travelled eyes may turn up more.

Among the bodies of the slain are hints, signs, and the occasional corpse from among the attackers. Each of these are normal men, traders and travellers, but their faces are frozen in death in looks of horror and outrage. The brutal killing appears to have been done by hand, and by makeshift weapons in ways that no normal human could possible perform. More curious, the monks – even the children – fought back and accounted well for themselves. Most of the bodies of the attackers were …eaten on the spot before the survivors moved off into the wilderness.

A concerted search for the trail of the survivors will turn up corpses with expressions of horror not unlike those left uneaten in the monastery.

Some supernatural threat has declared a war of some sort on a peaceful monastic cult of artists and observers. To a person they were slaughtered on the doorstep of those whose lives they have chronicled in loving detail. Lost secrets, treasured memories, and unanswered questions all reside in the art found preserved in this place.

Who slew them and why? These are questions more appropriate for you to answer.



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