Saturday Seed ~ 197 (All for One)

This is a slightly sexy seed for All for One: Regime Diabolique’s take on a darkly supernatural 1630s France.

The seed
This seed takes a stab at a darker reflection on the oldest profession and its ages old association with soldiery and other brave, but lonely people who put their lives on the line for the good of the nation.

Planting the seed
This seed can be planted at any stage of your game or campaign and merely requires the musketeers (or whatever sort your group have chosen to portray) enter one of Madame Berger’s small, but popular drinking and ‘carousing’ establishments with intent to carouse, or the willingness to be persuaded to carouse. Carouse is a metaphor in this context….  wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Planting the seed is a three stage process. The first is to inform and describe the place to the players and perhaps entice the characters to make use of it. This can go on, building rapport with the barkeeps and bouncers, patrons, and waitresses, for a good long while. Make the site a part of the campaign.

The second stage is for them to be targeted once or twice by the mysterious and supernatural aspects of carousing upstairs. Their times at Bergers are always pleasant, and nothing stands out in the memory as being odd, but sometimes they leave feeling exhausted and have small wounds that they cannot remember getting. It is easily dismissed once or twice, but over time it stacks up in one’s subconscious. Should they investigate there is really nothing to find.

The third stage is for someone they know tangentially or well to disappear after a night at Berger’s and never been seen again. If they investigate… then you are off to a night of horror and villainy in one of the finest brothels in Paris.

The details
Madame Berger’s taverns are small and secluded, all with upper floors and private rooms. She has good ale, good food, appropriately clean (but not too clean) common rooms, decent music, and often the very best companionship among both one’s fellow clients and one’s service providers. While a few of her locations are quite open about what goes on, and are considered good quality for a bargain price, most offer discrete entertainment for gentlemen who may have reputations to protect, or enemies to seek refuge from. Visiting one of her taverns is always an experience.

Those who merely drink there will have every reason to have a good time. Those who carouse, will leave feeling like they probably had the best time of their lives, but indulged too much to remember it all. The service comes with free flowing wine, and incense, and a luxurious bath and… a bunch of other stuff that was probably amazing, and then the next day… the best kind of lassitude and hangover. Sometimes, that lassitude is exhaustion.

A part of the service at Berger’s is a very earthy, and probably heretical but very, very sexy, dance performed by the service providers which ends in a short, dimly remembered (if that) ritual to the Mother of Pleasure. She expects a small blood sacrifice from those who engage in carnal… carousing, offered in a small stone bowl.

“It’s worth it…” huskily breathed in the ear of a besotted client is all the persuasion needed to allow the small cut and offering to be made. Just as often, no one remembers the exchange at all.

What’s going on
To get this seed planted well, layers of misdirection are advised. Patrons could at first simply believe the entertainment personnel in charge of helping Madame Berger’s clients are nothing more than lovely and hardworking people devoted to their tasks. Later they might suspect some form of charm or tincture had captivated their senses. Still later, they might begin to wonder if perhaps they had stumbled across the lair of succubae… and how they feel about that.

The final layer, the truth as mortals may be prepared to perceive it, that Madame Berger is a vampire and her employees are her brood, should only ever come out if the characters take it upon themselves to dig into the goings on in the upstairs rooms of her taverns – even then, it can be left open to misinterpretation.

Madame Berger was a cunning and ambitious creature, and the demon which has stolen her body and consumed her learned the value of how her greed had taken shape. Recruiting from the best of the existing stock of her brothels, the Vampire Berger kept the hold on them which had been forged in life and uses them and their talents to both build a large and varied clientele, but to also provide Berger with access to more blood than she could ever hunt for on her own.

While accidents do happen, and mortals do expire in the embrace of their lovers-for-pay from time to time. Berger does her best to provide a safe establishment and build on repeat business. Through the use of subtle potions, fumes, aphrodisiacs, first-rate training, and the ludicrous blindness of the drunk and lusty, she manages to do that more often than not. It may not be the best lay in Paris, but the foggy recollections which remain seem like they were really…memorable….

Should the characters seek to undue this hellish bit of lustful paradise, Berger will not hesitate to flee even as her brood fights to the death in her place. Should they win, Berger will not return, and the survivors will have their freedom… and a great business model to try to implement on their own. Berger for her part, if she eludes capture, will similarly relocate to a large city and start again.


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