Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Men and Woman of Action

Our Cast:
Men and Woman of Action
The Foreign Empire
Rebel Republic
The XXth Legion
The Protecter Elect
The Former Advisor
The Old Stones
Secret Cult of Disaffected Wealthy Youth
The Young Spiritualists

[numbers correspond to the creative method, noted at the bottom.]

The players, Men and Woman of Action, are all former freedom fighters who opposed the rule of a Foreign Empire. They rose among the ranks of the opposition Rebel Republic throughout a guerrilla military campaign against occupying forces. They are and are well respected by the leadership of the Rebel Republic as well as the general public, being some of the only people in the region held in such favor. The occupation has become prohibitively expensive for the Empire, and they have recently submitted to a peace treaty. They are withdrawing their forces, the XXth Legion. The Men and Woman of Action have found themselves within the power structure of the new capital city during the transition of power. As soldiers, not politicians, they deal with the more sensitive situations that arise in the city. Specifically, conflict and violence demands their particular skills. Recently a wave of serial killings has been looming secretly behind the more pressing political situation. [1]

The investigation quickly reveals that it is entirely possible that the serial killings are cover for a politically motivated assassination, targeting the democratically elected Protecter of the new rebel republic… Unless, of course, it is targeted at his wife. The various clues that will be uncovered can be interpreted either way, and would direct the motive, and investigation, in very different directions: Calculated political subversion, or sexually obsessed madman. [2]

The only person who seems to be able to interpret the various clues correctly is imprisoned in the cities Garrison Penitentiary. He is the Former Advisor to the Legions command. This was until it was exposed in that he practiced illegal death magics, and used the helpless and wretched of the capital city’s poor as subjects and fuel for his practices. Often entrapping young men for sacrifice without any magic manipulation. He would exchange payment of family debts or paying commissions for the victim’s kin for their willful sacrifice. (A critical necessity for the magics he practiced. Lacking a congregation of believers who would offer themselves up for his divine arts, he turned to duress.) When this was exposed, it turned public opinion against the occupying forces. Among inside circles it was considered the single most important factor in changing the image of the Rebel Republicans from anarchists to liberators despite all the propaganda efforts of the Foreign Empire. The Former Advisor may have an inside understanding of the killings, but he is not revealed his hand. He is paranormally intelligent. [1, cont] The Garrison Penitentiary was passed over to Republican forces months ago as part of Transition.

The foreign powers withdrawal is scheduled and their XXth legion is currently preparing for its departure. The XXth Legion has occupied the capital city for nearly 200 years. They were the primary police and military force in the region. Being primarily guerrilla forces, the Rebel Republic’s peace keeping forces are unseasoned and untrained in the day-to-day maintenance of a large city-state. [3]

The capital city has been occupied for over 200 years. Unknown to anyone still living, the XXth legions war machines that have been in place for the entire duration carry powerful suppressive magics. Some of these war machines have already been drawn down and transported home. The old totems and statues of the ancient order are in fact stone golems in the form of composite human and animal beasts. They have come to be know as The Old Stones. As the XXth legions withdraw, the Men and Woman of Action will find that the Old Stones reawaken. They’re not necessarily hostile but they are extremely powerful and utterly disoriented because of their 200 year hibernation. The first thing they will do is begin to think. This will affect spiritually attuned individuals. One of the Old Stones is near the Garrison Penitentiary. The Former Advisor becomes aware of it’s awakening. Reports will surface of the Stones changing position slightly. Children may see them move. Many will write this off as extraneous anxiety bubbling up from a overwhelmed public. [4]

The Former Adviser, his crimes being against the people of the Rebel Republic, is being turned over to the new Republican courts upon the XXth Legions departure. In preparation, the new courts have already scheduled his execution. It is assumed that this will be their first order of business upon assuming power.

There is a Secret Cult of Disaffected Wealthy Youth occupying the wealthy sections of the capital city. They are the children of the wealthy members of the rebel republic, many of whom profited by the presence of the foreign empire. There is unease among the wealthy about what their treatment will be when the XXth Legion departs. The branch of magic that the Former Advisor represents fascinates these Youth. While not necessarily idealizing him or her to his people they are drawn to his charisma and the strange powers he commanded. It is unknown to even the cult what they will do regarding his scheduled execution. It is not outside the realm of possibility that upon finding out about these youth (it begins with him ignorant of them, it could be kept from him) the Former Advisor might make an attempt to groom one of them for participation in his arts. [5]

Contrasting the Secret Cult of Disaffected Wealthy Youth are the Young Spiritualists among the Republican Rebels. Initiate Spiritualists have been necessary and critical in the struggle. Many of them were entrenched with Republican forces. (Indeed one of the Men and Woman of Action may be one of them.) The XXth Legion targeted Elder Spiritualists who were sympathetic to the Republican Rebels with black mail, imprisonment, and execution. Spiritualists who capitulated to the legions pressure are now considered collaborators, and hold little sway with the public. The Young Spiritualists have distanced themselves from their elders. Not only socially and politically, but theologically as well. With the ease of conflict and combat, they have been coming out of hiding and returning to spiritual studies. They have been rediscovering the old ways. Since the military draw down, the Old Stones have been speaking to the Young Spiritualists' souls in the ancient tongues. They have been learning it unknowingly. This long suppressed alchemy of the word is meaningless to modern-day magic users. The Young Spiritualists speak it with the awkwardness of small children, yet it still commands forgotten arts. [6]

One of the tasks the PCs have been charged with during the transition has been providing an ear to the wealthy and nervous aristocrats of the Rebel Republic. The Primary Liaison is a fat hedonistic and utterly bombastic man. He is however possessed of machiavellian cunning, as well as powerful sway among the aristocrats. [7]

The public distrusts the accord that was negotiated with the Foreign Empire, and look to the Men and Woman of Action as representatives of the people interest. The capital city and indeed this whole new nation is a potential tinderbox, superstition prevents speaking of it, but many fear civil war will be the coronation of this sovereign state, the wailing of mothers and widows fated to be its only anthem. [8]

I used Zac Sabbath's One True Table to make this. 4 cups of tea, and one morning were harmed in the making of this adventure.

One-True-Table results:

[1] Where's the basic plot of this thing coming from?
Silence of the Lambs (#15)

[2] With a side of what?
London Fields (#14)

[3] Where am I going to get an idea for the big, crazy fight?
Viriconium. (#37) [I went with the roman city, not Vance.]

[4] And the totally incongruous element?
Composite Beast (#94)

[5] The multivalent trick the PCs can fuck with and turn against the adventure?
Jedi (prison break, showy execution goes wrong, 3-front assault, #19)

[6] And the new monster?
Apparent gibberish isn't (#92)

[7] Dumb prop/DM gimmick?
Larry Flint/Baron Harkonnen (#61)

[8] Nondeath situation-altering punishment a PC might face?
The Civil War (not the Marvel comics one, the actual one #29 [I went with Ireland’s])

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