Drama Seeds

Discussion on game mastering Fading Suns. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
User avatar
Angelman
Posts: 1034
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:11 am

Re: Drama Seeds

Postby Angelman » Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:13 pm

These work for me. However, if we are to use them in a freebie pdf, any "stolen" should be changed just so we don't offend anyone. Slight variations in the spelling is a great way to do homages :)
Writer, editor, & developer for:
FASA Games Inc. (Fading Suns Revised: PG, GMG, Criticorum Discord)
DramaScape (numerous projects)

User avatar
Holz
Posts: 299
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:43 am
Location: São Paulo - Brazil
Contact:

Re: Drama Seeds

Postby Holz » Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:17 pm

Roger that sir Angelman!
To hell with information, ammunition is ammunition.

If brute for ain't working you ain't using enough.

Fan site of the FS Universe: https://fadingsunsbr.wordpress.com/portal/

Leviathan of Maddoc
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:33 pm

Re: Drama Seeds

Postby Leviathan of Maddoc » Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:26 am

We've come to take you home Your Grace.
Setup: This is a good little story to keep in reserve until a noble in the group wants something from their liege or another higher ranking house member. It is a classic example of the sort of petty errands nobles that have no obligation or position in the house are sent to take care of. The example is Hawkwood but with some name changes any Noble House could fill the bill.
Showcase: Themes and game facets that fits with this drama. The set-up will work if the Noble is not a leader in the group but it works even better if they are the driving force of the PCs and the drama only heats up if there are more than one nobles of the house.

Showcase: Political intrigue, Murder Mystery, Noble Life Sucks

The players are summoned to Countess Paige Avencourt Hawkwood in response to inquiries they've made for assistance from the House. Countess Avencourt says that not only will she be willing to extend aid to the party but she will give the noble sons of House Hawkwood a chance to prove their worth to their noble families by taking care of a simple chore that she doesn't have the resources to spare attending to. The Countess relates a tale of a Noble fleet commander named Margaret Avencourt Hawkwood who was taken captive in the fighting in Ishtar system, a regaled hero. Supposedly her ransom was offered but the message never reached Hawkwood command and this noblewoman has been languishing in an Al-Malik dungeon since the end of the Emperor Wars. House Al-Malik has waived her ransom in a show of good faith and all that must be done is for the Countess to send emissaries to retrieve her and bring her home. If the PCs would be good enough to offer Marquis Margaret a ride back to Ravenna the Countess would be happy to resolve their issue for them.
As the PC's a departing the Countess's Manse they are discretely approached by one of her butlers named Titus. Titus has heard of the mission that the PCs are to be sent on and he wants desperately to join them. He explains that his career is stalled here in service of the Countess and being the first member of the Marquessa's staff would present an unparalleled chance for advancement. He has some money but what he has a great deal of is secrets about the upper court of Ravenna and he'd be willing to share some of them if the PC's allow him to travel with them to see the Maquessa home.

Marquessa Margaret Avencourt Hawkwood is indeed a famous military commander but not a well-liked noble. Her husband Benedict recieved notice of ransom and had the messenger assassinated to conceal news of her capture. He is happy without her and if not for Margaret's brothers pressuring the Countess to take action she would not be welcomed home. Margaret was captured about a decade before the end of the war, in the lean end of the fighting around Ishtar and she spent a very short amount of time in a military prison before she was graciously made a guest of a poor Al-malik Baron named Solomon Iben Moffat Al-Malik, who intended to recover some of his spent war chest with her ransom. For the past 15 years Margaret has been Solomon's guest eating at his table and having free access to his very large estates on Ishtar but technically a prisoner. Over time Margaret has become very enamored with her young Al-malik captor and she has not cared that her ransom isn't coming. Solomon does not share Margaret's attraction and has been desperately trying to politely unload her.

When the PC's arrive Solomon will offer them noble treatment and thoughtful gifts and show great interest in helping them return his prisoner expeditiously. Margaret conversely is an angry bitter woman who bosses the PCs around and makes demands constantly. If Margaret finds out who the PCs are working for she will use the threat of defaming the PCs to the Countess to get her way. Margaret is clearly angry with Solomon but the reason won't be clear to the PCs. She's in good health and well-dressed and her quarters are luxurious. If the PCs took Titus on he will be a great help in soothing the irritable Margaret and serve as a valuable buffer through her barking and screaming.

As the PCs begin their journey back to Ravenna they will very quickly find that Margaret has locked herself in her cabin on the ship and eventually it sill come to light that she is dead. There will be a suicide note that says Margaret could not bear to live without her beloved and hopes to find him in the Empyrean light. if the PCs took Titus on, instead of the note they'll find evidence that some of the candy that Baron Solomon gave the party was poisoned and killed poor Margaret.

Titus is definitely not a butler but very convincing in his demure bows and savior faire. If they PCs investigate Titus before taking him on they'll find out that no such man works for the Countess and he'll disappear before they set forth to rescue Margaret. If they spend a lot of time with him they may catch a strange clue here or there about how well-traveled Titus is or how man languages he speaks or things he knows about think machines. Titus is a spy looking for way to embed himself into Hawkwood's Noble structure. If Margaret's suicide is found it it makes a dead end for him so he'll conceal it as something else. If the PC's allow him to he'll tag along with them and use the nobles in the party as references to eventually get himself embedded in someone's household. Titus is genuinely skilled and likable and capable of being very helpful to obtain his goals. He's not a deadly assassin but he knows a great deal about poison and weapons that can be easily concealed.

Was Margaret's death a suicide? Will the investigation create political problem with a rival house? How will the PC's convince the Countess to reward them for returning a dead noble?

User avatar
Angelman
Posts: 1034
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:11 am

Re: Drama Seeds

Postby Angelman » Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:51 am

Great story, Leviathan of Maddoc. A complex intrigue with a deadly twist at the end. This is the perfect stuff to harass your one's players with ;)
Writer, editor, & developer for:
FASA Games Inc. (Fading Suns Revised: PG, GMG, Criticorum Discord)
DramaScape (numerous projects)

User avatar
Bertjammin
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 5:26 am
Location: Ipswich, UK

Re: Drama Seeds

Postby Bertjammin » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:06 am

Here's one that popped into my head this morning:

Revenge on the Chaparral

Setup: The players could be travelling through Hazat space (most likely on the planet Sutek itself) when they encounter the Baron and hear his tale and plea for help, they could fall foul of Sir Cliff or become victims of his men, they might witness the hardship of the Baron's people or they may be somewhere else within the Known Worlds when they get word of the Baron's plight
Showcase: Revenge and cycles of vengeance, nobility vs title, obligations to liege and serf

Baron Enrico Castenda de Sutek Hazat lost his sons and daughters and many of his finest retainers in the war that saw Alexius' ascension to the throne. By then he was getting on in years and the outbreak of peace saw him eventually return to his home a disheartened man. So much so that a local rival, the Baronet Margaritte Hazat, sought to take advantage of the old man and with scheming wiles, forethought and whisperings into the ears of other local nobles she discredits and isolates the baron, leaving him a subject of ridicule and scorn. She then begins to usurp his station and standing, becoming the apple in the eye of their mutual liege, the Countess Catarina De Winter Hazat.

This is the final straw for the old man who seeks vengeance upon the upstart baronet. But what is he to do? He is infirm from his advancing years and the war wounds he carries and is practically destitute with barely enough servants and serfs to manage the fief he clings to. One day a group of Muster Mercenaries passes through and the Baron provides them with shelter in his ramshackle mansion. During a late night discussion over too much scotch the Muster leader, Chief Van Cliff suggests a plan. If he were a noble he could challenge this Baronet to a duel and end her. The Baron gets his revenge and the only payment Van Cliff requests is the knighthood. The baron agrees.

Documents of title are drawn up, the Baron knights Van Cliff and within a few days the Muster fabricates a situation where by the Baronet "offends" him. He calls her out and she agrees, looking to "put down" the low born dog. However Van Cliff's skill at arms is all he alleged it to be and the Baronet dies at the end of his blade. The Baron sleeps well that night knowing he has had his revenge, albeit indirectly. It is the last good night's sleep he has.

The following day Sir Cliff and his men do not move on as they implied they would. Instead they start to enforce the "law" of their "master" the Baron. They work the serfs harder, they start to levy heavy tariffs on those who seek to travel through the fief and they pocket the profits leaving the Baron a prisoner within his own walls.

Van Cliff is no fool though. He is careful to push the neighbouring Lords only so far though and in all things he presents himself as simply the executor of the Baron's wishes. In his thirst for revenge Enrico has truly birthed a monster.

This has gone on for some time now and finally the Baron has found a way to reach out for aid (from the players' cadre). Perhaps he was an old friend or ally of one of their parents and finally his desire for aid overcomes his pride, or maybe they are simply passing through his lands and seek hospitality and he seizes on the opportunity? In any case he confesses to them what he has done and seeks their help in removing the monster Van Cliff, there is money in the coffers to [pay them now, if they can free it from Van Cliff's grasp.

It won't be easy though, Van Cliff has a formidable crew of Muster mercenaries, well-armed and well trained and has spent a significant time since being knighted consolidating his station with the local nobility. They don't like him but they respect his abilities and have accepted him as the Baron's legitimate deputy.

Do the cadre seek to remove Van Cliff by subterfuge or assassination? Then how do they deal with his man? Can they resolve the matter without Baron Enrico losing face before the local nobility? Can they use the local Hazat and other nobles and turn them against the "new" knight? What of Van Cliff? Eventually he plans to replace the Baron (who is potentially in his twilight years now) but if the Baron moves against him (or if he suspects that he is about to) he might accelerate his own plans and terminate his "lord", consolidating his hold on the fief.

If all goes well and the cadre remove Van Cliff, what then? Does the Baron reveal that he is as treacherous as ever and look to remove or silence them, throwing off the mask of infirmity to show he was virile and able all along, or have they truly broken the cycle of revenge? Are they truly working for a just cause or were they just his patsies and "cat's paws"? And what does Countess De Winter make of it all?

Potential follow on adventures could have rumours of an Heir to the Baron (possibly Van Cliff mentions a surviving son who told him all about the fief) or possibly one of his sons or daughters sired an heir whilst campaigning during the war. Could the cadre bring them home? Or may be a bedraggled soul arrives alleging that they are the long lost son, what can the players do to validate their claims? Especially if van Cliff is still on the scene somehow.
"The crazy ol' Vorox"

Something witty, pithy and observant ought to go here.

Oh well.

Follow my current campaign and my general musings about GMing Fading Suns at: http://trialsofarcadia.blogspot.co.uk/

User avatar
Angelman
Posts: 1034
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:11 am

Re: Drama Seeds

Postby Angelman » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:46 pm

This is quite an interesting story, which should offer the cadre oportunity and trouble aplenty! :D
Writer, editor, & developer for:
FASA Games Inc. (Fading Suns Revised: PG, GMG, Criticorum Discord)
DramaScape (numerous projects)

User avatar
Angelman
Posts: 1034
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:11 am

Re: Drama Seeds

Postby Angelman » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:51 am

There, I have finally completed my end-of-the-year drama seed, which turned into a monster of a thing! During writing Dead Dolls grew way out of proportions, until it now is neither an actual drama seed per say, nor a proper fully-fledged scenario. I hope you like it nonetheless...

Thanks to Holzmann for proofreading an earlier draft. All faults with the text are on me though. (Note that I changed my mind a couple of times during writing, and I am now too close to the text to spot any inconsistancies and flaws. Please do offer critizism).



Dead Dolls

Setup: This drama should be staged at a noble character’s home fief, or the fief of a close relative or ally. It offer a good excuse to move a noble character back home for further family related dramas. Furthermore, the midwife Goodmother Alice, should ideally have delivered the noble character, and preferably other members of the cadre as well (i.e. all player characters born in the fief should have been delivered by her).
Showcase: Witch scare; Husks; Family obligations; Troubled past
Note: This drama outline was written to showcase the potential of antinomy and husks as re-conceptualized for FSR in an upcoming product tentatively labeled “The Darkness Project”. For the sake of clarity, let us foreshadow that upcoming publication by revealing the following. Blasphemous vandalism, acts of self-debasement, and ritual sacrifice are empowering acts necessary to fuel antinomists’s vile powers; and all husks needs not be will-less decaying cannibals (in fact, a class called Revenants are free to pursue goals with a single-mindedness unknown to the living, and they may cooperate with the living to accomplish their goals).

[This piece started out as a simple sample drama, but quickly grew into a monster of a tale. It is not a finished drama however, and it remains the prerogative and responsibility of the GM to adapt the story to best fit the gaming group, and also to decide exactly what is going on in the realm where ‘dead dolls’ roam. When writing, I assumed that the cause of the realm’s misery was an (unidentified and unexplored) antinomist (possibly Goodmother Alice or an associate of hers) that dug up and awoke the dead to take some revenge or other on the community. However, there are many other ways of running this, such as the dead rising due to insufficient burials (possibly because the deacon has been corrupted); family curse on the local lord or someone else in the community; an evil artifact or presence brought to the realm as war booty; to simply an influx of evil due to astronomical or other supernatural events in the realm. Whatever the case the GM decides upon, the below drama must be adapted accordingly. May the Celestial Sun enlighten your path].

--- ACT 1 ---
Scene 1: Something’s Rotten
There is trouble brewing back on the estate. Peculiar happenings have ignited a witch scare, and people are looking to the lord of the realm for guidance and protection. One of the noble characters in the cadre are summoned back to the home fief, to the lands where she was born so many winters ago, to handle the witch scare on the lord’s behalf.

Assignment Presentation: The lord explains in his communique, quite bluntly, that he requires the character to take over the case as he cannot afford to become closely associated with it himself. Frightened peasants throw accusations everywhere, and with every new rumor flying about, blame is laid closer and closer to on the nobleman’s doorstep. Peasants are such suspicious and superstitious people after all. No, it is better for the lord to distance himself from the entire affair, all the while demonstrating resolve and action to his people by bringing in a competent relative, a (probably) hero of the Known Worlds and all-round troubleshooter backed by a retinue of capable henchmen. At least that is how the lord has described the cadre to his people, and he has already confirmed that the cadre will come and look into the case. Should this all backfire somehow, it is better that blame falls on the cadre, who can be spirited away to safety, and who can carry the stain on their reputation in absentia, instead of blame befalling the lord of the realm. Of course, the cadre also has much more experience with this sort of thing than the lord, and any reputation as witchfinders will likely benefit them much more out among the stars than it would the lord back home.

Reward? Well, it is the duty of a noble to serve her fief, and besides, all the fostering and training received, the stipend from the fief’s revenues (if the character has an Assets benefice), and any possible future inheritance should be more than enough of an incentive to aid the realm. Can the character really afford to be cut off from her family and homelands? As for the character’s henchmen, the lord appreciate the costs of keeping a retinue, and generously offers to pay for the cadre’s travels and lodging to and fro the home fief. There will also be a small reward of 100 fb to any henchman who proves him-/herself useful to the realm. Yeah, and a ship/dirigible stands ready at the nearest space-/skyport to ferry the cadre home, and no, there is no time to waste – the transport leaves tomorrow morning.

Scene 2: Case Overview
At present, the case looks to be a matter of grave robbing and bodysnatching, which have affected every settlement of the realm. First there were rumors of strangers sighted lurking about settlements and graveyards at night. Then graves were exhumed in the night and the chapel to Zebulon vandalized with excrement and a cat hanged as a sacrifice above the alter. Fresh milk frequently spoils overnight, and many people complain about nightmares. A woodsman’s family, the Kreuzers, has disappeared from their home, with signs of a struggle discovered in their cottage.

The lord’s communique gives an overview of the case so far. Five bodies have been snatched from their graves, all of them local mothers who died in childbirth or during pregnancy over the last year or so. Most of them died in a diphtheria outbreak hit the fief this year, which took a heavy toll among expecting mothers, or during childbirth. An old farmer couple, the Parks, living out by the Nutters’ Creek also perished to the disease last winter, but their graves have yet to be disturbed. No one else has died in the fief for some time before the epidemic. Despite the disease, accusations are frequently leveled at the fief’s midwife, Goodmother Alice, a frail and nearly blind creature in her 70s. Goodmother Alice has been a pillar of the community since inheriting her profession from her grandmother, Goodmother Hester, half a century ago. However, her popularity waned after she went a bit loony during the Emperor Wars when her husband and only son died soldiering in the lord’s militia. Her affliction takes the form of angry fits wherein Goodmother Alice shouts obscenities and curses at those nearby, and on occasion even the lord has suffered her abuse. Brother Solarodore, the deacon of the Zebulon chapel, has assured the community that Goodmother Alice’s outbursts are due only an affliction of the scarred mind and sundered heart, and that no real malice possesses the old crone. Nonetheless, Goodmother Alice has received weekly sacramental blessings and penance to calm the troubled spirit, just in case. But now, people have begun suspecting the old midwife of grave robbing and witchery.

Scene 3: Premonitions of Doom
While on their way towards the drama location, one or more of the characters experience portents, prophetic dream, and/or feelings of foreboding. [This prelude is included in the drama to add some dramatic context to the story, to turn what could be a tale about brain eating splatter monsters queueing up for the heroes to gun down into a proper horror story – good luck]. Some suggestions for various types of characters follow below, but the GM should tweak these or create new ones to best fit the cadre.
-Main noble character: A babe bursts forth into the world, tearing itself from the warm, wet womb. Expectations are soaring – the mother’s, the father’s, many relatives’ – but wrath soars too. The midwife smiles wrinkly at the child, who screams in protest at the world. “Do not worry, little one,” she whispers, “you shall not know pain for some time yet. Enjoy life while it lasts, for misery finds us all soon enough.”
-PSI character: That inner voice, that wild and selfish side of your personality given presence by your mystical powers, whisper of dangers ahead and warn you not to go to NAME OF FIEF. “Only evil lurks there”, it whispers, “and hardship, and pain! You will accomplish nothing by going there, and all blame will be laid at your feet.” Sometimes that voice is worth listening too as it protects itself by protecting you, and at other times that voice seemingly draws pleasure and nourishment from leading you into trouble… only hindsight will reveal if the inner shadow tells truths or lies this time around.
-Cyborg character: Ever since that damn witchfinding mission landed in your lap, your enhancements and devices seems to be acting up. “It’s probably just in my mind,” you try telling yourself, “anti-cyborg propaganda playing tricks on my sub-consciousness. Curse that preacher and his technophobe sermons!” But in the back of your mind doubt fester… what if your cybernetics really do feed your dark sides? Prophet knows, you’re not faultless! What if, as the preachers predict, when facing the Dark Between the Stars, your implants and circuitry really do rebel against you to battle on the side of evil? How would you protect yourself and those you love, and fight for the things you believe in, if your body’s own machinery became your enemy? Damn that preacher and is words… Damn it all.
-Alien character: You’ve hear it all before, a thousand times over… You’re an outsider at best, at worst a vile infiltrator born to gnaw at the fabric of glorious human civilization. ‘Alien’ they call you… funny then that it is they who have enslaved your people, restricted your culture, rewritten your history, and stolen your lands. Despite your kind serving humans, it is you that many priests call an abomination. Everything about you is wrong, they say... You’re even a half-demon presumably. Yeah, you really HAVE heard it all before. But now, now your hear it in your own dreams, you see it in the subtlest portents around you, you know it with inner certainty… Betrayal of humanity is in your blood! Horror skulks on the horizon, and it will test your convictions and ethics to the limits, and if your are found lacking, you will face instant destruction… that is, if you’re lucky. You cannot take on humanity yourself, even if every one of your kind united, you would not be strong enough, not by far. Still, it would be SO very satisfying to stick it to mankind, to just for once teach THEM a lesson on humility and consequence. No… no, you cannot think such thoughts! Even though they are humans, your comrades ARE your friends, a family of sorts with warts and all. Besides, if history has told you anything it is that human retribution is exaggerated and terrible when directed at non-humans… Horror skulks on the horizon, and should you play into human bias the horror will multiply manifolds.
-Conservative priest: It is the lot of the righteous to walk among sinners, infidels, and begetters of evil. Occasionally, the miasma of evil gets so pervasive that you can almost taste it on the air and see it in the shadows. Now is one such time, and you have a real bad feeling about the present mission. Souls and lives are on the line for sure. The nature of evil is hard to discern before it strikes, but you feel it in your soul that faith and lives will be put to the test in the weeks to come. Evil shadow begets evil shadow, and now holy duty falls on you to reflect the light of the Empyrean Grace into dark corners to dispel the invading Dark Between the Stars.

--- ACT 2 ---
Scene 1: Case Update
Upon arriving in the fief, the cadre soon learns additional details about the slain serfs and exhumed dead. The events below are listed in chronological order*. Additional clues that the cadre might discover as they investigate the case before or in-between scripted events given in [brackets]:
-Grave Lurkers: Jack Norman, a baker’s apprentice en route to work in the very early hours of the morning, spotted strange characters lurking about the graveyard. He called out to the lurkers, wondering who they were and whether they needed any help, but the strangers took off in a hurry. Jack did not pursue, although he did inform the sheriff of the realm, Big Ed Amdmann. [No additional clues].
-Exhumation of Eliza Stride: The first grave robbing disturbed the burial of Eliza, the wife of Master Cecil Stride, a prominent member of the Potters Guild who runs a prosperous ceramics workshop in town. Eliza died giving birth to little Max, the young couple’s firstborn. [No additional clues].
-Exhumation of Polly Walker: Although she was at odds with some neighbors, Polly was generally well liked in the community. She was happily married to her Gerald, a local farmer, and mother of brothers Will and Bill (both of whom currently reside in a neighboring fief, working as farmhands on a large ranch). Polly had been sick for weeks prior to going into early labor, and she died giving birth to little Sam, born 20 weeks before term (although sickly, he still survives). [A porcelain chip is found tread into the dirt near her disturbed grave; it is impossible to say from where it came, although there are no porcelain figures or similar decorations on nearby gravestones].
-Exhumation of Jeanette Kelly: When the third grave was found exhumed, people began fearing witches about. The grave belonged to 19-years-old Jeanette Kelly, a newlywed soon-to-be mother of her first child. Her father John had married Jeanette off to a friend of his, the Emperor Wars militia veteran Roger Kelly, who was almost 30 years her senior. She had already filed for divorce when she succumbed to the epidemic last year. [The gravestone has been defiled with grotesque and obscene engravings, crudely worked into the stone].
-Disappearance of the Kreuzers: Walter and Desire Kreuzer, together with their two small children, disappeared from their woodsman’s cottage on night during a storm. The front and back doors, as well as both windows of the small house, were forced open, and much of the Kreuzers’ belongings and furniture were scattered about on the floor. There were also one large and several smaller pools and traces of blood in the cottage, and a small porcelain doll known to belong to one of the children had bite-marks on it (too big to belong to a child). A coat hung on a peg in the outhouse, making some suspect one of the Kreuzers had been attacked while at the privy (why else would the coat hang there?), although there were no signs of a struggle. [The Kreuzers cottage was thoroughly investigated, and no further clues remain there].
-Exhumation of Mary Smith: Mary Smith was a prostitute, working in her mother Rachel’s brothel together with five sisters and a brother. She died giving birth to a stillborn baby girl who was never named (the gravestone reads only “Mary Smith and her daughter”, and lay just outside of the graveyard border). [No additional clues at the grave].
-Chapel vandalism: Arriving at the chapel one morning, Deacon Solarodore found the sanctuary defiled in vile and disgusting ways. The marble jumpweb-cross lay toppled over on the church floor, its sides smeared with (Human) feces, with torn pages of the Omega Gospel used for the task. The marble statue of Prophet Zebulon has been dressed to resemble a scarecrow, wearing a porcelain mask painted with an idiot expression. Liters of blood (belonging to Desire Kreuzer and her children, should the cadre manage to test it) had been “donated” (i.e. poured) into the offering box, as had a handful of silver coins beaten flat and crudely re-engraved with tasteless and vulgar imageries. Furthermore, the blood was used to write curses along the walls and floors, spelling out variations of, “Beware! He who endeavors to wash away these holy displays condemns himself to be sodomized in Gehenne for all eternity.” [No additional clues found in the chapel, although see “Exhumation of Kate Conway” below for a possible interpretation of the vandalism]
-Exhumation of Kate Conway: Kate was the wife of Deacon Solarodore, the realm’s resident clergyman, and when her grave was disturbed it became apparent that no burial was sacred and safe in the realm. Already the mother of three boys and three girls (aged 2 to 13), Kate died just a few weeks prior to her current pregnancy coming to term, and the baby was never born. [Kate’s epitaph reads, “Hardship tests the faithful. Rest well, dear Kate, sweet wife and beloved mother.” Someone has added the following crudely carved embellishment, “and now cadaverous harlot of the night.” [Characters versed in heretical lore and antinomian traditions recognize the desecrations of the grave of the deacon ‘s wife as a possible antinomian ‘empowering act’, vile rituals performed to fuel foul sorcery].
-Disappearance of Sheriff Amdmann: Sheriff Big Ed Amdmann vanished without a trace. It is widely speculated that he had set off somewhere, alone and without telling anyone, to investigate the strange occurrences within his jurisdiction, although no one can know for sure. [The rumors are true, and Sheriff Amdmann’s body lies torn to pieces somewhere in the deep woods (possibly near to where the culprit hides), to be discovered by the cadre at an opportune time. The GM should use the discovery to advance the plot and distribute whatever clues s/he needs to keep the story going). It is probably best to hold off on the discovery of the sheriff’s body till early Act 3.].
-Murder of Olan Forester: Yesterday morning, the lord’s Gamekeeper was found slain in the woods near the cabin where he lived. He was discovered by his wife who went out looking for him when Olan did not return in the evening as planed after a hunting expedition. [Additional clues available = Trackers can discover evidence that the Gamekeeper fired several short bursts with his assault rifle before he was overwhelmed. The location of the empty casings, as well as other clues and tracks, seem to indicate that the Gamekeeper fired his gun in a calculated and professional manner, rather than in a state of panic, even though tracks show only a small number of enemies attacked him (albeit from several directions). The lack of attacker blood or fallen bodies is curious, as is the lack of bullets flattened on armor at the site. It seems as if the Gamekeeper either did not hit anything (although stray bullets embedded in the nearby vegetation are few), or he did hit his assailants but they neither went down nor bled when shot.]

The cadre should now have several avenues with which to begin their investigation, and the GM is encouraged to let them roam about and interact with the locals. Only when the cadre exhaust their clues or the players start growing frustrated with the mystery should the GM introduce the complications of Scene 2 below.

*The Game Master must fill in the actual or approximate dates as needed, taking into account how long it took summoning the cadre. If the cadre was originally far away, say in another star system, the events might have occurred with several days or weeks between them. While if the cadre was nearby when the summons came, a single night or even just hours might have separated the events.

Scene 2: Coming Troubles
The arrival of the cadre escalates the dark things going on in the fief, and suspicions will soon be turned on them if they are not careful. The following events take place once the cadre has begun their investigation. A time and place is indicated for each of the events, although the Game Master must adapt and change events to fit the realities of his/her game. Where the story goes and how it ends depends on the Game Master’s whims and the players’ actions.

Snatched baby: On the first night of the cadre’s inquiry, a toddler called Max disappears from his cottage home. The father, Cecil Stride, laments the loss; first his wife Eliza died giving birth to the boy seven months ago, and now he has lost the child as well. Cecil explains that he left the cottage in the dead of night to inspect disturbances in his chicken pen. Finding no cause for what had upset the chickens, Cecil returned inside only to discover the baby’s crib turned over on the floor, and Max missing. The boy-child had not cried out, so the heartbroken father expects his son was killed on the spot, the young body robbed into the night. The only clue on the site is a broken porcelain mask.

Murder of Cecil Stride: The following night, the prominent guilder and pillar of the community, Cecil Stride, is murdered in his bed, seemingly strangled to death by a straddling murderer. The young master potter was adored by the public as an upstanding citizen who invested his inherited wealth and business surplus back into the community. He was even in talks with the local lord about co-sponsoring the building of a brand new gristmill and brewery, and encouraged his peers to make plans for when the realm would experience an influx of people and wares as a result of his investments. No one can think of anyone harboring resentment towards the man, except perhaps his dead wife who he was rumored to beat on occasion… [In fact, all of the above is true – Eliza, having collected her son the night before, returned on this night to murder her abusive husband. Clues includes her wedding ring, which has rolled underneath the bed after Eliza threw it at her husband’s corpse, and a porcelain mask in master Cecil’s hand (which he tore from his husk-wife’s face, the wrathful grimace of his undead wife the last thing he ever saw)].

Punishment, and revenge, of an innocent: On the second night, an over-zealous vigilante mob accidentally kills a local drunkard stumbling along a dark country road on his way back from a wet night at the tavern. The unfortunate drunkard was Gerald Walker, a local farmer who lost his wife to sickness some months back, only for her body to be stolen from the grave a short while ago – no wonder he is drinking! Perhaps the cadre was encouraging serf participation in the defense of the fief, or perhaps the locals just felt they had to do the officials’ job, but in any case, resentment and blame is aimed at the cadre soon enough. In the morning, when the crisis dies down, one of the vigilantes is torn apart on his way home to his farm. [Incidentally, he’s the neighbor of Cecil & Eliza Stride, and was killed by Eliza’s revengeful husk-wife (although no one will learn of it yet). Clues at the murder scene includes deep scratches and bites in the dead man’s flesh as if he was killed by an animal or unarmed attacker (half his face is gone)].

Grave robbery prevented: During the following night, two vigilantes charged with the nocturnal guarding one of the fief’s graveyards, disturbs a group of would-be grave robbers in the act. The two vigilantes, Edwin and Percy Brown (cousins), decide against attacking the half-a-dozen or so villains, and instead chase them off into the dark. One of the villains also throw a grenade at the vigilantes, further discouraging them from following. If the cadre has organized a grave yard vigil, then this event happens either at a different grave yard (there should be three or four within the noble fief), or at a time of night or corner of the yard when the player character(s) are not active. In any case, the grave robbers disappear in the dark, and it is quickly discovered that the graves they tried to exhume were those of Allan & Meera Parks, the old farmer couple who perished to the diphtheria epidemic last winter. [Clues on the scene includes a porcelain mask and a chewed-up pacifier].

Revenge of the Husk-wives: On the next night, risen dead wreak havoc throughout the fief. Undead mothers stumbles into settlements and farms, vengeful husk-wives bent on punishing their relatives and former neighbors over half-remember crimes and confusion-induced bland wrath, their dead babes in their arms. The husk-wives all wear porcelain masks, although the undead babies does not, instead chewing at dry breasts or snapping at the flesh of the living. It is more than likely that the cadre are present on, or quickly arrives at, one or more of the attack sites, although they will probably not be able to fend of all the attacks. The various attacks are:
-Mary Smith: One husk-wife seeks to murder her own mother, a widow who runs her home as a brothel with her daughters as employees. The husk-baby in her arms has never fed…
-Eliza Stride: Another husk-wife with a babe in her arms, targets Goodwife Alice who failed her as a midwife.
-Kate Conway: A third husk-wife returns home to collect her living children whom she cannot bear to be without even in death.
-Jeanette Kelly: A fourth searches for her heart’s desired to unite with him in death. [This man is NOT her surviving husband Rodger Kelly, but another man entirely, preferably one of the player characters with which she had a fling in years past].
-Polly Walker: The last husk-wife attacks a neighboring woman with which she had a quarrel in life, now taking offence from the fact that the neighbor is living when the husk-wife is dead.

Mad Kreuzer: Walter Kreuzer, the local woodsman who disappeared together with his family a while back, is found passed from exhaustion and exposure out in the woods. He survived the husk attack on his home, witnessing form inside the outdoors privy the murder and body-theft of his wife and two small children by foul husk wives. The experience ruined his mind, causing Walter to abandon not only his sanity, but his identity as well. He assumed the borrowed identity of a husk, unable to exist in the world of the living. To avoid the gruesomeness of reality, Walter Kreuzer has been acting the part of a husk ever since the attack, having feasted on the remains of his wife and children (whose bodies he has carried with him all this time). [Although it is very likely that Walter will be killed almost immediately upon discovery, being mistaken for a husk, it is possible that he might be captured alive. After all, although dirty and disheveled, his hair, skin, and eyes is healthy enough, a far cry from the ashen colors and shriveled textures of the living dead. If captured and interviewed, Walter’s personality will gradually return, and with it a complete emotional breakdown when he realizes what he has done. He will manage to confess his sin, but will then seek suicide. If this is denied him, Walter will revert to the comforting role of a husk and lash out at the world].

Disappearance of the Kreuzers: Walter and Desire Kreuzer, together with their two small children, disappeared from their woodsman’s cottage on night during a storm. The front and back doors, as well as both windows of the small house, were forced open, and much of the Kreuzers’ belongings and furniture were scattered about on the floor. There were also one large and several smaller pools and traces of blood in the cottage, and a small porcelain doll known to belong to one of the children had bite-marks on it (too big to belong to a child). A coat hung on a peg in the outhouse, making some suspect one of the Kreuzers had been attacked while at the privy (why else would the coat hang there?), although there were no signs of a struggle. [The Kreuzers cottage was thoroughly investigated, and no further clues remain there].

--- ACT 3 ---
Scene 1: Hour of Judgment
Dark Dawn: When dawn finally comes, the locals are in uproar. Surely the so-called professionals are either dangerously incompetent or in league with the dark forces plaguing the realm! Rebellion is in the air, and the lord of the realm can no longer stay out of the matter. The lord calls the community leaders and officials of the fief to debate the matter at an open court held in a crossroads tavern of his fief. The case is discussed, evidence weighted, complaints voiced, and the accused allowed to defend themselves, before the lord makes a ruling.

In the interest of preserving the peace of the realm, the lord lays much of the blame on the cadre. After all, they have been unable to fulfill the task given them. The cadre is ordered to solve the case within 24 hours or else be charged with having stalling the investigation through either malice or incompetence. In private, the lord will later apologize for the necessity of hanging the cadre out to dry, and of course he shall not allow them to be arrested if it comes to that. No, he will make sure they escape the fief before it comes to that, and he will of course pay out all the bonuses promised. Still, if they want to retain a good reputation, the cadre ought to solve the case before next dawn.

Scene 2: 24 hours to right all wrongs… or die trying
Grab the devil by the horns: Well then, the cadre has 24 hours, or possibly a little less, to solve the mystery. It is up to the players how they wish to proceed, but the GM should help moving things along by offering the cadre important clues or orchestrate cathartic events that spur the story onwards. Tension and pacing are the GM’s main focus now.

As the nefarious plots escalate a thick yet intangible evil descends upon the realm. Neither by direct actions of the cadre’s adversaries, nor by actual devilish intervention from roaming demons, but vileness begets more vileness in the area.

To represent the Darkness Between the Stars at work in the realm, the GM should strive to abuse any Curses or Afflictions to evil’s benefit for the remainder of this drama. Remember that the most frightening movies and books are those in which the protagonists does not only face scary adversaries, but where they have to battle the weaknesses in their own characters as well. This, many theologians would argue, is where the evil’s real power lie, in the corruption and exploitation of peoples weaknesses. By now it should be apparent that ‘Dead Dolls’ is not simply another zombie bashing feast, but a drama that attempts to highlight the horror and gravity of a supernatural plot.

In addition to these general corruptions, some specific ways in which the Dark Between the Stars will afflict the cadre over the course of the next 24 hours or so are offered below.
-Tangible darkness: Sight penalties for darkness becomes general penalties for ALL actions performed in the dark, except for those actions that are objectively evil (which remains un-penalized).
-Adverse Occult Effects: Whenever a character stands to gain a point of Hubris/Urge/etc., s/he gains two points instead. Also, the infernal influences in the realm sparks Hubris/Urge/etc. episodes every time a character performs an occult act or spends Wyrd to reroll an action that is not explicitly sinful (as determined by the Game Master – the Carnal Sins of Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Sloth, Wrath, and Oathbreaking is a good rule-of-thumb).
-Cyborg’s Enemy Within: Whenever a cybernetically enhanced character uses his/her cybernetics for anything (including passive “use” like internal armor), there is a chance of darkness creeping in. Make a roll with the character’s Incompatibility rank as goal, with any VP scored becoming a penalty for future use of the cybernetics for things that are not explicitly sinful (see Adverse Occult Effects above).
-Flashbacks: Characters who grew up in the fief experience unpleasant flashbacks during their investigation, including reliving bad experiences of the past, experiencing pleasant memories with a dark twist (the adult character interpreting a childhood memory different form how s/he did as a child – wasn’t the funny gift-bearing uncle actually rather creepy?), or reliving episodes of childhood cruelty. These flashbacks may last but an instant, or they may cause blackouts lasting a turn or more.
-Religious ecstasy: While preaching, praying, or simply mentioning religious things, a pious character falls into a sudden epileptic fit. During this episode, the character rants and raves about the encroaching Dark Between the Stars, accusing communities or characters of vileness and corruption that the s/he couldn’t possibly know about. [This is a good opportunity for the GM to reveal plot points or clues that the players have overlooked or forgotten about]. When the character comes to, s/he does not remember anything of the episode, although s/he does experience fatigue (-2 to all goals for the remainder of the span).
-Stigmas: Stigmas bloom and/or worsen at inopportune times.
-A round of bad luck: Whenever a character must test for Critical Failure, roll three d20s instead of one (increasing the chances of rolling a second ‘20’ and thereby causing a Critical Failure).
-The usual suspect: Alien characters are increasingly targeted by angry and desperate locals looking for someone to blame. To make things worse, the alien character(s) hear the voice of their culture’s holy men or even spirits and gods on the winds and from the shadows, whisper anti-Human encouragements. Perhaps the Human priests are right after all, and the alien gods are indeed devils, or at least they are so here and now? Or is it the Human faith that is devilish? Aliens get to reroll all actions to harm or otherwise worsen the lives of Humans.

Final Thoughts
Why has the Lord of the Realm declared the fief’s Wretched Moors forbidden? And more peculiar still, why does he refuse to discuss the ruling with anyone? (The rumors range from the lord worshiping devils in the swamps, to some secret group hiding out there under the lord’s protection, to the lord having established a hidden factory researching forbidden sciences in the moors). Why is the town vicar behaving so strangely, disappearing into the woods every few days and returning all dirty and teary-eyed? And, why hasn’t his performance of the burial sacraments prevented the dead from coming back to life?* Does the porcelain masks originate with Cecil Stride’s workshop? And what about the theatre troop that passed through the fief last year, full of jugglers, musicians, and porcelain masked acrobats? Is there anything to the rumors that the old farmer couple out by Nutters’ Creek were pagans worshiping barbarous gods? [Even if the Game Master does not use all these complications, it is highly recommended that at least one issues are used as a red herring to throw the cadre off the trail]. Can the cadre end the evil that haunts the fief?
*Any corpse that benefited from the Cleansing of the Shell sacrament (see FSR PG p.220) is supposed to be immune to reanimation. It therefore follows that the corpses was either not given the last rights, or that the sacrament was erroneously performed, or that some extremely powerful force of evil is at work in the realm (basically something powerful enough to trump Empyrean will).
Writer, editor, & developer for:
FASA Games Inc. (Fading Suns Revised: PG, GMG, Criticorum Discord)
DramaScape (numerous projects)

User avatar
Holz
Posts: 299
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:43 am
Location: São Paulo - Brazil
Contact:

Re: Drama Seeds

Postby Holz » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:47 pm

Who is this Holzmann? Probably some low life serf...

Anyway, great work Angelman!
To hell with information, ammunition is ammunition.

If brute for ain't working you ain't using enough.

Fan site of the FS Universe: https://fadingsunsbr.wordpress.com/portal/

User avatar
Angelman
Posts: 1034
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:11 am

Re: Drama Seeds

Postby Angelman » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:56 am

Holz wrote:Who is this Holzmann? Probably some low life serf...
Yeah, he's just some jerk I know. Never really liked him but I have to placate him every now and then to keep him in line :P

Seriously though, thank you for your support on this Holz. I took me around two months to get this done, but it was quite enjoyable.
Writer, editor, & developer for:
FASA Games Inc. (Fading Suns Revised: PG, GMG, Criticorum Discord)
DramaScape (numerous projects)

User avatar
Angelman
Posts: 1034
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:11 am

Re: Drama Seeds

Postby Angelman » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:00 am

Now, the plan is to collate all the 2014 drama seeds and put them together into a freebie pdf (with HDi sanction). I have managed to lure the poor Bertjammin to have a go at it, but anyone who might be able to contribute to this fan-material pdf would be greatly appreciated. Proofreading and artwork is something we're lacking at the moment.

(Note that even though I have written a couple of drama seeds myself, I intend for this to be a fan exercise so as to not take up any of the Dev.Team's time that should go into working on Merchant League, "The Darkness Project", and Rise of the Phoenix).
Writer, editor, & developer for:
FASA Games Inc. (Fading Suns Revised: PG, GMG, Criticorum Discord)
DramaScape (numerous projects)


Return to “For Game Masters”



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest