In the spirit of sharing in this month of November (which sucks big time here in Denmark, the poor weather being no exception) I'll try to post a Story Seed each day. Apparently I'm feeling creative. Knowing it's already the 3rd day I'll catch up. I might not post every day, but I'll post one for each day. I'll try to go through all the themes and segments of society in Mythic Europe. This I'll try to cook up seeds regarding Nobles, Peasants, Craftsmen, Merchants, The Church, Faeries, Magical Creatures, Infernal stuff, Divine beings, Hedge Wizards, Hermetic Magi and so on. Each Seed will be in a different posting under this thread.
The Haunted Workshop
In a nearby town or city where members of the covenant have business often, rumours reach the player characters that a block of buildings housing many different workshops is haunted. Craftsmen describe strange noises at night, wierd lights, furniture and tools being moved around, half finished and shoddy wares found in the morning. Among the more serious events are lights and fires being lit at night when the craftsmen are not there to watch for fires. If investigated by magic the place first feels more benign to cast spells in than the rest of town, but when the first Botch results in serious and strange mishaps the magi realize the place is affected by a faerie aura. The acts of the *ghost' eventually leads to a small shop where an old, blind man is teaching his young grandson his trade while telling stories of mischievous workshop spirits. He is a captivating storyteller and draws neighbours and people passing by inside, who retell his tales. This has drawn in a faerie acting out the stories. The faerie is minor and can easily be banished or otherwise dealth with. But it seems the child has great potential as a craftsman, almost supernaturally so! He turns out to possess the virtue Touched by Faerie and removing the faerie will hamper his potential. But he is not yet very skilled as a craftsman. Can the faerie be talked into being less disruptive, so the aura is kept? Will the magi want to take the child to their covenant? Or do they simply restore the natural order of things?
The Sinful Festival
After a period of lean and rough years fortune finally favours the harvest of a nearby major landholder. He hosts a large harvest festival for all his villagers and the workers of his manors. The player characters come across this while on a long and ardous journey and find themselves welcome and well cared for with hospitality and ale. Especially the grogs and others who follow their basic instincts get caught up in the celebrations. Cool-headed or less social inviduals notice the growing tendency to celebrate in excess and perform one sinful act after another. Drinking, whoring, ganbling, adultery, theft, fighting, excessive eating and the wasting of stored resources. And no worries about the days to come. A group of disillusioned villagers have over the years been brought into a diabolist circle, who provide for their own while ruining life for the rest. This sudden windfall led to celebrations and they have summoned tiny, invisible demons of sin who sit on the shoulder of the villagers and egg them on towards various sins. Once this is realized and magi act gainst the demons they flush out the diabolists, who bolt for their hideout. The final stand-off is in the ruined cellar of an abandoned farmstead long overgrown with brambles and nettles. Here the diabolists have summoned a more powerful demon of anger, the infernal aura makes fighting it a challenge.
Shortly before Tribunal a young Quaesitor and Hoplite duo comes by the covenant. They are tracking a well known Merinita who uses faeries on actions bordering the criminal, as part of a declared Wizard's War. At Tribunal the Hoplite arrives late, wounded and bearing the head of the Merinita. The twin sister and house mate of this Merinita claims the War was not properly declared and claims under oath that no Redcap delivered such a message to her brother. And thus the Hoplite has slain a magus and broke the Code. She observed the slaying of her twin while invisible and undetected by the Hoplite (this may raise the issue of Scrying!). Unfortunately the presiding Quaesitor did not counter-interrogate her and only led her swear her own prepared testimony under the effectr of Frosty Breath of the Spoken lie. When the Hoplite is finally allowed to speak he claims that the declaration was duly delivered to a Redcap, who incidentally is missing. The Quaesitor accompanying him is presumed dead, or at least caught up inside the regio where they battled the Merinita. The player magi knows more detail of where the duo were going and has local knowledge of the area, and may naturally volunteer or be asked to investigate. They must force their way into the faerie regio because it is closed to them. Inside they find the gravely wounded Quaesitor, the body of the Merinita as well as the dead Redcap still bearing the letter in his hand. The Quaesitor says the Merinita had the Redcap killed by way of faeries under his control, because he knew a declaration of Wizard's War was coming. Even if not duly delivered the killing of a Redcap merits forfeit immunity. Bringing the Quaesitor back will straighten things out, and the ghosts of both the Redcap and the Merinita may be summoned and questioned as well. If the Mernitas twin sister is interrogated in detail she will be caught as an accomplice of sorts. But what will the punishment be?
Err, lived hapily efter after?
No, he may have killed the Merinita outside a duly declared war, but not due to his own negligence but the mishaps of the Redcap. Naturally such matters need to be clarified before the laying of a magus. But in his defence the Mernita walked outside the Code by having the Redcap killed, so forfeit immunity is relevant here. The Hoplite may recieve a warning to confirm that the recipient of a WW declaration actually got it, but in reality there was no crime here, since the slaying of the Merinita was just. Witnesses like the Quaesitor or the ghost of the Redcap can confirm that he acted in good faith.
Sure, there are ample opportunity for variations and mix-up here. But this Seed is only useful in sagas where the troupe is ok with several magi croaking once in a while. Alternative the Redcap could just have been mortally wounded and unconscious.
Whell, that's catching up for the first 3 days. Now I need to think up the next ones.
Thank you. I hope some thongs are useful to the people. I know my favourite parts of most ArM books are the Story Seeds. Even if I don't use them I like to read and be inspired.
Fortress of the Damned
During a search for valuable treasure or resource, or the hunt for an important enemy, the player characters get tricked by a deciever demon into entering an infernal regio, which is black and silent and in all ways deprives the senses of anu normal stimulation (RoP:I page 16-17). This is an Abyssal regio of medium strength and so it reduced all characteristics by the aura rating! One also risks going mad due to the deprived senses. Appearing among a group of demonic creatures who seem to be protecting and transporting a stone gateway on a cart the characters need to work hard to escape certain death. The demons to not pursue and upon regrouping the characters see the carts taken into a forbidding fortress made form dark stone. After the initial confusion it seems they appeared inside the regio coming out of this portal, and further investigation of the regio shows there is no other way out. While seriously hampered in all possible ways by the effects of the Abyssal regio the characters need to plan and execute their escape by going into the fortress. But don't spend too much time preparing, the regio can drive you mad in time! They may scale the walls and sneak inside, they may con and trick their way past the guards, or simply hack their way through their ranks. But don't try to con the deciever demons or fight the anger demons.
The Courtyard of Miracles
While passing through, or close by, Paris the player characters hear tales of an enchanted courtyard in Paris where the sick and inform go to after a day of begging, hoping to be the luckily ones that are healed. But the place is rumoured to never be the same place two days in a row! Inside the walls of Paris it is not hard to spot inform beggars, and at the end of the day they start moving. But alas they are a crafty lot and try to shake off their tails by use of hidden ways, disguises, threats from bullys, and diversions caused by beggar colleagues. They seem suspiciously well organized and skilled in subterfuge for mere beggars. When the courtyard is finally found, the infirm do seem to exit the pace with lame legs in working order and blind eyes seeing. Naturally this is all a sham arranged by the King of Beggars (L&L page 83) holding court at this place. Once his subordinates have paid their tribute for right to beg (or other thieving activities) they remove their guise and return home with the bounty of the day. The Beggar King is not happy about the intruders! At this point the player characters need to negotiate with him, if they want to do business in Paris or even leave the city alive. He is not beyond bribery, wwill willingly accept magival help or devices for his 'business', nor is he a stranger to appreciating favours owed and friends in high places.
The courtyard itself is wedged in between buildings leaning over it, and the end of a series of narrow alleyways. The flagstones of the floor indicated this was once the inside of a church long fallen in disuse and partially demolished for the materials. Parts of the old walls have become the foundations of the surrounding buildings. The old crypt is used as hideout by the King. The church was once very holy and still holds the bones of a saint giving rise to a Dominion aura of 4. Most distinctive feature is a fountain with significantly clear and fresh water. Upon further investigation the area below the fountain forms a maical lacuna, a pocket of strong magical aura. It is too small to use as lab space or anything like that, and is also filled with water from a subterranean spring. But the water is a potent source of Creo vis! Unfortunately the vis becomes too diluted to be of any use once it exits the fountain head, the only magical thing about it is the residue it leaves behind which shows up on InVi spells. How can the player magi negotiate the use of it, and how will they go about harvesting the vis?
A place near the covenant of an area of interest is of immense natural beauty (nothing magical or in any way supernatural just very idyllic, and thus not a vis source) has been chosen by a holy hermit as residence. When word first rewaches the player magi he is already well etsablished. He is a peacful man offering words of solace and wisdom to those who seek him, with kind words to the peaceful and pious and words of warning to the sinful in jearpody of falling from grace. He is an old man going by the name of Ewald and in time he attains quite a following. At this point the magi should realize they might want a closer look! Apparently he can cure the ravages of age which have befallen the god fearing visitors, and flocks of pious peasants as well as hopeful people who in turn will be rejected flock to him. Two camps have been made; One with the lucky ones who are cured and spread the word to their fellows, along those hopin for a cure. The other with rejected sinners who speak against the growing reputation of Ewald and the inevitable rabble of camp followes preying on the weak. Ewald is in fact an angel sent to help (like Eiael in RoP:D) and his actions as well as the veneration of the pious visitors give rise to a Divine aura. At some point word of theis reached the top of the diocese and the bishop sends a priest to investigate. But by not being in the know of local matters he asks around and get intouch wth the mundane leadership of the covenant. Will the magi be able to work with or against the interference of the Church? After all the priest might find out thing about the magi and the covenant as well...And what will they do when they find out the hermit is the real deal and not an impostor or agent of the devil? And can they ever really be sure?
The missing cattle
A story for the grogs alone: During some events at the covenant which are sufficiently important for the magi to occupy their time (away at tribunal, important lab projects etc.) a storm knocks down a fence around the animal pen and the cattle flee. The mundane cattle is easy enough to catch, but the prime specimen of a bull thought to be magical, but has not yet been investigated, is thoroughly missing. Tracking it through first the forest and later through the fields and orchards of the nearby village, the grogs eventually run into the village reeve. He can tell that the bull has been caught, but it cause a lot of damage, several villagers got hurt, and it has been taken to the manor since animals captured this way belong to the lord. At the manor the lord is away and the grogs need to deal with a minor servant who thinks he is a lot more important than he really is. He follows the letter of the law rather than the intent, (although he cannot read it!) and is really difficult to win around. The grogs may even need to recruit help from back home for more social types or even someone well versed in the laws of the land.
Blerh, time really flies. I had thought getting sacked due to lack of work would give me time for this. Instead I apparently chose to spend my energy on getting a new job.
The Flooded Barrows
Clues about burial sites of great people from ancient times having disappeared lead the player magi to a magical regio where the barrows have moved due to fluctuating auras. Inside the regio a great field of dozens of burial mounds at a coastline is being flooded. Each day as the high tide comes rolling in the water reaches further inland. The barrows are protected by the ghosts of ancient kings, generals, and wise men who guard the treasures their earthly remains are buried with. Being under constant assault from the waves erodes the mounds, scatters the bones and corrodes the relics. It turns out most of these items are eitehr enchanted devices or items of quality (HoH: MC, Verditius). However once the bones are washed clean in the sea thei contain Corpus vis, and the eroding weapons and trappings can be harvested for Perdo vis. Should the magi want to preserve the barrows, perhaps to investigate further, they must act at once because soon only the adjoining hills will be above water. During the dark hours strange lights can be seen and whispering sounds heard from the hills. These can be tracked to a building which looks like an ancient temple to a god of the ocean. It is now the home of a powerful water aspected Daimon, which seems to be drawing the water in. Perhaps it can be reasoned with?
Castle of the Lake
A young boy of importance has gone missing shortly before some important event in his life concerning his coming of age. it might be an apprentice to a sodales, the heir of an allied noble, a ward of the local bishop. Witnesses last saw him at a nearby lake known for faerie activity. Naturally he has been taken in by faeries because he stands before major change in his life. Below the lake surface a grand castle can be found with mermen and mermaids all around. To investigate further the magi need to deal with breathing underwater, communicating between themselves, as well as dealing with the cold water. The boy appears to have been seduced by the Faerie Queen's youngest daughter. But in reality he has chosen to stay witht he faeries (and eventually becoem one himself?) instead of the pressure he is subject to on the surface. The magi may try to negotiate but the boy has chosen of his own free will. Also they are in want of fresh, young humans to interact with. Alternatively they want the magi to deliver a dozen youths on the threshold of adulthood to them. Or they'll take them by themselves if the magi would care to flood the neighbouring valley.
Without warning the covenant's magi recieve declarations of Wizard's War from a trio of foreign Tytali. That is they recieve between 1-3 declarations each, because a war along the entire front would be too easy! So Tytalus 1 declares against Magus A and B, Tytalus 2 against A, C and D. And so on. In the month before the War reveal that they tend to do this kind of unprovoked Wizard's War, and that they excell at Terram magic (this last bit is a false rumour they spread themselves). If the player magi flee and hide in a remote place, the Tytali will raid what they can of vis and books from the covenant. If they hise at the covenant the Tytali will try to draw them out by razing areas throught to contain vis sources. If they are up for a fight then the Tytai will enjoyd this. They take care to look the same all three, so some player magi will think twice before striking first since it might be the one they are not at war with. The Tytali are powerful and rely a great deal on devices. They use a lot on Intellego Vim to detect traps set against them or other defences, and Perdo Vim to remove such. They try to neak inside using invisibility as well as active effects to dull the senses of sentries. The backstory of the Tytali is that they thrive in this kind of contant conflict, and would rather raid for their resources than do honest work! In the end they are not in it to ruin or destroy their chosen victims, merely teach them a lesson and allow them to learn from the defeat. They will take only what they see as fair, they won't destroy what they can't take with the, nor will they kill if they can avoid it.
While harvesting vis darkness and heavy clouds fall upon the land. Sveral sources have already been harvested, ravaged even, and magical animals have been hunted. Clever use of magic and skill can track down a hunting party of creatures best described as goblins. They have superb senses and stealthy skills and hunt by way of sticky nets as well as poisoned darts which paralyze bodies, befuddle the senses, or cloud the mind. The goblins are not dark faeries as one mght think, their powers register as infernal if using dominion based supernatural senses but they are in fac of the magic realm. They need vis to survive, to hone their powers, and hunting is their life blood. The player magi can fight them off or negotiate soem deal. Although allying themselves with ill favoured creatures like this raises eyebrows in Hermetic circles or the Church and may trigger investigations or even court proceedings.
Tie Breaking Votes
At Tribunal an important case is to be tried, somethign that will form legal precedence for the future. It could be a trial of a magus thought to have broken the Code, or it coukld be matters for the peripheral Code regarding the running of the Hermetic business. Preliminary polls calls this a close call, both sides strongly support their side, and still quite a few undecided voters. The player magi and their covenant have made up their minds, and this seed works best of theyr provide a united front. Some more powerful backers of their side urge the player magi on for help during the first few days of Tribunal nefore the legal matters start. At first they will need to socialize or gather rumours to find otu who supports what and which the neutral parties are. Then they may use sweet talking, promises, bribes, certamen, threats, blackmail or any other underhand methods to swing the votes. Even young magi may help out here, as they may have better odds of getting other young magi to talk and may have an easier time getting through to the neutral magi who are tired of being pestered by the older magi from the support groups. Of course representatives from the other side will be doing the same.
Cool. I could also see a variant of #12 working well. What if the votes are split outside of the PC covenant, but a lot of the votes are split down House or Mystery Cult lines with very few undecided in preliminary polls? There will be outside pressures for some PC's to go one way, some to go another, and maybe even some to go both ways. It works out really well if this splits the covenant roughly in half. This way the PC's will have to deal with each other, too. They'll have to figure out how to keep their covenant united while still convincing their sodales to vote against their Houses or Mystery Cults. This could even lead PC's to influence NPC's to influence PC's or NPC's to influence PC's to influence PC's. Or if the PC's try to get others to flip it could mean two PC's both trying to influence one NPC in opposite directions. I think this would be a lot of fun, too.
Sure it'd be even better if the player magi's covenant's votes are split, along Houses comes to mind as the obvious choice, but I inittally decided aginst this for reasons of simplicity. But with more work for the SG the players get more play against each other. But be ready for the consequences of a split covenant.
This 'Story Seed a day in November' is posing to be quite a challenge, since it was spur of the moment and not at all prepared. Not only am I starting to struggle for ideas,one day passes another almost without warning and posting one per day is difficult and I keep playing catch-up. While I'm confident I'll make it it is never a guaranteed victory...I guess that makes me a Tytalus
Enter the Legal Department
An older Merinita maga comes to the covenant and asks to go visit their local faeries and work on a project there, She is arrogant and acts as the persission of the player magi is merely a formality. If reused access she will be offended and start to offer payment of sorts, but in a very patronizing way. She will start to offer resources starting from the common, less interesting, and not veyr valuable end of the scale telling that "this oight to be sufficient, magi like you should appreciate this" and gradually upping the ante. If they play hardball she'll simply leave in a huff and go seek the faeries anyway. Soon after the faeries are obviosly offended by her and start to strike out at the local populace, the covenant, and disrupt supplies and resources The Merinita avoids attemps to contact her, and should the player magi suceed she'll tell them to go jump in a lake. Legal action may be required, but is she guilty of Tormenting the Faeries or Depriving the Covenant of Magic? And can she claim interfering with her work is in fact Depriving her of magic?
I'm losing track of which segments of Mythic Europa have already been treated and which are missing, and whether any such ones promised in the first thread have been omitted. So I'll take requests if anyone should have any.
Experimentation Result: Story Event (or 'The Storyguide's Nightmare')
I know it was always a bother for the SG of the day when a magus experimented and rolled 'Story Event', so I'll try to come up with one. SInce the event should be based on the Arts used i the experiment there will naturally be a lot of different possibilities. I'll try to throw up some general ideas as well as mention some specifics for various TeFo combos. This Seed might be most fun if it involves a very big project, one taking several seasons, costing vis, or possibly in conjunction with Original Research or Integration.
Half way through a season of experimental lab work strange things start to happen, but this busy magus fails to notice it right away. Not so for his sodales! They call for an emergency council meeting to discus this. Depending on the particular charter for the covenant and the temperaments of the magi this may have any one of many different outcomes. Many charters state that magi are held responsible for things they cause themselves, and that they must remedy this. In such cases the rest of the covenant simply invole this rule. If not then hours of bickering may start and things may even turn to certamen, unless all the magi are friendly-firendly with each other. This may easily be the case among PCs but let's face it, why should magi from different houses and with agendas of their own be so altruistic and open minded?
But the magus responsible is int he middle of important experiental stages of his project! Bear in mind that Story Event rolle means the experiment goes ok and the bonus one hoped for is there, so this might just have spelled succes for a dodgy project. But then this 'thing' happened, just a small thing if this magus is telling about it. And the jealous toads he lived with demands he takes time to fix this. But this means he must abandon his work for the rest of the season!
The particulars of the mishap could be something involving active antagonists like the opening or formation of a regio where residents of this enter the scene, it could be the summoning of bothersome spirits or beings. Or it could be more passive like a huge magical effect covering a large area, for a long time, with significant and noticable effects. A Rego Terram experiment could start to dismantle the covenant buildings, move them and reassemble them in a different shape in another place. Creo Auram could create freakish weather phenomena. Muto Herbam could turn every single tree and plant for miles around into iron, quite bothersome for the faeries. Only Intellego effects seems hard to explain some effect for since they really only affect the 'caster'. Except with this being experimental the SG could strentch things and rule that all inhabitants in the covenant, or even everybody for miles around get some strange extra sense for the time being, like the ability to hear the thoughs and voices of all bodies of water in the vicinity.
The responsible magus will need to deal with any creatures summoned, dispel the lasting effects, repair or remedy damages done, deal with the social aspects if other were affected in a major way, and in general appease his sodales. If this is sufficiently grave there might even be Quaesitoriel investigation. This is especially true if the magus continues on his project for the rest of the season and starts the clean up afterwards, or even just ignores it.
But also bear in mind that this should not punish the plager magus unduly, this is the result of a random die roll not any active choice (exzcept that hedid choose to Experiment in the first place, and wierd things do happen then). it should instead pose a fun challenge and give opportunities for some inter-character roleplay between the magi. Ideally he will recruit the help of his sodales. There should be some kind of reward to offset the time spent, the respources used or lost, and the bothger of it all. Vis comes to mind as a catch-all type of bounty. Or some kind of insight due to combining it with a Twillight episode - however dispense with the randoms rolls here, just do it as part of the story.