Thoughts on Italian History

Brandon M: Please stop reading!!

Ok. Now that I'm safe...

Crazy Epic Backstory Time!! (If you want, you can skip to the last couple lines.)

I'm trying to figure out some of the geopolitical consequences of the PC's actions. The PC's themselves are based in Malta and Gozo in a regio that connects to both islands. They have befriend the Heir to the Current Count of Malta and the Count of "Greater" Brindisi (meaning everything in the area, but not the town itself). Over the course of several sessions, they have had a hand in arranging the death of around 3 dozen minor nobles and knights in Grand Melees at tournaments through this Heir, Ignacio, betting on the outcome and trying fix things with Ignacio to make money.

A note: The Heir, Ignacio has been designed to be a fiend in battle and not so useful off of it.

I've been hinting that the results of these two tournaments has caused lots of grief in southern italy, as how interconnected the nobility is (everywhere) it's gotten many blood fueds reawakened. That and Ignacio, the heir has many enemies due to killing his opponents (fury flaw) rather than taking them ransom.

The PC's recently found out that Ignacio lost his mojo, and arranged a marriage to a faerie princess who could restore it.

During the wedding, the PCs realized too late, it was all a trap! The Faerie Princess, Chesmerelda had made a deal with Ignacio's enemies to kill him and his allies. They came along with some Trolls to fight the PCs. ( Chesmerelda was pissed Ignacio wouldn't marry her the first time she asked him to. The PC's knew about this)

The PC's barely escaped alive, in fact, only due to the fact that they brought a Dragon, Goratrix with them. Goratrix had made a deal with the PCs, and he owed them favours. In the battle, the Faeries demobilized him with 10 massive magical chains. Through a good roll on a stress die, 2 confidence points and 12 pawns of vis, one the of the PCs dispelled the effect.

Goratrix being a plot device that was supposed to be disabled, destroyed much the surviving nobility of Ignacio's friends/allies (by accident) and proceeded to destroy the faerie castle the wedding was taking place in. Ignacio mentioned to the PCs about talking to Goratrix and convincing him to go on a rampage across the country side to destroy his/their enemies.

(This would be easy. Goratrix is a essentially a really chill surfer dude who thinks destroying towns and villages is one of the great highlights of being a dragon. Now he's actually pissed, since he nearly died. He does have some pride. He likes wizards though. And Ignacio, because Ignacio had the good luck to survive a fight with Goratrix.)

Their reaction was "I DIDN'T HEAR THAT. DID YOU SAY YOU WANTED TO KILL THAT DRAGON?" and pretend ignorance and WALKED AWAY.

So now, I'm thinking, what would the effect be of a dragon & knight rampaging across southern italy circa 1224?

Just brainstorming...

Based on a little quick Wikipedia research, it looks like historically southern Italy was in the process of being brought under centralized rule and the various rebelions and uprising that plagued it's past where temorarily being brought in hand... sounds like that when out the window a while ago thanks to ol' Ignacio.

However, there is nothing like a common enemy to unite people... and between then Ignacio and Goratrix represent a great common enemy. On the one hand, they'll be running around burning villages and killing nobles. At first there will be anarchy... probably even more then southern Italy has seen since Rome fell. Famine and plague are assured... since no one can work the fields with a dragon burning everything and people will driven from their homes. Refugees will abound and chaos will reign, for a time.

That said, not far to the north is the Vicar of Christ on Earth. The Pope will not sit idly by while a dragon rampages through southern Italy (if only because once he runs out of southern Italy, he will no doubt turn to the Papal States). This is the kind of situation where a holy champion is called for... a hero to slay the dragon, defeat the evil knight and save (and maybe win) the Kingdom. The first few suckers to take the job will probably get crispy in a hurry... at which point, some wise soul might go looking for help from a wizard.

At the same time, some adventerous soul (or souls) in House Flambeau will probably decide to take up dragon hunting.

Either way, the PCs will no doubt get drawn back in. Plague, famine and waves of refugees will impact the covenant... at least hindering any mundane trade they have going. Heroes and dragon hunters may come to them for aid, or simple shelter... and, of course, they may find themselves needing to cover for the fact that they help the Terrible Pair get their start.

they will get in trouble with order of hermes for having killed mundane in a tournement probably at first
then, in which year do you play, because in south italy, you have the king of 2 Sicily, kingdom which existed from the XIth century. In the XIIIth century, those kings are also emperor of the Holy Roman Empire... and so control also north italy
depending of the reaction of the emperor, it could reinforce the power of the emperor in the south of italy or the power of the pope, which is very centralized (since the normans) - on the main history of Italy, it won't probably impact a lot.
He may send people to kill the dragon or/and to destroy the order of hermes in the south of italy... tribunal of rome will be bad... and will put your player into process at next tribunal of Rome... and they risk to be marched.

The PCs used no magical interference in the tournaments, essentially they asked Ignacio to either not kill anyone or try to slaughter as many as possible. So those killed were mostly random and not related to the PCs in anyway.

How would the Pope (or anyone) make the leap from a big (infamous) knight on a dragon = Order of Hermes?

In 1208 Frederick the II Hohenstaufen, at the age of 14, becomes the Holy Roman Emperor. But he is also the King of Sicily and the Duke of Puglia (the region around Brindisi) since the age of 4; Puglia and in particular Brindisi are some of his favourite lands, so that he is called "puer Apuliae", the "child of Puglia"; and it is in the cathedral of Brindisi that in 1225 he marries Jolanda of Brienne, heiress to the crown of Jerusalem (more correctly, of the Kingdom of Jerusalem - the city itself was lost to Saladin in 1187). I think most of the (mundane) political consequences of mayhem around Brindisi should be centered around this exceptional man.

The first thing to consider is that Frederick II is a man who is in love with culture and knowledge -- including occult knowledge. He speaks six languages and is called "stupor mundi" ("wonder of the world") by his contemporaries. His court is filled with philosophers, doctors, alchemists and magicians -- including the famous Michael Scot. He supervises a fresh translation of Aristotle -- and its arabic commentaries -- into latin. In 1224 he creates a University in Naples, to rival Bologna and to have a steady stream of learned men available to his administration. And so on.

The second thing to consider is that Frederick II has a very tense relationship with the papacy. The main reason is that he is the first emperor to hold vast lands both to the north and the south of the lands of the pope, so he stands a good chance to unify Italy under his rule. He also meddles a lot in the affairs of the Church. And his good relationships with the saracens are also very suspicious. In 1225 the pope forces him to agree going on a crusade by 1227 or be excommunicated. Frederick leaves from Brindisi in 1227, has a delay of a few months due to a pestilence, gets excommunicated, leaves again for Jerusalem and, much to the pope's chargrin, in 1228 Frederick securesJerusalembydiplomacyalone, without a single drop of blood (christian or muslim) being shed! All the details of this story shout "supernatural intervention" to me.

The third thing is that Frederick tries very strongly to centralize power, reducing that of the nobles and increasing his own. in 1223 he has just bloodily repressed a 3-year revolt by a bunch of nobles in Marsica (perhaps one or two hundred miles north-north-west of Brindisi) and he'll spend most of his life fighting against "his" nobles throughout his empire (many of them pushed against him by the Pope).

So, magical mayhem, noble assassinations, and a dragon rampaging in the Brindisi area in 1224? I'd say everyone will think that they are very very tied with a) Fredericks' dabbling with the occult and b) his trying to put down the power of the nobles. It may be this very event that has the pope push for -- and Frederick ratify -- the treaty of San Germano (the "crusade within 2 years or you are excommunicated!" one) the following year. On the other hand, it may actually terrorize the nobles, who think that Frederick is about to unleash demons on them if they don't behave (and, in fact, Frederick's nobles vassals in southern Italy are fairly quiet after 1223). Maybe Frederick just gets curious about the PCs and offers them to become his new court wizards, raising the jealousy of Michael Scot (who obviously cares very much for the post, since he refused the title of ArchBishop of Cashel, in Ireland, offered him by the Pope in 1223). Plenty of potential!

The Code says nothing about magical interference. It says "I shall not endanger the Order through my actions. Nor will I interfer with the affairs of mundanes and thereby being ruin on my sodales."

It's pretty clear they have interfered in the affairs of mundanes, a lot. If there is another covenant or lone magus who is in any way harmed by their actions... which is likely... they are in trouble.

This is actually very helpful, and exactly the kind of knowledge I was hoping someone had. I'm figuring then that Ignacio is down on the feudal ladder as one of Frederick's vassals... And Ignacio's enemies may be a mix of his other loyal and disloyal vassals.

At this point, the PC's have actually avoided contact with the Nobility other than Ignacio. And Ignacio has been avoiding his responsibilities by hiding on Malta and in the Regio the PC's live in. I should note that Malta is now a "Cursed" Isle, haunted by powerful faeries and Dragons, which was the whole basis for the PC's investigating the islands. Ignacio has been adventuring with the PCs now and then. The PC's realized they had to do something for him if they wanted him to inherit, and have a nobleman who'd be favorable towards them.

The PC's were at the wedding, but other than defending the surviving nobility from Trolls, did not do much else other than let the Dragon escape. They also did not enter the wedding with the dragon, Ignacio did. So I'm thinking for Frederick to track the PCs down would be odd.. But he may definitely send Knights to find the dragon that has caused him some help/grief to... Meet? Make an alliance? Slay? I'm guessing some other knights may come to slay Goratrix as well.

How would it get traced back to the PCs? They did come up with elaborate disguises and plans for their wagers. I'm not running a game that assumes the Quaesitors are omniscient.

... and I knew this how? You didn't mention those facts in your post.

I didn't? Damnit. I wrote down as many details as I could remember, sorry about that!