This week’s small story seed is for All for One: Regime Diabolique. I had been intending to put one out for Dungeon Crawl Classics because I enjoyed reading it immensely, but ran into a delay finishing my terrible map. Maybe next week.
Saturday Seeds appear every Saturday (go figure…) on Casting Shadows. Seeds from the blog also appear on Ancient Scroll.
An older, somewhat infamous, somewhat inspiring Musketeer has been booted from the company and declared persona non grata. When news reaches the characters that he needs help, they must decide if once a Musketeer means always a Musketeer.
Planting the seed
This seed can be brought into play at any time and will occupy an amount of time between that required to make a decision, and however long you wish to string out the danger, excitement, and adventure of aiding an old mentor. If the characters opt not to aid their former comrade in arms, this is deserving of further exploration (perhaps from the other side) later in the campaign. If they do, what must they sacrifice to get free to help, what effects will result from their choice, and who do they inspire to similarly help? Guillaume’s plight might be brought to their attention when his former lackey comes to them seeking employment and discusses his former duties. They might also learn of it from prison guards, the amused banter of those pricks in the Cardinal’s Guard, or from a letter brought to them from his former mistress.
Guillaume Pelletier was often the source to which new additions to the King’s Musketeers were directed if they hoped to learn more about wine, women, tailors, and bawdy songs. Good with a musket when sober, and deadly with a blade at any time, Guillaume was a man’s man – with all that that entails. Despite his popularity with his fellows, he has had a troubled career in the company and his commission finally ended a few months ago when he gunned down the unarmed husband of his mistress in the crowded streets of the Paris market. The victim, a staunch ally of the Cardinal, was soon used as an excuse to strike a blow at the Musketeers in general and Guillaume in particular. Guillaume claimed he was merely defending himself and those around him in the market, but the lack of a weapon in the victim’s hand made his claims seem ridiculous. Without much time wasted he was stripped of his duties to the Crown and sent to rot in La Conciergerie while awaiting trial. The mistress was found dead by her own hand the morning following the incident.
Although any individual Musketeer polled would be unwilling to believe Guillaume would use lethal force versus an unarmed man,they had very little opportunity to rise to his defense. With other pressures upon them, and the sense that perhaps the courts would see things right, Guillaume’s plight began to fade from their consciousness. It is important that all concerned believe him guilty of the crime, but that some are open to the idea that he might have had his reasons – however obscured they may be right now.
Guillaume fears for his life in prison, and has already escaped – narrowly – three concerted attempts to kill him. As before, no evidence of threat to his person is found when authorities arrive. Fortunately for Guillaume, he has not killed any of his attackers in prison. While they maintain total innocence of any wrong-doing, at least their souls will not be weighed against his come trial.
What’s going on
Guillaume is not one to limit his affections, but for once it was not the urging from within his trousers which got him in trouble. This time, it is his reputation which has pushed him from the frying pan and into the blaze of an avaricious plotter’s move to secure a family fortune.
The death of the victim, Chevalier Alec DuPont, a noted supporter of the Cardinal, and his wife Eloise put the bulk of the inheritance in the hands of DuPont’s black sheep uncle Richard. With many other members of the family falling prey to accidents, maladies, and disappearance over the past decade, none are left to care for the couple’s children but the reviled and taciturn recluse, Richard.
Richard, it turns out, has the patience of deeply held conviction for he has been orchestrating deaths within the family for more than a decade. Now, his personal hatred of Alec has pushed him to making a slight error: arranging a more public and brutal death. If the Musketeers are able to stay the course, they may be able to use this error against him.
Richard, a vile man since birth, has always nurtured a love of learning but his twisted nature has sought out and climbed twisted branches of education since he was a young adult. He is now accomplished to varying degrees in the Ceremonial Arts of Necromancy, Divination, Homomancy, Floramancy, and Faunamancy. When possible, he arranges his accidents and revenges with purely mundane means, but if necessary, he is willing to lend his occult knowledge to providing small pushes in advantageous places. It is a matter of pride for Richard that he has accomplished his goals to this point and has only had to resort to contracting with supernatural forces three times – all for minor things.
This case was one of those times, and some evidence of the ritual may be uncovered in Richard’s holdings within Paris. Richard confused and confounded both Guillaume and Alec, and as a final guarantee planted the certainty within the mind of Guillaume that he was in danger. Hallucination and adrenalin accomplished the rest. Eloise’s death was arranged by more subtle means – a conversation wherein her guilt was made extremely clear, and the easy availability of gardening poisons.
Richard chose Guillaume as his fall-guy because of humiliations in the past at the hands of the arrogant Musketeer, and for reasons of certainty that the man’s base nature and crass history would ensure the assumption of guilt. So far, he has been absolutely right. None of the Cardinal’s supporters are willing to consider the man is innocent, and his violence in the prison (fighting off supposed threats) speaks to his nature more clearly every day.
Although Richard’s plan is near perfect, small inconsistencies in the details which may come to the Musketeers from various living, and one dead source (the Mistress’ letter) may be his undoing.
Pacing this seed should build slowly from the investigative, to tension as the characters seek to acquire proof, to excitement and danger as the group first faces opposition from the Cardinal’s Guard, and then from the mundane and mystical defenses of Richard’s grim estate~
Darken others' doors: