This week’s Saturday Seed is for All for One: Regime Diabolique and could easily become the basis of a short series within a campaign that takes advantages of the societal, occult, and political elements of the setting.
This small seed involves the growing proliferation of secret societies and the trade in connections and knowledge to secure advancement and advantage.
Planting the seed
The seed is easily planted during any period of general carousing or recovery from injury, but if you are up to it planting the seed at different points in your story for different characters could add some enjoyable depth to the intrigue.
This seed works for characters of any degree of experience, or groups of similar or mixed amounts time under their belts. If the group is untested, they would be sought as an investment in the future. If experienced, they may be being approached to address a present need, or as a strategy to deny a future move by rivals. The possibilities are quite broad.
The seed works with the characters being approached either singly or as a group, by one or more organizations or levels of an organization. The gateways to the upper mysteries of a secret society grow narrower and more refined as one rises within them. Even in fraternities based on ideals of equality, some are always more equal than others.
For ease of communication in this post, I will describe the seed as if two levels of one society have decided to approach a group of young, up and coming musketeers and leave you to apply it as best suits your group and campaign.
In brief, the characters have some value to the society or lodge which has decided to induct them, but some of them will be of more use or more appeal to the movers and shakers in the organization. The characters, should they find the lodge compelling, will be inducted into the group’s novice mysteries together, but one or some among them will find themselves on a faster track. This can be made easy should any players show interest in trying to attract a mentor, or to really invest themselves in the Resource the lodge offers.
In most respects the lodge will serve as a Fencing Salon, but there will be a distinct lack of physical pursuits in comparison to social and intellectual ones. The talk will revolve around politics and the Church, while the exercise will exhaust the body in preparation for curious and oddly bewildering questions. Players considering improving any arcane skills, particularly alchemy, will find many of these questions aid them in that pursuit a great deal.
After months of nothing but benefit, the first request will come, and it will be simple and irrefutably for the greater good… such as escorting a particular Bishop to a particular house secretly and safely, and then escorting him back to his manse again. This may become a regular duty and from the characters’ point of view it will mean nothing. However, should the lodge decide one day that the Bishop is needing some persuasion, they can choose to reveal his secret trips to what is actually a brothel… It’s the little things which matter most.
If the characters are resistant to the lodge from the outset the temptations will grow in intensity, and their attractiveness to competing lodges will grow as well. Eventually, they may become perceived as a member of a lodge even if they are not, and when that happens they are drafted by perception into a secret war of influence, lies, and secrecy of which no one has a complete view.
If they join easily and are content to wallow in the entry ranks of the lodge, then they may be safe for a while… until they outlive their usefulness and must be sacrificed as most pawns invariably are.
What is going on
Long before the characters are approached, the lodge will have watched them from close and far, learning everything they can about them. They will have sent potential friends the characters’ way, potential mistresses to ply their innermost thoughts from them, and put challenges in their path to test their mettle.
They will become friends, allies, brothers, and lovers of the members of the lodge. Their blood and the lodge’s life will be one… but what of the King? Can a man serve two masters? If the lodge pulls one way and their oath to the King another, which will they choose?
If they are members of such a lodge, and such lodges are springing up everywhere, then who else is a member? Where does one secret stop and another begin…?
- Saturday Seed 127 (Leagues of Adventure) from Casting Shadows (runeslinger.wordpress.com)
- Saturday Seed 123 (A Time of War) (runeslinger.wordpress.com)
- Saturday Seed 126 (Brass & Steel) (runeslinger.wordpress.com)
Darken others' doors: