December 1, 2009

Birthright Encounters One

Birthright was a setting I really enjoyed, running two campaigns therein. In Birthright the players are rulers; rulers of small nations, guilds, religions, etc. They controlled the resources of a kingdom and adventures ran at a different scale. I have always felt players particularly enjoy building things (over destroying them) and this setting was all about building.

Every turn (months of game time) there would be random situations that could crop up. While I was running the game I created more random happenings beyond that which the game provided. Here now are the ones I wrote up. There are a lot of them and will need to be spread out over a series of posts. I am leaving in the Birthright references, but will attempt to make a note of what they mean so they can better be used in another setting.
Even if you are not running a Birthright game right now (and who is, since it was a 2E setting) these can be used by a DM as background information for the players on the world he is currently running. And if some day the DM runs a game wherein the players are involved in national politics (such as the Reign game by Greg Stolze) this can help a lot. They can also be used as adventure ideas where, even if your players are not playing at the top end of the political scene, they may become involved in some of these anyway.

BLOOD CHALLENGE [a challenge among rulers]
• An Awnshegh [a powerful monster that is also a ruler] makes a formal challenge saying he will come to the regent's land and fight a duel at one year’s time. The winner will take the loser's bloodline [hereditary power]. The Awnshegh brings to the fight "Siphon" a dagger +2 made of tighmaevril [a metal that allows the wielder to steal the victim’s hereditary power]. Among Awnshegh who might do such an action are Harpy, Manticore, Rhuobhe Manslayer, Spider, and Vampire. Minor Awnshegh include Binman, Diabolyk, Garak the Glutton, Green Man, Kiras, Ruovar the Red Bull, Swordhawk and Terror.
• A local noble challenges one of the scion characters to a formal duel for a bloodline. He will provide the dagger "Siphon" as above. This noble can be a ruler of a nearby kingdom or simply another scion.
• A blooded wizard has found a spell that allows him to drain the bloodline from another blooded person. Every time he casts the spell it drains one point of bloodline strength from a character and he gains the point. All the wizard needs is a blood sample of the blooded victim. The first part is the taking of the blood sample and then the character soon thereafter starts to lose one blood point a day, until they discover what is going on.
• A group of scion adventurers calling themselves "The Chosen" has banded together with the sole intent of committing blood theft. They gang up on lone scions and then kill them, each receiving the stolen blood in turn. They have "Siphon" or a similar tighmaevril weapon. A PC character is their newest target. As an alternate adventure an NPC scion is their target and has come to the PCs for help. As a third option "The Chosen" have just committed bloodtheft on a close friend of the PCs.
• A scion PC is approached by Marcus Alduran, the leader of the mercenary band, "Red Mercy", who has captured a scion. Marcus is willing to sell the scion to the PC for 5 GBs [a lot of gold] and will allow the use of a tighmaevril weapon they have "found". Maybe it is all as it seems or maybe Marcus has other plans.

• One of the PC's key retainers or Lieutenant is attacked in an assassination attempt. Soon thereafter rumors begin to circulate of him acting strangely. The first attack was conducted by a doppelganger, but the attack failed. The doppelganger then decided to imitate the NPC anyway having studied the target alot beforehand. It is up to the PCs to figure out who is the doppelganger and who isn't.
• A band of renegade elves calling themselves "The True" have resolved to destroy the head of the humans and thus have decided to kill all of the ruling regents. They figure this will cause chaos and dissension among the humans.
• A PC regent gets pulled into the rivalry between Boeruine and Avanil, or any two rival regents. One of the regents is passing through the PC regent's lands. A mysterious person offers 10 GB to the PC regent if a group of "bandits" were to kill the passing regent.
• During a dinner meal the cook ends up dead, killed by poison while tasting his own food. The target of the attempted poisoning was a retainer who had jilted a young lover, who has since taken the job as a waitperson.
• A PC regent gets pulled into the rivalry between Boeruine and Avanil, or any two rival regents. A thief attempts to kill the PC regent. The assassin is hopelessly outclassed and outgunned and is easily killed by the regent. The assassin believes he is working for one of the regents, when in fact the rival regent has misled the thief. If the thief is killed it will be noticed he was paid in the currency of a certain kingdom and rumors will reveal he has been seen talking to agents of the same kingdom. This is all a setup by the rival kingdom in an attempt to cause the PC regent to start a war with the first kingdom.

• The Day of Rebirth [world-wide holy day] is being celebrated within the regent's kingdom. The PC regent has been asked by two different and opposed Temples to attend their celebrations, which will, of course, occur at the same time. To not attend a Temple's celebration will offend them.
• Every ninety-nine years worshippers of Azrai [evil god] celebrate the Eve of the Dead by a night of relentless bloodletting. Religious rumors insist that if enough blood is collected and the proper rituals are performed then Azrai will return to Cerelia [name of the Birthright world]. That ninety-nine year old ritual is coming this very year.
• A local temple, one to which the PC regent is opposed, has asked the regent to attend the opening of a new church nearby. The regent knows this will make him appear to support the Temple. To not attend will bring scorn from the people who belong to the Temple, the people within his kingdom.
• Everyone begins to act strangely around the PC regent. His guards begin to talk behind his back and stop talking when they know he is around. His other staff starts to avoid his presence. A labor dispute he was supposed to address did not come before him and the local town/city seems "quiet". Something is up. In reality the people have decided to proclaim a festival in the regent's honor and are trying to keep it a surprise.
• The regent is invited to attend the Festival of Fools. This festival of Sera celebrates wild abandon and sheer merriment. It is time for making a fool of oneself. Unbeknownst to the regent however, a rival kingdom has sent a widely reputable scholar to the festivities with the sole intent of watching the regent to see if he will make a fool of himself. The regent gains foreknowledge of this action and must choose to partake of the merriment, which is thrust upon him, or retain his royal dignity.
• The Bright's Traveling Circus and Show comes to the local city and the citizens turn out in large numbers to attend the festivities. Soon thereafter children begin to disappear from the city. Blame is placed among the circus, but in fact the perpetrators are a religious cult that worships Azrai, known as the Church of Dark Light, who are stealing children to be trained as disciples. The cult has been following the circus for some time, but no one within the circus knows anything about what is going on other than the fact they are continually driven out of the cities they visit.
• A PC regent is invited to his own birthday party, which is being hosted by the influential noble family of Halderan. Unknown to him is the fact that the family is planning to use this opportunity to "fix" the single regent up with their daughter/son. Unfortunately word of this leaks among the other noble families and they soon invite themselves to the celebration with intentions of foisting their own children upon the hapless regent.
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