Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Unwanted Audiences in a Vampire Court

Campaign: Game of Fangs (Krevborna, 5e D&D).

Characters: Magnus (dhampir mastermind rogue), Florian d'Targan(half-elf lore bard), Orest (human divination wizard), Maria Marzistrada (human crown paladin).

Events: Magnus was awoken by servants of the castle at an hour he was largely unacquainted with. He dressed hastily and was ushered into the candle-lit library of Castle Maylak. Awaiting him was a severe woman dressed in black lace and furs; it was Magnus's aunt, Kristianna Rhiannon. Kristianna expressed grave concerns about Magnus's ability to bring House Rhiannon to a position of power over House Maylak. 

Although Magnus had few examples of success to cite, he did manage to argue Kristianna into a stalemate; she would allow Magnus to continue to call the shots, but she also made it clear that she would be remaining at Castle Maylak and was prepared to take over the mission should he continue to move slowly.

Orest also found himself the subject of a sudden audience: he was taken from his dank cell in the dungeons and escorted to a room deep within the crypts where he found Baroness Maylak, Sonder Skellig (the Baroness's dour personal bodyguard), and Florian waiting for him. The Baroness had brought the famed greatsword of House Maylak with her; she absently stroked the sword's keen-edged blade while she interrogated Orest about his previous outburst. 

Orest revealed that he had heard of a plot against the Baroness's life as a bargaining chip to regain his freedom. The Baroness didn't seem alarmed at this piece of intelligence, but her curiosity was definitely piqued. Orest pushed harder, vowing to the Baroness that he and Florian would expose the traitors in Court Maylak...he then floated the idea that if the Baroness has not been aware of the plot against her life, perhaps her network of spies at court had been compromised. 

Sensing an opportunity, Florian intimated that if he and Orest had access to the Baroness's web of spies and informants they might be better equipped to serve the Baroness's interests. The Baroness surprisingly agreed to their request, but required that the pair swear upon the ancient Sword of Maylak that they would serve her faithfully in this task. Sonder remained obviously skeptical about Orest and Florian's true intentions.

Maria "ambushed" Kristianna Rhiannon as Magnus's aunt was making her way back from the castle's library. Maria attempted to ply Kristianna with flattery to learn her aims and perhaps sound her out as an ally for plans of her own, but Kristianna deftly maneuvered around Maria's clumsy attempts at gaining her confidence. However, while they were conversing in the hallway, Maria noticed that under Kristianna's many sumptuous rings are arcane patterns of scars on her fingers. Back in her own chambers, Maria recorded the general shape of the scars so that she might research them at a later date.

Orest's sprite familiar had overheard Maria's conversation with Kristianna and duly reported it to her master. Orest met with Florian and Magnus to discuss the content of Maria's attempt to forge a bond with Kristianna. Combined with their vague knowledge that Maria was making private inroads with the Convent of the Heart-in-Twain, Orest put forward the suspicion that Maria had "gone rogue" and was no longer pursuing the group's interest. Magnus would hear no talk of dissension; he chalked Orest's suspicions up to the devil still possessing the wizard to sow division, and stormed out of the meeting. Even Florian, Orest's staunchest ally, was unsure that Maria's conduct hinted at deceitful aims. There is now disunity within the ranks.

As he stalked back to his chambers, Magnus encountered a beautiful woman just arrived at court: Melinda Maylak, the Baroness's cousin. Melinda offered a bottle of wine and coquettishly asked if Magnus would like to meet the castle's ghost?