Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Riddle of Blood e05 : Houses of the Blooded

01/19/2013
The Riddle of Blood
Episode Five
"The Wilderness"

The fifth session began with a major change.  As we were moving forward in the game with one less player from the original group, and one new incoming player, we had to change the flow of the story to compensate of the huge plots that were supposed to be developed by the leaving player.  The story of Armand Steele, and his role in Ven society would have to be shifted out of the focus and thankfully I had just the vehicle to facilitate it in the game.  In the previous game, there was mention of a possible migration of the ven as a whole.  The building of Airships was initiated and to make sure things feel right, I declared that the fifth session was to be set at the start of a new year, now in the new land.   Even better was the fact this game was to be run after the success of John Wick's Kickstarter campaign for the new Houses of the Blooded book, the Wilderness.  So all players were to have the following changes:

1) All players had the freedom to change their Aspects.  
With the passage of two seasons, and the coming of a new Year in a new location, people change.  And this was reflected by all the players having the freedom to tailor their character sheets in a more appropriate way.    This, however, also meant that the temporary and additional Aspects gained in the previous sessions was lost.  Allowing a sort of clean slate for the new player to dive into.

2) All Provinces and Vassals were to be reallocated.
With the introduction of the Wilderness came new regions that the players had the option to take.  The basic rule was as follows:  Players can reallocate their regions, as well as holdings, so long as they retained the number of regions that were present in their Province.  So a ven who had a province composed of three Forests, a Castle, A Town, and two Mountains, with only a Shrine for example can opt to have in the new Province a Castle, a town, a Mountain, two Forests, a Jungle and a Swamp, with the new holding being a Mine in the mountain.

Vassals followed the same rule, with special focus being given on the question, "Are you still with your spouse?"  For those who said yes, we checked for possible pregnancies.  For those who did not, I clarified with the player that the state of their spouse is up for grabs with Wisdom Risks in game.

And to reflect the perils of a new land and the struggles of adjusting to it, I handed out Josh Roby's Trouble Cards to the players.   (Oh and the first two players who showed up got a free Ork Vassal each.  Ork Vassals?!? Unthinkable!)

The New Land

In Tower Azure, the people of Baron Viktor Krev, Blooded of the Falcon are starving.  As he reluctantly opts to distribute the stored Food supplies in his Silo, he receives a visitor in the form of Marcellus Steele, a Merchant Ven who holds no land.  The visitor has come to Viktor to ask for his support in a upcoming attempt to usurp a nearby Barony.  He tells Viktor that he still is watching over his wife, who remains in Talida Mountain with the Pearl in the Shrine.  Viktor agrees to help.  His yellow-eyed hunter, an Ork that obeys him, reveals to Viktor that he is shunned among his own kin.  This suggests a society structure among the Orks previously unheard of.  At the end of the eve, a visitor.  Ti'Ann Burghe has found him, having learned from her friend Gaius of Viktor's survival, and the two share a long delayed delicate kiss.  And an understanding that in their hands stands the task of defeating the Fashuva that had escaped.

In the Red Throne, the people of Kithraus Yvarai, Blooded of the Fox, the people are terrified as they are under attack by Orks.  Hound-like creatures known as the Djjo have been stalking his lands.  He remains a member of the Senate, however, a fact which Lucian Steele, father of the Late Armand Steele, holds evidently against him.  The Senate grants Kithranus his request to become the Ork Hunter of the Senate and many seemingly have stopped wondering about his ex-wife Scarlet.  His new wife Sapphire pulls her own strings and gets approval from the Senate to become the Magus Sister of the Ork Hunter.  Her jealously becomes apparent, however, when they both learn that Scarlet somehow has both survived death, and somehow followed to the new land.  He also learns that the Duchess Madelyn Yvarai, Grandmother of his late wife, has sent out invitations for a party in his honor.

In Wushu, the people of Quan Wei Yvaria, Blooded of the Fox, are rioting.  Quan Wei's Fa Yu, known for their Subtlety, seem to have failed to uncover the leaders of the riot.  Possible suspects are Elliot, a Veth who supposedly was once a Ven poet named Eli Toth, Blooded of the Dragon,  Josephine Yvaria, the Marquis of Lin and her mother, or someone referred to as Yellow Eye, who is a hooded man with yellow eyes.     In hopes of gathering the Resources she needs to quell the riot, she learns of an upcoming party to be held by Bethesda Ashken, mother of her Contact, Gaius Mwrr.     With their son Shan Yu, and their new son, Guan Yu, Quan Wei and her husband Yao Lin, try to keep a low profile given her husband is one of those of the new Houses.  Long thought to be a Bear, he turned out to be of a different House altogether.

In Schlangeturn, the people of Gaius Mwrr, Blooded of the Snake, are suffering from a plague called the Platinum Death.  The plague seems to affect only Veth and Orks.  Uncertain how to resolve this, Gaius visits Quan Wei and learns from her that the plague can be healed through rest, a prayer to Talia, and sipping a tea which Quan Wei herself knows how to make.    However, not having the necessary herbs, Gaius thanks her and visits another old friend, Ti'Ann Burghe, the former Bronze Inquisitor.   She is now a Countess and introduces Gauis to her Ork Witch, who reveals to Gaius the cure, in exchange for his True Name.  The Curse, it so happens, is merely rest, however, the plague is carried by the Ven as well.  And so, unless one locks themselves in their individual rooms, the plague will not consume itself and stop so long as the chain of reinfections keep happening.

Finally, in Sun Castle, the people of Reidon Yvaria, Blooded of the Fox, are living in fear for the land is being invaded.  Uncertain who is behind the assault, Reidon attends the Senate to petition for help.  Being a young Baron, Reidon is unaware of how his inability to protect his own lands opens him to be stripped of his own Barony as per the Ven law, "What you hold, you keep."  As he waits for his turn to speak, one of the Vashna petitions for help.  He hands Reidon a letter meant for Gauis Mwrr, which Reidon opens and sees is a request to ask for Revenge against the Crimson Inquisitor, Kithranus Yvaria.  The man, it turns out, is Zhul, one of Gaius' brothers.  Reidon returns home, uncertain how to deal with the issues, when a visitor happens to come to his Castle.  The beautiful woman reveals her naked body, and asks him to allow her son, Yves, to be a knight under his barony.  And in exchange, he will learn of who is behind the assault.

With the stories of the new land, one can clearly see that the path of the tales are headed towards the upcoming two parties:  the one held by the Duchess Madelyn Yvaria, and the one held by Bethesda Ashken.

And somewhere, an escaped Fallen among the Suaven plots and plans for his rise back into power.
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