Monday, December 12, 2016

Its Hour Come Round at Last 1.13

Last session, the cadre defeated the intelligent Risen in the monastery and had taken refuge in the library.

This was a heavy roleplay session inspired by Cthulhu Invictus.   

***

Monday, September 11, 1206 - Auvergne, Kingdom of France

McKinley treated Llywellyn and Pierre's wounds, while Merriweather examined the scrolls for anything about portals to other worlds or times.  Benjamin returned from hiding and aided Merriweather in the search.

After a day of rest, Llywellyn felt well enough to translate and read the Roman scroll.

***

Dies Lunae, Juno 27, 119 - Londinium, Britannia, SPQR

Rather than give them exposition about the scroll, I had them play out the story to see what happened.

Jeffery began:

"I swear by the gods and my family that this is the true account of Tulius Varro, a scholar and equestrian of Londinium, in the third year of the guidance of the Princeps Publius Aelius Hadrianus Augustus."

Late in the month of Juno, Varro and his wife Julia along with their seven year old daughter Avenia left Londinium by carriage for the resort spa of Aquae Sulis to the west.  The roads being what they were in Britannia the journey took about nine days.

Stopping in Corinium, Tulius saw a handbill for a play to be performed in Aquae Sulis entitled "The King Returns" by Livius Carbo - once a successful playwright in Roma.  He and his wife had attended one of Carbo's productions while in Italia a few years earlier and both agreed they would like to see the newest production. 

***

Dies Jovis, Julius 6, 119 - Aquae Sulis, Britannia, SPQR

"Waking the morning of the sixth day of the month of the God Julius, my wife and I left our quarters we had been given by our host, Gaius Ravulus, the previous day and breakfasted on dates, bread, and honeyed wine.  The dining area was bright and spacious with summer flowers scenting the air.  The southwest of Britannia is slightly warmer than the rest of this province.

"Two musicians played a flute and kithara while a young woman sang softly in Greek.  As we sat enjoying our breakfast, we were joined by the Cicero family of Londinium.  I only know them by their reputation, but the patriarch Appius Cicero owns numerous ships and trades throughout the lands of the Roman people.

"While he did not join us, his younger brother Quintus (a scholar of nature) and his sons Titus, a legate, and Flavius, currently serving in the Legion, attended their sister Servia and her two children.  I learned later that day that Servia's husband had been killed in Germania earlier that year and her father, Appius, had sent her, her brothers, and her uncle to Aquae Sulis for relaxation and recuperation.

"My daughter Avenia took right away to Philo - a boy of ten - and the youngest Cicero, the three year old girl Faulta.  Julia, eyeing a possible match for Avenia, made quick friends with the melancholic but beautiful Servia.  I made conversation with Titus and Quintus, and soon found the three men clearly obsessed with the new play by Livius Carbo.

"I say obsessed as I first took them to be fans of Carbo's work like Julia and I.  Yet soon, I determined they were suspicious of the new play.  I determined this was a realm of politics I had no desire to be touched by and so kept my conversations with them shallow.

"We learned that while Gaius Ravulus had obtained tickets for us, they were not until the following night.  And that the play would occur at the local arena rather than smaller theater stage.  It would also occur after dusk and the entire stage would be lit by oil lamps.   The later was very strange for the the theatre.  Like something from one of the more primitive Celtish peoples practices, but that sort of thing was coming in vogue then and we did not think to ask.

"My wife and Servia decided to spend the morning in each others company and so I decided to shop for both her and Avenia.  The children were to be entertained through out the day and we would see them again in the evening.  Gaius had a river barge dinner planned for us that sounded lovely.

"Later that day, while attending the spas which Aquae Sulis is known for, I again found the Cicero's.  I decided for the sake of Julia and Avenia to make a good impression and there for joined them for a soak in the hot springs.

"They were clearly frazzled by their morning, and I gently persuaded them to share their concerns.  What I soon learned I then took to mean all the present male Ciceros were mad.  They claimed Carbo's play was dangerous and that the handbills that the slaves were handing out caused mental strain just by looking at them.  While I know know this to be true, at the time I was justifiably skeptical. 

"I learned they had visited a local metalworker who apparently made medallions for the guests of the night's performance and that said metalworker had just that morning hung himself.  Furthermore, they told an awful story of finding at the gardens a young girl who had killed her own cat, saying over and over. 'Mother, there is a stranger in the city.'

"Eventually, I escaped them for my massage.  However, an incident at the spa made me think the Ciceros weren't completely mad and that something was truly occurring. 

"No sooner had Flavius begun his massage that his attendant began slashing herself and covering the young man with her blood.  We heard the screams and rushed to the young man's aid, only to be shocked by the scene.  Though truth be told Flavius handled the situation quite well.

"As they were dragging her away, she cried.  'Please let me die.  Show me pity!'  Then sobbed.  "Not upon us, oh King.  Not upon us.'  I would have taken her for merely unstable had I not learned then  that she had been recently owned by Carbo himself and had been an actress in his play."

***

One of my challenges for this session was to take new, low point characters and put them up against the involved fright checks of GURPS Horror for 4th edition and try to simulate Cthulhu Invictus.

I don't think it was quite the same,  The characters were able to be disturbed by events without spiraling into too much Sanity-loss to early on.

Quintus picked up a Paranoid quick early on while Flavius's player was so successful with his rolls, he rationalized everything.

The characters predominately had TL2 skills inspired by what is available in Cthulhu Invictus.  For a campaign in the Roman Empire, I would do to get GURPS Imperial Rome and make full characters.

This particular story finishes with Its Hour Come Round at Last 1.14.

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