Lamentations of the Pope - LotFP campaign set in 16th century Rome

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raniE

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Yeah, I have nothing against the repurposing of published materials--I just knew you were interested in it from some comments you made upthread. I asked mainly because if you already had an adventure you wanted to rework, I wouldn't make any more suggestions about what could happen in the session.

One thing that has been running around my head, since I thought of the Trebbia connection, is a ghost story that shows up in the Decameron. It's details aren't important, but it involves ghosts who are doomed to re-enact the fatal events that led to their death and damnation. I wonder if that idea could be adapted for this--a Roman centurion, or some such, who betrayed his side, or in some way failed in his duty, forced to relive the experience in ghostly form.

Alternatively, I wondered about a Carthaginian item--the head of a standard, or something similar--that would fill the finder with an irresistible urge to march on (in effect, go to) Rome and 'conquer it.' After taking it, the finder could hear the following in his/her sleep each night (it's from Juvenal, Satires IX):

We have accomplished nothing
Till we have stormed the gates of Rome itself
Till our Carthaginian standard
Is set in the city's heart.

This 'haunting' could make the finder lose sleep and be debilitated. It could be dealt with by going to Rome and burying the item in an appropriate place, like the Forum.

I really like the standard thing, that's a very cool idea. Would give them a solid reason to head for Rome too.

Unfortunately last session didn't materialize due to two of my players having lost their cat to cancer, and now the holiday season is upon us so doubtful if we'll be able to get a session in before the New Year.
 

Steve Hall

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Just to say that this thread is really inspiring and the campaign sounds great! I've always had a desire to run a game in this period, either low-magic or just straight historical, but have never managed to get one to the table. The time later in the century, when there is a Borgia pope, always had an appeal. I look forward to seeing the further adventures of your group.
 

raniE

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Just to say that this thread is really inspiring and the campaign sounds great! I've always had a desire to run a game in this period, either low-magic or just straight historical, but have never managed to get one to the table. The time later in the century, when there is a Borgia pope, always had an appeal. I look forward to seeing the further adventures of your group.
Thanks. And I say hang in there, it is a really interesting period. If nothing else, you could probably get some entirely new players interested. Historical settings present less of a barrier to entry than pure fantasy or far future SF, in my experience.

Just a slight correction, the two Borgia popes rules 1455-1458 and 1492-1503, so 50-100 years earlier. I do agree that the time around the reign of Alexander VI (1492-1503) would be very interesting to play in. You have the discovery of the new world, the beginning of the Italian wars and the first battle in Europe decided by the use of gunpowder.
 

Steve Hall

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Oops! My mistake - I've only just skimmed the thread so far (settling in for a proper read now) so got totally the wrong idea about your time period - wrong bloody century! Doh!!
 

raniE

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Oops! My mistake - I've only just skimmed the thread so far (settling in for a proper read now) so got totally the wrong idea about your time period - wrong bloody century! Doh!!
Ah, that explains it. Yeah the campaign is set in 1559. It was originally going to be 1560 but I moved it a year earlier to incorporate the very end of the Italian wars, the death of pope Paul IV and the long conclave that followed. I personally like the time period as it is right in the transition from medieval to early modern. Full plate and handguns, the very beginnings of the Columbian exchange, the reformation etc.
 

raniE

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I'll also note that it has now been a year since I started this thread and while I haven't gotten to the point where I can incorporate all the cool stuff in this thread, the campaign is under way (albeit on a brief winter hiatus for the time being). So the thread has been a great success so far.
 

Lofgeornost

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I really like the standard thing, that's a very cool idea. Would give them a solid reason to head for Rome too.

Unfortunately last session didn't materialize due to two of my players having lost their cat to cancer, and now the holiday season is upon us so doubtful if we'll be able to get a session in before the New Year.
Sorry to hear about the delay. I've got an idea for an adventure seed you might use on the road to Rome, actually based on a Kane story by Karl Edward Wagner. I need to mull it a bit more--and see if I can find a bit more information about rural inns in Italy--but I hope to post something in a day or so.
 

Lofgeornost

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Adventure idea: Sign of the Raven

This was inspired by Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane story “Raven’s Eyrie,” though with quite a few changes. Because it’s based on a work of fiction, I’m very aware of the danger of railroading—making the scenario play out to fit the plot of the story. To make that less likely, I’ll present the adventure seed in terms of the various parties involved and their plans and agendas. There are mysteries for the p.c.s to uncover, but the scenario can go forward even if they do not find out much of the backstory—they could simply react to the developing situation. Since the whole thing is complex, I’m going to present it in a series of posts.

Setting: The Place
An inn in the mountains. Given where your p.c.s are and where they are going (Rome) I’d suggest somewhere in the Apennines between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, maybe near Monte Cusna, a peak of ~2120 m. which is also known as ‘the Dead Man.’ The inn, known from its sign as ‘the Raven’ is a substantial two-story structure, built by the Maldenti family a couple of generations since, with a paved courtyard and stables. It once had another wing at a right angle to the main building, but this burnt about ten years ago; its foundation and some scorched timbers remain. The inn is located in a wooded area of the slopes, just uphill from main track over the mountains and near a small ravine through which a stream runs.

The Monte Cusna ridge, seen from a distance. The inn would be below the tree line, of course.
monte-cusna.jpg

It’s commonly known in the area that the inn used to be considerably more prosperous than it is now. In the late 1540s, this region of the Apennines was infested by a group of bandits led by a German mercenary, one Fasolt, who made travel through the region unsafe. Since it was difficult to make the journey from one side of the mountains to the other in a single day—particularly in winter—travelers would often break their journey at the Raven, to pass the night in safety. But then in 1549 the bandits attacked the inn; the innkeeper Orazio Maldenti was slain and one wing destroyed by fire. This brazen attack finally stirred neighboring states into action, and they sent a force to drive the bandits from the region. (If this is set near Monte Cusna, this could be the Cybo-Malaspina lords of Massa-Carrerra.) Yet in their absence, there was less reason for travelers to halt at the Raven, and its initially-dilapidated state it was not too inviting a refuge. It fell on hard times, from which it has only partially recovered.

The inn has a darker hidden history, though. It was constructed so that its owners could prey on their guests. The best guest room, at the head of the stairs, has a secret door into it, concealed behind the wood-paneling next to the fireplace. This opens on a rectangular shaft that passes into the inn’s basement; metal rungs are set in one wall of the shaft (a brick wall, the edge of the chimney). Tempting targets could be put in the room and then slipped a soporific in their wine. When the guests were deep in drugged slumber, the innkeepers would climb up the shaft, kill their victims, and then remove their bodies and goods down the shaft. The bodies were then conveyed out of the cellar through a passage (likewise concealed) that led to the nearby ravine. Well before daylight, servants would remove the victim’s beasts from the stables, and other guests (if there were any) would be told that the murdered parties had decided to get a pre-dawn start.

In the early years of the Raven, the Maldenti perpetrated such murders only infrequently, in part because conditions had to be right (a small but wealthy party, with few servants or guards, and preferably from a distant place) and in part because too many guests disappearing would lead to questions. But the activities of Fasolt and his band allowed the innkeepers to become more brazen. In fact, they forged an alliance with the outlaw. For a cut of takings, he and his men would remove the bodies and deposit them some distance from the inn, making it look like they had been cut down on the road by the bandits. Both sides profited from the arrangement—the inn got more visitors and could ‘cull’ more of them without fear of blame, while Fasolt got a payday for less work and danger than actual highway robbery (though he continued with that as well).

This cozy relationship fell apart because of Orazio’s daughter, Faustina. A lovely and vivacious young woman—she was 16 in 1549—she attracted Fasolt’s attention and likewise fell for the romantic outlaw. They kept the relationship from Orazio, who had different, and bigger, plans for his daughter. His new-found (and ill-gotten) wealth led the innkeeper to dream of marrying his daughter into higher society; if he kept accumulating cash he could soon afford a dowry that might entice one of the lesser nobility of Carrerra (or wherever). When Faustina became pregnant with Fasolt’s child, their relationship could no longer be hidden, leading to the furious clash between Orazio and the bandit chief. Fasolt’s attack on the inn, and his murder of her father, turned Faustina against him, and she began to dream of revenge.

In passing, I'll note that murderous innkeepers like this were not unknown in Early Modern Europe. A merchant from Milan mentions in his travel diary c. 1518 an inn near Toulouse where the management regularly murdered guests, with the collusion of a local law-enforcement officer and a band of robbers. They killed about 100 people over 4 years before being detected and executed.
 

Lofgeornost

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Setting: The Time

This is as important as the location—the scenario will take place on a very particular night, when, according to local legends, a supernatural Wild Hunt, the Caccia selvaggia, makes its way through these mountains.

It is led by a huntress, known by the name or title of Madonna Horiente. Mounted on a black steed—which some say breathes fire—she follows a pack of demonic three-legged hounds in search of prey, which she may bring down with spear or bow, or simply allow her dogs to tear apart. Some reports suggest that others ride with Horiente on her chase, but accounts differ on whether these are her attendants, who seem only to be female, or the unfortunates she has captured in her hunting. Few claim to have seen her—and none close up—but more people have heard her and her pack passing in the night, as she winds her ghostly horn and her dogs bay in a hollow, haunting fashion. Needless to say, all the inhabitants of this part of the Apennines stay safely indoors on the nights of the Caccia selvaggia.

Sheep and other domestic animals abroad on this night may simply vanish—presumably taken by the Hunt—or, more disturbingly, be found wandering far from their pens in the morning. Although such animals show no outward sign of injury, they are strangely drained of life and energy, and seldom live long; if female, they will no longer give milk or have young. People, too, have reportedly disappeared without a trace on this night in the mountains, or been found the next morning dazed and unable to describe what befell them during the hours of darkness. Like the animals, such people become melancholy, listless, and die soon after.

Obviously, the players will not know these legends, which I’ve created by combining ideas about the Wild Hunt from different parts of Europe with some Italian ideas about Lady Horiente—and the Roman goddess Diana. They can hear them from fellow travelers at the inn, and in fact there will be a ‘Basil Exposition’-style character for that purpose, which we’ll get to in later posts.

Exactly what night of the year this is could vary, depending on the needs of your campaign. In any case, in Wild Hunt stories and beliefs from across Europe, the hunts fall at many different points in the calendar, so just about any time could work. Absent any other considerations, I would suggest a night with a particular phase of the moon: either full, new, or 1-day-old, when the crescent moon appears ‘with the old moon in her arms’ (i.e., with the rest of the moon’s surface illuminated by earthshine—that would be my choice). The special night could be the last such moon-phase before or after a given calendar date, like December 18 (again, my preference, as it was linked to Diana), or any of a number of other alternatives.* Alternatively, the event could occur multiple times in the year, say at the Ember Days. Using the Wednesday dates for these, in 1559 they would have been Feb. 15, May 17, Sept. 20, and Dec. 20.

Further, according to the legends, not all iterations of Horiente’s Hunt are the same. Every nine years, she conducts a special chase, running down a man or woman who is abroad on her night, whom she transforms into a black horse. This unfortunate will be her steed for the next nine years, only to die (and resume human form) when the new mount is captured. And 1559 is such a year…

* Some of the days associated with the Wild Hunt in various parts of Europe include: the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair (Feb. 22), Walpurgis Night (April 30), St. John’s Day (June 24), St. Peter’s Day (June 29), St. Bartholomew’s Day (Aug. 24), St. Crispin’s Day (Oct. 25), St. Martin’s Day (Nov. 11), or St. Lucy’s Day (Dec. 13).

Edit: Looking back through the thread, it appears that it's sometime in early-mid February 1559. That would fit with St. Peter's Chair (Feb. 22), especially if you set the night to a lunar phase. Unless you've been keeping track of these (or want to use the historical ones), you can simply rule that whatever date you want between 28 days before and 28 days after 2/22 is the right one.
 
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raniE

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Oh I keep track of the calendar and the lunar phases, to the point where my players mock me for it. Here's a site I use (it has the phases in the Julian calendar pre 1582): http://astropixels.com/ephemeris/phasescat/phases1501.html
The PCs have taken a few weeks to rest and recuperate and hire followers after their run inn with Branko Golubic, so it's now closer to late February or early March (I'd have to check my notes for an exact date), so Walpurgis night might be a better bet.

edit: Also, I have never seen St Lucia referred to as St Lucy before but a quick Google search tells me that it is quite common in English. Huh. Lucia is basically the only saint (apart from Mary and the apostles, and even they less so) still venerated in Sweden, and hear feast day is celebrated by pretty much everyone, including non-Christian and non-religious people.
 

Lofgeornost

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Oh I keep track of the calendar and the lunar phases, to the point where my players mock me for it. Here's a site I use (it has the phases in the Julian calendar pre 1582): http://astropixels.com/ephemeris/phasescat/phases1501.html
The PCs have taken a few weeks to rest and recuperate and hire followers after their run inn with Branko Golubic, so it's now closer to late February or early March (I'd have to check my notes for an exact date), so Walpurgis night might be a better bet.

edit: Also, I have never seen St Lucia referred to as St Lucy before but a quick Google search tells me that it is quite common in English. Huh. Lucia is basically the only saint (apart from Mary and the apostles, and even they less so) still venerated in Sweden, and hear feast day is celebrated by pretty much everyone, including non-Christian and non-religious people.
That's a very useful site! If the Hunt takes place at a particular lunar phase, then it provides a couple of good possibilities. If the Hunt takes place on the 1st day of the moon, then March 10 is the first such after St. Peter's Chair, and April 8 the last before Walpurgis. If the full moon is key, then the first after St. Peter's Chair is March 23, which is also the date of a total lunar eclipse. April 21 would be the last full moon before Walpurgis.

As to St. Lucy, I think that is how the day is referred to in the Handbook of British Chronology, which tends to be my go-to resource.
 

Lofgeornost

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Dramatis Persona: Matteo Atracino

This is the ‘Basil Exposition’ n.p.c., whose main function is to provide information about Madonna Horiente and her Hunt. He could also be used as a semi-patron responsible for getting the p.c.s to the Raven Inn—he will be traveling there at the time of the Hunt and might convince, or pay, the party to accompany him as insurance against bandits. Alternatively, the p.c.s could just meet him when they stop at the inn for the night. He is hoping to catch a glimpse of the Hunt, or perhaps a bit more.

Matteo is basically a scholar, fascinated by stories of supernatural beings and their appearances, especially those he can link to the Classical past. He’s well educated, fluent in Latin and Greek and several vernacular languages. My inclination would be to make him a not-very-devout churchman, say a canon at the cathedral of Modena (which is nearby). To hold his position, he should be a priest, but I’d say he has never taken that order; instead, he hires a vicar to take care of his liturgical obligations, only attending services at the cathedral when he needs to for form’s sake. If the p.c.s mistakenly refer to him as ‘father’ when they meet, he will wave his hand and gently correct them, telling them to call him ‘canon.’ Matteo serves as the keeper of the cathedral’s archives, but puts most of his energies into his own researches. Of course, if you don’t want him to be clergy, he could be a secular scholar. I picture him looking something like this (it's actually Caravaggio's portrait of Maffeo Barberini at age 30, c. 1598):

Maffeo Barberini_Caravaggio_1599.jpg

At some point—perhaps on the road to the Raven, if the party accompanies him there, or perhaps over dinner or wine in the inn’s common room—Matteo will impart the basic information about Lady Horiente and her Hunt, as found in the post above. If the conversation happens in the inn, the staff or other guests could chime in as well. But Matteo will tell the p.c.s more than common knowledge, particularly if they display interest in the tales—he is happy to share the results of his researches:

For example, a legend he found in the margin of a manuscript of Paul the Deacon’s History of the Lombards. According to this, Horiente was a woman of the Roman aristocracy, c. 590, whose family kept a hunting lodge in these mountains. She had such a passion for the chase that nothing would keep her from it, not even the worship she owed the Lord. On the first Sunday in Lent, she skipped mass to hunt deer through the mountains, when she encountered an aged hermit at prayer along the track she was pursuing. She ordered him out of the way and even raised her whip to strike him, when he stood erect and revealed himself as an angel. The angel cursed her to hunt from that day forth, never knowing rest.

In Matteo’s view, though, this is just a pious story to cloak a more frightening reality. Horiente is a very powerful spirit, though he will not commit himself as to whether she is best considered a demon, a daemon, or a fairy (or indeed if these are really different things). She was mistress of the hunt and of wild animals; the Greeks knew her as Artemis and the Romans as Diana. Her recurrent transformation of a human into a horse to serve as her steed is little different, in his view, from Diana’s metamorphosis of Actaeon into a stag. Matteo also suggests the spirit may once also have been known as Orion, the Giant Huntsman, which might explain the name—in fact, he will dilate at length on the mythical connections between Artemis and Orion in various ancient texts. As to the swap in gender, he points out that this is a well-known power of demons, who have no real sex.

Matteo admits that ancient literature—and modern artists working from it—usually pictured Artemis or Diana as hunting on foot, while Horiente rides to the chase. (This is an early 17th century example by Orazio Gentileschi; some of the earlier images are NSFW):

Diana_Orazio_Gentileschi_(17th-century)-small.jpg

But in his view the pictures may be wrong. He’ll mention a ruinous chapel, located in a wood some miles outside Modena. According to local legend, it was built on the ruins of a fane to Diana. A few years ago, during restoration work, laborers found an ancient amphora buried underneath the shrine; they feared to open it, but Matteo jumped at the chance when he learned of it. He is convinced it contained the possessions of the last priestess of Diana at the temple, hidden when it was destroyed. Among them was an archaic golden seal ring, showing a woman hunting on horseback. Matteo will—after a surreptitious look around, to make sure no outside observers are watching—display this to the party. He states that it shows the goddess hunting a roe deer, accompanied by some sort of bird—perhaps a raven, or an eagle:

Gold-ring-with-scene-of-ancient-eagle-huntress-Greek-425-BC-Boston-Museum-of-Fine.png

Matteo also has a theory about those other women who, according to some stories, accompany Horiente on her ride. There is, or was, a set of female magicians, witches if you like (he will use the term ‘iana’ rather than ‘strega’) who serve the spirit as acolytes. He has found evidence of them in trials for witchcraft held in the region. An early one, from 1445, involved a certain Petrine, whose confession alludes to the group and its activities—he will read it to the p.c.s from his notebook:

Petrine, from the time you were sixteen to the date of this confession, you have recurrently taken part in a certain ride of Diana, whom you call Horiente. You have come before your mistress and have always given her your devotion, in the following manner: you have bowed down to her and spoken these words, “May you fare well, Lady Horiente.” In answer, she herself has replied, “May you fare well, good hunters.” In this ride you hunt animals, such as a donkey, a sheep, a horse, or a fox, or living people, or the souls of the dead, and those who were beheaded or hanged show great awe and do dare to lift up their heads in the presence of your company. During this hunt, you kill animals, and eat their flesh, then place the bones back into the skin. The Lady strikes the skin of the slaughtered animal with her staff, topped by a silver crescent, and those animals revive—but they are never much good thereafter. You do not invoke God when you set off on this ride, nor do you mention Him in this company. And the Lady teaches you, her companions, the powers of herbs, and about bewitching, and the magical Art, and shows you through certain signs the truth about those things you wish to know.

Matteo will point out that this confession clearly connects Horiente to Diana; beyond the explicit mention of her (which might be the inquisitor’s insertion), the detail of the crescent-tipped staff implicates that goddess. It also explains why some animals found wandering after the night of the Hunt are debilitated and short-lived; they have already been killed, consumed, and returned to life.

According to Matteo, this sect devoted to Horiente likely no longer exists, but was wiped out in another set of trials in 1505-07. These proceedings were more thorough and pursued much more relentlessly than the early trial in 1445; they led to the execution of eight women. The transcripts of the proceedings have been lost; in fact, some allusions to the trials in the diocesan register suggest the records were deliberately destroyed because of the disturbing revelations the confessions contained. But, piecing together such rare mentions with a single leaf of the transcripts which survived by chance (because it had been used as scratch paper and notes on the bishop’s landholdings written on the back) Matteo has learned that this group engaged in cannibalism, hunting, killing, and eating men as well as animals—and then restoring them to a semblance of life. One of the witches in her confession noted that they had to take special care to assemble all the bones, or the revived person would be maimed; on one occasion they had cracked a man’s thigh-bone for marrow and he returned lame. The fragments also reveal that the cult had a sacred place, on Monte Cusna, where their hunts began and where they consumed their prey; it had a stone altar and was known as ‘the raven’s perch.’ Matteo believes it is in the vicinity of the inn (and he is right to think so).

Matteo’s Agenda:
Though his main role in the scenario is to provide information, and perhaps get the party to the Raven Inn in the first place, Matteo might play a more active role as events progress. He will want to travel out to the sacrificial site at the ‘raven’s perch’ around midnight for an encounter with Horiente. Since other actors in the drama will also be seeking out this site then, accompanying Matteo could be a hook to get the p.c.s to that location, when it might seem safer just to stay in the inn. Some of the inn’s staff, or other locals at the inn (if there are any) could indicate the right path to take, or we could posit that Matteo can find the spot based on his research. Matteo might want nothing more than to observe Horiente from a distance, to satisfy his scholarly curiosity. But if you like, you could give him a more active goal. Although he is not a magician, as such, we could imagine that he has found rituals in books of necromancy which, he thinks, will allow him to command this powerful spirit. A key to that could be the ring which he has shown the players earlier. He may want Horiente to give him the magical knowledge which she imparted to her one-time followers.
 
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raniE

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I want to get the players involved in working for the church anyways. They've written to the parish priest they interacted with inn the first adventure, I'm thinking I could have him refer them to Matteo, as they have had an actual run in with supernatural beings. That way he's not just some guy the run into at a tavern either.
 

Lofgeornost

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I want to get the players involved in working for the church anyways. They've written to the parish priest they interacted with inn the first adventure, I'm thinking I could have him refer them to Matteo, as they have had an actual run in with supernatural beings. That way he's not just some guy the run into at a tavern either.
That makes sense. In this case, of course, the tavern where they meet him could be the inn, which is one of the key sites for the scenario. That will become a bit clearer after I write up some more of the dramatis personae. It’s taken me longer than I thought it would, in part because of work I have to get done and in part because as I write the entries I keep adding ideas and materials.

Matteo could become a long-term contact for the players, even in Rome. Depending on his age, he might know and have served under the previous bishop of Modena, Cardinal Giovanni Morone, who had to relinquish the see in 1550. Morone was one of the major leaders of a ‘reform’ party within the cardinals and was often used on diplomatic missions in the 1530s-40s, as well as helping to chair some sessions of the Council of Trent. Paul IV loathed Morone, though, and had him incarcerated in the Castel Sant’ Angelo on suspicion of heresy in 1557. He was cleared by the inquiry, but refused to come out of prison unless Paul publicly declared him innocent, which the pope would not do. Morone will re-appear after Paul’s death in August, and he will play a part in the coming conclave. So by the fall Matteo might be in Rome looking up his former mentor.
 

raniE

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That makes sense. In this case, of course, the tavern where they meet him could be the inn, which is one of the key sites for the scenario. That will become a bit clearer after I write up some more of the dramatis personae. It’s taken me longer than I thought it would, in part because of work I have to get done and in part because as I write the entries I keep adding ideas and materials.

Well, it looks like possibly the 7th of January will be when we resume after the Holidays, but it isn't set in stone yet. So no real rush.
Matteo could become a long-term contact for the players, even in Rome. Depending on his age, he might know and have served under the previous bishop of Modena, Cardinal Giovanni Morone, who had to relinquish the see in 1550. Morone was one of the major leaders of a ‘reform’ party within the cardinals and was often used on diplomatic missions in the 1530s-40s, as well as helping to chair some sessions of the Council of Trent. Paul IV loathed Morone, though, and had him incarcerated in the Castel Sant’ Angelo on suspicion of heresy in 1557. He was cleared by the inquiry, but refused to come out of prison unless Paul publicly declared him innocent, which the pope would not do. Morone will re-appear after Paul’s death in August, and he will play a part in the coming conclave. So by the fall Matteo might be in Rome looking up his former mentor.
Yeah, good stuff. He could be one of the cardinals the PCs can get involved with (I want to leave this open so the players can decide how deep into church politics they want to get involved, and with what factions).
 

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Ok, so next session is planned for tomorrow. Finally we get off the ground again. Doing the short one about encountering fairies near Rivergaro tomorrow, unless my players want to go in a totally different direction. But I'm thinking I should set up Matteo Atracino as a contact for them tomorrow too. Any progress on the scenario Lofgeornost Lofgeornost ?
 

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Well, new session played. The PCs ended up invited on a hunting trip near Rivergaro (about 10 km south of Piacenza) by the local lord, Giovanni Anguissola-Scotti. On the second day, they ended up separated from the rest of the hunters due to snowy weather, got lost and were then ambushed by fairies who poured snow on them, sommersaulted on them, pulled faces and generally mocked them. The players, and characters, were all delighted, and agreed to help the fairies (Frosts, technically) help free their friend Crystal who had been taken captive by "an evil wizard who threatened to burn her up". After asking around in Rivergaro, they found him, but were so roundabout in their questioning that he got suspicious and annoyed and used magic to charm the doctor and the thief to go off and try to capture the rest of the fairies. Once the charm wore off (after an hour), the group decided to try to lure Cesare Cesari (the wizard) out of his house by claiming they had caught the fairies but one of them was wounded. Cesari seemed horrified that they had actually gotten into a fight with the fairies, caliming they were nonviolent. Some in the group used this distraction to pick the lock on the back door and sneak in, then hid in the kitchen and pantry while the man meant as a decoy left for the tavern. He later came back, acting drunk and was let in be Cesare, who then spotted the others sneaking around his hallway. They claimed they had just come looking for their friend, and he shuffled them all out. The PCs are now unsure what to do next. They consulted the parish priest, but he dismissed the fairies as nothing but folk tales. Some of them are starting to suspect the fairies are lying to them (they aren't).

Unbeknownst to the PCs, Cesare is feeling really bad about kidnapping the fairy, and all he wants is an apology and to not be used as a sled when traveling in the forest. All the fairies want is to be given tokens (small scraps of food, nice flowers or the like) by travelers in respect of their domain. So if the PCs sit down with them, they could hash out a deal no problem. They've been unwilling to divulge why they are actually there though, so that has gone nowhere, but they've realized he doesn't seem violent or overly hostile, and are somewhat confused (maybe because the last scenario was also a kidnapping plot, but with a much more vicious character).
 

Lofgeornost

Vulpine once more!
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Ok, so next session is planned for tomorrow. Finally we get off the ground again. Doing the short one about encountering fairies near Rivergaro tomorrow, unless my players want to go in a totally different direction. But I'm thinking I should set up Matteo Atracino as a contact for them tomorrow too. Any progress on the scenario Lofgeornost Lofgeornost ?
Sorry to be slow about it. I am teaching an overload this term and instruction has moved online because of COVID. Teaching that way is like swimming in oatmeal--it's possible, but it's messy and everything is five times harder and more time-consuming.

Anyway, I'll try to finish up the ideas I have and post them early next week. It will be more sketchy than the original material, I am afraid.
 

raniE

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Sorry to be slow about it. I am teaching an overload this term and instruction has moved online because of COVID. Teaching that way is like swimming in oatmeal--it's possible, but it's messy and everything is five times harder and more time-consuming.

Anyway, I'll try to finish up the ideas I have and post them early next week. It will be more sketchy than the original material, I am afraid.
Hey, don't worry about it, this is all just stuff you do in your free time. And yeah, I hear you about the online stuff. I took some online classes ten years ago, and even when it was something everyone had signed up for and not being forced on us, it wasn't great.
 

raniE

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And also, since we didn't actually get through the scenario this week, I'm suspecting we won't get to the next adventure until four weeks from now, as next session will be spent on finishing up the situation with the fairies.
 
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