We picked up right where we left off, in the Court of Miracles in northern Paris. The players confronted the young bravo who had attempted to assassinate them, but before he could say another word, an older woman stepped in and declared that she spoke for him. She announced herself as his sickly mother, Madame Brunet!
She proceeded to intimate that her son had knowledge about the group’s misdeeds and that to keep silent, he would require 1000 pistoles!
During her introductory extortion, Laura assessed the situation in the court itself. She noticed a figure sitting casually in a window above them, smoking a cigarillo, which he was using to keep a slow match lit. A musket rested in his lap. Laura cursed to herself.
Madame Brunet said, “I see you have met my other son, Alain!”
At the same time, while Madame Brunet was gesticulating, Dr Paracelsus took time to examine Brunet. Was she truly sick? If so, what ailed her? I had him make a check against his Intelligence at -4 to make this assessment at night at a distance. He failed the check but opted to spend a year of his life to reroll. He then passed and saw that she was not sick at all, but was faking her coughs and tremors while wearing make-up to give the appearance of a deathly pallor. He kept the information to himself.
But Doctor Paracelsus decided that he would negotiate with Madame Brunet. After some discussion with the group, they agreed to engage with her and her sons in a duel of wits.
This one went quite differently than the last…
Martin the Presbyter has precedence and reputation in the duel of wits for this group. So Madam Brunet politely asked him if she might speak first. He graciously accepted (and increased his already high reputation by one). Madame stepped before the group and began to speak about the troubles and tribulations ahead when she suddently fell before them in a heap, trembling, foaming at the mouth, hitting her head on the ground, beseeching Dr Paracelsus for help.
The looks around the table were priceless. It got better when I announced that “She has the Rifodé skill. She gets +6 to hit with an Implore when having a seizure.” The players started to howl. I rolled. 18 +6, a critical hit. Paracelsus’ player’s eyes sharpened and he asked, “Can I spend a year of my life to make you reroll?” Yes, yes he could. I rerolled now with only a +1 to hit and still landed the blow, but without a crit. Paracelsus accepted the blow.
Her tactic failed to knock out the doctor, so he quickly asked Martin if he could speak next. He has a bonus to damage with Implore when treating a patient and that seemed to apply here. But first he needed to get her to listen. He knelt down and examined Brunet and begged her to stop. Due to his earlier Intelligence check, he knew she was likely faking.
He rolled and missed. Spent a year. Rerolled. Missed. Spent another year and rerolled landing a triple crit! He knocked her out in one blow, revealing her act to his companions. It was a triumph, perfectly played.
Meanwhile, Martin stepped in and begged Delon to see it their way. He succeeded and scored a lucky hit, knocking Delon out. Alain declined to press the matter from his perch, as he’d be shouting into a bad situation. The duel of wits was over before the first round ended.
Martin then rooked Delon into believing that God was going to bring down the truth and, since Martin was a priest, he might as well confess. He succeeded and Delon spilled out an largely incomprehensible tale about what happened on the night of March 18th.
Eventually, they pieced it together that Delon and his crew were hired by Argouges—not Antoine Regnard. They were hired in advance by Argouges to protect Antoine should he go and decide to avenge his mother’s death. Delon also intimated that Antoine was Argouges son—making him a child out of wedlock with M. Argouges and Mdm Regnard.
Pondering this new information, the group realized they needed something more than payment for their deed. They needed revenge. They had been set up by Argouges to murder his lover. And now been set up again to murder his obstreperous illegitimate child.
Back in Drancy, they released their pamphlet into the wild and waited for it to take hold. On the night of the 23rd, they saw a crowd gather at the Inn of the Two Lanterns, near the Hôtel de Ville. They were waving the pamphlets and shouting for the Intendant to explain the meaning of this tax rise coming on the 1st.
Laura decided the crowd wasn’t heated enough. She wanted them to turn to a mob.
I had been thinking about rules like this, so I quickly sketched something out and we tested them.
The Intendant’s archers were trying to keep order at the gate of the inn, but they were badly outnumbered—though the crowd wasn’t violent. The Intendant, clearly eating his supper, stuck his mustachioed head out of the second floor window of the inn and told the crowd to disperse, that they would deal with the matter in the morning.
Laura threw a rock at the Intendant, aiming to hit the window next to him, trying to rile the crowd up. She succeeded in earning the ire of the archers who started pushing through the crowd to apprehend her.
I also realized that the crowd’s Will had been attacked via the pamphlet. I decided it was a Poison action via the press, so I had them roll to hit and damage for that. They succeeded.
Martin then attempted to rile the crowd up as the archers came through, preaching brutality. he did enough damage to the crowd’s Will that they started to waver and churn. They failed their S-F test and turned angry. They then marched to the Hôtel de Ville, shouting for answers from Monsieur L’Echiven Argouges.
It was late so we stopped there. Hopefully we’ll wrap up the situation next time!
Also, as you can see, I’ve been working on 1648. Brunet is a L6 Mercalot. Delon is a L2 Coup-Gourge, cutthroat. Both are new lifepaths that we’ll hopefully feature in the book.
I also very much want to include rules for crowds and mobs in the new book. They’re proving challenging to develop, but I’m hopeful.
All in all, it was a good playtest!