[Campaign Design] The Ancient City and the Holy Church of the Wheel of Fire

This campaign is strongly inspired by Yasumi Matsuno’s 2000 PSX videogame Vagrant Story, so don’t be surprised if it sounds familiar. You could play it like a Burning THAC0 game with a lot of microdungeons if you want. This is what I have so far: a campaign frame, a magic object and some character guidances. I hope you enjoy it.

The Kingdom of Calydon is recovering from a terrible civil war that ravaged its walls for several years. Now the kingdom is ruled by the calydonian parliament and the church of St. Anastius. After the war, the parliament has approved religious freedom, resulting in the emergence of a large number of cults, many of them inspired by old philosophies and religions from the past. But the church guards a terrible secret: the old city of Imbros, once full of magnificence, destroyed and sealed at the end of the war, it’s still alive. Behind its walls a forgotten power remains hidden. Sorcery, nameless creatures and dark mysteries of the past even today crawl through its dark corridors and wet crypts.

The situation
One of the largest religious groups, the apocalyptic cult of Efrem, follower of the ancient religion of Kannia (and devoted to the priestess Iphianassa), has begun a secret war against the church. Its leader, Lysander Lancelot, has decided to step forward and attack his benefactor, the Duke Malcolm Macduff, and occupy his mansion in the highlands, taking his family and servants hostage. He knows that the Duke hides an object of enormous power, and he wants to get it. To distract the parliament he has demanded the abdication of the cardinal Belarius and the release of several fellow prisoners. The Calydonian Knights of the Peace decides to send one of his best men, a Peacekeeper, to infiltrate the mansion, save the cardinal’s family and stop the cultists. But when he arrives it’s too late: the cardinal’s men, the holy knights of the wheel, under the command of Horatio Gloucester, disobeying the orders of the CKP, have entered the mansion, and an ugly battle has begun inside its walls. This is his chance to enter the mansion without being noticed and rescue the hostages.

Cast of Characters
Your character, a Peacekeeper, soldier of the Calydonian Knights of the Peace.

Lysander Lancelot, mysterius cult leader.

Horatio Gloucester, head of the Knights of the Wheel.

Cassio Ferdinand, a female spy.

Duncan Voltimand, second in command of the Cult.

Goneril Fortinbras, a fellow Peacekeeper under the orders of the cardinal.

Father Polydore Siward, member of the Knights of the Wheel.

Father Oswald Cadwal, member of the Knights of the Wheel.

Lady Innogen Agrippa, lover of Gloucester and second in command of the Knights of the Wheel.

Commander Flavius Tybalt, member of the Knights of the Wheel.

Commander Beatrice Cymbeline, member of the Knights of the Wheel.

Leonato Ajax Macduff, duke’s son.

Duke Malcolm Alarbus Macduff, hero of the Civil War.

Cardinal Benedick Balthasar Belarius, commander in chief of the Knights of the Wheel.

Inquisitor Miranda Archidamus, leader of the Knights of the Peace.

Inquisitor Brabantio Lodovico, leader of the Knights of the Peace.

Inquisitor Caius Caliban, leader of the Knights of the Peace.

Peter, Sampson and Gregory, soldiers of Gloucester.

More soldiers of Gloucester

The Peacekeeper
Peacekeepers are the jedis of this setting, so make him a soldier, a duelist or whatever seems apropiate. Don’t make a noble or a religious character. He has a scimitar (a poor quality short sword) and a crossbow, and poor quality reinforced leather armor and a poor quality buckler shield, but not helmet.

Write a Belief about found out what Lancelot is planning, another about the duke, the Ancient City, Gloucester or the holy church. Write another philosophical Belief about your character or the world.

Alternatively, one player can be the soldier of the CKP and the rest pick from the other characters available. (I advise to choose Cassio, Flavius and Beatrice.)

Lysander Lancelot
Make him special. A noble if you want. Blond cosmetic trait, Eccentric and Tattooed Character traits, Domineering Presence, Second Sight, Healty and Graceful Die traits, Charismatic Call-On trait. Give him excellent stats, attributes and skills (including Aura Reading), full plate in his armas and legs only (you heard it right). He wears maybe a cloak or a white shirt open at the chest. On his back he has tattooed the Wheel of Fire, reverential symbol of the holy church and source of its mythical powers. He can summon a Wyrm, and it is said that he can see in the souls of men.
Beliefs: The Duke is taking too long to make a decision; I must take this matter in my hands. The Grand Grimoire is hidden somewhere in Imbos, the ancient city; I must find it before the cardinal men do. This CKP agent can be the man I was looking for; I must protect him. Oath: I will never use the powers of darkness for evil.

The Wheel of Fire

The holy wheel is the reverencial symbol of the church of St. Anastius, and the source of mystical and arcane power. St. Anastius died in its fires 1800 years ago in an act of self-sacrifice to redeem mankind. It was also the symbol of the ancient religion of Kannia before the church men began to kill the heretics cultists and usurped the symbol to make it their own. (They took away three of its diagonal spokes, so that only one remains, symbolizing the other three great religions destroyed.) It is said that the priestess Iphianassa had it tattooed on his back with the blood of her followers.

One who carries this symbol on his back will be entrusted with immense power. His Mortal Wound are shift to gray and he can shapshift to looks like any other character in the game. (Even a monster. If the monster die the character returns to his original form and must make a Forte test to resist tax. The obstacles is equal the monster’s Forte exponent.)

Once per session, the player can spend a Persona point and make a versus Will test with another player. If he is successfull, he can see one Belief of his adversary. The player choose: The first, the second or the third Belief.

The only way to adquire this tattoo is throw his previous owner. He or she must give it to you. Then you adquire a fourth Belief: “I will never use the powers of darkness for evil.” If you ever do something that the group think is evil you lost the holy sign forever.

The ashes of He who died for us all.

Horatio Gloucester
Make him a holy knight of the military order. He is not a noble. Give him good stats, skills, a few powerful spells and excellent gear. He has the Commanding Aura Die trait. He also has Faith, but only to obtein Guidance and to make a Minor Miracle for stop sorcery spells.
Beliefs: I will bring the church to the grandeur of old, by any method that seems necessary. Lancelot is looking for the ultimate power; I’m going to get that power for myself. The CKP, those parliament’s dogs, have sent one of his soldiers after Lancelot; I must not let him put his hands on him before I do.

Cassio Ferdinand
Make her inquisitive and passionate, she is a brief sunshine in a world of darkness. Give her a elven cloak (a relic from the past) and maybe a bow and a knife. And The Wines from Imbros-Wise.
Beliefs: Lancelot says that the church worships not a god but a demon; there may be some truth in his words. I must find if Lancelot and the Duke are working together and communicate it immediately to the Inquisitor Archidamus. I must help the Peacekeeper to fulfill his mission.

Father Polydore Siward’s Beliefs: I heard that Gloucester practices black magic; I can’t believe such a thing is possible. We’re servants of the Lord; no true Knight of the Wheel would dabble in the demonic arts. All grimoires must be destroyed.

Father Oswald Cadwal’s Beliefs: I say we must fight fire with fire; if that means using the power that our enemies call against us, so be it. Grimoires, Imps, Goblins… even a dragon was sighted by the knights; sure the parliament and the church know about all this; perhaps they have chosen to hold us in the dark. I wish I could get my hands on one of those mysterious grimoires.

A slightly extended version of the grimoires, here.

And soon… The Sword of Flames, a mystical weapon made from Damascus steel, the key that can unlock the God of Fire.

I love the interpretation of the Burning Wheel!

Thanks! It’s my favorite part too.