Society Name: Taltheran
I. Merchants' Council
There is a great deal of upheaval and re-alignment taking place in
(among other places!) the south of Midsea. The Merchants' Council
decides to launch an initiative to consolidate and expand trade in
that area, particularly in light of Videssia's recent setbacks.
To that end, the Council will send high-ranking merchant delegations
to Burcany, Parplug, and the Free Cities.
The delegations to the first two of these nations are tasked partly with investigating what products and goods those countries are in need or have excess of, and creating markets accordingly. However, the main goal is to discuss ways of opening up a trade conduit (or conduits) to the hinterland: Torphan, the Amo'trall, and any other civilaztions existing out there... Taltheran perceives a wealth of opportunity here, and proposes to lend the expertise of some of their best merchants to develop trading routes. Taltheran can use existing contacts and trading routes to other countries around Midsea and beyond to ensure markets for southern products, and conversely can provide goods which may locally be in short supply.
This should be a win-win, as these developing economies can use the Council's existing networks and expertise to quickly grow their trade, while at the same time the Council benefits from expanded markets for existing products, and new sources of goods.
Delegations to the Free Cities are given a more subtle task: attempt to wean the Free Cities from Videssian hegemony. Videssia more or less forced its will, via economic and military means, on its neighbors. As Videssia's influence becomes less emphatic, Taltheran will attempt to counter Videssia's heavy-handed tactics with attractive trade terms and non-confining agreements.
Action 1: Improve trade in South-Midsea and beyond
Nature: Strategic (1 of 2)
Determinant: Relations (varied)
Qualifiers: + Taltheran's reputation for fair dealing
- Videssian anti-Taltheran propaganda
+ Trade vacuum due to Videssian embargo
Reactions: +++ Improved trade relations with some countries
( ) Bonus for continued efforts
--- Offense given; trade/relations damaged?
Results so far: 0 +1 + (0 -1 +1 0) + ()
Suggestion: The effort begins.
Meanwhile, there are disturbing reports and rumors from the Northwest.
Devastation in Myr-Kun, desert bandits on the move, Annaeyana varying
from its eternal rhythms, and more. The Merchants' Council is
accustomed to exagerrated reports from distant lands, and there are
always strange rumors drifting down out of the desert about one thing
or another. So the Council does not presume disaster.
None-the-less, trade from Myr-Kun *has* ground to a virtual standstill, so there clearly are problems which warrant investigation. Since trade caravans are becoming reluctant to head into such uncertainty, the Council delegates a quick-moving military force to go to Sarunor and report on conditions there.
The force is to travel light, presuming that resupply will still be feasible at Sarunor. Once there, the majority of the force is to reinforce the garrison at Sarunor -- never know, there might be something to those stories of desert savages on the warpath -- while some messengers return to Taltheran by late summer with news and others continue on, if practical, to check out what's happening in Myr-Kun.
Action 2: Investigate rumors on NW Trade Route
Nature: External Tactical
Determinant: [Dunno, depends on what they find. If no hostilities, then perhaps Trade (Good +1). Otherwise, Merchant Families' Militia (Force Fair, Size (in this case) Small)]
Difficulty: Harder than the council thinks? ;-) [Oh verily so, Very Hard (-2)]
Qualifiers: + Sarunor is fortified to resist banditry; might have been bypassed
- Council under-estimates danger
+ Good relations with the Saraa might provide good intelligence
Reactions: +++ Merchant Council gets decent idea of what's up
( ) Expedition survives, but intelligence murky
--- No news is bad news...
Result: -2 +0 +1 + (-1 0 -1 0)= -3 Severe Failure
Suggestion: The last reports from the expedition are from before it reaches Sarunor. No news really _is_ bad news...
II. The King
King Agrigax's popularity is at an all-time high following the resounding success of last year's attack on the Kaeiren Pirates. Aaron: temporary boost to Consent/Influence? [Sounds fine] These privateers have menaced not just Taltheran shipping, but all trading nations around Midsea. Their absence should provide a significant boost to all aquatic trade.
As the pirates scatter following the victory, Agrigax bends his efforts to consolidating his hold on the Kaeiren Islands. These two strategically placed islands still have a significant population of native folk, who have always made their living from the sea, albeit in a more benign way than the pirates. Little of the pirates' wealth trickled down to these traditional fisherfolk, who tended instead to be exploited by the arrogant privateers.
Agrigax looks now to win local loyalty by filling the power vacuum with good leadership. As a symbol of his commitment to and regard for the islands, he names his son, and heir, Abari, as 'Prince of Kaeir', and installs him as ruler of the islands. He also forms a special council formed of leaders among the Kaeiren commoners, who are given authority to meet annually at the traditional midsummer festival and provide advice and guidance to the Prince. Agrigax also details some of his savvy councelors, who have recently been involved with molifying and integrating Northern Tirmar into Taltheran, to aid the prince.
Finally, he orders a substantial portion of the Taltheran navy to be headquartered in Kaeir.
Actions 3: Consolidate sovereignty over Kaeiren Islands
Nature: External/Internal Tactical
Determinant: Royal Influence? (Fair)
Difficulty: Hard (-1)
Qualifiers: + Kaeir just liberated from abusive leadership
+ Just accomplished this sort of thing in N. Tirmar
+ Goal is peaceful coexistence
- Abari is inexperienced
Reactions: +++ Kaeir welcomes Taltheran sovereignty
( ) Kaeir accepts Taltheran hegemony
--- Agrigax and/or Abari piss off the Kaeirens
[Note: if all goes well, a strategic action will follow to rebuild war damage and make Kaeir a hub of trade. In due course, the Prince may become a Key Element.]
Result: 0 -1 +2 + (+1 0 +1 0)= +3 Superior Success
Sugestion: The common people of Kaeir welcome the arrival of law and order. Abari proves to be at least as competent as his father, foreteling a good future for the royal dynasty.
III. The Wizards' Guild
The dust rises lazily from the streets of Tal, as the afternoon summer
sun pushes most folk behind cool walls. In the avenue in front of the
ornate Guildhall of the Wizards' Guild, however, robed figures
continue to come and go on various errands, apprentices not at liberty
to rest when their masters disregard the time of day.
Through the dark gaping mouth of the entrance, passed rarely and
reluctantly by any not of the Guild, the figures come and go at
irregular intervals. Returning apprentices pass quickly through the
various wards intended to deflect the uninitiated, and then move
deeper into the dimly lit recesses of the ancient building.
Some move briskly to wizardly working or living quarters, these
frequently positioned in the upper, more sunlit, portions of the
edifice. A few retire relievedly to the dank solitude of the
Apprentice Hall. Others traipse deeper, down into the bowels of the
building, to deliver materials to laboratories or papers to various
offices. From there they are sent off on yet other errands, perhaps
to fetch a needed scroll from the upper reaches of the Guild Archive,
buried deep within the hill underlying the city. Occasionally, an
apprentice delves further into the library, reputed to be one of the
oldest collections of arcane material in Qaiyore.
A visitor to the most remote reaches of the library on this particular day might have been surprised to hear a raspy but clearly victorious cry from deep within a rarely visited section of the Archives. Closer investigation would have led to a slight, gaunt man, whose haggard face only on close inspection reveals its youthfulness. Clutching a partially-decayed scroll, the man re-reads the information thereon, his features awkwardly fumbling for the long-unfamiliar semblance of a smile.
A curator of the library, or a long-standing member of the Guild's ruling council, would be able to identify the man, albeit reluctantly. His tenuous existence has been all but forgotten by most members of the Guild, as has been intended. For his very continuance is a source of great consternation, both because of his contradictory status and the implicit threat he represents.
The man's name is Anethar. He is the only Wizard ever known to have completely lost his magic.
On his return as the sole survivor of the doomed reconnaissance expedition to Wyr in 1405, the Council was completely baffled as to what to do with him. Without magic, he clearly could not remain a Wizard. And yet, he *had been* one -- indeed, had been one of the youngest and most promising -- and thus knew more of the Guild than could be allowed by anyone not bound to the Guild. The debate was intense. They couldn't turn him out, and he was too visible within the Guild to, er, disappear. There was no precedent. What to do? So when the Council realized that the young man had immersed himself in the Archive, obsessed with finding a way to revenge himself on the creatures who had destroyed his brother and their friend, barely surfacing from his studies long enough to keep body and soul together, it was with a sense of profound relief that they tabled the debate. And as the years passed, his location, if not his name, dropped from conversation. And eventually, his continued existance was more or less forgotten.
However, he himself did not forget. The years have not been kind, but in the end they have yielded what he sought. Perhaps there is a way to challenge the powers in Wyr. And perhaps he still has a role to play...
But first, he must get the attention of the powers of the Guild, and convince them that there is value in letting him return from obscurity.
Action 4: Anethar tries to get some respect
Nature: Tactical Internal
Determinant: Anethar's Influence? He can't be ignored, but he scares the Council. Call it even...
Qualifiers: + If anyone actually listens, he's got potent info
+ The Guild wants to address the 'Wyr problem'
Secrecy: Guild internal.
Reactions: +++ He gets support for developing his plans
( ) He gets grudging acceptance
--- Depends: real bad could mean death...
Result: -1 +0 +2 + (0 0 0 -1)= 0 Mixed Results
Suggestion: Anethar manages to gain the attention of some of the younger mages, but the elder mages refuse to listen to his pleas.
Meanwhile, in a carefully shielded laboratory supposedly being used
for testing the efficacy and content of potions sampled from trade
goods passing through Taltheran from remote countries, a fateful
decision is made.
Two men, wizards of high but second-tier rank in the Guild, have finally come to the conclusion that changes must take place. The insistance by the Guild leadership that the Mirish statements and "fancy light-show" regarding the mythical Eerith and the even more mythical Alatta are merely slight-of-hand of extraordinary effectiveness is appearing more and more like closed-minded foolishness.
Convinced that the fate of civilation itself is at stake, and given that efforts over an extended period to change the minds of the leadership have failed, Senior Master Guild Wizard Aber'ii and Adept Master Guild Wizard Yobeni commit themselves to finding a way to change the leadership itself...
Action 5 (EXTRA): Guild leadership change attempt
Nature: Strategic Internal (1 of ?)
Determinant: Possible new key element(s) (at least within the Guild)?
Assume Influence Good (+1)
Difficulty: Very Hard
Qualifiers: ++ Powerful evidence for truth of Mirish assertions
- Guild is extremely tradition-bound
- Extra action
[I'd like to do this a bit different from normal, and keep the strategic action going until either (1) on a given turn the net result is a 'Complete failure' (meaning the plot is exposed) (likely); or (2) on a given turn the net result achieves 'Extraordinary Success' (meaning the leadership changes) (unlikely). It could also potentially get suspended for a turn if the Guild becomes completely preoccupied with something. Does this sound reasonable?]
Result so far: -2 +1 +0 + (0 +1 +1 +1)+? = +2 Complete Success so far
Suggestion: The plot begins to gain support, particuarly among the younger mages, many of them the same ones who supported Anethar.