Blood and the House of Meer.

A late Medieval period investigative scenario, staged among the many intrigues of a once-great merchant family. Set in a rich and important riverside port-city of towering walls and maze-like alleyways, this scenario suits civilized, subtle player characters (merchant-adventurers, priests or even lesser nobility) in a low fantasy, magic- poor milleu.


If you aren`t the potential GM, read no further.

General Notes.

Setting: This scenario was written originally to run in the great City river-port of Graid, mistress of the Ashmay, Impregnible bastion of Mighty walls within the endless marsh, Dukedom of Castor the Great, home of a hundred thousand souls, the City on the Isle of Stone ...

As Referee you will need to graft the scenario into your existing Milleu without necessarily importing all the above baggage. To assist in matching to one of your cities/regions and to clarify the scenario text, this scenario needs:

A stable, long established city-society with strongly insular traditions, where established merchant clans hold great privilage and influence, and a powerful city Guard is on hand to get in the way.

A vigorous, crusading Religion in a nearby region, keen for greater influence but distained by the (mainly animist/pagan) city people and split by inner divisions. (I have used a thinly disguised dark-ages christianity, the Faith of Ris.)

Ambitious neighbouring merchant-states, to be distrusted as foreigners and provide origins for mercenary adventurers. (The land of Mhal, where the foreign Risian faith has taken root, and the many nations of the far off, advanced, Sea Kingdoms are mentioned)

Structure: This scenario does not have the 'map/linear events' structure of a conventional module. Instead it consists of a basic plot background, details and aims for major characters, a plot timeline and suggested 'scenes' for likely events (only the Feast scene is really necessary). No rigid maps are provided.


It is left to the Referee to handle interactions between NPC and player, using the scenes as they become useful, and to govern development of the plot as player actions cause deviation from the timeline.

This scenario does not have a set ending or 'winning condition'. At best the players can avert a tragedy, gain the friendship of an important family and discover the trail of the terrible Jhera Myal. At worst they could be involved in the inter-faction politics for years, be condemed as heritics by one of the Risian sects, marry into the family or get eaten.

Information is presented in the form of scenes (suggested templates for particular encounters), lists of people and rumours, and rough plot timelines. The scenario is intended to run as a long series of encounters and interviews between players and NPCs, interspaced with set piece events as more violent action is instigated or suffered. The background plots and the motivations of the important characters should slowly become evident, and the part played by the PCs will become increasingly central as the plot deviates from its 'standard' timeline. A very flexible Ref's approach is necessary.

Magic and otherwise: While an undercurrent of black magic, undeath and witch-curses permeates the plot, this scenario is intended for a magic-poor milleu. No 'on demand' spellcasters are included and the Priests of Ris are men of strong faith, not holy mages. The Referee must be careful if running this scenario outside these limits, as a few 'Clairaudience', 'Counterspell', 'Mind probe' or 'Detect magic' spells will end the plot in short order. If attempting to use this plot in a magic-rich world perhaps the lurking evil of Jhera Myal (or her item, the River's Eye) or the rigid faith of Caleb Fel will confuse or prevent scrying and similar spells, but to preserve any feeling of intrigue and uncertainty the Referee will have to work harder.

On the other hand, as a wedding feast in an urban society, heavy weapons and excessive armour (unless part of a formal uniform) would be frowned on or simply excluded. This scenario is a 'rapier and plumed hat' type, not a 'war axe and loincloth' one.

In the character descriptions, keen eyed referee's will find the priest Salmus Breel (a Sea Kingdoms man) has a concealed (flintlock) pistol. If anything, this is symbolic of his lack of faith, and a Referee running a 'no firearms' world should substitute a poisoned throwing knife or similar slightly underhand weapon.

Player Characters: A simple 'man in an inn hires you to...' entry is hardly appropriate for a scenario which starts at a formal wedding feast and develops into a detective case. Player characters must be involved enough not to simply flee, and must have enough social presence to make themselves effective (they will be among the few unaffected/innocent people present after the feast). A few suggested entries/origins follow:

Agent of the City Guard (hired blade or Guardsman), who have vague suspicion of foul-play afoot.
Agent of rival Risian sect (the Inquisition?)seeking heresy among the priests and congeregation of the House.
Gentleman-bodyguard attending in lieu of an unwell master (old family member, or a young merchant avoiding a boring marriage feast).
Legitimate (but minor) member of either Meer or Fel line, possibly accompanied by friends or retainers (other players?).
Imposter/gatecrasher, a thief looking for rich pockets or an entrepreneur seeking interview/investment from a Meer elder.
Merchant or ship's captain with business connections to the House, invited out of courtesy.

Unless all characters are part of the same group, the Ref should spend some time keying each player into the situation, as each will know a different amount of background, and some may already know or have met certain family members. Now Grandma, take the egg in your left hand .....


A simple Cityman's view of the House of Meer.

(mainly as context for the Referee. Only an unusually well informed local, someone like a past servant or old crewman, would have quite such a tirade in him).

" The name of Meer is old in the City. They were among the First Ships that brought the Stones. In elder times there were Dukes among the sons of Meer, and under more recent dawns, great merchant princelings.
But with time, even the blood of great houses thins, and by the Old Duke's time dust blew through the ancestral halls and harsh faced elders gazed down from darkening portraits upon the foolish, the feeble, and eventually the bankrupt.
It would not have been long before Meer was a name for history's dusty tomes and the Halls split among many creditors, but to an ambitious foriegner a famous name is a gilded key to the City, and so the last son of Meer took as wife a woman out of the Mhalish lands, Penitence Fel, the strong daughter of a rich Sea-Kingdoms priest.
And so the name of Meer is seen again among the City's banking houses and takes barge-charter, and trades wharf- cargo, but it is a house of strangers, plying unfamiliar customs and voicing outlandish speech where once only the city-born walked and only the city-tongue was heard.
The House of Meer now waxes rich and numerous, but it is a foreign island within the City, dark hued, closed and walled about by stange Mhalish customs, for the people of Fel follow a harsh, Sea Kingdoms born sect of the Risian faith.
Beyond wharehouses and Wharftitles, and great estates now in Mhal, the line holds but one Hall in the City, in some decline and placed unfashionably near the Lower Gates, where their strange Risian marks now obscure tradition's ancient effigies. "

The Story So Far:

A marriage occurs in the House of Meer, between the heir, Arfel Meer, and the first daughter of Fel, Lithir.
The House of Meer is divided and insular. It consists of a handful of elders (of the Old Family), many strong individuals of the Mhalish Fel line (who hold most influence in the House) and the New Line, offspring of both Houses bearing the Meer name (who hold the House's trade privillages and are split in allegence between Old Meer and the Fel)

At the Feast celebrating the marrige (held on the day following the ceremony), near the end of the banquet, the influential merchant Tomal Fel is struck down by a rotting fever and falls, raving about Judgement and Sin. The wedding party is swiftly dispersed for fear of plague, and Lithir takes swooning to her bed.

Plot background:

The marriage is essential to the family to strengthen Meer-Fel links and provide direct issue to Aslaf (who has no legitimate children), but the wanton, decadent, beutiful Lithir is loathed by the devoutly Risian among the Fel, and mistrusted by the older Meer.

The scheming priestling, Breel, has decided to take matters in hand and, having consulted with darker elements in the City, has procured a curse upon Lithir to draw her self-will and render her a mere puppet.

The curse requires a sample of Lithir's blood, to be taken from the virgin-blood stained sheets of the marital bed.

But the priestling's plot is flawed: Lithir is no virgin, and knowing that by the customs of her people she will be expected to bleed on her wedding night, requests of her present lover, Tomal Fel, that he provide her with some substitute dye. She is unaware that, failing to procure a sufficiently realistic pigment, he has used a sample of his own blood.

The marrige-bed sheets are stolen as arranged by Breel's collegue, Kanagh Sul, and sent to the terrible sorceress Jhera Myal (whose motive for involvment is recovery of the jewel worn by Lithir, of great arcane value to her), who swiftly works her dark magics and sets the curse.

Which falls on Tomal and (never having been intended to be cast on a man) rather than progressivly sapping away the Will, has an unexpectedly terrible result and strikes him down utterly.

Background Details

(common knowlege or heard about town)

Arfel is rarely seen in the City. He has spent over ten years as a mercenary warrior in the Sea Kingdoms, where he has gained great fame.

Tamis has a bastard son rumoured to be an important man in the City, a magistrate or a merchant perhaps ? (Kanagh)

A lady of the house is rumoured to have taken several young boatmen as lovers over the years, rewarding them richly. (Chastity or Lithir)

A priest has been seen in low Inns near the Sorcerers Gate. His face has always been shrouded.


The House of Meer.

The line has waxed numerous in recent years, with many brothers of the family in trade and City employ, and hundreds of the line of Fel in Mhal but with the disapproval of many of the Risian Fel of Arfel's match with Lithir relatively few attend the wedding Feast.

This, and the plague-fear in Tomal's fall dispersing others before a quarantine can be emplaced leaves only members of the inner House in the Halls of Meer in the following time.


The main actors:

Note: Characters shown to have armour will probably not wear it without good cause.

Tamis Meer. Ancient, near-bedridden and ailing, he is last of the Old line of Meer although nominal head of the Family, he sees power passing to the House of Fel. He retains a sharp tongue, keen wit and some influence.
Grey hair, angular features, small, weak.

Name: Tamis Meer Race: Human Sex: Male

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 5   9   4   5  16  17  13   9   8   9  11  -4  -1   0  -4   5  -5  -1
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 16   21   +1   +1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    3     3     4     4     8     8     5     5     5
SHK    4     4     5     5    11    11     7     7     7

Notable Skills: Oratory 75% Gen Knowledge 50%

Notable Combat Skills: None

Armour: None

Carmina. The (far) younger wife of Tamis. With her sister Chastity she forms the somewhat brittle matriarchy guiding the House of Meer in matters of city trade. Reserved, insightful, coldly intelligent. More observant than many realise. Favours formal grey dresses.
Blond/greying, tall, somewhat careworn. Unarmed

Name: Carmina Meer Race: Human Sex: Female

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
10  14  11  13  14  19  17  15  10   6  10  -5   4   3   3  11   0   0
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 25   28    0    0
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    5     5     6     6    13    13     8     8     8
SHK    6     6     7     7    14    14     9     9     9

Notable Skills: Oratory 60% Gen Knowledge 80%

Notable Combat Skills: None

Armour: None

Chastity Fel. The second of The Sisters, almost an identical twin to Carmina. She is unmarried, affects a subtly nun-like style and behind a mask of virtue and piety conceals an animal sexuality. Intuitive, amoral, an anonymous patron of low inns and dens of vice.
Blond, tall, seductive. Concealed dagger.

Name: Chastity Fel Race: Human Sex: Female

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
11  13  15  15  13  16  15  17  10   5  12  -3   3   5   4  13   1   0
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 27   29    0    0
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    5     5     7     7    14    14     9     9     9
SHK    6     6     7     7    15    15    10    10    10

Notable Skills: Townwise 69% Disguise 50% Sneak 47%

Notable Combat Skills: Dagger 45%

Armour: None

Caleb Fel. The Old Priest. An ancient of rigidly puritan faith who has outlived his sons, his axe-like face, pitch-black robes and tapping staff are symbols of final moral authority within the House. With passing years however, Father Caleb's mind is failing, leaving only his inflexible Faith and iron will.
Imposing, white-bearded, big. Staff.

Name: Caleb Fel Race: Human Sex: Male

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
12  13  10  12  19  10   9   7  16   7  13   0   3   2   2  11   2   0
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 32   40    0   -1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    6     6     8     8    16    16    11    11    11
SHK    8     8    10    10    20    20    13    13    13

Notable Skills: Oratory 75% Mythology 63% (Risian 3) Spot Hidden 61%

Notable Combat Skills: Staff 38%

Armour: None

Salamus Breel. The young priestling. A thin, fussy man, robed in black. Caleb's second and constant shadow, summoned from the Sea Kingdoms to assist the older man in his final years. Ambitious, unscrupulous, arrogant, vain. A weak will hidden behind a fanatic piety. Carries a cane, uses it on the servants.
Very thin, balding. Dagger, pocket pistol.

Name: Salamus Breel Race: Human Sex: Male

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
 8  14  10   8  10  16  17   8   9   7  12  -3   4   3   2   9  -2   0
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 21   20   +1   +1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    4     4     5     5    11    11     7     7     7
SHK    4     4     5     5    10    10     7     7     7

Notable Skills: Oratory 45% Mythology 52% (Risian 1) Sneak 41% Hide 56%

Notable Combat Skills: Dagger 35% Pistol 35%

Armour: None

Tomal Fel. A secretive dark-eyed Mhal, affecting simple, expensive, black clothing. Athletic, erudite, perfectly mannered. A cunning merchant, trusted confidant of the Sisters and lover of both Lithir and Chastity. Provider of Lithir's maiden-blood and hence victim of the curse.
Tall, charismatic. Rapier.

Name: Tomal Fel Race: Human Sex: Male

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
16  13  16  17  13  17  14  18  12   5  12  -4   3   5   5  16   6   2
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 36   38   -1   -1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    7     7     9     9    18    18    12    12    12
SHK    8     8    10    10    19    19    13    13    13

Notable Skills: Oratory 65% Gen Knowledge 45% Bargain 60% Townwise 57%

Notable Combat Skills: Rapier 59%

Armour: Full suit of padding armour, Chain full jerkin

Arfel Meer. Eldest of Carmina's eight children. Heir of Meer, holder of wharftitles, hero in many foreign wars, but blunt- witted and easily influneced, uncomfortable in civilian company. Impressivly huge, greying cropped hair, austere uniform of a distant army, hides his confusion behind stolid hostility. Devoted to Lithir.
Massive, troubled. Sabre.

Name: Arfel Meer Race: Human Sex: Male

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
19  13  13  17  13  10   9  14  15   6  15   0   3   3   3  16   9   3
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 44   46   -2   -2
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    9     9    11    11    22    22    15    15    15
SHK    9     9    12    12    23    23    15    15    15

Notable Skills: Ride 63% Treat Wound 48% Gamble 49% Track 51%

Notable Combat Skills: Sabre 86% Heavy Crossbow 62% Parry Evasion 30% Round Shield 76%

Armour: Full suit of plate mail armour, full suit of leather

Lithir Fel. A wild-haired dark Mhalish beauty. Vain, headstrong, and decadent, her many affairs an embarassment to her puritan family. Half Arfel's age and no virgin. Fascinated by Tomal. Dresses in a dark puritan style with a satirically low cleavage accentuated by a pure blue pendant-stone (the River's Eye). Arfel's cousin as well as his bride.
Eyecatching, promiscuous. trained in rapier.

Name: Lithir Fel Race: Human Sex: Female

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
10  14  17  13  18  14  15  19   8   4  11  -2   4   6   6  14   0   0
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 23   30   +1   0
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    5     5     6     6    12    12     8     8     8
SHK    6     6     8     8    15    15    10    10    10

Notable Skills: Gen Knowledge 60% Dance 70% Hide 53%

Notable Combat Skills: Rapier 56%

Armour: Good leather jerkin

Kanagh Sul. Archetypical sucessful city merchant. Balding, cold-eyed, reserved. A bitter-minded bastard son of Tamis by an earlier partner, he hides his hate of the Fel (The legitimate Meer-Fel offspring will inherit before him) and lust for Lithir behind a coldly friendly facade. Pitied by Carmina, secretly leagued with Breel.
Imposing, respectable. Hidden shortsword.

Name: Kanagh Sul. Race: Human Sex: Male

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
12  10   8  11  17  16  15   9  14   7  11  -3   0   1  -1  10   2   0
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 32   38    0   -1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    6     6     8     8    16    16    11    11    11
SHK    8     8    10    10    19    19    13    13    13

Notable Skills: Sneak 37% Listen 61% Disguise 45%

Notable Combat Skills: Short sword 54%

Armour: Full suit of padding armour, Chain full jerkin


Other People:

Breel is attended by three 'monks', Luuz, Parl and Dra'am :

Luuz. Breel's henchman and constant toadying companion. A short, dark Cityman garbed as a Risian monk, in fact a professional thief and bodyguard. Amoral, somewhat perverted. Does Breel's dirty work.
Stealthy, tough. Staff, two hidden daggers

Name: Luuz Race: Human Sex: Male

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
15  17  17  16  10  13   9  10  11   4  15  -2   7   6   7  16   5   1
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 34   43   -1   -1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    7     7     9     9    17    17    11    11    11
SHK    7     7     8     9    17    17    11    11    11

Notable Skills: Sneak 52% Hide 70% Townwise 55% Pickpocket 65% Picklock 48% Listen 69%

Notable Combat Skills: Staff 50% Daggers 58% (throw 60%)

Armour: Full suit of leather


Parl and Dra'am. Breel's lesser acolytes. Unsophisticated village men, recruits of a Risian monastic sect. Both dislike Luuz, and are begining to distrust Breel.
Taciturn, coarse, religious. Staves and shortswords.

Name: Parl Race: Human Sex: Male

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
14  12  10  11  14   9  12  13  12   7  14   0   2   2   1  12   4   1
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 33   36   -1   -1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    7     7     8     8    17    17    11    11    11
SHK    7     7     9     9    18    18    12    12    12

Notable Skills: Mythology 25% (Risian 1)

Notable Combat Skills: None, but likes to think he's hard

Armour: None


Name: Dra'am Race: Human Sex: Male

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
12  14  16  14  14  14   9  10  10   5  13  -2   4   6   5  14   2   0
GEN  SHK  WOC  SOC
 28   31   0    0
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    6     6     7     7    14    14     9     9     9
SHK    6     6     8     8    16    16    10    10    10

Notable Skills: Mythology 31% (Risian 1)

Notable Combat Skills: None. See Parl.

Armour: None

The Staff: The Hall of Meer has a large contingent of servants, cooks, ushers, maids and waiters. These (not insignificant) people are not individualy detailed, it being left to the Ref to provide a brief description and perhaps name for any questioned by the players.

To excuse this omission: The Halls are the sometimes-townhouse of a now foreign House. A large permanent staff is not maintanied, but rather a small cleaning staff is augmented by guest's personal attendants and short-term contracted servants and entertainers hired in the City. At a time of ceremony, such as this marriage, the relationship between servant and master becomes formalised and more distant, with all but liveried waiters and ushers remaining unseen. After the curse falls all but the most important servants will be excluded, as plague quarantine and to minimise family embarassment.

Other House Members: Although the Ceremony attracts Meer and Fel from many surrounding lands, widespread disapproval of Lithir (and her 'unsuitability' as a wife for Arfel) causes the greater Fel houses to decline invitation to the post-nuptial feast, which is therefore a much smaller event than planned. At the feast should be the players, the major members of the House of Meer detailed above, and any merchant dignitaries the Ref can produce for the event. (Merchants/nobles known to the players are a good choice, while those hostile to one or more PCs can provide interesting sub-plots or distractions.)

Jhera Myal: White-skinned, flame haired, and dead. Eyes like black marble and a body like temptation. A courtesan/sorcerer of elder days sustained by a terrible necromantic pact. Her undeath gives her a hypnotic gaze, a white ichor for blood (from which she prepares the Elixier her servants live on), and the ability to pass on her undeath by inflicting a fatal bite. She has certain Dark-path sorcerous powers (such as the Blood curse), but most of her powers depend on a Pact-object, a blue gem known as the River's Eye. If she regains this (currently held by Lithir as wedding gift from Chastity), her powers will be increased manyfold.
Flowing dress, leather bodice, sword

Name: Jhera Myal Race: Undead Human Sex: Female

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
17  13  18  N/A 19  18  20  18   9   4   8  -4   3   7   6  18   7   2
GEN  WOC   SPP/LEVEL
 35   -1      94
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN    7     7     9     9    18    18    12    12    12

Notable Skills: Immune to shock, Thaumaturgy 72% Spot Hidden 74% Dance 64%

Notable Combat Skills: Broad Sword 63% Light Crossbow 55%

Armour: Leather jerkin

Jhera will not commit herself to risky combat. At most a few sword parries and then a swift retreat. She will sacrifice her servants, even Atuss if necessary, to escape. A useful recurring villan. It is up to the GM to decide how magically powerful Jhera should be, but she should by no means be an easy adversary to defeat.

Atuss: Tall, thin, wide hat, grey coat, and a piercing gaze from a dead face (tiny, neat stiches are evident on his skin). Once Jhera's lover and for many years her undead servant and companion. Carries a copper flask of the white Elixier.
Impossibly strong and resilient. Leather clothes, rapier, bastard sword, dagger

Name: Atuss Race:Undead Human Sex: Male

PS  MD  AG  HL  MS  IN  ME  PB  SI CSP AWF PAD THA EVA PAA TPA PEA DAA
25  14  17  N/A 13  14  15   5  11   4  12  -2   4   6   6  21  15   5
GEN  WOC
 49   -1
Loc  HEAD  NECK  L.ARM R.ARM CHEST BELLY PELVS L.LEG R.LEG
GEN   10    10     12    12    25    25    16    16    16

Notable Skills:Immune to shock, Run 74% Jump 79% Tumble 63%

Notable Combat Skills: Rapier 89% Dagger 68% Bastard Sword 75% Heavy Winched Crossbow 54%

Armour: Full suit of leather

Servants of the Elixier. Those 'slain' by Jhera's bite attain a state with few differences to life, but they bleed white and must partake of the Elixier at least once daily or truely die. A servant is subject to Jhera's orders, but retains a corrupt intelligence. A servant cannot inflict undeath, and their wounds never heal. These are not "classic" zombies, and can pass for normal people under all except close scrutiny.


Scenes from a House in Turmoil.

These scenes/events are intended to help the Ref in giving depth to this (rather unformed) scenario. They do NOT necessarily form a linear, sequential plot.

1. The Feast:
Evening in the Great Hall of Meer, ancient rafters shrouded in the smoke of many bright torches, swift shadows cast across the time-marked stone, the brittle mirth of Wedding-Feasters echoes along rarely trodden ways, the quick jests of minstrels among somber ancestral statues, City Watch as Guards of Honour under brooding arches.

Feast-tables about the roaring fireplace, rich brocades and costly silks, rich foods on silver platters, rare fruits and far-travelled wines, the pledging of many cups, rich acclaimation of future fecundity. A Great House celebrates the wedding of it's brave heir and his exotic bride.

The High Table among the golden chalices and choicest morsels, Old Lord Tamis, grey from his sickbed, enthroned among rich quilts. Lady Carmina ever at his side, his wife and mother of Arfel, hero returned from foreign wars, his scarred frown softened to look on wild Lithir, his wife of a day. Black clad even in feasting, the respected Priests Old Father Caleb and Confessor Breel, serious puritan faces softened by the joy of the Feast. And respected guests also the Merchant-captains Kanagh Sul and dark Tomal Fel, each rich robed in City style, and Chastity Fel, near twin to her sister Carmina.

The feasters eat, sweet wines flow. Arfel stands, a head taller than most men, his orders gleaming in torchlight, a Knight of the Lamb, and speaks oaths of devotion to his woman. Tamis weakly stands, but his oaths of blessing for the future ring clearly out. Tomal stands, raising his crystal goblet ...
He hesitates, his mouth works soundlessly, limps a step backwards, the cup falls from writhing fingers ...
Crystal shatters on stone in discordant salvo, Tomal clutches at his throat, a stream of blood runs between his clenched teeth, he barks out a single cry :

" Sin! "

He crashes forward across the cluttered table, limbs writhing in a chaotic dance. Rich fruits burst like slow raindrops, split wine in azure sprays. Servants rush forward, others rush back.

A harsh volley of cries:

" Poison! " ... " Witchcraft! " ...

Arfel's long sabre hisses from it's sheath, but the Knight stands confused, without a foe, Lithir faints with a thin scream, butlers hurry Tamis from the hall. A Guardsman's cry of ...

" Plague ! " ... " Quarantine ! "

Guests draw back, women shriek, doors are barred, and doors are forced. Guard-horns bellow for reinforcement, merchants draw rare-seen swords ... Panic reigns.


Notes: The Quarantine/Plaguefear.

A cynical Referee's tool to keep the players near the action at the start of the scenario.
Most other guests should flee and not be seen again, while the Quarantine will be relaxed as soon as panic dies down.

A very keen-eyed player might have noticed :

Chastity seemed friendly with Tomal ...
Lithir seemed bored by Arfel ...
Tomal and Lithir exchanged knowing glances often ...
Tomal hadn't drunk from his cup when he fell ...

End of the Feast (scene 1).

Who is thinking what:

Lithir "We are punished for my Sins. I cannot bear it."
Tomal "I am punished for my Sin. I am damned beyond redemption."
Chastity "They are punished for my Sins. I must reveal nothing."
Caleb "Devil's work afoot in this Pagan place. The Wages of Sin."
Breel "Something has gone amiss. I must hide my part in this."
Kanagh "The Fel Bitch and her Dog!. I rejoice in their pain."
Arfel "Tomal plagued, and Lithir also?"
Jhera "My curse has struck a man. Perhaps I can draw his Essence?"

After the Feast.

Basic plot timeline and suggested events:

Rumours and leads will depend on how the plot progresses and what the players do, so who knows what and saw what must be handled on the fly by the Referee. Sorry.

Tomal is carried to his room, where he writhes under the curse. The family sick-nurse (Kumil) knows no cause to the sickness, and so orders him isolated in a darkened room, as if for a fever. (scene 2)

Lithir swoons and takes to her bed, distraught with conflicting emotions. She admits no visitors.

Arfel paces the corridors in a foul mood. Later, he will take to drink and spend many following hours in a stupor. In his cups, he is a dangerous, stupid, stubborn man. (scene 3) Eventually he stations himself as a guard before Lithir's door.

Tamis is first to suspect a curse on Tomal, and arranges a secret interview with Lithir. No conclusion, but Dra'am overhears their talk, and a maidservant observes Dra'am spying. Dra'am decides not to report to his master, Breel.

Caleb retires to the chapel, and after long deliberation, resolves to exorcise Tomal of his 'possession', but is delayed by Chastity who entreats him to "let the fever run its course". (She fears Tomal, in his delerium, will reveal their relationship.) Caleb slowly prepares himself for the ritual, spending long hours before the altar.

Breel (and Luuz) seek an 'interview' with Lithir (to find why she has escaped the curse). They are turned back by Arfel. Luuz may return later by stealth to kidnap, drug or even murder Lithir. (but Lithir is about the match of Luuz in combat, especially with her sword).

If Breel suspects player interference or a closeness to unmasking his plot, he will hire City thugs to beat up (initially) or kill any meddlers. If absolutely necessary he will use Luuz and/or Parl to remove unwelcome strangers. He is unlikely to move against House members unless paniced.

Kanagh makes no overt moves, but confers occasionaly with Breel. Their relationship worstens with time, with Kanagh losing his composure and eventually sending Breel ".. to see your expensive Witch in person. Go, Priest and be your own messenger. Speak with Jheera Myal ! ".

Kanagh will also be alert for meddling in the plan, and since it's miscarriage suits him better than it's planned success, will act (subtly) to maintain the status quo, wishing doom upon the House of Meer.

Note: Only if the sub-plots leading to a confrontation with Jhera Myal are used should Breel fall under her control. If only a shadowy background presence is desired, then a violent confrontataion between Caleb and Breel, (or Kanagh and Breel together attempting to kill/abduct Lithir) forms a good set-piece climax.

(Prompt action by players will have prevented any plot reaching this stage, but we Refs all know, the worst always happens ...)

Breel visits Jhera Myal, under the sign of Omak the Coppersmith, at the Sorcerer's Gate (scene 4). She takes his life and sends him back subtly under her control, in the company of her henchman, Atuss.

Breel visits Tomal, apparently easing his pain, but in fact taking blood for his mistress and feeding Tomal the Elixir upon which he now sustains himself. Atuss is seen by servants about the halls, but is never apprehended. An air of doom is now decending upon the house.

Caleb suspects aught amiss, and takes Tomal to the House chapel, to exorcise the darkness from him. Breel and Atuss stop him on the threshold of the consecrated room.

Tomal is taken (or drags himself in wounded delerium) to Jhera Myal, where he is reduced to the same undeath as Breel.

Tomal returns to House Meer, claiming a cure by mystic healers in the City (although he cannot substantiate this tale), and seduces both Lithir and Chastity into his undeath and restores the River's Eye to Jhera ....

By this time, all is lost. Tomal will take Chastity into Mhal for his convalecence (spreading undeath among the Fel), Lithir will swiftly infect Arfel and dispose of Tamis (and Kanagh, out of spite). The House of Meer will decend into undeath and vampirism, Jhera Myal will spread her malign influence into the Sea Kingdoms, and a spectre of evil will rise over the City.


2. Interview with Tomal:

An isolated, darkened bedchamber, thick hangings drawn across windows and smoldering lamps cast a funery air. The smell of strewn herbs drowns in a stronger pungency, the acrid stench of fever-sweat and the coppery tang of blood.
Tomal lies among stained quilts, writhing and groaning in delerium. Blood trickles from his pale lips, his bed-robe stained from some past effusion, while sweat matts his dark hair and runs from his brow.
He utters no words in his fugue, just animal grunts and beast-whines, and at times falls briefly into a semblance of sleep. This poor wretch is hardly recognisable as the haughty merchant of the Feast.

(If attempts are made to wake him)

Tomal wakes struggling, as if from a dream, with eyes slitted even against the dark of his chamber. Slowly he sits up, groaning with pain as blood starts from the quick of his fingernails with the effort. Pupils like pinpoints he squints around, lips working soundlessly. Blood trickles from his nostrils, his lips redden.
The invalid tries to speak. Eyes bulge with effort, red tears flow, tendons knot with exertion, a hissing breath, bloody foam escapes past clenched teeth. Rivulets of crimson flow from the ears.
" Sin ... my sin ...... blood ................ Lithir... ah!"
A convulsion wracks his wasted form, a gasping breath breaks in a bubbling torrent of bloody froth, blood gushes from nostrils and ears, the quilts sodden with a torrent from his lower regions, eyes start suddenly open, splattering the facing wall with gory clots ...

The spasm ends, Tomal slumps back to the soiled bed, gasping for air between expulsions of red phlegm, before sinking deeply unconscious again. He has passed more blood than his mortal frame could have held, and yet he lives still, if such suffering is life.

Notes: This scene contains few useful clues for the players, I just get off writing this stuff.


3. Arfel in his rage:

"Upon the day of my marriage ! A curse on these primitive lands !"

Arfel lurches down the loud-echoing corridor. He supports his huge frame on a stair-post and drains the brandy bottle in a single long, noisy swallow before smashing it on the flagstones.
He pauses, breathing deeply as his face knots in rage and tears of frustration well in his eyes. He clutches the sash of his Knightly Order, cloth of gold and silver cross glinting in the lamplight.
"In battle I am mighty, but among these people, what can I do."
A fluid motion, muscles rippling under ornate uniform coat, the long sabre rings free of its scabbard and strikes, the tree-wide post falls headlong down the stairs, crashing into the landings below.

4. A meeting with the Witch.

Dark tendrils of mist writhe across the cobbled alley, fitful moonlight competing with the covered lamps of night- walkers and low Inns. A stench of the nearby river closes over the evening cool like a stifler's pillow, the only sound a metallic creaking of the Sorcerers Gate gibbet.
Breel stands robed against the night beneath the beaten copper sign of Omak's shop. His manservant Luuz he has despatched some time earlier, passing small coin and gesturing towards a wineshop.
"You expect a crone?". A whisper in the darkness and he is not alone. A tall woman, her copper-red hair a torch in the dimness, her tight robes suggesting a wanton's curves. Neither sound nor sight of her arrival.
"Myal. The curse, it ... fail ....". His imperious voice falters and fails, brief moonlight shows their faces, her ash-white beauty, dark eyes flashing, his swarthy features sweating fear. He steps a half-pace back fumbling for a dagger, but his eyes cannot leave hers. The weapon falls from nerveless fingers, ringing against the cobbles.
"I claim you, priest" Her voice low, sensual, threatening. Her sword slides silently from the scabbard,the point resting against the priest's belly. A shuddering breath as the blade thrusts in, blood and fear-piss drenches the stones, but never does Breel draw back. The blade twists, a slaughterhouse sound, as her hand grasps the priest's sparse hair and draws him in.

A stretched neck, and sharp teeth sink hungry into flesh. Breel's throat opens in a second, ragged smile and greedily the witch drinks.
The priest falls unmoving, cold as the stones, as Myal steps back satiated, streching cat-like in the shadows.
Swift gestures and an ancient, unthinkable word shatters the baited silence...
And Breel's corpse stirs, and reluctantly rises, to follow the witch into the darkness.