Roses & Thorns Game

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Roses & Thorns Game

Postby Kasurai » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:25 am

So after a long hiatus, I finally convinced my playgroup to play another game of HotB. Not having anything really prepared at the time, I decided to use the Roses & Thorns scenario. The two players made the following characters:

  • Baron Alexai Adrente, with the Aspects "Righteous Fury of Youth" and "Unfaithful"
  • Baron Torr Adrente, with the Aspects "Thou Shalt Not Pass" and "Cold as the Winter Wind"
Act I: The Party
The characters arrived at Yvarai Castle, of course, seeking to earn Shara's vassalage for their liege. Torr had brought fine wine from his lands as a gift; Alexai brought himself. Headstrong and lusty, Alexai started off the Party by grabbing a bottle of Torr's wine, two glasses, and boldly taking Lady Shara aside and trying to strike up a Romance. She played along, and a Rank 4 Romance resulted with Alexai as the predator. Shara left the enamored Wolf with the task of finding some more of that delicious wine ...

Meanwhile, Torr Adrente has been silently observing Lady Shara's other guests. Count Kether, dressed in the deepest shade of red, catches the Wolf's eye in particular. When Kether decides to suddenly move towards Shara, Torr can't help but get in his way (compelled "Thou Shalt Not Pass"). The two ven have a battle of wills. Torr gets privilege, and decides that the ruthless Count is unphased by his attempts at intimidation (Stylish!) but during the silent confrontation, Torr does notice Kether's black eyes and half-drawn Sword (Style!). The Count quietly retreats and retires for the evening.

Act II: The Hunt
The next morning, a Hunt is declared, and the more martially inclined party-goers take to the woods. During the Hunt, Torr takes down a hart with a clean kill. Count Kether is the first to approach the felled beast. When Shara arrives shortly thereafter, Kether points out Torr's killing shot which pierced the beast's heart and whispers something about a dire omen. Lady Shara quickly returns to the Castle in tears.

Trying to track down his paramour, Alexai - after an unnerving encounter with the Seneschal - eventually finds Shara on the floor of a cold, stone vault while quietly crying. Candles, old books, and a reliquary adorn the room. Alexai tries to comfort her, but Shara insists that she is doomed to die before sundown. The Wolf pledges to defend the Lady against any harm, but Shara seems resigned to the fate that awaits her.

Meanwhile, after having overheard the whispers regarding omens, Torr finds a Serpent nobleman to investigate what this might mean. The Serpent promises to have answers for him by sunset, and in return asks only that Torr bring a dagger with him when next they meet ...

Act III: The Opera
Evening approaches and an eagerly anticipated Opera production is set to begin. Shara is notably dressed in an elaborate dress of white silk. The Opera is presented to Lady Shara by Count Kether as his gift to her. The curtains rise and the performers tell a tale of a callous Husband who marries at a young age, but spends the rest of his life siring bastards all across Shanri. The Husband's Valet has an aria in the second act where he recounts the interminable list of his master's conquests. At the Opera's end, the Husband is approaching his Solace, smugly content with his plans: all of his assets have been consolidated, he has hundreds of illegitimate sons who will build temples to their father's glory, and he shall join the ranks of the immortal Suaven. As he lies on his deathbed, covered in vaq'in, his long-spurned and forgotten Wife keeps vigil with him, quietly acknowledging the brilliance of his plans and his destined place among the Sleeping Ones. While his mortal eyes are closing for the last time, his contented smile changes to a silent scream as he catches sight of the gleam of a blade. His lashes close, and his Wife slits his throat. She finally has her Revenge for decades of neglect. She has robbed him of his last breath and his Solace; his life's work undone by a small blade and the woman he forgot.

Alexai Adrente leads the crowd in applause, and Count Kether takes to the stage to graciously accept his due accolades. He addresses the nobles, Lady Shara in particular: "I wrote this Opera as a gift, and an explanation for what I am about to do." He draws a Sword and approaches. "You see Lady Shara, your father and mine have something in common, and it is not our mothers. Your life is the price for our father's, a life and a Solace which your miserable mother stole from him! Ikhalu has blessed me in this!"

Alexai and Torr rush to intervene and Mass Murder ensues. Alexai strikes at Kether, but the blow is parried. Torr strikes next, inflicting a mortal wound. The Count looks at the Sword in his chest with bewilderment, unable to believe that Ikhalu has failed him. He stumbles forward into Alexai (the Count's first wager) and the Wolf falls under the weight of Kether's corpse (the Count's remaining wager). Alexai quickly throws off the Count's blood-soaked body and looks for Lady Shara. She was standing behind him, dagger at the ready, but was knocked beneath the Wolf as he fell. She lies on the floor of the Opera House, her chest sliced open by her own dagger which Alexai's weight had driven into her body. Alexai holds her in his arms, shouting for a healer. Shara coughs up a trickle of Blood that runs down her cheek and smiles. "You beat me to it," she whispers before dying in his arms.

The crowd of guests remains silent and still, except for the just-arrived Snake who slowly strides towards Torr with a sheaf of parchment in his hands. It is a poem by Shara's mother:

When Arrow hath pierced the wild hart's Heart,
And Love hath pierced thine own,
Mortally pierced thine own Heart shall be,
Before the sun goeth down.

The sun sets. The Party is over. The Wolves return to their lands, one with a broken heart.

Other Highlights
  • Torr gets into a contest of Insults with Lady No. She triumphs, sticking Torr with the Insult "Not even Lady No is interested."
  • Torr was having difficulty mustering enough dice for his Cunning Risks while spying on the other guests, so he spent two Style and gave the room a helpful Aspect: "Hall of Mirrors." Very Stylish!
  • The Serpent NPC became quite memorable. Every time the PCs went to go find him, he was already at their side, and would quietly whisper: "Think of the Devil ..." Though they never did learn his name ...
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