Love's Foolish Cruelty: A Song of Fading Suns

Chapter 01: The Guests

In this opening Chapter, the Decados arrive at Keep Drakken, bringing with them a complement of brand new space fighters as a gift to their loyal bannermen. At the same time, a dispatch from the Church brings new opportunities for the faithful…

Session 1: Arrival

Continued setting establishment…

- used the Diaspora cluster rules to build out the network of Jumpgate systems in this region. (I’ll add that information to the wiki section)
- Also created the basis for rival House Ratskeller, on the planet Horizon. Their history is “recent” and plagued with terrible events, and their Law is practically nonexistent.
- The Father of the Drakken household, aka the Lord, is Marquis Eustace Drakken. He’s very much a wealth-and-power-minded businessman, and very focused on House Status first and foremost.
- the house artisan is a Chef! Guild of Gourmands. Specializes in the weird space-plants that grow out here, and hydroponics
- this system – Neo Alcatraz – has a blue star!

and that relating to the characters themselves…

- Sahar’s Cohort: a 28-yo human male named Darius
- Sahar is “Minister of Culture” for the household
- The Matron’s nemesis is another Brother Battle from long ago, who had seemingly turned to apostate actions but she let it go
- The Uncle has a pet great dane named Admiral. It hates Sahar, of course, and that amuses the Uncle.
- the Scientist has a “monkey man” of unknown origin…
- Uldari’s artifact yacht is called The Enchantress

The Action Begins…

- we open with Uldari and Kane.
- Uldari has just gotten into an argument with his side lover, a young Scraver named Allanna
- Seems the Marquis has decided he wants Uldari to be married to the young princess of the Ratskeller family, the 15-year-old Kerrigan. Its possible the forward-minded Marquis is gearing up for a potential takeover of the house, but that remains to be seen. It’s also possible Ratskeller is trying to get outside assistance with their constant rebellion problem.
- so Uldari and Allanna got into a fight, and the boy dashed off to hang out with his “bro” Kane.
- Kane had coordinates for an unclaimed place of salvage in the belt, so off they go in The Enchantress
- found “half a ruin” of an ancient 2nd Republic-era facility. Lots of corridors and rooms open to the vacuum of space; the place was shaped like a 3d asterisk, almost, or a jax toy
- find some alien “thing” mounted on a wall – a vision of a thing from one of the yacht’s holo sessions! they took it of course
- on way back to ship, their anchor line was cut, and a shadow moved to intercept them – drama!

- meanwhile everyone at the asteroid – Keep Drakken – is prepping for arrival of a Decados envoy, one Earl Ilsandriy Decados.
- the arrival is intended to be a three-step process: 1) the landing, 2) the meeting in the grand chamber, then 3) the party
- Inasha is both worried and pissed at her missing brother. Will he make it back in time for the arrival?
- Some servant slips poison into the punch bowl! Sahar spots it, though, and has Darius take care of it – and he does so most excellently
- Sahar passes a sample of the liquid to the Scientist – he analyzes it to contain a super high concentration of gogiberry, an element that the Decados are known to be genetically allergic to. Someone’s trying to poison the Decados!

- arrival of an Orthodox Priest (Status 5) Father Jericho, and his two companions: a very young Bro Battle, and a lady Eskatonic.
- the Matron and the Zealot are not prepared for the arrival, but bluff it as best they can
- The priest has definite vision problems, and assumes the fanfare is for his arrival (when everyone else was surprised by his arrival, truth be told); definite bonus points scored with the Priest there – however the Bro Battle appeared unconvinced, but said nothing
- as we closed the first session, the congregation had departed into the station, while the Decados detachment finally appeared within sight of the docking bay, with 24 fighters in accompaniment…

Session 2: Welcome

Back to the action, Uldari and Kane are trying to exit the ancient ruins, and are confronted by a long-dormant security droid awakened by their pilfering. Clever acrobatics and resourceful action take the fight out into the void, where Uldari is almost lost, but manages to save himself and make it back to the Enchantress. Kane damages the droid’s thrusters and then kicks it spinning out into space, before also getting to the safety of the ship. They realize they might actually be late for the Decados arrival, and Kane pulls some crazy piloting madness to make it back just in the nick of time.

The Enchantress’s landing is suitably dramatic and dashing. Kane plays it off like he’s in charge for a bit, motivating the flight crew to move the ship out of the way while Uldari takes is place beside Uncle Quinn. Uldari pulls it off like it ain’t no thang, and manages to impress his uncle with the grand entrance. Throughout this affair, Quinn frequently calls upon the assistance of an “aide” servant, who we decide is named Giles.

Finally, the Decados shuttle arrives, while the 24-unit fighter complement performs an aerial demonstration outside the docking bay. We are introduced to several new characters at this moment:

  • Earl Ilsandriy Decados
  • Earl’s Wife? Maybe? or Son?
  • Rolf Ratskeller
  • Eva Ratskeller
  • Kerrigan Ratskeller
  • Drake Lockhouse, age 20: Quinn’s last bastard son, a proud and powerhungry knight who pledged himself to the Decados.
  • Astra Solaris, age 17: The ace fighter pilot in charge of the new fighter squadron.

Did I miss anyone?

Anyway, the new arrivers are introduced with great pomp and acclaim. The Drakken and Decados depart to the keep’s Grand Hall to meet with the Lord of the House, while the rest are taken to the Atrium. Kane does some flirting with the somewhat lost Astra, who is somewhat charmed by his behaviour and follows him to the Atrium as well.

Meanwhile, Sahar and the Scientist are searching for more details on the Poisoner. They scan the station marketplace, then retreat to separate quarters to do solitary research. Sahar digs through her Think Machine’s database, and finds records she’s kept of all newcomers since her arrival three years ago. She finds a visual match! The poisoner appears to be a late-20s servant brought into the household one year ago – a refugee from Horizon! She confers with her Charioteer contact “Brick” on the flight deck, and he agrees to let her know if anyone matching Graham’s description tries to leave the station.

Finally, in the Grand Hall, the lord of the House – the Marquis – meats with the Decados, while the other Drakken attend. Inasha is both glad to see Uldari arrive in their company, but also a little miffed at the frustration he’s caused. But that is momentarily forgotten when the charming and powerful Decados Earl casually flirts with her – an act which causes her to blush, and also causes the nearby Quinn some amount of mental trouble. A taste of future revenge, perhaps?

Session 3: Plots

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House Creation Summary: House Drakken

The House: Drakken

We were intending to do full group creation last night for the new game, but schedules got a bit wonk’d so we only did part of the setup. The players were quick to get the basics of the setting, though, so that’s always a plus.

House Holdings

Using the House Creation rules (SIFRP), I had written up some equivalent modifiers based on the five big noble houses, and used them in place of the Westeros equivalents. The players chose to be a new minor house with fealty to House Decados. Decados’s modifiers were determined to be: Def +5, Inf +10, Lands 0, Law -10, Pop 0, Power -5, Wealth 10.

The initial rolls were made, and after rolling through the various house events we ended up with:

- Defenses: 32
- Influence: 43
- Lands: 25
- Law: 14
- Population: 29
- Power: 24
- Wealth: 47

They rolled their house histories, and got “Established” as a result. I set that at “Fall of the 2nd Republic” for their founding, an event marked as “Villainous” – we decided that the house founder was a trade tycoon who did everything it took to secure the survival of his family during the Fall, everything including murder and sacrifice of many innocents that were in the way of his rise to power.

The second event was “Ascent,” during the era of Vladimir’s conquering. Proving themselves valuable allies to the Decados, they were rewarded nicely with increased status and trade ties.

The third and final event was “Infrastructure.” We decided that given the abysmally-low Law of the new House, they are located really close to Barbarian Space. Decados has been recently investing in them since the end of the Emperor Wars, in order to maintain a greater buffer against the external threat.

Lands

They bought a single “Domain” for their demesne: Mountains. Translating that to the galactic scale, they have ownership of a mineral-rich asteroid belt in a Decados-loyal star system. Adding a feature to that is a “Hamlet” which we interpreted to mean “several small communities of workers and vassals.” Finally, we added “Ruins” to the domain, which I transformed into “the asteroid belt is abundant with the wreckage of ancient starships from lost eras of history.” They have 3 points remaining unspent.

Defenses

They purchased a “Small Castle” which we implemented as an asteroid that’s been tunneled through and reinforced as a maneuverable headquarters and battle platform." 2 points left unspent.

Influence

With Influence of 43, the Maximum Status of the head of Household is 5. We purchase a single Heir of Status 4 (to be one of the PCs), a “second” (also one of the PCs), and leave 13 points unspent.

Law

With a 14 Law, the outskirts of their domain are plagued with pirates and barbarian attacks.

Population

They have a decent enough Population of 29, however, so they have a good number of people in these small communities.

Power

They acquire the following units:

- Green “Cavalry” : They have a brand new, freshly-assigned squadron of space fighters to patrol the region.
- Veteran Guerrillas : Their locals have lived and died on these rocks for so many generations that they are fiercely dedicated to defending them.
- Veteran Garrison : Likewise, the guys manning the Battle Station are in top form, having been fighting off pirates for ages.
- Trained Criminals : The Decados also use this area as a penal colony. Criminals have been trained to fight when needed, and it is not unknown for pardons to be given to the dedicated and reformed, to continue the rest of their lives as citizens of this realm.

Wealth

Holdings include a Mine (several of them), a small Scravers Guildhouse (more of a “distant repository” in truth), a Maester (a skilled Engineer – also a PC), and an Artisan (I don’t recall what this was decided to be).

The Cast of Characters

We are doing a 2-PCs-per-player thing, so as to provide greater versatility to play with an ensemble cast. With four players, that gives us eight characters, including (with: Goal / Motivation / Virtue / Vice – all were randomly rolled!):

  • The Heir: Uldari Drakken A very charismatic 19yo “super bro” athlete and fencer (Love / Stability / Devoted / Foolish)
  • The Sister: Inasha Drakken A 17yo tomboy who spends a lot of time with the geurillas and adores her big bro (Love / Love / Honest / Foolish)
  • The Uncle: Quinn Drakken A geriatric jet-setting schemer who is far more versatile and capable than people give him credit, age 82 (Power ?Peace / Magnanimous / Scheming)
  • The Battle Matron: Matron Joan A retired mid-50s sister of the famous Brother Battle sect of the Church, serving as the Heir’s combat tutor (Security / Peace / Merciful / Prejudiced)
  • The Spy: Sahar al-Basir An Ur-Ukar psychic “Master of Secrets” to the house, who may or may not in fact be a plant of the Decados family, age 30 (Justice / Lust / Chaste / Cruel)
  • The Dashing Rogue: Kane Falcon A Han Solo-esque Scraver here as a main rep of the Chapterhouse, age 28 (Love / Fear / Courageous / Cruel)
  • The Scientist: Alden Obingsfell An Engineer with a major specialty in Chemistry and Medicine, researching new sciences in distant seclusion, age 34 (Revenge / Peace / Just / Cruel)
  • The Zealot: Brother Solomon A committed and dangerously motivated Avestite priest, age 25 (Justice / Hatred / Just / Foolish)
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