Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Magisterium Campaign

Last spring (about March I believe), I started my current campaign in the setting of Hrimgate, the combined campaign world I'm building with my co-GM Rich Forest (who will one day actually post to this shared blog, honest!). It's called the Magisterium Campaign, a sort of medieval spy and espionage game using RuneQuest 6 as the base rule set. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting all of the generated content for the campaign - character creation hacks, setting cultures and careers, unique cults, player reports, etc. -- and other goodies that pop up. Since there's so much, I'll be able to pre-load a lot of the content ahead of time. Ideally, this material will drop Monday-Wednesday-Friday in the late mornings, but don't hold me to that. Also, I've tried to source images used where I can, but ultimately it got away from me. Just be aware that I don't claim any of the images that adorn posts as my work, and if any artists wish them to come down, just shoot me a line. 

Anyway, here's the campaign pitch the players received announcing the campaign.

The Magisterium Campaign

There’s something wrong with the Exarch of Andrassos.

His High Lord Exarch Vanorus Dandalo, he who is also known as Vanorus Pogonatos (the Bearded), has administered his office for fifteen solar years. A novus homo, or new man, as the ancient Vanorans would have called him, he is the first of the Dandaloi Family to attain such high office in the Exarchate. A just yet firm administrator, Pogonatos’ years of rule have been prosperous for Andrassos. But recently the years have not been kind to the Dandaloi. Accidents, feuds, and disease have culled the ranks of the family, through chance or something more, culminating last spring in the death by pox of the Exarch’s beloved wife, Ariadne. That was a difficult time for Pogonatos, but, capable ruler that he is, he shouldered through the pain and held to his duties. For that is the type of man Pogonatos is.

But recently something has changed.

Vanorus Dandalo has held no court nor conducted any duties of state in more than two months. Although the administrative apparatus of the state has continued to operate in the firm hands of Grand Logothete Loukas Choniates and the Curia of State, the Exarch’s public absence has rustled the grass of court life in Andrassos. Has the Exarchate been stricken by pox, like his dearly departed wife? Has he lost his mental faculties and been touched by the Fair Ones? Or has something more sinister seized him?

The public word is that Pogonatos is conducting private affairs of state that necessitate his absence from court, but this has not quelled the whispers. Sekretikoi talk in the passages between offices, plotters scheme in basilicas and porticoes throughout the city, and all eyes are turned to the Grand Magnaura palace. For despite the veil of secrecy surrounding the Exarch’s status, one conclusion is clear to all in Andrassos with even the lowest presence of mind.

The days of the Dandaloi holding the high office are coming to an end.

Let the games begin.


For this campaign, you are all members of the Magisterium, the secret intelligence office for the Exarchate of Andrassos. It is your job to protect the affairs of state from the privations of enemies both foreign and domestic. This is done through spying, subterfuge, and investigation, as you work to uncover and disrupt plots against the state, rulership, and people of Andrassos.

This will be a game of medieval espionage, of plots and shadowy factions, of spies loitering in the dark to uncover the edge or leverage they need to achieve their goals. Think Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by way of The Name of the Rose, with a healthy dose of Dark Age Hrimgate pulling it all together. What you do in this environment is entirely up to you.

As is befitting any campaign I seem to run lately, there is a complicating element to it. As a game of spies and espionage, there are of course a number of powerful factions in the city, working to achieve their own goals in light of the recent unsettledness with the Exarch. Some of these factions will be run by you in addition to your player character agent in the Magisterium (secretly of course; you should not share with your fellow players which faction you are running). Some of these factions will be run by other players and people I know who do not come to our games regularly (also secretly). The plots and schemes that you as PCs are investigating will be instigated by others and each other, not me as the GM. I will simply be managing the process and prepping the game sessions in response.

It will be glorious, I’m sure.