Monday, March 10, 2014

Borgia: Further Random Ramblings


I'll be hitting a few more points from the non-Showtime series, Borgia below. Anyone who doesn't want any spoilers should read no further.

One of the things I failed to mention about the Borgia series, the non-Showtime one, is that the motivation for Lucrezia to murder Juan, or at least to murder him at that time, is that Juan wants to redeem himself. He wants to confess his sins. He wants to live a virtuous life.

This means he'd get into Heaven.

So Lucrezia kills him to prevent that from happening. Her hatred of her brother is so great, that she cannot abide the thought of him going to Heaven. Her motivation is there, but the timing is directly influenced by religious belief.

It resounded in my mind an echo of the version of Hamlet with Mel Gibson as well as the play itself mind you. Here Hamlet comes across the king who has begged the Lord for forgiveness so if Hamlet does kill him at that junction, the king would go to heaven.

The hatred that Hamlet and Lucrezia share, to prevent the soul from going to a 'just' reward in the afterlife, is played out in both instances here.

In role playing games, what religious motivations can be arranged to do something similar for characters and their enemies?

In fantasy settings that have saints or gods or war, would fleeing from overwhelming victory be enough to damn a soul? What if the individual suffered from a magical compulsion that forced them to flee?

What if the damnation of the soul is of secondary importance but the appearance of the damnation is what's important?

For example, during the siege of a city, a war leader priest might call for a retreat when the city is going to fall and a high marshal or otherwise highly placed and respected knight prepares to lead the retreat but his assassination is arranged so that it looks like he was killed fleeing from the combat. This can be a devastating blow to the morale of the people he was supposed to be leading.

Such a thing might call on the players to investigate what actually happened. Was the weapon used to kill the knight one that the enemy uses? Did the knight suffer any other wounds? Is there a 'signature' mark like Zorro or other skilled opponents leave on their foes? Has the body been moved?

That's the first plot point that has a lot of potential implications for the game master and those players who pick clerics as their characters.

The second is specific missions.

Cesare's rise to power starts with a limited force of soldiers. So few in fact, that he has no desire to spend any of their lives when he doesn't have to.

In one instance, he's able to assure the people of the town that if they resist, the destruction he rains on them will be hoffic and on the other hand, he assures them that taxes and other fees will be lessened under him. They surrender.

He tries this on another town, but Caterina, 'Il Tiger', has captured the man's son so he cannot surrender without his son paying for it.

Cesare sees this as a perfect opportunity and infiltrates the castle holding the child, kills the child's captors, and makes the get away with the child and a bonus prisoner.

He does this alone, but in a role playing game, something like this might be accomplished by a few special characters, like the player's characters.

By having specific missions that can have tremendous impact on the game, the Dungeon Master allows the players the opportunity to directly influence the game. By having the players rescue an important son, or daughter, it gives the players a 'touch' with someone whose powerful or influential directly and gives that powerful person, a reason to respect the abilities of the players and to have a personal tie to the players.

Borgia: Rules of War, Rules of Love, provides a lot of ideas and visual inspiration for those who want to take their campaigns out of the dungeon.