On The Making of Legends

Today I’m doing a dual purpose post. This is partly a continuation of the post Why Go To The Collector Wells? and partly instructional.

In the last post I talked about a weird new “treasure” item for the game. For it to work and draw the player characters to it, the characters have to have heard about it. So how will they have heard about some esoteric misapplication of an industrial process deep inside a vast and dangerous expanse? It’s not like the local farmer and his brother are going to be raising Pettok here and say “Hey guess what we did?”

No, to draw the player’s into the web, they’re going to have to hear a story that tells of a grand hero or villain that they probably couldn’t compete with. We need a legend. Now in game legends are mostly there to deliver a single clue about how to get to the fabulous treasure mentioned therein. The rest of it is all glamor and fluff but it’s needed fluff. A good legend revolves around a central premise that sounds impossible (joining two people’s minds?) and goes on to explain why that impossible thing is so cool. The catch is to then present players with some form of evidence that some element of that coolness really happened. Usually something concrete that they can hold in their hand. It then is up to them to decide if the evidence then means that the impossible thing must then be possible.

To recap: Something “impossible”, tangental evidence that the impossible thing really happened.

So lets make one for our treasure item. In this case we need something that will make zapping your head in a dangerous machine sound good and explain exactly how to  do it.

Legend of The Peasant King

In the days before the Tanroc Fredar there rose up a king* cruel and powerful. All people bowed to his power and none could stand against him. The people groaned under the oppression of their forced labor. The king’s son was irresponsible and he knew that the boy would not be able to maintain the kingship. As it happened, this also became well known in the kingdom and the boy’s actions were a scandal.

One day as a group of peasants brought their tribute to the king one of them approached the throne and presented the king with a solution. He explained that in his land there was a device called the Lover’s Knot. It was used to ensure that a marriage mate would be faithful, although this tale didn’t interest the king, the next thing the peasant said did. When two people are joined in this way, they never betray the other and they know everything the other knows. If the king and his son were to enter the Lover’s Knot the son would gain the father’s wisdom and carefulness.

This intrigued the king but he was doubtful. As proof the young peasant produced a man and his wife that had entered the Knot. He had the king place them in separate towers. When one was told about a matter, the other instantly knew it, when one saw a thing the other also saw it.

After fully testing them the king and his advisors agreed to having the king and his son enter the knot. They journeyed to the land of the heart# and to the place of the Lover’s Knot.

The peasant accompanied the king and after showing the king how the Knot worked, the king and his son prepared to enter into it. As the king entered the Knot and at the last moment, the peasant pushed the king’s son away and entered the Knot with the king.

The wicked king instantly saw the life of the peasant and felt his suffering. His heart was crushed by the weight of his pain, the king was stunned but spared the life of the peasant. They returned to the king’s fortress and the peasant was given the same luxury as the king. The king’s rule softened and the people rejoiced. In time the king died and the man once a peasant ruled in his place.

*some Chezbah translations add “in opposition to Loc.”

#An old name for the Collector Wells.

Cementing The Story

Although the legend indicates the collector wells as being the location of this “Lover’s Knot”, it does not give enough detail to find the device. It also can be dismissed as fanciful and possibly a morality lesson or underdog story. To make it more solid, the players need more detail.

The players or someone the players encounter discover an ancient text written with charcoal on a CCC tablet. Although it is faded and smudged, the original text can be made out either by study or with technology. It is a letter from a father to a son, admonishing him to take his young and apparently unfaithful wife to the Lover’s Knot. More importantly the father gives explicit instructions on how to get to and to find the Knot chamber.

With some more details we have a genuine quest in the making. I’m sure that this wouldn’t entice all players but with the right group or even the right two individual players this could become a desirable goal.

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