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Ignorant Armies

Initial Brief

A message has been working its way around the city - with no subtlety in the slightest. It has been plastered on posters in every seedy location in Rastaban. It has been on the lips of every grubby urchin in the Barrens. It has even somehow made its way to the more reputable parts of the city.

'I need some strong, combat-capable people to help with a REALLY URGENT job in the Barrens. I CANNOT STRESS HOW DANGEROUS THIS WILL BE. Compensation will be good. Meet at the pub on the border: the Underwhelming Swallow. WEAKLINGS NEED NOT APPLY.’

It is rumoured that this message comes from Thief Laird Flavia of “Rom”: prominent Conflict Weaver, leader of the Blazing Bolts gang, and known associate of Tyrant Aphra.

This will be a Mid-High adventure. It will be of particular interest to any PC with a stake in the political situation in the Barrens, anyone with ties to Conflict or Connection, or to anyone interested in the state of life and death in Rastaban.


Adventure Summary

The players go to the Underwhelming Swallow, as advertised. Here, they encounter a number of battered, disillusioned-looking thugs: low-ranking members of Flavia’s crew, the Blazing Bolts who are often called upon to “audition” outsiders Flavia has hired. Iri and Knives sweep through this encounter with ease; impressed, Flavia gives them the job.

It is clear that things are not well in the “Rom” of the Barrens. This district is caught up in a civil war between Tyrant Aphra, currently in hiding, and Maximus, a Rod Paladin in charge of the True Outlaws gang. Whilst Aphra stands for the old ways of honour amongst thieves, Maximus stands for an abandonment of all rules, and will happily attack other thieves.

The party is ambushed by a group of True Outlaws, who are eager to take down Flavia, an Aphra loyalist. The party begin to deal with them, but the fight is interrupted by the appearance of a shambling seeming-corpse who lashes out at everyone indiscriminately. A couple of the True Outlaws abandon their fellows, terrified, but their Rod Paladin remains. The party take down the zombie, and extend a hand of friendship to the Rod Paladin, who is allowed to go in peace (much to Flavia's chagrin). The party ensure that none of the downed True Outlaws are left to die.

Flavia explains that this is the problem they have been hired to deal with: the dead have inexplicably started walking, and attacking. The zombie they just dealt with is the tip of the iceberg: there are worse ones to come.

She explains that all started when she built the Battle Club Stadium, a large warehouse where anyone in “Rom”, regardless of their standing in the civil war, could hold a friendly fighting tournament. They need to go back to the Battle Stadium so that she can impart vital information.

Of course, the Battle Stadium is surrounded by hungry zombies. The player party elect to deal with these, whilst Flavia runs away from the fight. It becomes clear that these zombies are going to be tough customers: they seem to have a number of powerful fighting moves, and will often recover from being executed on the floor. Eventually, the players manage to make their way into the Stadium, although Knives has to go through a one-on-one fight with a zombie in order to do so.

Inside the Stadium, a couple of decidedly unenthusiastic Blazing Bolts members show the players what Flavia wanted them to see. It's a zombie in a cage. Obviously it's a zombie in a cage.

The players experiment with different ways of killing the zombie. Iri, much to Flavia and Knives' confusion, keeps asking if Flavia wants the bodies intact. It turns out that the zombie will only fully stop attacking if it is executed twice whilst on the floor.

After a brief discussion about the nature of these zombies (Knives said she saw them created; Flavia says, suspiciously, that this cannot be true - and then stops), Knives suggests that they be henceforth known as 'Dariuses'. Iri and Flavia approve.

Armed with new knowledge, the players leave to deal with the Darius hordes. They do so with great success, until they are eventually cornered and downed by a group of the undead. However, instead of dying, they feel themselves caught by some kind of powerful entity that begins to attack their minds. In the following psychic encounter, Iri wins her fight against this malign influence, although she does hear the whisper of a phrase as she wakes: “Lady of Sinkholes”. Knives draws - thus managing to escape, but also left to confront Supremacy in a Conflict-esque dreamscape. Eventually, both of them wake on the ground, and deal with the remaining Dariuses.

As they travel further on, they encounter an area that is full of mists, and lightning, and storm. This is quite clearly a Conflict planar incursion. Within the area, they meet and do slightly interrupted battle with a Liege of Conflict, the Lady of Sinkholes. Whilst ordering her minions to dig incredibly inconvenient holes in the roads, she reveals that it was Flavia who invited her here, and Flavia who made a deal with her. Apparently, the Lady of Sinkholes, at Flavia's behest, has been filling the nearly non-sentient undead with Conflict, thus making them prone to random bouts of violence - all in aid of making Flavia's Battle Stadium more exciting.

Upon causing the Lady of Sinkholes to flee, the players are met with a messenger - from Tyrant Aphra. Apparently, this individual has been keeping track of their progress. They bring the players to meet with Aphra herself.

Ushered into an underground hideout, Knives and Iri meet with Flavia, Aphra and a couple of Aphra's loyalists. Aphra explains that, annoyed as she is at Flavia's latest hijinks (Flavia insists that all of this was in pursuit of money and influence to fund Aphra's rebellion), she thinks that there is a way to make use of this army of “Dariuses”… and she suspects that the players, capable as they are, are precisely the right people to enact her plans.

Aphra explains that there is an entity, Fealty, within Connection who might be able to help them. Fealty ought to have the power to put the Darius hordes under her command, and thus allow her to win her lengthy struggle against Maximus' forces.

The players agree to help, but not without some difficulties. Knives makes her plan to stab and kill Fealty clear. Eventually, she agrees that she will wait until a deal has been struck - although her wording is deliberately ambiguous. As Aphra cannot spare any of her own fighters to go into Connection, she has to make do with this agreement.

(Aphra agrees to put Flavia temporarily in charge, to Flavia's extreme delight. She promises, not very convincingly, that nothing will be on fire when Aphra gets back.)

Aphra uses Assumption to bring the players into Connection. She does not have the strength to maintain her form here, however, and so the players must do the bargaining for her.

Iri and Knives encounter a handful of the Knights of Fealty: creatures who are sworn, body and soul, to Fealty itself. They demand that a one-on-one duel be held with both players to prove themselves worthy of speaking to Fealty. All of this talk of unconditional devotion causes great distress for Knives, who tries her best to tell one of the minions that Fealty does not really love them. This falls upon deaf ears, as the Fealty minions challenge both players. Eventually, it is decided that they may speak with Fealty.

The negotiations that follow are relatively simple. According to Aphra's instructions, Iri offers Fealty Aphra's eternal loyalty in exchange for Fealty's help. Fealty shakes both players' hands in order to formalise the deal, although not before pointing out to Iri that she could well strike her own deal instead, and betray Aphra. Iri decides against this. Knives spends most of the negotiations in Stealth, but ultimately does not stab Fealty.

Fealty tells Iri that it needs a human vessel in order to perform the ritual she requires. Iri agrees to let Fealty travel in her mind for a while.

Back in the Barrens, the ritual is set up. Aphra cannot stay, as Maximus' troops have invaded, ironically setting her hideout on fire.

Iri is at the centre of the ritual; Knives defends. Initially, they must protect the circle from both rampaging Dariuses, and minions of the Lady of Sinkholes, the latter of whom fears the consequences of a Conflict/Connection ritual.

Iri is forced to rely upon Fealty's strength in order to stay up. Both players are overwhelmed by the mass of enemies they must face. In a last-ditch measure to protect the ritual, and hoping for an intervention from the Magos, Knives opens the gateway to the Outside.

An aspect of the Thief comes through instead. Terrifyingly, it begins to eat away at the ritual. Meanwhile, incensed at all this tearing up of the stuff of reality, the newly living Seeker appears through a portal opposite the gateway, berating the players for letting the Thief in.

Amidst all of this, the Lady of Sinkholes herself makes an appearance, squawking indignantly at the players, the Seeker and the Thief for letting the ritual go ahead. Iri uses a Shroud's Embrance in order to deliver a 'fuck you' to the Thief by way of turning all of its talk into incomprehensible babble - although not before the Thief reveals Iri's loyalties to the Shroud.

Eventually, the players manage to put down the Thief, and the gateway is closed. The Seeker is not displeased by this, and leaves more or less satisfied. The ritual is finished - giving way to an enormous explosion. Both players are flung from the circle, in which the Lady of Sinkholes writhes and seemingly dies. Where the ritual once was, a gaping, iridescent void appears.

The players have other issues on their minds. The Thief has revealed to Knives that Iri is a Shroud Paladin - which, for trauma-related reasons, makes Knives furious and terrified. There is a long, tense confrontation. Neither player notices as a True Outlaw minion shows up, flanked by Dariuses that do not seem Conflict-aligned, but rather ping Rod.

Knives uses a Rod's Embrace in order to keep the Dariuses at bay whilst she continues to confront Iri. Iri drops her weapons, surrendering. Knives attacks and kills her.

As Knives starts to walk away, another person enters: Maximus, flanked by Rod-powered Dariuses that are not entirely dissimilar to the original primal humans. They follow orders like soldiers.

Maximus and Knives begin to talk, but they are interruped by a massive chunk of dead Elect thrown into the space between them. The Rod itself has been alerted to their presence by Knives' use of the Embrace. The Rod waits coolly for Knives and Maximus to fight, stating that it only has time for one of them.

Iri, meanwhile, has a death audience with Lakhesis.

Knives only wants to fight the Rod. Maximus, however, attacks. Eventually, with the help of a resurrected Iri, Maximus is defeated, and lies on the ground, bleeding out.

The Rod congratulates Knives on being the victor. It agrees to fight her - and Iri too, if Knives allows it. Knives attempts to fight by herself, but eventually calls upon Iri as it becomes clear that the Rod is an intensely formidable opponent.

What follows is an absolutely sensational, escalating display of awesomeness, as the Rod eventually commits to the fight and becomes physically present, sending the players into a horrifying, sublime memory of a cosmic battlefield. Knives and Iri hold their own, flinging everything they have at the Rod, but inevitably they are defeated.

The Rod departs, seemingly delighted at the intensity of the fight. Knives and Iri go their separate ways, with scarcely a word to one another.


Iri returns to Aphra's somewhat burned hideout. Apparently, the war is going well, with the Darius army under her command and Maximus gone.

Iri points out that the original payment of 4 favour seems insufficient considering she died for this mission. Aphra offers her eternal gratitude.

Iri makes a couple of cryptic hints about how Aphra's army could be used for the good of the city. Aphra is curious, but ultimately noncommital.

Knives, meanwhile, does not go back to find Aphra; instead, she relocates to a sewer far away from the Barrens, in the hopes of remaining untrackable. This is disconcertingly proven difficult when four favour finds its way to her anyway: Aphra always pays her debts.

Iri reports back to the Order of the Rod, telling all of her epic fight with the Rod itself. This results in a large number of Rod Paladins becoming her greatest fans, with many following her in the hope of a one-on-one duel. Iri does her best to avoid her newfound fanbase.

Iri also reports back to the Order of the Shroud, learning a little about Knives and Darius in the process.

Consequences for Players


  • +5 Favour
  • +1 death - with various Erosion-ey accoutrements
  • You have been influenced by the Connection Denizen Fealty. This counts as a Strong affliction of the Mind. Twice per adventure, you may - undetected - divine the loyalties of any NPC or OC-willing PC.


  • +4 Favour
  • You have gained the particular attention of the Rod. Any time you use the call DIE HARD, you may extend it to 15 seconds maximum (but still decrease by 2 seconds if used in the same encounter).

Consequences for the World

  • “Rom” is now relatively stable. Aphra is officially Tyrant once more, and recogised leader of the District. Backed up by a loyal army of Conflict Dariuses - now under the command of General Flavia of the Blazing Bolts - she has been unchallenged since the disappearance of Maximus.
  • Maximus' body has not been located. Meanwhile, his Rod-charged Dariuses have been left to wander the Barrens. Some have been spotted attacking civilians.
  • There remains a large, yawning void in the ground just outside of the main square in “Rom”. Nobody has yet dared touch it, although there are rumours that those who do come back horribly wrong.
  • Since the end of the civil war in “Rom”, the undead have ceased to be a daily threat, although the presence of Dariuses (the popular term for 'zombies') has become relatively normalised in this area.
  • Rumours of an epic duel between the Rod, Iri Voronaya and another mysterious Rod Paladin have been spreading throughout the city, to the fear and admiration of all.
resources/adventure/ignorant_armies.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/23 13:16 by emma