Scenario 18: The Guilty Flee …
We will take two sessions for this scenario. Meetings for this scenario will happen on 2/14 and 2/28. Voting for this scenario closes at 9 pm on Sunday, 2/28.
To vote, go here.
The news has travelled very quickly over the past two days: horrors have directly attacked the old Heartfort itself, the ancient cairn where the Greatcrown family has dwelt since time immemorial. The capitol of the Republic, Heartfort, grew up around this ancient underground palace and its environs. The official line is that the dwarven guard and the palace shepherds successfully warded off the attack with the help of the ancient and powerful glyphs that surround and fill the home. The vile things fled as quickly as they came.
Still, the people are shaken by the news: this is the very heart of the heart of the Republic, and there is a very powerful “rally around the flag” effect taking shape as the people of the Republic are vowing to do whatever it takes to protect their leaders and defeat these horrors. Even the restive dwarves in the Guild and elsewhere, and the remnants of Humanity First, have condemned the attack and vowed their undying loyalty to Guardian Grimtongue in this hour of the Republic’s need.
Six weeks have passed, and the Republic’s week-long celebration of its victory over the plague has just concluded. There’s a general sense of unity and camaraderie in the Republic that hasn’t been felt … well, maybe ever. The national festival celebrating the peoples’ victory over the plague provided much-needed relief, as well as an opportunity to bond and connect. Events were carefully designed to celebrate the contributions of goblins, dwarves and humans together, and the unique and essential contributions each made to the preservation of the Republic in the face of the plague. By popular acclamation, there’s a desire to declare this week “Republic Week” (notably, not “Dwarven Republic Week”) and to celebrate it each year.
The reports from the North are now making news across the Republic, and various groups are interpreting the events differently. Everyone now knows that there are things, horrors, attacking the vital shipping lanes that run through those icy reaches. And everyone now knows that the horrors have also been attacking imperial vessels, including the few remnants of the imperial navy. (Most of the navy was destroyed by goblin special forces.) The Abysson Empire has responded with letters of assurance and protection to the Northmen (as they’re called). Somehow, the Empire has heroically fended off some of the horrors and defeated them, earning the trust of the Northmen on the islands closest to the Empire. The Empire has promised to bring peace and security to all of the Northmen, and those closest to the Empire are eager to see their kin further to the west protected as well.
The shipping lanes are especially important for Guild business, since Brev and the Northmen (who trade with the Empire) are the Republic’s primary trading partners. A number of dwarves from the old War and Wealth faction, who have been gaining influence among the middle ranks of dwarven functionaries in the Guild, are cheering on the Empire’s successes. This same group is increasingly insisting that Seahold and the events around it were a devious false-flag operation cooked up by goblin special forces, so they could gin up sympathy in the Republic by painting themselves as victims. “Isn’t it awfully convenient,” they argue, “That the goblins suddenly became ‘good guys’ because of Seahold?” This group isn’t a huge share of the population, but they have some influence within the Guild and among older dwarves, and they’re bitter.
Finally, over the last 6 weeks about a third of the remaining statues that block the Dreaming have been removed. Per advice from Brev, the pattern of removal has been widely distributed: instead of just one area suddenly getting rid of its statues, the Dreaming is slowly being allowed to trickle back in across the remaining area. While there has been an increase in nightmares, the experience isn’t as traumatic and overwhelming as it was among the goblins.
Scenario 17: Nightmare’s Dawn
We will take two sessions for this scenario. Meetings for this scenario will happen on 1/17 and 1/31. Voting for this scenario closes at 9 pm on Sunday, 1/31.
To vote, go here.
Two months have passed since the Republic’s leadership uniformly and vocally resisted Brev’s incursion into their space for its arrogance and deceptiveness. Working together, they have used a magical device of elven making to dig up the strange statues that had been buried throughout the Republic in order to block the Dreaming.
The device that has proven so useful is a dragon harness that only the dragon Cleareye Kurts-tail seems to be able to wear. When she does she is able to identify the statues if they are placed directly in front of her. As it turns out, the statues had been completely veiled from all senses in illusion, but once identified the statues are destroyed easily enough and their power is broken. Through this method, it also becomes clear that the pact of silence that was sworn with the gutterrunners who smuggled the statues in was based on a similar powerful illusion.
Those who entered the pact were cursed to suffer the illusion that their eyes and tongue had vanished, and illusion that impacted them and everyone around them. Unfortunately, identifying this as an illusion and curing the curse are two different things. While in the presence of Cleareye and the harness, the curse is pierced and its effects are temporarily relieved for the goblin victims. This has helped the Republic identify a few more gutterrunner smugglers who have been willing to defect, and so the Republic has been able to identify and destroy more statues. Still, when Cleareye leaves the curse returns, and this has discouraged more defections. Even though it is increasingly understood that the effects of the pact of silence are only an illusion, that’s not how the goblins effected experience or see it. To them, it seems that only Cleareye’s presence is a cure.
Over this period, maybe 1/3rd of the statues have been removed. Efforts have focused very heavily on removing them from goblin territory, because without the Dreaming their moss-based agricultural system is in danger of collapse. While the situation has meant some rationing of moss among the goblins, voluntary relief efforts from humans, dwarves and island goblins have supplemented their diet in the meantime. The experience of a stressor that has been overcome together, without too much of a demand on others in the Republic, has done something to strengthen bonds among these groups.
Aside from seeing if there are ways to speed up the removal of the statues throughout the Republic, there is another issue to consider. What to do about the constant nightmares that are now plaguing the goblins, where the statues have been removed?
Scenario 16: Cracks in the Dam
We will take two sessions for this scenario. Meetings for this scenario will happen on 12/6 and 12/20. Voting for this scenario closes at 9 pm on Sunday, 12/20.
To vote, go here.
In the 11th hour before Karn Parathosoomgebungden, Master General of Brevian Military-Mercantile Affairs, was about to depart, his story cracked open. He had been insisting that Brev had nothing to do with the artifacts being smuggled into the Republic, and nothing to do with the distance of the Dreaming. But then a number of goblins pressed him further with details on the matter, and he apparently concluded that his denials were no longer beneficial. He admitted that the statues had been hidden throughout the Republic, and that Brev did it with the best of intentions: the Republic couldn’t handle the Dreaming, and an extremely powerful illusionist had emerged in their midst. He says that the statues use … biological … means to prevent access to the Dreaming, and were the only way to protect Brev and the Republic from an inbreaking of Imperial influence. The Republic was like a “child playing with his father’s battle-axe,” and they didn’t understand: it isn’t a toy. Karn has said that when the Republic finds the illusionist and turn them over to Brev, they might let them have their access to the Dreaming back. Still, he adds, it might be wiser all around for Brev and the Republic to join forces against the Empire with each group “staying in their lane.” He suggests that maybe Brev can handle the Dreaming, and the Republic can be the muscle. He also says that while the Republic has been distracted by Seahold and Brev, the Empire has moved a number of major pieces into position. It is important to focus on fighting them and not each other.
Seeing that there are major multi-part negotiations to work through with respect to this complex and fraught alliance, an emergency meeting of the Republic was called immediately, since urgent planning was necessary in response to this. The leaders of the Republic will need to make major decisions about what to do about Brev in light of this new knowledge.
In spite of the short lapse of time, the leaders of the Republic have already received glowing praise for their labor reforms, especially from human laborers throughout the Republic. A number of former Humanity Firsters have reached out to the Unity faction to see if they can build new bridges. There remains a tiny hard core of Humanity First resistance, but in the face of the catastrophes of Seahold and now this move that cuts to their base, a new era may be dawning in Human politics. Still, not everyone is so happy. The reforms are sure to cut into Guild profits, and many merchants have responded to the news by swearing that they will stop investing in the Republic until it stops trying to, “crush all trade and commerce and freedom and dignity and all that is good and worthy and decent in the Republic.” It isn’t clear if this is a momentary reaction or not, but it has already caused a crash that has substantially (if only momentarily?) reduced the wealth of the Guild.
Scenario 15: Songs to Soothe
We will take two sessions for this scenario. Voting for this scenario closes at 9 pm on Sunday, Nov 22nd. Meetings for this scenario will happen on 11/8 and 11/22.
To vote, go here.
In a stinging rebuke to the Guild’s pretense of establishing its own judicial system in the Republic, goblins, humans and dwarves have united in reasserting the authority of the Republic. Its ability to establish and enforce its own laws is now uncontested, with the passage of their Prison Centralization Act. While there was some grumbling among a few die-hard merchants across the Republic, it has become clear that many of them were backing Gaudio’s take-over attempt because of “financial incentives” (aka bribes) that the Guild had been distributing to drum up support.
Seeing her inevitable political defeat in the face of a unified Republic, Gaudio simply turned her attention elsewhere. When the money dried up, the passionate support for her agenda dried up almost as quickly. She seems quite calm about it all and ready to move on and is focused on working with goblins in the Wildlands to establish homes for her dragons there on leased land. Still the question remains: has she in fact been soothed, or does she have more subtle plans in the works to establish dominance?
With that settled, the leaders of the Republic have turned their attention to a new riddle. Emla the Wise has resurfaced in the Republic, and was found in a shelter maintained by the dwarven Shepherds. He seems to have forgotten the little that he had been remembering about his past before becoming an imperial phantom, and barely remembers his time as a phantom.
Efforts to restore some of the memoires that had been returning have proven futile, and some suspect that this is possibly related to another strange phenomenon that some have called, “Dream Distancing.” There is a palpable sense throughout the Republic that the Dreaming has pulled away from them in some way, or is being buried or blocked or stolen or maybe ironed away. Not only has direct Dreaming research come to a sudden halt, but people don’t even remember having dreams of the normal variety. Everything seems strangely flattened out, lifeless, and mechanical to anyone with any sense of the Dreaming. Why is this happening just after it seemed like the Republic was on the verge of an enormous breakthrough? There are many theories, but few answers.
All of this has left the leaders of the Republic in some confusion about Brev’s role in the disappearance and now reappearance of Emla the Wise. Some are convinced that Brev must be involved, and everyone agrees that the Brevian leader Karn Parathosoomgebunden’s recent behavior has seemed suspicious at least. While there are certainly grounds to take the possibility of a threat from Brev seriously, no firm information about what is really going on has been established. In the face of possible threat from Brev, the Republic has invested heavily in traditional military defenses, magical defenses, and even some efforts to find out if Brev has anything to do with the “Dream Distancing.” The effort has not been carefully coordinated yet, so different leaders have largely pursued their own paths … and have their own resources and insights to contribute to this decision.
Among the other more minor decisions, the large one that hangs before them is this: what is to be done about Brev, their possible involvement in Emla’s abduction, and the fact that they are stonewalling the Republic’s attempts to find out what is going on with Justinian, the other former imperial phantom who has fled to Brev?
Scenario 14: Manifest Destiny
We will take two sessions for this scenario. Voting for this scenario closes at 9 pm on Sunday, Oct 25th. Meetings for this scenario will happen on 10/11 and 10/25.
To vote, go here.
Two weeks after their initial meeting to discuss this situation, Emla the Wise has vanished. The little that is known about his disappearance has been leaked and is widely known:
The locks on the cell were broken, not unlocked. If Emla became immaterial or shadow-stepped out, an effort was made to make this look like a jailbreak.
Shortly after the jailbreak, a Humanity First cell claimed credit in a brief statement. The statement was delivered to the goblin guterrunner network, and reads: “Humanity First will rise again and bring true justice to the Republic. Emla will pay for his crimes.”
There are at least four theories in circulation about what has happened here: Emla escaped, used this as a cover story, and may be a phantom again. Humanity First abducted Emla and will punish him. Some other party has abducted Emla, and is using Humanity First as a cover or fall-guy. Or maybe something else strange and horrible beyond our grimmest imaginings is afoot.
Two months have passed, and the leaders of the Republic have awakened to the news that they may not be the leaders of the Republic after all. Furious at Guild Chief Guadio Pecunia’s repeated practice of capturing and threatening prisoners, they attempted to institute a new law that clearly consolidated control over judicial processes and imprisonment in the hands of Guardian Grimtongue Greatcrown.
However, they were soon beset with demands from essentially every shopkeeper, miner, tradesworker, forest owner, landlord, magical item dealer, fur trader, and on and on and on. They all voiced their strong support for the consolidation of all judicial processes in the hands of the Guild, and expressed their confidence in the Guild to better administer the laws of the Republic than the “old guard” could ever hope to do. Nothing has changed, legally. The power to propose laws is in the hands of Speaker Concordia, and she would have to propose this for it to be enacted. But the powerful blowback on such a fundamental question of governance has made them question how long they can hold on to their fragile legitimacy. What happens if the Guild establishes its own legal system and starts enforcing it?
Against this backdrop, Guild Chief Gaudio Pecunia says that she has “permitted” Guardian Grimtongue to forgive Aiona Dwarfborne and Stella Roughtooth and Emla “the Wise” this time. For now. But she reserves the right to institute true Guild justice whenever and wherever she sees fit.
Gaudio has also announced plans to extend mercantile activity westward, into the wildlands where so-called “wild goblins” live in small clans scattered across unfarmed forests and unmined mines. She says that dragons will be at the forefront of this effort to bring civilization to the Wildlands at last. This will put the Guild (oh, and the Republic) on a footing to properly confront and defeat the Abysson Empire, and provide her growing brood with precious room to live. Will the Republic support her efforts and reap the possible economic rewards?
Meanwhile, Emla the Wise is remembering more and more about his past as a beast person. Based on these recollections, he has an urgent message for the Republic: they have to get Justinian back from Brev by whatever means necessary. How will the Republic respond and does this mean war with (or operations in) Brev?
In the midst of these plans for expansion and intrusion, there’s also news of a different sort of inbreaking among the leadership of the Republic. A lone elf has returned from the Dreaming, and has come to speak to the Republic’s leaders. She says that her name is Iff Ritter. Maybe.
Scenario 13: The Fall
We will take two sessions for this scenario. Voting for this scenario closes at 9 pm on Sunday, September 27th. Meetings for this scenario will happen on 9/13 and 9/27.
To vote, go here.
Seahold has fallen.
It happened slowly, and then all at once.
The Republic boldly announced a general amnesty for anyone in Seahold who wanted to flee, and leaflets were smuggled in by humans and dropped by dragons for weeks. A team of Gaudio’s dragons kept watch over the city, occasionally taking shots from arrows and ballistae for their trouble, but generally remaining safely distant. Nothing happened, and then nothing kept happening.
But then a trickle of people began turning themselves over to the Republic by night. They explained that there were a lot of people in Seahold who wanted to escape, but they were held in by fear: fear that it was a Republic trap, and fear because Humanity First had made it very clear that they would hunt down and punish defectors wherever they were. They were trying to conscript the entire city, including children and the elderly, for a great final battle.
Those who escaped were treated well and cured by the potions, the product of goblins donating their own blood. The stories of those who were cured were dropped over the city in more leaflets. The friends and family of the first escapees became convinced of the viability of escape from Seahold, and began to trust that the Republic was acting in good faith. They spread a word of hope, and over a few weeks the slow trickle suddenly turned into a flood of people.
As this happened, there was a desperate attempt by the Humanity First military to hold the populace in through threats and terror. A few hundred civilians were killed. In the chaos, volunteers from the dwarven Stoneskin Brigades and goblin special forces rushed in and engaged the now-beleaguered and overwhelmed Humanity First military. The Humanity First military had been built up as a raiding and skirmishing force, and was overwhelmed by the combination of mass out-migration and military opposition. A few dozen dwarven soldiers died in the chaos of rioting, flight and battle, and a few hundred Humanity First skirmishers were also killed. As the populace became more afraid of staying than they were of fleeing, Humanity First lost control over the populace of Seahold. Before the siege, Seahold had a population of about 30,000 humans and 10,000 goblins. About 20,000 humans accepted the amnesty and were cured by the potions. No goblins escaped.
Few of the residents of Seahold who fled admitted that they had been fooled. Instead, most of them rather implausibly claimed that they had seen through Humanity First all along and had been part of the resistance. So it goes. (In time, a few brave journal-keepers from that time would acknowledge what it had been like. But in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, denial was the norm.)
With most of the city evacuated, on a cool fall morning the Republic’s forces marched through the empty streets of Seahold looking for hold-outs … and bodies. Outside of the Humanity First raiders who had been killed in skirmishes, they found neither bodies nor resistance. They also found no mass graves. Somehow, the rest of the city had been emptied out. Disappeared. A ghost town. What happened to them?
As they searched the city, the Republic forces did report something strange and … peripheral. While Humanity First had controlled the city everyone could sense shadows at the edge of their vision, lurking wherever you didn’t look. Now it seemed that the entire city was bathed “around the edges” in the strangely beautiful purple-orange light of dusk. Or maybe dawn.
Finally, after a solid week of searching the city, Republic forces found what was perhaps the last remnant of the movement that had overtaken the city: a beast person.
He says that he was Emla the Wise, the Imperial Phantom. He claims that he had planned and executed the subversion of Seahold as an imperial plot. However, he defected in the end. He claims that he hid as the holdouts who hadn’t accepted the Republic’s amnesty were enticed and then driven through shadow portals. Emla claims that he had been cut out of the loop on what was happening at that point. Wherever the portals went, Emla knew that it wasn’t possible for them to carry so many people back to the relative safety of the Empire. Emla supposedly fled and hid out in the countryside around Seahold, part of the area that Humanity First had captured and held. Then one morning he awoke to find that he was no longer an Imperial Phantom.
Emla (if this is Emla) surrenders himself to the leaders of the Republic and tells them that he will accept whatever sentence they hand down.
Meanwhile, it seems that the most recent research into the Dreaming has unlocked something strange. The Loremasters and Shepherds and Keeper-Finders don’t quite understand what they have opened up. Whatever it was, in the wake of it the leaders of the Republic are all having extremely vivid dreams. The dreams are distinct and difficult to decipher, but there is one commonalty: they all seem to be bathed in that same orange-purple light. The light of dusk or dawn.
What sense will the leaders make of their dreams?
And what will justice mean for Emla the Wise?
Scenario 12: Silent Messages
Voting for this scenario closes at 9 pm on Sunday, August 30th.
To vote, go here.
Three months have passed and the human rebellion in Seahold seems to be quieting down. The silence doesn’t come from the peace of agreement, though. It seems to be the silence of death, as the Republic has effectively embargoed the city and its surroundings. What limited reports are available suggest a desperate situation as the plague slowly claims the lives of the humans there.
The Humanity First propaganda outlet, The Tempest, is constantly railing against the slow slaughter of the humans in Seahold. They claim that this is just the beginning of The Republic’s plans to wipe out its entire human population next. Thanks to the effectiveness of the vaccine in the rest of the population, a constant drumbeat of more accurate information from the goblin guterrunner network, and the return of the human leader Terra Concordia to a central role in the governance of the Republic, The Tempest is largely considered a joke outside of Seahold. It was marginalized still further when Grimtongue Greatcrown made an emergency appointment of Terra as Speaker of the Republic, shortly after her acceptance of leadership over the Unity Faction in a complete landslide victory.
Still “largely considered a joke” doesn’t mean that everyone considers it a joke. The Tempest circulates, and a hard core of Humanity First sympathizers still exists in the rest of the Republic, especially in military circles. As they organize their rallying cry has become “For Seahold.”
It is in this context that everyone is now focused on what will happen with a strange Republic fleet that was recently returning from some kind of secret operation in the Empire. The fleet has been stopped by Gaudio Pecunia, and is now detained at her impregnable cavern fortress on the island of Cairn Emra. Who is in charge of this fleet and what was it doing in the Empire? What messages of hope or despair might it carry?
And how will the Republic use whatever information it gleans from recent events to survive, and perhaps even ultimately overcome the Empire?
Scenario 11: The Terrorists
Voting for this scenario closes at 9 pm on Sunday, August 16th.
To vote, go here.
“Kel the Kind is dead, murdered by Gaudio Pecunia and her brood of vicious dragons. The leaders of the Dwarven Republic and some of their goblin lackeys were invited to parlay with Kel and the other leaders of Humanity First in the Human Republic’s Capital, Seahold.
The delegation from the Republic sprung a devious and dastardly dragon trap on the unsuspecting humans, who had been hoping to secure some small measure of local self-determination. Using some strange and yet unknown magic, the goblins unleashed a spell of terror and panic on the human delegation and their guards, leaving them easy picking for the sea of dragons that came swooping down on Humanity First’s diplomatic delegation.
Kel’s love for his people motivated him to draw his sword in a desperate act of defense against the beasts, and he fell in glorious battle. A number of lives were saved thanks to his bold self-sacrifice.
Of course, the terrorists who run the Republic deny these charges, and absurdly claim instead that they were ambushed at the meeting and narrowly escaped with their lives. Their lies cannot tarnish the heroism of Kel, our first true leader, who gave his life so that humans might be free. It is in his most highly exalted and honored memory that the first elections for President of the Human Republic will be held. Humans throughout the Republic are permitted to vote in the election, which will help us establish a true homeland for humankind, free of terrorism and the blind hatred that goblin and dwarf alike feel for our kind.”
Or at least that’s the story in The Tempest, a Humanity-First bulletin that announces important events through Humanity First networks throughout The Republic. The Tempest’s tagline is, “Untouched By Gutterrunners.” It has been circulating widely during the two months since the disastrous effort to meet with Kel the Kind in Seahold, when a Republic delegation was ambushed and narrowly escaped with their lives. Understandably, Humanity First recruitment has increased in some circles in the wake of this “news” as people eagerly prepare for the upcoming election, encouraged by the official declaration of the Human Republic in the wake of Kel’s “brave sacrifice”.
Kel the Kind was alive when the leaders of the Republic last saw him fleeing, covered in dragon feces. If he is in fact dead, at least according to the thinking among some of the Republic’s elite, it is at the hand of the Empire’s agents who completely control politics in Seahold. However, officially, the Empire has declared itself neutral. It has affirmed its undying commitment to the rights of self-determination for all noble races, which it refers to as “dwarf and human and progenitor alike, may the progenitors guide us.” The progenitors are the mysterious and fabled original leaders of the Empire, whose spiritual guidance is said to continue to play a role in the Empire’s flourishing.
Meanwhile, the perimeter around Seahold has been strengthened, and Gaudio Pecunia has instituted dragon patrols that help the guards spot any possible lightning raids. The fortifications are holding, with the few light attacks turning out very badly for the plague-infested Humanity First raiders. Either they were discouraged and have stopped their raids, or they are biding their time and building strength beneath the appearance of military weakness.
The reports in The Tempest have also attracted the attention of the old guard among the dwarven War and Wealth faction, which is experiencing a resurgence in the wake of the “news”. They believe the account completely, and claim that it shows the inevitable backlash that has come from Guardian Grimtongue’s abandonment of the old dwarven ways and embrace of goblin and dragon terrorist tactics instead. A serious effort is underway among them to reclaim the throne and restore Dwarven virtue and Dwarven honor to the Republic.
The plague has been essentially cured outside of Seahold. Under the guidance of the Keeper-Finders and Dwarven Shepherds it has been essentially nearly eliminated, with only regular monitoring needed to maintain the situation. However, within Seahold it seems to be everywhere.
How will the Republic respond to Humanity First’s new propaganda campaign and the dual threat it raises: both human and dwarven insurrection? Or will they let the immediate crises fester a bit longer, perhaps in a desperate attempt to find the heart of the hydra itself somehow striking a blow that can more fundamentally undermine the Abysson Empire’s schemes?
EXPANDED PLAGUE RESEARCH
The more keys invested in this, the more effective the proposed response will be. This includes research into why and how the goblin potions are effective, as well as research into what is happening inside of Seahold, where the plague seems to be functioning differently under the influence of a different sort of goblin blood potion. Some bodies of plague-ridden Humanity First raiders are available for autopsy and investigation.
Operations in the Abysson Empire can commence again, ONLY if there are more keys on the Aggressive side than the Cautious side. This is also where to invest for increased defense against the Empire, on the cautious side. More keys = more effect.
HUMANITY FIRST RESPONSE
Aggressive responses can include things like expanded punishments and violence. Cautious responses include educational and communication-focused responses.
More keys = more effect.
Scenario 10: The Quiet Before
Voting for this scenario closes on 5/10 at 4:30 pm.
To vote, go here.
Three more months as passed, as the Republic has focused heavily on bringing the plague under control, and creating a series of defensive strongholds against Humanity First where the population can take shelter.
The Council of the Republic has convened in response to an announcement by the apparent leader of Humanity First, Florin Quickhand. Florin has called for an end to hostilities, and has invited the leadership of the Republic to meet with him in Seahold to negotiate terms. The Abysson Empire has also sent a message via the Northmen, human traders who facilitate exchange between the Republic and Empire. It is a warning: if Humanity First capitulates to the “inevitably outrageous demands” that will come from their dwarven oppressors, the Empire vows to put the full force of its power behind the liberation movement.
Following this offer to negotiate, all raids on the areas surrounding Seahold stopped.
Now the Councilmembers of the Republic are faced with a decision: will they arrange a formal delegation, and who will lead it? And if no formal delegation is sent, will any leaders “go rogue” and attempt to meet Florin and hold their own negotiations independently?
Opinions are divided. Some see it as the best opportunity to bring a peaceful end to the insurrection, in spite of the inevitable risks. Others worry that it may be a trap, designed to entice the Republic’s leaders to their deaths. Still others are concerned that it may be a trap of another sort: maybe it is an effort to entice and corrupt the leaders of the Republic. Or maybe even stranger things are afoot?
Meanwhile, substantial investments in gathering and distributing the goblin potions mean that the cure is now fully available in areas outside of Seahold. The goblins have been extremely generous in donating blood to the cause. Although the plague is largely under control, the leaders of the Republic have continued to meet using whisperstones because isolated cases continue to pop up in various places around the Republic, even among people who have used the potions. While the rapid spread of the plague has stopped, it is still a fearsome sickness that has been controlled, but not eliminated. Many of the Council Members have friends and family who have personally gotten ill, even after taking the potions. Some dwarves have even died from the plague, becoming so encrusted by a stony skin that they suffocate in a stony shell of themselves.
This pattern of cases leads some leaders to worry that they and their families may be targets of attempts to spread the plague. While the potions seem effective enough to control the plague, it isn’t clear exactly how they work or why they sometimes fail. Is the issue that there are different varieties of plague, or do they only protect to some extent, or are random events being mistaken for a real pattern? Whatever the case, the Republic’s leaders have concluded that the wisest course of action is to avoid meeting in person to limit their own exposure as well as the risk that it will be spread.
Agendas for Scenario 10 (Some players can also add their own agendas):
SEND FORMAL DELEGATION TO SEAHOLD
If more influence is spent on “Yes” than on “No”, there will be a formal delegation coordinated by the Guardian of the Republic. Only a formal delegation can effectively negotiate an agreement between Humanity First and the Republic.
EXPANDED PLAGUE RESPONSE
The more keys invested in this, the more effective the proposed response will be. This includes research into why and how the goblin potions are effective, and why some still get sick.
Operations in the Abysson Empire can commence again, ONLY if there are more keys on the Aggressive side than the Cautious side. This is also where to invest for increased defense against the Empire, on the cautious side. More keys = more effect.
HUMANITY FIRST RESPONSE
Aggressive responses can include things like expanded punishments and violence. Cautious responses include educational and communication-focused responses.
More keys = more effect.
Scenario 9: Nightfall
Voting for this scenario closes on 4/26 at 5 pm
To vote, go here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1n1uzZ677edicpzB7k0IMxXkotFYniNUTCsLMhHRP9nY/edit?usp=sharing
Three months have passed, and the influence of shadow magic has continued to spread throughout the Republic, seeming to infect everything. It is as if night is always hanging around the edges of everyone’s peripheral vision, even in the middle of the brightest day. The shadows hang around even the most noble and sincere efforts of the Republic’s people, raising doubts, fears and suspicions.
The best news relates to the plague. Goblin Loremasters have developed a method for combining the blood from multiple goblins to create a preventative treatment for the plague. It does seem to be somewhat less effective than the potions that come from a single goblin, but that approach risks killing the goblin who gives the blood for the potion. Still, it is much easier to produce in large quantities because goblins can work together to create plenty of it, and goblins are extremely effective at working together. The goblins have moblized to donate blood en masse and deployed the treatment extensively in the areas around the Southern island of Deepcairn and the port of Nurgle, which have the lowest human population. The group immunity has allowed life to substantially return to normal in Nurgle. The Humanity First contingent in Nurgle, such as it is, has been unable to gain traction as a result. One important decision is whether to deploy the cure in Kaltfort and its surroundings, which is largely a dwarven area. It will be relatively easy to ensure that all of the humans in that area receive the new potions, if that decision is made. Still, there are rumors that the process involved in creating the potions was still only poorly understood, and that something strange happened with some of the doses. Humanity First activists around Seahold are convinced that the goblins are developing their own shadow magic through this process, and they argue that everyone else needs to deepen their own understanding of shadow magic in order to keep up with the goblin threat. They also insist that only the more effective potions that come from a single goblin are safe and effective. Ominously, they have stopped expelling goblins from the area that they control around Seahold. Instead, they have increased their raiding attempts, and now they are abducting goblins and bringing them back to the areas they control instead.
Efforts to contain Humanity First in their area around Seahold received substantial investment, but have been minimally effective because the Republic’s tactics have not caught up to Humanity First’s. Humanity First’s ability to conduct “lightning raids” has only increased, and the populations in the areas around them are fleeing. The goblins in those areas obviously don’t want to be abducted and “juiced”, a bit of lingo that has been picked up from Humanity Firsters. The rest of the population is also afraid of catching the plague from the raiders, who reportedly often open plague sores covering their bodies … sores that do not seem to impede or hurt them like they should. After an area’s population flees, Humanity First comes in and claims it. Humanity First has, somehow, been transformed from a dispersed and decentralized movement into a deadly and highly coordinated rebellion.
Finally, there are rumors that the latest goblin incursion into the Empire suffered massive losses, even though they were much more cautious this time. There is talk of sabotage, and an inside job.
Agendas for Scenario 9
(Remember that some other players can propose agendas as well.)
- EXPANDED PLAGUE RESPONSE
The more keys invested in this, the more effective the proposed response will be. The nature of the response will be shaped by the conversations and plans of the players.
2. IMPERIAL RESPONSE
Aggressive / Cautious
Operations in the Abysson Empire can commence again, ONLY if there is more influence on the Aggressive side than the Cautious side. This is also where to invest for increased defense against the Empire. More keys = more effect.
3. HUMANITY FIRST RESPONSE
Aggressive / Cautious
Aggressive responses can include things like expanded punishments and violence. Cautious responses include educational, diplomatic, and communication-focused responses. An aggressive response is only possible if there is more influence on the aggressive side than the cautious side.
More keys = more effect.
Scenario 8: The Sleeping Giant
The Republic has once again placed its fate in the hands of the goblins, who have lead another highly well-funded and well-equipped expedition to the Abysson Empire, in an attempt to gain more information and possible leverage against them. As with goblin business in general, they have kept the results of the expedition quiet until now. No one has been able to determine what they did or what they now know.
Meanwhile, very little has been invested in any public attempts to stop Humanity First. A small quarantine was established around the plague-infested area of Seahold, but the Humanity First movement showed surprisingly effective resistance. A militia made up of Humanity First members has broken through the quarantine, armed with hand-made spears, illegal hedgewizard enchantments, and a fanatical devotion to their cause. Some reports indicate that they have access to some kind of new, powerful and unknown magic, but the reports are confused and contradictory. What is known is that they have been shockingly effective at engaging in lightning raids on the surrounding areas, striking, stealing, and burning without warning, and then vanishing without a trace. They have also driven out a large share of the goblins from the area around Seahold through harassment and violence. It started with rock-throwing, but has quickly escalated into other abuses as well being carried out by their volunteer “Clean-up squads.” Contrary to their claims that removing goblins will stop the spread of the plague, the plague has spread more quickly. Their leadership has responded with a combination of denials (acting as if the plague has not spread), and by blaming the Republic and goblins. On a given day, they might say that the plague has been cured by some hedgcharm that the Republic refuses to allow them to use, and then they may also claim that the goblins have specifically targeted them to increase the spread of the plague as retribution.
Reports indicate that desperate humans in Seahold are joining Humanity First because they believe the propaganda, or because the collapse of Seahold’s economy means that raiding is their best route to getting food and necessities, or some combination of the two. Either way, the limited response from the Republic has created a large opening for a resurgent and dangerous Humanity First movement: its infected militias have started looting and pillaging the surrounding areas, sowing chaos and spreading plague as they go. What’s more, there are rumors that the Humanity First leaders have once again been “removed” (probably put to death) and replaced by a new, powerful, unknown figure.
On the bright side, there has been considerable investment in stopping the plague, and outside of Seahold the quarantines seem to be reducing its spread. Better yet, a small group of goblin Loremasters and human Keeper-Finders claim to have developed a variation on goblin healing potions that can prevent the spread of the plague, but not cure it once someone is infected. They have been giving the potions to people in affected areas, and early reports indicate that none of the people who drink the potions have been infected. Given how quickly the plague spreads, it seems unlikely that they would have stayed this healthy otherwise. However, the potion may have side-effects, and the goblins say that the ingredients involved are difficult to create. Further exploration may, however, give the Republic a way of stopping the spread of the disease entirely, even in infected areas.
Here, as everywhere, there are also concerns: some say that the goblins only learned about the cure through the use of Imperial contacts and Imperial shadow magic. These concerns are only further elevated by the fact that Carmen Reliqua, the Dean of the Finder-Keepers allegedly used a shadow curse in an attempt to kill Ironforge Greatcrown at the last council meeting. Ironforge survived as a result of their stoneskin, which strengthens them against both physical and magical assaults. The Republic attempted to put Carmen under house arrest as a result, but Carmen has managed to remain both uncaptured and unaccountable. In public, they have denied all wrong-doing, and even those who were there at the council meeting have reported that their memories of the event are hazy, although they are confident that Carmen was acting in self-defense after an attack from Ironforge. Understandably, all parties involved seem on-edge and are prepared for the worst as they work through the fall-out from the (supposed?) attack.
Scenario 7: On Dreaming
The plague’s spread has been slowed down, but not halted. Ironforge Greatcrown was able to deduce that the disease was being spread “skin to skin” by the trade in giant otter pelts. How did he know? He claims that the insight was simply based on the way the disease spread so quickly to a range of port towns, but rumors have continued to spread that the shadowy influences at the Foreign Affairs Department gave him the information. However it was that he obtained this insight, areas where people have acted on it have seen the plague’s spread slow down. A quarantine was established in the affected areas, and otter pelts are being turned in voluntarily, or confiscated, and then destroyed by teams of dwarves from the Stoneskin Brigades. These dwarven veterans include many who have been affected by the disease and recovered, which leaves them with stony skin and an immunity to the plague.
However, the quarantine effort was only moderately funded, and so it has depended heavily on voluntary cooperation. In areas where Humanity First is the strongest, enforcement has been most difficult, because its leaders insist that goblins are deliberately spreading the disease. They have kept their pelts and resisted efforts to eliminate them, and have started “Clean-up Teams” that harass goblins and drive them away by throwing stones at them. Seahold is a Humanity First stronghold, and the plague has spread the most quickly there. In Nurgen and Kaltfort, the other main affected cities, the movement is much weaker and the plague’s spread has dramatically slowed down. Still, more investment is needed to stop the spread even in those areas. And if Seahold continues down this path, it could become the seedbed for further outbreaks.
Meanwhile, concerns about Imperial forces somehow “shadowstepping” into the Republic (traveling through shadows) have motivated a small collaborative research program lead by the goblin Loremaster Arc. With current resources, the program has only been able to facilitate a few meetings among Loremasters, Keeper-Finders and Shepherds to discuss what they’ve been noticing in the Dreaming. It has also enabled them to write a shared report to help Republic leaders understand the Dreaming. The main idea in the report is that the Dreaming is a world outside of time that intersects the time-bound world of the Waking, the visible world. Events in the Dreaming may be past, present, future, or they may represent unrealized possibilities, or patterns that shape the Waking. What is found in the Dreaming often connects to the Waking in a symbolic way, where it does connect. For these reasons, it is very difficult to directly connect any particular thing found in the Dreaming to real-world events, although real-world events always seem to connect to the Dreaming somehow. Shepherds, Loremasters and Keeper-Finders have their own perspectives on what has come of these limited efforts, so far.
At the last meeting, most of the efforts of the Republic’s leadership went into arranging and supporting a dramatic change in leadership. Both the Unity and True Unity factions came together to remove Ironforge Greatcrown and Terra Concordia from leadership, with their cooperation. Both have been plagued by strange nightmares, and agreed to step down. A new consensus candidate to lead the Republic in these dire times emerged, being appointed as both the chief executive (The Guardian) and the chief legislator (The Speaker): Grimtongue Greatcrown. Grimtongue is considered the informal leader of the royal dwarven Greatcrown family (the one in this position is called the Arch) and a friend to goblin, human and dwarf. There was a widespread feeling that Grimtongue would bring the steady leadership that the Republic needs as it faces off against the triple threat posed by the increasingly popular Humanity First movement, the Abysson Empire, and the plague. Grimtongue is pulling together proposals for addressing each area of concern as the Republic determines how to invest its strained and limited resources.
Oh, and something very strange has happened with Justinian, the Imperial Phantom. He has apparently disappeared, although a very tall and thin beastman has appeared, insisting that he is Justinian.
Scenario 6: Infections and Defections
It has been 2 long months since the goblin refugees settled in the deepcairns of the Republic’s Southern Islands. Within two weeks of their settlement, plague began to break out among the humans across the Republic: especially in the great markets of Seahold, a major port that is near the goblin’s Eastern cairn system of Heimcairn. There were also major outbreaks in Kaltfort, the Republic’s most Northeastern port, and the areas surrounding the southern cave system, especially the port city of Nurgen. The disease is terrifying: it eats away at the skin of its human victims, slowly at first. But within a week it spreads as painful, oozing wounds cover their flesh. Most die within a month, but areas where the victims have been continue to stink for months. Goblins are unaffected. Dwarves are occasionally infected, but if they are their skin forms a thick crust of stone for about a month. It clears up, but causes long term pain.
Already, the human population has dropped by 1–5%, and panic has spread. While humans remain the clear majority, many are afraid that this will change. In the wake of the plague, the Humanity First Front has issued documents that claim the plague is a deliberate goblin/Abysson scheme, designed to weaken and eliminate the humans. Reportedly, the goblins agreed to spread the Imperial plague in exchange for the Empire allowing a mass migration of goblins into the Republic. A significant share of humans seem to be rallying to their cause, and their cry is: “Freedom now or never.” Meanwhile Terra Concordia, the human leader of the Unity Faction and Speaker of the Republic, moved legislation (The Anti-Sedition Act) to jail anyone suspected of withholding information important to the security of the Republic, and Ironforge Greatcrown has enforced the new law very aggressively. While the Republic’s leaders now know more about the Humanity First Front, the organization’s influence has grown perilously strong.
Meanwhile in economic news, the Guild has started buying up large amounts of the Republic’s gold and platinum, and was even buying up reserves from the Beastmen in Brev and goblins, including those in the Outer Wildlands. The Guild has also invested in a significant defensive expansion for the Republic. The military and its dwarven officer corps have begun to expand quickly, and a network of small ships that communicate through torchsigns is being developed to spot any Imperial naval threats and facilitate a draconic response. There has also been a huge influx of giant otter pelts in the Republic’s markets, as goblin refugees in the warm Southern Islands have sold off pelts they needed for their northern trek. Goblins are better off than before, with the refugees working hard, turning the money from pelts toward investments in advanced goblin agricultural techniques, and quickly integrating into the goblin tribes. This has lead to increased access to healing potions, which depend on goblin mushroom farming. These potions don’t help with the plague, but desperate humans buy them and try to modify them, to no avail.
And what of the Empire? Ironforge Greatcrown has dramatically expanded the Foreign Affairs department, although it seems that he may be doing this with at least partial support from the Empire itself. Or this may just be a rumor. At any rate, many people feel that there is a strange shadow hanging over the Foreign Affairs headquarters that no one can quite describe or put their finger on. It is as if shadows start to creep in at the edges of peoples’ peripheral vision whenever they draw near to it. Still, the department appears to be expanding rapidly and working very effectively, and has turned from its original mission of dealing with international affairs to dealing with Humanity First and other domestic threats. Considering the fact that Ironforge seemed to be making a lonely stand for the department only recently, it is difficult to explain how it suddenly feels like its influence is everywhere. With so many domestic threats looming and the Empire’s fleet devastated, Ironforge has called an emergency meeting to deal with domestic crises. Will the Republic use aggressive techniques such as quarantines and escalated enforcement of its anti-Sedition Laws? Or will it take a more cautious approach, possibly losing precious time as it deliberates further and considers next steps?
Scenario 5: Vanishing into Something
The Republic chose to respond to the imperial threat by lavishly funding and equipping a goblin spy expedition to gather more information about the Empire, over the noisy and lonely protests of Ironforge Greatcrown. He insisted on doing at least something to defend the Empire. In the end, he found support from an unlikely but enormously influential corner: Gaudio Pecunia, the leader of the Guild, who put the entirety of her vast hoard of wealth in the service of the Republic’s defenses. She commissioned dwarven crafters to build a new battery of massive ballista, and dwarven runecarvers to carve new defensive glyphs, which can ensnare and ignite unfriendly ships that sail near them. What’s more, and more controversially, she has also moved from the old Guild Chief’s manor into a massive abandoned goblin cairn out on Seareach Island: Cairn Emra. Her work there has been more secretive. Over the last year the island has been turned into an impregnable fortress from which she says she is better prepared to launch counter-attacks against an imperial sea invasion. Gaudio is rarely seen away from Cairn Emra.
Meanwhile, the goblins were given extensive access to the assets of the Republic to help ensure that their spy expedition was as effective as possible. Dwarven ironside ships and human sailors helped them travel across the northern reaches of the Aralian Sea, a frequently icelocked stretch of frigid outposts, where human sailors trade in giant otter pelts and the precious oil of leviathans. Normal imperial vessels can’t sail there, which made it an ideal route. The Keeper-Finders provided invisibility potions, sleightsound rings and information about Imperial shadow-magic. Speaker Terra raised a special tax to fund fully equipping the goblins with cold weather gear, sturdy but quiet leather armor, and excellent rations and supplies. What the goblins have learned, and what they will share, is an open question.
One other remarkable event occurred: after the previous meeting, Shepherd Hardword warned the people that the judgement of the Earth did not rest on the expedition, but on the defense of the Republic. The next week, there was a massive earthquake out at sea, causing not one but three massive tsunamis. Stranger still, after the earthquake, Keeper-Finder scientists who monitor the oceans claimed that the sea level had dropped two inches. They say that a truly massive amount of water must have gone somewhere to cause this, but they have no idea where.
Finally, Humanity First activity has turned more violent and desperate: they have participated in a number of kidnappings for ransom, and it is said that they are also dealing in Dust, an inky powder that induces a trance-like sleep. It is highly addictive. There are suspicions that the money is being used to stockpile weapons. Their student arm has mostly disappeared, and everyone suspects plans for violent revolution are afoot. The role of the Guild in all of this is unclear, but connections with Humanity First are suspected. And the elves have completely vanished. Their art galleries are now run by Guild agents.
As the Republic’s leaders gather again to decide how to deal with the threat of the Abysson Empire (and a possible Humanity First revolution), they will consider officially-supported aggressive responses to the Empire (which can only be pursued if a majority of the keys go toward them), and defensive responses. The Unity faction may propose legislation of its own, or focus on building up its own power, which may be one way to counteract Humanity First influence. And there is word that the Greatcrowns are reconsidering the wisdom of continuing to place so much trust in the goblins, instead of using a public and open process to make decisions and run them through the Foreign Affairs department. The department is currently staffed by just one dwarf, Gumfinger Greatcrown and a small intel corps. Gumfinger has generally been assigned only ceremonial responsibilities in the famed dwarven Greatcrown family, and is not considered a particularly effective leader for such an important agency. But that seems to be all the department can afford at the moment.
Scenario 4: The Dawn of the Age of Mara?
After the Abysson ships appeared demanding either 50,000 human captives or an unspeakable burden of wealthstones, all the peoples of the Republic came together to defy them. (Though there is some talk that Ironforge Greatcrown considered trading away the humans, before others intervened.) During these discussions, Pax Concordia was overcome by fears that Relgar Swifttrade, the leader of the goblin gutterrunners, would share some sort of information that would be damaging to the Republic. It is possible that these concerns had to do with the discovery of a beastperson berserker charm on Goldsmith Ragerest, the leader of the Merchants and Laborers Guild. This charm drove the dwarf to attempt an assassination of Ironforge Greatcrown, and had lead to Gaudio Pecunia’s promotion to leader of the Guild. Whether Pax or Gaudio was behind the scheme is uncertain, but everyone is asking: “Cui Bono?” Who benefitted from the attack? Dwarves and Humans in the New Unity government deny any foul play in Pax’s death. In the altercation with Relgar, Pax was slain by goblin defenders. Terra Concordia, the previous vice chair of the Unity Faction, quickly consolidated control and became the chair.
While the Unity faction was in disarray, Ironforge Greatcrown fused together a powerful coalition of goblins, dwarves and humans, reunifying the Greatcrown family and the dwarven Shepherds in support of an agenda of cleaning up corruption, establishing true equal rights for all and of addressing the foreign policy crisis by establishing a powerful and well-funded Foreign Affairs Department. It is called the True Unity faction. The goblins were especially influential and important supporters of the new faction. With the Unity faction in disarray after the suspicious death of Pax, Terra Concordia arranged for a new unity government: Ironforge’s faction would control legal enforcement, security and foreign policy. Ironforge Greatcrown was appointed Guardian, with the role focused on these executive functions. A new office of Speaker was created for Terra, as the formal leader of the legislature. She has veto power and control of funding and taxation, and creation of new laws. While well-received by most, a radical faction called Humanity First is displeased. They have driven protests, some of them violent, all across the Republic. Their primary demand is renewed human control of the armory and foreign policy, and they claim that Ironforge has secret agreements with the Abysson Empire to ship off human captives at the first opportunity.
On top of all of this, Gaudio Pecunia has spectacularly revealed herself to be a dragon, a creature of legend. Still, some argue that she is only a human mage capable of briefly taking on a draconic form, since dragons are said to belong to a mythical age long past: the Age of Mara. “Mara” means both “wonders” and “horrors” in Dwarven and Goblin. Whatever she is, Gaudio has dramatically shifted Guild leadership. Once primarily a dwarven organization, she has consolidated the Guild’s power in human hands. Those dwarves who have remained have had to pay her tribute in exchange for the “privilege” of holding onto their offices. Gaudio has become a powerful and polarizing figure for another reason, too: after a brief negotiation, the Abysson Envoy left promising to return, expecting payment. As their fleet sailed away, Gaudio appeared to take the form of a dragon, and took wing after it. Completely unprepared, the fleet was utterly destroyed except for the small luxury frigate of the Envoy, who was left to tell the tale.
Now, the Council of the Republic has convened to consider aggressive or defensive resistance against the Abysson Empire. They will also consider the role of violence as opposed to other tactics, such as subterfuge, communications, negotiations, and non-violent resistance. But when they arrive for the Council Meeting, the Republic’s leaders discover a strange and uninvited guest: an Imperial Phantom from the Abysson empire. Woven of shadows and rags of the finest cloth, the phantom says that it is an Ambassador, here to pursue a resolution that will be “fair and good” for all.
Scenario 3: Set in Stone
Scarguard Greatcrown’s rebellion has collapsed in a surprising and spectacular way.
The Republic was largely united around the goal of resolving the situation as peacefully as possible. But Ironforge’s proposal of a traditional dwarven duel between him and Scarguard was ultimately not enough to create united support for his government. Instead, the Human Unity faction’s proposal of immediate peace talks won out. Still, there are murmurs of discontent and anger at the fact that the Human Unity government bribed supporters with promises of patronage and special perks in the new government. Signs of corruption and favoritism continue to show in their government, as dwarves, goblins and elves have seen a tendency to give them equal rights on paper, although they have put in place a patronage system that usually favors humans in practice. Support for the Unity government remains strong among both humans and dwarves, in large part because of the surprising support for the government by the Shepherds, the guardians of the ancient dwarven lore, and even some of those in the Greatcrown family. It is said throughout the Republic that the judgment of the Earth currently rests on the Unity faction, and many point to the astonishing nature of the collapse of Scarguard’s rebellion as proof.
When the Unity delegation arrived at Scarguard’s stronghold in Duerguardia, they were astonished to find that Scarguard and his leaders had all been turned to stone. In short order, it was found that a number of War and Wealth supporters throughout the dwarven military had also turned to stone, some of which might have been likely coup planners in support of Scarguard. No one had ever seen such a thing, although ancient legends speak of it. It is said that a dwarf’s stonesleep lasts at least 1,000 years. Whatever that might mean in practice, no one is sure.
The goblin gutterrunners, who control news and much of the small-scale street trade in the Republic, were sure to spread the message about the judgment of the Earth on Scarguard’s rebellion. Whatever else this might mean, it seems that Scarguard and his rebels are out of the picture for now, and almost half of the dwarves have concluded that the judgment of the Earth truly does rest on the human Unity government. While the War and Wealth factions and the Strength and Truth factions have both collapsed under the pressure, Ironforge Greatcrown is working to forge a new alliance. He claims his faction will bring reform and fairness back to the Republic, opposing the corruption and favoritism of the Human Unity government.
It is in this context that another enormous decision faces the War Council of the Republic:
Magical warships from the human Empire Abysson have sailed across the Aralian Sea, arriving at Republic’s largest port city, Seafast Hold. They have a demand: they claim that the Republic owes them payment for the human slaves who fled Abysson, and that 20 wealthstones or 50,000 human captives will do. This number of wealthstones will give them an enormous level of ongoing influence in the Republic if granted, because wealthstones allow for influence on trade, services, taste and more. If the request for payment is not granted, the Empire’s ships say that they will leave quietly, for now. They promise that they will return soon enough, but not so quietly next time. Will the Republic pay the “price” demanded by the Empire … or will they invite the Empire to declare war on them?
Scenario 2: Scarguard’s Rebellion
The War Council of the Republic met a year ago to determine whether it would wage war on the Dorgar Goblins to stop their raids on border settlements. At that meeting, the goblins eagerly pursued peace and showed a willingness to cooperate with the Republic in stopping the border raids. With all factions apparently pursuing some kind of peaceful accord, boiling tensions between the human Unity Faction and the dwarven Strength and Truth faction came to the forefront.
Through the magical influence of the Keeper-Finders, the Strength and Truth faction very narrowly held on to power, based on a platform of equal rights for dwarves, humans, goblins and elves. This was a boon of the sort that the goblins had scarcely imagined, although they supported the human Unity Faction for reasons that are not fully understood by any, except for the goblins.
Efforts to implement equal rights for all have met with some success, and some goblins and elves are even considering running for offices in the Unity Faction or the Strength and Truth Faction. Other elves and goblins are considering forming their own factions, to seek representation in the Republic directly.
Meanwhile, the largely dwarven War and Wealth faction has given up efforts to pursue normal political power. Instead, they have begun to sow rebellion. A dwarven militia has just seized control of the town of Duerguardia, a community made entirely of dwarves, and declared it to be the Independent Kingdom of Duerguardia. Scarguard Greatcrown, a distant relative of Ironforge Greatcrown, has taken control of Duerguardia and proclaimed a violent restoration of the Dwarven Kingdom. They have sounded the Greathorn and called all true dwarves to restore the Kingdom to its former glories, puting the goblins and humans back in their place. Humans are also encouraged to join the Kingdom, if they wish to receive more lenient and gentle treatment after the revolution: Scarguard has promised death to all traitors, but mercy on those non-dwarves who aid them. They have significant influence among a number of dwarves, and because the Republic’s military is lead by dwarves there is also talk of a coup in which the Republic’s military might overthrow or otherwise influence the entire Republic.
How will the Republic, the goblins and the elves respond to this new threat to the brave world they are building? Will the Republic mobilize its military in an attempt to crush Duerguardia and its rebellion, or will it try to hold onto its fragile gains in universal rights more peacefully? (Perhaps fending off a dwarven Health and Wealth coup along the way.)
Scenario 1: The Great Goblin War?
Dorgar goblin thieves have been invading the Republic from the Greatvald Forest. The human and dwarven peasants who farm along the forest borders, and their allies, are furious. Many of them are urging the Republic to declare a war with the goblins to drive them back to their caves, where they lurk in the depths of the forest.
The Republic is mainly made up of dwarven and human citizens, with a small but widespread population of goblins living among them. There are even a few elves living in their midst. Goblins and elves are allowed to live and work in the Republic, but cannot become citizens or vote. Little is known about the goblins among those who live in the Republic, and the goblins seem to know little about the Republic, as far as anyone can tell.
A goblin delegation has arrived to negotiate with the powerful War Council of the Republic, as the nation considers going to war. Our story begins with a meeting in the Great Hall of the War Council, which will soon decide the fateful question: Will the Republic go to war against the goblins or not? And what will become of the goblins, the peasants, the war council, and the Republic’s leader: the Guardian. As for you: will your character achieve what they want, in the end, and learn what they want to learn along the way?