Thursday, October 12, 2023

All Roads Lead to Molont (Encounter Tables)

While my Lanthanide Horizon campaign grinds up to speed, I am haunted by entirely unrelated things - in particular, Skerples's Bosola, a 14th-century near-Italy that is certainly having... a time of it. The Archpriest Simon II rules from the city of Molont, while the other Archpriest, Ignatius I, is hosted by the wealthy nation of Pellamy.

To the surprise of no one, they do not like each other very much.

While Bosola is, in theory, united by their support for Simon II, the peninsula's many cities are too busy knifing each other to... do anything for him. The Church's funds, split between the warring Archpriests, are used to bid for the same foreign mercenaries that the cities seek.

Everything is on fire. Cities are spasming in revolution, or up for sale, or besieged. Mercenary companies (such as the PCs'!) march from town to town, working for Simon II one day, the city of Arda the next, and the nearly powerless Emperor of Grept (technically, legally, owner of all the parts of Bosola that aren't personal property of the Archpriest) on the third.

Skerples's wonderful pointcrawl map

This is, secretly, a GLOGtober post; random encounters on ancient roads - older than the Archpriests, they say. 1d6 for encounter type, 1d6 for encounter.

1. Mercenary Encounters

  1. Six soldiers from the Sable Company trudge down roads and through fields, dragging a cannon behind them. They are terribly lost, and there's a decent chance they'll get their cannon stuck in a ditch before they find their way back.
  2. The foreign Company of Saint Beria, hired by Pellamy and the Archpriest Ignatius I. Only around two hundred of them are left - and nobody's paying them to kill you.
  3. An exceptionally foreign mercenary company of unknown name and unknown tactics, five dozen strong.
  4. Two dozen more members of the Sable Company, who haven't been paid in months. They aren't "sliding into" brigandage, they're reveling in brigandage.
  5. The core one hundred soldiers of the Company of Sunrise, along with their leader Azzone of Verrino, heading to a city to camp. It is said that Azzone has the patronage of a demon, who predicts the future for him - but only on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (Saturday and Sunday are the days of the Saints and the Authority, respectively, so no demon could issue predictions related to them. The lack of Friday, however, has no precedent.)
  6. The entire 1000 man Peerless Company, along with a village worth of camp followers. May as well be a town on the move. Last hired by the Archpriest Simon II, and now returning to Molont.

2. Papal Encounters

  1. A bishop rides down the road in a large carriage, surrounded by servants and guards. Get out of the way.
  2. A papal messenger, running their horses ragged. They will pay you handsomely for yours (if you have any), and then return to their frantic sprint. Their letter concerns the current and future positions of the Peerless Company - and would be worth so, so much money to the forces of Ignatius I.
  3. A menagerie of lions, leopards, elephants, peacocks, falcons, and some kind of terribly tall, long-necked camel, herded down the road to be given to the Archpriest.
  4. A crowd of runaway monks, who have no idea what to do now. Attaching themselves to a mercenary company wouldn't be so bad...
  5. Fifty members of the Archpriest's (50/50 chance which) personal soldiers. Impeccable, imperious, impervious. They're even taller than you.
  6. An absurd spectacle. A twelve-wheeled, two-story carriage, flanked by hundreds of mounted people. The Archpriest Simon II, out of Molont and on the road... or so it seems. In truth, this is a body double, sent on some kind of convoluted mission. On the other hand, a copy of the Archpriest may be worth just as much as the real thing.

3. Civilian Encounters

  1. A merchant caravan, loaded with grain, gold, and armed guards.
  2. A small hunting party from a local village.
  3. A princeling of some city or another, blessed with a complete lack of self-preservation and, to balance it out, an immense sense of self-importance.
  4. Four pilgrims, headed to some tiny shrine nestled in the absolute middle of nowhere.
  5. A gang of bandits, who only realize how large a group the PCs travel with after jumping out at them.
  6. A crowd of refugees - their town has just been sacked by mercenaries. They don't know why. They don't know who.

18th century engraving of mercenary company leader Luchino Visconti, by, as far as I know, an anonymous artist

4. Villages & Buildings

  1. A small village, currently in the midst of their spring festival. They absolutely do not, even slightly, want a mercenary company rolling into town, but they can't do much of anything about it.
  2. A looming castle-tower on a rock outcropping. Still occupied, and subservient to the nearest city on the point map.
  3. A looming castle-tower on a rock outcropping. Still occupied - the home of a cackling, theatrical Sorcerer. Powerful, independent, and unpredictable. If you're lucky, they'll think you're amusing.
  4. A very, very old church, now in ruins. There is a relic inside, of some near-forgotten saint. Unfortunately, you'll be struck by lightning if you steal it.
  5. A town with a large portion of the underfunded, poorly-managed, and generally kind of incompetent Sable Company parked in front of the gate. They would, of course, like to come in. The town would, of course, prefer if they did not.
  6. An orchard!

5. Wild Things

  1. A swarm of some kind of small songbird blots out the sun - then descends to steal food, hide in places, peck ineffectually at people, and carry off anything they can use for nests.
  2. Someone, somewhere, lost track of a flock of sheep. Now they're yours.
  3. Back away slowly - your horse, or your foot, just about trod on a snake.
  4. A tree, bearing golden fruit. Each and every fruit is electrified at all times.
  5. A herd of wild boars. Probably not the best thing to interact with.
  6. Some kind of awful chimera - the head of a bull, the legs of an ant, the arms of a man.

6. Encounters with the Supernatural

  1. A demon, sent from below to tempt the souls of humankind. Do you want gold? Health? To know the secret language of the birds? All is yours - just sign here.
  2. A walking dead man, an agent of the terrible Necromancer, about whom little is known. The dead man cannot be killed again, but he can be dismantled.
  3. A Sorcerer, riding a mount of blown glass they projected from their mind.
  4. Ghostly fires and the sound of distant music. The lights are coming over the hill - they are getting closer.
  5. A circle of standing stones, crackling with static at all times of day and night. Step through and find yourself in the same place, but a distant time.
  6. A crowd of runaway monks - secretly scholars of occult forces. Might be able to lay down curses with a set of secret hand-signs, or might not; but I wouldn't risk it, personally.

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