Danse Macabre Part 4
Send to the players before the game :
28th of October 1347, Marseilles (Provence, Holy Roman Empire) His Magnum Opus cost him everything: his fortune, his family, his soul. Under the unholy gaze frozen in clay of his demented masters he works tirelessly. The end is near, his pact is formal. Soon he will be the richest man in Marseille and probably in the whole Empire ! ⚜️⚜️⚜️💀💀💀
28 Octobre 1347, Marseille (Provence, Saint Empire romain) Son Grand Oeuvre lui aura tout coûté : sa fortune, sa famille, son âme. Sous le regard impie figé dans l'argile de ses maîtres déments, il travaille inlassablement. La fin est proche, son pacte est formel. Bientôt, il sera l'homme le plus riche de Marseille et probablement de tout l'Empire ! ⚜️⚜️⚜️💀💀💀
Intro - Danse Macabre
- Initial situation :
- Date : 28 October 1347
- Location : Marseilles (Provence, Holy Roman Empire)
Previously, the players have found an invitation for a Masquerade (Bal Masqué) for the Toussaint 31 Oct 1347 !!!! (Fete des morts). There was a date, but no address on it. On the invitation, there is a drawing of the Saint Victor Abbaye in the background. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbaye_Saint-Victor_de_Marseille This is a hint that the ball will happen in Marseille. And indeed, a ball is organised there, near the docks.
The players find where the maskerade was supposed to happen. It was supposed to happen in Marseille. In the cathedral. They arrive few weeks before to try to investigate.
Every year, a Masquerade (Bal Masqué) is organised in Marseille by the church. It happens in the cathedral : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbaye_Saint-Victor_de_Marseille
The actual point of this masquerade is to gather all the representatives of the different Bone objects.
The ball is organised by "Bishop".
During the ball, he will give them instructions on how to meet them for the final ritual : The burning of the tower.
Cathedral is a living place, lots of beggars and orphans. People sick and poor. But balls are organised there too.
The players go to the cathedral early. To prepare.
The maskerade is organised every year it's not connected to "L". "L" uses this venue as a way to secretly give instructions on the actual meeting place and time. The meeting will happen in the cathedral where they will do the final ritual of the bones. The deacon of the cathedral ("Bishop") is corrupted as well.
The danse macabre masquerade The cathedral is mostly closed. Because it's in construction. All services are held in one wing which is still open They build a spire of bones, to be sure the workers aren't aware that those are bones, they are hidden in word and straws
- Explanations :
"L" has been preparing a ritual for a very long time. For his ritual to succeed, he needed lots of skeletons of people killed in a certain way.
That's why he recruited the Merchant "Coin", the Ministrel "Violin", the deacon "Bishop" etc... They had the task to kill X people in a very specific way. "Coin" had to buy corpses or sell goods that would kill, "Violin" had to dance them to death, etc.... As a compensation, they got gold, support and a "Bone" item.
All these corpses where shipped to him to marseille encased in bricks made of flamable materials.
The point is to make a spire with all the corpses and burn it.
If successful, this ritual will multiply the virality of the plague and let it spread through europe.
- Unsolved mysteries :
Why trigger the Black Plague ? Who is "L" ? Where does those "Bone" objects come from ?
- Historical themes :
Bal des Ardents : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bal_des_ardents tragic even where a charivari ended in a fire Cour des miracles Orphans Beggars Whores Aumone Hospital Cathedral
Part 1 Cour des Miracles
- Normal : Z_Normal-Cathédrale Silencieuse
|Visit of the cathedral and infirmary.
|There's an old man in his bed, with a lady sobbing at his side. She's a whore (she wears very bright colours) and he is her dying father. Her son was taken as well. Her left shoulder is bleeding a strange wound with a strange shape.
When interrogated, she will explain that she was forced to partake in satanic rituals. She remembers particularly the stench of sulfur and the heat. (more infos about her in the scenario track.
|A Leper come to them asking for Alms. He said he was refused in the Leprosy. He is an actual lepper. He tell the players that orphans are disappearing, he also tell them about people meeting at night in the crypt below the cathedral. When he goes there, he cannot find the door, he points to a wall (an actual wall). He just rememebr wrong. When he sees the wall Music : Alone in the Dark Mysteries
|They see a man counting coins. When approached he pretends to be blind. He is a thief. After they finished takling to him, their purse is gone. And so is he. When he sees the wall Music : Alone in the Dark Mysteries His left shoulder is bleeding a strange wound with a strange shape.
|They go to their room. The hostel owner have been killed. Stabbed at the left shoulder. When they see he is dead : Alone in the Dark Mysteries Their stuff have been stolen. When they leave the hostel, it burns. When it burns. When they see it burn : Berserk Behelith
|A riot between sailors (ville basse) and soldiers (ville haute) they fight against a new tax instored in the ville haute that tax goods coming from the sea and sold at ville haute. The Lepper is found dead in the riot. When they see the dead lepper : Berserk Behelith His left shoulder is bleeding a strange wound with a strange shape.
|They see a vallet feeding an orphan. He runs away and bring them to the trap. When they are attacked : Baston Bridgands !
The players arrive at the cathedral of Marseille. They are Greeted by the ex deacon (évèque) of Marseille : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasbert_de_Valle He is the Camerier of the pope : E.g. he manages finances for the pope. He managed to get funds to renovate the cathedraL. THe current Deacon (évèque) stays in Avignon while the cathedral is being renovated.
The evil cult will pay some poor to take part of their rituals, part of the ritual is to wound them in the shoulder. The wound is the shape of a hare foot, it's the sign of the devil.
The Deacon has a crosier (crosse épiscopale) with a relic inside. A little chesspiece representing a skeleton Bishop.
He greets the players and they talk about the Masquerade that will happen.
As they meet him, he is playing chess against a canon.
The players can make one move.
The game pieces have their specific moves, which are also used for Byzantine (round) chess: The King moves one square in any direction. The Counsellor/Queen moves only one square diagonally. The Elephant/Bishop moves exactly 2 spaces diagonally. It can jump over other game pieces. This means that its movement is restricted to only 8 places on the board. The Knight moves like the modern chess knight: two spaces forward/backward or sideways plus one space at a right angle (an L-shape). The knight jumps over other pieces. The Rook moves like the modern one: unlimited movement forward, backward or sideways until it has reached another piece. It cannot jump. The Pawn moves one square forward when not capturing. Capturing occurs one step diagonally. Unlike modern chess, the pawn does not have the two-square step as the initial move. When pawns reach the other end of the board they are promoted to a counsellor.
He is very cooperative (he's a Trickster).
The Cathedral is being expanded, they want to build some new towers https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbaye_Saint-Victor_de_Marseille#Les_remaniements_d%E2%80%99Urbain_V
He will let them visit if they want except the tower because it's unstable yet.
Worse case scenario if they really want to visit the tower, they see nothing. Bones are hidden inside bricks made of material that can burn but looks like stone.
He want to throw them on the wrong trail. So he tells them about the numerous Oprhans disappearing. In the mean time he will order thugs to kill the players.
He says there is a heretic cult in town who takes orphans.
The point is to lure players into a trap.
They visit the hospice with the deacon. They see Leppers, old people, beggars, orphans, diseased, wounded soldiers, madman, crippled, prostitutes.
(if the ask the orphans to stop begging, they need to pay, but it doesn't solve anything, just stop the killings)
Action : Ask the orphans where they go beg. See that there is just one street with zero orphan beggars (because that's where they disappear)
Action : Ask the prositute where she met with the person that led her to the statanic ritual.
The prostitute has a lot to say. Her sould is broken since her son got caught and since she partook in the satanic ritual. She remembers that she was paid by a very wealthy vallet wearing provins blue in a street in Marseille. Little did he know the horrors she would have to commit to survive. Then he put a blingfold on her and she walked on pavement, then grass, then some moving stone noise, then crawling underground, then a massive door unlocked and she arrvied in hell. She cries as she describes hell : The heat, the sulfure. She was like inside a stomach. There were statues decapitates with weird clay horrors instead of their heads. There was an assembly of people in black robes. One of them was the master of the ceremony, he was the most cruel. Under his cape there was something like wings. His voice was sweet and seductive, sweet like a knife. Most prostitutes, orfans and beggars who where brought there died if they refused to submit. She wishes that she had to courage to die, because now her soul is gone because of the horrors she commited. They made her to horrible things and as a prostitute, she have done disgusting things in the past but nothing of this magnitude. There was rape, but not only, there was murder of childrens, but not only, there was canibalism but that wasn't event he worse of it. She refuses to say what was the worse of it because it broke her sould. (some kind of combination of the three in the wrong order. The point is not to describe gruesome things to the players but to suggest them.) She cries and want to redeem.
Action : There is a vallet looking through his window all the time. For no reason.
Action : They search his home, he is not here. He left throught the window to go to a nearby home (the two homes are very close.)
The other home is a trap. That's where they are attacked.
A lot of brigans with clubs come to them. When they are attacked : Baston Bridgands !
Combat (Skirmish) or they are wounded before the guards arrive.
Part 2 Danse Macabre
- Normal : Psychlopean King in Yellow (put in the background with very very low volume : Vampire Dark Waltz)
|The ball starts with a feast in the cathedral. That draws all the poors. The meat tastes weird. Everyone wears a mask, even the poor. Lots of tables, from rich to poor. Different food on each tables. A very strong feeling of evil. Almost everyone have a wound at the shoulder.
|A strange noble come to them and ask for a Dance. He insist. If a player dance with him or refuse, he take off his mask and salute. He has the same face of a baron that died a long time ago. A splendid lady that radiates evil takes his hand to ask him to dance (she is the "Lover" of the danse macabre). Later on, the players cannot see him anymore.
|Their drink have been exchanged with blood. They spit. In their food. They find a card with a skeleton.
"Vous qui vivez: il est certain,"
"Quoique cela tarde, que vous danserez."
"Mais quand, Dieu seul le sait!"
"Réfléchissez à ce que vous ferez alors. "
|Someone shouts start attacking someone else with his knife. He is a madman : "Is saw them ! Human bodies in the cathedral ! Hundreds of them ! ! I hear their screams ! Don't get any closer !" He is not wounded at the shoulder. He is quickly surrounded by guests with skeleton masks, in particular a monk face hooded with a rosary (chapelet in english) made of bones that radiate evil take his hand and take him away (it's the Priest (curé), also an artifact) and he is taken out of the ball. Never to be seen again.
|A man with a skeleton mask come to one of the players that have an artifact. He ask him to dance and the player cannot resist. This player is gone until the next phase. He is found unconscious on the way to the cemetry. With a wound on his shoulder.
|Music : Behelit Berserk Characters chained together and covered in feathers and oil arrive and scream like monsters.
|Music : Danse Macabre The fire starts and the maskerade stops, players are caught in the fire.
The players attend the Masquerade / Charivari / Carnaval. All the Danse Macabre characters will attend.
It's held in part of the cathedral everyone has masks.
They feel some very heavy ambiance.
Action : scan the crowd for artefact bearers, there are clearly lots of them who avoid the inquisitors as much as possible. They are extremely defensive. For example they see :
A man completely obessed with a small chest hidden by a piece of cloth. The usurer.
They see a couple sitting on a donkey. The man on the back, the lady in front. Followed by a lot of people making a lot of noise. It's a charivari, a punishment because they re-married. The donkey is followed by a man with a walking stick. He radiates evil It's the Hermit.
Some of the guests start to puke blood. A doctor come to them. His face covered with a mask. He radiates evil. He walks them out of the party. They will die the next day.
A Wealthy religious men with a Ring that radiates evil. The cardinal.
A man with Huge arms that radiates evil. The sergent.
Action : follow them, they can see that a weird person (disguised as the grim reaper) give them all a letter.
Action : Either they steal the guy's bag discreetely or take the letter from an artifact bearer who is drunk.
The letter is a name and date in the past and a time. It's the name of a person who died. Raymond II des Baux 1237, he was the lord of Marseille a century ago.
Action : Tonight they should go to the grave of the person with the given name. It's a small crypt.
When they leave the maskerade, the fire starts, but they are spared.
There they see someone waiting for them.
They have to get rid of him one way or another.
Clearly there are traces of a recent passage.
Part 3 The crypt
- Normal : Z_Flippant-Gyorgy Ligeti without 01-GyrgyLigetiRequiem
|They hear a long scream echoing and then it's gone.
|As they crawl, there's some blood stains on the floor. It taints their clothes.
|Scratching noise coming from a tomb. It's a rat inside.
|Blood dripping from the ceiling. No idea where it come from. They hear chanting. Something evil is happening upstairs.
|They see a man crawling in their direction. He was the victim of sacrificial rites, his skin is covered in cuts, his muscles are paper thin. Shortly after the players find him, he dies.
|Lots of Owl (Hiboux) arrive and look at the players. After a while. They all leave at the same time.
|The cultists found them and try to smoke them out. They are Wounded. Music : (fast start) Light of the Seven (EP 10 Trial scene) at 00:40 the gallery is full of smoke and they start to choke.
They enter the des Baux crypt, there is a secret passage that lead to the cathedral. There hear people talking and it resonates a lot.
The secret passage arrives in a strange building. (it's a forgotten part of the crypt of the cathedral)
The entrance is concealed and they have to find the entrance.
Eye of detail : reveals one of the tombs that was frequently opened
Knowledge : Reveals the name of a person that is not supposed to be buried here
Strength : Allows to open all tombs quickly
Worse case scenario they spend a lot of time doing it. Which advances the ambiance track by one.
Uner it is a very narrow tunnel recently dug, they have to crawl for a certain time, then they arrive in the crypt.
One of the players is stuck. They have to help him.
The crypt is situated in the cathedral. When they enter, they hear chanting from outside.
There is a monk that heard them enter. He hides.
When they are all inside, they hear a lock sound.
The monk just locked the gate they came from, then he throw away the keys.
They are locked in.
Three doors in total : The door they came from, locked with a heavy gate. The heavy iron gate that leads to the cathedral : Locked before they came in. A strange wooden door.
He starts shouting, they kill him quickly.
They have to find a way out without making too much noise.
The monk threw away the keys through the gate they took to enter. Just one key is reachable.
Action : they have to find a smart way to reach it.
It is a key with a carved skull on it. The key looks like a small dagger.
There is a wooden door which is covered with metal sculptures of skeletons. Skeleton dancing with people. It is locked.
Action : One of the statues is perfectly identical to the Bone Chesspiece. if they pull it down, it reveals the keyhole. Then either lockpick or use the key.
There is a very strong smell of sulfur that pours from the room behind. The players puke. Thé room is very warm. Because the blood pool de was boiling. They question wether they are in hell or on earth.
THe room is an ancient crypt with statues, all of which where mutilated. INstead of their heads there is an awful clay figure sqhowing horrible scenes (rodin gates of hell style)
There are lots or alchemical equipments and a very strong stench of chemicals mixed with blood.
In the corner of the room there is a pedestal to put a book and lots of chains to keep it. But the book is absent.
They see a bookshelf and lots of notes. One open book.
Action : The last written note is a letter.
The letter explaine that the person has few weeks to hold his part of the bargain, he has to kill X people in this exact way otherwise they will come for him. And death will be the last of his worries. Signed "L."
Action : The open book is a ledger it talks about all the "bricks" brought by each persons.
Action : Read the book son the book shelf. One of them will force the user to keep it.
Action : Analyse the alchemical substances either using a skill or by reading the books.
One of the alchemical substances is very strong burning rock.
Action : use it to break the gate that leads into the cathedral.
They see the ritual happening. They understand that they are in the cathedral.
Part 4 The tower of bones
- Normal : Baston Skeleton Dance
They find the tower of bones. Then a fire starts.
|The fire starts. The cathedral is on fire. There's a spark of fire on their clothes which start burning.
|The fire is unnaturally strong. They smell strong incense. They see some ritualists falling with candels they recognise some poor they saw before, for example the prostiture. Tha'ts how the fire started.
|The tower burns, revealing skeletal hands in the fire. An artifact bearer drops and starts drooling. The other players can wake him up.
|Incense smell intensifies. They hear souls screaming. they now see clearly that the tower is hiding a spire of entwined skeletons.
|The sound of souls screaming is strong and unbearable. Some heads open and scream fire then the skeleton falls. All the players who have artifact start walking toward the tower, the other players stop them, but they all temporarily insane.
|More and more skeletons start falling from the tower. THe ground is glowing red with skeletons crawling. Parts of the roof caves in. They have to avoid it.
|The tower collapses. Same for the roof of the Cathedral. They are hurt.
The ritual is accomplished, they start to burn the tower.
All the artifacts holders keep chanting, they are at the top of the cathedral.From times to time some people doing the ritual fall.
The players try to stop the ritual but to do so they have to climb the cathedral and "Bishop" is there to attack them.
As the tower burns, it reveals all the corpses bound in a spiral.
Fire pours through the skulls.
They hear horrible sounds, like souls.
The air is filled with strong incense, makes them hallucinate.
Phase after phase the fire become more unnatural and stronger. Start to burn more and more of the cathedral.
BOSS fight against the deacon "Bishop".
When they enter the cathedral, "Bishop" happens to be there.
If they have any remo way to attacking him, they skip one step.
There's a very narrow stair. "Bishop" ask a cultist to hold it with a spear. The "cultist" is a poor from before with a mark on his shoulder. He is clearly not himself.
Combat skills can work or any other way to kill him. Otherwise they are wounded.
They climb the stairs, "Bishop" raises a dead cultist poor man corpse. His eyes burns. One of the players clearly see that it is only a big cultist with a skeleton mask. He has a Shield and a mace.
Action : Combat duel can work. Attacking the roof can work. Otherwise one player has to stay and let the others pass. He is wounded or killed.
There a very narrow "poutre" they have to cross, but two crazed poors shoot at them.
Action : They have to find any meaningful way of passing through. There's no protection immediately next to them, but the previous soldier had a shield.
They get closer to him and he starts screaming, which breaks all the surrounding windows and there's a surge of fire, it break all remaining ground between him and them.
They have a way to retreat to the nearby walls.
Or they have a shot at him.
Action : if they have anything to attack distantly or jump through, they can do it. If not they have to leave. If they go back, they can grab the bows of the previous soldiers, but they have to be very veyr fast.
If they reach this point fast enough, they can leave indemn. Or they are hurt.
if they manage to kill him they can keep the Bone Chesspiece.
Either way, they are separated from the rest of the cultists who run away.
The ritual is a success.
The players have no choice but to jump to water to leave the burning cathedral. They see a ship that is attached to the cathedral.
Epilogue musics :
- Firelink Shrine 1h + Fire sound
All the city is fighting the fire for a long time. After hours of fight, the fire is finally tamed. They use large hooks to destroy the buildings around it. But for some reason the fire doesn't propagate at all outside this tower of the cathedral.
All the city is helping to clear the fire. In the remnants of the cathedral, they find an ocean of burned bones. In the ocean of corpses, they see a huge iron egg containing lots of half dead people. One of them only is alive, it is an italian sailor. His body is almost entirely burned. He has a big commplicated pattern completely black on his left shoulder. His body is covered in black spots. He explains in latin that their ship was attacked and they where caught in this weird ritual.
He caughts a lot. He dies in the same day.
The pope is very embarrased that a person very close to him was a heretic, so he decided to change the date of his death, to make sure he couldn't be linked to this incident and made sure nobody could talk about this event. Since only the tower burned, he decides to rebuild it.
The sailor is sent to a hospital and dies shortly after there.
All the people in the hospital die of the plague. The black plague is releaseed in Marseille !
1 November 1347
Post Game Bonus
Send those to the players as a post game bonus :
The Cathedral of Marseille : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbey_of_St_Victor,_Marseille
Actual picture of the crypts below the Cathedral : 
There was an actual events where during a masquerade people coevred themselves in feathers and oil and caught fire (even though it was not at that period) it was later called the "Bal des Ardents" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bal_des_Ardents :