Danse Macabre Part 6
- 1 Teaser
- 2 Intro - Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Avenionensium
- 3 Part 1 Intrigue in Avignon
- 4 Part 2 Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Avenionensium
- 5 Part 3 The Labyrinth of Paper
- 6 Epilogue
Send to the players before the game :
10 January 1348, Avignon (Papal States) Most Holy Father, all your life you have served our Lord. Thus, it is without mistrust that you followed death when it came for you. Did you not see the black claws hidden under her dress? Who will now be able to deliver you from this satanic trap? ⚜️⚜️⚜️💀💀💀
10 Janvier 1348, Avignon (États Pontificaux) Très Saint Père, toute votre vie vous avez servi notre seigneur. Ainsi, c’est sans méfiance que vous avez suivi la mort quand elle est venu vous chercher. N'avez vous pas vu les griffes noires dissimulées sous sa robe ? Qui pourra à présent vous délivrer de ce piège satanique ? ⚜️⚜️⚜️💀💀💀
Intro - Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Avenionensium
- Initial situation :
- Date : 10 January 1348
- Location : Avignon (Papal States)
Before the game begin, let your players know that they should all have Immune (disease) Feat, which explains why they are still alive. If any payer doesn't have it, starting from this scenario he has to roll a die 6 on the beguinning of each scenarios, 5 or 6 he lives, anything else, he has the plague and dies.
After the events in Marseilles, the players are summoned to Avignon. After one week of travel, they arrive in Avignon the 10th of January 1348.
Few days later, the 10th of January, they are summoned by the pope.
He received a letter signed by Cardinal Élie de Nabinal dated from this morning saying that they murdered Agoust Louis des Beaux and asking that he is excommunicated, there is do doubt that the letter is genuine.
The Pope is supportive, but he still deserves an explanation.
Music : Z_Normal-Palais des Papes
The 10th of January, they are summoned by the pope.
Description of the palace of the Pope :
There could not be a more beautiful ensemble in its simplicity, more grandiose in its design. It is indeed the entire Papacy, standing, sublime, immortal, spreading its majestic shadow over the river of nations and centuries that rolls at its feet.
On ne saurait concevoir un ensemble plus beau dans sa simplicité, plus grandiose dans sa conception. C'est bien la papauté tout entière, debout, sublime, immortelle, étendant son ombre majestueuse sur le fleuve des nations et des siècles qui roule à ses pieds.
The players pass by a massive gate, lots of people amassed at the entrance, but the guards don't let anybody in because of the plague.
The players are greeted by the doctor of the Pope "Guy de Chauliac" He forbids the players from approaching the pope, he meet them in front of his chambers and they talk through a door. With perfume being burned in the whole room. Guy de Chauliac explains the relation between the current outbreak and the Justinian Plague. He ask thousands of questions to the players because they are witnesses to the outbreak and he is very interested. He insist that the players will meet the pope, so they should prepare and put on their very best clothes. Ask the players what they will wear for the occasion.
He opens the door and has a letter in his hand. The Cardinal is here too in a corner.
Music : The Ringed City - Dark Souls III
Christendom is torn by god's wrath, countless people are dying in the streets of Marseilles every day and the masses are hungry for answers. You belong to the most holy inquisition and have to live up to its name. I have received this letter, signed by the Cardinal Élie de Nabinal accusing you of the murder of Agout Louis des Baux with the complicity of Hugues des Baux and demanding your immediate excommunication. I give you a week to resolve the matter with his Eminence of Nabinal, after which I will have to agree to his request.
La chrétienté est déchirée par le fléau de Dieu, d'innombrables personnes meurent chaque jour dans les rues de Marseille et le peuple demande des réponses. Vous faites partie de la très sainte inquisition et vous devez être à la hauteur de son nom. J'ai reçu cette lettre, signée par le cardinal Élie de Nabinal ici présent, vous accusant du meurtre d'Agout Louis des Baux avec la complicité de Hugues des Baux et demandant votre excommunication immédiate. Je vous laisse une semaine pour résoudre ce problème avec son Eminence de Nabinal, après quoi serait contraint d'accéder à sa requête.
The Cardinal says :
It is all true Most Holy Father, I saw them with my own eyes commit this henious crime in a church in Marseilles.
C'est exacte Très Saint-Père, je les ais vu de mes yeux commetre cette acte audieux dans une des églises de Marseilles.
The Cardinal seems very uncomfortable.
The players have just one sentence to say before the pope goes back to his room. Here they can use some Feats if they have to demonstrate that they are innocent. They have this one chance. The players should find a way out of the accusation. Either using a skill, or using proof. What proof do they have ?
Cardinal de Nabinal wasn’t even in Marseilles at the time. But right now they can’t prove it.
Either they use a skill right now, or they have to prove their innocence in the coming section.
- Explanations :
Tancrède le Bon, The Valet of Cardinal Élie de Nabinal is "the cardinal"
His ring allows him to use Necromancy on the grave of Jean XXII. He uses this power for two things : First he need to steal the right books and send them to the alchemist "the pope" who is right now in Austrial. And he uses this power to try to get rid of the players.
- Unsolved mysteries :
- Historical themes :
-Vatican Secret Archives
-Pope Jean XXII
Part 1 Intrigue in Avignon
- Normal : Z_Normal-Palais des Papes
|Ambiance Track |
|5 min||They see a painter Mattéo Giovanetti painting the walls in avignong. He paints an army of devils coming to Avignon. He watches the players super anxiously. He says : Are the rumours true ? The Death is coming to Avignong ? I pray that the sancity of these walls will keep the horror at bay. They hear some couhing in the distance.
Francesco Petrarca is nearby, he says :
"behold, I am She, whom they, fierce, and blind, and cruel name, Who meet untimely deaths;"
"Je suis l’importune et la cruelle que vous appelez sourde et aveugle, ô vous pour qui il fait nuit avant le soir."
|15 min||They pass through a corridor and notice that all the people who pass by them avoid them and keep a very safe distance.
The word spread that they came from Marseille, so people avoid them.
|30 min||There's a Cardinal packing all his things, he is leaving Avignon. The pope told everyone who wanted to leave that they can. He decided to leave. The pope decided to stay, this is madness, everyone told him to leave.
One of the stained glass with a cross on it is broken.
|45 min||While the players are eating, they open a piece of bread, and it is hollow. The middle of the bread there's a small clay figure of a skeleton pope. If Knowledge (heresy) they know that there was a witchcraft attempt on previous pope John XXII with a clay figure. Everyone at the table is terrified.
The cross on the wall fell on the floor.
|60 min||There's a guard coughing, he falls on his face. Dead of the plague.
There's a bishop who ran away. There's a trail of ice on his floor coming out of the wall.
They see a minor relic of saint Benedict on the floor. Broken. Saint Benedict is the saint of Exorcism.
(only if they ask) No crosses in his room.
|75 min||They meet Guy de Chauliac in the corridors, he stumbles and lay on a wall. He sweats a lot and stared blankly at the players. He says that he is the greatest physician of his time, but the devil got to him anyway. He says he need to finish his masterpiece, Chirurgia Magna, but he had so little time to even start it.|
|90 min||Scene of the Assassins. But Four assassins instead of Two.|
Accused of Murder
After the audience, the cardinal looks terrified. The players have to find a way to prove their innocence.
Reasoning with the cardinal
Either they go to the cardinal by themselves, or he sends them a letter.
He explains that he had no choice but doesn’t say anything more, their goal is to find leverage on him and/or prove their innocence.
Prove their innocence : either they use a skill, or they find out that he was not in Marseilles, but in Aix en Provence preparing the arrival or the Queen Jeanne. The proof, they have a signed document by the barons of Provence who say they will greet her.
They can try to use this as leverage against him, in which case he will simply withdraw his accusation. But it’s not a strong enough leverage to have him talk.
They have to find a way, any way to obtain this information. For example they can ask his valet Tancrède le Bon , he doesn't want to talk to them and he will lie, saying that indeed he was in Marseille, but his lies are not convincing, so they understand that he indeed wasn't in Marseille.
Action : If the timer is very short and the players beg the cardinal, he tells them to contact his scribe (so they get the proof to be innocent)
Tancrède le Bon is "the cardinal" of course he won't carry the ring on his hand most of the time, but he isn't a Trickster, so players will see that he lies and hides stuff, but they do'nt have the power to kill or imprison him (because he is protected by his cardinal)
Or they can ask his scribe who will say that indeed he wasn't in Marseille.
Once they confront him with this truth, he will withdraw his accusation.
Then his valet Tancrède le Bon will come to them and explain that he is haunted by a very powerful ghost. He says he saw this card on his table one morning.
The dead pope
A card with a skeleton pope on it and one sentence : Remember Carcassonne . Remember Carcassonne (Jean XXII was part of a big inquisition trial against Fraticelli in Carcasonne and he knew things about Élie de Nabinal that he use as blackmail. Elie de Nabinal was promoted by John XII because of his fight against Fraticelli)
The valet Tancrède le Bon doesn't know what this means and try to avoid the discussion.
Any player with Knowledge (heresy) will know what it means.
Otherwise they have to search the past of Elie de Nabinal where they see that Jean XXII gave him the title of "Master" in 1331 because of his fight against Fraticelli in Carcasonne.
Action : If they ask to check the records from that trial. They are told that the records disappeared ! Some documents disappeared ! This is unacceptable !
Music : XenogearsZenoParadoxLightfromtheNetherworldsEBison then Z_Baston-Le diable est dans la boite
The same night two assasins unlock and open their door. They use a skeleton key that belonged to John XXII.
The assasins are wearing worn crusaders armours. Once of the players (of your choice) recognise one of them because he knew him for a previous crusade : Aimeric de Cros. It is a knight who fought alongside John XXII but who is now long dead. (if they manage to kill him, on further examination of the body it's not super clear if that's him or not)
One has a flail and shield, the other has a crusader longsword and a shield. All those equipments have been stolen from dead nobles burried in Avignon
It seems that they do'nt feel any pain when struck by players.
Two players need to have Combat (duel) to defeat both of them. If one or two of them aren't defeated, they stab one or two random players with their poisoned weapons. Immune (poison) or death for the player in question.
Élie de Nabinal is assassinated on that night 12th of January. He dies of the plague. (The players can’t prove he was assassinated)
His vallet Tancrède le Bon disappeared.
Part 2 Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Avenionensium
- Normal : Z_Normal-Cathédrale Silencieuse
|Ambiance Track |
|5 min||A grand mass is organised to honour Cardinal Elie de Nabinal. The bells ring three times three strokes to announce his death.
Music : Epique désespéré 10 - Requiem, K.626, Lacrimosa (Mournful Day) There's a grand procession. The grand room is lit with candles and incense. They can either attend or search the palace (until the music is finished). During this time the archives are closed, but most other rooms are open. If they search the room of the Cardinal (which is also the room of his valet) they find : Below the bed there's a Book "Ars Magna by Ramon LLul" inside it there is a letter from Pope XXII to Gasbert de Valle congratulating him for the construction of the palace of the Popes . It is disturbing because Ramon LLul is very controvertial, in between alchemy and witchcraft.
In the chimney there are lots of letters who were burned. Only few words are sill readable : "Returned". "Soul". "Sin" And
"Your Illustrious Lordship's most faithful servant, Elie Cardinal de Nabinal"
"Le plus fidèle serviteur de Votre Illustre Seigneurie, Elie Cardinal de Nabinal"
(this is an address that you give to a pope as a cardinal, nobody else)
(If didn't solve the plague issue : Total 1 Bishop coughin, 0 Dead)
|35 min||2 Witchcraft and Jewish Magic books disappeared. If they ask the titles : Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm (Picatrix), Sepher Raziel HaMalakh (The Book of Raziel the Archangel) All those books are about Jewish magic and magic in general. Knowledge (heresy) John XXII made several bulls against the Jews.|
|50 min||1 Heresy and Death books disappeared. If they ask the title : Summa sacre magice Book about summoning the devil|
|55 min||1 Heresy and Death books disappeared. If they ask the title : Ars Notoria about summoning the devil|
|90 min||They hear the voice of John XXII and see his ghost go to the archives. All players roll a die 6, if 1 or 2 they run away (unless Courage).|
Some documents were stolen in the secret archives ! This is unacceptable ! A Cardinal died in strange circumstances, this is very strange too ! Too many death from the plague, they have to do something !
The players have to protect the archives the best they can and prevent the plague from spreading.
Basic Protection from the Plague
1 Bishops are bedridden, they caught the plague. Nobody else, no cardinals, no guard, just bishops and some servants.
Action : Mass is forbidden an people have to isolate
Anything else that makes sense
Nothing stops the plague
Bishops continue catching the plague (of course, that's not how the plague spreads in real life... so isolating people is useless)
They notice that their rooms are super cold and there's ice on the floor. They didn't notice it before, because : Before isolating them in their room, they would aerate their rooms during the day, now they can't.
(In particular it's "the cardinal's" goal to weaken the papacy as much as he possibly can, so he sneaks in he rooms of the people he wants to kill and talks to them Disguised at John XXII, scare them, make sure they are terrified. He choses on purpose only Bishops who new him in life so they will recognise his voice and face)
The players must understand that "the cardinal" enters through the window.
Action : Barricading the windows is the solution or guarding the outside is ok too.
Action : If they sneak in a room and prentend to be cardinals, at some point in the night, they see the shadow of a pope and the window opens. Then there's a torrent of flies.
Securing the Archives
Each X minutes some books disappear.
Some books are in a log, but the vast majority arent. Way too many books to transfer out of avignon. Also the pope doesn't want too much noise about it.
They cannot condemn the access, because the pope has to send some new books or bulls or letters regularly.
Like everyone else, they can request access but they have to say exactly what they want to read.
Security system : There are guards fulltime by the door, just one entrance.
There's a librarian. To get a book, you need some kind of written authorisation and a password.
This password changes every week and depends on the sections (same system since Jean XXII). Very few people know the system.
The librarian gives a key that depends on the section.
Most books are chained, so when a chain is broken they know a book have been stolen. Then the librarian knows the names sometimes, sometimes he doesn't.
Action : Lock the most sensitive books / books about alchemy somewhere else. Not possible, too many of them.
Action : Ask the Librarian to make a list of all the people he let in in the past month. He say he will need some time. Then he dies of the plague before he is finished.
Action : Ask to simply shut down the archives The pope refuses, it's impossible.
Action : Change the password system. He will get a very "low security" password and still access the best books by picking/breaking locks.
Action : Let one of the players guard the entrance and ask for the librarian to write the names of people goign to the archives. Books missing. One of the locks have been broken. No suspicious names in the list of people. (the name of the valet of the cardinal is in the list but it's normal because the cardinal asked him to go archive some documents, also he goes throuogh the secret passage, so his name doesn't appear too many times)
Action : Search everyone leaving the archive It's actually useless because he hides the books in an alcove and will unload all of them in one night through the window.
Action that works :
Action : Ask one guard to follow each person in the archives and check the name match guard x person
Action : People need to ask for a document and only the librarian go fetch it then record it. Books still disappear, it's proof that there's another access, secret passage.
Finding the secret passage
How to find the secret passage ? There's dust on the ground, but not nearly enough.
Action : If they try to study the plans of the floor there's no chance to find it. Because no precise plan exist.
Action : Tracker can work.
Action : Anything that makes sense is ok
Action : Knock on every walls until one of them sound empty. is ok.
Action : Pour water as much as they can and see where it exfiltartes is ok too.
They found a secret passage that leads to the archives that's where he was held !
That's when all the torches are blown .
Part 3 The Labyrinth of Paper
- Normal : Z_Baston-Skeleton Dance
|Ambiance Track |
|5 min||They realise that they are in a HUGE maze of books. Bigger than a city. Books as far as the eye can see.|
|15 min||They see a pendent with a huge dog teeth, relic of "Saint Christopher" a Relic lost to mankind, because St Christopher is a man dog and he church doesn' accept that. They can take it if they want. (but then the player needs to take the Feat "Relic" and Prowess "Enrage (self)" or "Tracker")|
|30 min||There's a lost librarian who lost his eyes, he has a reversed cross burned on his forehead and he run about speaking in tongue or speaking a foreign language, as if he lost his ability to speak latin
Khndrum yem ognir indz. Voreve meky karo՞gh e indz haskanal: Du indz haskanum yes ? Khndrum yem ognir indz. Yes satana tesa: Satanan ink’y: Na yekav indz mot, khosets’ indz het: Khndrum yem ognir indz. Satanan aystegh e: Satanan aystegh e: Satanan aystegh e: Satanan aystegh e:
Knowledge (heresy) he speaks in Aramaic. A lost language used in the bible.
|45 min||They smell very strong incense. Everyone rolls for poison. Anyone who fails has to speak in tongue until the end of the game (or a language that nobody in the group understands, that's ok too). Explain them that they can't stay silent, they have to try to talk all the time. And they tell you their actions by sending or showing you written messages.|
|60 min||There's the corpse of a librarian. His belly was clawed opened like by a bear. With his blood, it drew a reversed cross of blood. There's no way a human could have done that.|
|75 min||They smell very strong incense. Everyone rolls for poison. Anyone who fails has to speak in tongue until the end of the game (or a language that nobody in the group understands, that's ok too)
From this point on, they see lots of reversed crucifix along the way. And there are bloody but confident footsteps of a goat.
|90 min||They finally catchup with the Pope. But a random player is stabbed in the heart by the Pagan demon, instant death.|
At this point, all the servants who got sick loose their mind and obey to the "cardinal". They tear their clothes and draw runes on their body.
They see a Pope walking among the archives.
Behind the gate is a madman crawled in a corner.
"I saw him ! It..it..it was the Pope ! John XXII it was him ! He..he..was obsessed with Death. His whole life he.. he.. As if he knew something ! As if he had made a deal !"
"Je l'ai vu ! C..c..c'était le Pape ! C'était Jean XXII ! Il..Il.. était obsédé par la mort. Toute sa vie... Il... Comme s'il savait quelquechose ! Comme s'il avait conclu un marché !"
He when through a gate which is locked (actually he has the key, made a copy of it)
Action : Lockpicking or some strength feats
There's a bookshelf shaking. On the bookshelf they see lots of books about trials and heretics that were burned by John XXII
Then nearby a torch is knocked over and start to burn books. They have to extinguish the fire !
Action : Unless they have a better idea, the only thing they can do is isolate the fire from other books. using a cover of hitting the flame of peeing on it or whatever won't work. But for example is they have "Well Prepared" they have enough water on them. They don't have time to go fetch water or whatever unless they have the "Agile" feat.
There's a weird voice talking like it talks backward.
"Antichrist, Antichrist, Antichrist, Antichrist, Antichrist"
They see the severed head of "Ange Clareno" one of the Fratricelli (they accused John XXII to be the antichrist) They could swear they saw it talk and it didn't decay at all.
They realise that behind the shelf there's a secret walled section.
Inside the Archives, Jean XXII had walled a section. e.g. there's no way to reach it unless you know the right secret passage. It's a narrow passage between two shelves.
There's a statue of him on a column near that bookshelf. The statue has a big purse (players need to ask)
Action : Press on the purse It unlocks the secret door.
The book shelfs get closer and closer and there's an army of hands with chainmail (because most are guards who lost their minds) but looking from this point they look like skeleton templars (he Disguised some of them as skeleton templars)
Action : Some smart way to pass through for each players or they get Wounded
There's a huge Alchemy Lab inside the hidden part of the archives with all the books he confiscated. Proof that the pope was also an alchemist.
Lots of books and scrolls that he wrote.
There are tons of tiny wires attached to lots of vials, if they touch the wires, some acid or burning or poisonous vials fall on them.
"Eye for Detail" allow safe passage, same for "Clarivoyance" or "Reflexes" but they can at most help one person pass through.
Alternatively, they can throw a chair through the wires, but then the fumes are very numerous, so everyone is poisoned (Immune or "Wounded")
As they progress through the secret section, they see Pope John XXII in the distance who finished signing a scroll.
A huge demon appears before them, with fiery wings and a fiery sword and the burning skull of deer.
He has huge claws.
Anyone without Courage has to roll a die 6 each turn. Unless 5 or 6 they run away. (once they run away, they can re-roll each turn to come back)
It is actually someone disguised as a demon, his sword is made of hundreds of chicken bones and his armor made of raw leather.
Action : unless Combat (monster) need some smart way to take him down
Action : If they manage to destroy the contract, a Combat (duel) is enough to defeat him
"You who live: it is certain, Sooner or later, you will dance. Think on what you will do then. I fought death my whole life, but she won the last battle. She always win. My torment is over, Free me, I beg you"
"Vous qui vivez: il est certain, Quoique cela tarde, que vous danserez. Réfléchissez à ce que vous ferez alors. J'ai combattu la mort toute ma vie, mais elle a gagné la dernière bataille. Elle gagne toujours. Ma peine se termine, Je vous prie, libérez moi."
Several flying pigeons flew away with pages of a book. They can take down one of them, the last one that he release, but that's it, other are gone already they see five cages of pigeons already used.
The pages he sent are taken from an alchemy book, this book references and transcribes pages of the "Book of the Acts of Solomon" This book is a missing biblical text ! (e.g. mentioned in the bible but missing) So he sent the last remaining copies of some parts of this book using those carrier pigeons.
He doesn't resist, they can kill him, he drunk poison anyway.
They can ask him any questions that they want.
He roughly answer them that he was very interested in gold and thus he studdied alchemy.
He met a templar alchemist and worked with him. That's why he helped so many templars.
And he discovered too late "who he was" that's why death took him.
Epilogue musics :
- Epique entre-scenart gagant 12-Pista de audio 12.mp3
- Epique entre-scenart gagant 12-Pista de audio 12.mp3 (put it twice)
- Fin epique glorieuse 06-Final
- Then loop this Playlist Normal-Prima
At the end of the scenario, hey figure that the pigeons he sent were bound to Neuberg, the abbey they visited at the first episode !!
Music : Behelith then Firelink Shrine And few days later, the 25th of January 1348, a HUGE earthquake shakes the entire region and destroys countless citizes and monasteries in the region.
At the end of the plague, 9 cardinals and 100 bishops died, it has never been seen in the history of Christendom.
By cross referencing with other books, they reaslie that the passage in question in the book was about the Opus Magnum and the Albedo (Oeuvre au Blanc) which is the second step of the realisation of the philosopher's stone, after the Nigredo (oeuvre au noir)
On him he has the Bone Ring
More infos about the Book of the Acts of Solomon who is a biblical lost text : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Solomon
Post Game Bonus
Send those to the players as a post game bonus :
The vatican secret archives are indeed 85km long https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_Apostolic_Archive
Pictures of the palace of Popes in Avignon : http://jaimelafrance.tourisme.fr/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Avignon5-750x563.jpg
Saint Christopher is indeed a Saint with a dog head : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saint_christopher_cynocephalus.gif https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Christopher
Elie de Narbinal did die the 12 of January 1348 of the plague in Avignon and he was at the trial of the Fraticelli in Caracasonne : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89lie_de_Nabinal
Gasber de Valle was indeed behind the enlargement of the Palais des Papes : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palais_des_papes_d%27Avignon#Origine_et_implantation_:_le_choix_d'Avignon
More infos on the book of the acts of Solomon, the missing biblical text : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Solomon
And finally, there was indeed a HUGE earthquake the 25th of January 1348 centered in Neuberg : fr.qaz.wiki/wiki/1348_Friuli_earthquake