Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bettellyn: Shadows in the Night -- Pt IV

Continued from Part III.  Click Here for the previous article.


Alphatia Bettellyn Law Inheritance Heirs Succession
Before entering into any detail about NPCs, one should know about laws of succession in Bettellyn.  As far as property is concerned, there is no difference between genders.  It is common practice in Alphatia for spouses to retain ownership of their titles and lands regardless of marriage.  In a society where high-level wizards and sorceresses form the backbone of land-owning aristocracy, it could hardly be otherwise.

A wife’s lands and titles do not generally transfer to a husband, and this is unavoidable in Bettellyn because aristocracy also holds ecclesiastic charges.  As a result, spouses from different realms travel often, either together or separately, in order to tend to their separate businesses.  Teleport spells and airships are the norm for the upper class.  Spouses may inherit from each other only with liege approval and if there are no sons or daughters.  Swearing loyalty to the former spouse’s liege may be possible, but remains subject to approval by the claimant’s own liege.  If a disagreement occurs, the claimant must relinquish the litigious part of the inheritance in favor of in-laws, cousins, or other kin.  These issues concern specifically titled nobility and the allegiance of lands to their original monarchies.

Progeny must inherit either from the father or the mother—not both to avoid conflicts, especially in the case of Bettellyn where land is inalienable from the realm.  For example, the daughter of a prelate and of a Vertilian princess eventually would have to choose between heading the father’s prelacy or abandoning any role in Bettellyn’s clergy in order to claim the mother’s titles in Vertiloch.  Generally, the timing of a parent’s death determines the oldest beneficiary’s inheritance, in which case primogeniture applies.  In the example given above, if the prelate dies first, the oldest child inherits the prelacy, the next in line inheriting Vertilian titles.  Anyone else in line would have to receive their apanage through an earlier arrangement such as a legal will.  If there is only one child, conflicting inheritance usually goes to the closest cousin or related kin.  Bettellyners cannot accumulate ecclesiastic charges.  If two are inherited, the heir picks one and lets the other go along with associated territories.  Common real-estate, commercial assets, and overseas possessions are treated separately and may remain property of a single heir.

 
Her Royal Holiness, The Most Devout Queen Llynara:  Although listed in the Poor Wizard’s Almanac as Neutral, she started out with a Lawful alignment.  Her change of heart occurred when she survived Alphatia’s destruction.  She lost her faith in the immortals, concluding they instigated the catastrophe, and thus became Neutral.  In AC1010, this detail escaped everyone’s observation, fortunately, or she would be forced to abdicate.  In-pre cataclysmic Alphatia (AC1000), she most-definitely is Lawful, fitter, more assertive, and a widow.  She also belongs to the Order of the True Blood.  She recently negotiated with King Qissling the marriage of her daughter to a certain wizard-prince, an obscure but dashing Admiral of Ar in the service of Empress Eriadna.  Surely, this man of impeccable Alphatian pedigree would prove a valuable source of information and influence among imperial circles.  Alas, the beneficiary has been away for a long time, and remains uninformed of the matrimonial arrangement.  M25, AC9, hp 33, ML7; AL L.  Witness of Samarion.  St9, In16, Wi18, Dx10, Co11, Ch13.  Magical Items: ring of human control, staff of commanding.


His Royal Eminence, The Cardinal-Prince Llynroth:  Although the young prince will not betray his mother, he would however change many of her policies if he were to succeed her.  He quietly consorts with the Will of Sabbaiah, bidding his time with dreams of conquest and hegemony over the empire.  Between interminable ecclesiastic councils to which he is required to participate as a cardinal of the ecclesia, Llynroth maintains a secret correspondence with the Vicar General of the Three Ports.  Old friends since their times at the Naval Academy in Brocto, he hopes to convince him of provoking a war against Randel.  He is trying to instigate a romantic liaison between his sister, the fiery Llyndara, and his friend as way to obtain even more leverage.  Meanwhile, the Crimson Prince occasionally joins the military for a hunt in the woods west of Citadel, an ambush against raiding monsters from the Firewall Ranges, or a foray into the depths of Citadel in the name of experience, glory, and faith.  M12, AC7, hp 28, ML9; AL L.  Disciple of Sabbaiah.  St14, In16, Wi15, Dx13, Co13, Ch14.  Ring of protection +3, wand of fireballs.

Her Royal Eminence, The Cardinal-Princess Llyndara:  Just as involved as her older brother Llynroth with ecclesiastic demands of her charge, lust, jealousy, and spurned advances lie in her wake.  Many consider the tempestuous red head as the fox in the hen house, merely one antic short of a full-blown scandal, fact of which Queen Llynara remains painfully aware.  It explains her mother’s scheme to have her married as soon as possible and sent away, far away, as on the ship of a daredevil world explorer until she learns restraint, humility, and respect.  Naturally, Llyndara is furious and wants nothing of this arrangement.  In fact, she’s fallen head-over-heels for a stranger from Weitara, a young noble who’d been at the palace recently.  During the course of their fiery, ripping-roaringly passionate encounter, he’d been forced to escape her quarters nearly naked when her brother came banging at her door.  Ever since then, Llyndara has been trying to identify and locate her enthralling and mysterious visitor.  Meanwhile, she and her brother are like cats and dogs, at each other’s throats most of the time.  M11, AC9, hp 27, ML8; AL L.  Disciple of Eyoth.  St12, In17, Wi14, Dx15, Co12, Ch18.  Wand of paralyzation, ring of safety.

The Most Reverend Corybemus, Archbishop of Magisteria:  His Excellency Corybemus administrates the Archdiocese of Magisteria and stands as a leading theologian at the Grand Basilica.  In reality, this is an ancient gold dragon, polymorphed into a human which he used over the past several decades to infiltrate Bettellyn’s clergy.  Corybemus, or Farraxillion-the-Gleaming of his true name, was some years ago a popular member of the Golden Boys, at least in the eyes of those privy to it.  He still is, but keeps the fact very quiet now.  It recently came to his attention that the Archbishop of Quanfax sought to acquire for reasons unknown a very dangerous artifact, one especially so in the hands of a high level Bettellyn ecclesiastic.  The trail led from there to the Royal Palace at Citadel.  A far less-conspicuous visitor than Corybemus went in his place to investigate the matter--a younger dragon by the human name of Merraban who was able to confirm that the artifact lay indeed in Queen Llynara’s possession, hidden somewhere beneath the Grand Reliquary.  Corybemus now focuses on concerns about the presence of this artifact in Bettellyn and whether the Archbishop of Quanfax will obtain it.  Under a guise, Corybemus is likely to follow up with several nocturnal forays under the venerable building, looking for the artifact before it changes hands.  AC-4, HD16+3***, hp 80, Mv120’(40’)/300’(100’), AT#3 + breath weapon, Dmg 6d6+4 bite, 3d4 claw, Save F33, ML10, AL L.  Ring of remedies.

Master Merraban, Purveyor of Silk & Other Fine Goods, Est. AY1989: Merraban is a member of the Golden Boys’ inner circle, and a youthful, irresistible gemstone dragon (crystal, or a silver dragon for the AD&D game).  His human persona, a dandy to be sure, belongs among untitled petty nobility common in major towns of the realm.  By rights, Merraban could preach at a local chapel, but has instead preferred a life of dilettante financed by his successful silk import business.  His true name is Robnartnyghan-Tangletongue, or for those who know, just "Bob."  As it were, Bob recently accepted the mission to quietly investigate the location of an artifact at Citadel, on behalf of an elder peer, His Excellency Corybemus.  Under yet another false name, Robbilant, he managed to earn the amorous attentions of Her Eminence Llyndara.  Pillow confessions revealed the presence of the artifact under the Grand Reliquary.  Unfortunately, an unforeseen interruption forced him to escape through the window.  Members of the Silver Cord trailed him all the way back to Weitara.  They never got a good look at Bob, but correctly suspect he hides in the merchant district.  Since then, Bob has become much more discreet and avoids those he knows are agents of the secret police.  AC1, HD9***, hp 41, Mv120’(40’)/300’(100’), AT#3 + breath weapon, Dmg 2d8+4 bite, d6+1 claw, Save F18, ML9, AL L.  Ring of quickness.

The Most Reverend Mother Nehephzibeth, Archbishop of Quanfax:  Her Excellency administrates the Archdiocese of Quanfax and the Grand Cathedral of the Shroud.  She also leads the Brotherhood of the Flaming Heart.  Outer planar research has led her to seek an artifact that would help unveil the mystery of the shroud.  She suspects that it had come into Queen Llynara’s possession some decades earlier.  Her first step now is to contact her brother, Monsignor Parvanel, the Royal Chamberlain, for some help in convincing the monarch to transfer the relic to the Grand Cathedral.  She cannot reveal to her brother why she seeks this artifact, for his protection and for the sake of her faith.  C18, AC7, hp 81, ML7; AL L.  Prophet of Samarion.  St11, In15, Wi17, Dx10, Co11, Ch13.  Talisman of elemental travel, ring of memory.

 
Sister Jezabioth, Aide to Her Excellency Nehephzibeth:  Jezabioth was a mystic (a monk in AD&D terms) assigned to the Archbishop of Quanfax.  She fell prey to The Watchers while on an errand for Nehephzibeth, which led
a Soul Eater to possess her (see Creature Catalog).  The entity’s mission is to reveal whatever it can about the nature of Nehephzibeth’s research on the shroud.  The Soul Eater ran across clues about an artifact being sought after.  It wants to steal it from the archbishop once she acquires it.  It will follow Nehephzibeth to the Royal Palace, either because Jezabioth’s presence is requestedat the side of the archbishop, or by stealth if need be.  If Jezabioth is killed or the soul eater exorcised, it will take on its normal form and seek to kill the exorcist or its attacker.  Jezabioth: My4, AC6, hp 17, AT#1 open hand, Dmg d6+1, ML8(12); AL L(N).  Disciple of Samarion; unable to use her companion abilities while possessed.  St15(18), In13(9), Wi14(9), Dx17, Co14, Ch12.  Ring of invisibility, amulet of protection against detection and ESP.  Soul Eater: AC0, HD10*, Mv180’(60’), AT#2, Dmg d10+Wisdom drain, Save C10, ML12, AL N.  Minion of Masauwu.

Right Reverend Monsignor Arthanor, Vicar General of the Royal Guard:  He runs military forces in and around Citadel, as well as the Silver Cord. 
Queen Llynara picked him personally for this function.  A staunch ally of hers, he will prove ruthless with anyone plotting or acting in any way against her best interest.  In truth, he harbors deep feelings for Llynara, but has kept them quiet.  This loyalty, however, does not extend to Llynroth or Llyndara.  He suspects the Crimson Prince of consorting with followers of the Will of Sabbaiah, a danger for the realm, but hasn’t secured proof to go after him.  He is also on the lookout for Llyndara’s foolish lover who’d escaped in the night not long ago.  He just barely missed the fop after he’d alerted Llynroth of his sister’s questionable company.  If he catches him, he hopes to hang him by the object of his crime.  He would demand the same treatment for Monsignor Azradel, the Vicar General of the Three Ports, if he dared emulate his predecessor.  Arthanor knows Llyndara to be a liability for the throne.  He was the one who suggested her marriage arrangement.  C15, AC1, hp 68, ML11; AL L.  Messenger of Samarion.  St14, In16, Wi16, Dx10, Co13, Ch13.  Helm of telepathy, mace +2, plate mail +2.

Right Reverend Monsignor Azradel, Vicar General of the Three Ports:  He commands the large galleys and submersibles operating from Leweo, Brocto, and Weitara.  Azradel is torn between his love for Llyndara, his friendship with Llynroth, and his loyalty to Queen Llynara.  Although the princess enjoys his company, she has skillfully dodged his best efforts to win her over.  He is otherwise a brave and able naval commander picked personally by the queen.  F13, AC2, hp 85, ML10; AL L.  Disciple of Ardoryl.  St16, In13, Wi12, Dx11, Co16, Ch14.  Ring of water walking, chain mail +3, +3 bastard sword of healing.

 
Master Berengol, Aide-de-Camp to the Vicar General of the Three Ports:  This psychopath is a member of the Obsidian Spear.  He has worked long and hard, abducting and slaughtering those standing in his way, to become Azradel’s aide-de-camp and confidant.  He dreams of using Azradel as a way to gain access to the palace in Citadel and abduct the Cardinal-Princess.  The end plan is to frame Azradel for her ritual mutilation and horrid death. C14, AC4, hp 63, ML12; AL C.  Cleric of Thanatos.  St15, In12, Wi17, Dx10, Co14, Ch16.  Staff of harming, ring of telekinesis.

The Very Reverend Monsignor Parvanel, Royal Chamberlain of Citadel:  This dear old man is Queen Llynara’s most trusted right hand, part seneschal and part prophet.  He’d also been her progeny’s tutor since their childhood.  He has a knack for foreseeing most things at the palace.  He’s grown aware of Llynroth’s schemes to get his friend in bed with the Cardinal-Princess, and her own efforts to locate her latest love interest in Weitara.  Paravanel is trying to prevent both these plans from succeeding, using indirect approaches.  He also sensed that the head of the royal guard, Monsignor Arthanor, developed over the years feelings for the queen.  More disturbing is Arthanor spying on the prince and princess.  He knows the head of the royal guard enough to realize this doesn’t bode well.  Parvanel worries that his erstwhile pupils might have gotten themselves in more trouble than appears.  Naturally, he tries to protect them and straighten out their messes before anyone else learns of them, least of all the queen who’s been disturbed lately with troublesome dreams.  He has a hunch her nocturnal visions are connected to her offspring and something else, something ominous and crucial for both Bettellyn and the empire.  Parvanel has been spending more time than usual in the lower levels of Citadel’s library and at the Archonia in Quanfax, researching these dreams, with the help of his sister, the Archbishop of Quanfax.  C17, AC8, hp 52, ML8; AL L.  Herald of Elarion.  St12, In17, Wi14, Dx15, Co12, Ch18.  Censer of controlling air elementals, staff of dispelling.

Other notorious people: The Vicars General of the South, of the North, and of Outremer.

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