The vast and fertile plains of Etrya are covered in small and tiny city states. Once part of a larger empire, they are now independent dukes, lords, counts, princes and stadtholders. Locked into complicated family and political alliances the balance of power constant shifts but always maintains a peaceful status quo. After two centuries of this, the rulers became adept at the diplomatic games that has kept the peace. A key part of this is their continuous communication, mostly arranged through formal dinners and balls. So many are there, that a few of clever nobles simple move between parties, never having to pay their way.
Several of the soirees are known across the continent for their extravagance and luxury. To be credible in negotiations a ruler must attend these key events. The new ruler of Sece, Count Paeris, has made a recent name for himself and his holdings. A young man of 22, with his wit and creativity he has hosted banquets of utter brilliance. His guests leave in awe of the food, the entertainment and the decoration. His late uncle’s dry and sober affairs are forgotten and Sece gains in influence and power, particularly amongst the younger nobles.
This autumn’s event is set for Hallows Eve and is already causing much of a stir. Only younger nobles are invited, the Count saying he wants to have an actual party rather than negotiations over dinner. On the surface the party is an animal themed masquerade ball. The great secret the invitees are keeping is the magical entertainment. At midnight the Count’s mage will cast a spell to turn all the guests into anthropomorphic animals based on their masks. The spell will last until dawn with none talking about what happens later.
– Count Paeris is secretly a werewolf and Hallows Eve this year falls on a full moon. With lunar light to enhance his powers, the transformed and partly feral guests will be at his mercy. He intends to sire as many as possible, turning the heirs of the Etrya into his pack to command. From there he will be patient in pursuit of his final goal to create a new empire of the wolf. Guests at the party, the transformed players have to first survive before they can foil the count’s plans.
– The spies Lady Kenaia have found out about the hidden parts of the ball. Looking to both increase the standing of her lands and improve the prospects of her daughter, Ratha, she sees an opportunity for a plot. Conspiring with her daughter, Count Paeris’ mage has fallen suddenly ill. Thankfully Ratha is a mage herself and can cast the spell. The target is Treven, the seventeen year old only child of Stadtholder Mence. Unfortunately for the players, they’ve been hired as the young man’s body guard at his first party without his father.
– Outside forces are at work. All the adult young nobles of Etrya in one place and playing with magic is too tempting a target. The Peasant’s League have hired the players cast an additional spell at the party. It will turn all the masked guests completely into animals, permanently. The ruling families will be thrown into chaos as they try to deal with both the scandal and restoring their relatives. In the havoc, the league will strike and further their cause of anarchy.
Image Credit – Masquerade Let the Night Begin by Herjolf – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0