An Audience with the King

happy

Listening to: Something Good Can Work – Two Door Cinema Club

There was only time to set up the first “episode” after everyone finished making their characters and finally choosing a schtick. Still a bit long, but it was so much fun!

While out shopping, the party were approached by a teenage girl with brown and black-striped hair called Tabby Kate. She was out of breath and expressed herself very poorly. When she told them that the king wanted to see them, their first general reaction was to wonder how there was a king in their skyloft city of Bahalla. Still not very eloquent, Tabby Kate rolled her eyes and said it wasn’t a monarch.

“Tycho King. You know, the crime lord?”

This went over better.

Scrimshaw won Tabby Kate’s undying affection by offering her a sample of his signature liquor. Victor had to roll his disaffected nature to decide if he would simply rebel because Nobody is the Boss of Him. He deigned to allow this affront to his independence. Tabby Kate led the party to the Loving Arms Hotel, which was clearly a very high class brothel. Some of the human prostitutes recognised Shae from mutual work as artists’ models, and were friendly but not overly so.

There were a few dolls out in the front, and Jared asked if they might recognise that Viva-3 is an automaton. Novella rolled Conceal to try to keep Viva inconspicuous, but one of the dolls had more successes on her Perception, so she did recognise a fellow automaton. However, she couldn’t possibly know that Viva is a former cop in a doll’s body, so she assumed that Viva was a former prostitute who had bought her way out of the profession. The doll gave a sisterly sort of nod, but now Viva has to be careful not to hang around dolls in Bahalla too much.

Tycho’s office lay beyond the hotel lobby. It was an opulent throne room arrayed with all manner of fine things–obviously stolen or contraband–and he sat in a large chair at the back of it. The man made a fine picture. Fabulously handsome in bespoke tailoring, he had an expensive prosthetic leg that looked more real than a real leg, and a nose made of gold.

Jolly and friendly, he left his throne to greet each of them individually, praising them and showing that he knew quite a lot about them. Tabby Kate served them drinks–Shae got to the Merry level of drinking, while Scrimshaw somehow ended up more sober the more he drank–while Tycho got down to business.

He pointed out that all of them except for Scrimshaw had come from the neovictorian change cage cities, and Scrimshaw knew well enough that the CCCs are terrible places. They’d all left behind loved ones, friends, and in Novella/Penny Dreadful’s case, people she hadn’t even known but had helped by fighting crime. “Not everyone has the opportunities you had–opportunities that you made.

He asked if they knew how the CCCs staved off war amongst themselves. (In my setting, there are CCCs in different countries) The party did not. Novella said that ladies of her station were discouraged from any interest in politics.

So he told them that each city leader gave up a daughter to another city leader, a network of political hostages. You have our princess, so we won’t attack you, sort of thing. “Barbaric, isn’t it?” Tycho wants them to go to the change cage city of Gangnam, ruled by Emperor In Se  Yoon, and rescue the Russian princess, Shuldeshova Bogdana Gennadievna.

Viva wanted to know his motives in asking them to do this. I hadn’t statted Tycho, so I gave him a Mental +7 to see how much of it he could conceal in the contested roll. Viva got three successes. As Tycho is a crime lord and therefore used to hiding such things, I gave him an Easy roll, so he had 12 dice. He didn’t roll a single success.

This was actually one of the coolest parts of the session for me. I had sort of hoped that Tycho could be a quest hub for the characters, mysterious and defined mostly by their reactions and assumptions. But without any successes, he had to answer the question without lying.

The jolliness melted away. He stopped grinning, and they could see the previously hidden shrewdness. This is a dangerous, effective man. And he spoke frankly with them–which usually, Tycho King, the Man with the Golden Nose, does not do.

He said that even though they aren’t actively at war with the change cage cities, they are still enemies. This is a guerrilla tactic, removing political stability so that the CCCs will war amongst themselves and forget about the neobedouins and skyfolk. Leaving them open to strikes from those two factions–or just to leave them safely alone.

He also made an impassioned speech about how it is wrong for these women to be used as pawns. Their agency and freedom were taken from them. The guy is a criminal, which he openly acknowledged. There are prostitutes right outside the door. But the women who work for him are clean, fed, well-paid, and every one of them–including automata–have the option to buy out of the business. He does not approve of the exploitation of women.

The speech had quite an effect on the party. They almost didn’t even ask what he was planning to pay them. I had decided he would offer to pay for fuel and give them 50 Helios once the princess was free and safe. But the next question asked was what Tycho planned to do with the princess when they brought her back. He said he’d give her money and a place to stay, or money to allow her to set up somewhere else. As he has informants in Gangnam, they could even let the princess request they take her somewhere else. He’ll still know they got the job done.

This seemed to satisfy the crew of the Rum Runner that Tycho had no ill intentions towards Princess Bogdana. Which I’m happy to say was a bigger concern to them than money.

Almost as an afterthought, Victor impressed upon him how risky the task was, rolling Conversation. As Victor made a number of successes and his character is somewhat built on his rhetoric, he accomplished this with flair. They get 75 Helios and Tycho threw in the fact that he might owe them a favour. Casually belying how potent a reward that could be.

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