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A Bann Too Many: Blacktail motivations?

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  • A Bann Too Many: Blacktail motivations?

    This is going to have spoilers for the adventure "A Bann too Many" from the GM kit.

    So, in ABTM, they've got this elaborate plot where the PCs are hired by the new Bann of this valley to go take care of some bandits. But twist! The bandits were working with the Bann all along, so that he could get himself elected! But double twist, it turns out that the whole plot was the idea of Blacktail, a shapeshifting apostate mage, disguised as the Bann's mabari warhound, who is secretly controlling the Bann's mind with magic! Now that the Bann is elected, he doesn't need those bandits anymore, so he helps the players take them out, so that he can, uh... live the most luxurious life a dog has ever known? That seems like a silly reason to do all of this. On the one hand he's technically in control of the entire Ruswold valley. On the other hand, he still has to stay in dog form to do so. That doesn't seem like a very good long term plan.

    So I'm trying to think of alternate motivations behind Blacktail's plot, plans that actually make sense. Here's what I've got so far:

    1. Blacktail wants to depopulate the Ruswold valley, because there's something of value that he wants access to that he couldn't get when it was full of bandits and loggers. Maybe a set of ruins he wants to excavate?

    2. Blacktail wants to (at least temporarily) weaken the veil in this valley by causing lots of death (first loggers by bandits, then bandits by players) in order to... do something evil related to blood magic. Could even work in conjunction with the first idea, if they need to do a specific ritual in a specific place that happens to be in the Ruswold. I've got a plotline going with blood mage cultists, so I might use this when I run it.

    Any other ideas for Blacktail's endgame?

  • #2
    Re: A Bann Too Many: Blacktail motivations?

    He's a black hat?

    I just assumed he wanted power/freedom. Nothing special.


    • #3
      Re: A Bann Too Many: Blacktail motivations?

      I believe he wants to manipulate the leaders of the area. Pictures himself the power behind the throne, as it were. A megalomaniac discovering that, in order to lead, he must first serve.


      • #4
        Re: A Bann Too Many: Blacktail motivations?

        I thought that he would then show up as something like a long lost friend of the new Bann (If he can control him, then maybe he can partly change his mind, maybe just to associate good feelings every time the Bann sees him) and he would live comfortable in Loggerswold. (small enough not to draw attention but big enough for some comforts)
        Maybe he continued being a dog because he hasn't change the Bann's memory yet.

        In my game I made him the friend of the groups mage and they killed him before he could explain every thing (they forgot that they can knock him unconscious) But the mage (who recognized him as his friend) insisted on bringing the body back to their house and kept him frozen to use blood magic and bring him back (I didn't tell him that if you use blood magic then the body will come back as servant with no free will)
        But because they couldn't find a blood mage, I made him "thaw" and get up to walk around as a Arcane Horror.


        • #5
          Re: A Bann Too Many: Blacktail motivations?

          The motivation to, well, control the valley might not be as weak as you seem to thing. Generally speaking, being in charge isn't exactly easy nor comfortable. Being near the throne has potential to give all the comfortable benefits of having power without heavy responsibilities of actually being in charge. Yet some people are willing to risk everything and become traitors just to seize the power.
          There can, however, be quite a lot additional motivations that (plot twist! ) need not be evil. By controlling the Valley, he has resources - and there are many things you can do with resources, from looking for slave traders who kidnapped your sister to funding your research on reversing tranquility to finding a way to bring a loved one back to life... Desire to lay his hand on something in the general area is a good reason too, as is actually finding such a place (just create a rumor concerning some dangerous ruins/treasure and make the bann investigate).
          Or there might be some truly nasty thing in the area - and the apostate could know that the thing is coming to get everyone. He could be determined to protect the Valley and its people - by any means necessary. He needs the power to prepare for the big bad, a couple dead people are of little consequence with stakes high enough. A necessary sacrifice, if you will. You can then end apostate's life with some cryptic last words concerning what he tried to prevent - then a couple game-months later you can present your players with "and everyone in valley is dead, mages and templars killed the big demon but it was too late for anyone living there". Or mages and templars failed, or something and it's up to our heroes to find out what happened...

          Those are just some ideas off the top of my hat, I didn't think them throughly - the point is, possibilities are endless and pretty much anything that requires/benefits greatly from power he won for the bann is a viable motivation. Including not only evil, but gray-ish or even genuinely good ultimate goals - although the latter makes the apostate into an extremist of sorts as he did cause death of a number of innocent people... unless, plot twist, they were never that innocent to begin with - remember nice villagers of Haven from DA:O?