Friday, July 13, 2012

The "Man" in the Cold Iron Mask

For Clayton,

There was a phrase uttered at the table two weeks ago that has been haunting me. So much so, that I'm going to try and blog it out into something people might want to use in their game.

The "Man" in the Cold Iron Mask

So, there's the phrase...and you can see how it kept niggling at me. Poking my brain with lots of little questions...that you can answer and use in your game.

Let's break it down. You've got some good ingredients here: musketeer-era politics, a mysterious prisoner, and a really kind of striking artifact. Let's tinker with them and try to get something for your home game.

Prisoner #24601 is... (d6)

1. A servant who was imprisoned with his VIP master and now can not leave...
2. A scheming, bisexual, minor noble from court who has embarrassed the King...
3. A non-person who was invented by the prison administrator to make himself seem more important...
4. The king's brother from another, but also French-royal, father...
5. The king's identical twin brother...
6. An assassin hired by a highly-placed government official who failed to kill his target...

but really...let's weird that up now. (d6)

1. who is also Reynard, the trickster fox spirit...
2. who is also Morgan LeFay / Oberon / The Merrovingian Heir / Cernunnos...
3. who is also the were-beast of GĂ©vaudan...
5. who is also the actual King, who's been secretly replaced...
6. who is also the dragon who once ruled this land long before the advent of men...

Whats with the mask?

The mask is not as interesting unless it is iconic and invariable. It is a face covering and head piece that has been hammered from a single piece of meteoric iron. The mask simultaneously keeps the prisoner's identity a mystery and prevents the prisoner from expressing a True Nature. To the naked eye at least, the mask should appear to be made of some crudely-shaped and maybe lumpy metal. If the Actual King is in the mask, then the mask should draw on his memories, or life-force, or aura to send power to the villain who is impersonating him.

The next time your players are in the Bastille, or any old, weird dungeon you can have them run into someone like this instead of a regular monster encounter. How long has this person been here? What's been keeping them alive? How hard is it to get the mask off? I don't know, but it could be fun to find out.

>B

I tried to keep the flavor of the above options related to French folklore, but there's no reason beyond that.