Friday, July 9, 2021

Maximalist Weird Fiction Mercenary Contract Generator Appendix B: Special Reconnaissance

Summary: You can find more context in Appendix A, but if you’re Swedish, go straight to the commentary at the end of this post.

A: Investigations: High-risk detective work
B: Special Reconnaissance: Physical surveillance in hostile conditions
C: Military Intervention: Direct action in support of allied military activities
D: Military Assistance: Train, lead, advise and inspire allied military and/or security forces.
E: Stability Actions: Ensure that a vulnerable polity, individual, or process thrives by engaging with threats on its behalf
F: Counterconspiracy: Social infiltration and undercover proactive security
G: Counteroccult: Hunt strange creatures, assassinate occultists, minimize the fallout of occult catastrophes, counter malign entities, and safeguard items and places of cosmic provenance
H: Influence Operations: Persuade, influence, subvert and deceive under delicate and/or hostile circumstances
I: Extractions: Recover personnel and assets from hostile forces and other dangerous situations
J: Civil Relief: Prevent atrocities, relieve suffering in cut-off areas, and set up systems of sustenance and protection for people who are under threat of deprivation and violence

Contract Index
Special Reconnaissance
Cloud Canal (SRAL1CC)
The Soft Underbelly of the World (SRAL2TSUOTW)
The Navel of the Ocean (SRAL3TNOTO)
Faith and Bosom (SRAM1FAB)
Her Majesty’s Daughter-in-Law (SRAM2HMDIL)
A Vizier’s Vice (SRAM3AVV)
Fell Host(s) (SRAP1FH)
The Spines of Vision (SRAP2TSOV)
All Hallows, All the Time (SRAP3AHATT)
Suspected Turncoats
Wild Oats (SRAST1WO)
Prismatic Shadows (SRAST2PS)
Boon Companions (SRAST3BC)
A Thousand Engines Burning (SRDC1ATEB)
Bones Reclad (SRDC2BR)
Mr. Untouchable (SRDC3MU)
Center of Gravity
Chthonic Transcendence (SRDCOG1CT)
Thunder Twins (SRDCOG2TT)
Silver or Lead (SRDCOG3SOL)
Most Likely Course of Action
Invoke Truisms (SRDMLCOA1IT)
A Prize Returned (SRDMLCOA2APR)
Market Research (SRDV1MR)
Known Unknowns (SRDV2KU)
The Times That Try Men’s Souls (SRDV3TTTTMS)
The Coal Sapling Pentacontagon (SROB1TCSP)
The Homunculus (SROB2TH)
Insatiable Madman (SROB3IM)
Broken Arrow (SROC1BA)
Effeuiller la Marguerite (SROC2ELM)
Photosophogenesis (SROC3P)
Catabasis (SROD1C)
Contagious Execution (SROD2CE)
Undercover Triage (SROD3UT)
The Soteriologist (SROL1TS)
A Gentle Perversity (SROL2AGP)
Green River Killers (SROL3GRK)
Incarnated Particle Entrapment (SROM1IPE)
Accidental Reconnaissance (SROM2AR)
Sympathy (SROM3S)
Aesthetics of Ruin (SROP1AOR)
Exometempsychosis (SROP2E)
The Kingdom of Black Manna (SROP3TKOBM)
Bonegrinder Bombs (SRSA1BB)
Trial Run (SRSA2TR)
Lifting Up the Bandage (SRSA3LUTB)
Aquafloral Fortress (SRSC1AF)
Seismic Heraldry (SRSC2SH)
Sky Arks (SRS3SA)
Villainy and Villainy (SRSM1VAV)
Teletai (SRSM2T)
Wayward Children (SRSM3WC)

SRAL1CC Cloud Canal: Reputed in the legends of the client’s land is a mysterious fountain monastery in the highest misty hinterlands. It is a place that holds the world’s beloved dead. Men and women travel here invisibly, called by the distant tinkling of wedding bells. However, no one can find the road to this place unless their beloved has departed there. The Client seeks to find her beloved but is not an adventurer by nature; thus it falls to you to find your lost beloved, for hers will be close nearby. Bring her back if you can, and if not, bring her a message and show the client the way.

SRAL2TSUOTW The Soft Underbelly of the World: The client’s psyche has been suffused with dreams and visions for months and she has elected to finally act on the callings that have possessed her. She sees a house of light beneath the earth, a place of humid warmth and gleaming pillars holding up the world. She seeks the entrance to the expanse of cavern complexes she senses like a nerve cluster beneath Mount Argotha; you are to find the way down. When you reach a place where the lichen forms a mantle, where you must hack through it like a cotton candy jungle, this is the step off point. We have accepted this contract because an explorer has reached this place once before and reported its existence; alas he later disappeared in the Place of Things.
Unknown to the players (but surmisable), this area will be crosscrossed with the paths of entities and xenostygian scouts.
Her family has secretly commissioned a subcontract: Shadow her, but attempt to protect her should she run into some kind of deadly danger. Try and persuade her to come back then, but if she will not, then the family will compensate you for your time safeguarding her in the underworld.

SRAL3TNOTO The Navel of the Ocean: The Cave of the Cachalot is a place that lives in the legends of the Great Barrier Archipelago fisherfolk. It is said those swallowed by sperm whales are belched up into this place and perform a service for those beneath. Those who do not have the courage or fail in their tasks are ground down into bone meal and fed to oysters.
Now the mayor, long retired from whaling, took to the water in imitation of the ancestral fisherhero to join a New Year's whale hunt so as to refresh and fertilize the region’s whales. He was, however, swallowed by a sperm whale, which is considered very bad magic in this community and portends terribly for the coming year. Indeed, meteorologists predict an onslaught of spring storms. The fishers have pooled their pearls to contract us to find this Cave of the Cachalot, where the mayor must now be found.
In truth whales come to this place to take in air without surfacing, and that is a chance for those swallowed by them to escape should they somehow still be alive (for example, those who went to sea in diving gear and managed to remain in the whale’s mouth). 
The place is porous with sea-pools and giant squids with spiced tentacles often reach around inside to acquire the cave lobsters that can be found here; however they are just as happy to pull down a wayward fisherman or explorer.
An agent in a diving suit can walk up a hill on the seafloor to reach this cave, and there may be a surface access point that leads down through the wild frontier of the underworld until reaching this place at the end of one of its manifold caves, however the mayor is unlikely to find the entrance to this place given that it’s probably through a sump.

SRAM1FAB Faith and Bosom: The prince has been sneaking out of the royal palace by night and has used the espionage skills imparted to him as is traditional for this kingdom’s royal scions to evade his minders and the city guard. The king has not acted yet as he wishes to know where the boy is going, and has set up a contract for us to do this.
In truth, the prince has become the lover of the grand abbess of the kingdom’s greatest holy site. This is a blasphemous and absolutely forbidden romance, and should they be discovered then both will be purified in the holy site’s beautiful snowy orb of eternal swirling lye that is normally used as a locus of prophecy and ecstatic scrying.

SRAM2HMDIL Her Majesty’s Daughter-in-Law: The dowager-empress has ordered that her son, the heir apparent, remain celibate for the foreseeable future. This precludes his marriage and has thrown the royal court into an uproar; nonetheless, her word is law until her son marries, and there is little that the high nobles can do without shattering their tradition and thus the accord that holds together the empire. She will say nothing of her motives and we have been contracted to determine them.
In truth, the dowager-empress is preparing to summon an entity that she intends will become the spouse of her son. It will take the form of
1. An alabaster woman glowing with light
2. A giant blue and white butterfly
3. A red ribbon wrapped around every inch of an invisible woman’s body
4. A faceless being resembling the Venus of Wittendorf
5. A four-armed, two-headed stone statue of a woman with a face on the front and back of each head (but long hair in between) and a human vagina and uterine system.
The dowager-empress is summoning this wife so as to divinize the family line for all time. The nature of the entity is (to be rolled at the time of the enactment of the ritual):
1. Loving
2. Power Hungry
3. Obsessed with reproduction and profoundly fecund (eg giving birth to litters of apparently human babies sharing some of her characteristics)
4. Utterly malevolent and intent on destroying the empire
5. Essentially without personality
6. Unwilling to wed the emperor
7. Desperately curious about the entire world
8. Characterized by a xenocosmic virus that causes people and things in the vicinity to gradually (ie pound-by-pound) begin to disappear from this universe (air rushes in to fill the place of the missing matter).
Determine what the daughter-in-law is going to do, determine what those in the great palace intend to do about her, and then act to safeguard the future of the empire.

SRAM3AVV A Vizier’s Vice: The grand vizier has been making purchases on the black market, setting up safehouses in remote parts of town unknown to the royal treasury, retaining the services of hard men who live outside the law, and establishing contacts with secret gentlemen’s societies in foreign city-states. The royal spymaster is keenly concerned about this but does not feel he can trust his own men, so he has contracted us to uncover the grand vizier’s motives and the extent of his activities.
The king, an atheist and a rationalist, has presided over a golden age of science and medicine but has neglected investigation into reports of occult activities, which he regards as legerdemain. When the grand vizier requested a budget for the investigation of the occult he was denied and told to drop the issue, and so he’s been financing efforts to set up a society of occult investigators on his own time. Alas, he may be too late; a conspiracy financed by wealthy foreign occult enthusiasts plans to raid the Royal Society of Gentlemen Hermeticists for their advanced astrolabes et al, and they are preparing a Night of Long Knives to dispatch as many of the grand vizier’s investigators as possible before their raid.

SRAP1FH Fell Host(s): An international assortment of minor but reputable engineers, scientists, composers and botanists are being flown in on lavish enneaplanes to a city-state or hinterland chateau for a luxurious symposium. We have been contracted because of the shady or tyrannical nature of the host; while this behavior has not yet become so explicit as to make him an international pariah, it is as yet concerning. The problem is that the event is invite-only and access is tightly controlled, so this will be an infiltration. Ascertain exactly who is in attendance and what the intent of the host is besides the pleasure and prestige of hosting such a symposium.
In truth it will be a kidnapping. The host intends to:
1. Force the guests to work for and entertain him (thugs will force them to attempt to do this if necessary)
2. Sacrifice them to an entity (which will manifest) or object of worship (whose zealots will be present)
3. Sell them into foreign bondage for ludicrous sums and the slavers have arrived
4. Safeguard them from an international antinatalist assassination wave that will take place on the night of the symposium (but an antinatalist hit squad will descend upon the symposium nonetheless)

SRAP2TSOV The Spines of Vision: The enemy has a number of seers in service to him; it is unknown whether they possess occult powers or if they are simply probabilistic geniuses, but it makes it very tricky to get to grips with areas that they have been enacting rituals to ‘scry upon.’ The allied military machine is gearing up for an assault on a stormwracked ribcage of windy crags possessed of many monolithic towers and totems; this place is reported to be of interest to the seers. Determine which ones are present and report back. Eliminate targets of opportunity if you can do it without being encircled by the enemy main force; there is a bounty ladder with some highly reliable seers being worth more than others (and one, possibly a trickster, whom you must not kill because he’s usually wrong).

SRAP3AHATT All Hallows, All the Time: The culture of the Fecundral bandit tribe revolves around traditional costumes and flaming masks; a man or woman may own five or six costumes depending on the gods they personally worship. So a man may wear the chain toga of the mountain-smiter, the furred ghillie suit of the farseeing cryptid, or the centipedal tube-mask of the cavern god’s steed with its hundred burning legs. 
The upcoming activities of the tribe are determined (from an outsider’s perspective) by the proportion of various god-costume among the tribe at any given time. Increased incidence of thunder, war or monster gods can serve as a bellwether for an upcoming raid, whereas increased manifestations of dowry, fertility and especially harvest deities make raids less likely. The chieftain appearing in the skin of a dead man or woman is a sure sign of war. Travel among these tribes, observe their costumes and festivals, and forecast just what their plans are.
The Deputation Department is prepared to construct costumes for this purpose.

Suspected turncoats
SRAST1WO Wild Oats: The king suspects his d4 children to be involved with nefarious plots and causes, and has contracted you to impartially determine what’s going on with them. Roll for the truth of each child with an RNG:
1. Clean as a whistle but possibly shadowed by malevolent individuals
2. Drug fiend
3. Sneaking out to perform philanthropy
4. Hobo-murdering sadist
5. Funding antinatalists
6. Organizing Anarcho-Syndicalists
7. Replaced by some kind of xenostygian doppelgänger or exocosmic simulacrum
8. Emasculated or FGM’d self and living as a monk or nun
9. Speculating recklessly on financial markets using his or her state development project stipend
10. Plotting directly to usurp the King
11. Literally a made man in the mafia
12. An active occultist
13. Acting as a masked vigilante
14. Romantically involved with royalty from a nation with which this state is feuding
15. Irreversibly married to a prostitute

SRAST2PS Prismatic Shadows: The state intelligence cabal is suspected by the Defense Magistrate to be compromised and to have its loyalties split between several foreign polities or ideologies. Roll the RNG for each of the 2d6 case officers; he or she is secretly:
1. Admirable and a good ally
2. Just socially awkward and likely to cause discord among *others*
3. A Wyrmling (the brain-eating parasitic spawn of a golden ouroborus near and possibly encircling the center of the earth; it’s not necessarily malign, this is just how it learns)
4. A Cynthian Knight
5. A Starling & Shrike Council Inspector on a deep cover mission
6. An agent of the displaced monarchy
7. Selling state secrets to Archzenith
8. A bandit tribesmen who somehow lied his way into this position and understands little about civilized society except how to blend in
9. A murderous sex pervert
10. In deep with loan sharks and thus controlled by the underworld
11. A straight up foreign spy
12. Radiant Monadist, though he or she may or may not have actually killed anyone
13. Murdering people for cash
14. The actual Defense Magistrate, he was testing you 

SRAST3BC Boon Companions: The general of a heavily-beset army suspects disloyalty on the part of his 2d4 regimental commanders. Roll for each commander; the truth is that the commander: 
1. Is winning the war for the general; this might be discovered when his men pull you out of some shit
2. Is just incompetent; the military sitaution around his force is likely to get hot and stay that way
3. Is selling off his unit’s gear to the enemy. He’ll offer you some great deals…
4. Personally leads every advance, inflicting and suffering huge casualties, possibly expects you to join him on the next one
5. Has about a quarter actual men as his books reports indicate, the rest being lost to desertion of ill-conceived long-range maneuvers
6. Is lost as fuck and nowhere near where his unit was last reported to be
7. Is mired in a wild bordello-and-speakeasy town
8. Has gone rogue and [ (1) turned bandit / (2) begun actually being effective / (3) gone over to the enemy / (4) founded a peaceful but well-defended agricultural colony]

SRDC1ATEB A Thousand Engines Burning: The enemy is reputed to have a vast airfleet, but exactly what kinds of planes they’ve contracted for are not clear. Fighters? Bombers? Transports? We need you to get in there and find out.
Actually the way the acquisition records are written are designed to throw off enemy spies. In fact, the enemy has contracted a vast assortment of tanks and armored cars, and this is what the players will be walking into.

SRDC2BR Bones Reclad: A ritual has recently gone down at the peak of Mount Ketrang. Thunder smote the corpuses of the high command and smoke poured from their bones. The mountain entire became an illuminate wall and black and red flickered the bodies of the manifold warlike supplicants. There are photographs. Then the entire army marched back down the side of the mountain and off towards the sea. Find out what this ritual was and what it did to each of the soldiers, officers and auxiliaries present.

SRDC3MU Mr. Untouchable: The kingpin of the local opium racket has boasted to reporters of being best friends with many of the city’s top officials. The mayor requests that you investigate the city-state government and find out just who is in the pocket of the racketeers. 50% chance each:
State Treasurer
Police Chief (Acting alone or practically the whole dept is bent?)
Public Works Commissioner
Labor Legislation Czar
If none of them are, the kingpin will be gunning for you to prevent the truth coming out that he isn’t protected by political alliances; meanwhile, he will be trying to get the government leaders in question into his pocket to cover his ass. Whether or not he’s successful is up to you to determine.

Center of Gravity
SRDCOG1CT Chthonic Transcendence: A millenarian movement has developed in Kolachata. It posits that the light will soon go out on the surface of the world and everybody who remains there will become unmoored and drift out into space. As such, the entire city-state is preparing to make a permanent exodus down the mines and caverns that speckle the landscape in the hinterlands around the city; cloaked and carrying lanterns, they will descend into the moorage of the earth, singing hymns and leading droves of supply-laden cattle that they will butcher in zero gravity once they reach the promised cavern. They believe that one the light goes out and gravity ceases, the insides of the world will warm and be filled with light.

Their clothes and buildings are decorated with star charts, gravitational orreries, and theoretical maps of the underworld emblazoned with stylized renditions of what the Kolchatans expect to encounter there. They carry reams of high-quality, ornate climbing gear that they have constructed or commissioned as a prayer to the lords beneath, the strange, whispering entities of the furthest caverns who they believe will take their place as gods when the surface is ended, just as the angels will become psychoprecognitive daemons of shadow in the inky depths of space. This climbing gear will be repurposed into launching lines strung across their caverns from wall to wall once the gravity disappears. 

The city Kolachata has suffered greatly in recent years. The crop failures have been relentless, as has malaria from the nearby swamps and the endless kidnappings by the slithering tribesmen of the Unstrung Heel. Erosion has destroyed many of their nearby wilderness resource gathering operations, and the rivers have alternatingly flooded and ran dry year after year. This is enough to drive any people to desperation. Yet the millenarian subterraneanism also has its own cabal of shamanic encouragers. We want to determine before the Kolachatans disappear into the earth (and presumably to their deaths) whether their behavior is primarily being driven by the terrible conditions they face, or the ideology that has swept through their population. We need to know this because the Kolchatans are important trade partners for a number of nearby city-states and if they go away it will severely damage the regional economy- potentially subjecting more cities to the same conditions of ideological susceptibility that the Kolchatans seem to be facing! If the Kolchatans are being driven by their conditions, we can launch a massive aid program that will make them come to their senses once they are no longer half-mad with starvation, grief and fear, but if they are being driven primarily by their ideology and are unwilling to step back from the brink then an aid program of that scale would be a disastrous, unrecoverable loss without the Kolchatan’s contribution as trade partners.

There is one more factor that could make this a very dangerous operation (aside from the cave shamans’ unwillingness to have their mission disrupted), which is that the Kolachatans have begun to suffer attacks originating at the very caverns and mines they intend to descend through. Apparently, at least one xenostygian civilization has learned of the Kolachatan plan to come and settle the underworld and is attempting to prevent this from happening. Milk-pale men wearing jumpsuits of what appears to be some kind of charcoal-camouflaged, extremely-sticky sharkskin have been using some kind of biological weapon to detonate the bodies of anybody struck by it like their intestines, mouths and colons were made of dynamite; the nature of this weapon and how it reaches the victim is unknown, but shattered remnants of prospectors, anchorites and preemptive pilgrims can be found near the mouths of the underworld. The survivors of these encounters report that the sharkskinned warriors seem very hesitant to enter direct sunlight.

SRDCOG2TT Thunder Twins: The Incandescents of Lightning Tree Pass are mustering for war against the nearby tribes; the Mushroom Pickers, the Snake Farmers, the Polyprostitutes; but reports from Incandescent traders indicate that the tribe is of divided opinion. Naturally, given the extremely cryptic and sonorous speech of the Incandescents it has been impossible to verify with certainty just what is driving the movement towards war, but the clipped recitations of the Incandescent traders seems to indicate that the leadership of the tribe is both responsible and divided.

There are two major figures among the Incandescent leadership: the chieftain Grimaxi the Thunder-Chosen, a warrior so smitten by lightning that he no longer feels pain and whose leathery skin is reputed to turn knife blows and .22 bullets, and the high shaman Tumulta of the Mirror-Eyes, a prophet whose recitations reflect the fate of the listeners. Whether he spins fate or merely predicts it is unknown, but he tends to get his way with it. Be careful that he does not speak of you in your presence should you be forced to act against him.

Travel among the Incandescents and determine who is really in charge, but be warned: they are hostile to outsiders and their valley pass is never dark, as there are many plants and minerals there that capture the lightning and shine it all day.

SRDCOG3SOL Silver or Lead: Reforms are taking place in Nornwell, but the city has been closed to outsiders as tensions mount between two irreconcilable camps. The city’s traditional aristocracy now abides almost exclusively in the Palace of Lingering Waves, a fluted tower that rises from the city’s river estuary between the narrow banks of the Sonnet. The nobles have long been the rentier power-class in Nornwell, but recently a faction of Anarcho-Syndicalists took the capitol and after brief and sporadic street fighting the two groups have existed in an 

The last refugees to escape the city report that the fields have been given over to peasants but the other industries have been nationalized; they are mostly independent traders and have been unable to say exactly who is behind this reform and who has enacted and enforced it. This process has been a product of violence by paramilitaries against gentry landowners and industrial houses.
We must know what to prepare for. Infiltrate Nornwell and determine exactly what is happening, and, if the aristocrats and Anarcho-Syndicalists remain inimical to each other, who is likely to come out on top.

Most Likely Course of Action
SRDMLCOA1IT Invoke Truisms: We have defeated the enemy army and they retreat. We must know whether they will reform and perform fresh conscriptions, distribute themselves throughout their towns to mount a delaying defense, or concentrate in a single fastness to make it impregnable. A wrong move on our part could throw away the final victory. Beware, for the countryside is sprinkled with remnants of their army. Some may be considering desertion, but not all will perceive the war to be lost and will be quick to shoot suspected spies and partisans like you. Furthermore, the local region is largely sympathetic to their cause. Tread lightly.

SRDMLCOA2APR A Prize Returned: Our allies have had a number of ships captured by the enemy in a cutting-out. We need to ascertain what the enemy plans for these ships: to cannibalize them, to sell them abroad for the war chest, or to integrate them into their navy. Only the captains will know exactly what is to happen; only the captains will have received their orders, which will have been verbal.

In truth, the enemy will effect a naval landing with these ships by sailing them near to an allied bay with enemy warships in tow, as if captives, who will then make a sudden steam for the near shore and conduct a beach assault on the city. The bay will be unprepared because their allies, who had their ships stolen right out of their port, have not yet publicized the loss.

SRDMLCOA3S Sakoku: A complex figure has arisen in a foreign city-state; a charismatic dictator who prizes his people above all, and has nothing but contempt for outsiders. Foreign reporters and businesspeople have been ejected from the city; travel there and ascertain what this new government is planning to do. Roll d4 for the truth:
1. Consolidation of domestic industry
2. Destruction of the domestic upper-class in a monarchical consolidation around the dictator
3. Invasion of a neutral, neighboring realm
4. Promulgation of a new set of laws around a (collectivist, republican, theocratic) model

SRDV1MR Market Research: The client represents an international merchant combine and wishes to understand economic realities about the city-state in question. Travel to the city-state and its associated outlying regions and learn about current events that will affect the regional economy and the city-state’s trading partners. d4:
1. The sky pearls of this place do not come from the bay, but are coughed up by bioluminescent white owls who sail in on the warmest winds before departing for the open sea. Who knows what they eat to produce these things? The fact is that these pearls are not the mere refuse of the owls’ meals; they are the genesis of a new form of life with a three year gestation time. The owl is like a caterpillar; the pearl is like a chrysalis. No one knows this, for the development of a perceptible form within the pearl is a slow process.
2. The head of state or government in general operating a kleptocracy. Their palaces are garlanded with expensive motor cars and airplanes, their families are laden with mink and designer luggage, their shelves are stocked with hundred year old whisky and thousand year old wine, their pets are ligers and wolyenas, and their food is flown in from the world’s finest restaurants. Meanwhile state enforcers grind private individuals and public enterprises outside the walls
3. The state treasury is more or less operating an international Ponzi scheme with hundreds of international investors (royalty, guild associations, shipping magnates, state exchequers) buying into completely vaporous missions of speculation and entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, the treasury is desperately attempting to put together an expedition into some benighted, bog-begotten hinterland to seek new sources of wealth and defuse the situation.
4. Financial recklessness is bringing this place nigh to hyperinflation and economic meltdown. When this happens, all the fault lines in society will rip wide open. This is likely to happen while the players are present. Until then, however, this is a great place to find investors.

SRDV2KU Known Unknowns: Our client is preparing for war against the city-state in question and is looking to understand the gaps in the enemy’s military readiness. Go among them and discover what conditions prevail on the ground. Possibilities:
1. Their military, previously composed of volunteers, is now a 100% conscript force and its spirit has declined precipitously. This includes their officers. The conscripts are ill-paid and their only hope for a real payday is to capture an enemy soldier, or spy…
2. Their military has a great love of boozing and feasting, and will miss no opportunity to do so. Military gatherings become unbelievably raucous and fraught with chaos when the liquor starts flowing.
3. Their high command is obsessed with a situational strategy as a primary strategy (paratroopers, lancers, flamer planes, artillery submarines); expect to have it used against you should you be discovered.
4. Their military is so wracked with brutal bullying and hazing that all but the most elite units suffer from cripplingly low morale and discipline. The line NCOs become excellent street fighters and their elite units are absolutely ruthless. Beware.
5. Their military is so corrupt that it has become part of the underworld. Naval riverboats serve as unofficial casinos wherever they’re moored, infantry companies serve as guards and enforcers for narcotcis plantations, and the air force acts as an international human trafficking concierge service. Graft and banditry go more or less unchecked anywhere that isn’t under a high-ranking officer’s footprint.

SRDV3TTTTMS The Times That Try Men’s Souls: A missionary organization is commissioning a report on social conditions in a given city-state that has recently cut off the inflow of people on nonofficial business. Their intent is to tailor their approach to the social conditions so as to make up for lost time once the city opens again. Infiltrate the place and discover what conditions prevail.
Example conditions: 
1. It has become impossible to criticize or be flippant about x and those who do so risk assault and life-sabotage by whoever considers themselves the cultural vanguard. x is:
(1) The Monarchy / (2) Our Great City-State / (3) Foreign city-states, where things are better / (4) The noble tribes of the pastoral wilds / (5) Laissez-faire Capitalism / (6) Anarcho-Syndicalism / (7) The one true faith / (8) The Military.
8s explode, a second opposed result means there’s a cultural struggle going on, a second same result means there are death squads enforcing this prohibition.
On particularly heady nights, the players may be accosted by mobs who will attempt to ascertain their true loyalties.
2. Mass hysteria: The people here are infecting each other with a kind of mimetic virus that is disrupting orderliness and prosperity: (1) Disappearing Dick Disease / (2) I am being cursed by the evil eye of others / (3) Psychosomatic seizures and limb malfunction / (4) Lizardman infiltration (25% of being true but it’s not exactly lizardmen) / (5) An approaching calendar date which heralds the annihilation of [the world / electricity / our culture / the non-elect] and people are acting accordingly / (6) The children report malign goings-on beneath several pedagogical buildings; in truth this is [ (1) Nothing, prompted by uncautious investigators / (2) The adults stockpiling [ (1) Explosives / (2) Narcotics / (3) Memorabilia] / (3) Xenostygian HUMINT source developers / (4) Some kind of horrific creature or malevolent entity / (5) The wandering souls of the dead]
3. Hatred of foreign intervention: A general cultural isolationism; foreign barbarians must not be permitted onto the city-state’s sacred soil. This who were able flew out of the city; those who were not were forced out into the wild, a death sentence in this world. That means foreign infiltrators like you are public enemy #1.
4. Mass immigration: Natives of this city-state are getting hard to find; instead, you find neighborhoods dominated by expatriates of various city-states and their families. Gangs are forming, in theory to resist exploitation by members of other diasporas; people are clannish in general and vote in blocs, if voting happens here, and otherwise in general use their diaspora community as a hedge against industry, the government, and to a lesser extent against ideology.
5. Enlightenment: For the first time, a plethora of reading material has become available here and the society is being revolutionized day-by-day. The sudden access to all of these concepts means that the society is likely to swing violently between whatever philosophy is currently most discussed. This will shape conditions in the streets.
(1) Rationalism / (2) Social Darwinism / (3) Anarcho-Syndicalism / (4) Empiricism / (5) Absolute Monarchism / (6) Constitutionalism

SROB1TCSP The Coal Sapling Pentacontagon: How do you map a three-dimensional non-Euclidean space? Focus on one portion at a time relative to its nearest elements. An informant penetrating the Coal Sapling Society reported that the occultist’s sacred place was a labyrinthine, non-euclidean temple in an outwardly-gravitic place of infinite darkness; their map of it is on an orthalcum pentacontagon sectioned for digestibility. Unfortunately, the informant’s been found out and apparently transmuted into some form of human chair. This is where you come in. Find the Coal Sapling Society, find their temple, and find their pentacontagon, and if you can, put the informant out of his misery.

SROB2TH The Homunculus: The blueprints of the Rose-Orbspan device are kept in the heart of the device itself for the engineers to reference. It is almost complete. It is undergoing testing. It is a tall plumbob shape. There are many layers, many segments inside. Many chambers. The device is a conduit. A gate. A projection. It waits for its final crew. It is not yet ready. Tendrils snake all around it. They emerge from vats of electrified acid. The tendrils are off-white, rubbery, greasy. They latch into ports on the device and divide up like nerve clusters in its corrugated flesh. At the heart of the device is a floating, blue, translucent orb like the holograph of a gas giant with only the thickest clouds shown. This is where the blueprints can be found. You will need to make paper copies if you can (which you can’t) or you’ll need to extract the orb. This will involve dismantling its dais. This will involve dismantling the device. This will involve the tentacles. 

SROB3IM Insatiable Madman: There are strange minerals beneath the normal mining layers. Strange and precious beyond compare. Troglodite. Suspendium. Phlogiston creosote. Lumps are worth king’s ransoms. Devices exploiting them are rare, and mostly conventional because value must be guaranteed for the blood paid for them. But not all have their visions limited by oaths to blood. Some see a darker and more revealing potential for these fruits of the littoral underworld. One sees a body. A superstructure. An exoskeleton. A mechanical shell to bring weapons and armor to bear in a manner unmatchable with conventional material engineering. Unbreakable cables. An everlasting internal fuel source. Anti-gravitic ballasts. Situationally morphic gyroscope assemblies. What could be accomplished for such things? And for whom? The plans have been laid. All that is required is the gathering of the materials. And they have almost arrived.

Acquire the blueprints of this mechanical monstrosity, which were produced in a fever dream, before the Insatiable Madman can be finished.

SROC1BA Broken Arrow: We don’t usually take contracts from blood-soaked tyrannies, but this time we’ll make an exception for repentance. The King of Leynorn Strand has given the order to activate a weapon in a city rebelling against his rule, the pirate republic of Targera-la Spring. He’s sent his spymaster and his closest enforcers to deploy the weapon, but is now having misgivings about its use. Why destroy the city, he says? There is still time to negotiate. He was rash. So he requires our assistance to defuse the situation. He says that the spymaster has lost family to the pirates. It is personal. He will not be dissuaded; he will say, “There is no proof that you can present that will make me believe you.” Eliminate him if you must, but in any case, recover the weapon and bring it back.

We’re not giving the King of Leynorn Strand back his weapon, whatever it is. He won’t explain it further except to say that it’s man-portable. Maybe you can find out more. Destroy it or get it out of that city, but don’t let it activate, or at least don’t be anywhere near it when it does. It could be that our friend the King is secretly afraid of global overreach on the part of his superweapon. Preventing that is what’s in it for us.

SROC2ELM Effeuiller la Marguerite: The Cape Cittacotte renaissance has reinvigorated their entire culture and all of their enterprises seem to be doing better with the flourishing of their national arts. Foremost among the poets is Princess Yayuramar; her works illuminate the earth and sea with humanity. She writes for the timeless in people; a man or woman of any age could understand and be moved by her.

Now comes her marriage. It is to young Harold Montafume, who will become a Duke of Vineforest. Intense communications have been carried out at the highest levels between Cape Cittacotte and Vineforest. What will occur? The question that is on every prominent Cittacottean’s lips is this: does the Princess marry for love? They are of many minds on this. If she is forced into a loveless marriage, then she shall wilt on the vine and her poetry must needs die. But others say nay, should she marry for love, that will occupy her heart and her poetry will be lived out in her life with him and no longer enter the public.

In any case, we have been contracted to discover if she marries for love. All courtiers of both states have their own opinions and the Princess and her betrothed have been placed in sequestration in preparation for their marriage; interlopers are barred from the palaces on pain of death, so you should acquire copies of the top secret diplomatic cables pertaining to the marriage, unless you have the stones to get in there and ask her yourself.

SROC3P Photosophogenesis: There’s a strange operation occurring out in the woods near Mandrake. An exiled baron of Theoseveria has holed up in a hunting castle with his retainers and every day more and more rolls of celluloid strip for recording. The baron hasn’t left in some time and is only sending his men out to hunt; they serve a dual purpose of warning off anybody who might be curious about what’s been happening. A reporter from the Mandrake Gentleman was fired upon. We’ve been contracted to discover what they’ve been recording, and if it’s anything unusual or novel, to retrieve a sample.

SROD1C Catabasis: The underworld of Thanofane is poorly understood. The shrine-funerary city is like a giant graveyard of fantastic mausoleums and tombstone-studded hillside; a place of pilgrimage for many of the world’s faithful. The great fear of anyone considering the Thanofanic underworld is that it is tinged with the occult somehow, notwithstanding that actual occultism almost never has anything to do with folkloric necromancy except when it involves the patterns, memories, or xenocosmic reflections of the dead. In any case, local shipping magnates are becoming concerned about shadowy figures dogging their representatives and are seeking a full rundown on the city’s mot prominent underworld figures. This will likely involve some infiltration of their circles; tread lightly because the underworld of Thanofane is physical as well as metaphorical. It’s a tomb all the way down and a city all the way down; in Thanofane there isn’t any clear distinction by district, and there are a lot of places to hide and to emerge from.

SROD2CE Contagious Execution: Disturbing news. One of our informants in the Kingdom of Kadwa has been picked up by the Cynthians. In very short order, he’s going to reveal the description and whereabouts of everybody who he works with to oppose Cynthian influence in Kadwa; including royal officials and Starling & Shrike agents. Whatever happens to this informant, you have to make sure that the information compiled from his interrogation does not make it to the Cynthian fleet. Kadwa is already not amenable to our interest; a Cynthian blacksite is probably one of the deadliest places we could attempt to infiltrate. We have to do it or our network in Kadwa will be ripped out root and branch, and that will spell the ultimate demise of many good people and their families.

SROD3UT Undercover Triage: The political strife in Gables is becoming intolerable and the Commissioner of the Exchequer would like to bring it to an end. Several factors are conspiring to two this: the city’s unions contain a number of prominent Anarcho-Syndicalist activists whose goal is to overthrow the government, the security forces contain a secret police squad whose goal is to exterminate the unions. The priesthood are holding private sermons  that seem to feature either/or gatherings of unioners or security people. The commissioner is looking for dossiers on prominent Anarcho-Syndicalists, prominent Secret Police figures, and prominent Priests. He wants this to be a source document for when he determines who can be integrated, who can be sidelined, and who presents an implacable threat to the harmony of the city.

SROL1TS The Soteriologist: It was said that only interest could save you from death. To be rapt, that is to be so alive that it would preserve the body when it could no longer go on of its own volition. And to lose one’s sense of interest was to die. 
Prince Velatera was fascinated by the traversal of the heavens and is said to have spent three hundred years studying them and constructing instruments to measure their tread and interface with their waxing and waning energies. He passed away in a moment of lapse and immediately a coterie of occultists, engineers, astronomists, astrologers, shipping magnates, explorers and dilettantes began vying for his instruments. The struggle continues to this day and our client desires to know just who owns what, but be careful: many of them have these devices for strange and obsessive purposes and will take to investigators with a most unfriendly eye. If any are to be used in potentially dangerous ways, the client asks that we recover them and is willing to pay a bonus for each. Do not abuse this clause.

SROL2AGP A Gentle Perversity: An industrialist is approaching middle age and looking back at his life with curiosity. He remembers his lovers with great tenderness, compassion, forgiveness, and wishes to know how they are and what their lives are like without intruding upon them (except by public surveillance, obviously). He asks for a description of their general conditions and whether they seem happy and well-adjusted, and asks that we help any of them who seem to live under threatening conditions. That will be a judgement call on your part, but he has included a discretionary bonus clause in the contract. 

SROL3GRK Green River Killers: There are strange storms in Veyicasha. They tend to wash things away. Nowhere is more fertile than the clover-wet river valley around the city, but it is paid for by storm floods that worsen every year. There are many great works of art in the city that the owners will not part with to secure outside their homes, and there is much suspicion of the city government as well. Travel to Veyicasha and determine 5-10 of the greatest works of art and artifacts currently present in the city so that when the floods come, the museum can make an appeal to the owners to secure their treasurers in the museum’s moisture-proof vault. Hope by that point it’s not too late, and then hold on to something.
When the waters rise, tribal raiders in canoes will come to take the city’s supplies. When the city is drowned, bandits in ironclad steamships will come to take the city’s treasures.

SROM1IPE Particle Entrapment Incarnation: It is rare that a occultist society is not immediately rooted up and exterminated when it is detected, but the Convocation of Saint Saithi is being monitored due to caution on the part of the city’s security minister. Conversations between the occultists in public happen in argot or ritualized discussions of things like golf or chocolate, and the minister’s interpretation of the transcripts provided him by the tails indicates that the occultists are acting as some kind of collective energy entrapment unit for extracosmic radiation, and should one of them be removed from the vicinity of their safehouse or killed then there will be a structural failure among them, and the receiver that they have constructed among themselves will catastrophically melt down. As such, the minister is contracting us to acquire the minutes of one of their secret meetings, either by taking their meeting records if they keep such a thing or making a recording of one of their discussions. With any luck they speak plainly at these gatherings and we’ll be able to sort out what’s really going on.

SROM2AR Accidental Reconnaissance: Naval incursions on the Empire of the Twin Canals conducted by the Lethemarket South Archipelago Company have been more or less constant this year; the Company claims that its ships have been blown off course by unfavorable winds and cannot help but take shortcuts through Twin Canals waters, or surveil Twin Canals shore facilities and unmapped military sites. The Empire is not the client; the client is the Lethemarket East Riverlands Company, who are deeply concerned that the South Archipelago Company is angling to draw Lethemarket into a war with Twin Canals. Infiltrate one of the hardened South Archipelago Company offshore counting houses or downtown penthouse complexes and determine from their board minutes exactly what they’re planning.

SROM3S Sympathy: The Zyrami Lawyers’ Guild has been holding meetings with large numbers of rough-looking itinerants unknown to the city-state government; none of the figures observed entering the Lawyers’ Guildhouse have registered with the Zyrami Travel Board and are thus unknown to the state observers. As such, rendering services to them is against the law; get eyes on the minutes of one of these meetings and determine exactly who the Guild’s new clients are. In truth, they are Anarcho-Syndicalist activists from the City of Leagues; the international guild-union alliance has been successfully exported here and the Lawyers are advising the Syndicalists about how to set up front organizations in Zyrami and how to structure their activities so as to be maximally defensible in city court down the line. The Lawyers’ Guildhall is being watched and protected by local Anarcho-Syndicalists whose direct legal cover gives them an attitude of absolute impunity.

SROP1AOR Aesthetics of Ruin: The land of Thikuxo is dying. Smote by their god, the volcano Aalthod. Now a rain of ash blots out the sky; the flora dies in droves and the cities freeze and burn. The driftwood jetties have gone up in smoke; those who could escape have done so. Ill tidings from the refugees. A transmutation of religion. Millenarian, propitiative, apocalyptic. Rites in the darkness. Shrines in the ruins. Prophets, seers. Starving sorcerer kings. Smote by their volcano, they descend beneath it in saline-braziered processions. They are assembling. Their plans must be known. Those who remain by Thikuxo are becoming cornered desperate animals, and in this world, those who lift their voices to the cosmos are often answered. 

SROP2E Exometempsychosis: There are halfseen waftings from the sites of bandit tribe spirit quests. These psychic journeys are not entirely immaterial in outcome, as our histories with the tribes can attest.

The Gods of the Earthhearts are conspiring, if their whispers are to be believed. A new power is mustering in the etherworld, but by the nature of Earthheart conversation it is difficult to determine if this power is divine, demonic or demiurgic. Are their gods conspiring for new pastures or against some malign cosmic force? It is not common among the people of the city-states to take this kind of thing seriously, but we have learned better. Travel among the Earthhearts, win their trust, and then enter their Godplane with them via burnt Worldroot. Ascertain the state of the divine but be warned: those who die in their Godplane do not return to their bodies.

SROP3TKOBM The Kingdom of Black Manna: The Red Charter Companies (ruthless, piratical, militarized black marketeers) have been shipping vast quantities of concrete, steel, rubber and glass to a range of hinterland oil derricks that they control. Construction has already begun on some kind of encompassing superstructure built around and throughout the derricks; this is totally out of character for the Companies, who are known to fortify their RGOs but never with glass and rubber. They have been employing slave labor and construction firms from city-states with weak rule of law. Your objective is to acquire or make carbon copies of the blueprints of this vast structure; determine its purpose and the rate at which it is likely to be completed. Beware, because the bandit tribes of the surrounding wilds are in the pocket of the Red Charter, supplying them with hunted game and slave labor from rival tribes.

SRSA1BB Bonegrinder Bombs: There is a new commodity in the muddy bazaars of Mandrake. Smooth steel cylinders roughly 7’ tall. A pale merchant on a pale ship is delivering consignments of them to a select few stewards serving a clientele of exiled noblemen. Naturally, some of their rivals are very curious about this most unassuming luxury; discover what is being sold but tread lightly as the buyer keeps these cylinders heavily guarded when on their way to the fortified manors in which many of Mandrake’s wealthiest exiles live.

In truth these cylinders contain mechanized windup skeletons from dead people whose families have donated their bones. These which have been dipped in lead so as to be coated in heavy, razor-sharp feathers of metal and had their ribcages filled or replaced with explosive casks to detonate after a certain number of steps.

These are real skeletons created by an underground culture out of their dead and sold to a middleman, who is the pale merchant in question; his ship, the white freighter, is a submarine that surfaces just over the horizon from wherever he’ll ply his wares. He can stand the sun, but his crew and shipguards linger in the belly of the freighter. They are clad in armor of ablative ceramicized bonemeal and wield electromagnetic swords and harpoons designed to wrest metal weapons from their foes while delivering lethal electric discharges from the swords’ single-use bioelectric hilt-batteries (actually a form of larval electric olm).

SRSA2TR Trial Run: The Princes of Mastanaland has been given the small outlying towns of  the kingdoms to govern so as to test their worth to inherit the kingdom. Prince Vocanyas has been given Stovenox to rule, and like the other princes he’s been assigned his secret minder: you. Gather intelligence on his performance and prepare your report for the king; in the meanwhile, make sure he doesn’t screw things up so badly that the town is lost, or get himself in a position to be killed by rebels or the kingdom’s foes.
Prince Vocanyas is:
1. Desperately idealistic
2. Enthused about leading military expeditions
3. Arbitrary and wanton
4. Prone to levying extreme punishments.
5. Psychiatrically unbalanced; roll from the above options every morning

SRSA3LUTB Lifting Up the Bandage: The Port of Periapt is famed for corruption, and the Grand Duke has finally had it; not enough to crack down on it, as many of his high nobles are in on the game, but he wishes to know exactly who has his fingers in the pie and what means are being used to deceive or pay off the port inspectors. Discover which inspectors, which nobles, which ships and which docks are most corrupt. Be warned that junior retainers of noble houses are some of the most violent people on earth and are not interested in having foreign interlopers spying on their master’s family business.

SRSC1AF Aquafloral Fortress: Ships have been disappearing in the arboreal straits of Otiistplam, a region that is like a forest upon the waves; the flora is like a cross between rainforest, reef and seaweed, the animals jumping terrestrial shrimp and barnacle-encrusted lobsters that hang from the noodly boughs like armored sloths. Investigate this place using whatever means you see fit and, if possible, find the ships and crews that have disappeared.

In truth, this is the first case of a xenostygian civilization forming an undersea colony; the forest above the waves is nothing but the tip of the iceberg, and the foliage down beneath is so dense that the xenostygians have been able to weave together vast quantities of the living stuff into a kind of hermetic palisade and create sealed chambers that they have pumped the water from and opened tunnels into the underworld so as to channel in fresh oxygen. The walls of foliage can be conditionally relaxed, allowing for the creation of airlock chambers where their submarines load and unload crew- and prisoners and cargo.

The xenostygians have turned to wrecking and float their submarines beneath surfacer freighters and punch holes in the bottom; then when the ship begins to sink, the submarine surfaces and opens its great forward maw for the sailors to swim into. Those who attempt to escape on lifeboats are swallowed by the submarine; harpooned and reeled in, if necessary. The sinking freighters are then dragged into position near the undersea foliage fortress; they are later welded shut, pumped and drained so as to be used as outstations and storage dumps.

The captives are taken into the bowels of the earth where they are to be sold to subterranean polities, but a substantial reserve are kept within the kelpen keep as a form of cash reserve; these could be rescued or brought on as allies. Beware: the xenostygians warriors aboard the submarines wear armored diving suits resembling crocodile-lampreys. Those guarding the reef redoubt normally go unarmored, expecting no determined opposition.

SRSC2SH Seismic Heraldry: There is less general interest in the underworld among the city-states than one would think. Besides mining, there seems to be little of value and the xenostygian cultures are too deep for most people to regard them as anything but a fiction to explain our feelings about the unknown and submerged parts of the world. Little of value, but always something to fear. The city’s seismograph has been reading a low hum for quite some time; not an earthquake, it maps onto no known tectonic phenomenon, and it has been decided by the city-state government to dip into their pockets and have us investigate this phenomenon. There are cracks in the city’s old winter grain magazines that lead into a cavern complex beneath the city; there may also be entrances in the nearby flinty hills.
In truth, the vibration is being caused by:
1. The continual movement of a xenostygian army
2. The singing of an entity whose disembodied internal organs are a complex of migratory geodes
3. The exponential birthing cycle of a colony of sapient but utterly collectivistic rock-burrowing acid crabs
4. The Civilopede
5. The mining-out of a superstructure constructed by an ethereal entity that can reshape matter at will and creates fabulous and mysterious but deadly underground palace-complexes and fastness-manors for its own pleasure; these are beautiful but intended only theoretically for use or inhabitation by humans. The entity hopes that people will form colonies and inhabit these structures after proving themselves overcoming their pitfalls and defenses, and seeds them with treasures to encourage this, but the foundation of such a colony has only occurred once or twice in history.

SRS3SA Sky Arks: An unknown procession of nine-winged transport enneaplanes has been flying near the client’s city-state. They are unmarked and of no known type, possibly of custom make. They follow the same path through the sky each time, but the client's state only possesses short-range interceptors and so needs to hire us to discover the source and destination of these planes.
In truth, the planes are:
1. An aerial manifestation of the Cynthian treasure fleet
2. Shipments of slaves traveling to the city-state of Bounty from the barbarous thunder-crags of the Channels of Light
3. Scout plane from a rival city-state with a high-quality photographic studio and valuable intelligence photographs aboard
4. A spectral entity that takes the form of a plane so as not to raise the suspicion of people below.

SRSM1VAV Villainy and Villainy: The heads of a number of minor international industrial and shipping houses are meeting in a mercenary castle on a rocky island far out at sea. The castle and its guards exist for this purpose; the place is fortified in the medieval style but also with a star fort with high earthwork ramparts to absorb naval gunfire.

Infiltrate the meeting and determine what they are plotting.
1. The mercenary overthrow of several uncooperative city-state governments
2. The integration of a mysterious fungal dust blowing up from several underworld vents into foodstuffs, fertilizers and gasolines so as to cut them and make them go further; the dust seems to serve each of those purposes when concentrated
3. The annihilation of Starling & Shrike or another international investigatory organization in your own setting
4. Secretly swearing fealty to the Cynthian Empire to gain a guardian at sea and another market unaccountable to the continental city-states

Complicating factors:
1. The Cynthian Empire comes to take the island over to use as a supply dump/prison and plan on ransoming the merchant heads and massacring everyone else; first will come the nerve gas bombardment, then will come the armored sea legionnaires with steel pavise shields, shotguns and flamethrowers, and finally the Cynthian commanders will cheerily sweep the wreckage and portion out the captives to their knights for individual ransom
2. Raiders from the Grave of the Sorcerers come; these grim and silent men with bloodshot eyes (and no tongues) electrify metallic structures then carry off whatever men survive (only men). Their captains inexplicably possess four arms; they are the only ones among them who have retained their tongues
3. There is a once-in-a-century hurricane brewing; it is heralded by a tsunami from the deep ocean and is followed twenty minutes later by the hurricane 
4. A colony of cow-sized crabs have discovered this island and midway through the meeting they scuttle sideways up the rocks en-masse, a grim tide of blood-orange monstrosities with ironbreaking claws. No fastness is safe from the invader; a bank vault could be cut into within 15 minutes. Someone enveloped in the tide will be seen being crowd-surfed above the horde for a few moments before being snipped up all at once by a dozen crabs like they’d been put through an egg slicer, or taken by the limbs and head and pulled apart in every direction at once. When enthused, the crabs raise their pincers and snap them loudly. The tearing-apart of a human will be met with thunderous acclaim by the rain-slick crabs.

SRSM2T Teletai: Several princes have recently gone missing from their city-states, but rumors among their body servants indicate that they will be meeting in the wild city of Mandrake to arrange some kind of plan without the knowledge of their families. Determine where exactly they will be meeting, infiltrate it, and learn what they plan on doing:
1. Pooling resources to assassinate those first in line to inherit their realms
2. Taking their city-states to war against one another as a way of consolidating their domestic power before the mutual termination of the war on a date to be agreed upon at the meeting
3. Mutually decriminalizing occult studies in their city-states so as to create a vanguard on earth for the instantiation of a transcendent meta-kingdom with themselves as sages and their servants as mandarins in the tale of this prenatal nation.

Complicating factors:
1. A conspiracy of exiled nobles and their retinues will assault the meeting compound so as to take the princes hostage and force their kingdoms to give the nobles back their titles etc or institute reforms in the kingdom, such as moves in the direction of constitutionalism, absolutism or theocracy
2. The princes will be gradually driven mad by having their bodies seeded with lead and mercury by a radioactive runestone hidden in the city by the Glossolalian servants of the machine elves
3. Occultists will seize the compound and attempt to use the Princes as the locus for an energetic bounceback ritual; this will mutate the Princes into a physically, mentally and perceptually distorted form, but this is not the point of the ritual and afterwards the Occultists will exit the complex in a breakout-by-fire and leave the Princes to their distorted rule
4. There will be a complete breakdown in negotiations, and the 3d4 ferocious princes will turn the meeting into a total rolling free fire zone between themselves and their retinues throughout the complex.

SRSM3WC Wayward Children: Several Starling & Shrike Agents (or members of an international investigatory organization in your setting) have been reported by one of their fellows to be traveling to meet with a member of an outlawed organization. Trail them and determine why this is coming about. They are meeting with:
(1) Cynthian Knights / (2) Crag of Songs Killers / (3) Red Charter Fences / (4) Bandit Tribe marauders
They are meeting to: (1) Apprehend the enemy (but will be counter-ambushed) / (2) Sell state documents to the enemy / (3) Go over to the enemy / (4) Maintain the love-relationship between one of your people and one of theirs, with the others there as protection.


-I’m very curious who the Swede(s) are who’ve been accounting for many, many views these last few days. Please identify yourself or I’ll have to assume you’re pickled herrings out for revenge on me and the sour cream I’ve dunked your cousins in

-This document is GM-facing

-If time, energy and interest permits in your game, I recommend having the employer offer a follow-on contract to favorably resolve the situation that the players have uncovered, or contractual stipulations that players may be paid a bonus for preemptively resolving situations in a way favorable to the employer

-I really, really, really wanted to call SRAP1FH “Chateauvania: Symposium of the Night” so I’m mentioning it here for posterity


  1. Overall, just incredibly imaginative, so many ideas here.

    Also, SRAM2HMDIL is amazing. Roll twice on each table for a red-ribboned form of an invisible woman who transforms into a giant blue butterfly after the ribbon turns out to be a cocoon, and is loving yet utterly malevolent and intent on destroying the empire.

    1. Thanks a lot Dan. I like your idea more than just using one single concept

  2. So, you had a Swedish influx as well? Shouldn't have waited to do a deep dive on the Contract Generator, for more reasons than one.

    1. Yes, though it came and went! Reconnaissance, I think. Disturbing to think the Carolean tide may yet again swell upon this world

      Thank you! I think I’m going to hold off on posting more contracts until I’ve finished them all, though, and then do the remaining sections all in one post. There’s only so much a reader can get out of concept lists like this and ultimately they’re meant to be clad in a larger superstructure (as it is this isn’t exactly a “contract generator”, it’s just contracts) which will lay out a kind of meta process for running the contracts


Art - First Run