Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Item Stories

I was recently visiting the Cathedral of Lima with a friend of mine, a pastor.  We were looking at a collection of church artifacts: robes, miters, choral books etc.  He could probably use/wear some of this stuff in his actual job, except it's probably slightly presumptuous to walk in to mass in a bishop's gear if you're not actually, you know.  A bishop.

Dress for the job you want
Which got me thinking, when your cleric finds clerical items that improve their character, are they walking around dressed like a cardinal in plate armor?  What are people's reactions when you roll up wearing a mitre but are not actually a bishop?  There are obviously possibilities for people to get mad or accuse the characters of being imposters, but I feel it's more fun and interesting if you go past that and give the characters opportunities they wouldn't normally have instead of just headaches.

You can give each holy magic item your players find a vague place in the organized church depending on its rarity and power level.  It's also not the age of video streaming, so most people won't know what their bishop or cardinal looks like and might assume the guy with the raiments and armed guard is he or she. Some situations

Two rival priests run up when the players arrive in town, pushing each other in order to appeal to the cleric.  Each has a long list of complaints both doctrinal and personal, and demands an immediate banishment for the other.  
The townspeople rejoice as the party approaches and sweep the cleric to the courthouse, where they are expected to sit in judgement on all the criminals from the past year.  
A local priest has nailed 95 theses to the church door and has ideas for reform.  The town is concerned but is willing to follow the bishop's lead.
Tax Day!  The peasants are all in town to pay their taxes and of course are ready to give their tithe to the church.
Request from the local lord for a marriage annulment.
The king or lord requests that you lead your army from the bishopric to assist him in war with the gnolls
Depressed priest comes to you for spiritual guidance. 
This town has a printing press set aside for use of the clergy.  Whatever dumb ideas the player comes up with are printed and widely dissemminated. 
Pretty much any situation where the town requested a bishop to deal with some problem and then the party shows up first

This is also a lot of fun because the party can assist with matters of judgement, and may act as investigators to determine if claims are true. If the party has political aims this is a good way to start building up a power base by assuming a bishopric or helping local lords.

I'll write next some armor and weapons that have built in connections, such as heraldry, that tie the characters to the campaign world and give them political opportunities.

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