SCUP Playtest: Cape Veyl and the Unspeakable Pirates

Episode 5 (session 6)
Pirate Images

Here are some of the images that have inspired me.

More on Session 4 Events


So the last session Murcia teleported away from the ceremony of sacrifice and caused some embarrassment to Lord Veyal when he tried to reach and stop It. From there It went to the lair of Ostren, who had told It that he could take care of himself. Murcia took away most of Ostren’s belongings to its own cave and convinced Ostren to let go of the captured witch-hunter to evidence the witch-hunter’s mediocrity. Murcia withdrew to its cave and made a dimensional passage to the castle. Murcia then viewed what Lord Veyal was doing and this is where we left off and where I’d like to change Murcia’s course of action… depending if I can or cannot make it to the session. Salutes,
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So, as I recall, Veyal’s cousin sailed to the island and was immediately set up with a laboratory in the castle where she can work on problems like what to do with an ensorcelled member of the House of Veyal. Veyal learned that to confront the cursed sorcerer who now haunts his land like a ghost, he is going to have to cross over into the shadow realm. Luckily the resources to complete such a ritual are readily available from some of his allies.

The Witch-Hunter proved ultimately a useless resource to Lord Veyal; more pomp and circumstance than actual witch hunting ability. Luckily after a brief encounter with that damned sorcerer the witch-hunter was left mostly addled and harmless. He was sent, under guard, to “recover” in a room in the castle. (Since his arrival, We Silence and Candle have had an encounter with him which ended with some crazy magics Veyal is yet to be made aware of.)


The war-galley full of soldiers the Witch Hunter has brought with him is soon to be under the full control of Lord Veyal. The soldiers are broken into small camps, hunting the witch throughout the island. This is intended to keep them busy and unable to congregate while Veyal assumes full control of them- and takes the necessary measures to deal with their current leadership.
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In what Lord Veyal can only assume is a sorceress madness, his once ally, the youngest adept of the isle has teleported into Veyal’s chambers for a private audience. It will have to speak fast to calm Veyal’s blood before the word “betrayer” spills off his lips, and there the Scepter of Dragons finally gets to display how it treats those who openly oppose the House of Veyal.

4th Session Events
Let's See What We Can Remember


Bite this George R.R. Martin

The Witchfinder General was ambushed by Candle and We Silence. The Beloved got a painful handlock on the man, snipped his hair, and transformed himself into a double of Golden Eye. The Witchfinder fled, and ran face first into Wick, who aikido flipped him, waited for the nod, and then dispatched him. Anyone fleeing from Candle might be an enemy of the House of the Torch and must be neutralized. All hail the sword and sorcery security state! What will be made of his mole in the House of Veyal, time will tell.

Highlight Moment

The Bloodletter was trying to “improve” Grand Marshal Seleucis. He has been freed from his paralysis. He does have funky holes in his head. Like this:


Oh yeah, a weird cloud of floating black goo emerged from his head and The Bloodletter kept it in a ceramic container.

Character Actions


Made a very strong entrance, coming from the ocean through a storm, seeing the violence of The Open Hand on the docks, and experimenting with the Grand Marshal. She has old connections with Lord Veyal and passing acquaintance with Candle. She is carrying medicine for Candle’s daughter. Which she has one of.


Making sure the Barque from The House of Veyal isn’t tampered with. She was looking out to see. We Silence came and did some weird dancing, hinting that they have to work out some relationship between the characters.

The Crown

After the sacrifice, Lord Veyal leads a bold search for the now exposed sorcerer. During that trip, his dear comrade Grand Marshal Seleucis is paralyzed. And the ambitious and manipulative Witchfinder General is kidnapped by the sublimated Hidden Master. Lord Veyal has found a way to neutralize the Witchfinder.

The Beloved

Dealing with the wake of the sacrifice. Went for a swim. Danced strangely with Candle, and finally came to some agreement to stay out of each other’s way.

The Adept

Murcia was a shadowy figure. He has worked a teleportation channel through the island from his hidden cave to the castle.

A bit of a schematic:
[Murcia’s cave [Hidden room {teleport gate}] <——————→ [Castle [Guest Quarter “Grand Marshal” [Closet {teleport gate}]

Murcia is lurking there.


A Monster: The Hidden Master

Golden Eye, a Witchfinder General for The House of Veyal went looking for the exposed sorcerer of The Corpus. On that quest, Grand Marshal Selecusis was paralyzed suddenly, and Golden Eye disappeared, later to be discovered incoherent in the demolished lair of the sorcerer. Lord Veyal is keeping the forces under Golden Eye’s command busy looking for The Hidden Master. What will happen when the sublimated master stops hiding?

- the agent of The Corpus has turned himself into a spirit that haunts the shadows of the jungles
- human contact: The Adept
- countdown [*] [ ] [ ]

A Realm: The Sea

Our newest character, the bloodletter was confronted by an unseasonal wind, and strange seaweed slurping away at the hull. The seaweed is unusually animate when in the water and attacking the ship, but vegetative when out of the water. It tastes …. weird but edible. Local sailors don’t recognize it. Why is the sea seemingly encircling and choking off the pirate lord of Cape Veyal? What does it want?

- the sea is a mythological power, not a natural resource
- travel too and from the island is imperilled, for everyone
- so, ambiguous, what does it want
- human contact: The Beloved/Candle
- countdown [*] [ ] [ ]

A Cabal: The Open Hand

No real interaction with the peasants. But while walking by the the fishers’ shanties, Candle caught a dart in the neck. What will be their next outrage?

- radical fisher-folk, peasant sailor secret society
- paradoxically, they hate those who profit from secrets (death to The Order of The Torch!)
- human contact: Lord Veyal
- countdown [*] [ ] [ ]

h2: A Power: __________

It has been at work. You just don’t know how. It hasn’t made itself apparent.

- it was We Silence, but we never went far into it
- countdown [ ] [ ] [ ]

4th Sessions Remarks
playtest observations

Session #4 Notes
Erik Weissengruber 05/05/2015

This is the SCUP crew in Toronto.

Another great fun time.

Incorporating New Characters

We had a new player take up the role of Bloodletter. Some advice about integrating new characters would be welcome.


I unleashed my threats: some direction as to whether linking a role against that threat to a stat would be welcome. The example shows a threat linked to Fierce. Linking a threat to a stat gives the chance for characters to test against a highlighted stat, or to deliberately put themselves in harm’s way to gain experience.

Advice on Procedures

Again, players stressed the need for a concise reference to pre- and post-game activities, like checking experience. The rules are in the advancement section, but a nice BEFORE EVERY SESSION and AFTER EVERY SESSION set-up would be welcome.

Examples of how to work-in particular resource shortages would be welcome.

And incorporating mythology into factions and and character conflicts.

We are having fun.

Erik Weissengruber
3rd Session
Primal Rituals

So this is a world like M.A.R. Barker’s Tekumel.

The mythology is not sanitized Norse folktales. Human sacrifice and secret society bonding with same-sex partners.

But it is not a dark world. There is sun and life and happiness.

Sparta, Thebes, New Guinea, - very strange combinations.

The Story

  • We Silence was … interesting. I think he was interested in the Water forces that we showing up.
    Candle was training the new agent
  • Murcia was concerned about the oncoming threat of witch hunters (The House of Veyal invited one in)
  • Lord Veyal invited dangerous witch-hunters to his island to hunt down the wretched sorcery us scum who dared being pirates to his shores.
  • Candle discovered the witch-hunter’s plot to move against Veyal
  • The fearsome king shared a tender moment (warrior love, Theban style!) with the Commander who came with the Witch-hunter in order to secure an alliance for the good of the House.
  • There was something going on with Lord Veil and Candle trying to get a hold of the troops that arrived with the scholar.
  • Murcia had failed to save the child.
  • We Silence sacrificed the innocent child to the “Beautiful One.”
  • Both Murcia and We Silence summoned the arkane and mystical power of each respective faction.
  • We Silence invoked the power of The House of Silence, Murcia tried but failed to invoke the power of The Corpus. * The stakes got really high. The House of Silence had a very powerful divine effect.
  • The fortuitously empowered witch hunter had a lightning bolt point to the place where the other member of the Corpus was hiding.
  • There were some side effects from We Silence achieving such aim, which Murcia would like to inspect.

Possible Events

  • Once the excitement settles down Lord Veyal may meet and interrogate his pirate prisoner who he has locked in the highest tower of the castle.
  • Perhaps there could be a way to win this pirates loyalty as a significant boon to the functionality of Veyal’s new and improved navy.
  • Primarily though, the horrible sorcerer must be punished.
  • If Veyal’s pet project to work with the Corpus living in a cave in his shores gets caught in the crossfire, so be it.
  • If he must comply with beautiful religious practices so be it.
  • For now those annoyances are acceptable if it means the treacherous wizard is caught and punished.
2nd Session
The Pirates Arrive

Sequence of Events

The pirates come.

Mer-beings offer to subvert their attack, We Silence accepts.

The Adept is exploring his book.

There is a bunch of angry fisherpeople dissing The Voice, and suggesting that she be taken down a peg.

The Crown has led a spectacular resistance against The Ram, a pirate from the western mainland paying back the previous season’s raid.

The “Open Handers” who were turning against The Voice acquitted themselves well.

Detailed Notes

Here are some comments I posted to a playtest discussion at Adept Press

By creating a faction, players have implied a whole bunch of setting. From that sketchy background they seem to be pulling in elements to fill-in gaps.

(oh bricolage, I love you)

Frex: The Beloved speaks very little to the other characters. Interaction with others is done through gesture as much as possible. The village fisher kids are unhappy about the presence of the Adept on their island. The Beloved is assuaging their anxiety by teaching them rituals to honor the Beautiful One or The Unspeakable Power. And the ritual that The Beloved must perform — periodic blood sacrifice — is very colorful. The reactions of the other characters to this ritual will provide me with raw material to extrapolate other ritual communities that are distinguished by different practices.

The origin myths imply some sort of cosmology: the powers of Sun and Moon, the Beautiful One and her contesting children Sea and Land. But the rituals of Blooding that bind members of the House of Veyal or the rebellious Open Hand conspiracy, and the Gnostic wisdom of The Corpus have their own dynamics that as of yet don’t seem tied to any “monomyth.”

I assume that the fishers will continue their sacrifices to the powers of The Sea (who are one of the Threats the players will face: they have already made their appearance as luminous mer-folk). But I want to establish ritual practices rather than expecting logical, deductive elaborations of particular mythologies out of some monomyth. There is a creation story and some myths that are commonly known, but no shared theology from which particular cults work variations.

The Corpus seem to pass on their wisdom through initiations like some sublimated shamanism. But they depend on books and spiritual/physical exercises to develop internal resources.

The ideas of “houses” and “orders” seem very different from the localized religious traditions that are (to a Wikipedist/tourist’s perception) characteristic of Shinto. Stepping into one of our societies means a break from your local community and adherence to the codes of some intra-island organization: you can’t just take up priestly duties during particular holy times and then return to farming or trade at others.

Pretentious Quote

“God, as the one who he is, is unknown and it is just as this Unknown One that he is the measure for the poet … the god who remains unknown, must by showing himself as the one he is, appear as the one who remains unknown. God’s manifestness — not only he himself — is mysterious.” Heidegger “… Poetically Man Dwells …”

First Session
Characters made, intrigue initiated

- Last big blow of the Monsoon Season
- unbattening the hatches
- Morcia staring into the sea, We Silence looking for him, Felicitus Veil contemplating the 1st raid, Candle preparing banquet
- Cisterns filled with fresh rainwatter
- A medium shaped ship, crashed, no survivors found, no corpses washed on shore,
- from a Norther Mainlaind clan The Blue Star Clan, in open rebellion against the Emperor, there was a beaded necklace, Moricia has returned it to We Silence
- a stranger from the ship, a member of The Corpus is hiding (how did s/he survive)


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