When we last discussed our faction, the Shields of Abigil, we discussed our founder’s backstory and her motivations. But characters are only as strong as the forces they oppose (or something like that). As part of her history, she was robbed of her ancestral home by a skilled thief. Who was he? What are his motivations? How is that going to shape the area in which our PCs might find themselves?
In this post, we’re going to flesh out our faction’s primary nemesis and a couple of other high-ranking members to give it some more shape.
Gyliam the Noble is unbelievably personable. A handsome man with braided hair and beard, he has managed to win the hearts of other nobles who, truth be told, prefer him to Abigil. Despite a slight lisp, he is an excellent entertainer and cook, enjoying the finest tastes and delicacies. He seized on Abigil’s title in an effort to win glory for himself–above all, he wants to be remembered. He possesses a clear blue crystal handed down from his father, who has since passed from this world. With the stolen title, he finally can participate in the grand Tournament of Nobles, which he, despite a lack of skill at arms, thinks he can win and secure his position.
With all of this established, we can get a better sense of how the Shields hope to oppose his influence and change things for the better. Though the conflict has not escalated to violence, it could, but it could also provide an opportunity to present your PCs with a problem that violence isn’t really qualified to solve. Gyliam probably isn’t irredeemably evil, and his motivations are understandable, but he still needs to be ousted. From looking at his personality, you could have the PCs confront him at a dinner party in his home, steal the crystal for bargaining position, or disrupt the tournament he hopes to win. All of these could be interesting encounters that step away from traditional “murder-hoboing,” if you’re looking for a change of pace.
Before we finish this post, let’s grab a couple more NPCs to flesh out the Shields.
Alanis the Stout is an elven druid who has found common cause with Abigil. She believes in moderation in all things, and the waste Gyliam has shown in his administration bothers her. His hunters have slain her animal charges, so she has emerged to enforce her guardianship of the wilds and ensure that they no longer trespass on her domain. The large, tattooed woman is fond of flowery speech, and her blustery demeanor makes her off-putting to many. Alanis has made alliance with both Abigil and the spirits of the forest to drive Gyliam’s men from her woods.
Wari the Strong is a ponderous dwarven abjurer who over-enunciates her words and generally disregards non-dwarven allies. Unknown to Abigil or the others, she has infiltrated the group in an attempt to weaken the people of the region, making them vulnerable to ambush by dwarven scouts sent to spy out the region for expansion. She doesn’t necessarily care who wins so long as it benefits her people.
Both of these allies represent characters that might hook PCs into the conflict, and their own agendas complicate interactions with the group. But that’s a story for another entry.
Next: we flesh out some faction scenarios in which you can involve your players.