It occurs to me that I haven’t posted anything on here in some time. Let’s remedy that with this picture and short discussion of the enigmatic figure known to the players of my D&D game as “Mr. Rich.” I put the name in quotation marks because it is likely that this is an alias of some kind, judging by the other things they have heard him called.
When the players first met Mr. Rich, they were in Rahas, in pursuit of the heretic Jebwyer Fanda, and were looking for some work to tide them over until the Marshall could give them some troops to help hunt him down. Rich had put a notice on the bounty board looking for temporary bodyguards–something for a few days, a week at most, the notice assured them. Looking into the notice, they found Rich drunk in the Serpent’s Tongue inn and tavern. He was wearing a hat and glasses, like a certain man in a strange wanted poster they kept seeing on the bounty board, but the differences between the drawing and him (and the fact that he’d have to have balls of steel in order to put up a work notice right next to his own wanted poster) allayed their suspicions for the moment. He told them that an enemy of his had sent a team of assassins after him. Probably ten or so. He was willing to pay them per assassin killed, if they could get him through the next couple of days alive. It seemed simple enough. The players waited around, keeping an eye on Rich, and a day or two later were quick to see through the disguise of the party of assassins that showed up looking like a traveling merchant caravan. They came up with a simple plan to poison them all at the inn that night, and went to work.
That’s when things got complicated. The counter-assassination attempt fell apart into a series of scattered fights throughout the inn, which meant that unfortunately for the players most of them weren’t present when two assassins burst through the door of Rich’s room shouting, “Chancery agents! Freeze!” before trying to shoot Mr. Rich. Several knife-fights, two dives through windows and an explosion that almost killed half the party later, they had nine dead assassin-potentially-Chancery-agents on their hands–and one live one that Mr. Rich didn’t know about. He paid them for ten heads and went on his merry way, leaving them to interrogate their prisoner. They found out that, oh shit, these guyswere real Chancery agents, which meant that the players had just cut down nine Imperial assassins. After much debate, it was decided that the remaining agent knew too much to live. If they’d let him go, he would have reported in, and the party would have been hunted down immediately for their role in what happened; the Black-Marked Men are not known as forgiving sorts. The agent’s death, they reasoned, while cold, might buy them more time while the Chancery figured out what had happened.
The Chancery agent, besides telling them that yeah, these guys were legit government employees, also gave them some information on Mr. Rich (also known as “Francis Order” or “the Machinist” or any number of other names). He told them that Mr. Rich was the man-behind-the-man in the rebellion currently happening in the south of the Empire. The figurehead of the rebellion, the Lead Prophet, was a sentient automaton (Prophet-Soul, some call him), and thus Mr. Rich had been dubbed the Machinist by those in the know. The players, now realizing that yes, Rich was indeed the same man as the one gracing the wanted poster they’d been pouring over for the entire campaign, set off after him, intent on getting that sweet reward money and maybe buying back into the good graces of the Chancery. They never caught him, though, putting Mr. Rich’s last known location on a horse headed for the Grey City.
Will this mysterious figure reappear when the D&D game starts back up next quarter? Who knows? But he does seem to be heavily involved with the rebellion, and no matter where the players go in the Empire, the uprising of the Lead Prophet weighs heavily on everyone’s minds…