And so it's time for another review of a Mythras adventure. This one is the first adventure to be attached to a Mythic title. In this case, it's Mythic Constantinople, a title I aim to review at some point in the future.
For right now, let's take a look at this adventure by Mark Shirley.
By the way, just in case, if you're planning on running this adventure, best to have a copy of Mythras and Mythic Constantinople handy.
The opening paragraph of the blurb lays the story on the shoulders of one Kales Pegonites, proclaiming him as "the man everyone wants" without preamble or background. I guess we're going to be following him around then.
Only one problem - at the beginning of this adventure, this most wanted man has become even more wanted, by dint of inconsiderately going missing.
So, to Constantinople, and the adventure gives you the tourist brochure blurb of the city: what it looks like, who's in charge, or maybe who thinks they're in charge, and what the local currency looks like.
Next is the Overview - instructions to the GM to read this book from cover to cover, because there's a lot of ground to ... cover.
And I've just seen a major spoiler.
Okay, so there's a list of NPCs, a timeline, and a list of the areas where the Adventurers will be going to make all their discreet enquiries, and stir up hornets' nests everywhere.
The story begins with the Adventurers being tasked to look for Kales Pegonites. The trail is littered with clues. Hopefully, the GM will let the Adventurers have them all - or sufficient, at least, to allow them to understand what is happening, and where they are supposed to go.
I'm going to drop some spoilers here. Kales Pegonites has not had a happy life. Nasty Dad, abhorrent elder brother. Both recently deceased, so good riddance.
There's a corrupt banker, and a gangster called The Gorgon, and an illegal deal, and Kales' loving mother, and Kales' utter waste of skin of a so-called friend. As GM, you get to choose which of these people end up hiring your Adventurers. Or there's the option that your guys are just wandering down the road and you hear an agonising scream, and there's these two strangers off in some dark alley, half hidden by the shadows ...
The first part of the adventure is investigation - heavy. The person who sends the Adventurers off on their little chase can send them off in search of Kales' little friend, whom they may encounter in a pub; or they could be sent off to Kales' home, which is empty, since neither Kales nor Iannis (Kales' timewaster friend) are there at the time.
Clues, clues, clues. Lots of clues. The Adventurers find a stash of white powder in the house! It's drugs! No, I'm kidding, it's alum. There's a big alum smuggling racket, and the Adventurers eventually find that it leads to a corrupt banker who, wow, didn't see this coming, owns Kales' family home, where the Adventurers may have already met Kales' mother.
This is where things get fun. The banker's pulling strings. He wants that home for himself. So if Kales dies, the mother loses that house and ends up on the street. Meanwhile, the boss is running a nice little alum smuggling racket. There's a gangster who loaned Kales money because he and his timewaster friend blew it all on wine and women.
So wait ... Iannis and Kales were straight?
The trail leads through some disreputable regions of Constantinople, with the usual temptations - drink and other intoxicants, women, gambling, fighting muggers. One clue leads to Sveta, a Russian sex worker who operates in a brothel. Another clue leads them to a legit merchant in Pera, a region of Constantinople. It might surprise you, but the company they are heading towards is legit. The story takes a radical twist when you realise that Kales had actually been trying to turn his life around.
Only problem is ... yeah, looks like that corrupt banker has got his evil tendrils into this company, too.
Right, so ... the Adventurers have stumbled into an alum smuggling ring, which also deals in poison seeds, and a gum called mastic.
So you're probably expecting this story to be fairly straightforward - your man Kales has got into the middle of a racket, he owes money to a legbreaker, and there's a guy at the tip of the fatberg who wants to keep the crime money coming in, so it's a race between his goons and the Gorgon's goons to get to see who extracts Kales' kidneys first.
This is where things get a little weird. There are two massive spoilers. I can't say much more at this point, but I can spoil you this ... by the time your guys find Kales, it isn't looking too good for the guy.
So here's the first MAJOR spoiler. Up to this point, it's seemed like a noir detective story, but from here on in another author takes over - Stephen King.
So, Kales' boss has been hiring the poor sap to smuggle his drugs *cough* alum and mastic around the town. But Kales could not resist taking a bit of the expensive mastic so he could set up his favourite sex worker Sveta for life with a bit of the good stuff that she could sell.
Problem is, the mastic was a fetish for a poison spirit, and Kales' good intentions ended up releasing a poison demon from the mastic, which has basically killed Kales. He dies not long after the characters reach him, and that demon is now on the loose, I think.
So that's the first big spoiler. But it gets weirder.
There's an old man, who is possessed by one of one of seven legendary Immortal Spirits. These Immortal Spirits hop from body to body when the host's time is near. This one reaches out to people who face a sad, premature death, and preserves the host's memory by spending the next few decades living a life of quiet dignity, righting the wrongs of the host in their old life.
Oh wait! Have any of you ever heard of an Onyx Path roleplaying game from the Chronicles of Darkness, called Geist: The Sin-Eaters? It's like this guy's a Sin-Eater, and he makes a Bargain with Kales when he stumbles across the guy. Either that, or a, Unchained from Demon: the Descent who's making a Pact with Kales.
I can work with that.
The rest of the adventure comprises some scenes, which are triggered when the GM decides it would be fun to inflict them on the players. They don't have to be triggered by the players' actions. Imagine a player going through this book, and feeling guilty every time weird stuff happens just because the event was triggered by them in the book.
The long and the short of the adventure is that
Kales dies, whatever the characters do, whether they try to save his life or not, because his death sparks changes in everything.
Another twist is that
The trap which killed Kales was caused by venom from a demon which had been released by him when Kales broke off that piece of mastic to give to his favourite sex worker. It had been intended for the corrupt banker, and had been planted by Kales' boss to get rid of the banker, who's been a millstone around everybody's neck.
So if there's a player character who knows how to talk to spirits, maybe they can hire the demon to finish the job.
It looks as if the characters are led to the above moment, and what happens next is up to them.
The Immortal Spirit thinks he is accursed of God. He cannot die, and keeps hopping from person to person after the death of his hosts. Maybe the characters can help find this poor sod to his Final Death.
Assuming this Immortal Spirit completes his Bargain and takes over Kales' body, he still now owes The Gorgon money. Can they protect the new host from having his legs broken by this angry, violent gangster?
Then there's the alum racket and his crime boss, the banker. Maybe they may decide that Kales knows too much.
And then there's the rot demon who caused Kales' death. Maybe it can be directed to perform its intended job and target the banker, Tomas Dokeianos, and his underling Figlio Levorato, Kales' boss.
In any case, the story seems to end, one way or another, leaving the player characters stuck in the middle of things. If they don't screw things up, they will have a powerful ally on their hands, and a powerful enemy or two. Depending on whom they talk to after the events in this story, they could rise in prominence in The City.
And that would seem to be it for Life's Long Consequences. In all, a tightly - knit little adventure with some bizarre supernatural twists in the tale. As a GM, you could keep all of that supernatural stuff out of it, and let the story be about a simple investigation, and poisons, and betrayal, rather than ghosts and spirits.
But as an introduction to Mythic Constantinople, it's a nice little adventure. It opens the door for the Adventurers to settle into The City and become people of power and influence themselves, depending on whom they befriend, and whom they fall afoul of.
See you next month for another Mythras adventure.
Edited by Alex Greene