The Village is a small, and unimportant one located midways between two larger cities or towns, both complete with established stone churches, or one might even have a lofty cathedral. The villagers have tired of not having a church of their own, and having to walk or ride a full day to hear services, be wed, or have last rites said over the bodies of the dead or dying.
The Church Guild was formed as a way to finance the building of a real stone church, rather than the wattle and daub, earthen floored building that serves as a church when a traveling monk, exorcist, or priest deigns to stop and preach the good word. Otherwise, the communal building serves as a resting place for travelers who are willing to give the Guild a few copper pieces. A silver piece will get them a meal.
After enough time, the Guild would hoard enough gold to finance the building of the stone church, but suddenly time is not on their side. The Prior of the closest Cathedral is unhappy about the prospects of another church being opened in the vicinity of the cathedral. Running such a large establishment is a costly venture and the church would bleed some of that money away. The Prior has been sending acolytes, and other servants to the guild to gather alms for the poor. This has been depleting the coffers of the guild.
The Prior of the church in the town on the opposite side has had the same thought, as he wants to build a cathedral to rival that of the opposite town. The new church would cut into his profits as well, but it hits him worse since his cathedral is still in the planning phase. He has responded by also sending priests and acolytes to gather alms for the poor from the guild.
The party has arrived in time for a meeting the Church Guils which has become distressed by the depredation of its neighbors who seem much more concerned with secular things than in the spiritual providence of god(s) and they beseach the adventurers for help.
A. One of the Priors has decided to undermine the guild by playing dirty. It could be that laybrothers disguised as lepers block the road, or zealots of a church were induced the tear up the road, or collapse a valuable bridge. Or a Prior has hired a band of brigands covertly to harass travelers on the road unless they are expressly going to his church of cathedral.
B. The guild beseeches the party to help finance the church, or even help in its construction if they are big strapping types, in its design if they are intelligent mage types. If there are clerics not aligned with either church, they will plead for their aid. Once the church is built, it will need a prior and staff as well.
C. The guild trys to pump the PCs for money.
D. Upon reaching one of the other parishes, the PCs are drawn in to meet the Prior of a church. They are questioned, and either sent to harry the church guild or are dismissed in an unpleasant, rude manner.
Well, that is my plot. Scrap hammers at the ready!
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? Responses (10)
This is a nice basic plot. It is also very 'real', for there is no world to be saved, no dragons or demons to slay, and there is still enough conflict to jump into. While sympathy seems to prefer one side, there is no clear 'good' or 'bad' side, the characters can freely join anyone, gain some allies as enemies.
A solid 3/5 submission. I like it.
Hah! And it seems I created a plot long ago, with a similar theme...
Both plots may be usable for more "religious" campaigns.
Two thumbs up.
This can even work in a polytheistic area with very little adapting.
This poor village could become the center of a small 'holy war' as the two bigger places escalate. If one side gets the wrong intelligence that the other side is assisting the village (all in an attempt to interfere with them of course), things could get violent even, as holy warriors (or thugs under the employee of a less than perfect church higher up) could be brought in.
All it takes is a little misunderstanding and a touch of greed/desperation. We all know that could never happen in a church organization. Right. So, the situation can get more complicated. And the PCs are in the middle of it.
I start to like it even more now. It is not even bound to fantasy, it can be pushed in anywhere. And should need arise, the church can be converted into an inn, or a harbour, or even a magical university, easily scaled up to towns and entire kingdoms. The problem stands.
A nice little plot - there are no clearly defined "good guys", nor are there any clearly defined "bad guys", so PCs will have to make up their own minds
The basic motivation is believable - of course the villagers want to build their own church, and I can just see the bigwigs from the nearby town getting worried about their own incomes
Also their response is proportionate with the (perceived) threat - rather than attack the village (which would clearly be "wrong") they disrupt the supply of funds in a manner that cannot really be criticised (such as gathering alms for the poor)
The PCs are going to have to THINK about this one - whichever way the PCs turn there are going to be consequences, none of which are either "right" or "wrong"
Could make a good starting scenario
A good solid 4/5
what manfred said (both times). Nice verisimilitude! Subtle roleplaying.
Thanks for the Bump! A short but sweet plot, a classic. Also noticed Dragon Lord's suggestion that this would be good as a starting scenario, and it is... linked to the respective codex.
This has echos of The Pillars of the Earth, a great TV show (haven't read the book.)
As the others have stated, this is a nice realistic plot with potential to become something much bigger.
I know I have read this before, sorry I didn't vote. Anyway as they (they being manfred say short direct plot setup.