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Condition: Normal
ID: 3981


February 11, 2015, 8:39 am

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The King is Dead


The King is dead.
So who killed him?
And why?

Plot Description

The old King has been murdered and a successor must be found, but first the killer must be found. The PCs, being members of the old Kings household, are tasked with the job of apprehending his killer.

Regarding the succession. The Throne is shared between three separate Noble Houses and the Crown cannot pass to the two members of the same House successively, thus it must go to one of the other two Houses.

Since nobody, not even an heir apparent, may benefit from the murder of another person, the succession cannot proceed until both contenders for the Throne, and all of their followers, are eliminated from the enquiry.


1. One of the heirs apparent, impatient for his shot at the Throne, assassinated the King in order to speed the process up. Being no fool, he did of course attempt to frame his opponent for the crime.

2. The Kings assignation was the work of a foreign power or major criminal origination that hopes to profit from the resulting chaos.

3. The murder was not at all political. Instead the old King, who always had something of a reputation as a womaniser, was killed by the jealous husband of his latest conquest.

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Comments ( 8 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Scrasamax
June 11, 2007, 12:40
I don't claim to be an expert on succession, but the three houses and their rules seem a bit far fetched. I know this is a short submission for the ToA, but it seems a bit unplausible.
Voted Wulfhere
June 11, 2007, 14:16
I don't have a problem believing the unusual rules for succession (odd rules of various types have cropped up often through history), but so far, the information given is really just a sketch of the idea. A greater level of detail would be desirable.

As it is, the GM would have to come up with how the murder was done, what clues exist, who they point to, and why the antagonist killed the king. Their desire to seize the throne leads to more questions about why and what they will do if they achieve their ambition.

An interesting series of adventures could be built around an assassin who successfully blames someone else for the deed. If the evidence of the murder only surfaces after the murderer is crowned, do the player characters risk plunging the land into civil war to overthrow the usurper?

The murderer may not even have had evil motives: Suppose that the doddering, aged king refused to pass the reins of power to his eminently qualified successor, instead trying to manipulate the system to put a favorite (but unqualified) princeling onto the throne after he steps down. The murderer could have thought (rightly or wrongly) that the king's death would save the land from endless suffering and chaos.
May 2, 2008, 17:06
I don;t really agree with your assessment Wulfhere of lack of detail. If the entire murder was plotted out here, along with the clues, it would limit the usefulness of this piece to GM's who's players haven't frequented this site and looked at the submission. (It would be hard to tell that until one was already into the adventure, and one well read player could easily intentionally or unintentionally ruin the adventure for the entire group)

As far as the plot goes, it's a nice take on the standard "The king is dead long live the king!" plot line. (The unique inheritance rules are a nice touch, and any gm who doesn't like'em can just as easily ignore'em.)
Voted Cheka Man
June 11, 2007, 14:19
I like it.
Voted manfred
June 11, 2007, 16:11
With Wulf's update, it is an okay short plot. If a kingdom seems too large for the strange succession laws, they can be comfortably transplanted into a town of one's choice. :)
Voted Drackler
June 13, 2007, 11:07
The odd succession rules are actually quite inventive. For instance, now the players will have an ally in the third house, since they probably didn't kill the king.
October 2, 2007, 16:58
Nice change of pace on the succession rules.
Voted valadaar
March 3, 2014, 11:02
Complex rules tend to be discarded when swords are drawn. I think this idea would work well for a tournament game or other one-shot type adventure.


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