Wandering the Badlands as garrisoning soldiers, members of a caravan, or as inquiring locals, players may not be overly worried to hear of the failure of yet another of Alana Kelderan's attempts to unite the many small and local settlements. Depending upon their views, they may be relieved or upset, or even indifferent. Part of this may stem from the nature of any polar allegiances or their lack, but how the characters initially react is up to them and unimportant for the rest of the adventure.
One of Kelderan's supporters from Verona has recently died, while travelling to one of the many small Badlands settlements in the area. However, it was a death far from natural, and far from willing on the part of the poor person.
The dead man's name was Nicolas Vola, and the last piece of his trip had taken him into the town of Mune. In a subtler and gentler method compared to the straightforward and uncompromising beliefs of Kelderan, Vola and others had been making inroads based upon trade, exchange of resources, and other non-military linkages. This gentler approach then the more militantly objectified goals of Verona's leader had made some minor successes, significant next to the near ignorance of Kelderan's rallies.
Mune, a small settlement with a sub-thousand population, is of particular importance because of its placement on the map. Not only is it suprisingly close to Verona, but it is generally unrecognized upon the maps of Terra Nova and is thus often overlooked. Control of it would provide an excellent inroad into the area, a locus of independence in the Badlands, and a means into their societies by way of the railway that is under construction.
Players will be drawn into events just before they draw to their peak, and it will be up to them to either subside them or help them on their way.
Local sentiment has it that Vola was murdered for those he represented, a clear attempt to prevent his goals, that of the unification of their small portion of the badlands. Because of this, many fear standing alone more than before, and have begun to open talks between them. This would be welcome, were it not for the same fear driving this driving a witch-burning sentiment. Now, people and caravans from either of the polar unities are being rejected, and the representatives of either of them are being driven from their homes alongside the native Badlanders.
The murder itself does not make this any easier. Vola was returning to his temporary home, when he was struck by an Elan that detached itself from the informal traffic and made a hit-and-run. That Elan's are not commonly found in the settlement (while common on Terra Nova, the town uses a homegrown variant that utilizes locally made parts instead), that the driver was unknown to any, and that both vehicle and driver disappeared following the incident, helps little. Instead, it adds to the general mystery and uncertainty of the event, and suggests that their were great resources supporting the murder in the background, to provide the means and to extract them unseen afterwords.
By the time that the Players have arrived, initial members of both the North and the South's militaries have arrived, to protect their interests. Waystations for their caravans, small companies, citizens away from home, and the outposts which support local troops have all been closed or pushed away from the towns; they themselves were placed their for easy access to the commodities that the Badlanders provided, but now suffer from the anti-Polar sentiment that has been directed towards them. So, units from either nation have arrived to protect them, and to reinstate order.
There is a delicate balance at hand, that could be easilly disturbed by either the North or the South, or even by the Badlander militia that has formed out of paranoia. Positioned at opposite ends of the settlement, it will be a path through town that is carved should hostilities erupt. The Badlander militia, gaining strength and support from towns in the area as well as Mune, will be unable to do anything but harass the representatives of the superpowers; yet, they can still easilly force an eruption of violence.
To stop an inevitable outbreak, players should attempt to find out what parties were involved in the murder, and why. Once their motives and identities were found, finger pointing may begin, and innocents will no longer be harrassed. However, revealing who is responsible for the murder, and why they wish to prevent the uniting of the small settlements, may simply lead to a premature outbreak, and be contra productive. Thus, players will need to decide what to do with the information, once they have ascertained guilt.
Alternatively, players may ditch the role of detective and instead choose to act as pure peacekeepers. If so, they will need to find away to appease all of those involved, as well as gloss over the murder. Doing so will be a definitite challenge, but if they can persuade the locals to calm down, and allow the polars to stay, then they can work on the military. If there is no threat, then the military will most likely be fairly reasonable, and will happily leave.
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