Provencal Material – the Backstory of the Leper Herald

Leper with Bell (Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve just posted the first supplemental material for Faith and Flame over at the relevant page.

Originally the Redcap Sicart the Leper was intended for inclusion in the book as a potentially ally of new characters, but I didn’t feel comfortable statting up various Companion characters initially (I hadn’t written my “Training Packages for Redcaps” article yet). I then ultimately ran out of time.

This character concept came from reading ArM3 A Midsummer Nights Dream, the classic “Four Seasons Tetralogy” adventure supplement set mainly in the Val du Bosque that begins with the infamous Provencal Tribunal meeting  of 1207 set at the ancient covenant of Dois… oh, hang on we can’t mention the trademarks of other companies now can we?   Let’s pretend it’s set at Aedes Mercuriae then.

Nudge, nudge… wink, wink… say no more, eh?

Sicart’s Redcap pater, Aestrius is introduced on  page 15-16 of the supplement, presented as the messenger delivering the message summoning the characters to the Tribunal (the whole first chapter). To me the whole Tribunal chapter is a classic piece of the older canon and was the basis for some of the ideas that made it into the final drafts concerning the 1214 and upcoming Tribunal meeting of 1221. A standout for me was the concept of the grizzled veteran in leper garb – he seemed such an iconic character to follow through with for the ArM5 vision of Provencal and backlink to the earlier material.

Unfortunately Aestrius is statted as being already 56 in 1207 which moving him into the default 1220 timeline would mean aging him 13 years, working out Aging/Decrepitude and its effects in addition to converting him into modern edition statistics. It all seemed like too much effort for too little gain so I had to think again.

From a design perspective I really wanted to create a younger, starting Redcap just out of their Gauntlet that could be attached to the Coenobium as an agent of Alazais (see this previous post) and to link in with potential player characters. Aestrius’ former apprentice seemed a logical choice for a beginning concept and with all the violence of the Albigensian Crusade at hand, it was a small step to flesh out the back story with a tragic death of a mentor and a secret agenda to aid the Hermetic faidits of Ostal d’Exiles to give the character a bit more depth. I’d also read a bit about leprosy in the Levant previously and been introduced to the concept that not all “lepers” in medieval times were afflicted with leprosy, rather many of them probably just had disfiguring skin conditions and suffered a similar social stigma. Transforming Aestrius’ leper disguise into Sicart’s physical affliction then gave me the idea for his magic items and helped round out the rest of his focus, making picking his suite of Virtues and Flaws relatively simple.

Thus Sicart, the Leper Herald was born!

See the link below for the 1220 version of Sicart:

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