The Two Curos

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The Two Curos

Postby Goreg » Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:56 pm

I had a thought about The Two Curos problem. We know from our own experience last session what magic can do. It seems possible that someone could have been sent to imitate Curo in arcane disguise. If we can do it, others can do it. But who would want to?

The point of that conversation was to find out where the sword is. That was why the subterfuge took place--to locate the sword so it could be stolen. So who would want it? If Curo, he wouldn't have doubled back. It doesn't seem like Balim would need it.

But Harabor would, definitely. He has the weakest claim and needs something to back it up. We know he already has his main effort underway. It could, naturally, be another party entirely, but I think Harabor is a likely suspect.

Which would mean Harabor has supernatural capabilities. We should keep an eye out for any further signs of this.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Goreg » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:03 pm

Also it occurs to me that if, in service of our primary goal of ensuring chaos, we need to buck up a losing weaker side, we can slip them the sword and continue the strife.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Sir Aeomund » Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:59 pm

Except Curo thought he was present at Ga.Feast. He believed himself to be atthe location, but didnt recall details. Doesnt sound like a doppleganger effect more like mind control.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Goreg » Tue Feb 16, 2016 7:17 am

This is true. It is the more likely explanation.

If that is the case, the question is who enchanted him. I note that Aethel Atan spoke with Curo immediately before he & Ewen went upstairs to meet. AA had been dining with "a well-dressed, clean-shaven older man Sir Ewen has not seen before," who left just before the conversation. Now AA is the kind of guy who might sow chaos like this for the fun of it. But does this also fit in the Shek Pvar plan to keep the peace? Could he be trying to split Ewen and Curo? Or just mess up Curo's plans?

Or might it be that whatever hypothetical mind control spell allowed the caster to hear the conversation, and the SP were trying to discover the location of the sword?

They might want to use the sword to restore peace. They would certainly have the resources to recover it if they had a location, and it's not a surprise they would know about Rahel.

But it seems like if they have the power to control Curo like that, they would also have the supernatural means to divine the sword's location w/o asking.

Unless there are no such means, which is why they had to ask.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Goreg » Tue Feb 16, 2016 7:30 am

One problem with the mind control idea is: why would someone mind control Curo and then let him go, knowing that he would renounce everything said the previous evening? That's one of the reasons I think the real point of the conversation was to try to glean some location of the sword. Otherwise it's hard to see a motive. Except, maybe, for sheer chaos.

(Chaos they didn't get, due to Ewen's circumspectness. Perhaps the hope of the controller was to get Ewen's hopes up with extreme and concrete promises, promises that would then be dashed when Curo came to his senses. This might have offended Ewen and split a wedge between them.)

Supernatural means might also explain how the hypothetical mind controllers knew Ewen and Curo were allied in the first place. Although anyone hanging around G's Feast enough might have guessed.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Sir Aeomund » Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:13 am

It might also have been a tool to confirm information that was suspected.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Goreg » Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:28 am

That'd be an awfully big effort for a fairly small reward.

Which brings to mind: if Ewen ever needs to completely throw Curo off track, just blow the man's spidery little mind, he can always tell him about this incident and imply he was being mind controlled.

(Then we'd get to find out. Either way, Curo's reaction would be revealing.)
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Lord Ewen » Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:47 pm

A few thoughts regarding this mystery, each not necessarily compatible with the other:

- We have been assuming that, if Meden's mind was tampered with, that some sort of control was added. Perhaps his behavior might be explained by some level of judgment or circumspection being removed? Perhaps the Meden we saw that night was a Meden whose cunningness filter had been short-circuited for a time? Of course, this wouldn't explain the subsequent amnesia, unless the unfiltered effect had been caused by a drug which also causes amnesia in its victim. Just a possible theory that we hadn't discussed.

- The information Curo confronted Ewen with that evening came from perhaps two sources. Meden's father, and by extension Meden himself, knows about the sword and suspects Ewen has it. That information is not likely alien to Meden Curo's brain or to his experience. The fact that Ewen is the brother of Arren II, and that Rahel is his sister, is a whole other matter. While it is possible that Meden has figured this out on his own, I rank it as far less likely. So I consider the latter information to be likely alien to the brain and experience of the Meden we thought we knew. Suspects who probably know about Ewen's pedigree and about Rahel: Sir Arren Lydel and Lady Alice. They certainly know he is a Deryni.

- The fact that Spock-with-a-beard Meden appeared shortly after returning from his excursion to Gardiren with Sir Arren and Lady Alice is only circumstantial evidence, to be sure. But if enough circumstantial evidence piles up, then Occam's Razor gains influence over my thinking. But the problem with the scenario of Sir Arren tampering with Meden's mind is that Sir Arren would need to defeat the warbling, which has managed to defeat Ewen so far. Of course, Arren might have stronger skills than Ewen.

- All magic has some kind of limiting principle. Duration, range, and so forth.

- Matt mentioned that the council chamber itself seemed to be warbling, which I initially assumed came from the critical mass of shielded folks gathered together there. But what if Aethel & Company's warbling nobility spell is most powerful in Tashal, in the vicinity of the castle, but attenuates the farther you get from Tashal? So that, in distant Gardiren, Sir Arren was able to tamper with Meden's mind without interference, and set a "suggestion" in Meden's mind that he interrogate and offer Sir Ewen a deal the way he did, and then not recall the uncharacteristic behavior subsequently. The Rapport ability allows for just such a latent suggestion, to be later triggered at another time. And if Arren figured out the attenuation effect, it would explain his interest in taking an extended trip away from Tashal, where his skills are most powerfully thwarted by Aethel's spell.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Goreg » Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:25 pm

Sir Ewen wrote:A few thoughts regarding this mystery, each not necessarily compatible with the other:

- We have been assuming that, if Meden's mind was tampered with, that some sort of control was added. Perhaps his behavior might be explained by some level of judgment or circumspection being removed? Perhaps the Meden we saw that night was a Meden whose cunningness filter had been short-circuited for a time? Of course, this wouldn't explain the subsequent amnesia, unless the unfiltered effect had been caused by a drug which also causes amnesia in its victim. Just a possible theory that we hadn't discussed.


That actually got brought up session-before-last, and I agree, it seems to have a high degree of likelihood.


Sir Ewen wrote:- Matt mentioned that the council chamber itself seemed to be warbling, which I initially assumed came from the critical mass of shielded folks gathered together there. But what if Aethel & Company's warbling nobility spell is most powerful in Tashal, in the vicinity of the castle, but attenuates the farther you get from Tashal? So that, in distant Gardiren, Sir Arren was able to tamper with Meden's mind without interference, and set a "suggestion" in Meden's mind that he interrogate and offer Sir Ewen a deal the way he did, and then not recall the uncharacteristic behavior subsequently. The Rapport ability allows for just such a latent suggestion, to be later triggered at another time. And if Arren figured out the attenuation effect, it would explain his interest in taking an extended trip away from Tashal, where his skills are most powerfully thwarted by Aethel's spell.


That is an intriguing idea. And it brings up one of the most baffling aspects of this: who benefits? Who could possibly gain from getting Curo's filters down for one night and having him make an offer that he would be certain to renege upon as soon as he came back to himself?

Could there be a higher conspiracy of which Meden is a part that sees his spidery ways as an obstacle sometimes? If that's so, then Sir Arren would be a likely suspect. But then why not just override him? And aren't Sir Arren's purposes at odds with Ewen gaining power?

What the hell was supposed to be going on that night?
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Lord Ewen » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:52 pm

For the sake of debate, let's spin a just-so story, shall we?

Sir Arren Lydel, ambassador from Melderyn and working at cross-purposes to certain Thardan agents (us) who are interfering in Kaldoric politics, guesses that the Shek P'Var busybodies with the Deryni-blocking spell might be limited by geographic distance from Tashal.  Concluding from the tournament that Meden Curo and Ewen are in cahoots, and Curo is up to stuff himself, Sir Arren arranges (or seizes upon) an opportunity to get Curo as far from Tashal as possible, where Aethel's spell might reasonably be supposed to exert less influence.

Low and behold, the nearer to Gardiren they get, the less pronounced the warbling becomes.  At that point, it becomes child's play for Sir Arren, or the charming Lady Alice, it read Meden Curo's mind, just like Ewen has done to others.  Upon doing so, they learn some very interesting things.  They learn about how Ewen, discovering that the Earl of Neph had been pursuing recovery of the Sword of Calsten, beat Neph's agent Kryste to the prize.  This information is fairly fresh in Meden's mind, as Dregald has only recently tracked down Kryste and satisfied himself that Kryste never had the Sword in the first place.  Meden learned this just recently, and perhaps even learned it in Gardiren during this trip with the Melderyni envoys.

Grasping the value of the Sword to the great game in Kaldor, and realizing that Ewen is likely holding onto it, Sir Arren Lydel takes the opportunity of warble-free access to implant a suggestion in Meden's mind.  He implants a series of confrontations which Meden is to privately throw at Ewen, to be triggered the very first time Meden sees Ewen.  Some of these confrontations contain content which Meden himself does not know, such as the fact that Ewen is brother to Arren II of Tharda, and that a sister is in Tashal to be threatened.  The suggestion would conclude with Meden not remembering the exchange, because the alternative would given the human Meden too much information. 

Sir Arren is hoping that the disconcerting prospect of Meden Curo throwing at Ewen the Sword, Ewen's lineage, and threatening Rahel all in rapid succession, will throw Ewen off his game and prompt him to cut a deal, reveal a clue to where the sword is, or otherwise compromise his operation.  The final part of the suggestion, prior to amnesia kicking in, might have Meden writing a summary of what Ewen has just said down in a letter addressed to Melderyn House.  All of this would need to be pre-programmed, of course, because once back in Tashal, Meden is warbled and immune again from further tampering.

This just-so story sticks pretty close to my understanding of how a Deryni can plant a suggestion, and might be akin to something Ewen himself could pull off, at least with a critical success.  The challenge would be the multi-part nature of the suggestion, which would suggest high skill.  The triggered-later aspect is explicitly part of the skill, though, and wiping memory of a suggestion has been done by Ewen at least once. 

It seems to me the story fits the known facts.  What do you all think?
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Goreg » Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:32 pm

I think that's definitely a viable scenario.

And it raises the question as to how much of Curo's scheming is really directed by the Melderynis, supernaturally or otherwise.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Lord Ewen » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:27 pm

Indeed, although the fact that Meden acted discernibly different that night, at least as we contemplated his behavior in retrospect, suggests that his behavior under Deryni suggestion is not quite authentic-looking. Which in turn suggests a fairly circumscribed period of influence.

On the other hand, Sir Arren might have planted more than one time bomb...

Getting Rahel's input on these suppositions would be helpful, of course.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Matt » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:49 pm

A subtle observation Van. Meden's behavior, if he were under Deryni influence, was not quite what you would expect. Your, granted limited, experience does not indicate such a significant personality change as part of the working unless intentional.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Goreg » Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:52 pm

That leaves us with but one option: Aethel Atan roofied him.

It's for the best we don't know why.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Matt » Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:10 pm

I did not intend to exclude, merely to clarify. All theories remain in play.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Goreg » Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:12 pm

:D
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Sir Aeomund » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:25 am

I think the character change would be a key factor in the use of this ability, maybe that's the limiting side effect?

If distance from Tashal is a factor in warbling, then there would be no warbling with Vemion, and we know that is not the case.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Lord Ewen » Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:28 pm

Good point. I may be losing track of what we have tried and not tried.

I have also been thinking through a scenario where distance of the Deryni from Tashal matters. Perhaps an area effect spell centered on the castle that warbles certain types of Deryni activity? That would simplify the issue of how you manage to cast this spell on so many noblemen.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Lord Ewen » Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:36 pm

Of course, that would require the area effect to selectively block Deryni abilities directed at nobles, but allow it at commoners, which seems an awkward formulation.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Goreg » Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:50 pm

Well, there's another possible angle: Curo is certainly under the effect of the warbling. Who might be able to get around the warbling? Those that put it there in the first place. Which points to AA and his fellow Shek Pvar.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Matt » Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:07 pm

It would be a mighty single-minded spell that could distinguish between gentle and common blood. The idea of an AoE is not bad, but would have to be used somewhat differently than suggested above.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Lord Ewen » Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:58 pm

Vemion was probably in Tashal when Aethel & Co. put their spell into effect. Per Kolorn, Vemion left Tashal on Larane 4. On Larane 7, Ewen encounters the warbling effect for the first time when trying to use clairvoyance on Sir Danyes Bernan and then on Vemion. He erroneously concludes that Lady Bresyn is shielding her new husband and his retainers. Later on the evening of the 7th, Aethel & Co. reveal to Ewen and Sir Arren that they have taken steps to shield people.

It occurred to me that Soratir would be a good time to catch a large number of noblemen all in one place, but the timeline has Vemion leaving before the 5th and Danyes Bernan would not, I think, show his face in the Laranian temple, so that theory doesn't seem to work.

Does anyone recall if we have tested a noble person who we know for sure would not have been in Tashal when the Shek P'var likely activated their spell? One example would be Meden Curo's father, whom Ewen has met and could potentially attempt to clairvoy. Any wagers on whether Hemisen Curo is shielded?
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Lord Ewen » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:48 am

One possibility I have overlooked, because it is not one of Ewen's skills, is a Deryni ability called Shapechange which would allow the Deryni to change his or her appearance to match that of someone else. Ewen is aware of the ability, but not the specifics.

While it might explain the phenomenon of someone looking like Meden but acting somewhat unlike him, it still requires an explanation as to what happened to the real Meden during the impersonation, as well as how you get a tamper-proof Meden to believe he was visiting a friend at Galopea's Feast during the evening of the substitution. The logistics of where and how genuine Meden is stashed while his retinue escorts Deryni-Meden to GF that evening also seems ... cumbersome.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Matt » Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:01 pm

Meden's retinue that evening also included Sir Dregald for the first time that you can recall. An important distinction as that worthy seems pretty on top of his game.
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Re: The Two Curos

Postby Lord Ewen » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:01 pm

This is true. Of course, Sir Dregald was up in Orbaal much of the time we would be comparing this with, so his accompanying Meden might be routine when in town, for all we know.  Dregald was acutely uncomfortable, apparently due to Meden choosing to meet with Ewen alone, but I suppose it possible that his unease came from a sense that Meden was acting strangely as well.  Meden, if in fact a doppelgänger, would need to meet with Ewen alone, lest Drageld hear something which would later leak out to the real Meden, in addition to the obvious fact that Ewen would be judged more likely to take the bait with no witnesses around.

Having said that, we know that Drageld was not warble-shielded that night, as Ewen clairvoyed him after the meeting.  Which means he would also have been vulnerable to a Deryni suggestion that he not notice anything amiss about a faux-Meden.  Implanting a few suggestions into Drageld's mind would certainly make a Deryni attempt to impersonate Meden that night into less of a high-wire act.
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