Content of the article: "How do I create a social encounter that’s both Pirate Parley and Fae Bargain?"
Characters Glyndwyr, Tomas, Clevan, and Beag, do not read this post.
So, in the upcoming session, my players will be having an audience with King Gwynn, master of the Wild Hunt and all-around terrifying force of nature. They ran across the Hunt while on an archaeological quest trying to find out more about the history of the dead gods called the Tuatha De Danann. They then realized that Gwynn has been off-plane for fifty years and is unaware of the fact that the Tuath, his longtime allies and friends, have been murdered by their mortal worshippers while he was gone.
They decided to inform him of what has happened in the hopes that he will spare their lives from his vengeance and maybe help them learn more about the Tuath's history, since he was there in person.
I've been using this resource for Gwynn's general persona and demeanour, but so far they have only caught glimpses of him from afar and this will be their first meeting face-to-face. I did tell them that Gwynn will appreciate a tribute of artwork, so the monk is painting him a portrait to win his favor.
What I'm hoping to do here is mesh the tropes of a high seas parley (they've been seafaring for this entire arc and the rogue is a pirate captain) and a fae deal, so I'd love some help figuring out how to sort of invoke those vibes and make them compatible. The main questions I'd love you all's help to answer are:
- What should Gwynn want from the party in exchange for a) leaving them alive with his blessing and b) telling them the information they seek?
- How should Gwynn and his entourage behave? How can I RP such a strange and powerful fae figure?
- How can I make this social encounter feel like both a classic swashbuckling parley AND a faerie bargain at once? What are the most iconic elements of both of those tropes in your opinion and how could I incorporate and fuse them?
- How can I make this diplomatic meeting more interesting and challenging, beyond just making my players roll the occasional skill check?
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