Just to wrap things up, I wanted to make a final post. Unfortunately, a glut of scheduling complications combined with an altogether-too-long gap between sessions for people to be reasonably invested in the story, their characters, and where things were going meant that we were unable to finish the campaign properly, and so I’m left with the unenviable task of writing out what might have happened. There were 1-3 more planned sessions remaining in the story depending on how the dice rolled and down which avenues the PCs chose to peer.
Frankly, looking back at the number of still-hidden characters I had, there were a number of plots that could have been uncovered, but there is literally no telling what might have happened. Feel free to browse the characters I’ve removed from secrecy if you’re so inclined; all of them are based on their actual historical counterparts, so it’s reasonable to believe that any plots they took part in during their actual lives were probably going to appear in New Caliphs. Even I’m not entirely clear on how I was going to tie some of the characters in at this point five months removed from our last session. Likely not all of them would become figures in the story, but who knows?
The most obvious question was: What would happen with the book? Well, the book was discovered to detail all steps in a ritual. Unfortunately, the ritual’s outcome was unclear (or at least not explained by John Dee), and it required the use of religious relics (which the PCs correctly believed that they could create in addition to stealing or acquiring them in other ways). Without possessing any relics, it fell to the group to acquire several before commencing with the ritual.
As I mentioned earlier, the group had discussed creating some relics of their own. Imbuing them with power was a nebulous process, but chief among the requirements for a relic is the belief of a group in its power. This would require some sort of urban legend or show of power and then use in a notable event, something that wasn’t hard to come by in this tumultuous era.
Of course, they could just use some fraudulent relics or just try to fake it with whatever items they can find in addition to stealing relics (there were several on display in Constantinople, for example, and relics were rumored to be in just about every major city, castle, and church across the whole of Europe and Asia Minor), but the decision would have been up to the PCs.
Depending on the quality of the items that the group assembled, the ritual would have a better or worse chance of achieving a positive result directly correlated to the number of authentic relics used. I had planned to run the ritual as a 3d6 test with the target number being the number of magically active participants in the ritual as well as a +3 for any authentic relics, a +2 for any successfully “created” relics, and a -3 for any false relics. Rolling under the target number (or a critical success) would be a success. Critical failure would summon a number of demons equal to the party as well as the immediate spread of plague.
In the event of a failure, the group would have to fight a minor demon or else allow a major plague outbreak centered in the region where they conducted the ritual (probably Tangier). A success would have given them vision of a smiling man that granted them whatever they wanted, as in the wish spell.
Alas, we never reached the end. Better luck to us next time, I suppose.