Last night I ran the 4th episode in my Playtest game of SINS, and although I was temporarily down to only two players, it was still a blast.
In the episode, the players were introduced to what will be a reoccurring villain for the Season arc. Gustave de Pauger is the uncle of a harpy (were-raven abomination) they killed in Episode 2, and also a wealthy and powerful lawyer. Better yet, I invoked the “guest star” rule from the book, and described him as being played by Tim Curry. Using a famous actor as a way to describe an NPC really does help to inject bit of personality into a character. Even though he showed up very little in the episode itself, the players were really intrigued and were openly hoping to run into him again. Not even my incredibly terrible Tim Curry impression was able to throw them off.
It also served as a great bit of red herring. Much like any fan of a detective TV series will tell you, the more famous the guest star, the more likely they are to be the killer. It’s a simple matter of big names needing more screen time, and aside from the main characters, only the killer tends to get as many lines in a series. My players immediately started to suspect that Gustave was behind the troubles they were encountering. Of course this is an RPG, so “Tim Curry” doesn’t have to have to have a lot of screen time or be the villain, this time around anyway.
The troubles in this particular case were at the court-house. One of the detectives was having to testify against a suspect she arrested in the first episode. It was actually the secondary case in that episode, so the suspect wasn’t magical or a monster, but somehow <Cough> Gustave <Cough> they got their hands on a magic artifact, and was using it to manipulate the jury and seek revenge on the players.
What kind of magic artifact you ask? A magic bee-smoker.
No seriously, a magic bee smoker that let the perp control bees, both in massive deadly swarms and as individual bees. That’s dangerous enough, but the real power of the device was that it also extended that control onto people stung by one of the bees. The perp was using it to manipulate the jury and the witnesses in order to try to get a not guilty verdict. Also, ordering the court-house security guards to shoot the players, and various swarms of bees to try to sting them to death. Lots of fun.
Of course, like nearly all magic objects in SINS, the device had side effects. When the players got their hands on it, they had to debate if its potent powers were balanced by its moral and toxic drawbacks. My players eventually decided to destroy it instead of keeping it.
If you’re interested in using the Praesaepis Regina in your own games, I’ve got this handy SINS themed PDF print-out of it. For the bee swarms, you can easily use a flying and poisonous version the “Swarm” creature from the Savage Worlds Deluxe rule book.