The year was 1350. It was. It had also been 1351, 1352, 1360, 1380, 1400, 1450, 1500, and 1550. In fact, unbeknownst to the members of the humble hermitage of Our Lady of Absolution, the world beyond their boundary had progressed two centuries and was five months into the year of our Lord, 1564.
Unbeknownst to all, that is, except for Prior Benaçus di Chellino. Once a devoted follower of the Papacy in Avignon, Prior Benaçus had been tempted by the promises of a more immediate being. This was a being that had been long-forgotten in the papyri and writings of Egyptian scholars and priests, one that consumed Sin and promised the return of unblemished souls. What more could any Christian man – tainted by the shadow of Original Sin – possibly ask for?
In forming a pact with the creature, Prior Benaçus sought the salvation of himself and those he had gathered; in return, he would be given the secrets to immortality. If God wanted him to stop, then surely He would intervene?
Under the Prior’s influence the members of the hermitage would become monstrous and sinful, and the creature would feast. The brothers and sisters he brought together would explore the very depths of their weaknesses in order to expel them. Using the rites of scapegoating as outlined in Leviticus, the hermitage would transfer its wickedness onto a vessel and so would they become as innocent as babes. The only way to ensure their purity continued was to remove the memory of their deeds from their minds so that they might be worthy before the Lord.
Unfortunately, pacts with unknowable, ancient creatures rarely go well and what Prior Benaçus had signed the hermitage away for was a sadistic cycle of damnation and salvation. One that only he would be aware had elapsed.
Of course, being the only person to be aware that they were reliving the same cycle of time over and over again can play hell on a man’s sanity. It can make him curious. Not satisfied with merely repeating actions, Prior Benaçus whiled away the centuries embarking on new experiments on the gathered, finding ever more cruel and inventive ways for them to debase themselves.
But what of the scapegoat? The vessel into which the sin was poured so that it might be feasted upon by the ancient Egyptian creature?
Her name was Constance.
Time can make a man complacent, and it was only inevitable that at some point, things would go very wrong. And so they did. Prior Benaçus, midway through the deed of immuring Constance so that her sin-laden soul might be delivered to the creature, tripped and broke his skull.
For the first time in two centuries, the victim Constance finally had the means to tear herself free from her imprisonment and start enacting bloody and grim vengeance on her oppressors. But first, they had to be made aware of exactly what they had done.
This was not an event with a happy ending. Ultimately, the characters had the choice of committing themselves – knowingly – to the cycle which they had been a part of, or of accepting their guilt and allowing Constance to enact her revenge by re-burdening them with the sin of centuries past.
This was Aeon Horror’s first weekend TPK.
The following downloads were important documents during the game. One is the schedule that the hermitage followed over the weekend, and the other is the diary that was left behind by the Prior:
Event Date: 15th May to Sunday 18th May
Event Location: The Birks
Ref Team: Cath, Craig, Jonno, Laura, Lucie, Monica, Nai, Tom
The Original Pitch
It was in the few years preceding 1350AD when you first encountered Benaçus di Chellino. Something about him touched you; perhaps it was his gentleness or humility, or the way he spoke about the goodness within your soul. You had never considered yourself as blessed. You had never thought yourself worthy of such comment.
The world is a dark place filled with plague, misery, and suffering; you, a solitary being amongst a choir of screams had never felt so noticed. You held out your hand and he took it, speaking broken English with an Italian lilt. He shared his dream: a sanctuary in dark hills where the voice of God could be heard, where the wickedness of the world could be held at arm’s length.
Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genitrix,…
This would be a life of contemplation. It would not be easy – the work would be hard and the days long. Your back would ache, your hands would bleed, and your heart would yearn for the complexity of the life you would leave behind. If you were pure in action and thought, the reward would be forgiveness.
In 1348, you, he, and fourteen others came to an abandoned building in the heart of Duddon Valley, North West England. The journey had been troubled, but the ordeals you had faced together made you strong. They made you feel pure. As you laid the foundation stone that would mark this unassuming building as a holy place, you united in praise.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus,…
Prior Benaçus taught you all the Carthusian statutes, encouraging adherence to the spirit of the Order without letting it obstruct your connection to the Holy Spirit. In honour of your struggle, you dedicated the hermitage’s chapel to Our Lady Of Absolution and your community took the name.
In the three years that have followed, the hermitage has gone from strength to strength. You and the other members of the community have come to know the land well through exploration, foraging, and through weekly spaciement. Although you share jobs, naturally some have found a talent or particular joy in performing some over others. Blessed isolation has remained intact, your contemplative life undisturbed.
Sometimes you doubt. Sometimes your mind wanders as though remember those you have left behind. Sometimes you dream of loved ones gripped by disease, riddled with uncertainty, and doubt. But then you turn to your brothers and sisters and tranquillity of the valley.
Sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, …
It is Friday 15th May and it is the second anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone. This is a rare opportunity for gentle indulgence as a special spaciement is enjoyed to better appreciate the hermitage and its lands. Each member of the hermitage will present a gift to the community, representative of their strengths be that as an artist, a musician, a speaker, cook, or other. A special service is to be held in praise of the light which guided you to this life and continues to protect you.
Long may it continue
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.
It is May in the year of our Lord, 1350AD. What will become known in later years as the 100 Years War with France following England’s invasion of Scotland is in full swing, having gained momentum after its beginning in 1337. The first instance of the Black Death has been reported in Scotland after ravaging the rest of Europe since 1347.
Upon the English throne sits Edward III, a man seeking to rekindle faith in the crown after the disastrous reign of Edward II. In 1348, he established the Order of the Garter with the intention of bringing chivalry to the land, drawing heavily from Arthurian legend. The Victories at Crecy and Poitiers were cause of great celebration across the land and seem to have secured his name amongst the English populace as a good and great leader.
As a player, you will be playing a member of the community of Our Lady of Absolution within Duddon Valley which has dedicated itself to the spirit of Carthusian monasticism. Some of you will have been with Prior Benaçus since he first landed in England in 1345, while others will have joined him on his personal “pilgrimage” throughout England. Each of you will have been there when the hermitage was first founded, and each of you will be invested in its wellbeing.
Of course… your reasons for joining this group will be highly variable. Perhaps you are a genuinely spiritual individual who has been attracted to the vision of humble contemplation. Perhaps you are a sinner who seeks salvation from former misdeeds. Perhaps you don’t even care about the proximity to a God you don’t believe in, but have come to realise that this simple life will provide you with the concealment you need to hide from those who would hunt you.
Each will have his or her own reason for being present and having invested three years of their life to the success of the hermitage.
This is intended to be a dark event with the main themes being sin and absolution. We advise players that this is going to be a very unpleasant game with difficult themes. Basically, blame Lucie.
To further expand on the tone of the game (as requested!), this is not planned to be an all-out balls to the wall combat game. This is less about barricading doors and more about solving mysteries and uncovering dark, dark truths. This game should have the feel of a grim ghost tale with themes of memory and sacrifice featuring heavily. If you like the style of narrative common in early Silent Hill games, this will be right up your street.