Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Game­ in Porto Liure

I've already talked previously about crime families in Porto Liure, and the skulduggery that they are up to.  Crime families and their skulduggery seem so gauche somehow, though.  The rich in Porto Liure don't really have their hands any cleaner, but somehow they make even their skulduggery sound high-brow.  They've even given it a label: the Game, and indulging in the twisted politics and machinations of the wealthy is their primary source of both livelihood and entertainment at the same time.

It's sometimes difficult to remove the criminal organizations from the nobility and parvenus who--let's face it, are also technically criminals, although they tend to consider themselves (and not without warrant) as somewhat above the concerns of the law.  There are a lot of crossover plots and connections; nobles who hire the Union of the Snake for an assassination, for example, or bourgeois parvenus who smuggle goods through the Fuzeta da Ponte family's enterprises.  But, as much as possible, this list of potential sources of intrigue is kept separate from the entries on the earlier post.  Just to give you more options to play with.  This isn't meant to be comprehensive and more will probably be added in future posts.

Segnore Claude Bonolva: A young, rakish, and handsome lord with an obscure title granted by Terrasa to estates in the south, but who has lived his entire life in Porto Liure, Claude Bonolva is notorious for both his ambition and his numerous, decadent, and even obsessive erotic dalliances with many, many ladies about town.  While his title is modest, his wealth is not, and his family has prospered greatly from the trade of hashash.  Trade of hashash into Porto Liure is controlled, but not illegal, but trade to the rest of the Terrasan sphere is highly illegal smuggling.

Motive:  Claude's overt posture is that he wants to ensure his fortune by protecting his ability to smuggle hashash throughout the region, and then spend it as fast as he makes it in riotous living.

Ulterior motive: In reality, Claude is a more shrewd and calculating person than he lets on.  He seems a dissolute man, who lets his subservients run his business, while he spends all of his time partying, but that's an act.  He actually knows and has direct control over his entire "empire" and aspires for more.  He's actually working on a plot to maneuver the ruling Lady into marriage, at which point he plans on marginalizing her and becoming the de facto Lord of Porto Liure himself.

Damiata Aldonça Bernat: As the current Ruling Lady of Porto Liure, on paper, Bernat is the most prominent and important and powerful people in the city.  However, on paper is tempered by reality; while Damiata is popular and puts a lot of stock in her popularity with the people, she is checked by a number of special interests and other powerful lords and ladies.  In addition, she has become addicted to a poisonous drug called brackbane, which she smokes from a thick wooden pipe, or rolled in brown paper.  This addiction was not of her own choice; Reimond Saulescu spent an exorbitant amount of gold with the Union of the Snake to arrange for her poisoning, knowing that the addiction would put her under his power.  The addiction is fatal if not fed--and in the long term, fatal anyway.  This addiction is, however, extremely secretive.  Brackbane is illegal even in Porto Liure.

Motive: Run the affairs of the city-state, play the various other factions from outside and inside the city against each other to maintain a prosperous status quo.

Ulterior motive: Find some way to remove the poisonous addiction and then cruch Saulescu for daring to put her under his thumb with it in the first place.

Reimond Saulescu: Reimond is a middle-aged, quiet nobleman with holdings in Icclezza (although he's rarely there), a fine villa in Terrasa and a posh row-house in Porto Liure--where he spends most of his time, when he can.  He seems quiet and unassuming, but in reality, Reimond is the hub of a great deal of intrigue in the city.  Conspiring with Bonolva to put the Lady of the Port under their power, he arranged for her to become addicted to brackbane via the poison-dealing Union of the Snake.  Despite this, he is not Bonolva's friend; he would like to see Bonolva become the true master of the city, with Bernat as his puppet so that he in turn can manipulate Bonolva into becoming his puppet in turn.  But Saulescu is not his own master; he is in turn a puppet of greater forces.  He appears to be powerful and wealthy, with wide holdings in the Mezzovian region, but in reality, he is financially insolvent.  Paying the Union of the Snake has completely broken him financially, and put him in the debt of a shadowy patron.  He doesn't know for sure who this patron is, but he is both terrified of him, and anxious to find a way to pay him back and not owe him any favors.

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