Tonight we divided into two tables, each of which played a pair of games Descended from the Queen at FortheDrama.com. At one table, we played a session of The Lost Island by Steffen Jörg in which our plane crashing on a deserted island led us through fevered sickness with hallucinated voices and visions, burying the dead, arguments over whether to stay on shore or move inland, memories of our past lives, and eventually a rescue just as we’ve secured enough food to sustain us. As we leave the island, we take with us an appreciation of how precious time is, the importance of withholding judgment, the necessity of working together, and newfound confidence in our abilities in the face of hard times. The relationships we’ve formed may carry forward into our new lives.
Next we played a round of For the Crown by Monsieur Alceste in the kingdom of Shangrila, a land where your place is determined by the strength of your magic and where the elderly King Fangor lies ill after a long and prosperous reign. We are Faisal, the king’s brother and leader of his armies; Leona, a teenage wizard’s apprentice who has vast stores of untapped magical potential; Taro, advisor to the king these past five years who came from the lowest rungs of society; and Nogard, the king’s youngest son but also the only one with any aptitude for magic. Which of us will inherit the crown and become the new ruler of Shangrila?
We start with Leona attempting to form an alliance of the underclass against the aristocrats close to the king by meeting with Taro, who agrees that the next king should not be related to the current one. Of particular concern is Prince Nogard, who has long been rumored to be corrupted by dark magic and who even the king kept away from court for years. Taro believes she is the best choice because of her experience of all walks of life, but Prince Faisal has been loyal to the king for decades and has the most experience of any claimant. His failure at the Battle of Bone Bridge that led to the death of Taro’s uncle, however, has turned the adviser against him forever. Leona calls both Faisal and Taro together in a conclave to conspire against Nogard and his claim, but Faisal will do no more than to talk to his nephew about standing down from the contest while the other two agree to reveal to the people how twisted magic has made him.
When the neighboring kingdom turns militaristic and decides to test the strength of the ailing kingdom by invading, Nogard tasks Faisal with securing the capital and rides off to lead the army himself. While Nogard returns after successfully repelling the invaders, Taro secures a holy writ against him for practicing dark magic for which he must atone by performing light magic rituals. Nogard sees a chance to change his image and agrees to perform the rituals. But now it is time to choose the new ruler as King Fangor finally passes away at this dramatic moment. With Faisal, worried about his nephew’s ambition and corruption, refusing to back him and promising to serve the crown no matter who wears it and Taro throwing her support behind the upstart Leona, Nogard is thwarted and Leona is proclaimed the new ruler of Shangrila due to her vast magical powers.
In the Amago nation, Queen Diana has ruled over these forested hillsides and valleys riddled with gold and silver mines for several decades. In recent years, she’s suffered from the corona genetic defect that afflicts her bloodline and several figures vie for position to succeed her. Sir Reginald has been the chief administrator for Her Majesty and been running the country for a few years as the Queen convalesces. A member of a reptilian species named Leona claims to share an ancestor with the Queen and to be free of the genetic defect that afflicts the Queen. The Queen’s uncle Joe King has served as her jester but is of the royal line and never showed signs of the genetic disease. The Queen also has a much-younger adopted brother named Minos who has just returned triumphant from a far-off war.
Our story begins with Sir Reginald arranging a carriage accident in the forest to kill Joe King, but he survives and now knows to fear Sir Reginald’s power. Joe is resentful of Minos for having taken the ancestral sword that Joe once wielded with him to the war, but that doesn’t stop Minos from bringing the three of them together to conspire against the reptilian Leona. The trio plan to have the Queen send her into the far northern mountains to get rid of her. Leona left her family behind to serve the Queen and often regrets life in this cold place, but knows that if she can regain the throne for her people that it will all be worth it. Minos learns that Leona plans to rule alongside humans when he converts the high priest who had been her ally to his cause.
In retribution for the assassination attempt, Joe King forges an alliance with a neighboring kingdom to undermine Sir Reginald by disrupting the trade routes and raiding our caravans. Sir Reginald is too busy running things to spend time with the Queen or notice the machinations around her. Leona argues that the matrilineal line must not be broken, but Minos counters that times have changed and so can our traditions. Minos hides his guilt over the death of the Queen’s son, who should not have fallen protecting him. Joe was long the Queen’s favorite at court because he was so jovial, but he made too many jokes about regicide and the Queen became more enamored of the chef who cooks such delicious food for her. Leona spends much time reminiscing with the Queen about her visits to the reptilian homeland far to the south.
Reginald moves again and frames Minos for failing the protect the ore shipments raided by Joe’s ally. Joe’s rivalry with Sir Reginald goes back to their youth when a stupid mistake on a trade mission costs Joe’s brother his life. Leona makes a bold move by kidnapping Reginald’s niece and forces him to teach her the affairs of state. It’s been so long since the people have seen Her Majesty that they believe Sir Reginald holds her hostage, but he allows it to keep her illness a secret. Joe remains resentful toward Minos for his military experience and grandeur, but Minos refuses to return the royal sword to Joe because it belongs to the crown and not to any particular wielder.
Leona believes that the kingdom is in decline since the Queen fell ill. Joe appoints the physician attending the Queen, but cannot bring himself to ask the doctor to hasten her death. Minos seeks an alliance with Joe to support his claim since they two are the only true relatives of the Queen vying for the crown. And at last the Queen passes, and each of our contenders makes their moves. Sir Reginald tries to continue manipulating the levers of power as if nothing has changed, Leona makes an impassioned plea based on her people’s legends and family tree. Joe just wants to a power player and supports Minos’s claim. And Minos plays the war hero and rallies the people and military to proclaim his name. He assumes the throne and becomes the new ruler.