and their eyes turned to their masters

Setting: Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains. A noble sentiment, to be sure, but Rousseau is usually full of shit. People typically strike off their chains so as to assume others’. Rebellion, revolt, and foment are a constant, and usually justified, often unwise, and frequently a failure. What rebellion is whispering at the capital? Roll d10.

1: After an attempt to enfold a badlands population into the polity, the government falls apart, with coup plotters taking to the bush alongside the dissolved units of the army. The plotters’ military remnant—the Orange Face Army—continues to skirmish the government’s newly-raised ad hoc militias.

2: The satrapy’s iron colonial rule has collapsed after intrigues against the distant suzerain. Now the natives are in control of their own fate, but the hills still hold fortified—and resentful—enclaves of former colonizers, who use their superior organization to launch attacks to regain their lost dominance.

3: The baron, a man-at-arms of some renown, sees magic, like poison, as treachery and womens’ work. He has driven the soothsayers and evokers from the barony; the hedge-witches of the fields have seen what is to come and united the serfs behind them as they take to the bayou and wage the quietest of wars against the baron’s footmen and levy-takers.

4: The seaward half of the palatinate has fallen from its martial heritage and taken to a disturbingly novel approach to commerce, one involving a freeness of trade and an unwelcome comity with other nations. The Palatine marches to restore the coast to firm control and ancient morality.

5: The ealdorman feels that it is his destiny to expand to the east, removing the smallfolk population to put them to “useful” work in the heart of the earldom. Canny bands of the displaced haunt the wadis and defiles, dodging the ealdorman’s massacres and striking fear into his armies.

6: First, the duke’s Feathered Legion forbade commoners’ bearing of weapons. Now they lord their status, with obeisance and abuse the rule. But across the land farmers and millers, smiths and teamsters have been quietly sharpening their tools, and each has begun to notice that he is not the only one doing so. Isolated Legionnaires have begun to disappear, and in numbers too great for desertion.

7: The Speaker to the World has selected brushrunner elves for his varangian guard, selecting for ferocity rather than loyalty. Now they have slain the Speaker and his kin in the palace, which is unfortunately well-fortified, and declared their unlettered leader as the new Speaker.

8: The state church has grown bloated and self-satisfied. Splitters have followed a new prophet into the wilderness, where they seek to rebuild the promised city. The state church holds their tenets to be heresy, and has dispatched the ecclesiastical army to purge the splitters, not without success. The splitters have raised their own militia, and have taken to the malpais to raid overstretched supply lines and keep their truth alive.

9: The Ras has gotten herself in trouble with vain adventurism along the borders as well as celebratory architecture at home. Now the companies’ paymasters have come calling for their wages and the fiefs bristle under the tax farmers. The Ras is responding by debasing the coinage, cutting the silver with increasing amounts of copper. The nascent petit bourgeoisie, inflation threatening their rising power, have aligned with the peasantry, rankling under the Ras’s conscription, and the revolt marches on the regime from all corners.

10: The tribe has splintered, a spearman nonpareil chafing under the jarl, who has aged out of his own fighting days. The jarl sent the warband to raid for trade-goods (and remove them from the leadership foment). But before they returned, the jarl died and his son ascended. Upon the warrior’s return, he saw the leadership vacuum and took up a usurpation of the jarldom. Now the tribe is split, warring against itself. And neighboring tribes have noticed.

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