WotBS Who killed Steppengard’s family?


I keep reading through the Mad King’s Banquet and I cannot figure out who killed Steppengard’s family and how. Am I missing something?

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It's been 14 years since we wrote it, so I can't recall what we had planned, but today I'm going to say, "Madness." She snuck around incorporeal, killed a bunch of Steppengard's family, then killed Nina and took her form.


It is implied but not written that Madness did it to make Steppengard open for turning him against his own nation so to say. Its plausible that she herself killed all that were at the party and slaughtered them and let someone else poison the others. It is not however explicity spelled out as far as I can tell. Maybe even the ragesians have something to do with it, who knows =)


Jumping in here to tack on another Banquet question. How is Steppengard mad? The module (5e) has so many points that rely on the book of 8 lands and its abilities, but it's not clear why Steppengard is able to be manipulated by Madness. Is he just naturally driven mad by his family's death?

He starts off just being grief-stricken, paranoid, and misled by the trillith. You don't need magic to lash out against people you perceive to be your enemies. Then during the banquet, I believe he gets some magical nudge to drive him to violence, as do many of the guests, but the party can nip that in the bud. When he is stopped and the deceptions of the trillith are revealed to him, he might have a moment of clarity.


Fantastic, thanks! I definitely like that Madness isn't limited to her magics when it comes to pushing people over the edge.


I actually changed Steppengard's gender to female to make the "going mad" part even more accessible for my players.
So what I had was:
  • Survivor of a long, bloody feud
  • Savvy enough to unify Dassen and being granted a new territory (the ninth land)
  • Having romances with many members of the large noble families, but never choosing a consort
  • giving birth to ten children with the premise of choosing the most suited one of them as successor, ensuring the support of the other eight without too much of a rivalry as no one actually knows who's the father of whom.
  • and then all of your life's work comes crushing down because someone murders all of your kids, which is basically throwing her back to step 1 on top of the emotional loss and the knowledge that some of her allies might just have betrayed her in the cruelest way possible.

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