Saturday, 21 November 2009

recap: recession-proof gaming and useful tools

C'mon - you knew this would happen sometime... so just imagine Don La Fontaine doing this voiceover!

First there was recession-proof gaming.  Then there was the sequel.  The field got opened up with no money, no time, no problem!  Then proof that the internet provides.  The search for stuff introduced pocketmods, graphic tools and yet more generators.  Then the discovery of undiscovered toys that could save you time.

Yet it's not just about the financiapocalypse.  It's also about making your life as games master easier - whether you have a game in sixty minutes, need some steampunk or use kanban to help you develop characters.  Add useful web 2.0 tools, browser tricks and TiddlyWiki, mindmapping and writing tools and you have an arsenal to draw on when creating a game. With these resources, it's getting easier to make the game you want to play.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

campaign branding: adding dimensions

Groups of people tend to be famous for one thing.  Even if that is being good at nearly everything or having taken it's greatest innovations from other cultures.  There are numerous proverbs and adages about nation and race which create stereotype, trope and cliche. From these arise the numerous interactions and insults that each culture will have for others.

However no culture is defined by one sole activity and supporting industries, save only in those stereotypes.  Even the generic fantasy dwarf is known for metalwork and stonemasonry as well as mining.  The ancient Greeks were not only thinkers but also warriors, sailors and storytellers.  Traditional cultures like the Maori or Inuit have more than one focus, even if that focus is significant to their survival.

So why limit game cultures to one stereotype?  This is OK for quick thumbnail sketches, to get more than that, more is needed.  Using the principle of significance (if it buys you nothing, who cares?) you can work out interesting takes on culture based on a particular race or species.  Some can be linked to environmental factors, yet others can be driven by different things.

One way is to exaggerate inherent qualities, as done by John Wick and Jess Heinig's Wicked Fantasy articles (an example is the Uvandir dwarves) in Kobold Quarterly.  Another is to contrast the desired trait against the typical inherent quality.  The old TSR Dark Sun setting did this brilliantly with hairless dwarves and tribal halflings who would like to eat you as much as discuss your future alliance with them.

Finally you can take the mechanics and riff something totally new.  White Wolf Arthaus' take on Ravenloft (remember that?) did that with half-orcs by turning them into caliban, humans twisted by hag magics into something inhuman.  Transforming stat blocks into new monsters is a fine and noble tradition of DMs and the ability to generate good fluff on the fly is a skill to be cultivated.

With these tools, you can create diverse cultures and bring in exotic elements.  Proud elven swashbucklers in tiger fur cloaks, sailing black swanships as pirates.  Gnomes using glassblowing, magic and alchemy to make crystalline constructs.  Hobgoblin nomads, phenomenally skilled in mounted archery who say each shot is a prayer to their god. Or you can go with the same old, same old.

The only limit is your imagination.  Remember?

(Inspired by this post at RPG Athenaeum about campaign cultures and equipment.)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

the pale house

From the ashes of a failed necromantic cabal, this group is a cell of Inferati spawned in the insurrection led by Simkin Lanternon. As Mnemesyx led Lanternon's army, the cabal quietly removed corpses from battlefields.  Mnemesyx sensed them and bade the pretender leave. Lanternon's failure led a trapped Mnemesyx to send nightmares with hints of Abyssal lore to the necromancers.  This dark inspiration led to indiscretion, vengeful heroes culled the grave diggers of necromancy.  Or had they?

Survivors allied in desperation, saving the books.  Using the mortician's trade for respectability, the Pale House formed.  Aspirants were brutally tested as wary necromancers worked in mausoleums.  Mnemesyx sent more nightmares, teasing them with Abyssal magics.  The Pale House bound demons into items, mocking it's imprisonment.  Finally Mnemesyx wrote words of summoning in the dreams of the Magisters Manifest 

Whisper (the grave attendant)
Requires: Unaligned, Evil or Chaotic Evil, Religion skill.
Benefits:  Gain a +1 bonus to Religion checks concerning demons, undead or funeral rites.
A potential whisper is subjected to ordeals with animated corpses and minor demons to deaden their hearts. They learn funerary rites and lore about undead and demons.  Whispers are tasked with being messengers and doing dark deeds for the Pale House for ritual lore.  Loyal and efficient service leads to initiation into the possessed.  Betrayal, assassination and committing atrocity guarantees it.

Possessed (the black-hearted artisan)
Requires: Whisper rank, Evil or Chaotic Evil, Ritual Caster, Arcana skill.
Benefits:  Gain a +2 bonus to Religion checks concerning demons, undead or funeral rites (supersedes bonus gained at previous rank).
Gain access to the following rituals: enchant magic item, magic circle, linked portal, speak with dead.  Other rituals involving necromancy, enchantment and portal magic of 10th level or lower may be available to the possessed rank at the DM's discretion.
The possessed learns how to make basic magic items and the following: amulet of false life, amulet of health, bag of holding, black iron armour, belt of vigour, berserker weapon, deathcut armour, delver's armour, flaming weapon, lifedrinker weapon, lightning weapon, ritual candle, staff of fiery might, terror weapon, vicious weapon.

A potential possessed delves into magical lore and undergo trials to remove any vestige of goodness in their soul.  Once initiated, they learn ritual magics and perform acts of necromancy, enchantment and enabling travel by teleportation circle.  A possessed only has their own power to control one or more whispers and often has to resort to intimidation and violence in handling the more problematic lower ranks.

Magister Manifest (the master of their trade)
Requires: Possessed rank, Chaotic Evil, Iron Will,
Benefits:  Gain a +4 bonus to Religion checks concerning demons, undead or funeral rites (supersedes bonus gained by previous ranks).
Gain access to the following rituals: consult mystic sages, planar portal (Abyss, Shadowfell), shadow walk.  Other rituals involving necromancy, enchantment, commanding immortal creatures and portal magic of 18th level or lower may be available to the magister manifest at the DM's discretion.
A potential magister manifest betrays civilisation, species and the living to command the Abyss and the dead through ritual magics.  The typical magister manifest focusses on experiments, directing both possessed and whisper alike to their goals while testing them by harrowing ordeals.  The magisters are careful to limit contact with society unless they are sure there are no threats.  Then evil truly becomes apparent.

Leaving the Pale House is usually the last act of a former member.   Paranoid sociopathic demonologists and necromancers never forgive or forget.  Supported by followers with access to magic items and undead, the chase is typically brief, behind closed doors and spectacularly violent.  Orcus says nothing but no Pale House member who petitions The Lord of Undeath or joins an Orcus cult has ever survived doing so.

(Inspired by the post Demonic Allegiances at Nevermet Press.)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

ave morituri

Inspired by the discussion between Ideamancer and Wyatt at Spirits of Eden about setting up a 4E PVP game following NewbieDM's post about a breakout of 4E PVP play.  Gladiators are a staple of the Dark Sun setting and Thyatis in D&D so it seems a logical setting for such activity.  I've been in a number of games that have used the arena as a backdrop and even run a couple.  The setup makes for a different take on the more traditional warrior-as-soldier.

Gladiatorial combat is a staple of some civilisations, their origin in Etruscan times (from Greek games or Celtic contests) as a funerary honour.  Those chosen to die in combat wore armour taken in battle against warriors from Samnium, creating a tradition of naming some armoured gladiators samnites.  This led to a form of historic/mythical reenactment and promoting Etruscan and Roman superiority over foreigners.  The contests (munera) to honour the dead were lavish if private affairs leading to gestures of public generosity.

From such roots sprang the spectacle of Roman games (ludi).  Gladiators fought each other, captured beasts and condemned criminals in contests based on famous wars and mythic struggles.  Julius Caesar forged them into a political weapon.  With the rise of empire, munera entered decline with Spartacus' rebellion, the Senate limited the number of gladiators owned by an individual to stop private armies forming and anti-corruption laws proved increasingly ineffectual.

The ludus became a political tool, Augustus formalised them as civic duty and limited private sponsorship of munera, relegating them to ludi at Saturnalia and Quinquatria.  State-sponsored ludi grew with the remit of the Imperial cult into extravagant spectacles.  Commodus, Claudius, Caracalla and others used ludi to exhibit martial prowess, a scandalous act as gladiators were often criminals or slaves, tattooed or branded on the face or hands (these were called stigmata) to show their status.

The lanista, who managed a gladiator school was seen by Romans as little more than an overpriced pimp and sometimes sold gladiators for that purpose. Private owners of wealth or standing (munerator or editor) had no such stigma.  Owners had the power of life or death over their gladiators and put them through gruelling training in stratified groups based on chosen tactics and criminal status.  Access to massage and medicine as well as a quality diet was noted. Galen, a noted physician gained experience at a school in Pergamum.

A gladiatorial game need not just feature combat.  A life in the arena campaign could feature intrigue as well as politics and a reason for exotic race and characters to associate.  While the use of magics would need to be considered (people hurling fireballs in the arena may be a problem), flashy effects are part of the spectacle of a Romanesque ludus.  The arena is a convenient place of execution, strange beasts may appear and there is the possibility of fame, freedom and betting on the outcome.

What more could you ask for?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

toolkit: theme

Theme is a proposition set down, a connecting or dominant idea to be explored, the message you want to convey so that when you stand back, you see it writ large on your story or game.  The classics of story and interactive gameplay have strong themes.  You can play without theme - it's predominantly mechanical play where luck, strategy and rapport with other players matter more than thinking out of the box and using your imagination. 

Theme must also speak to the reality the audience currently inhabits, the big picture.  If a theme is relevant to our wider experience it will resonate with us and some stories gain considerable momentum when released at the right time.  Equally some games and stories have social footprints be it raising awareness of health issues or encouraging virtual tourism or even joining a game by donating to cancer treatment.

To communicate a theme, support it with relevant content.  Give the audience situations that fulfill dramatic, informational and emotional needs while discussing the theme or issues preceding from it.  These can be illuminated by genre conventions, amplified by tension and flavoured by sense memory.  Two guys sitting on opposite sides of a table isn't exciting.  An interrogation or police interview?  That's a different story...

Backstory and characters are two additional tools to induce interest.  Backstory has been used to mechanical video games more interesting for a very long time now and even provides context for movies.  Characters are not only story engines by driving the plot forward, they serve as behavioural models to induce empathy, awe  or even admiration in the audience.

By linking the theme and it's related concepts to relevant and entertaining situations, by embedding it in the background and hooking it to characters, a game or story can take it's audience for a ride they'll enjoy and remember.  Finding a good fit and making it feel natural is a matter of craft and practice.  Stories can be owned until they become natural and when this happens it becomes even more powerful.

Friday, 13 November 2009

inns and taverns: the summer swan

The Summer Swan is a narrow boat that works the river, providing ale and wine to the thirsty while avoiding many of the taxes most innkeeps pay. When it moors, a marquee and rough benches are set up and people are invited to sup the ale that is traded and brewed aboard.  On fair weather days, the marquee is sometimes dispensed with and the ale flows freely to farmhands and fishermen alike.

This has led to some antagonism with local inns, lords and sheriffs but this is smoothed over by trading small kegs of high-quality and potent pale ale and when it's needed, some coin.  Word of the Summer Swan's destinations travel swiftly with travellers and ne'er-do-wells, it is a welcome haven for tinkers, journeymen, gypsies, minstrels and runaways and these folk watch out for the boat and it's captain.

The captain and landlord is a slight, wiry man of indeterminate age and gleaming eyes.  He plays chess and fiddle exceptionally well and his genial manner barely hides a tireless enthusiasm for life, high tolerance for his own wares and low tolerance for boredom.  He keeps three calico cats that only he can tell apart and these fuss over anyone except the disagreeable, the diseased and those with an air of wrongness about them.

In the stern of the boat is a remarkably lifelike wooden figurehead of a barmaid; buxom, blonde-haired and clad in brown.  The captain claims it is his wife and will jokingly tell her to stop nagging to the amusement of his customers.  On the rare times he gets drunk (late at night during certain festivals), he talks to the figurehead and even hugs it, weeping softly as if lost to something or someone.

The pale ale he brews is light, refreshing and strong.  He keeps small barrels of dark stout and heather ale as well as brown bottles of fiery whiskey, apple brandy, elderflower wine and damson spirit.  He doesn't serve food, scarcely having enough to feed himself and his friends.  "You want food, you bring it!" is often laughingly shouted by those in the know at those the worse for wear by drinking on an empty stomach.

The Summer Swan will always move on after seven days anywhere, even with ideal conditions for trade and large crowds of customers.  Travellers and merchants are aware of the boat's passage and sometimes form spontaneous free markets to the consternation of nearby towns.  The question is not if the captain is a smuggler, the question is of what.  Yet until now, nobody has found anything that wasn't meant to be there...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

points of order

This post at Chgowiz's blog about making clerics relevant made me smile - it reminded me of the hoary days of 2E and how the cleric as armour-plated, mace-wielding healer/detector/undead turner with smiting options became something more interesting.  Making characters go beyond treasure hunting is something that you can apply to other classes too.  This looks relevant to this month's RPG Blog Carnival too! 

Beyond the classic trope of the thieves guild (or the order of wizards or knights) not much thought was given to groups the characters belong to beyond membership costs and  limited modifiers to reaction rolls without being overly bureaucratic or screwing characters over. Why limit yourself (and your players) when you can give them more interesting things to do?

Affiliation with any group can be fun if it fulfills certain needs - solving problems and providing benefits to it's members.   If your game has archetypes, groups may form around these or form complimentary partnerships (e.g. Red Wizard and Thayan Knight prestige classes) based on common ground and develop identities of their own.  With sufficient membership, a group has rudimentary character and iconic image. 

Imperial stormtroopers in Star Wars are a strong example.  Their white uniform, group tactics and bully-boy attitude perfectly fit their minion role.  Common elements and uniform identity builds distinction and induces audience interest, particularly if it subverts commonplace tropes.   This makes them memorable but overuse erodes any icon. Some variation keeps things fresh.

Designing a group is simple enough - imagine it's a character!  Define it's problems and the benefits it offers to reveal attitude, attributes and needs.  An order of knights sworn to slay dragons look and feel different to a gang of righteous rogues fighting a tyrant.  These differences may have system or aesthetic impacts.  Using these generates distinctive attributes and infers methods of operation.

Determine a hierarchy, the further up, the more the group character is exemplified. Three or four layers is enough, each may have it's own benefits or constraints which escalate or diminish.  If an individual conflicts with the group, they diverge by inclination, action or consequence.  If the conflict contrasts with the group, that builds interest. Some examples will appear in future posts so watch this space.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

upgrading excalibur

This post at Musings of the Chatty DM got me thinking on my attitude to magic items and their receipt and use by PCs as they gain levels.  It's inevitable as characters advance that challenges are greater.  Yet do they need more powerful equipment to face those threats as well?  In some cases yes - you can't hurt certain monsters without the right weapons!

Previous editions of D&D introduced creatures that needed silver or magical weapons to hit them.  In 2E, this happened with Deities & Demigods, again with Monster Manual II and again with Ravenloft.  Yet 3E that codified the process, raising player expectations of  large quantities of magical items and if you compare things, the results can be jarring.

I've previously expressed my dislike of shopping for magical items.  Having player wishlists may be a case of campaign planning yet I feel this is meta-gaming.  Shopping for magical items are a subversion of form rather than a default condition.  Also the question of what happens to the originals. Plot helps prevent golf bags of magical swords but those without authority figures to redistribute their wealth may feel railroaded.

Do player wishlists really enable the game?  I have misgivings, having seen at least one player leverage an item combo into game-breaking with the justification of 'I wanted to see if it worked'.  Etiquette aside a moment, there is also the variation of balance within sourcebooks.  DM veto is always an option along with debates with players about the fairness of it all - this is one of the perks of the job.

Phil proposes that items are upgraded instead - a solution mentioned in 3.xE and 4E but the costs of doing so are intensive.  In 4E, using residuum to boost item power or finding item recipes or components is much better and offers plot (and skill challenge) options. Plus it gives people reason to hate rust monsters.  I prefer this option, even if gathering item components has it's own perils.

Some PCs may become monster charcutiers or host elf blood drives for potions of longevity.  This kind of unethical behaviour fits the frontier mentality and unsavoury reputations adventurers deserve.  There is always the matter of preservation as well.  These things can be done but I like the concept of exotic components and jars of pickled monster parts in a game.  Such ephemera lends an air of the grotesque which appeals to me.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

pretender to the throne

Regaining my armour is the beginning.  My banner shall fly anew and our fortunes will be restored. What was sundered can be made whole and our throne is within reach again.
-- Simkin Lanternon, exile and pretender to the throne.

Born of a lampmaker and a disgraced lady-in-waiting Simkin Lanternon grew up in a land where noble blood assured power.  His ambition was pricked and he turned to deception.  From this Simkin learned the seeming of nobility with the blessing of his embittered mother and ambitious friends looking for a fast path to power and court.  His intellect and semblance to a former king set him on a collision course with the nobles of his homeland who spurned this newcomer and his grasping friends.

The king was newly crowned, resented by his subjects for heavy taxation and hated abroad for overthrowing the former monarch, a practice the foreign kings hoped to quash.  Lanternon travelled to their courts as a knight errant who decried the tyranny afflicting his homeland.  Nobles in exile confirmed his lineage with divinations (Simkin was a bastard of the former king's uncle) and began to groom him for greater things while Simkin bought legitimacy with his treason and flourished as he toured.

A certain king had come to possess a demon-ridden helmet that whispered dark thoughts to it's wearer, he presented it in a set of armour for Simkin. He knew Simkin would fail as he was skilled in tourney but not battle. Giving away the helmet removed a burden and left a trap for Simkin's slayer. Mnemesyx and Simkin fed off the other's incitations and the growing cruelty in Simkin was heralded as 'the will to conquer' by those courts who sheltered him and his exiled supporters.

Convinced he was ready, the exiles hired mercenaries and a seasoned captain eager for war. Simkin would lead a popular revolt and usurp the usurper.  When Simkin landed, he was joined by friends and disaffected nobles.  Mnemesyx saw it's chance and rallied the forces.  The mercenaries took a coastal town loyal to the king and ravaged it then sailed up the coast to a new attack. This attack failed as Simkin resisted Mnemesyx's influence and the resulting bad tactical decisions allowed the enemy to regroup.

Changing plan, Simkin chose to attack a town further inland at the behest of Mnemesyx. After three days of fighting, the town fell yet the conquerors were besieged as the king's general came with a greater force who slaughtered the mercenaries and punished the treasonous.  Simkin was captured alive by a knight errant who claimed his armour as a prize and ransomed Simkin to the exiles.  The exiles plot with Simkin again for the pretender is now a scheming demagogue. Mnemesyx has taught him well.

Simkin plots to steal the armour and helm from the now-titled knight who took and keeps them as trophies, being ignorant of the demon within.  He presents himself as the unfortunate victim of a melee in which he was robbed yet 'enemies at court' would see him dead were he to return home to his friends.  Once the armour is restored, he will recommence his plans for usurping the king.  This time he intends to give Mnemesyx full rein in his ambitions. Adventurers may find themselves on either side of this plot.

This post is inspired by Mnemesyx, The Twice Fallen  by Nevermet Press  and Perkin Warbeck.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

exclusive! review: heroes or villains? miniature pack

Review: Heroes or Villains? pack by 6d6Fireball Miniatures.
These miniatures were provided by 6d6Fireball for review purposes.  Fame & Fortune is an affiliate of (check the Affiliates box under the RPG Bloggers Network button for details).
  Have to go with fireballs.  One bad, five awesome.

Metal miniatures are a binary proposition - either a must-have or you pick them up on the fly while waiting for your FLGS to re-order Pathfinder.  Recent editions of D&D encourage using miniatures in tactical play and even the hoariest grognard has a small collection gleaned over years of play.  Those looking for a motley band of all-male adventuring types may get their itch scratched here. So, going from left to right...

First Corvell, an aspiring wizard with a goatee beard and funny hat in wide sleeved doublet and breeches.  He raises a hand in some kind of invocation while clutching a scroll.  Detail is good with a spell-book shaped satchel and a glyph on his upraised hand.  Looks like he's stepped out of Legends of the Seeker.

Next, Drax the Chain (human fighter in chain with a spiked chain) is attacking his enemy.  As many pre-gen human fighters in WotC 3.xE supplements either uses a bastard sword or spiked chain, DMs get replayability and the level of detail is good, from the closed helm to the sagging backpack and belt pouches.

Then Kiris, Mightiest of Gnomes is clad in a brigandine jack, open-faced helm and wielding an axe in two hands.  Tall for a gnome, it shows a willowy build that differentiates him from bulky dwarves but still shows a warrior capable of hacking kobolds and goblins down.  That axe still means business though and this figure would work well in any fantasy setting.

Finally, Celebhith, a bearded ranger-type in chain with detachable sprue for his arms and longsword - he's described as a half-elf but is as tall as either of the humans here.  The slung sword and bow over his back indicate he's ready for both distance and close-up fighting. Some assembly is needed - this figure can be customised with a little care and epoxy.. 

Summary: 4 fireballs.
The figures are comparable quality to Ral Partha and beg to be painted.  There was some minor and easily removed (by fingernail) flash on the legs of Drax and Celebhith.  The figures are good value and as a pack of four, would make a good bundle of henchmen or NPCs. You can buy them individually if you like but the pack is good value and offers variety.

Bonus Discount Code - £3.00 off one order per person at 6d6Fireball Miniatures.  Type in satyre091.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

story: don juan tenorio

A play by Jose Zorilla performed in Spain on All Saint's Day for over 100 years, the story provides buckets of inspiration, be it the nature of the bets taken, deceiving someone, statues coming to life, a feast with an unexpected stone guest ending in a duel or a desperate, last minute plea for redemption from a rake.  This is a romanticised version of the play 'The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest' by de Molina, whose original plot was a moralist critique of Spanish honour as a veneer for sin which is a retelling of the legend of Don Juan or his equally notorious Italian equivalent, Don Giovanni.

A stranger enters a crowded Seville inn, wanting to learn about the exploits of a gentleman who his daughter will marry.  The landlord reveals that the gentleman and his companion will arrive shortly.  Devilish rakes Don Juan and Don Luis enter, to learn who won their bet of who seduced more women and killed more men in that year. Don Juan wins on both counts.  As Don Luis fumes, the crowd ask Don Juan if he ever fears the consequences.  Don Juan replies he only thinks of the present.  Don Luis reveals Don Juan slept with women of every social standing save two, a novice about to take holy vows and a woman engaged to be married. Coincidently, both are currently engaged to be married, Don Luis to Dona Ana and Don Juan to Dona Ines. 

Luis makes a rash wager that Don Juan will not manage to seduce a woman of either kind and Juan accepts, says he will do this in a week and that Dona Ana will be the engaged woman!  Now the stranger is revealed as Don Gonzalo, the father of Dona Ines.  He declares Don Juan will never see her again and cancels the wedding.  Don Juan boasts Ines will be his, given willingly or taken by force.  With Ines taking vows, the stage is truly set.  By chance, personality, trickery and bribery, Juan manages both the seduction of Ana and abduction of Ines to his manor in one night.

He does not seduce Ines, instead both tenderly profess their love for each other.  Juan has found someone he can truly love rather than just seduce.  Yet Don Luis arrives, outraged Juan impersonated him in his seduction of Ana.  Then Don Gonzalo arrives with the town guard to accuse Juan of kidnapping and seducing Ines.  Surprisingly Don Juan pleads for the hand of Ines on his knees.  Gonzalo and Luis mock his cowardice and demand his life which pushes Juan to declare having been rejected as a good person, he will continue as the devil.  He shoots Don Gonzalo, stabs Don Luis and abandons the fatherless Dona Ines to flee the country.

Five years pass and Don Juan returns, pardoned for his crimes.  Yet he returns to find his manor torn down and a cemetary for his victims in it's place.  Juan's father, Don Diego Tenorio disowned his son and built the cemetary for Juan's victims with his inheritance.  Lifelike statues of Gonzalo, Luis and Ines are present and the sculptor reveals Ines died of sorrow soon after she was abandoned before leaving.   Juan expresses regret and prays to Ines for forgiveness.  Her statue comes to life and reveals that Juan has a day to live, she has made a deal with God to offer her soul on behalf of Juan's.  God has declared both will be bound together so Juan must choose for both - salvation or damnation.

At this point, two of Juan's friends Avellaneda and Centellas appear.  Juan convinces himself Ana hasn't just spoken to him and in a fit of bravado heretically invites Gonzalo's statue to dine with them this eve.  During the meal, Juan blasphemes against the dead and Heaven until Gonzalo's statue walks in.  His friends pass out from fright and Gonzalo's statue intones Juan's time is running out before departing.  Avellaneda and Centellas wake up and Juan accuses them of a practical joke to mock him.  They accuse him of drugging their wine to mock them.  A duel ensues.

Now Juan is led to the graveyard by Gonzalo's ghost.  There Gonzalo's tomb opens and an almost empty hourglass is revealed.  Gonzalo explains this is Juan's life, almost ended as Centellas killed Juan in the duel and he takes Juan's arm, ready to lead him to hell.  Juan cries out, denying he is dead and reaching to heaven for mercy.  Ines appears and redeems him, both then go to heaven together.
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