In our last Outremer game, a strange situation occured where the PCs almost started a war entirely by accident. The previous week, the party had been ambushed by forces of the Emir of Baalbek, who is subsidiary to the Emir of Homs. The party saw the ambush coming just before it happened, and, while shot up, were able to defeat the ambush, killing or capturing all the emir's forces. In the pocket of a sumptuously dressed body, who had been riding a richly apointed and beautiful horse, they found orders to apprehend one of the party, the Oracle, rescue a prisoner, and kill the rest.
The horoscope for the next day revealed Trickery would be rewarded in Conflict. The idea was that the party would dress in the clothing of the people they had killed and captured, Except those who were to be taken alive, and gain entry into the castle at Baalbek. Everyone agreed. They wanted to speak to the emir. Again, everyone agreed. The next day (this last session) they rode, dressed as the Emir's men, through the streets of Baalbek to the citadel. The gates opened and the party rode into the citadel. They were greeted by a grizzled serjeant who said "You are not the Emir! Who are you?"
At this point things broke down. Some of the party had realized the guy with the cool clothes and sweet horse *was* the emir of Baalbeck. He was dead. They thought everyone knew this. When the party agreed they needed to speak to the emir, some were thinking "emir of Baalbek" and some - those who knew he was dead - were thinking "emir of Homs". The leader of the party was paralyzed at this point, because he didn't realize what was happening. he had just wanted to gain entrance to the citadel to talk to the emir, not realizing one of his party was wearing the emir's clothes and sitting on the emir's horse right beside him.
Men came rushing out of the central keep along the walls and the gates were shut, sealing the party inside, and still the leader didn't give the word to attack. Finally he gave word, and the party exploded into action. Throughout the battle, some of the party thought they were getting massacred, and were trying to call a retreat, while others thought they were winning, and were boldly advancing. finally, the few men left standing on the emir's side surrendered, to the bewilderment of some.
Then the party's leader, presented with a fait accompli, had to say something. He declared he had taken the city of Baalbek for the Emir of Damascus, the hereditary enemy of the Emir of Homs, and whose lands the party had recently passed through. Madness! No one knew why he said that. They weren't working for the Emir of Damascus, They were , in fact, a secret society dedicated to maintainng the political status quo. There could be no doubt the Emir of Homs would gather an army to crush this upstart in Baalbeck, then on to Damascus. Disaster!
Finally the party took counsel and the leader realized what he had done. They could not hold Baalbeck, and didn't in fact *want* Baalbek. The Emir's wives were given rich gifts and sent to their parents, except the youngest, who, being an orphan, could not be. The leader married her himself so she would be taken care of. A small part of the money in the coffers was given over for a feast of celebration for the wedding, followed by a day of remembrance and prayer. Then the leader gifted the city to the mosques and the party left Baalbek on the third day.
It was bizarre, and horribly dangerous. The party went from unknown to suddenly disposing of entire cities. They earned the enmity of the Emir of Homs. They may have started a war between Homs and Damascus, though the actions taken after that rash declaration may have confused the situation enough to stop that. If they are not successful, they will be caught between two armies.
The name of this secret society? The Tangled Web. How prophetic!