Looking for advice on political scenario
Some of you, @dr_mitch certainly, probably others, are quite good at coming up with and running the 'political' scenario, so I thought I'd poll the club to get some advice for an upcoming session in our Mythic Babylon game.
Our three characters live in an outlying city in the kingdom of Eshnunna. A year ago, Eshnunna was captured by the King of nighbouring Elam. During the invasion, the first cities to be invaded were destroyed to set an example, and so later cities in the kingdom fell mostly by capitulation. Our characters from from a city that capitulated, called Kakkulatum.
They are currently heading to Eshnunna, the capital city. They bring with them a semi-comatose governor of Kakkulatum, an appointee of the invaders, who has been poisoned. The Elamites sent a second governor to replace this sick one, but that governor never arrived. So the PCs plan to return the sick governor with the argument that these are signs the god Ninazu (who is both the city god of Kakkulatum and of Eshnunna) has rejected, and will continue to reject, the placement of a governor in Kakkulatum. I don't think the PCs care too much about the outcome of thi - it's mostly a screen for their real mission, which is to gather information for the resistance.
Over the past year since the invasion, things in the heartland of the kingdom of Eshnunna have settled down and somewhat gone back to normal. However, the Elamites are still fighting in the north. and things have been heating up between the Elamites and Hammurabi of Babylon, who rules just to the west. Elam and Babylon were previously allies in the invasion of Eshnunna, but now it seems they are about to head into open conflict. So there are armies mobilizing in the region, and they are gathering supplies (grain, boats, donkeys) for the war effort - all of which the PCs have.
They have managed to sneak through the country by barge up to now, taking canals through farmland. Recently, they were able to free a respected Eshnunnan general named Silli-Sin from captivity, and they hope to set him up as the person who will lead the Eshnunnas loyalists in rebellion. Silli-Sin has gone into hiding, and the PCs are now heading to Eshnunna to gather information. They need to find out which other generals are still loyal, and where they might be. They need to find our what happened to the old royal family (presumed all dead at this point). And they need to speak to a priest in the Temple of Ninazu about a prophecy.
To complicate matters, one of the characters is a native of Eshnunna, but hasn't been home since the invasion. He'll be wanting to find out about his family.
Situation Report: Eshnunna
In Eshnunna, they'll find that the male members of the royal family were killed (or mostly killed - is someone still alive?). They'll find that the city is under the direct rule of one of the Kings of Elam, and the Elamite army is the local authority. But the city is largely unharmed, except for the city wall. The local infra-structure is intact, and the local administration and judges/legal system as well. Most people appear to support the Elamites, or at least accept them. Within the city at all levels there will be people who are loyal to Elam (preferring them to the previous king) and people who are secretly against Elam. It will be hard to tell the two apart. So, there's plenty of scope for intrigue in the palace.
Important people will be:
The Elamite king and his personal Elamite flunkies
Elamite generals (who may rival one another)
The old Eshnunnan bureaucrats, who probably include the old Vizier and other high level functionaries, still needed to keep the kingdom running.
One or more diplomats from neighbouring kingdoms - Babylon and Mari as the big ones, and maybe also some petty kingdoms.
Messengers of all kinds running around.
The Elamite has probably married the wives of the old king, but not necessarily.
Priests of the Temple of Ninazu, the main city cult. Another cult to the Storm God, Teshshub, is also important.
Some regiments of the army of Eshnunna are still intact and are now fighting for the Elamites - mostly on the front lines in the north. But there may be some Eshnunna officers or attaches here in the city.
I'd like to see the PCs drawn into this mix, somehow. The PCs are:
1. A healer from the temple of Ninazu in Kakkulatum (who will have connections at the temple, but doesn't know the local high priestess, perhaps because she's new.)
2. A soldier (scout) from the army of Eshnunna who has been convalescing in Kakkulatum for the past year and may be presumed dead here in Eshnunna.
3. Another soldier (a mercenary infantryman) who had been working for Eshnunna at the time of his invasion but has since been cut off from his mercenary band (who have probably returned to their distant home).
When the PCs enter Eshnunna, they will either:
1. Go straight to the palace to deal with their sick governor situation, or
2. Be intercepted before they get to the palace by someone who will be on their side, perhaps by someone who runs into them in the street, or because the decide to go to the scout's home or to the temple first.
3. Be intercepted before they get to the palace by someone opposed to them - like someone arresting the scout for desertion? I'm leaning away from this one, but maybe someone has a strong case for it.
That's quite a lot to work with, and I'm in analysis paralysis mode. I'd like to present the PCs with a conundrum of sorts, some hard decision for them to make. Does anything jump to your mind?