Pirates of the Red River
It is 66 BC, and the legendary lands of the East are in the grip of a bitter guerilla war. Rome has declared an end to the rogue nations of Asia Minor - the land of Amazons, golden apples and giants - and for eight years has done battle with the outlaws and barbarians bought by the coin and power of the Last King of Pontus, Mithradates Eupator. Now a new strategy to subvert the strength of the bandit hordes to the banner of Rome finds a small band of pirates entrusted with the mission of establishing a slaving outpost on the most crucial artery of the battlefield: The Red River. The whole of Rome's future, and so of the world, depends on whether they can subjugate the souls in their charge and hold the contested land that, for centuries, heroes have come to seeking glory.Style: Pirates of the Red River
will be a novelesque narrative focusing on quality writing, character development and sophisticated action. It will be largely player driven, with setting information and unexpected challenges posed by the Gamemaster, and the main action involving two sets of protagonists - one the pirates and the other the captives who they must enslave in order to ensure the success of their outpost. Though the writing of the Gamemaster will tend to the lyrical, the prose of the players need be no particular style, so long as it is quality.Characters:
There are two categories of players in this tale, each with distinct backgrounds: The pirates and their captives. This reflects the dynamic of the conflict in Asia Minor at the time, and so is best examined with a brief glimpse at history.
Rome had been bogged down in an expensive, seemingly futile conflict in Asia Minor. It had invaded because a King of that region, Mithradates Eupator of Pontus, had for decades incited neighboring nations to oppose Rome's economic and political will, financing open war and all manner of terrorism. Rome launched an expedition to conquer all of Asia Minor and dethrone Mithradates in 74 BC, but after initial overwhelming successes it found that the lands it conquered rose up against it with Mithradates' backing. Every measure of land Rome claimed was frought with tribal conflicts, mercenary opportunists and outlaws - all of whom would switch allegiances whenever one side that Rome chose as its agents became too strong. This went on for 8 years, with undersupplied Roman legions dragging across the region.
This changed in 66 BC, when the General Pompey the Great was deployed with unprecedented resources and political powers to subjugate the land. Pompey's troop surge managed to secure more substantial gains, but it also pushed an enormous body of pirates out of the Mediterranean that they had dominated without contest for decades. But canny Pompey found lords among the bandits and pirates whose allegiances he could depend on. Soon pirates and outlaws were fighting for Rome's banner in substantial numbers.
Our first group of protagonists, the Pirates
, are of this group. They can be raiders from Asia Minor, refugee pirates from the scattered Mediterranean pirate empire or mercenaries from foreign lands as far away as Scythian Asia or Gaul. Whatever their origin, they will be hired by the Bandit God, Azuriel, and by a monstrous pirate turned slaving hegemon, an unequalled sadist known only as The Reaver. Their task will be given to them: To establish an outpost on the shores of the Red River - a waterway running through Asia Minor's heart from Roman lands to the front lines - to stock it with slaves and to defend it at any cost. They will also be given captives who will provide the labor and stock their brothel rooms.
come from Amasya, a fortified city behind the front lines that the pirates and Romans are trying to topple. Amasya is significant in history not only as a crucial strategic center in this conflict but as one of the lands ruled by Amazons. The Amazons had ruled Amasya for centuries, and it is in the Roman histories of this Mithradaitic War that they appear in our surviving records - most of them fought on the side of Mithradates and against Roman domination.
Our captives will have been captured in a recent conflict with the mercenary pirates under Roman employ. They may be non-combatants, but may also be Amazon warriors.
There are up to three slots for captives and three for Pirates. Currently, we have one player set to play a captive and another for the Pirates, with yet another character undetermined. This leaves up to three slots open - up to two for each category.System:
The system the game will employ for adjudication is Chaosium's 'Stormbringer'. Literature on this system is limited, but the system itself is simple and much of character creation can be derived from the sheet itself and from Gamemaster direction.
The 'Stormbringer' sheet is located here: http://www.chaosium.com/forms/SBsheetfront.pdf
There are four main reasons we will be using this rather obscure system. First is that it's time period equivalent - its skills and statistics correspond well with the environment of the ancient world. Second, it has realistic combat - low hit points, rules for lasting damage from serious wounds and fighting that depends on ability to parry and dodge to escape wounds rather than incentivizes being hit repeatedly. Thirdly is system simplicity - Stormbringer's skills are a percentile system, which is easy to comprehend and utilize for those new to the game. Lastly, its method of magic is appropriate; magic is not rife in the system, it is an obscurity, and is often unreliable and dependent on forces vastly more potent and bizarre than the mortals who seek to exploit it.
Means of creating a 'Stormbringer' system character will be posted on this thread to guide applicants through the process.References:
Listed below are some references that players and applicants might use to become acquainted with the time period.
On the Cilician Pirates, once lords of the Mediterranean: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cilician_Pirates
On the Amazons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazons
On the Red River: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kizilirmak
On Mithradates VI, Eupator: http://www.livius.org/mi-mn/mithridates/mithridates.htm
On Pompey the Great: http://classics.mit.edu/Plutarch/pompey.html