High Lord Bealda stood overlooking his provincial capital from his grand citadel, the buildings stretching in every direction. What was once a town when he was a boy, had now become a center for trade and home to one of the largest of mankind's defensive bastions against the threats lurking beyond. Yet even with all this under his command, he felt incomplete, as if it were all meaningless. No, there was far more to be accomplished before he would be allowed to finally rest, and for that, he needed the best.
With a flurish of his cape, he walked to his desk and sat, then called out, "Corna, come in here with your quill and parchment."
"Right away, my Lord," came the immediate response, and all was silent for a moment until the ornate door to his office opened, and a young woman entered. She bowed with the grace of experience and kept her eyes low. "You summoned me, my Lord?"
"Yes," he said without preamble, not looking her direction, "Take down a message to be sent across the Empire. I need warriors of cunning and might, but also the skill necessary to accomplish what I require. They will be well compensated, but I will only take the best. Send this now, and then prepare for the inevitable onslaught of useless prattle who come our way when we issue such decrees."
"As you wish, my Lord," Corna said softly, before turning and heading for the door.
* * *
Three hundred miles from the Citadel lay the camp of Chief Broken Tusk, leader of his clan of Orks. He was seated upon a throne made of crates stolen from the mighty Imperial Steel Ox his clan had slain just days ago, and it had been a glorious victory. Supplies, enough to last them two years if done right, but nothing he could count on to overwhelm the Imperial rifles that were becoming more and more dangerous. He needed a plan, and he needed one soon.
Movement at the corner of his vision alerted him to his first wife, Fire Dancer, approaching with their eldest son. The boy was only in his third season, and still very small, yet already a source of great pride to both he and Fire Dancer. A smile crossed his scarred lips as he embraced his wife and child.
"My wife, you always seem to know when I am troubled," he rumbled softly, running his hand over his son's head.
"It is my job to know, mighty husband. What troubles you?" she asked, finding a place to sit on the throne next to him.
"I am worried. The pale skins are developing weapons that make them more dangerous by the day. We were lucky to learn how to kill their steel ox, but they will come back and this time, be better prepared. I am fearful we will not have such a hearty kill again. Not if we remain here."
She was silent a moment, then said, "Perhaps it would be wise to seek the counsel of the Blind One."
Silence answered her, before Broken Tusk sighed. "I do not trust that blind wench. She speaks in riddles and vague hints, and might be more dangerous than a legion of pale skins. But you are also right... it has been too long, and her words sometimes bring great hope to the Clan."
Fire Dancer set their son on the throne when she rose, bending over her husband and kissing him. "You are a wise and honorable leader, my husband. Just one of the many reasons I knew I would claim you when the time came."
Running his hands up her side, Broken Tusk asked quietly, "Just one of the reasons?"
As she sank to her knees, she whispered, "Among other things," before she began to pleasure him upon his throne.
* * *
Hi everyone! So yes, I'm trying something new here with a fantasy RPG based around Pathfinder, but in a more modern age. Think early 1900s era tech, with Humans possessing trains and telegraph, rifles and steam, but haven't yet figured out electricity for the masses yet. This game will focus on 4 adventurers who will be given an epic quest to perform for the High Lord, who has offered great compensation but also has a nasty habit of ordering adventurers into impossible situations. He's a very demanding sort.
Lots of adventure and lots of interesting situations, the game will be rated Extreme
because I don't pull punches. This is a game about how a rapidly advancing society starts to view the more primitive societies around it while also dealing with internal struggles that come with a change in mindset. The familiar things common to Pathfinder, such as swords and magic, now share the stage with rifles and electricity. Dragons are mostly extinct from the countless heroes over the centuries killing them for awesome loot, but without the vast hordes of gold coming in, it's sort of left many towns with hyper inflated economies and no real way to pay for it all.
So if you're in the mood for a complex game with themes ranging from understanding the 'savage' Ork hordes to seeing the depth of human depravity, sign on up. Characters need to be built with 3rd Level Stats
. They should be one of the following races: Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Half Elves, Halflings, Half Orks
and, of course, Humans
. A bit about each one below.
Humans are the masters of the Empire, a vast collection of smaller nations united 30 years ago under Emperor Lesym Dane, who used new technology and the might of his armies to crush those who opposed him and reap blessings upon those who voluntarily joined. Humans in the Empire are considered superior to all others, and this Humans First mentality has harmed relationships with surrounding territories, even amongst other humans. While most are still accepting of other races, some have used the opportunity to openly discriminate against everyone else.
The Dwarven Kingdom of Kharbaraz is the only non-human settlement to join the Empire. Rather than fight off a siege, the dwarven leaders saw the advantages of the new human technology and joined willingly in exchange for steam drills and locomotives. As a result, most dwarves are readily accepted into the Empire, especially as they are the Empire's chief source of iron and steel. There is some argument, however, over using technology when traditional dwarven might was viewed as enough for centuries, and it's this argument that has led to numerous dwarves exiled and now seeking adventure in Human lands.
Elves are but a shadow of what they once were. Ravished by time, losses to other groups, and several brutal wars with the Humans, most elves are viewed as pitiful creatures who should have simply surrendered when given the chance, rather than seeing their homes burned and many sold into slavery. While not all elves are slaves, they are treated as second class, and most serve as prostitutes and companions. Those who take up arms as mercenaries and such are viewed with suspicion, but they are otherwise left alone.
Gnomes are a rare sight among the average citizenry of the Empire, and with good reason. Unknown to all but a few, Emperor Lesym Dane promised a new homeland to the gnomes if they would build him new weapons of war that were not dependent on magic. When they delivered, a small island was set aside for them, forever guarded from outside threats by the Imperial navy, which also keeps the gnomes from leaving. Yet the quest to adventure is too much for some, who escape past the Imperial navy and go on adventures all the time, often getting into quite a bit of trouble.
Following the short wars with elf kind, there were quite a few elf prostitutes and slaves. Within a few years, the once small half-elf population exploded, leading to a vibrant minority that is now seen as almost accepted. They have the grace of their elven lineage with the human qualities that let them slip into human society easily. While some are still looked down upon, they are much more accepted than most other races. In recent years, there has been a call for a homeland for the Half Elves, a place where they can be left to their own devices within the Empire. So far, nothing has come of it.
On the opposite end of the coin are the Half Orks. The numerous conflicts with Orks over the years has led to quite a few atrocities on both sides, with numerous humans raped and raping Orks, depending on who wins the conflict. This has led to quite a few half orks being born over the years, with some being allowed to live but never fully accepted, or simply killed at birth. They are viewed with suspicion and hatred by many, and it's not uncommon to find random crimes pinned on half orks on the pretense to punish them, if not execute them.
Seen as a race of children by many in the Empire, halflings are never taken seriously. This has led to quite a few humans and others to underestimate them. Most halflings stick to their own communities inside larger human ones, often accepting those who would otherwise not find a place for themselves. These communities will protect their own, and are such a warren of small spaces that most humans are smart enough to simply let it be and just post guards at the entrances to control movement in and out.