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Author Topic: A Grim World of Perilous Adventure!  (Read 2029 times)

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Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

A Grim World of Perilous Adventure!
« on: April 26, 2016, 11:23:57 PM »

I'm looking for partners willing to try some long term, story or character driven games set in the Warhammer world (Fantasy or 40k, although I don't have any plots up for 40k as yet) whether rules-based or free-form. If you're new to or unfamiliar with this setting you can click here to learn a little more about it. Moreover if you know this setting and have your own game ideas, characters, or would like to collaborate on something I'd love to hear from you.

   I have a number of plots of my own plots for this setting primarily intended for one-on-one games, and often dealing with stories or situations that are easier to explore in a free-form style. Though I still do sometimes like to establish a characteristics file and advance scheme for some of my characters in some of these games (this is purely for my own benefit, you’re not obliged to do so) so using the system is a possibility. Some of these games involve fixed character-types but others can be played alongside many different characters and I'm generally open to suggestions and alterations so feel free propose changes and make suggestions even if it‘s as simple as changing someone‘s name. These games are focused primarily on the potential for adventure, action, intrigue and so on with less emphasis on romance. Of course that’s not to say that romantic relationships can’t develop, but erotica is never going to be a central facet of my games in this setting. In addition to my own games I hope to make a list of the various pre-written adventures, campaigns and scenarios I have for this setting. Though they are meant to be played through using the rules many can also be played free-form. Ideally I’d love to find someone who knows the setting who can collaborate with me and with whom I can create new ideas - possibly using mine, or theirs as a spring-board, or even simply creating something from scratch - so if you do know the setting but don’t find any of my games interesting please contact me and let me know what sort of games you favour, I’d love to hear from you.


Plot Hooks, Ideas & Other Adventures

These sections involve either basic plot-hooks useful as a jumping off point for collaborations, or pre-written adventures selected from among the various source books, campaigns and other relevant publications from the various editions of Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play.

Plot Hooks & Game Ideas: these are plots that have yet to be fully fleshed out. Usually because I have an idea which I imagine would be fun but am uncertain about the details, or because adding too many details would limit our options. Some may be expanded on later as time and inspiration allow, but for now the aim is to use these simpler concepts and ideas as a basis for collaborations, and to give me a place where I can store more basic game ideas even if I haven't had time to develop them further.

Other Adventures: Are you ready for a life of danger and excitement? Can you tell the difference between an unspeakable cult and a social club for gentleman? Are you willing to brave the darkest corners of the Empire and face unimaginable horrors with little more than your sword and your wits? If you answered yes to any of these questions I may have some scenarios for you. These are all pre-written adventures that can be handled free-form or using of the rules and dice rolls, they support a wide variety of characters and play styles.

Original Plots

I tend to include a lot of detail for my original ideas, but don't feel limited by this as my introductions exist primarily to give you a feel for the game's proposed tone, provide some insight into the characters I'd like to include, and provide you with samples of my writing, and their purpose is not to limit your ability to contribute by irrevocably establishing details about the characters or story. In other words think of the character details as recommendations, and feel free to treat the ideas as a jumping-off point as I'm always open to fielding your ideas and suggestions, and most of the details I establish can be modified and changed subject to your preferences or interpretation. That said if you prefer a partner who will GM for you, and manage the on-going plot while you focus on your character I'm happy to do things that way as well.

Noblesse Oblige (Closed) I’ve written this game specifically for people who do not know this particular setting as there is minimal lore for the time-period in which it is set, and almost all the necessary information is included in the background section. It is set in Brettonia (a fantasy take on medieval France) a thousand years prior to the unification of its peoples, and the focus is adventure though there is also potential for romance and erotica. I‘ve included two potential male leads, both of whom I am happy to play myself. Though the focus of the story is a young woman who was raised as a boy in order to be able to inherit her father’s fief, and her efforts to preserve it in the face of a ruthless band of brigands led by a former knight.

Chasing Shadows: (Closed) This is a story driven game that centres around character development, adventure, personality conflict and survival in the wilderness. It’s set in the Warhammer world, but was designed to be played with a minimal knowledge of the setting as the female lead has lost her memory as a result of an unpleasant and extended period spend as a Skaven captive. The plot is a simple one, and it could easily be run with a different pair of characters, but my intro applies to it being played as originally envisaged, with characters intended to generate maximum personality conflict. These two recently escaped slaves, a Druchi (Dark Elf) exile and an Asur (High-Elf) woman, are attempting to reach the secretive and xenophobic Elven community of Athel Loren where it is hoped they may find a means to restore her memory.

The Sign of the Old Dark This game involves our two characters being brought together by a powerful cult who have abducted a number of people in an attempt to find a worthy host for a daemon. Your character is thought to be suitable and the rest serve are there as sacrifices for the ritual. Though our characters escape yours has been branded with twelve of the thirteen runes that will form the contract of possession. There is no simple way of removing these marks and erasing them physically by whatever means will make no difference, and as a result the ritual will be impossible to complete without her so the hunt is on. Meanwhile my character's sword, his most treasured possession, has been taken by the cult and he won't rest until he retrieves it.

Silver Bullets: (Closed) This game was inspired by the background of a character of mine, essentially a gunslinger written into the Warhammer setting. The plot surrounds his dogged attempts to hunt down his two sisters, and the Lahmian vampire who turned them. I initially envisioned the female lead as a vampire - a blood dragon - who both contrasts and conflicts with my character and who has a particular loathing for black-powder weapons  When her husband - a member of the Ordo Draconis - disappeared she took up his sword and armour, believing him dead, to hunt for his killer. Though she discovered that a certain Lahmian (the same woman the male lead is after) was behind his disappearance she has never been able to find the woman responsible. For some time now her hunt has continued simply because she enjoys the challenge it represents, and this is where our introduction finds her. Inadvertently saving the male leads life, and in the process stumbling across the opportunity to renew her quest for vengeance in earnest.

The Witch-Hound I got the idea for this game from an underrated horror movie so the tone is fairly dark. It involves a man entering into a pact with a demonic creature to hunt the killers of his daughter without realising that creature will butcher all those involved however incidentally, and that he will be forced to view the killing through its eyes and upon realising he cannot call it off he attempts to stop it himself. It could be played using the 2nd Edition rule-set though it might just as easily work as a free-form game. There is no pre-ordained romance or erotica, and your character doesn’t feature in the introduction so you have a blank slate to work with. The overall focus is survival, horror and adventure.

Into The Drakwald The focus of this game is story-telling and adventure. It could include romantic or erotic scenes (for the two leads obviously) if they don’t take away from the essential conflict which centres around a young woman being saddled with the responsibility of guiding several young children to a place of safety through a hostile wilderness after their village is destroyed. The male lead hadn’t been introduced in the intro and is as such a blank slate, and I’m open to your input regarding who he could be or whether there should be any history between the two leads.

Who Loves the Truth The plot for this request is a simple one, but should provide plenty of opportunities for fun. The leading lady is a magical prodigy who has hitherto been ignorant as to the source of her abilities, believing them miracles of faith. An imperial agent is dispatched by a Magister Vigilant who has become aware of her with orders to bring her to the capitol, and the colleges of magic. Unbeknownst to her though he is also under orders to kill her if she should prove dangerous, or to prevent her falling into the hands of another group. Though whether he can bring himself to or not is another matter. As a result of her abilities they are likely to be pursued throughout their journey, and even getting out of her home town will be difficult as it is currently beset by plague, and placed under a cordon sanitaire.

Mordechai‘s Wondrous Waxworks: this game involves a literal carnival of horrors. A waxworks show in which the deformed and mutated exhibits are in fact real people; mutants and freaks, outcasts desperate for food and a place to sleep. Though they are treated abysmally for many it seems better than the alternative as mutants in the Empire who cannot hide their afflictions often come to a painful end at the hands of cult authorities, Witch Hunters, or an angry mob. This twisted carnival can serve as the backdrop for numerous games involving many different character types although all are likely to be darker in tone.

Update Log
13/05/07: updated my introductions to Silver Bullets and Into the Drakwald.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 04:48:23 PM by Egoiste! »

Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

Plot Hooks
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2016, 02:50:50 AM »

This section currently contains more basic plot outlines but may be expanded in future to make use of image prompts and even character concepts. Their purpose is to provide a basis for collaborative plotting so you should look at these ideas as a starting point rather than as plots in their own right. There is usually limited information about locations or the characters involved and what information does exist is generally malleable to allow more freedom in using your interpretations and ideas. In fact the very reason this section exists is to hopefully promote an exchanges of ideas, character concepts and so on.

The Duellists: each week in Nuln’s busy Reikplatz two rival duellists have been meeting each other to face off. It doesn’t take long for word to spread about their marvellous skill and as free entertainment is not to be despised these fights soon begin to draw substantial crowds. However before their fifth match can take place a local magistrate declares duelling within Reikplatz is now illegal. Yet even as the two implacable rivals search out a likely place for another bout they are told by friends that the this same magistrate was found dead that very morning, and the Watch have implicated the duellists themselves in the murder, claiming to have irrefutable evidence. The two will have to stop fighting long enough to find out why they are being framed, and uncover the truth in order to clear their names.

The Show Must Go On: foul rumours about a powerful Reikland Count worshipping the Dark Gods have reached the ears of a Witch Hunter who means to get to the truth of the matter. This canny investigator impresses upon a group of entertainers travelling to the Count’s court to aid him (or her) in uncovering any possible corruption. Disguised as one of their number the Witch Hunter will be in a unique position to observe the Count in person and conduct an investigation without raising any suspicions. But the entertainers are going to have a difficult time teaching this dour figure to make a convincing performer in order to pass as one of them.

The Kemperbad Run: the coachmen making this dull journey have come up with a way to add a little fun to their routine. For a small fee they can be part of the game, and upon leaving Nuln each coachman receive a stamped card marked with the time of departure that they hand in at the Broken Lance, a coaching inn on the outskirts of Kemperbad. Once every four months the results are compared and the winner takes the pot. As more coachmen join and the prize grows they begin to take winning more seriously  Though the worst that has happened so far has been thrown horseshoes and damaged wheels as the game gains popularity and the prizes get larger it’s only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs. This would leave the coachmen and their passengers stranded in the wilderness, assuming they survive the crash.

The Road To Couronne: every year pilgrims travel from all over the Empire to the temple of Shallya in Altdorf in order to undertake the pilgrimage to the cult’s headquarters in Couronne. Most are sick or crippled, some are even dying. They hope for a miraculous cure and many who manage to survive the trip do indeed receive such cures, but even for a fit and well-protected group it would make for a long and perilous journey. Still the cult of Shallya helps many in the course of a year, and more than a few warriors can usually be convinced to accompany these pilgrims, and a few luckier pilgrims are even wealthy enough to hire their own guards. Even so the road to Couronne is never easy.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 11:55:41 AM by Egoiste! »

Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

Chasing Shadows
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2017, 05:02:54 AM »

This section contains pre-written adventures and scenarios, published for WFRP First or Second Edition. Though most can be played freeform that would likely take some of the fun out of things so I only mean to post ideas which I can feasibly run using the system. In other words any first edition scenarios need to be updated, and this takes time. Moreover as there are so many of these pre-written stories it’s probably going to take me a long time to add them all as even merely writing a short summary for each one would be very time consuming. So if you know of a scenario or campaign you’re interested in (something like Paths of the Damned or The Enemy Within) by all means let me know as I have most of them.

The Grapes of Wrath: a scenario set in the vine-growing village of Pritzstock, south of Middenheim, this takes place during their annual grape harvest, during the month of Erntezeit or Harvest-Tide. The town appears to be under a curse, and a sinister magical force seems bent on preventing their harvest and driving the villagers from Pritzstock.

For Love of Money: a short adventure set in the town of Mittlersdorf in southern Wissenland. A noble’s daughter has absconded with a group of bandits, and naturally her family want her back. However any attempted rescue will involve an encounter with forces much more sinister than mere bandits, and the potential to uncover something truly rotten afoot in Mittlersdorf.

The Haunting Horror: an adventure occurring in a place outside of normal time. Upon entering a haunted house the characters will find themselves in the realm of the Haunting Horror, and unable to ever return to normality until it has been destroyed.

Rough Night at the Three Feathers: in an unusually busy road-side inn playing host to the niece of countess Emmanuelle of Nuln the players may encounter aristocratic schemes, the machinations of a chaos cult, kleptomaniac halflings and more besides. Either way it is likely to be a very busy night.

Carrion Call: a scenario occurring in the wilderness where an encounter with a dying man, and an attempt to honour his last wishes will lead the players to the estate of the eccentric Vonreuters. A family whose dynastic obsession with necromancy has all but destroyed them and turned their estate into a house of horrors.

Sing for your Supper: an investigation-based scenario set in the city of Nuln involving a wealthy master butcher, and the search for his missing daughter.

Through The Drakwald: though the stalwart inhabitants of the town of Untergard are used to being attacked by groups of mutants and beastmen from the surrounding Drakwald forest the recent incursion has left them in dire straights. When a local woodsman brings word of an imminent attack the townspeople realise they have no choice but to flee as a whole to Middenheim. Moving just under a hundred people any distance through the Empire would be a difficult task at the best of times, but these are hardly the best of times. The townspeople are likely to accept aid from almost anyone.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 11:56:06 AM by Egoiste! »

Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

Noblesse Oblige
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 02:18:44 PM »

Background Information
      One-thousand years before the advent of the Imperial calendar and one-thousand nine hundred and seventy eight years before the advent of their own the Brettoni tribe came to inhabit the lands that would eventually take their name after being united by their first king. Though exposed and difficult to defend it was a geographically privileged land boasting rich soils, a verdant character, mild climate, a wealth of metals and an abundance of animal life. This proved irresistible to these formerly nomadic peoples; a land worth fighting for, but they were not the only ones who felt this way. Nor were they a unified people. Though they usually found common cause against outsiders at other times they did not hesitate to war amongst themselves.

   For the Brettoni this transition from nomad to settled farmer was not easily accomplished. Once new pasture had been but a days ride away, but now they were tied to their land. The strongest amongst them refused to give up their horses though, and the rest became vassals in their service to support the exorbitant cost of their ways with toil in the field. A warrior-caste, born to the sword, saddle and lance they both protected and preyed upon their vassals, some openly exploiting their labours and ruling arbitrarily by direct force of arms. As the generations passed this left their people divided. Fed and clothed in the finest manner, trained to fight from the day they could walk, choosing always the finest brides and raising their children the same way meant the ruling castes claim of superiority began to ring true in many ways. Worked almost like beasts of burden in some cases, and with the fruits of their labour taken in payment for protection and the maintenance of their lords estates and arms the ill-educated peasants and surfs looked up to rulers who in many cases literally stood head and shoulders above them.

   Such was this divide that in some smaller villages a single family of such nobles ruled a small strip of surrounding countryside, while a single knight - as these warriors came to be known - was it’s sole protector. Entrusted to extract tithes from his subjects, and to tithe his liege in turn, while keeping the peace and upholding local law. Whether benevolent or truly malignant these men ruled by their word, and their rule was absolute; local law often being based on the mores and customs of the ruling family, many of whom traced their lineage to the time of their great migrations. So it went for many generations.

   In the year accounted that one-thousand, four-hundred and seventy-eighth before the unification of their kingdom, and five-hundred years before the creation of the Imperial Calendar there was one such knightly family, the Tournelles, who ruled a narrow strip of land between the Arden forest and the Wastelands which surrounded the Island-town of Marianburg, beyond the borders of those lands the Brettoni called their own. It was a troubled region, and they were dangerous times. It followed a period of castellation and fortification where even the most petty nobles had made themselves difficult to attack directly, and thus less subject to the distant authority of those to whom they nominally swore fealty. Many out-right rejected all law save that which they made, and fealty save that which was owed them, and these robber Barons fought amongst themselves frequently. The ruthless strategy of the chevauchée left whole villages destroyed and many displaced, while the forced conscription of vassals who were armed and trained to fight and then ordered back to the back-breaking labour of the field when not needed, or left homeless in the wake of defeat left armed bands of hungry, homeless and desperate men only too happy to turn to brigandage. The displaced and desperate often caused their ranks to swell, and within the eaves of the forests of Chalons and Ardens were whole communities of such bandits and cutthroats raising their children on pillaged crops and rustled livestock.

   The constant toppling of, and rising of local lords, many of whom would execute the men-at-arms of their dead rivals, left many masterless knights wandering the land. Most continued to uphold the mores and traditions of their families for better or worse, and much of the Brettoni legendry surrounding the figure of the brave knight-errant stems from this period, yet such legends overlook those who were less noble. As sell-swords these landless knights were rarely trustworthy, but many sank lower still becoming bandit chiefs and gathering what in some cases became small armies of brigands. And it was in this clime that Éric Eugene Tournelle was raised, the only child of Eugene and Sandrine Tournelle. At the age of sixteen his father Eugene was slain in battle with the forces of their liege; an upstart knight whose petty wars with his neighbours were bleeding the wealth of his lands away for little gain. Thus at that young age he became the master of the humble village of Brière and the lands thereabouts, in title if not in name for while he did take up the martial duties of a Knight his mother, a canny and strong-minded woman, still largely ruled her son and by extension the land which was nominally his, or rather hers. As Éric was in fact a young woman. As in the knowledge that they would never bear another child her parents had raised her as a son, lest their tiny fiefdom pass from the possession of their family, and few in the village knew the truth in this matter. 

   Sandrine Tournelle was a proud woman who dated her families lineage to the migratory, and - in more fanciful terms - even to the pre-migratory period. She chafed under the rule of a distant lord. A man she deemed an upstart whose next futile war would likely take her daughter, as the last had her husband, so that she had Éric declare their lands unbound by his authority. Thus her child became the lord of a her own tiny fief, and would give fealty only when asked by one whose birth and actions were worthy of it. It was a dangerous gambit but paid off when the keep of their former liege was overrun by three of his rivals who soon fell to squabbling amongst themselves over the division of his estates. Amid the route and chaos of the following years their little strip of land was largely overlooked, it's wealth and tiny populace simply too insignificant. With no crushing tithes owed to any distant master, Brière and its fields and surrounding farmsteads prospered duly. Though firm and often uncompromising rulers the Tournelles were thought highly of by their subjects, and even after the death of his mother and his own entry into middle-age things remained this way, though Éric never married, for obvious reason, and the Tournelles became a family of one.

   Their fief itself was nestled in the northern corner of the Vale Fleuridia - between two peaked arms of the Pale Sisters range - where a tributary of the river Sannez, known locally as the Fleur, fed their small mill. The village was arrayed on both sides of that river. On the southern side was a confluence of more rural properties spread across a fair distance but centred around the mill and market square where additional homesteads stood beneath the shadow of a dishevelled but sturdy stone watchtower. In days gone by this had been the Tournelles home, and in the time of Éric’s father it had been occupied by the Sergeant of his men-at-arms, who had served as his Bailiff. It now lay empty, as it had for many long years. On the other side of the Fleur was a more concentrated collection of structures which were less rural in character; the village smith, tanner, and others whose skills did not oblige them to till the earth lived here among others as well as those who worked in the small vineyard and orchards of the Tournelles personal estate. Moreover the keep’s staff - the servants, gardener and so on - all largely dwelt in this part of the village. This the Northern side of the river was split into a small block of wealthier homes, and a larger collective of more run-down shacks. Aside from farmers, tradespeople and the keep's staff there were others who fished in the rivers further upstream, as well as a small number of hunters and goatherds who dwelt further up within the foothills of the Pale Sisters, and enough woodcutters who worked the heavily forested, rising slope of Mt. Briè that the village was not dependant on trade for anything save metals and certain luxuries.

   At that time, during the rule of Lord Éric Tournelles, the village of Brière itself was like a place out of a storybook. Admittedly not an especially clean storybook, but despite it’s unpleasant surroundings - the rugged Pale Sisters range and Wasteland to the east, and the bandit-plagued Arden forest to the west - the village itself, and the small farms and homestead dotted fief it sat amidst had a rare idyllic charm. In other lands expensive woodcuts might be fashioned showing their farmers and village-folk brightly dressed, happily fed and attuned to the simple pleasure of their rural lifestyle when the truth was rags, toothless mouths, hungry bellies, grumbled discontent and the well known peasant’s slouch, but here, even if hunger and poverty were not done away with, the wealthier folk in fact came quite close to such images, while only the poorest matched the latter. In owing no fealty to a foreign lord, and in their size, obscurity and lack of real capital it was also a relatively peaceful place, and there was little to protect themselves from save occasional acts of brigandage. However these had been growing more frequent in the months leading up to their harvest that year.

   If you’ve read the summary, and the background section you’ll have a good idea of what this particular game is about, although below this section there is also a more direct introduction. Your character is the protagonist; a woman raised as a boy who rules, and protects a small fief in the Vale Florida between the Wasteland and the bandit plagued Forest of Ardens. The story picks up at a point where only her personal blacksmith and armourer knows her secret, and during a Harvest Festival when an injured stranger arrives in town with a dire warning about bandits. As far as the potential for romance is concerned either of these male characters represents a different option although the newcomer will at first be unaware that your character is a woman. Moreover he is a suspicious figure whose wounds appear to have been deliberately inflicted so as not to kill, and it may be that his presence is not as benign as he claims. Naturally I’m happy to play both of these characters, and there’s the potential for a love triangle if you’re that way inclined. The primary source of conflict will be the looming bandit attack, how they choose to deal with it, and whether the mysterious newcomer is involved.

Introduction
   Above the village, on the southern side of the river, loomed the imposing stone structure of Tournelles Keep nestled on a fortified escarpment that cut into the rising face of Mt. Briè. It was built in a manner which took advantage of the natural terrain so that it could serve it's military and defensive purpose as a stronghold, while still housing the family which dwelt there in comfort more akin to a hall. The first aspect took the shape of a sturdy tower-keep with a stone-walled courtyard containing a well built against, and rising above the escarpment, while the second, connected part, built atop that same levelled escarpment, consisted of a long hall of stone and wooden construction. It could not be reached save through the tower, or a thirty foot climb up near-vertical rock. At the foot of the tower was the Lords estate and gardens which were demarked by a wall of dry-laid stones. From the parapet one had a panoptic view of the entire village laid out beneath them, and would have been able to see a guard signalling with flags in the watchtower just across the river that bisected the village and it’s fallow fields like a glittering ribbon of blue silk. Directly below they would see trestles and cut timber boughs being rolled, or shifted into place as a number of long tables were set up, while elsewhere barrels and spits, or laden trays were being carried toward them.

   From the activity it was clear a celebration was being readied, and that much of the village was being invited. Further away however, across the river, emphatic calls and voices hawking loudly drifted from the market square, while around the mill a few stout lads were rolling bales of wheat off carts come in from the last of the outlying farmsteads now turning in their harvest. The number of bales already rolled into place indicated a good harvest, and if some were not tented with cured skins - tightly drawn by lashings fastened to hammered stakes in case of wet weather or gales - it was only because no-one had expected so many. The village was bustling with excited vitality, and almost the entire population of the Tournelles’ fief would be present. The harvest-festival of Moin Croissance or Mittherbst as it was known in the north was considered an important one.

   This was the scene towards which Ambrose De Montfort urged his lame horse. It might once have been a fine animal, but now it looked on the verge of dropping. Three arrows pierced its right flank, but its rider was no better off. He was slumped forward against the creature with one arm wrapped loosely about its broad neck, and a rent shield hung loosely from his shoulder with several arrows protruding from its battered face. Two more were stuck in his back, while his maille was pierced in several places beneath his torn and severed tabard, his blood seeping through its broken links. The young men working to unload the season’s harvest noticed him and one dashed off for a horn to alert the town even as Ambrose dismounted. He fell to his knees at once, but two young men came to his aid and helped him to rise. Behind them his horse faltered and collapsed at last.

   ‘I must see your liege,’ Ambrose demanded, ’You must take me to him. Your village is in terrible danger,’ the effort of the strangers strained respiration kept his volume low.

   A horn-call sounded close by, alerting the townsfolk, to summon their lord and his yeomen. Though the sound startled him at first the injured stranger seemed to perceive its meaning and sighed.

Contact me if you‘re interested in trying this plot, or have any questions or comments. I try to respond to private messages on the same day I get them, or you can add me on Yahoo or AIM.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 12:07:14 PM by Egoiste! »

Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

Chasing Shadows
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 02:21:07 PM »

Introduction
‘Chittering bastard rat-men,’ these words rang loudly in the lifeless wood. The speaker clearly cursing something.

   The contemptuous intonation was crafted by a voice whose cold, cutting tones suited such emotion well. A voice that emanated from a cloaked figure who had just set a hand against the gnarled trunk of an ancient tree at the edge of a forest clearing, while the other held a short blade which seemed to have been forged for someone smaller. The weapon’s single, curved edge was stained with dried blood, as were his ragged clothes, and it seemed clear he had been fighting. A bleeding shoulder appeared to be the source of his irritation, and he scowled while rotating it gingerly even as he turned back to his companion.

   ‘Keep up, arinaith’kuyl, or I’ll leave you behind.’ he kept his voice low as if wary of making too much noise, but despite his threat he remained where he stood, resting against the tree-trunk with his svelte shoulders sagging tiredly.

   She had not fallen far behind but was moving slowly, picking her way carefully over the layer of rotting leaves that obscured the difficult ground. Her slender shoulders rose and fell heavily as she struggled with exhaustion in an effort to catch up. Above them the radiant full moon, partly eclipsed by its sinister twin Morrslieb, was obscured by thick storm-clouds that rolled down off the Iranna mountains toward the plains of Carcassonne. A sparse few stars flickered dimly through breaks in the cloud amidst the stark emptiness of the sky as glimpsed through the thinning network of gnarled branches put forth in a loose lattice by the wizened, moss-clad trees. In that gloom they both blended invisibly into the shadows lurking between the thick boles as they halted in the fading twilight, and though all about them those same trees stretched as far either could see in any direction it was clear they could go no further before resting.


   The tall figure turned his head toward his companion, his expression wry as he watched her. Despite the lank hair, the bruises and the torn skirt of her patchwork dress no one could have mistaken her for human. Not even years spent in the lightless and foul warrens of the Skaven and a panicked ten mile flight to the dubious refuge of this dead, uninhabited land could efface the singular elegance of her clearly Elven features. It was a vision which in most would have evoked soul-wrenching sympathy but he gestured for her to approach with apparent indifference. Letting the blade fall from his hand K'rilix reached up to unclasp his heavy fur-lined cloak but halted suddenly when his shoulder moved in a way that reminded him of his injury, sending a searing jolt of pain down the length of one sinewy arm and through his chest.

   ‘I’d like to drag that black furred bastard out of Mirai and kill him again,’ K'rilix muttered softly, speaking to himself while fumbling awkwardly with one arm to remove the garment.

   Closing his eyes, and straightening up as his hood fell back he pushed his pain aside and let his cloak slip off his shoulders with an awkward shrug to reveal a face similar to his companions but for his chalk-pale skin. He possessed the same pointed, leaf-shaped ears and the same lithe, tall physique, though he was taller than her, and his poised motions were imbued with the same effortless grace. However the attractiveness of his finely wrought Elven features was lost amid the customary harshness of his expression and the cunning, almost sinister gleam which flashed behind his coolly calculating gaze. His eyes were the most striking thing about him: one a cold, steel-grey and the other, bisected by a short gash, was nothing more than a smoothly polished, dark green orb that possessed a feint, unwholesome luminosity that could not have been natural. .

   ‘Kalla,’ he barked loudly as his discarded cloak furled into a pile around his feet only to look up, ready to snap impatiently, and see her standing in front of him. ‘good-’ he looked her over, searching for any sign of injury, ‘Are you-?’ the pale Elf sighed when he realized she would not answer, ‘No, no, of course not, I will have to discover for myself, but you will have to bind my shoulder soon, Kalla, I cannot bleed forever,’

   K'rilix looked over his companion with a certain impatience, born of frustration, in that things might have been easier had she been able to tell him what he wished to know - whether she had been injured - as even if she may have indicated so in silence he did not trust her to. No he doubted she would want him treating her. However as he glanced over a few flecks of blood on her garment it became apparent none were signs of injury. He took hold of her lithe shoulders once more and set her away with a jerk, though he kept hold of them to ensure she would not stumble. Glancing down with that he indicated the thin patchwork skirt she wore.

   ‘Tear it for my shoulder,’ he said.

   Glancing around as she did so, moving off a short distance, his lip curled in a cold sneer at the mess of growing things which littered the floor untidily. His gaze panned about to take in more of the same, the carpet of rotting leaves, mosses, vines, and wildflowers growing in thickets where the leaves thinned above them, or patches of toadstools clustered in the shade of the larger roots. Nothing he could see gave any indication as to where they were. All he knew was that the outpost they had escaped was in the Iranna mountains, and that they were on the northern side of the range, and though he‘d stolen several torn fragments of map during their escape K‘rilix needed a recognisable landmark for them to make sense. Noticing a crudely scratched mark that seemed strangely familiar on one of the broader trees nearby K’rilix moved closer, peering through the darkness. Before he could go far however his arm came taught, and stopped him short mid-stride, and he glanced back as his companion’s slender fingers curled around his wrist in a bid to halt his progress. He sighed, and did not pull away further.

   'My Kalla,' the pale Elf spoke ruefully as if addressing himself although he saw she had torn a long strip of fabric from her skirt and nodded at his shoulder, ’Bind it then,’ 

   In Har Ganeth - in the far north - where K'rilix was born this was a name given to a cowardly, skulking shade thought to follow the first person who saw it. It seemed an apt name for the timid, silent girl who so hated to be alone, and it had not been gainsaid. Nor did he know her true name as not once in the time since she had been acquired to amuse him had the poor broken thing said a word. He snatched his arm from her grasp, and began to untie his gambeson.

   ‘You cannot follow me everywhere,’ he stated, tugging awkwardly at the ties of his garment with one hand. ‘You’re too slow, too.. Ith’kuyl-’ K'rilix slapped her hands aside roughly when she reached up to assist him, glaring, ‘I don’t need your help, kiir-eltharii, you straw-headed southern vermin. You’re only binding it because it’s your fault,’

   The tall male slowly, and carefully - working to spare his shoulder - peeled back the severed and ensanguined side of his gambeson, baring a deep gash on shoulder, before glancing at the blood-drenched lining of the severed garment. His lip curled with obvious distaste as he shrugged it off his injured shoulder completely before looking up, but his companion gave no sign that she had even heard his insults as he held her gaze. K'rilix shook his head at her apparent indifference as she reached up to bind his shoulder. He shifted his weight uncomfortably and fixed her with an almost begrudging look as though it were her idea it be bandaged, and he was merely humouring her as he raised his largely bare arm so that she might more easily loop the torn cloth around it where the lean contour of a sinewy, but powerful bicep adjoined the sculpted knot of cable-like muscle forming his svelte, but strong shoulder. Her gentleness was irritating him however and so he looked away, but observing the mess of nature at its least tidy was no better. Turning back to the fair-haired Elven woman as she tended gently to his arm K'rilix frowned suddenly when he followed her gaze to the chalk-pale skin of his heavily scarred torso.

   ‘Keep staring,’ he growled, ‘and I’ll give you some of your own.’

   She seemed indifferent to his threatening tone though and he flinched slightly even as he scowled at her mute apathy when she tied off the make-shift bandage. K'rilix shook his head before she could lower her hands though.

   ‘Tighter. As hard as you can,’ he said, ‘do not imagine you could hurt me, little Kalla.’ as he said this the Druchii actually smiled, but the rare gesture was soon effaced.

   Despite his confident exhortation the muscles in his upper arm twitched into a rigid series of more prominent extrusions when she pulled tighter as he tensed in pain, but he showed no other sign of discomfort, nor did he make a sound. He inspected the dressing as she lowered her hands but was unable to find fault with it, or at least nothing he could blame her for. Rotating his shoulder twice, moving slowly, K'rilix looked between the dressing and his companion.

   ‘Good.’ he said as he pulled his gambeson back over his newly bandaged shoulder and began tying it on once more.

   K'rilix picked up the fur-lined cloak when he had finished and tossed it between two large roots at the base of the tree he had earlier leant against before he turned to his companion. The two stood face to face in silence before K'rilix gestured toward the cloak behind him.

   ‘Rest. We need to start moving again before dawn,’ he stated, ‘I mean to take a look around,’

   He picked his way across the uneven ground deftly, stalking purposefully across the small clearing, but before he had gone far a noise bade him halt. Looking over his shoulder K'rilix saw his companion trailing after him and read in her posture, and the clear note of anxiety expressed by her dazzling eyes that she would attempt to stop him, or follow at the very least. He wanted nothing more than to tie her up and leave her while he did what had to be done, but K'rilix knew he could not. He had no rope. For a moment the pale Elf merely looked into his companions eyes, and then when he glanced away he appeared to have made up his mind about something.

   ‘Fine.’ he snapped tersely.

   The problem was he knew something about the Old World, and even if he wasn’t certain where they were he knew it was dangerous if only for their proximity to the Skaven outpost they had escaped. Moreover such empty forests were never as empty as they appeared, and K'rilix knew it would be foolhardy to sleep without first checking their surroundings, but he could not risk taking Kalla scouting. Sighing tiredly he moved away from her, two arm-lengths distant, his head bowed briefly, and as he looked up the orb in his eye-socket glowed dimly with a sinister greenish light. Not even his unyielding features and characteristic coldness backed by all the strength of his determination could mask that K'rilix was in pain as he used the corrupted magic within the seer-stones core to scan the forest about them. Unimpeded by obstruction, whether darkness or solid objects, the magical device saw much even at great distances, for a price. Indeed had he not cut out his eye and replaced it with the stone K'rilix was certain they would never have escaped the Skaven tunnels in the first place.

   The images within the stone should have been drawn out by one with sorcerous talents and refined before its user allowed the invisible aetheryian skein to unravel within their mind, but with no such ability K'rilix simply took the whole of it in its raw state. Only the discipline  born of a harsh millennial existence allowed him to make any sense of the rapidly flashing images as they exploded into being within his mind’s eye. It made him dizzy and weak, but it was only his peoples affinity for such dark magic that prevented worse as his spirit was infused with the unrefined threads of unnatural energy which radiated from the seer stone's core. Before he had managed to come about one-hundred and eighty degrees his hands were trembling visibly, and his face was drawn with pained fatigue and disorientation. Then the lean figure stumbled with uncharacteristic awkwardness, wavering before he had swept his gaze around more than three quarters of the wood surrounding them.

   Kalla moved closer but seemed uncertain of whether she should help when K'rilix dropped to one knee suddenly as if unable, or no longer willing to try keeping up the hollow pretence that he was not engaged in something difficult. He dragged his head around slowly at the cost of an appreciable effort, and this jerking motion saw his dark hair flicked to one side with a bounce before settling in disarray. A few strands fell across his face, obscuring his gaze, though he did not have the energy or will move and brush these errant locks aside and merely slumped foreword onto his hands with a pained grunt as the glowing ceased. The eye-socket in which the stone was been embedded dripped what looked like bloody tears onto the grass beneath him while his chest laboured heavily.

   ‘Nothing,’ he strained from his knees in little more than a cracked whisper as he pushed himself back up onto his knees.

   As my summary mentions to facilitate someone new to the setting the female lead has lost much of her memory and perhaps (this will be up to you) her ability to speak as well. The result of being imprisoned for an extended period, and subjected to some rather unpleasant experiments. This way the player need not know much about the setting to play her although as the game progresses the option exists for her memories to resurface as you get a better grasp of the setting allowing you to construct your character’s history in more detail throughout the course of the story. Of course this does not mean your character needs to be useless as she is likely to quickly re-learn past skills if only on an instinctive level and there are many options for the type of character you wish to play; whether a former warrior, mage, or something else more to your liking.

Contact me if you‘re interested in trying this plot, or have any questions or comments. I try to respond to private messages on the same day I get them, or you can add me on Yahoo or AIM.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 12:07:45 PM by Egoiste! »

Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

The Sign of the Old Dark
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2017, 02:23:31 PM »

Introduction
   Blinking repeatedly Erik looked behind him on either side through bleary, blood-shot eyes. His arms were chained to a wall, and he wasn’t sure where he was. Certainly not the Reikland tavern where he’d met the pretty serving wench last night. No. It smelled much worse here and it, sadly, seemed like no-one was about to bring him a drink. He pulled experimentally against the fetters binding his wrists to the wall behind him. Even through the cloying fog of a thick hangover the huge Norscan mercenary knew something was wrong. He had enemies of course but they all wanted him dead. This was different.

   ‘You.’ the massive Norscan barked even as he kicked one of the many prone figures in the squalid basement. ’Empire-man, why aren’t I in bed?’

   The rag swaddled figure cringed from the blow of the heavy hobnailed boot and sat up as though in a daze before shaking his head. The other figures, some chained to the wall like Erik, began to move as well. Presumably stirred to wakefulness by the northerner’s deep voice. A troubled expression played over his harshly chiselled features as Erik shook his long blonde hair from his eyes and looked around. Everything but the clothes on his back had been taken.

   ‘Where’s my sword?’ he demanded, ‘don’t think I can’t kill you all without it.’ he glowered at the other prisoners who were too preoccupied to respond.

   For a man of Erik’s towering height standing was quite a process, but he managed it despite his manacled wrists. Presumably ignoring the muttered protestations of the cringing figure he had kicked as it whined about its ignorance his blue-grey eyes scanned the basement. One thing was readily apparent. Of the other prisoners several were obviously mutants possessed of all manner of misshapen deformities that were all too visible in spite of any attempts at concealment.

   A piercing scream from somewhere above them saw the imprisoned figures all stare upwards, but for Erik. Instead the pale-skinned northerner shook his long flaxen hair free of his eyes and grunted, straining through clenched teeth, as he pulled against his bonds. The chains were pulled taut and offered no give, but even as the iron manacles began to cut into his wrists Erik proceeded to rip one of the bolted anchor-plates he was chained too clear off the wall with a loud crack. The second followed a moment later.

   ‘HAH!’ Erik intoned loudly, 'worthless, that wouldn’t have held a Skealing child.’

   Immediately the other captives started. Some yelling, pleading, all asking Erik to help them escape. Of the others chained to the walls some tried to follow his example, but their bonds held strong. Of the rest some were bound hand-and-foot, but others with merely their wrists tied behind their backs managed to find their feet. Erik ignored them all and strode purposefully to the heavy oak door at the top of a short flight of steps on the left side of their prison, which appeared to be some kind of cellar. With one large hand brushing back his pale hair the Norscan’s gaze was fixed for a moment on the heavy lock, and then scanned the door-frame. It seemed all too sturdy.

   ‘I can get it open.’ one of the other captives volunteered.

   More screams filtered down from above as the northerner turned to regard the man who had made this claim. He was wrapped in a heavy cloak of ragged un-dyed wool, mud-stained and torn about the hem, but from what could be seen of him the man’s appearance was shockingly cadaverous. Erik leapt over the side of the staircase to land heavily on the stone-tiled floor, and strode over to the bound figure. The others continued to beseech him for assistance but one of them at least had worked his wrists free, and had set about helping his fellow prisoners.

   ‘Ready?’ Erik grasped the chains, one in each hand, and planted his boot on the wall between the anchor plates.

   The cadaverous figure flinched visible as iron plates were torn free with a rattling snap.

   ‘Go.’ the tall Northerner grunted even as he yanked the slightly-built man to his feet.

   ‘Wait,’ he said, while pulling free of Erik’s hand and gestured for him to stop, 'We should free the others first, we may need their help.'

   Erik growled something about not needing their help, but seeing the man he had freed was now busying himself untying the ropes binding one of his fellows, and having nothing better to do he walked to one of the other chained figures and tore his fetters free of the wall as well. By the time he had freed the second chained prisoner the others were largely untied. Although two of them remained behind to help the last bound captives Erik now hurried the emaciated mutant along.

   ‘Now.’ he spoke tersely, following as he urged the figure across the cellar and up the stairs.

   The cadaverous young man halted in front of the door, crouching over, and paused was still for a time, as though concentrating. Then with an unpleasant retching sound he proceeded to vomit over the lock. Erik leaned away, and raised an arm against the reek, but the fluid seemed unnaturally corrosive. It hissed as it ate into the iron lock and even the wood steamed under the bubbling bile. Seeing this Erik thrust the crouching figure aside and wrenched open the door, striding out of the cellar with a number of the former prisoners following in his wake. Some moved with a cringing reticence, skulking along the walls, while others seemed ready to confront whoever had imprisoned them. They were given the chance right away as the room at the top of the stairs, with its high vaulted ceiling and polished floor-boards, was empty but for a narrow table stacked with personal effects and two hooded figures slumped, seemingly unconscious, in chairs set either side of a door on the far side of the room. They had presumably been guarding the cellar, but evidently they had taken this charge lightly. A feint smoke hung in the air along with a narcotic fume, the smell of mandrake, and one of them had dropped a smouldering pipe from a limply-hanging arm as he slouched unconsciously.

   The erstwhile prisoners set upon them in an instant even as the two guards tried to rouse themselves. Erik ignored the affray and made straight for the table. He did not turn aside over the cry as one of the mutants seized a dagger from the sheath at his victims waist and plunged it into his chest, or the gurgling death-rattle as the second guard had his throat cut. He was too busy rifling through the personal effects upon the table. Upon it he found a thick, hooded white fur mantle which he seized immediately, and pulled on over his broad shoulders, but this was evidently not the only thing he had been relieved of and his frustrated gaze swept the table again before he angrily hauled it over. Its contents clattered noisily to the floor as the northerner stormed over to the door blocking his exit. The tall Norscan reared back and kicked it off its hinges with a contemptuous snarl before he stepped through and found himself standing in an expansive foyer. Its size and décor suggestive of a noble manor-home, yet curiously deserted but for the sound of chanting voices coming from upstairs.

   A piercing scream rose above the sonorous chant, and faltered with an unpleasant gurgling.

   An affray ensued almost immediately about the large double-doors which led outside. Trying to flee, some of the former captives had run up against two guards. Sober and able men clad in the livery of some Reikland noble. They drove the escapees back inside, and left one bleeding to death on the steps outside the door, but within the open space of the expansive foyer they were easily surrounded. As three mutants wrestled one of them to the floor Erik seized the wrist of the other before he could bring his sword down on another of the escapees. He snatched a knife from the man’s own belt in the same instant, and savagely jammed it into the back of the guards neck. Taking his sword as the guard slumped to his knees and fell, face-first, like a hewn tree to lie amid a widening puddle of his own blood Erik watched as the second guard fell, stabbed repeatedly.

    The other captives seemed uncertain of where to go next. Some spoke, trying to formulate a plan, while others took in their surroundings in an effort to find their bearings. Erik ignored them and headed upstairs toward the source of the chanting. No more screams could be heard from above as he alighted at the top of the broad staircase and it was clear now where the sound was coming from however two figures stood in front of the ornate double doors that hid its source. They were cloaked and hooded like the two downstairs, but seemed quite sober and it was only when they came closer, drawing daggers from their belts that he recognised the face of the serving girl from the night before. This did not stop him cutting them down though and Erik was soon stepping over her corpse with its neck almost cleaved through. Her white-faced companion clutching at the bleeding stump where his arm had been sheared off below the shoulder, while Erik paused only to glance at the bloodied edge of the sword he had taken from the guard downstairs. As he reached the door they had been guarding however the one-armed figure, rolling his its stomach, grasped desperately at his ankle.

   ‘No-’ he drew a laboured, shuddering breath. ‘the ritual, it can’t-’ with an almost casual gesture Erik silenced him, jabbing the tip of his blade into the back of the prone man’s neck.

   Tearing himself free of the dead man’s grasping hand Erik pushed the large double doors apart to form a crack through which he saw that the dimly lit space beyond was given over to a long, narrow high-ceilinged room on whose walls were shelved a vast collection of books and manuscripts. Such details drew scant attention however compared to what was occurring inside: the walls lined with robed and hooded figures, while a dozen more formed a circle of twelve. Six blue robed and hooded acolytes on one side and six with purple robes on the other; the source of the chanting. All somewhat indistinct in the flickering rosier glow of firelight burning in the bronze bowls set between them. The floor at their feet was traced with an intricate magical circle formed of complex signs and sigils, and painted in blood. While the heaped bodies of a half-dozen mutants lying in a tangled, bloody mess within this circle - their nakedness revealing their every deformity - suggested its source. The true focus and centrepiece of this gathering though was a cloth-draped alter where an unconscious, pale-skinned female figure lay amid a ring of black candles that lined the alters edges, her body draped with fine silks. At its base was a larger brazier of bronze, and even as Erik came upon the scene a cloaked figure lifted a branding-iron from the flames - one of thirteen - and handed it to the elaborately garbed magus standing behind the alter itself. His face concealed behind a featureless silver mask polished to a mirror shine.

   ‘Njawrr lzimbarr Tzeentch!’ he cried, holding the branding iron above his head.

   ‘Njawrr lzimbarr Tzeentch!’ the figures lining the walls answered, while the circle continued their chanting.

   ‘Njawrr lzimbarr Slaanesh!’ the Magus continued.

   Erik noticed that set upon the alter beside the woman alongside thirteen silver chalices was a long, two-handed sword. His eyes lit up with recognition, and his jaw set like a trap.

   ‘That sword is mine.’ the Norscan stated coldly as he strode into the room, and though he did not speak loudly his deep voice carried far.

   The chanting faltered briefly before the acolyte who had handed their magus the brand gestured frantically at the others.

   ‘Do not halt the ritual!’ he demanded. 'Kill him-' the figure thrust a hand in Erik's direction, 'the circle must not be broken!'

   The magus meanwhile turned the branding iron over in his hands and pressed its tip to the unconscious young woman’s forearm with an audible hiss. Her skin already sported eleven such brands. If he even realized that Erik was there he did not care. However the cultists who were not participating did notice, and crowded towards him. Too many to fight.

   ‘Hakkaa päälle!’ the roared Skealing war-cry echoed loudly in the narrow library as Erik cut down an approaching cultist.

   He was made for the circle, since that was what they were trying to prevent, and was too close for the others to intercept him. Cutting down one of the chanting acolytes in purple robes, and kicking over the brazier beside him Erik charged into the circle itself. An unnaturally cold wind blew out of nowhere and the braziers flickered as though about to die, while the candles burning on the alter flared into columns of blinding incandescence that were gone in an instant, leaving behind pools of boiling wax. One of the acolytes nearest to Erik collapsed, and bit off his own tongue as his body was wracked by spasms that snapped his spine. Others fell to their knees bleeding from their eyes, or vomiting blood as the burning contents of the braziers burst in a massive shower of sparks one after the other to set the room ablaze. Erik strode through this chaos as though traversing the eye of some terrible storm, and made for the alter. Behind it the Magus had reeled backwards as though struck, but raising his hand defiantly he seemed to rally himself. A voice spoke from behind the silver mask, but it spoke no mortal tongue and the words echoed strangely as he placed a hand on the hilt of Erik’s sword. The pale-haired Skealing growled at this and broke into a run, but even as he reached the alter the magus vanished in a blinding flash. The sword was gone.

   Screaming a wordless, rage-filled imprecation Erik turned, ready to fight, but the room was ablaze, and the air was thickening with smoke as the rapidly spreading flames climbed the walls, consuming their books-lined shelves. Of the cultists - abandoned now by their magus - those who had not been engulfed in some way by the broken ritual had either fled or were fleeing. Erik started after the nearest, sword in hand, but halted before his first step had been taken to glance back at the unconscious woman lying on the alter. She would certainly burn if he left her.
   
   The focus of this game is story-telling and adventure. Although it can include romantic or erotic scenes these should not get in the way of the plot. The essential conflict centres around our characters being hunted by a powerful, nefarious organisation. It should include plenty of action, tension and even a little horror. We can discuss the exact in-game effect the ritual brands have on your character, but some possibilities might include an ability to hear the daemon’s voice and converse with it, a heightened sensitivity to magic, interacting with the daemon in her dreams, and more or indeed less - including anything you wish to suggest. As for the leading lady herself, and the reason the daemon finds her suitable there are numerous possibilities. She could be a spell-caster, possess a mutation, or be the heir of a powerful noble. She might belong to a more magically attuned race, have a familial connection to another daemonic host, or her family themselves may have promised her to the daemon for an assortment of reasons. Other possibilities exist, and I’d love to hear any suggestions you have as well.

Contact me if you‘re interested in trying this plot, or have any questions or comments. I try to respond to private messages on the same day I get them, or you can add me on Yahoo or AIM.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 12:02:42 PM by Egoiste! »

Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

Silver Bullets
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 02:28:38 PM »

Introduction
   Within one of the upstairs rooms of the aged-oak and brick walls of the solidly built coaching house a troubled shadow dwelt. Little more could be divined from the ground floor, and as much only if one were close enough to peer up through the unlit window. The scant moon light, blending with the flickering, rosier glow of naked torchlight that licked the structure’s dark walls above the iron mounts set either side of its doors showed only a darker blackness of shadows amid the darkness within. Inside the locked room - it's heavy bolted door a thing that offered no real reassurance - the tenant stood peering toward the stables. He had chosen his room for this express purpose, and appeared to take no reassurance from the apparently peaceful scene.
 
   The clothes he wore, their fabric and cut, along with his accoutrements - such as an exotically hilted court sword - and certain effects left about the room; such as a hat which would have been quite fashionable eleven months ago in Nuln, and a silver-chained pocket watch of evidently fine make suggested a man fallen from grace. He presented himself in his upright posture, shoulders thrust back and head high, with the inscrutable, yet bleeding pride of a nobleman without the means to be a nobleman. The hat seemed particularly sad with its broken griffon feather, a mere seven inches long, which he apparently did not have the heart to remove. Unless he owned a horse, although that did seem likely given his fixation with the stables, the pocket watch likely represented the sum of his worldly assets. Though it said something about the Empire that even a vagabond noble seemingly fleeing to more lawless lands, perhaps to escape some shame or charge, was by way of this one trinket undoubtedly the wealthiest man in the inn. This despite his ragged, travel worn clothes, the prominent bloodstained bandages wrapped around his leg and arm, and the careworn expression on his ruggedly weathered face telling a tale of hardship and blood-shed.

   A second look at the figure, and eyes familiar with the lands thereabouts might have come to a number of conclusions. To begin with his gelid, blue-grey eyes were - apart from curiously dead - not a common feature among the men of the Empire. One familiar with the nation might have guessed of those eyes, and from something of the cut of his features and that the man had a strong dash of Kislevite blood in him, most likely Gospodar. Moreover though the style of his clothes looked like the work of a fashionable Imperial tailor from Nuln his features were blended not with those common to the South, but with a ruggedness of clearly Teutogen origin. He held a small leather bound journal in one hand, and when he turned away from the window he opened it and his blue-gray eyes swept the individual passages, each one dated and recorded in a neatly flowing script. One set of pages bore the following entries:

14th of Brauzeit, Wellentag - finally got her. She was heading into the Countesses palace when I shot her from a roof-top. She can’t know it was me, no-one could, I was too far away. Her dregs got the rank creature indoors before I could reload, but the injury left the crowds nearby in no doubt about her. She surely can’t remain in Nuln. In fact were it not for her bodyguards she would have been lynched then and there. I’m glad she wasn’t though. In truth I can’t abide the thought of someone else killing her.

15th of Brauzeit, Aubentag - no sign of her. Has she left the city, or is she hiding somewhere? The .former seems unlikely, and she can‘t hide forever. Every Witch Hunter and Templar in the city is after her now.

16th, Brauzeit, Marktag - as far as I can determine she left the city in a coach heading for Averland on the Nuln Road after killing a Witch Hunter and two Raven Knights, and it seems the order won’t let that pass as a group of Raven Knights are on her heels. I imagine she is heading for Sylvania, they won‘t follow her there. I have no contacts or friends beyond this city in Wissenland, and have never even been to Averland, but I can’t let this go . Am on my own now it seems.

17th, Brauzeit Backertag - found her coach. The coachman is a corpse. Following tracks in the road brought me to the next coaching inn on the road to Flensberg. She spent the night there, or maybe it was one of her thralls. The knights were there before me but did not tarry. There appear to be five of them and one must be a knight of the inner circle.

18th, Brauzeit Bezahltag - seems the knights were attacked on the road. Probably by her dregs. Common bandits would never attack such a well-armed group. They’re all dead. Gleaned nothing useful save the suggestion that the knights must be on her trail. Why else would she set her minions to ambush them? Also spoke to the road wardens burying the dead and it seems they too have been roused. Am making good time, and hope to overtake the knights soon.

19th, Brauzeit, Konistag - rode all day, found nothing save garbled tracks. I’m no tracker myself, but would venture that I seem to be gaining on them. Following the Old Dwarf Road now towards Averheim itself.

20-21stth, Brauzeit - passed Averheim and crossed the Aver. Caught up to the Knights at an Inn on the Zhufbar road. Overheard that they have split up. One group heading for Heideck in case she makes for the Border Princes, the other for the Sylvanian border. Apparently the road wardens are on alert as well. The knights won’t go into Sylvania itself, but I will.


   He turned to the next page, but did not stop to read the entries. In fact he closed the book with a frustrated sigh before tossing it onto the bed-stand. Even as it landed an incredibly heavy yet dully muffled thump against the locked, solid timber door saw the tall, dark-haired figure start visibly. To his credit his sword flashed into his hand in a blink as he whirled around, but though he seemed fast on his feet, and quick with his hands there was an obvious reticence about the way he held the blade. Something to suggest that he was unaccustomed to it’s use. His blue-gray eyes twitched toward the white-knuckled fingers that grasped it, as if he did not trust it, even as he willed his hand to relax.

   Four more hollow thumps sounded against the heavily barred door before the screws fixing in the bolt were ripped partly free with the reverberating crack of fracturing timbers as parts of the door frame split along the grain. The next blow removed them entirely, and the bolt fell to the floor as the door burst in, but there was no more than a feint, almost ghostly sound; silvery laughter, its tone sweet and melodic from outside. He backed up, his posture and behaviour showing marked fear of the sound. His free hand feeling behind him over the bed-stand, knocking over a candle and spilling wax along the bare pine before he managed to grasp his hat and thrust it down atop his head. It seemed to brace up his resolve, and whether bravely, or foolhardily - given what had happened to the door - the figure now advanced. Two strides were all he managed though before he was halted. His formerly passive eyes now alight with a profound intensity, and burning with utter hatred. They were fixed on a deep shadow amid the darkness of the hall in which something pale flickered before a figure stepped from the dark. The darkness around it seemed a thing of actual substance and clung about its limbs in wisps that only gradually withdrew as it stepped closer.

   The withdrawing shadows revealed a girl. Her pale face was very striking and there was something magnetic about her blithely innocent expression, as though smashing in the heavy aged oak door had been a game. The image of her standing in the wreck of the staved-in doorway - a pale skinned figure not five feet tall and clad in a simple black riding dress - was simply too incongruous. Enough so that the man looking at her now in fact lowered his blade, his brows pressing low when she blinked her large, dark, sympathetic eyes. He knew better, but that made no difference and his lowered guard afforded her more than enough of an opportunity to strike.

   She had surged across the space between them like charged-lightning and though he brought up the blade she swept the tip to one side almost casually before a waifish, white limb lashed out and caught his sword-arm. Delicate fingers seized his wrist in a grip that did not look as though it should have held him, but his arm was immobilised and before his wrist could twist around to bring the blade into play her fingers tightened, and he tensed visibly. He loosed a pained grunt as the sword fell from his hand and clattered to the floor and before he could lunge for it, before he could even think to, a blow to his chest which looked like it should have done little more than amuse the tall, broad-shouldered figure instead threw him clear off his feet. His back thudded audibly against the corner of the window’s deep bay before he rolled and dropped heavily onto the floor, on hands and knees.

   ‘Oh, Conrad,’ the girl sighed, her tone patronising, as he groaned and clutched his ribs. ’You’ve made this too easy,’

   Even as he looked to where his sword had fallen, knowing he would never be able to reach it in time, the ragged former-noble’s tired features were shot with pain; streaks of stabbing heat which slashed at his back causing his spine to arch as he gritted his teeth against it. That would at least be over soon he reflected as the figure moved closer, and there were other deeper pains and hurts which saw a sliver of something like relief begin to grow in his racing thoughts.

   ‘How ever have you managed to cause such trouble for us?’ she asked.

   ‘Because you’re idiots.’ he cut back with a grin though his face was shot with pain.

   Conrad used the window-sill to pull himself back onto his feet even as he spoke, but was scarcely off his knees when she advanced. He had no time to react before she seized hold of his long hair and beat his face against the window sill. The sound alone made him wonder if she had broken something, yet for all that he felt little pain as he slumped dizzily.
   
   ‘After that business in Nuln you should have known this was coming.’ she spoke in a breathy whisper more apt to a lover’s flirtation than her scornful remonstrations. ‘You’re pathetic.’
   
   However the smile on her pale face soon twisted into a more predatory expression, and she revealed long, razor-sharp canines as she leaned over his throat, still holding him by the hair. She moved to sink her teeth into his neck, and it seemed he could do nothing to stop her. Nor did he need to. Had the sound of his own heart pounding behind his ears not blocked it out entirely he would have noticed the swift, heavy foot-falls approaching from the ruined doorway, but when the Lahmian’s grip went slack, and he looked up as her eyes widened with shock it was clear someone had saved him. The most telling evidence was an ensanguined blade protruding from the front of the creature’s chest, but Conrad did not spend more than an instant trying to make sense of what had occurred. Throwing off the creature’s slack grasp he half-crawled, half threw himself clear as an inhuman scream tore through the coaching Inn. Behind his would-be killer stood a tall figure clad head to toe in crimson plate who now calmly withdrew a finely crafted, but somewhat anachronistic longsword from the Lahmian’s chest. The weapon whirled around with a deft movement of the figure’s wrist and forearm, and Conrad’s would-be killer was silenced forever. Her head fell to the floor as the kneeling Lahmian’s body flopped to one side, hitting the floor with a dull thud, as blood bubbled up out of the cleanly severed arteries in its neck.

   He went for his blade and seized it up from where it had been thrown part-way across the room before raising it defensively. Moving carefully, making to circle around the armoured figure, trying to keep from having it standing between him and the nearest exit. It may well have looked like a knight, but he saw no token on the armour. At best then it was a mercenary and in these lands that did not bode well.

   ‘Why did you help me?’ he essayed, ‘What is it you want?’ his accent, a little like his features, belied something of his Teutognen lineage though he spoke with the cultivated and affected air of one who had learned his letters and diction under a strict Verenian rod. Its sophistication was strangely at odds with his bedraggled appearance though it matched his proud demeanour, and his more aristocratic features quite well. His voice was deep, naturally soft and smooth in both pace and inflection.

   While he spoke his cold blue-grey eyes looked over the newcomer slowly, and Conrad weighed his chances of survival if it came to blows. They seemed slim at best; he was moving with a limp already, wondering whether the earlier impact had broken or merely bruised his ribs, and doubted his light blade could deal with her heavy armour. ‘Armpit,’ he thought to himself in silence, ‘back of the knees? Gods, that’s less than useless,’ he tried to picture the demonstrations of his single-stick tutor, the pages of the manuals he had read but none of it gave him any confidence. The dauntingly well-armoured figure betrayed no sense of being ill at ease with its weapon, as he did, and he had already seen it kill with the practised hand of long familiarity. That blade, and the one holding it seemed like old friends.

   What he really needed was a loaded pistol or two, or six.

   ‘I want nothing from you, and I did not act to save you. You are merely touched by luck it seems.’ It was Reikspiel, fluent and well spoken although the accent was unmistakably Brettonian, and more than that: unmistakably female.

   She appeared to resent the idea that she might want anything from him, and as she spoke the Knight was met by a narrowing of the ragged figures gelid eyes, and his brows pressing low partly in confusion. Conrad’s features softened slightly while his head canted gently to the right. The strange knight’s words led his thought’s along a perplexed sojourn as he tried to make sense of what they meant to him.

   'Still I imagine I ought to, well-’ his expression became wry, ’thank you?' Conrad spoke at last, while he lowered his blade, ‘so you knew her, then-’ he raised one dark eyebrow enquiringly, ‘or her sisters?’ this last word was framed in a hateful snarl.

   Before he could go on however, before she could respond, they were both aware of shouting that drifted up through the thick floor-boards followed by a noise of heavy, booted feet hammering their way upstairs. The Lahmian’s death-rattle had apparently stirred the guards, and Conrad decided it was time to leave, although she was still blocking the exit and seemed disinclined to move.

   ‘Oh,’ she intoned, while turning to face the smashed door, ‘So they’re finally coming-’ she glanced back over her shoulder at Conrad, ‘I’m going to kill them, you may want to stay out of my way.’

   Something about this proclamation chilled Conrad. The heavily guarded coaching in boasted about a dozen guards and it seemed like most of them were on their way upstairs now, yet she did not seem daunted in the slightest. If anything there had been a sense of anticipation in her voice that now showed in her ready posture as if she were looking forward to the encounter.

   ‘Can we not simply explain?’ he spoke quickly while he saluted with and lowered his blade, 'Sylvanians hereabouts are notably fond of those who kill her kind,' he gestured toward the Lahmian’s remains.

   Outlaw, vagabond and eccentric though he was Conrad was loathe to hack down Imperial citizens doing nothing more than their duty. Moreover on a more practical level he did not much approve of the odds.

   ‘No,’ she cut back as if it were an absurd suggestion, ‘I’m afraid that would spoil my fun,’

   One of the guards bounded into the room at that very moment. His garish clothing spoke of a period in the military, while his halberd was clean and well-maintained. His dark eyes moved from the dead Lahmian, to Conrad, to the knight standing in front of him, and they widened.

   ‘Besides-’ she calmly parried a swift thrust of the halberd’s tip to the side with her armoured forearm, still largely focused on Conrad as she caught the weapons haft, ‘I killed a few of them on the way in,’

   The guard released the haft of his halberd and went for the sword sheathed at his belt, reacting quickly, but his hand had scarcely grasped its hilt before she ran him through. Conrad watched mutely for a moment as she stepped over the fallen guard. He had planned to help if it came to blows, but it seemed she did not need his aid in the slightest.

   ‘You’re welcome to join me,’ she called back.

   Conrad was tempted. It was something about the stranger’s voice, as if they were at a fine party and he was being invited to dance, but he shook his head at the idea even as she strode out onto the landing. Kneeling to inspect the dead Lahmian he smiled grimly upon discovering a leather-bound book which looked to be a log, or journal. There was a ring and a chain with a simple pendant as well, but he ignored the rest and pocketed the book as the knight carried the fight to the remaining guards who were converging on the upper floor in the hallway outside his room. Glancing back toward the window Conrad thought a moment to himself, and then sheathed his sword before lunging over to the dead guard to pick up his fallen halberd. Standing as the ring and clash of steel sounded in the hall he grasped, and re-gripped the weapon in both hands. Using the halberd’s heavy axe head to smash off the lock and shatter one of the lower panes of the window Conrad then spun the weapon and hammered open the window itself by thrusting the butt into it with a single sharp blow. Hopping up then, and landing with a grunt over the lance of pain which shot down one side he jumped from the windowsill itself, and hooked the lower beard of the axe-head through the open frame to arrest his descent. His hat fell off as he jerked to a sharp halt and then slid down the shaft. It was still a seven foot drop to the floor from the base of his boots when he slipped off the weapon’s long handle, and Conrad crumpled into a ball where he landed before rising gingerly, gripping his side as he pushed himself up to his feet. Dusting himself off he replaced his hat and made for the stables at a run.

   The building itself was deserted. The guards having apparently left their posts to see to the disturbance inside, and as Conrad strode towards the tack room he frowned at a solidly locked door inside the entrance where he had been forced to stow his weapons. He wasn’t sure how he was going to get it open, and smirked wryly. It was only the sturdiness of that locked door, and the fact that he had obtained  a room overlooking the stable's only entrance that had kept him from avoiding the inn and sleeping beneath the stars, but he did not pause long to consider the irony. Conrad instead darted into the tack room, and returned a moment later laden with his horse’s saddle and harness which he carried to one of the stalls. Inside was his horse; a well-bred Averland courser whom he had given the rather indifferent name of Magazine because it carried his ammunition and powder. The scruffy former noble saddled it swiftly. He took up several saddle-bags, and a small chest from within the stall, and fixed them to its harness along with two holsters in front of the saddle itself. Then he led it back towards the exit, and left the animal standing as he applied himself to the task of breaking down the solid, iron-bound door to the coaching inn’s armoury. He battered against it with great enthusiasm, but Conrad was rather more wiry than heavy and his efforts had little impression on the solid timber. After two minutes of noisily failing to break the door he paused and leaned back against the wall to catch his breath, while trying to ignore the pain in his bruised ribs. A metallic clink then drew his gaze towards the armoured figure of the knight who had saved his life earlier. She was standing in the doorway; her helm fastened to her sword belt, her weapon sheathed, and she held the same pendant he had noticed on the body of the Lahmian she had killed upstairs. More surprising though was the fact that she was present at all and presumably unharmed after dealing with the guards. Thoughts flashed through his mind to explain the oddity, but the best he could conclude was that here was some wayward member of the Knights of the Blazing Sun. No other Knightly order that he knew accepted women in it’s ranks, and he supposed a gifted Myrmidian templar might have been capable of the feat she had latterly performed, but her armour was not near garish enough and the colour was wrong. Moreover there was no heraldry, nor any Myrmidian motif, no sigils or signs.

   ‘You knew her?’ she asked before he could say a word. ‘The one who came to kill you tonight,’

   Conrad nodded even as he straightened up before throwing himself against the door once again. His shoulder struck it with a loud thud near the lock with his weight flung behind it to little effect.

   ‘You mean Elise, or at least that was what she went by in Nuln. Oh, yes,’ he responded breathlessly, ‘I-’ he slammed against the timber again, ‘knew her. She was playing lady-in-waiting to a certain duchess who was certainly no duchess. I shot her mistress’s ear off. If it weren’t for the cross-wind I‘d have killed her,’ he tried three more times to break open the door as he spoke before glaring at it resentfully. ‘I’ve been after her ever since, and as soon as I get this door open I mean to finish the job.’

   ‘You mean to kill her mistress,’ she looked him over sceptically, ’and how do you plan to find her?’

   Conrad had been about to throw himself at the door when he halted and looked at the stranger. The flickering, rosier glow of the torches on either side of the door made her face difficult to analyse but he had a sneaking suspicion that she was quite attractive. It had been some time since he had spoken to an attractive girl who was not a seductive revenant that wanted to tear his throat out though and he had largely forgotten what one did on such occasions.

   ‘I’m not as useless as I look,‘ he said of her scepticism, his soft voice imbued with a defensive edge, ’and while I don‘t doubt I‘ll find some clue in the journal I took from Elise-’ he nodded back in the direction of his room, ‘I also have this-’  the former noble grasped the silver chain of his pocket watch and yanked it free from his coat pocket, opening the façade with a click to reveal something more like a compass than a watch. The point was a fine sliver of bone, its tip stained with dried blood. ‘Call it a bitch-compass,’ he smirked at his own perceived wit.

   She moved closer to look at the device in his hand, and stepping out of the firelight he had his earlier suspicion confirmed, despite her slightly boyish hair.

   ’Uh-’ she had snatched the compass from his hand and yanked it closer, obliging him to move forward thanks to the chain fastened to his coat, ’Excuse me?’

   ‘Tomb scarab venom mixed with her blood,’ she remarked, ’Clever.’

   ‘I prefer to call it genius,’ Conrad spoke after she gave it back, setting it back in his pocket and adjusting his coat before glancing at the pendant in the armoured woman’s hand once again, ’Why, do you wish to accompany me?’ he raised one dark eyebrow. ’I’m afraid I can’t go anywhere until I collect my things, and that obliges me to knock this door down. So if you’ll step aside Il-’

   She held up an arm, gesturing for him to stop while stepping between Conrad and the door. His head canted to one side as he looked on curiously, but when she stepped into a single kick that took the door off its hinges with an ear-splitting crack as the frame split, the lock and hinges both giving way, his blue-gray eyes widened with surprise.

   ‘You’re stronger than you look,’ he muttered in tones of frank astonishment though his rugged features also showed a certain resentment.

   ‘And you appear to be less idiotic than you look,’ she intoned with a smirk. ‘But as we’re looking for the same person if you really are less useless than you appear I might let you accompany me.’

   ‘Yes, well-’ he strode into the armoury stepping over the broken door, and smiled at the sight of several firearms arrayed atop a table. ‘That business back there-’ he waved a hand dismissively In the direction of his room, ‘none of that really counts,’ 

   As he spoke Conrad strapped two belts to his waist, and slid an ornate repeating pistol of evidently superb quality into the holsters fixed to each, and slung a cartridge-belt over his shoulder before grasping two longer weapons; a repeating handgun, and a Hotchland long-rifle, both of exquisite make, which he carried back to his mount and holstered on either side of the saddle. Conrad then turned away and took off his hat, dusting it off on his breeches before he put it on once more and turned to face the armoured young woman.

   ‘Surely you recognise me now,’ he said, ‘Or-’ his brow lined thoughtfully, ‘oh, yes, I forget we are rather a long way from Wissenland. Well, I happen to be the famous killer of the dead; known as the Griffin Feather, none other than Conrad Reichsfreiherr von Sperrle, and for saving my life I hold myself at your disposal until I return the favour, is your horse far? I shall lead you on mine if it pleases you,’

   ‘I don’t mind walking. Also your feather appears to be broken.’ she spoke flatly referring to his hat, ‘and my name is Felicia de Arcaneau.’

   ‘It‘s supposed to be broken,’ he cut back defensively, taking off the befeathered accoutrement and inspecting the broken feather with a forlorn expression that belied his protestation before he hung it over the butt of the rifle holstered by his saddle like a nomad’s bow. ‘but lead on madmoseille Arcaneau, chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, before more guards arrive,’ he spoke with an affected but well-schooled Brettonian accent.

   ‘There aren‘t anymore.’ she responded as they made their way out of the stables.

   Conrad looked at her sidelong even as he hauled himself up into the saddle. ‘You killed them?’

   ‘Of course,’ she said as he urged the animal after her with his heels.

   ‘But there were at least a dozen of-’

   ‘Fourteen actually,’ she spoke over him. ‘I think they were drunk, but it was fun while it lasted,’

   ‘I see,’ he responded. ‘Fun, you call it,’ he was beginning to wonder if he now owed his life to a mad person.

   'You're not really famous, anywhere, are you?' she asked then.

   Conrad smiled at this, 'I am a little bit- well no,’ he confessed, ‘not yet, at any rate.'

   This game has a strong focus on adventure and is largely driven by external conflict and character motivation, not to mention plenty of tension and conflict between the two leads. There is potential for romance and erotica but the plot and story should remain central in the event that things lean this way. Of course there are other possibilities for the leading lady than my initial suggestion so feel free to invent someone or something else. She simply needs to save the male leads life at the outset and either be a vampire hunter or be willing to join him to that end. In all the plot represents a fairly straight-forward quest for revenge, Their adventures should see them crossing the breadth of entire Empire and following leads as far as Kislev and the Border Princes in their pursuit. However there are numerous possibilities for raising the stakes depending on the exact nature of the female lead and her reasons for becoming involved

Contact me if you‘re interested in trying this plot, or have any questions or comments. I try to respond to private messages on the same day I get them, or you can add me on Yahoo or AIM.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 02:40:14 PM by Egoiste! »

Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

The Witch-Hound
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2017, 02:31:53 PM »

Introduction
   Shadows danced in the old cabin as the fireplace crackled, bathing everything in its flickering rosier glow while its only occupant sat staring into the flames as a tall, middle-aged man pushed open the door, its hinges creaking loudly, and stepped hesitantly across the threshold. He held the limp, blanket swathed corpse of a young girl and though his rugged features showed little beyond a statuesque stoicism his more expressive, dark eyes evoked a dreadful anguish, but the silver-haired crone made no move, watching the flames in silence as the firelight cast contrasting shadows over her craggy features.

   ‘Who are you?’ her cracked, hoarse voice framed these words in a harsh whisper that carried across the small cabin, resonating unnaturally.

   ‘Kurt-’ he shifted the weight of the prone figure in his arms, ‘Kurt Engels, I thought-’

   ‘’Fraid raisin’ the dead ain’t within my power, Kurt Engels.’ she cut back, speaking over him.

   The crone was still seated, staring into the crackling fireplace, and did not look up as he carefully laid the body down atop a narrow bench. He reached into his pocket with a metallic clinking and withdrew a purse. Loosening the drawstring, and pouring part of its contents into his hand he held the money toward the crone.

   ‘This is all I got.’ his voice was hollow, imploring desperately.

   He noticed the offering cup beside her. Set amid a cluttered low table by several unlit candles, and moved toward it.

   ‘This is everything.’ Kurt emptied his hand, and upended the purse over the vessel, letting the heavy coins fall.

   ‘Nothin’ I can do for her.’ the hag spoke again, her dry voice evoking a cruel sense of amusement.

   ‘When I was young-’ Kurt began.

   ‘I said there’s nothing I can do,’ she cut him off once more.

   ‘But I saw it-’ he went on, his voice, still thread with tones of desperation, growing almost eager.

   ‘What?’ she turned towards him for the first time. ’What do you want, Kurt Engels? Say it.’

   The crone leaned forward in the ensuing silence.

   ‘Say it.’ she hissed softly, her dark eyes widening.

   ‘When I was young folks used to talk about you. Said how you knew things, said how you had certain powers… that if a man had been wronged he could come to you, and you’d call upon this thing in that man’s name, and that man… he’d be avenged.’

   ‘What you’re askin for… it’s got a powerful price.’ her dark eyes met his steadily, but Kurt seemed unwavering in his determination.

   ‘They killed my girl-’ his dark-eyed gaze flickered over toward the body, ‘Run her over,’ his voice trembled with suppressed rage, ’and left her.’

   ‘Ever hear of Razorback Hollow?’ the crone asked, ‘There’s an old graveyard, way back deep in them woods. Folk hereabouts used to bury kin there, kin they was ashamed of, and little ones that weren’t born right. The Midwives took ’em out there, buried ’em alive. You bring a shovel, the thing you’re looking’ for’s in there. Bring it back here. Some things I gotta do to it ‘for it’ll be any use to you,’

   ‘The graveyard, how will I know-’

   ‘You’ll know.’ she spoke over him, ‘Leave the girl.’

   Kurt halted mid-step as he approached the body. He seemed loath to leave it, but tore himself away at last with an appreciable effort of will and left. He clenched his insides hard, biting back tears, and told himself he would grieve later; once he knew they were going to pay. His dark eyes closed as he breathed in deeply where he stood on the timber porch of the small, isolated cabin and when he opened them Kurt saw a shovel leant against the wall not far from the door. He picked it up, and shouldered it even as he made for the woods surrounding the cabin, heading up-hill, and disappeared amid the deeper shadows beyond the dense tree-line.


   The densely packed trees blocked out even the meagre light of the stars, and waning mansleib was no more than sliver of silver occluded by the darker, greenish orb of morsleib as Kurt stumbled over the pitted and uneven ground. He did not know how long he had been walking, or how much further he had to travel. The woods stretched as far as he could see in every direction, and the light gleaming through the windows of the crone’s cabin had been left far behind. He was not certain where he was going, or even how to get there and felt strangely removed from what he was doing. It was almost as though he was watching himself from the outside as he trudged onward doggedly through the close-packed pines. His anguish gone, bled out, and replaced by a cold and unfeeling numbness though his head whirled as he went over it all again. Seeing the crowded townsfolk and hearing the uncertain colloquy or their hushed voices as their priest tended to the broken body of his daughter. He had been out hunting when the speeding coach had run her over near the crossroads, and she was already dead when he returned, and the image of her battered body lying in the dirt where they had left her drove him onward. Using the shovel as a staff Kurt dragged himself up a steep incline, and when he crested it he saw his destination.

   The fog-shrouded clearing of Razorback hollow was laid out in front of him, and the bare dark soil smelled of mould and damp as Kurt stepped out of the shadows of the tree-line and picked his way over the twisted vines carpeting the clearing. His dark eyes were focused on the strange hillock at its center rising out of the fog, the vines that grew up Its steep sides, and the thick grassy growths crowning its edges. It looked like the stump of an enormous tree, seven feet high and perhaps five feet across although it was wider at the base, tapering up to its slightly flared top. The hag had told him he would know the place, and though he wasn’t certain how Kurt knew this was it. Stumbling on the vines, and kicking his foot free Kurt approached. He threw his shovel up onto the top of the steep rise and scrambled up after it using the vines or clinging with his hands to the loose soil before he reached the top, looking up from his knees as they sank into the loose soil. He picked up his shovel as he stood, and began to dig. The wormy black earth was loose and the shovel blade cut deep with each thrust, and he dug down several feet before he felt the shovel strike something.

   Kurt threw the shovel to one side and dropped to his knees, leaning over the small hole, where he used his bare hands to dig around the object he had found. He brushed the dirt away from it, and pulled it free of the loose earth. It was like a desiccated corpse the size of a small child’s with withered, shrunken limbs and a massive, inhuman head. He lifted it easily and left the shovel lying across the empty hole he had dug as he stood up.

   The hag looked as though she had not moved since he left when Kurt returned to her cabin. Still sitting in her chair staring into the fire and she did not look up when the door creaked open once more and Kurt entered holding the corpse-like figure, his heavy boots thudding loudly in the otherwise silent room.

   ‘Bring it here.’ she stated.

   ‘What is it?’ he asked, while moving closer.

   ‘It’s what you wanted, Kurt Engels.’ she rose out of her chair with this, and took the creature from him. ‘For each of man’s evil’s a special Daemon exists-’ the hag set the dried out corpse down beside the body of Kurt’s daughter, ‘You’re looking at vengeance. Cruel, devious, pure as venom vengeance. Give me your hand.’

   He held out his hand as she lifted a knife from the table and stared numbly as she took the back of his hand, her spidery fingers grasping with surprising strength, and dragged the knife across his palm, cutting him deeply. He flinched slightly as she held on, squeezing the cut and catching his blood in a shallow wooden bowl. As she let go he took two wavering steps back and clenched his fingers against the bleeding gash. He looked away when the hag lifted one of his daughter’s limp arms, but heard the knife as she slit the dead girl’s palm and held it up over the same bowl. Kurt let himself fall back onto a hard wooden chair as the hag used the tip of her knife to mix their blood together.

   ‘Ryaol‘qzz Tz’aa,’ she hissed softly though her dry voice resonated strangely throughout the small cabin with an unnatural buzzing echo.

   She waved a hand over the desiccated husk, invisibly tracing some unknown pattern in the air. Kurt felt dizzy and slumped over to one side in his chair as she put the bowl to the dead things mouth.

   ‘Njawrrl Ryaol‘qzz Tz’aa,’ she intoned as she poured the blood into its mouth..

   Kurt looked up, blinking repeatedly but her voice seemed to be coming from a great distance. The thing on the table twitched. There was a crackling sound as its head moved, and at that moment Kurt slumped foreword and slid out of his chair. His head lolled as he wavered on his knees briefly, and then he felt his consciousness slipping away. His body hit the timber floorboards with a dull thud, and an empty blackness encompass his being. He did not see the corpse-like thing’s chest begin to rise and fall as though it were breathing as its withered limbs crackled and twitched, growing longer, yet even as the thing grew the crackling open fire shrank. The flames wilted, deepening the shadows within the small cabin, as though starved for air until they left only smouldering timbers and ash. The hag stared through the darkness as the daemonic creature rolled off the bench to land with a weighty thump though it was nothing more than a large, growing shadow in the gloom. Yet as it stalked out through the open door, crouching to fit under the frame, the smouldering timber in the fireplace burst into flame once more to burn and crackle as though it had never gone out. Kurt sat up suddenly, and felt his own body once more as his eyes opened to see the hag standing over him. He rose shakily onto his knees, blinking and turning his head as he looked around in confusion. Immediately he noticed the thing that the Hag had called a daemon was gone.

   ‘You can go now Kurt Engels, now it begins.’ she told him, speaking before he could ask what had happened, as he rose unsteadily to his feet.

   Kurt’s dark eyes moved between the hag, and the empty space on the table beside his daughter. He said nothing as she returned to her chair in front of the fireplace and nor did she as he picked up his girls body and left the cabin.

   It was several hours later when the creature claimed its first victim. Kurt was at home and despite the late hour he was outside standing in a partly-dug grave. The rectangular hole had been dug beside a small stone grave marker, and his girl’s body lay on the earth on the opposite side. Feeling dizzy suddenly he leaned against the handle of the shovel, and shook his head as his vision blurred. Kurt squeezed his eyes shut but when he opened them it was as though he was seeing through the eyes of another. Someone was running from him but for all their panicked speed the figure gained no ground, but it couldn’t be running from him. He was standing in a partly dug grave behind his home. The shovel slipped out of Kurt’s hand and he dropped to one knee. He had no idea what was happening yet even as he tried to focus on his true surroundings they seemed to melt away, and he was holding the struggling figure of a coachman upside down, but that bony long arm with its sunken, leathery skin ending in long clawed fingers that were wrapped around the screaming man’s ankle was not his. Nor was the other arm that came up to tear off the bearded figure’s tunic and slash open the base of his stomach.

   Kurt’s head reeled, his body slumped against the edge of the hole he had dug. He felt the cold earth and tried to focus on that. To anchor his mind in the place where he truly was, but he could not. He felt the coachman’s innards as a clawed hand plunged into his sliced-open belly to finger the screaming man’s intestines before pulling them out. He let him go, and the coachman fell heavily, rolling over and sitting up. Wide-eyed, shock pale and trembling he stared down at his own spilled innards. He tried to crawl away but a clawed hand grasped his ankle and dragged him back, and the gutted coachman loosed a shuddering exhalation as a clawed hand entered his slit-open torso to tear more of his insides out. Then he lifted the dying coachman by his ankle once more and watched as he bled, the body swinging limply in his grasp, arms hanging down, and this time when he let him drop the coachmen fell into a crumpled, unmoving heap. He was dead, and Kurt was himself, kneeling in a freshly dug grave once again. He wanted to be sick. Reaching for the shovel he had dropped Kurt hefted it, and used it to help steady his shaky legs as he stood up slowly while his chest rose and fell in time with his visibly laboured breathing. He saw something move in the corner of his eye, and his head snapped around.
 
   ‘Daddy what’d you do?’ his daughter had sat up, and Kurt was looking right at her pale face, and met the glassy-eyed stare of a corpse as her soft voice rang reproachfully in his ears.

   No, Kurt blinked in confusion, she hadn’t moved. Her body was lying still beside the open grave he had dug, still wrapped in a thin blanket. He wondered if he was going mad. Whether the coachman was really dead, and if he was who would be next. Kurt picked up his daughters body and laid her on the bare earth before clambering out of the grave, shovel in hand. He knew what he had to do. The shovel blade bit deep into the heaped earth beside the open grave and Kurt closed his eyes as he let it fall.

   ‘It’ll pass, Kurt Engels. Let it finish.’ the hag spoke without even turning as he stumbled through the door of her cabin.

   ‘No-’ Kurt shook his head, his eyes wide with desperation, ‘you got to stop it!’

   ‘It’s what you wanted.’ she stated coldly.

   ‘No-!’ Kurt grasped the arm of her chair, his free hand clenching into a fist. ‘Not like this, not like this!’ he was almost yelling, ‘I see it… this is wrong,’

   She shook her head, smiling as she met his gaze steadily.

   ‘Nothin’ I can do.’ the hag stated, her voice seething with mocking contempt. ‘It’s gotta run its course now. What’d you think? It’d be easy? Neat and clean and painless-?’ she sneered, ‘You’re a fool!’

   ‘If you don’t help me, if you won’t, I’ll do it myself-’ Kurt gestured toward the door, ‘I’ll do it myself!’

   ‘You’ll fail Kurt Engels!’ she snarled back, ‘You’ll fail, and you’ll die, too.’

   ‘Then I’ll die.’ he cut back, yelling. ‘I’ll die.’

   ‘And pay the final price, all the sooner.’ her voice lowered with this, but her words left him visibly shaken.

   ‘Sigmar damn you, witch,’ Kurt intoned, his voice thread with anguished frustration. ‘damn you-’

   ‘-he already has, son.’ she hissed back, speaking over him. ‘he already has.’

   I haven’t placed these events within the setting so as to remain flexible but I am leaning towards Hotchland or perhaps Middenland. Wherever it does occur though I’m aiming for a backwoods feel. Also if you wish to try playing this out using the system I have a profile for the antagonist here, and can create additional profiles for the lead characters if someone picks the game up. Lastly your character need not be responsible for the girl’s death in any way, and could simply have been riding in the coach that struck her and will still be marked.

Contact me if you‘re interested in trying this plot, or have any questions or comments. I try to respond to private messages on the same day I get them, or you can add me on Yahoo or AIM.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 12:01:51 PM by Egoiste! »

Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

Into The Drakwald
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2017, 12:11:35 AM »

Introduction
   ‘No, Anna, we can’t go back! Brother Tancred said to stay away! He said! He said!’ Will’s voice rose to near a shriek as he tugged on the young woman’s sleeve.

   Dropping to one knee in she held him close. Doing her best to comfort the distraught child, and to quieten him. There was still the very real danger that the enemy were nearby after all, and Anna did not like to think what might happen if they were discovered.

   ‘shh,’ the girl intoned holding the young boy tighter as he sobbed.

   Will was only seven years old, but in the last few days he had seen things that might have broken a grown man. They all had. Anna and the younger children. She glanced up at Karl, the next oldest, who kept watch in silence, listening for trouble with his head cocked slightly to one side. His younger sister Lotti standing beside him. Fear and uncertainty showed on their faces although the dense wood seemed empty and quiet but for their small group.

   Anna handed Will a rag to wipe his nose even as she dried the boys eyes with her torn sleeve. She showed them all her most reassuring smile, but knew it did not efface the anxiety that could be read in her glance and posture. It was something more than fear of the enemy, which seemed so remote by contrast, and made for an all together deeper and more troubling affliction. At seventeen Anna should have been thinking of finding a husband, but instead she had to shoulder the awful responsibility of keeping them all alive though everything she had known was gone, and the world had gone to hell. That she scarcely knew where to begin was what frightened her most.

   ‘Will you know we don’t have enough food, and our clothes are all wrong for the weather that’s coming.’ the young boy sniffed as she went on speaking, and Anna glanced over at the others. ‘We haven’t heard a peep out of the woods in that direction for more than a day. It should be safe to go back now; we’ll get what we need, and plan from there. We might even find Brother Tancred and the others-’ Anna tried to look hopeful, ‘they might be putting everything back together, and wondering what‘s keeping us.’
   
   The other children did not look reassured by this last suggestion and she did not blame them. For one thing she knew Brother Tancred was dead and though she couldn’t be certain she felt sure everyone else was too. They needed to go back though no matter what they found as without better provisions they would starve, and without warmer clothes they would freeze.

   ‘Don’t you trust me?’ she asked Will before looking at the others, and seeing by their weak smiles and nods that they would follow her. ‘Right-’ she stood up straighter, ‘single file everyone, and Lotti you’ve got the best ears so take up the rear. Just like a game of hide and seek; everyone stay as quiet as you can.’

   They started off. Six forlorn figures moving with fearful uncertainty as they passed quietly and furtively through the dense trees. Yet even the youngest had long experience moving through such terrain, and though they were all bone-weary the small group made little sound and left few signs of their passing. Anna glanced around warily as she led them on searching for signs of human passage. Autumn was coming to an end but the forest floor was still littered with arboreal detritus that should have showed clearly where careless feet had trodden, but she saw nothing and soon found her thoughts wandering. The weather was mild for the beginning of Kaldezeit although a soft haze hung in the air. Not unlike the day that first frantic messenger had galloped into Vorheim. It had all started with his warning: Hergig was under siege, and the northerners were sweeping through Ostland and the Ostermark bringing death and leaving ruin in their wake. It seemed every day brought more news as villages like theirs were burnt off the map, their inhabitants put to the sword, and soon war-bands were sighted moving through Hotchland and raiding their own province of Talabecland. Then another messenger had passed through and warned them that a large force had besieged fort Schippel, and that small bands had broken off to raid the villages in the area. One was heading toward their village and they were less than a day behind him.

   Vorheim had originally been founded as a soldiers colony and even Brother Tancred their priest, a devout Sigmarite, had served as a state-trooper. It had been months since the younger men of the village, including Ana’s own brother, had gone north to join the war, and none had returned or even sent word. They left only the injured, the women and the older men to protect the village, and everyone knew their prospects were hopeless. At a meeting they nevertheless agreed to fight in order to hold the enemy and give the children a chance to escape. Ana was chosen to take charge of them.

   ‘You’re strong and level-headed, girl, and all the children all look up to you.’ Brother Tancred had spoken the night before the attack, ‘Though you'll likely need more than our best wishes before this is all over. This hammer is my most cherished possession, blessed by the Arch-Lector of Nuln himself, take it and may Sigmar watch over you.’

   She gripped the haft of that same hammer and recalled how surprised she had been by how light and balanced it had felt. Though it seemed heavier now, and Ana let the oiled ash shaft slide through her slender fingers until she felt the polished iron pommel before shouldering the weapon as she stepped nimbly through a network of exposed tree-roots. Glancing back over her shoulder Ana made sure everyone was keeping up. Then, as they so often did now, she found her thoughts circling inexorably around the events that had led them to this pass once more. To painful and ugly recollections that harassed her thoughts; images of northerners and mutant beastmen - their fur dyed in wild hues - glimpsed through gaps in a narrow palisade. The reek of acrid animal sweat, of strong liquor and blood. 

   Anna had been in the church when their leader spoke, but had heard clearly as it called upon the villagers to surrender to the ministrations of the lord of flesh. That voice had called them by name; telling them in detail what awaited each of them. When it called her name Anna had covered her ears, but she still heard every word. Then the fighting started while Anna hurried the other children into the cellar, and they had all heard the death-cries of their fellow villagers - their parents and siblings among them - amid the ring and clash of arms as Brother Tancred burst in.
   
   ‘You must go now! Collapse the tunnel after you the way I showed you, I’ll hold the door.’ his voice had been thick with panic and his whole demeanour rattled. 

   She was the last to flee and had turned back only to see Brother Tancred fall to a braying monstrosity with cloven hoofs, his skull staved in, even as she closed the door behind them. Nothing had pursued them, and Ana hoped their escape had gone unmarked. Two days, and one sleepless night had past since then and they had come across no sign of the enemies presence. Nor had they seen any search parties from the village. Though she knew the priest was dead Ana still hoped desperately that others had survived. That someone was left who could lift the burden of caring for the children from her.

   The small, tired group made decent progress in spite of the odd stumble, and they soon reached the ridge overlooking the village. The line of children, Anna still leading, halted behind her as the young woman turned to face them.

   ‘I’ll take a look and make sure it’s safe-’ she turned to the largest of her charges. ‘Karl, don’t let anyone wander off.’

   Karl was not very bright, but he was big and strong for his age, and the other children listened to him. So Anna moved away through the woods toward the edge of the precipice, stepping carefully and trying to remain concealed. She was soon looking down on the small village, but it was gone. Nothing but smouldering ruins, crows and corpses remained of the place she had once called home. In front of the ruined temple an unrecognisably mutilated body had been impaled upright on a steak thrust into the earth. She knew it was Brother Tancred and the sight saw the hammer he had given her slip from her grasp, and long suppressed tears trailed down the young woman’s face as she surveyed the ruin. She remained there for what felt like hours before she wiped her face with her sleeve and stooped to pick up the hammer.

   Anna did not make her way back to the other children. She was unsure of what to tell them, or where to lead them. Heedenhof and Gerzen were the two closest villages, but she had no reason to believe they hadn’t suffered the same fate as Vorheim. Fort Schippel was not far either, but whether or not it was still under siege she couldn‘t know. Her jaw set in a determined expression as she thought of the nearby river that flowed into the Talabec. If they followed it they would soon reach towns and cities, and surely not all of them would be ruined, and If there was any city in the Empire that could stand up to the northerners surely it was Talabheim itself, but that was a long way from Vorheim, and she knew she'd have to brave the ruins before they could set off. No amount of resolve would keep them from freezing or starving if she couldn't find warmer clothes and some provisions. She made her way along the precipice overlooking her former town without a word. Anna knew the lands around Vorheim well, and there was a way down not far from where she had first seen the ruined town. She tried her best not to think about where she was going or what she might see, but to focus on the fact that it needed to be done.

   It did not take the young woman long to reach the ruins. In places the palisade which had once surrounded the town had been burnt, while in others merely toppled so that it wasn‘t difficult to get inside. The interior was a charred wreck and the air was heavy with the scent of ash and death. Most of the town’s buildings had been burnt to the ground, and though their stone temple was still standing its heavy doors lay ruined and broken, its windows smashed, the walls themselves defaced. Perhaps a dozen of the townsfolk had been impaled on stakes nearby, while others were simply strewn about, most mutilated beyond recognition. She began moving into the buildings that were still standing, searching amid the ruins for anything that might be useful, but it quickly became clear that the only way she was likely to find warmer clothes would be to search the dead. Then even as she stepped out of a gutted, half-ruined home Anna saw someone else. Instantly she froze and drew back into the doorway, but when she saw he was searching the body of brother Tancred something inside her snapped. She did not think about what she was doing, but in an instant had dashed across the space between them. He must have heard her coming, and had whirled around to face her, the sword at his waist was partly unsheathed when Anna struck him. The hammer blow caught the side of his head and he was thrown down with a metallic clang even as his dented helm was dislodged by the force of the blow. It rolled where it landed on the bare dirt.

   Looking down on the sprawled out, injured figure Anna realised he was not one of the northerners. He looked like a soldier but his armour was rent in places, his uniform tattered and bloodstained. He had a bloody bandage around one arm, and another wrapped around his head that covered one of his eyes. She felt a sudden surge of guilt, but it did not erase her anger entirely. He sat up with a pained groan.

   ‘What are you doing here?’ she demanded. ‘And don’t you realise that man was a priest!’

   He blinked several times as he looked up at her, apparently still dazed by the blow.

   ‘I haven’t eaten in days,’ he said, looking up guiltily at he rubbed the side of his head. ‘our regiment was sent to relieve fort Schippel but we never made it. There were a few dozen of us that escaped. Trying to make it somewhere safe, or get new orders, but you can’t use the roads. We got attacked again at night and scattered, as far as I know everyone’s dead.’

   ‘What about the fort?’ she asked. ’is it still holding out?’

   ‘Last I heard, it was.’ he told her, ’but we never got within fifty miles of it. Far as I can tell everything else is lost. Everything. Krudenwald, Breder, even Hergig, everything north of Talabhiem and east of Middenhiem, ’

    Anna felt sick.

   ‘Where am I anyway?’ he asked.

   ‘Vorheim,’ she told him. ‘Why, where are you headed?’

   ‘Talabhiem,’ he stated. ‘Figure I just need to follow the river, what about you?’

   ‘I had the same idea,’ she admitted.

   Anyone interested in taking up the role of Anna should feel free to create their own background, appearance and so on for her, and you can change her name as well if you have something else in mind. The game is probably more suited to freeform, but that’s all open to discussion. I have a few ideas for the lead male (I'm leaning towards the idea of a deserter) but am open to suggestions, and I’m prepared to NPC the younger characters myself as their role will largely be peripheral. Also while this game - like all those in this setting - has the potential for some very violent or unpleasant scenes when it comes to the younger characters I’d prefer to handle such things with a measure of discretion if they cannot be avoided. Thus is one of more of them should meet an unfortunate fate for the sake of the plot or character development lets try to handle it tactfully.

Contact me if you‘re interested in trying this plot, or have any questions or comments. I try to respond to private messages on the same day I get them, or you can add me on Yahoo or AIM.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 01:50:36 PM by Egoiste! »

Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

Who Loves The Truth
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2017, 03:13:23 PM »

Introduction
   Found near the south gate in the altquarter of Middenheim, the inn known as the Cock’s Crow was about the cities most unpleasant. It possessed an air of genuine squalor that suited most of its patrons well. The large open hearth, and a handful of cheap lamps did little to challenge the room’s shadows, and the bare stone floor was strewn with a layer of sawdust, thrown carelessly over the last layer, congealing in large patches with spilled liquor and other, less pleasant fluids. The air was thick with unpleasant odours and an acrid pall of tobacco smoke hung in the air. The people were little better, and there was no sign despite the quantity of drink being consumed that anyone present was enjoying themselves. Moreover most of them possessed an air of criminality. This made one man seem rather out of place.

   Even his clothing was at odds with the atmosphere although the long tunic, sporting rather ostentatious decorative cuffs, and short cape he wore were a combination that was currently quite fashionable in the Reikland, while his knee high boots were of obviously superb make. At a glance he appeared to be a minor noble, or perhaps a successful merchant from out west although he looked to old to be slumming for kicks. A more studious glance would have noted that that he was taller than the average Reiklander, and that his features were of teutogen descent though unlike most Middenlanders he was clean shaven, and his fair hair was longer than normal. Yet as he sat by himself drinking his occasional glances toward the doors suggested he was waiting for someone. That at least was common enough at the Cock’s Crow, which had a reputation as a place sinister liaisons and furtive dealings.

   He did not have long to wait. In fact before he had even finished his drink another, slightly older man entered the premises and he stood and gestured to his table over the intervening figures seated nearby. He adjusted the leather messengers satchel that was slung loosely at an angle around his waist to rest against the opposite hip before sitting once again. The newcomer was taller than he was, and much more somberly attired in a long, high-collared black coat and dark gloves that matched the colour of his short hair. No one would have guessed by looking at him and few people in the Empire would have known at, all but he was one of the magister vigilants of the grey order.

   ‘You’re not normally late ‘Liam,’ the magister frowned at this remark as he sat.

   ‘Something urgent has come up,’ he replied. ‘I had to book passage to Kislev, and I’ll be leaving tonight. So we have any time to waste,’

   The dark-haired figure did not look at all like the popular image of a magister. He was clean shaven for one and only appeared to be in his mid-thirties. He was tall and wiry of build, and his stoic features and steely eyes gave little insight into his thoughts or moods. He had fixed that same steely gaze on the other man and looked at him appraisingly in silence before responding..

   ’Are you ready to travel Endal?’ he asked after a moments silence.
   
   ‘Yes,’ his contact replied, frowning slightly, ’or as ready as I can be when I don’t know where I’ll be travelling, but I did read your letter.’

   ‘You’re travelling to the temple of Shallya in Immelscheld,’ Endal raised an eyebrow at the portentous note in the magister vigilant’s soft voice as he said this..

   ‘And I used to say you never sent me anywhere nice,’ he flashed a slightly crooked grin.

   ‘This is no exception.’ the magister cut back bluntly, rebuffing his contact’s attempt at levity, ‘Immelscheld is a corpse, four-fifths of its population are dead from plague. Even getting there will not be easy. The graf has placed it under a cordon sanitaire,’

   ‘Wonderful.’ Endal dead-panned, but his sarcasm did not hide the fearful expression that passed over his face at the thought of being sent to such a place,. ‘Perhaps now you’d like to explain what I‘m actually doing for you though? Your letter wasn’t very informative,’

   ‘No it wasn’t, but letters can be lost or stolen and it would not do to let this knowledge slip but as for the full story I doubt you would understand the whole of it.’ Liam shook his head. ’No, so where should I begin? By telling you that I’d rather be doing this myself and were this business in Kislev not such a pressing and urgent matter I would be, and I trust that impresses something of the gravity of this task on you,’

   Endal nodded without a word, waiting for Liam to go on.

   ‘Very well then. Tell me what you know about the blessed few,’ he continued after a moment’s silence.

   ‘Magic-?’ Endal shifted in his seat as if uncomfortable. ‘Well I’ve heard of them before, the blessed few I mean, isn’t that what you call the people who can do magic? At least when they’re not just being nailed to a tree and burnt,’ his tone evoked a certain wariness and it seemed plain Endal disliked the subject of magic, ‘But don’t you have apprentices for this? I don’t know anything about magic and I wouldn’t trust it even if I did.’

   ‘It is the name some use for those who possess the aethyric senses, those who can channel magic.’ Liam told him, ignoring his protest, ‘I’m sure you’ve heard something of the perils of witchcraft and hedge wizardry?’

   ‘Yes. I’ve met my share of templars and priests, and they go on about it endlessly.’ Endal tapped his fingers on the table, irritated that the magister had ignored him. ‘I’ve always been inclined to believe them.’

   ‘Then you are as ignorant as the illiterate farmers they preach to, but it is true magic is dangerous. Using it is always a risk, even for the most experienced. Yes, both for the user and those around them,’ Liam held Endal’s gaze as he continued, ‘For the untrained however it is perilous.’

   Endal nodded without responding. He had heard much of this before, and on many occasions..

   ‘The greater their potential the greater the danger,’ Liam noted the look on Endal’s face and went on immediately, ‘but as we sit here I tell you there is a young woman in Immelscheld who possesses an affinity for the art such as I have never experienced. No, such as I have never even heard of. Not in our time, perhaps not since the time of Magnus himself. This girl, a Shallyan temple ward, has only channelled magic to heal as far as anyone is aware, and the priestesses have reached the mistaken conclusion that these are miracles of faith.’

   ‘Then the Shallyans will not readily give her up,’ Endal pointed out, ‘and she may not wish to leave either.’

   ‘No, they will not.’ he responded coolly, ‘but the fact remains that they cannot keep her safe. They may not know what she is, but if I can discover the truth others will too. They may know already in fact. You must get to her first, and see that she reaches Altdorf by any means necessary.’   

   ‘I understand why you would want me involved if she’s to be abducted from the temple, but surely this is more suited to an apprentice? Or perhaps-’

   ‘No.’ Liam’s voice was flat. ‘You do not perceive the danger. I need someone who can kill should it come to that.’

   Endal frowned at this but did not respond.

   ‘This young woman’s gift will attract the attention of others. An apprentice would not be equipped to deal with this. Indeed if she should prove unable to control her abilities, or if the risk of her falling into the hands of our enemies becomes too great you must kill her.’

   ‘I’m not in the habit of murdering young women.’ Endal frowned.

   ‘Then do not fail then, and bring her safely to Altdorf.’ Liam responded calmly, ‘I would do this myself but as I’ve told you I have a task that I cannot put off, though you should not be alone for the entire trip. My order will send someone to meet you. If you take my advice you will follow the old forest road to the Drakwasser and travel by boat in which case he should meet you before you reach the Talabec, probably at fort Densk,’

   ‘This is by far the worst job you‘ve ever given me.’ Endal frowned.

   ‘Well there are always the Graf’s knights. I can send you back to their cells if you prefer.’ Liam met his gaze steadily, and there was no indication that he was merely bluffing, ‘I’m sure they’ll be interested in finding out why you were found with those cultists-’

   ‘I was there under yours orders.’ Endal interrupted, his tone evoking a deep sense of irritation.

   ‘Yes I know that, but they do not.’ the magister held up his hands, ‘So you have a choice to make it seems. Plague-town, and the road to Altdorf or a damp cell and thumbscrews.’

   Endal regarded the magister vigilant appraisingly. Looking for some sign that he did not take this threat seriously. As ever his stoic features gave little away, but Endal did not really doubt that he was resolved to follow through. Though it did seem more a reflection of his need along with the urgency and importance of the task than any malicious motive.

   ‘What else can you tell me?’ he asked after a moments pause. ‘I need details.’

   ‘I will tell you everything I can,’ Liam responded.’

   I starting writing up this simple request because I wanted to do a game involving magic. It can run freeform or with the system but the former may be better because the leading lady will be a magical prodigy and this may be impossible to simulate properly with the rules. Regarding the story the journey itself, and what will happen is something of a blank slate, and though I have several ideas myself I’m hoping we will be able to collaborate on this. Your own character’s back-story prior to becoming a temple ward is also left open, and whether or not she is even willing to leave her home is up to you, but we may contrive events so that she is given no choice in the matter. In addition the antagonists have also been left largely blank, and need not represent a single group. As far as romance and erotica are concerned there is room for it, but it is not the focus of the game.

Contact me if you‘re interested in trying this plot, or have any questions or comments. I try to respond to private messages on the same day I get them, or you can add me on Yahoo or AIM.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 11:55:07 AM by Egoiste! »

Offline Egoiste!Topic starter

Mordechai‘s Wondrous Waxworks
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 11:07:04 AM »
Mordechai‘s Wondrous Waxworks

Background
   This carnival is the most realistic waxworks show in the Empire.. Visitors are astounded and horrified by the clever wax sculptures depicting all manner of deformity and mutation. So realistic are the exhibits some even swear they the waxworks move. Unfortunately this is because the poor souls on display are all too real. Talented sculptors are expensive after all, and real waxworks are costly to maintain and difficult transport. So Mordechai simply employs real freaks and mutants. For these poor souls the promise of food, shelter and safety is too good to pass up, and though they find little enough of either in Mordechai’s employ. Forced to stand in fixed poses for hours at a time while the visitors gawk those who are seen moving are refused food, and repeat offenders are often brutally beaten.

   A shrewd business man Mordechai works hard to glamorise and promote his show, but he is also a vicious bigot who despises freaks or mutants of any stripe. These men and women are treated little better than animals, even to the point of being kept caged while not on display. The elegant costumes and rich clothes they don when being exhibited are taken when they are returned to their pens to be washed and kept in good condition, and replaced with filthy rags.

   Worse still Mordechai recently discovered a profitable sideline to his show when one noble patron insisted that he had seen one of the waxworks move, and refused to be dissuaded by Mordechai’s usual banter. Yet he had no interest in exposing the scam. In fact he was more interested in arranging private shows for himself and his wealthy friends who delighted in seeing these unfortunates forced to do demeaning tricks. From this small group the show has attracted a large circle of noble patrons who have no interest in the public ‘waxworks,’ but pay handsomely for private, late-night shows once the regular clients have turned in. Here they pay for the opportunity to degrade and humiliate the wretched performers, some of whom have even been beaten, tortured or killed by sadistic patrons who can pay for the privilege.
   
   So I love the idea of using this twisted carnival as the backdrop for a game. Only as it supports so many different potential plots I’ve decided to forgo my usual style of laying out a particular idea in detail, and rather look at a few different places where we could go with this to create an enjoyable adventure. One possibility is that one of the degenerate noble patrons at a private show is suddenly confronted by his estranged sister. Years earlier upon discovering a mutation she realised her high-society days were over and fled to seek refuge with others like her before falling in with the carnival. Seeing how she is forced to live, and thus seeing himself for the monster he had become the brother commits suicide but not before pleading with a friend to rescue her. This could also be a much darker game and involve two of the mutants ‘working’ in the carnival and their attempt to escape, or perhaps even incite some sort of general insurrection, or involve a similar dynamic however we could substitute one of the mutants for someone else such as a guard or even a patron. Another option would be to focus on characters who have become privy to the carnival’s dark secret. This could involve numerous characters from a Witch Hunter who wants to put Mordechai’s ‘workers’ to the torch, an investigator looking to bring down Mordechai himself, a rogue who has stumbled on knowledge of the illicit shows and is looking to blackmail its wealthy patrons; the ambitions and goals of such disparate figures could intersect in various, interesting ways leading to adventure. These are just a few ideas as well, and I’m sure we’ll be able to think of more if we put our heads together.

Contact me if you‘re interested in trying this plot, or have any questions or comments. I try to respond to private messages on the same day I get them, or you can add me on Yahoo or AIM.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 12:09:26 PM by Egoiste! »