Interludes: In the Days of Old

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Tribe of One
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Interludes: In the Days of Old

Post by Tribe of One » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:57 pm

As we fill out the map and the roster of NPCs in the village, we can also add interesting locations farther afield. Here's a (hopefully fun) way to add to that map, as well as to flesh out a bit of the village history (both ancient and recent) that you can find in the Timeline post.

This is a special Interlude opportunity -- complete it and your character gets to start play with Conviction.

Directions:
  • Take a look at the Timeline and decide when your tale takes place
  • If you like, you can roll on the Major Locations table below for inspiration, or just come up with a possible location
  • Decide in which direction the location lies (Remember: the north and northwest is the Weald; to the east are hills are the trade roads to the Free Cities; to the south lies a narrow sea and kingdoms beyond; to the west are neighboring villages then the coast where the raiders land ...)
  • Decide how far away the location is from the village: Near (20-40 miles); Moderate (40-80 miles) or Far (80+ miles)
  • Decide how your character found out about the place and what occurred there: Did they Learn about it through legends or a book? Did they See it in person or see physical evidence of its existence? Or did you Hear about it from travelers' tales and gossip?
  • Write an interlude that involves the location. This can be as factual or fabulous as you like. Decide when it happened -- maybe one of your ancestors was involved? Feel free to add NPCs to be placed in the Village, and we can add it to the timeline, as well. I'll roll secretly to determine how accurate the tale is.
Location Inspiration
Roll 1d8:
  1. Large Settlement: If Near or Moderate distance from the Village, this settlement could be a large village or moderately-sized town, perhaps notable in some way; Farther away it could be a small city. It could be an important trade and production center, and likely a strange and frightening place to village children. If someone in the group rolls this result after a city has already been placed on the map, it is okay to ignore it
    and either reroll or simply pick a different result. Alternatively, come up with an interesting reason for there to be two large settlements so close to one another in the area.
  2. Ancient Ruins: Ruins of this sort are from a previous civilization -- check the Timeline for ideas. Sometimes all the ancient ruins on a map are from the same culture, but sometimes the remnants of several ancient cultures are present. These lost cultures could be human or not.
    Examples include the barrows of generations of forgotten kings, a crumbling manor house and its environs which have become home to numerous groups of monsters, and the caves beneath a strange temple which hold evils best left undisturbed.
  3. Human Settlement: This result represents other villages, the estates of noblemen, or some other form of human settlement. These are probably of the same culture as the characters, but might also be barbarian villages to the west or the noble villas of an occupying power. While these are small settlements, the fact that they represent major locations means that they are particularly important or unusual. In any case, this result represents another human settlement of roughly comparable size and importance to the characters’ home village. Examples include the manor of a rival noble known to war with the characters’ lord, a village rumored to be home to a strange and dangerous cult, and the outpost
    of a great empire which is very near to the characters’ homes.
  4. Recent Ruins These locations are places old enough or unfortunate enough to have fallen into complete ruin. They may well have been ruined generations ago, but they are called “recent” because they are from the same basic culture and time period as the PCs themselves. They
    have almost certainly been abandoned by the people who built them, but might be inhabited by other people or monsters who have moved into the area. Examples include a haunted town abandoned after a devastating plague ten years ago, a long-unmanned watchtower with mysterious tunnels beneath, and a village wiped out by a rampaging beast of some sort and now a haven for corrupted nature spirits.
  5. Inhuman Settlement: These settlements are the homes of an altogether different people than men. The type of people that occupy this settlement will greatly flavor the campaign. Examples include a great faerie court, a hidden dwarven hold filled with strange wonders, and an entire town of civilized goblins willing to trade with men.
  6. Monsters’ Lair: Not the home of a single minor or even moderately powerful monster, major location lairs are either the dwelling places of large groups of monsters or a well-defended and extravagant home of a particularly powerful foe. Examples include a dragon’s den, the earthly home of a minor goddess and her servants, or a huge cave system which houses a bewildering array of strange and dangerous creatures not found above the surface.
  7. Source of Power: Sources of power are extremely dangerous and sought-after centers of magical energy. There are few brave enough to seek out such places actively, but they are also likely to be very persistent and learned. Examples include a crazed archmage’s tower which
    houses his living and unliving creations, a vortex of magical power which warps the very land around it, and the throne of a great elemental spirit.
  8. Otherworld: These locations border on whole other planes of existence, often straddling two or more planes at one time. A circle of stones that serves as a gate to the First World or a shrouded bog where the veil between this world and the Plane of Shadow has thinned are examples. Unwary travelers might find themselves far from home with no way back.
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Neil
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Re: Interludes: In the Days of Old

Post by Neil » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:20 pm

"In a previous age, the Sunken Kingdom wielded magics unsurpassed by any save perhaps the Elves before they were exiled from the Weald. The archmages of the Sunken Kingdom raised their cities from the bones of the earth, and it is said those cities rivaled even the mountains in scope and majesty. In their hubris, the archmages dug ever deeper into the secrets of magic and the world, and eventually they went too far.

Their great cities sank into the ground. Portions of these ruined cities supposedly still exist in the caves of the Under where few tread and from whence less return. Far away in the marshes to the west, ancient and ruined buildings protrude from the dank waters.

What calamity befell the archmages of old still eludes the greatest scholars, but it is unanimously agreed that it was a magical upheaval of unimaginable magnitude. Many scholars believe that the widespread destruction wrought by the archmages of the Sunken Kingdom led to the suspicion many common folk still feel towards practitioners of magic to this day. The failings of the Sunken Kingdom should serve as a cautionary lesson for today's wizards."
5021537ab0babae8cdaac002c22d234c.jpg
--Excerpts from Scholar Lumin on the Rise and Fall of the Sunken Kingdom.

Neil closed the book, a collection of essays pertaining to the ancient kingdoms, and placed it back in the rotting bookshelf inside the abandoned tower. He eyed the books contained within longingly. He had not yet had the opportunity to read them all. Some were written in ancient languages even his brilliant mind could not yet decipher. One day all of this knowledge would be his.
Neil Smith
Neil Smith, Self-Taught Mage
Pace: 6(d6); Parry: 5(1); Toughness: 5(1)
Combat-Relevant Edges & Abilities
  • Sense Magic: Gain the detect/conceal arcana power. The detect arcana function (only) may be used at-will, with no PP cost, as an action. (Note: If the character has Sense Magic but lacks Spell Casting, only the detect arcana function is available, and is activated with a Spirit roll.)
Wounds: 0/3; Fatigue: 0/2; PPE: 10/10
Bennies: 3/3; Conviction: 1/1
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Kaya
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Re: Interludes: In the Days of Old

Post by Kaya » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:17 am

Location
1d8: 6 Monsters’ Lair
They say that a day's march into the heart of the Weald lies a cavern only accessible through the roots of a gigantic and gnarled old tree. It is said that some terrible beast laid slumbering there until it was woken and then vanquished by the Lost Crusade as the old king sought to tame the forest. Some of the soldiers who returned from the Crusade claimed to have brought with them treasure taken from the creature's lair. When the forest villages and outposts fell silent, there were rumours that the creature hadn't been vanquished as first thought and sought its revenge.

Kaya had heard the tale of the creature's lair a number of times, first as a young child and then from drunken tavern patrons when the night had drawn in and the flames in the fireplace had burnt low. Recently she had heard rumours of some great and terrible beast lurking in the deepest and darkest parts of the forest, something she wondered if there was any connection to the creature's lair and the vision foretold by her tribe's seer.

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Gamil
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Re: Interludes: In the Days of Old

Post by Gamil » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:08 pm

Location
(1d8) 1d8: 7
Source of Power: Sources of power are extremely dangerous and sought-after centers of magical energy. There are few brave enough to seek out such places actively, but they are also likely to be very persistent and learned. Examples include a crazed archmage’s tower which houses his living and unliving creations, a vortex of magical power which warps the very land around it, and the throne of a great elemental spirit.
Gamil and his people can trace their lineage back to the first forge-priests. The dwarven clans considered oration and storytelling to be a fine art, especially for those who could not hold their drink. The Rune Masters learned to forge the dwarven records into runes they carved. For Gamil and his family they have even begun recording the human histories into runes.

While learning of runes and their significance, Gamil had found his way to the secreted works. Here among the stone columns were recorded the descriptions of places now in ruins, of great creatures, places of power, and even a few notes to otherworldly places. Gamil's fascination with the humans had drawn him to a particular reference of power.

Though not particulary detailed it did mention that it was several centuries old. Few who had ventured there, had safely returned. The humans said the place was haunted but the dwarves recorded superstition differently. There was an old power there several hundreds of years old (The warding stones had been established then.) The only other detail mentioned was that the warding stones allowed individuals to move between the two locations.

What the old power was, was never mentioned. How to activate the gateway was not mentioned either. The place was certainly not elven nor dwarven and its origin continue remain a mystery. One interesting note was a reference to utilizing the river for travel and trade.

When Gamil left to come to the Village, he purposely made his journey such that he came across this place of power. He searched amongst the ruins for several days, exploring and recording his findings. In the basement or dungeon of this hidden location, he found a cavern, a few hundred feet below ground. On the far side from the entry way were a series of standing stones.

These stones were roughly hewn, quite possibly from the cavern walls where he now stood. The stone workmanship showed rough understanding of tools and cutting but lacked the refined and polished nature of the dwarven craftsman. However it was evident to Gamil that the place held power and that the pillars contained that power now.

The power resided in the stones and in the carvings on the stones. Gamil recorded the stone carvings and locations of the stones. Not entirely certain what to do next, he figured it best to get onto his assignment in the Village. Remembering the rune records recording details about the river, Gamil selected carvings in the stones that related to what he thought was the river and sailing and trading.

Gamil must have done something right because he found himself on the shores of the river near the Village. He has not tried to return to the cavern as he has yet to decipher which carvings would likely be direct to that location

Timeline: Hundreds of Years Ago
Direction: Northwest
Distance: Near

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Vespernys du Lac
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Re: Interludes: In the Days of Old

Post by Vespernys du Lac » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:29 am

Timeline: This Year
Location: Monsters’ Lair: Not the home of a single minor or even moderately powerful monster, major location lairs are either the dwelling places of large groups of monsters or a well-defended and extravagant home of a particularly powerful foe. Examples include a dragon’s den, the earthly home of a minor goddess and her servants, or a huge cave system which houses a bewildering array of strange and dangerous creatures not found above the surface.
Direction: Northwest (the Weald)
Distance: Near
How: Learned

With her father off to war with the salt raiders to the west, Vespernys found it increasingly more difficult to sneak off into the woods to practice her bowmanship. Her mother thought politics unladylike, and so more and more of the duties of the absentee lord had been taken up by Vespernys.

One day a ranger had walked into the village. Vesper remembered him, but didn’t know his name. He came to the manor in town where the du Lac’s were now residing. He was disappointed to find the lord gone, but her mother had taken a package wrapped in oilskin from him and spoke to him.

Intrigued — especially when her mother didn’t unwrap the package, but simply placed it on a high shelf in a closet where she kept things she wished didn’t exist — Vesper stole the package away one night and opened it in the candlelight of her room.

Inside was a small, leather bound book. She opened the cover to find a familiar, small handwriting and a name. Cormac du Lac.

Vesper’s uncle — her father’s younger brother, and preferred heir, given that Vespernys was a woman — had been a major part of Vesper’s life for many years. It was he who had first taught her to use a dagger, and she still carried the one he had given her. He thought it important that even a noble lady know how to defend herself, and taught her using wooden replicas when she was ten, until it was discovered by her mother and Cormac was given a severe scolding. But he had awakened Vesper’s love for the fight, the rush of adrenaline, the mastery of technique.

But then Cormac and her father had a falling out, around the time the family was abandoning the rundown keep for the manor in the village. No one would tell her what the row had been about, but Cormac had ridden off with a small retinue of guards and rangers into the Weald. A couple weeks later, Lord du Lac had ridden off to the west.

Vesper read through her uncle’s journal. He seemed to have gone looking for some lost family heirloom, a sword belonging the first du Lac, who had founded the dukedom, carving it out from the wild. He had fallen in battle, and his heir had been unable to retrieve the weapon.

Cormac told of how he had found the site of the battle, long lost to the Weald. He wrote of a village there, a village that was nearly an exact copy of this village, but populated with dark versions of its inhabitants.

The journal stopped there, with Cormac saying he intended to investigate the village in the dim light of morning. What had happened? The stories of the Weald indicated all sorts of nasty things could happen in those dark woods.

Sliding down to sleep in the wee hours of the morning — she had to hold court at three bells — Vespernys dreamed. She dreamed herself finding and rescuing her beloved uncle. She dreamed of a dark version of herself. What would that be?

Vesper remembered little of her dreams when her handmaid woke her to prepare her for court. She groggily and greedily drank down her strong coffee, wincing as her maid cinched up her corset, the bloody thing! Though it did wonders for her modest bosom. She really hoped she didn’t have to concentrate too much on the cases brought before her. She yawned as she exited her rooms, and her mother was there to scold her — yet again — for being unladylike.

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Pender Lumkiss
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Re: Interludes: In the Days of Old

Post by Pender Lumkiss » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:04 pm

Just this year in an ancient ruin in one of the free cities to the west a great light appeared in the darkest of decrepit of ancient catacombs. The light was blue in color, a symbol of good luck and peace. Then the light faded and left nothing but an endless blackness. This is the sign that you should not go there at night. This is the place where you will be attacked by a monster, attacked by a group of monsters. In the old days this was considered a blessing from the Gods. But this was not the old days.

Then the monster appeared in the form of the spirit of a man with a mask and long robes. The man wore a long cape with a gold headband and a gold belt. He was covered in a black cloak. There was a giant dagger and a long sword hanging on his back. His eyes were set in deep blue sockets, and he was a tall man.

The people of the free city of Argos called this tall monster of a man Agenia. A dark word in their tongue for a monster that roamed their country side. They would hide their faces for fear that he might appear, and they called him the 'Obsidian Man.' Some of the noted poets sent word across the country side warning people of the Obsidian Man...

"The Obsidian Man is the most feared man on the mountain." - Rufus

"The Obsidian Man roamed the mountains of Argos, always looking for his next meal." - Sabin

"The Obsidian Man ate everything in sight, and he took his prey as far as they dared to go." - Tauroneo
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Jaenelle
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Re: Interludes: In the Days of Old

Post by Jaenelle » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:17 pm

OOC Comments
Time: 1d6: 4 A generation ago
Place: 1d8: 8 Otherworld: These locations border on whole other planes of existence, often straddling two or more planes at one time. A circle of stones that serves as a gate to the First World or a shrouded bog where the veil between this world and the Plane of Shadow has thinned are examples. Unwary travelers might find themselves far from home with no way back.
Direction: 2d4: 1, 4 West by Northwest--northernmost settled territory, right on the edge of the Weald
The outpost, just within the border of the Weald, is called Firstlast, for it was the first base of operations built in the Lost Crusade, and thus it was the last to be abandoned when the Weald reclaimed its territory at the cost of the lives and sanity of the soldiers who'd dared to cut into the ancient woodlands.

When the first team of soldiers and builders arrived at the spot at the beginning of the crusade some three generations ago, they could not believe their luck--a large, flat stone big enough to serve as the foundation for several buildings, with trees right up at the edge on all sides, old-growth timber ready to be cleared and turned into walls and a storehouse, barracks and command post. The outpost was dubbed First, for the king had great ambition.

It was abandoned only a generation ago, when the last stalwarts fled into the night; those that actually made it to the edge of the Weald immediately went to the capital, and the king, to report the events that led to their departure. The king heard them in private session, with only his most trusted advisors present, and ordered the men to never speak of it again, to anyone. Upon emerging, the only thing His Majesty told the rest of the Court was that the Lost Crusade was finally over. The outpost of First then became known as Firstlast, at least among the common folk.

The outpost's ruin is only half a day's ride from the nearest settlements on the outside of the Weald, close enough that brave souls sometimes ride out to it to see it for themselves.

The wisest of these leave at first dawn, arrive in the empty outpost by noon, poke around at the fringes, maybe even, if they are daring, slip in through one of the time-worn breaches in the outer wall, and walk through the handful of buildings before leaving. They speak of an eerie, oppressive silence, of being goaded to speak in whispers if at all, out of some nameless dread.

The reckless arrive later in the day, leaving with too few hours left until dusk. Some of these report being harried as they ride, by snarling, unseen forms within the dense trees and underbrush. Some insist they were unmolested. And some never return at all.

A handful of times, the most foolish have gone in after declaring their intent to stay the night. Of these, only one survivor has ever returned. He said that he and his companions had bunked down in the old barracks, but when they awoke, there was no sign of the outpost at all. Instead, they were in a grand palace of some strange, alien design. A gala event was going on, and they were rushed by small cloaked figures to join in the festivities. He tried, fruitlessly, to describe the music, food, and the other guests, but ultimately, his shattered mind could not piece together a coherent narrative. Instead, he sometimes would compare the guests to birds, other times to butterflies, and still other times to the stars themselves.

He was able to only remember one part with true clarity. He had a conversation with the Lord (or some tellings, the Lady) of the palace, and he said he (she) told him, "You will be returned to yourself at dawn."

He replied, "But where are my companions?"

The Lady (or perhaps it was the Lord) said, "They will be leaving early, through the front gate--the Hunt is almost ready to begin." She pointed out a window, to a terrible, scorched landscape completely unlike the woods they had traversed to get there--it was a land of blackened and rocky crags, with rivers of liquid fire. Trees there had no leaves, but rather were adorned with countless small flames at the tip of every branch, and there was no sun, or moon, or stars, so the only light came from these ever-burning trees. He could just make out the forms of his companions, as they ran, helter-skelter, among the basalt and obsidian stones. "Now sleep."

He was overcome with a great lethargy, then, and fell asleep, and when he woke in the morning, he was back in this world, and in the barracks. His companions were gone, though all their packs were still there, as were everything they'd not worn to bed--even their boots were still in place next to the old straw beds. He ran--for their horses were long-gone--and it was evening when he finally reached the edge of the woods, and a small inn there where he burst in to tell the tale. He likely would have been ushered straight to the king, but because of the hour, he was able to tell anyone who would listen--which happened to include a traveling bard, who then spread the word of Firstlast.

And though many insist the bard had simply spun the whole tale out of yarn, no one has declared their intent to travel to Firstlast overnight since that last expedition, some 5 years past.

Jaenelle heard this tale from Macron, who had also been in the inn that night. She said the bard recounted every word to precise detail, and warned Jaenelle to never travel to Firstlast, even during the day.

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Halt
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Re: Interludes: In the Days of Old

Post by Halt » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:23 pm

Halt ran at break-neck pace through the underbrush of the woods, looking back only momentarily - just long enough to fire a wild shot at the massive boar chasing him. If he could just get to the end of the wall, the guard could shoot the creature down.

His hopes were dashed as he nearly ran headlong into a steep rockface. Far to steep to think of scrambling up, Halt dove to the side just in time to avoid the tusks that smashed into the stone, sending stinging shards of shattered rock across his face.

Halt pulled a long knife - a poor weapon against such a beast, but better than no weapon at all. The boar, eyes red with an unnatural light, slowly turned toward the cornered woodsman, as if it knew the man was cornered, and wanted to draw out the victory.

Halt tried to circle around to get the beast to get free of the dead end he had become trapped in, but the beast side stepped keeping him pinned against the wall. Two stomps with its hooves into the ground and a slight lowering of its head was the only warning halt got, and the creature charged - squeeling in what sounded both like pain and pleasure at the same time.

Knowing he couldn't escape the creature, Halt prepared what he hoped would be a deadly strike, praying silently to the Watcher that the boars tusks wouldn't hit anything vital. At the last moment, Halt caught a gleam of metal streak through the air, striking the boar in its left flank, causing it to falter and veer to to that side. Halt shifted his stance, throwing his weight to the opposite side and strike at the boars neck as the creatures thick shoulders - rather than the tusks, caught him int he ribs.

It was almost a minute before Halt could get enough air back into his lungs to be able to stand, and doing so put him face to face with a creature who frightened him almost more than the boar had.

Tekarta
Tekarta.jpg
Halt raises his knife, ready to strike the moment the creature lunges. But to his surprise, after eying halt wearily for a few seconds, the creature shuffles over to the dying boar, pulling what appears to be a thrown weapon of some kind from its haunch. The boar shutters as the weapon is pulled free. Seeing the boar is still alive, the creature - still keeping one un-lided eye on Halt, draws a short knife, and ends the beasts life quickly.

Recognizing a fellow woodsman with a respect for the life of the forest, Halt lowers his weapon, and signals his own peaceful intentions.

In the weeks that followed, Halt would spend days in the woods with this unusual fish like creature. Before long, they had found a way to communicate - if crudely, with a combination of universal gestures and words that seemed to be similar in their two tongues. If Halt understood his 'conversations' with the creature correctly, he was a race of creature called the Tekarta, a semi-amphibious race who live in the swamps Far to the north east, bordering upon the Weald. HIs people had long lived in the harmony with the swamp there - harsh though the living was. But things had been changing in the last generation. Creatures such as this boar - larger, stronger and faster than they should be had started appearing - all with the same strange red glow. They had menaced his people for years now, and his people had taken on the unknown burden of keeping these beasts at bay. He had tracked this board far along the edge of the Weald to the outskirts of their village. It was hard to understand the nuance of Plog'loc - for that was the creatures name - feelings on the subject, but it he seemed without much hope that his people could hold back the creatures for long. His people had sent emissaries to the kings of the lands, but all had been killed quickly, named monsters for their appearance long before any method of communication had ever been devised.

After a few weeks resting from the hard traveling the the previous skirmished with the creature, Plog'loc left the woods around Hirstwall behind, determined to return to his people and - along with the rest of them - die fighting whatever evil was pushing out from the Weald.

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