"Come now my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we'd be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest..." - Kenneth Patchen, "Even So."
THIS IS A BLOG ABOUT STORIES AND STORYTELLING; some are true, some are false, and some are a matter of perspective. Herein the brave traveller shall find dark musings on horror, explorations of the occult, and wild flights of fantasy.
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Thursday, September 5, 2019
- New Rune
- New Feat
- New Magic Specialization
- New Ability (ally, weapon, power, skill, etc)
- Community Rating Boost (War, Morale, Magic, Communication, Wealth)
- The Call to Adventure
- The Road of Testing
- The Abyss
- The Return
- Facing a Foe
- Making an Ally
- Beating a Challenge
- The Right People
- The Right Place
- The Right Time
- The Right Tools
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
- Runes: Harmony, Beast, Spirit
- Shaman and White Bull Spirit Tradition leader
- Goals: To unite the Tribes of Prax against the occupying Lunar forces.
- Notes: Yes…that Argrath (see “What Gives?” below). Argrath White Bull is the cliche riddle wrapped in an enigma and packaged in mystery. A Sartarite, he was found and taken captive alone on the plains of Prax by the Bison Tribe, who made him a slave. At the time he was just fifteen. Over the next five years of captivity, he stunned his captors by mastering their language, their customs, and more disturbingly, their magic…almost intuitively. Tribal spirits swarmed to the young outsider, embracing him as their own. When he heard the legend of the White Bull from the tribal elders, Argrath announced he would seek out the spirit and free it, much to the mocking amusement of the tribesmen. Then he did exactly that…his body cold and dead for three days and three nights while his spirit went out to find and bring back the Bull. When he returned with the spirit, much of the tribe fell on their knees to him. He was quickly accepted and trained into a shaman, and founded the White Bull Spirit Society. Argrath wandered Prax for two years after this, approaching other tribes and inviting him into his society, slowly building an underground army, a tribal confederation unlike anything seen in Prax in ages. In 1618 he relocated to the Big Rubble in Pavis, from which he leads his society.
- Roleplay Notes: Think Gandhi. Think Buddha. Think “deep, mystical, shamanic wise man.” For a young man of 24 years he seems ancient, with a gaze that seems to stare right through the Mundane World into the Spirit Plane. He has the same annoying habit as Starbrow of speaking in pronouncements (“you will do this,” “you are going to do that”) but when he does it, it comes off prophetic instead of imperious. In playing him, keep the Harmony Rune in the front of your mind. He is a uniter, a peace-maker, a healer. People come to him broken and he fixes them. They come to him drifting, and he gives them purpose. His society turns members of different tribes into the same tribe (their animals become albino as a sign of this shared unity). Now, if it seems odd to you that a man of peace is building an army, buckle-up buttercup, because it all gets weirder with the next entry…
- Runes: Air, Mastery, Motion
- Sartarite Wind Lord, Weaponmaster, Teacher, and Adventurer
- Goals: To personify Orlanth Adventurous, to be a thorn in the Lunars’ side.
- Notes: Sharpsword turned up in New Pavis two years ago, a Sartarite exile with a taste for adventure, ale, and attractive young people (of both genders). Charismatic, ridiculously charming, and just a little bit wicked, he is almost too much of a swashbuckler to be in a Bronze Age heroic fantasy setting…yet there he is. Sharpsword proved himself as a Rune Lord to the Wind Voices of the city, and to the adventurering regulars at Gimpy’s as a swordsman to be reckoned with. His mastery of styles, especially Wind and Dragon, is deadly. He regularly makes forays into the Big Rubble, sometimes alongside other adventurers like Krogar Wolfhelm, Wolfhead, and Griselda, sometimes alone. He has also joined the White Bull Society.
- Ropleplay Notes: Garrath Sharpsword is an adventurer who gets off on the thrill of danger. He is a risk taker. He puts others in harm’s way. He is a shameless flirt who sees lovemaking as a sport, and plays it with both attractive men and women. However he is also loyal, dedicated to Orlanth, and a man of his word. Like Batman and Bruce Wayne, you will never see Garrath and Argrath in the same room together (you do the math). As the anagram indicates, there is more to Garrath than meets the eye. In playing him play up the mischievous twinkle in his eye, the sly grin, the dashing charisma.
- Runes: Air, Motion, Mastery
- Wind Voice, the Rebel High Priest of Orlanth Rex in Pavis
- Goals: To restore the worship of Orlanth in the city
- Notes: Orvost is the grandson of Dorasar, the Sartarite founder of New Pavis (1550 ST). When the Lunars took the city, the Orlanth temple was outlawed and the previous High Priest killed. Orvost escaped with the sacred temple regalia into the Rubble, and has lived in hiding there since. The Lunars have placed Faltikus the Good (a worshipper of Maru, a storm god in Talasar) in charge of the city’s “Air Temple,” as closing the temple entirely was not an option (it is responsible for bringing the life-giving rains to the city). For the Sartarite true-believers, however, Orvost is the true spiritual heart of the community. he carries with him the sacred Lightning Bands of Saronil and the Silver Mantle.
- Roleplay Notes: Orvost is, perhaps, a bit too obsessed with Faltikus and the Pavis Air Temple for his own good. He speaks of the Lunar official priest as “the Imposter,” and even “Gbaji.” In his own mind he sees himself as Arkat, meant to bring the false priest down. Regardless, he is a good and true Voice of Orlanth and faithfully sees to the spiritual needs of those who come to him in the Rubble.
- Runes: Darkness, Death, Disorder
- Zorak Zoran initiate, second-in-command of the Troll war band of Temple Hill
- Goals: Kill Chaos, kill humans, kill dwarves (you get the idea).
- Notes: Gor Gar Gurar was born in the Big Rubble, the first Dark Troll to a mother who had only brought forth Trollkin litters. To nurture him, as soon as he was weaned his older siblings were fed to him over the first two years of his life. From the start he seemed marked by the Black God; even as a youth his murderous rage was legendary. As a Zorak Zoran initiate, his rage and battle prowess quickly won the favor of the local Death Captain, Shumbar Gnash Gnak, who Gor Gar Gurar dreams of replacing.
- Roleplay Notes: Gor Gar Gurar is, pure and simple, a fanatic. He fights with berserker fury, using his powers of Darkness, Terror, and Death to cower his foes. His war band will fight alongside Dehori and ghosts. He will surprise the player characters with a fire attack or two as well.
- Runes: Darkness, Harmony, Mastery
- Argan Argar Rune Priest
- Goals: To keep the Troll community of the Rubble free and independent of the Lunars, to act as a bridge between the Human and Uz communities
- Notes: Even from youth, Surbar was different; he is blessed (or cursed) with prophetic powers. He does not see the future, he “hears” and “smells” it. Privately he knows Chaos is returning, he feels the Hero Wars coming in his bones, and he worries what this means for his race. He is a well known Troll merchant in New Pavis and Prax, dapper in his black Trollkin leather and imported Kralorealan silk. He has a fondness for snuff.
- Roleplay Notes: Surbar seeks to maintain a status quo that he knows he cannot. He senses a coming storm, knows the White Bull is somehow part of it, and wants to make sure that the short-sightedness and unthinking brutality of people like Gor Gar do not doom his people. He wants to be on the “right side” when the storm comes.
- Runes: Fire/Sky, Life, Truth
- Goals: Teol has promised him the ability to but his freedom at some point in the future, an option he likely would not have under a Lunar master. This makes him surprisingly loyal to Teol.
- Notes: No more than seventeen, his pale skin tanned by the sun of Prax, his hair pale blonde and eyes sky blue…is from the Lunar Heartlands. He is originally from a well-placed Dara Happan family that fell afoul of a Dart Competition. The adults in his family were sentenced to death, the children to slavery. Orin was sold to a wealthy Lunar magistrate soon after assigned to Pavis, and lost by his master in a dicing match. That is where Teolrian bought him. The boy is useful because he is fluent in Trade, New Peolrian, and now Praxian, knows arithmetic, and can read well. While obviously a Lunar, he is by no means a Lunar. He recognizes the Red Goddess and the Emperor as the supreme powers in the world, but culturally he is Dara Happan. He sees the Red Goddess as something that happened to his people, not something they have become. His father taught him that one day the Sun would vanquish the Moon…which is in part the kind of heresy that destroyed his family.
- Runes: Harmony, Death, Spirit
- Foundchild Initiate, High Llama Tribesman, Scout, Secret White Bull Initiate
- Goals: To be known as a great scout and hunter, to win a wife.
- Notes: Finds-Water is a young and up-and-coming member of his tribe, a group of 34 wandering High Llama Riders (the Blue Stone Bearers). He has a strange streak of curiosity regarding outsiders, something his khan disapproves of. He has learned to be wary of the Red Moon People but the High Mountain People fascinate him. He is also an initiate of the White Bull spirit society, and part of a movement he believes will bring peace back to Prax and the world.
- This is Argrath White Bull, and for the sake of demonstrating the unearthly nature of Illumination and the paths he is walking, we will be treating he, Garrath Sharpsword, and the future Prince Argrath as completely separate people (more on this later). Don’t think of it as schizophrenia; think of them as manifestations or masks of a single Illuminated being (if it helps, think of White Bull, Sharpsword, and Prince Argrath the same way you do Orlanth Adventurous, Thunderous, and Rex). They are facets of a much larger, incomprehensible being.
- All of the remaining points that follow here hinge on this and apply ONLY to White Bull, NOT the “other” Argraths.
- III. White Bull is no longer an Orlanthi. In his mind all he was died when he was exiled and taken captive as a slave. He sees himself as reborn in the wastes, and has adopted the Praxians as his people, and the White Bull as his patron. He is, through and through, a shaman, not a theist. This is ESSENTIAL in getting across to make the player character’s encounter with Garrath Sharpsword (who IS an Orlanthi and a theist) all the more jarring
- His primary goal is the liberation of Prax, NOT Sartar or Dragon Pass.
- He understands, however, that liberating Sartar would greatly ease the difficulty of getting the Lunars out of Prax. To that end he has reached out to Kallyr Starbrow and the two are working in a sort of alliance. She is obsessed with freeing Sartar, he with Prax. Cooperation is in the best interest of both.
- Kallyr has no idea who or what she is dealing with. To her mind Argrath White Bull is an exile who has gone “native.” Never in her wildest thoughts at this stage could she imagine the arrival of “Prince Argrath” in Sartar.
- VII. What White Bull is achieving here in Prax is just a taste of what Prince Argrath will pull off in Sartar. Here he has introduced magic that unites rival tribesman. In Sartar he will introduce magic that unites entirely different cultures and world views.
- VIII. He has not made up his mind about the player characters. He is helping them because Starbrow is an ally and they continue to figure in her future plans; he is also intrigued by their crusade and thinks a full-scale slave uprising in Prax would dovetail nicely with his own ambitions.
- He is a younger cousin of Beralor’s father Affar…but again, White Bull considers that life dead. Neither Affar nor Beralor should expect any preferential treatment based on those ties.
- Finally, Argrath has plans for Leika (these will be revealed in the next chapter). Right now let’s just say it is not lost on him that one of Starbrow’s Children is an albino spirit-talker, nor that the spirit tradition of her clan is the White Hart (an albino stag). He is a magician; he knows like attracts like when he sees it. When people join his White Bull spirit society, their mounts magically become albino. Her clan receives its spirit magic from an albino stag. She is an albino. None of this in his mind is coincidence, especially not now (Gloranthan scholars, consider this is Storm Season 1620, and what is about to happen in the spring).