"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.
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Friday, May 24, 2019
The above is the core concept you can adapt and drop into nearly any campaign. Specifically, in terms of The River of Cradles campaign and my player characters, the heroes have joined with an Issaries merchant named Teolrian Soudatch—the Tradetounge name of Teol Soudsson—to act as his caravan guards on the way to Pimper’s Block. They are headed there because the women and children of their clan, taken into captivity by the Lunar army after the events of The Turning, were brought there to be sold. They want to inspect the Etyries records in the House of the Bonded to find out to whom their kin have been sold and where they currently are. Unfortunately, none of them read…and that is where Teolrian comes in. With a combination of the Lightbringer’s Oath (reminding the Issaries how his god aided Orlanth) and a favor Teolrian owed the Death Drake Targan Ironbeak, they have persuaded Teolrian to help them. Once in the encampment, Teolrian will examine the records in the House of the Bonded and find out where their kin is.
- Runes: Trade, Movement, Darkness
- Issaries Initiate
- Goals: To rise in the ranks of his cult and make enough of a profit to buy a house and land for himself on the edge of Sartar or civilized Prax.
- Notes: While Teol is not a bad man, his affinity with the Darkness Rune gives him a cold streak and a tendency to be grasping; he wants, but it never really full. He traffics in all sorts of goods, but his willingness to traffic in slaves is another manifestation of this Darkness…his own parents were thralls. Born free, but poor, he has had to make his own way in the world. Teol is a fair merchant and a true Issaries, however. He never goes back on a bargain.
- 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
- 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.
- Runes: Crescent Go Moon (Earth and Life)
- Seven Mothers Initiate, Brothel Madame, Shrewd Businesswoman
- Goals: To increase her wealth, to maintain her independence, to accumulate information and intelligence.
- Notes: Madame of the Court of Hidden Flowers, a brothel on the outskirts of Pimper’s Block, the Scented Lady wears saris of light cotton and silk dyed with indigo, red madder, and turmeric, embroidered with silver. She is never seen without her veil, covering her nose, mouth, and chin. She appears to be a woman in her mid-thirties, but her inky black-hair (carefully lacquered) might also be dyed. She wears kohl around her eyes. She is not a particularly cruel woman, but she reigns over her domain with an iron fist. Having made her way as a Lunar camp follower in her youth, she understands what her staff goes through but is herself hardened to it. One does what what needs to to survive. The Scented Lady not only runs a thriving business, but she collects “pillow talk” from her clientele, and thus wields considerable influence (in the form of mild extortion) over officials in the area. Crossing her is not a good idea.
- Runes: Darkness, Death, Mastery
- Morokanth Trader and tribal leader, Waha Spirit Tradition initiate
- Goals: To replenish his people’s recent loss of herd men (more on this in episodes ahead).
- Notes: Not a stock monster, Ou’or is a person driven to extreme means to accomplish his ends.
- Runes: Empty Half Moon (Darkness and Death)
- Seven Mothers Initiate, Princeps Ordinarius Vexillationis (in charge of a patrol)
- Goals: To secure a position as second in command of his century, then perhaps full centurion.
- Notes: Tarshite, Drussex has a deep-seated distaste for Heortlings who cling to the Old Ways. It is not so much arrogance as he feels their lives would be better if they just set aside their stubborn pride and opened themselves up to the Goddess.
- Targan will narrow his eyes in the flashback and warn them; “Death goes with you, young humans. Whether you carry the Sword, or face it, I cannot say. I suspect both.”
- Teolrian defends himself if the player characters attack him for trafficking in slaves: “And how do you propose I enter the House of the Bonded to inspect the sales records without legitimate cause? Do you think the Etyries just allow people to wander in and examine the bill of sales? These people are criminals; a murderer, a rapist, a kidnapper, and two debtors. I understand your clan would execute, imprison, or exile them…is it any different for mine to sentence them to bondage?”
- They also meet Orin here, their first real chance to interact with a Lunar who isn’t charging them with a weapon.
Monday, May 13, 2019
It's name was King Arthur Pendragon.