Wrapping about the north and west of The Diamond Desert sits The Old Kingdom. This land grew mighty and powerful even as the other cultures in the region remained confined to small hamlets, living a barbarian lifestyle. Bards tell of how the king of this land grew lustful of the surrounding territories, and sent his armies to attack them, spreading lies about the inhuman practices of the other cultures nearby to turn his people against them. And turn they did. Even when the armies were elsewhere, it was not unknown for groups of citizens to gather some liquid courage and burn down a non-Kingdom hamlet.
Thousands of innocent lives were lost in such attacks, and those who survived grew bitter and resentful towards the Kingdom. One of these survivors was Ti'Klund. Even as the young man struggled to achieve his druidic potential, he plotted how best to avenge himself upon the Kingdom. And when he heard of the queen's love of birds, he had an idea. Gathering his powers, he created life, as so few have ever been able to do, in the form of a single, golden duck. He enchanted the duck with spells of ill-fortune and prepared to send it to the queen, to bring down trouble upon her land and household. But before he could dispatch the duck, its ill-fortune affected him, and he was slain by orcs, the duck simply being left in the cave wherein he dwelled.
Two hundred years passed, and the aggression of the Old Kingdom ended, even as new realms were born on around the land. It was now that a band of adventurers stumbled across Ti'Klund's cave, and within it, the Golden Duck. Finding a note which described the bird as a git for the queen, and seeing that the occupant of the cave was clearly gone, the adventurers took it upon themselves to deliver the duck to the queen. And so, they rode to the great city Sab Rejak, where the royal court of the Old Kingdom dwelt, and presented the duck to Her Majesty. She was pleased by its beauty, and kept it close to her, and the adventurers rode off even as the long-dead druid's spells began to take effect.
War came quickly to the kingdom, followed by depression, low birth rates, and corruption. Yet these misfortunes paled in comparison to the plague. Sickness ravaged the kingdom, slaughtering the populace and causing the nearby kingdoms to close their borders. Within only a few decades, Sab Rejak, once the finest city in the world, became known as The City of the Lost. Even once the plague began to die down, it remained contagious, and those who dared enter the kingdom found themselves wracked with sickness, for the Golden Duck yet lived within the place at Sab Rejak, and until its death, the plague could not die.
Now, few dare to enter the Old Kingdom, and the City of the Lost is nearly unreachable at its position near the kingdom's center. Thus, those who travel to reach the Citadel are advised to find some other way to get there, and to avoid the Old Kingdom at any cost. Go to Comment
Before the revolt, the armies of Vallermoore were renowned for their efficiency, and for the lethalithy of their strike teams and special agents. When the queen was overthrown, many of these units were disbanded, releasing men who had known little but violence into the streets. Most tried to become normal again, but not all.
Among those who did not was Talon a man who, in the time since, has forged a name for himself among the newly risen-nobles and street-thugs. Although he would no doubt be an invaluable resource for those who yet wish to stop crime, none dare to hold him, and so they turn upon the more innocent, and the less protected. Go to Comment
Personally, I quite like this one, as it shows some interesting effects that the Sorrows have on the rest of humanity. The ways that these guys are formed is I'm particularly fond of - that simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time could essentially destroy one's humanity.
Also, since most of the Sorrows are in a perpetual state of their emotion, could it be that there is no Sorrow of Ambition - only Thralls, all desperately competing for the coveted powers? Go to Comment
Updated: You're right; spiders don't make sense, so I've changed it to other plain-dwellers who might seek shelter.
The large amount of dust is partially because the ghost is one of those resentful types, who tries to get away with as little work as possible, and partially because I envisage animals frequently walking in and out of the shrine - perhaps to drink from the troughs - and they would track dust behind them.
As for poor Emperor Haius, I typed 'the Magnificent' at first, but my fingers refused to stop there. Go to Comment
Updated: What I'd really like advice on is whether this format looks good. Since there will eventually be four similar items, do you think this format will work? Or should I use a scroll? Or stubs for each type of Stone? Go to Comment
Coming back to this one, I'm thinking that you could run a neat campaign with all of the PCs as undead. Sort of a French Foreign Legion or Dirty Dozen kinda thing, with all the PCs being horrible people forced to do good stuff in order to redeem themselves and escape the consequences of their old lives. Go to Comment
Torgosire is the only moon of the planet Morkonis. Although the planet itself has long been deserted as bereft of natural resources, Torgosire is one of the galaxy's treasure chests, for Torgosire is the single largest deposit of iron known to sentient lifeforms.
Since the inhabitants of Morkonis first visited it, almost 800 years ago, Torgosire has been mined dramatically, for the moon is almost 98% pure iron. Enormous structures have been built on its surface, for processing and transformation into steel and other alloys, for iron is not quite as useful as it once was. Indeed, some of these towers and spires are so enormous that they can be seen from space, appearing as jutting columns of steel, iron, and plastic.
The mines themselves are carefully supervised, so as to ensure that absolutely no oxygen reaches the precious metal itself. The miners look almost like space marines, wearing enormous suits capable of providing life support while still nullifying the chance of a gas leak - after all, the metal is worth a bit of discomfort.
Few people make their homes on Torgosire other than the miners and corporation workers, for who wants to live on a world where all there is to see is iron? And yet, it cannot be denied that Torgosire is constantly bustling, and boasts a developed economy.
From space, Torgosire appears almost like a giant hunk of metal, with enormous spires and supports jutting out at odd angles. In more than one case, a surprised space-traveler has blurted out "That's not a space station; it's a moon." Go to Comment
First Part from Wikipedia. Second part from (not verbatim) Battlefields Then & Now
Rorke's Drift was a mission station in Natal, South Africa. The defence of Rorke's Drift (January 22 - January 23, 1879) during the Anglo-Zulu War immediately followed the British Army's humiliating defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana earlier in the day. At Rorke's Drift 139 British soldiers successfully defended their garrison against an intense assault by roughly 5000 Zulu warriors.
The Battle of Rorke's Drift is probably the most famous "Last Stand" of all time, with the possible excception of Custer's. The British, led by Lieutenant John Chard, used mealie bags and cracker booxes as sandbags to improvise a wall around the base. They had two buildings, a hospital and a storehouse. The British were so outnumbered that even the hospitalized were given rifles. The British soldiers defending the hospital found themselves under attack very rapidly. The outnumbered British divided themselves up, some breaking holes through the walls into the next room, and others defending these holes. Finally, they got into the fortified area behind the hospital. The Zulus, unable to follow, set the building on fire. The British retreated to a wall of cracker boxes. The British battled the Zulus for almost twelve hours before the Zulus retreated, an hour before dawn. Chard sent out men, telling them to recover every weapon they found. Fortunately for the British, the Zulus decided not to launch a second attack. In total, fifteen British men were dead, almost all were wounded. Afterwards, eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders, the highest number of VCs ever awarded in a single day. Go to Comment
#8 The Bridge of Passage
Reply #10 on: May 22, 2005, 02:56:22 PM
Fashioned centuries ago by a sect of the war god Kilthurxis to test its new acolytes, this bridge has seen quite a bit of action over the years. This sect regards skill at duelling above all else, so new priests must cross this bridge before they can adopt their duties. Priests who are about to be tested are told only that a trial awaits them, that they must cross the bridge to pass the trial, and that they will be unable to return the way that they came. They are then offered a chance to resign the priesthood and become merely a member of the flock.
The Bridge of Passage is specially made so that it can only be exited on the side that was not used to enter. Also, the bridge is well-maintained, so old battle scars are quickly repaired.
The way that the Bridge is used is as follows.
Two acolytes enter the bridge from opposite sides, each given the weapon of their choice, traditionally a quarterstaff. The two meet in the center of the bridge, where they duel. As is taught by their teachers, they fight to the death, and the winner takes his opponent's weapon as a trophy. If, for some reason, both acolytes exit the bridge, both lose their chance to become priests. If the masters are in a bad mood, they may be executed. Go to Comment
An adventurer's guild would likely keep large quantities of adventuring supplies, available for purchase or rent. The guild could aid adventurers in acquiring rare equipment, or that which would be frowned upon by the local populace (no more raiding the cemetaries!) Maps in particular will be a very common commodity.
Also, most guilds are going to require dues. These could be percentages of the commissions, simple annual or monthly dues, or percentages of the take. The dues would likely be very high, as being an adventurer is a dangerous line of work (they probably have to support a lot of widows, not to mention paying for ransoms, legal support, and everything else mentioned above. In a world where resurrection and/or reincarnation are relatively common, the guild will likely have a responsibility to pay for those as well. Go to Comment
Personally, I run these large battles using a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-esque method. Describe what's happening, ask how the PCs react, describe the result, etc. I do it this way because the system I use offers no mass combat rules.
Of course, now I'm going to have to make some so that I can try that idea with the cards. Sigh. Your posts are just too inspirational. Go to Comment