You had me at "You can feel the grip pulse".
I was then fully yours when the wounds bled sand momentarily and, if severed, shatters as sand. Great details and those sold me on it. The stats and such, while distracting, were easy to flow right through to see the beauty (ugliness?) of the ideas.
Awesome first sub!!
Honestly, Haukagaron was my favorite part of this. I would have been willing to learn much more about him! I feel similar about the difficulty of the location but it is easy enough to pull out of the abyss and use it as is in some other random location. Enjoyable location. Would be willing to visit but wouldn't spend the night.
Quick added scenerio thoughts:
- The characters do end up freeing some innocents causing the overall count to go down below 2024 number and nobody really noticed. Usually they have more than that so it isn't an issue but the years of peace have slowly limited the crimes that call for death.
- The King, after years of slowly gaining support for ending this barbaric custom, finally succeeds in canceling it for the year. Instead they pardon 2024 of the lesser criminals or simply don't kill them.
For either of those, what is the outcome of not meeting the requirement? Loss of all the battles that year? The return of Tyragorn to complete his attack? Does the king survive the year as proof that the tradition is foul or is the kingdom ruined?
- Those that believe in the curse to the depth of their bones go out and assassinate or kill 2024 people anyway regardless of the king's intention. So even if they king protects his subject from that fate, those that believe and fear the curse will simply go on a killing spree to fulfill the need.
Now he has to decide to I continue the custom and spare the innocent citizens or fight those that would defy his decision.
Awesome. I like it because there is so much you can do with it. You have a benevolent ruler that does it as a matter of course or you can get a bastard (in the attitude sense, not the offspring) that brings the torture and defilement into the main city.
Then there are so many little plots and twists you can throw around that could have as wide reaching reprecussions as you want. If they don't sacrifice then anything that happens in the world against the kingdom can be tagged part of the curse.
- Because the king stopped the killings, many small villages that are deeply superstitious start blaming any misfortune on the lack of sacrifice. This leads to an almost religous zeal backing the belief. Slowly, through self-induced hysteria they may start killing their own criminals or lynching those that are only accused of crimes in order to alleviate their own personal misfortune. All it takes is a drought "cured" by a killing to provide "proof" that it works and soon the entire countryside is deep in their own version of 2024.
-- King decides that following the decision is better than this outcome and follows through with the sacrifice. Now he needs to get word through the kingdaom. Will the believe it? Will it be enough to stop what has already begun?
--PCs could have witnessed the fixed sacrifice and be charged with bringing this word, or carry it as they adventure because they want to stop the killing. Each time they come to a village would bring possible conflict. They villages might believe their word or call them liars. A new tension and moral dilemna for the players to have decide whenever they see an injustice based on the sacrifices.
I like it, but I too want more. As soon as you throw dragons into the mix (and other uber strong monsters) we want, nay...need more background. Even if your intention is just a vague story to be adapted and absorbed into other campaigns, we want to hear your take on it. Gives the idea that much more creedance and understanding on your intentions.
For this, I am begging the question....why? With that alone I would be satisfied I think! Why is he being chased, why do they find him anywhere they go, why isn't there TONS of rumors about the path of dragon destruction that always happens after this dude shows up. Dude would be lynched upon arriving at any town way before the dragons get there...and there might be a reason he isn't.
This is on the edge of greatness...push it over the edge!
I can see it as a de-weaponer as well. As you move through it, the ice only allows the form of a living being, any extra stuff could be stripped and left at the entrance. Either ripped or it seems like the ice has enough finesse to remove it without breaking it.
My vote is for the first two paragraphs and the hope for more. You totally lost me on the last one and the post is better without it. That said, I really think it is a great idea. Especially leaving the horror till last. Great! I do have questions like how would you know they have these things? Some tell tale sign, rings on the neck, anything? Is there any way to get rid of them? But I can come up with that. I just love that core idea but I want more about it!