Now, this is a sub that I would love to see turned into a book one day. It's too bad that the complete subjugation of Asleanna didn't have any impact on the crown itself, though; I would have liked her death to make more of a mark. Though I suppose that her will would have been returned to her with the King's death? Hmmmm. Wonder if she managed to get away?
Plot Hook -- Campaign Starter:
Everyone in the party has been forced to give up a part of their power to one of the Crowned. Perhaps the evil king has been "recruiting" recently, and the PCs were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not only do the players potentially lose something vital from their character sheets, their characters' health and vitality may also be continually sapped as they adventure. Will they be able to bring the bastard down with a key part of their abilities missing? Or will their biological clocks run out first?
I like a lot about this submission, particularly that it was such a captivating read. Though I'm not quite sure how I would use it. It feels like it should be a focal point for a campaign, as the BBEG, but there isn't a whole lot to support a long running game (long enough to become strong enough to "defeat" the tree). It feels like you've given us enough for an encounter with the tree, but not enough to really use it.
I also think I am confused on one part: Some sections seem to imply that the tree would only call and accept females of a particular bloodline, while other parts make it sound like an epidemic of dead rising and journeying to the tree. I'm not sure how it could possibly take more than a few days to take in all of the women, or how you could fail to mention a plot hook involving undead rising and going on a pilgrimage, if that was the case.
I like it, but the style in which it is pieced together is confusing and seemingly not conductive to providing accurate information on using the submission.
The minions of the Tree
Who keeps the dead god-emperor company besides his deceased children? It is the men of Valersund, forever bent by his sorcery, their flesh sustained by his will and their minds sundered by his presence.
They are hulking creatures, with exaggerated muscles bordering on the grotesque, and elongated arms ending often in rending claws. Some possess more than two, with extra appendages of murderous intent growing from their hunched backs, now useless mouths or as tails.
Though hideously deformed, they still are less horrid than their larger brethren, who consist of several fused bodies, walking on six legs and wielding weapons in all directions, or the jumbled amalgams of man and beast.
Each will also have a female face growing somewhere, disturbingly beautiful amidst his misshapen features; it is the face of the female who once commanded him, and forever it whispers to him the will of the god-emperor. The link, though, can be severed with magic or a weapon capable of harming ghosts, leading to confusion on the beast's part.
They are clad in remnants of armor, often of excellent make, and wrapped in shreds of dead flesh, skin and bone of those who sought to desecrate the Emperor's resting place. All over their skin, a strange slimy membrane is spread, exuded by the dead deity, to allow them to exist in the cold and thin air of the mountain summit, keeping them forever just beyond the grasp of death.
For weapons, the Servant Sons use their monstrous bodies, or man-made weapons, some of them even objects of power.
Most are hopelessly insane, driven but by the dead god-thing's will, though a select few embraced their monarch's influence and gave themselves to it, keeping reasoning and cunning largely intact, and their madness subtle.
It's absolutely evocative prose, and were I to read it in a fiction work, it'd fit magnificently. It's just a bit much for the exigencies of a tabletop gaming campaign, where the amount of storytelling and flavor text with which you can batter the players is limited. There's a lot a GM has to invent here: what are the powers of the Tree? Is it a deity in of itself, a servitor/avatar of one, or simply an uber-Undead? Is there a nation near to hand or claiming this territory? What are these minions the Emperor has? Who are the cultists that serve/oppose him? I'd be happy to see more of these particulars fleshed out.
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The flavor text doesn't say, and I'd wager the average player would raise eyebrows at several pages worth of it that boiled down to "Evil last emperor of destroyed empire / nasty undead tree / and here's the location."