Firstly I need to give a brief overview of my campaign world, Foundation. Foundation is an unstable plane created as aÂ sanctuaryÂ for a powerful, ancient psion. The instability of Foundation's construction causes the world to reach out across the multiverse and juxtapose large sections of itself with equal portions of other worlds. This story begins far from Foundation.
Long ago two Gods of War stood arguing in a field. They watched a vast herd of enslaved beings toiling in the muck, blistering in the sun, backs bent as they worked. The evil god of tyranny, massacres, and discord scoffed 'Chattel! lowing cows without strength or ambition. What use are they but the work they perform?' The good god of honor, justice, and daring smiled 'You are blind to their strength. Any man with armor, sword, and horse can fight for a just cause backed by a noble lord, but could that man stand every day and labor until his hands bleed and his bones ached? These men have more in them than you see. They require but a small push to become a fighting force like none this world has seen. The only barrier isÂ despair. They require a leader, a symbol of rouse them'Â The evil god laughed aloud, 'I will take your wager! Arm this pathetic rabble and they will be crushed with the fortnight.'
And the two gods decided the contest; they would both create half a soul, combine them, then build a body to fit it. This man would be the champion of the enslaved, a symbol of hope, strength, and revenge, until such time as the gods decided one had won their wager. The result was a man like few alive in that world; seven feet, built like a statue, flowing blonde hair and flashing blue eyes. This man was strong,Â charismatic, and utterly without fear. Immortal, but with a mortals frail body, he was dropped into the worst slave pit the evil god could find and spent an entire human life span in brutal servitude. Not until the man was forced to eat the fallen body of a fellow slave in a time of great suffering did he truly decide that he would end the torment. His initial rebellion was swift and decisive, it spread across the land like a plague, swallowing up slaves and destroying slavers. The army had reached one million followers and was perched on the edge of overcoming the king's assembled forces. The good god stood gloating, watching the battle that would win the bet and teach the evil god a bit of humility when his beautiful slave army simply vanished before his eyes leaving behind a section of flint foot hills and Â pebbled beach still wet from ocean spray.
The slave army and its brutal leader appeared on a misty seaside moor, with a vast mountain range at their backs. Down the shore a few miles, a plume of black smoke rose into the air and the faint sound of screams rolled across the crashing waves. Half a dozen ships with square sails and long banks of oars had come aground near a small village and fur clad warriors, wielding axes and great swords were ravaging the people, raping and pillaging.Â A very brief struggle subdued these mindless savages and the few remaining survivorsÂ kneltÂ at the feet of the Leader, vowing their eternal loyalty.Â
These reavers had been the undeniable monsters of this coastline as far as a long ship could sail but with this new leader quickly gaining the awe and worship of his followers a horrible new religion was born...
A Scourge of the Devourer is shrouded in black cloth and leather from head to foot, leaving only hands and mouths uncovered. Their weapons of choice are barbed leather flails and thick bladed cleavers. A Scourge is the spiritual leader for a ship, standing beside the captain in status and authority. In battle a Scourge whirls and slashes, hacking off limbs. The true horror of a Scourge only shows when the battle has finished, when the Scourge begins to feed. Each day the Scourge must eat a portion of flesh from a still-living sentient being in order to regain his allotment of divine magic. The hold of a reaver ship is hung with groaning, weeping beings like living sides of beef. As part of the training to become a Scourge, a likely warrior must preform a ritual wherein he consumes his own eye balls to gain the gods sight.
Well there you have it, my first post on the Citadel and the most horrible thing that exists in myÂ campaignÂ world. I have a twenty level class written for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, though I have every intention of converting it to Pathfinder.
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? Responses (13)
Welcome, there is alot in this sub and it is ambitious and imaginative. I look forward to more of your posts.
But before I offer suggestions. Let me sum this up, so you know I understood what it is you intended to communicate.
1) Two Gods were having a dispute over the value of the common low born man. On says that the lowborn and innately flawed and the others says that they only require a good leader. The god that is defending the peasant stock claims that once they have a worthy leader this group of low born laborers will embody all the qualities that the other god admires in high born warriors.
2) To test their theories they create a man with a divided soul, he will be the worlds greatest military leader.
3) The Godsent, after growing up laboring as a peasant slave, rebels against his masters and forms a peasant army. That may or may not have lasted a fortnight, which I think was the terms of the wager.
4) But right before the final battle between the peasant army and the Peerage, the entire peasant army is shifted to another realm because that this the sort of thing that happens in Foundation. Even the Gods were surprised...maybe...maybe this was the evil god's plan. Anyway we never find out.
5) They arrive in another location, a coast line, where a group of viking types in attacking the local populace.
6) The peasant army, not wanting get all dressed up for nothing, attacked these viking types and subdues them.
7) The vikings types then join with the peasants and the Godsent is the new leader of the viking types and is worshipped ...as a god i suppose.
8) A side effect of this merger is a new religion, in which blind priests are allotted to these viking type ships.
9)The name sake priests are violent cannibals who must eat living flesh, not cooked, not salted, but cut off a screaming breathing person in order to channel the power of their god. They also have to eat their own eyes.
Do I have that right?
The idea was that a slave has more strength than a soldier simply by existing. A man forced to labor for nothing but the promise of more labor and an ignoble death but still manages to get up every day and do it has more in him than a man with the arms and armor, the liege lord as support, and an army surrounding him.
I didn't quite play up the cannibalism part as much as I'd like to; while enslaved the Devourer was brutalized and forced to live in truly horrific conditions but didn't really break (in this case completely lose his shit and start killing slavers) until he and the other slaves he'd lived and worked with were forced into cannibalism by a neglectful owner. Until that point he had been the best aspects of both gods, strong, honorable, fair, ferocious, heartless to enemies, and so on. After his change to a humanitarian he went crazy, which may have come from either side of his soul, hatred or justice can turn into something very scary.
I pictured the rebellion being something massive. The land was rife with slavery, imagine every slave in the us south all standing up at once. The military would be caught completely off guard. Now imagine their leader is Alexander the Great as a demigod.
The Scourges aren't necessarily blind, the write up has blind sight 100ft, but other than that you've got the long and short of it.
And I subscribe to the concept that belief creates reality in fantasy settings so The Devourer is an actual god in Foundation because he's worshiped by his followers and intensely feared by those that live in his domain.
I would love to geek out the whole metaphysics of your setting, and I will start a forum thread to do just that,
The planar makeup of Foundation is all kinds of weird. I'd love your input
I haven't given much thought to individual Scourge characters, the society revolves around slavery, capturing and selling slaves. Individual Scourges are like holy men, keeping the wild viking warriors focused through fear and religious fervor. They would be very intense personalities, unforgiving of failure or ineptitude, with no compassion whatsoever. They would strive to preserve their own lives but wouldn't fear death, they've seen far worse than death. The Devourer took entirely the wrong message from his time as a slave, weakness is inexcusable and the strong can take whatever they want.
I don't know how to add the class into the post, I'm neck deep in noob, I apologize. I didn't explain the blindsight thing well enough, either. I can see it all in my head so The God's Sight seemed like a good enough description for blind sight.
Maybe you should right up the Devourer as an NPC..history, hopes, dreams, fears, favorite color, allergies and so on. What is was like before and after his break.
But do I get this right, the former slave is now lord of the slavers? If that is true that is a point you should punch up.
And if you don't want to post a system specific class wear a cup.
I love the voice and it was very easy to read and made perfect sense right up to the point where they disappeared. At that point the narrative got vague and fast and seemed to leave out some things.
I was hooked and wanted more, and still do. I am a surface reader and don't dig too deep into it but it did change gears rather drastically. I was very curious which god won the bet? It seems like one cheated by moving them to a different place.
And, yes, you do need to go into the cannibalism and how that transfered over, more as well as why their is a specific outfit for the Scourge...and how it went from Reaver to Scourge. So much juicy stuff that we just get a taste of.
Don't give up on us!
The first part was the back story, the rest was me trying to sum up the Scourges themselves.
Neither god won, it was a draw. The slave army would have eventually crushed the kings forces but didn't get a chance to. It was originally written as Hieronius and Hextor but I'm making the switch to Pathfinder so I don't know that Pantheon as well.
The army disappeared because of what I call a Planar Juxtaposition, random chance basically, something the gods involved couldn't foresee.
I really appreciate the compliments, I don't have a lot of confidence in my writing. I come up with good ideas but have trouble making them into real stories.
Currently working on a back story for a viking hero turned Scourge including a write up. As soon as it's done I'll post it.
Stark son of Skarr of the Blue Stone Tribe was born amidst blood and fire as all good heroes should be. His mother gave birth as the attacking Painted Scale tribe was slaughtered to the last man around her yurt. Skarr son of Stag had been a monstrous big man with snow white hair and a face like a butchers block. His son grew into a fierce boy, tall and strong with his father's naturally white hair and luckily his mother's good looks. Stark fought with boys twice his age, with any weapon he was handed, though he favored above all a two handed sword.
Stark killed his first foe at twelve when a raiding party attacked the village while the warriors were away. It had been a small band, hoping to catch the tribe unaware with only women and children to defend. Beyond simply fighting, Stark led the boys in the fashion of a true battle commander. He smashed the raider band and mounted their heads on the shoreline of his village as a warning to others. When the warriors of the Blue Stone Tribe returned they found a new long ship had been added to their fleet as well as the crew to sail it.
Though young, Stark son of Skarr and his band were tenacious and unstoppable. Many of the warring tribes did not take this mere boy as a serious threat, before long few along the coast spoke the name of Stark of the Blue Stone Tribe without a nervous glance to sea and a muttered prayer to the gods. The Hammer of Skarr prowled the oceans of Foundation for ten years, reaving as far as the rich waters of the Corsair Bay in the east, haunt of greedy privateers and fat merchants. Ten years passed, years full of adventures and dangers, and above all treasure. When Stark returned home he was a huge man, muscled like an ox, with long white braids tied with rings of gold and platinum and a braided white beard covering his chest. His clothing was finely crafted, expensive and brightly colored beneath shinning silver ring mail and a cloak of leopard skin bordered with black feathers. The great sword at his back bore the name Sky Cleaver and was rimmed with flashing blue flames. His long ship had been lost in a great storm years before and had been replaced with a galley of forty oars and two masts; The Dominance. Painted green, embellished with gold tracery and carvings of Viking warriors in battle, Stark's ship was a sight to behold, much like Stark himself.
The homecoming was bitter and short lived, however. When he had left, the Blue Stone tribe had been vibrant, prosperous, and strong. The blackened bones of the long hall were the only structure visible for miles around, the shoreline he remembered was a desolation of dead grass and brackish moors. The rage that took him was like a storm, one foolish member of his crew chanced a thoughtless quip and was cut cleanly in two from ribs to hip.
The Dominance stalked up and down the shore, looking for the tribe that had destroyed his people, a ship, or a raiding party, anything to vent Stark's anger. What they found was more of the same; burnt villages, piled bones, and scuttled long ships. Were his people devastated, every tribe? Stark and his crew were lost and rudderless, alone and without friends in a dead land. Just then the far-eyes shouted Ship, m'lord! Sails on the horizon!' And those sails were a sight none of them expected, the reddish brown of old blood, blazoned with an odd device; a gaping black mouth, with bright red teeth, crooked and broken. The call was made for battle positions, the ballistae were loaded, the sails unfurled, and shield and spear and sword were readied. It must be some new tribe, Stark told himself.
Stark was the first across the gunwhale, Sky Cleaver slashing and hacking left and right. The battle was brutal like nothing Stark had experienced. Beyond the usual ferocity of the reavers, these warriors fought with a fire in their eyes, even the oarsmen fought with a manic energy like berserkers. The fight was even, give or take, and Stark watched good men he had lived and fought with fall. Then from below deck came the priest. A tattered, black linen cloak covered him from neck to nethers, salt stained and crusted with old, dry blood. His head was covered in a tight black leather cowl, but without eye holes. The priest made no noise, spoke no word, simply drew the massive iron cleaver from his belt and unwound the claw-tipped leather thongs of his scourge as he walked calmly forward. The Priest's warriors parted with one sharp lash of the scourge, gouging half a dozen lines into the wooden deck. Stark raised Sky Cleaver high and bellowed a wordless battle crew, rage and pain and confusion fueling the power of his swing. Stark had felled men, cleaved them in two with blows like that, but this was no mere man. The priest caught the blow on his cleaver with a resounding clang like a warped bell and returned with an almost lazy swipe of the scourge, tearing deep into the muscles of Stark's stomach. Stark lashed out with his off hand, hoping to gouge out this creature's eyes. He fingers found empty sockets. Confused and angrier than he had ever been, Stark shouted and bull rushed the priest against the gunwhale, forcing his weapon aside and shoving his head back, tearing away the cowl. The priest smiled, still completely silent then lifted Stark bodily from the deck and tumbled them both into the choppy, dark waters between the boats. Sky Cleaver sank into the depths, its blue flame clearly visible but well out of reach. As his vision blurred and his lungs burned for air Stark looked into the empty sockets of the priest and was truly afraid for the first time in his life.
Stark awoke in pain, hanging from a pair of iron manacles, in a large, bare stone room lit by dim red light from a small glass ball in the center of the floor. On the far side of the room was a table and two chairs. One chair occupied by the priest, now dressed in a simple grey tunic and brown leggings, without hood or weapons. Your men were too willing to speak, Stark son of Skarr' and he stood You're the last of them, the last true reaver. Your warriors were brave enough, in their way, but they lacked conviction. The fight for gold, for blood, for honor, but I fight for a far greater purpose.' His voice was surprisingly soft, and sounded well educated. He did not look like a viking, his hair was a salted brown, short and curly. His features were sharp, hollow cheeked, with a beak of a nose. The priest stood no more than three feet from Stark, hanging helpless on the wall. You fight like a demon, I have rarely seen your like before. I've come to offer you a choice. It is not a choice I can explain with words.' And suddenly there was a large iron key in his hand We stand at the heart of my Lord's domain, tens of thousands of warriors surround you on all sides. You are not destined to die like a fool so please do not attempt to escape.' When the manacles were removed and Stark regained his feet he stood towering over the priest. Come, my friend, I will show you.'
I think you pop this out and put it into its own NPC sub
Like Axle and Strolen, I'm impressed with the backstory but then somehow the sub ran out of steam when it actual got to talking about the SoDs (which is only one paragraph long while the backstory is about 80% of the total length so I just found that sort of out of place). There are a lot of clarifications that you've made based on Axle and Strolen's comments and I don't have additional ones. Amongst these, the content that I would personally suggest that you add in for this particular sub is the following (that provides the motivation for these SoDs):
'the society revolves around slavery, capturing and selling slaves. Individual Scourges are like holy men, keeping the wild viking warriors focused through fear and religious fervor. They would be very intense personalities, unforgiving of failure or ineptitude, with no compassion whatsoever. They would strive to preserve their own lives but wouldn't fear death, they've seen far worse than death. The Devourer took entirely the wrong message from his time as a slave, weakness is inexcusable and the strong can take whatever they want.'