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Quest against the Darkmaster (PbP)

Player recruitment for this game is open and never will end. This game intent is to be a casual and diverting exercise in storytelling, worldbuilding, and exploration of the Against the Darkmaster Core Rules. Anyone who wishes to join this game is encouraged to create a character using any conventional generation process, read as much or as little of these posts as desired, and find a way (ideally artfully) to introduce the new PC into the current action and situation. Welcome!

King Oberon and Queen Mab, Lord and Lady of Elvendale, enter the hall. Before taking his seat, Oberon addresses the delegates of the Free Kins of the Land, who are assembled before him.

”I know why you are here. The Darkmaster again is active, and he assails the strongholds of Light within our Lands. Please, one by one, rise, state who you are, your Kin and your Culture, and specify what bane the Darkmaster has marshaled against your people. After we have learned of these grievous ills, we will hold Council to determine what shall be done about this calamity.”

Terry Mullins has reacted to this post.
Terry Mullins

I am Gyantwaka, Coup-Counter (Rogue) of the Third Tribe (obviously by sight, Leshak Woad Culture).

Three weeks ago the Seven Tribes gathered, as we do each year, at the site of the alliance’s ancient victory at Willow Shallow, where the barrows were raised for the fallen.

We found the barrows defiled, the sealing stones cracked asunder and blackened by eldritch powers.  The bones of the ancestors are scattered and the arms with which they struck down the Darkmaster stolen.  There were dire wolf tracks all about, but heavier than the beasts alone would leave, showing they bore riders.  Their trail was lost at the edge of the great marsh.

  • All know that the Leshak homeland was devastated in the great war against the Darkmaster and that most of them are now a wandering people, following the woodland caribou (reindeer) herds (there are five seven great herds and five seven tribes of Leshak).

“This is dire news indeed, Gyantwaka, and if no one yet has formally welcomed you to these halls, I do so now. I know our Kins, though cousins of the forests, have not always found accordance in all things, but I am certain we can make one now in our opposition to the Darkmaster.”

Oberon raises his gaze to the full assembly. “Yes, I speak the word ‘Darkmaster.’ I see some of you turn away when I pronounce that title. Please do not fear. Outside of these forests, simply to think of our ancient enemy, I know, is to invite his attention. But no shred of Shadow can find us here. Ancient trees ward us from his malevolence.”

Oberon turns back to Gyantwaka. “While these others prepare their reports, please tell us more. You say the ancient barrows of your kin were defiled, their rusted weapons scattered beneath the sun? Do you expect there was purpose, outside of sacrilege, to this depravity? Did the Darkmaster seek something, do you think, an artifact entrusted to the grave of an ancient hero?”

Gyantwaka bows in thanks for the welcome.

"The greatest weapons of our ancestors do not rust King Oberon, they are as everlasting as your Queen's beauty. Our ancestors had the secrets of  Bloodbronze, lost to us when our artisans perished in the great war.  We do not know how many such weapons were in the barrows but I would say, by the songs sung of the great heroes who fell, at least four. Their theft is strange for any who know of them would know that they curse any hand wielding them wrongfully.  The weapons may only be gifted, never taken.  Though we do not doubt the Darkmaster's power to twist the purest things to foul purpose."

 

“These are grim tidings indeed, cousin of the trees. I fear that the Master of the Dark may have chanced upon an art that, in truth, may twist these weapons of light to his fell purposes. I thank you for this tale, Gyantwaka, though it brings us care. Now please soothe your lips with our summer wine while we hear, I fear, of yet other forebodings.”

A heavy dwarf in a mail of steel chain walks forward. His arming sword and battle axe rest behind his shield on his back. a mining helmet, dented and torn rests on his head. His black hair and beard spilling out from under. A scar disfigures the the left side of his head running under his Jaw, where two teeth are missing, to continue down his neck below the collar of his chain. His boots and the bottom quarter of his cloak still have dried mud stains.
      He bows at the waist before the thrones before his rough voice comes out.

"I am Kal Windhammer of the Grey Deep mines of the Starry Mountains. My story is long, for it is more than my own. I was not a teller of tales amoung my people, nor one blessed with words of wisdom. Please be patient with me."
" The Grey Deep is no more. I was a member of the Home guard assigned to guard against the creatures of the dark from the deep ways. As I stood my vigil with my brothers the dark sent Trolls from the surface to attack the Grey Deep. The guard answered the call when word came, but by that time the trolls were already in the Citadel and residential halls. A trolls ax caught me in the face and I knew no more until I woke."

The dwarf seems deeply embarressed by the last admission.
"I woke in the upper tunnels that lead outside. My face was freshly stitched and I was sore. I had no arms or armor. Many tracks led towards the surface. I returned to the Grey Deep to look for survivors and to reequip. There were no survivors except possibly the missing. I rearmed with what I could find in our wrecked halls, then followed the tracks to the surface."
"I followed the tracks back to the troll caves but they too were abandoned. All the trolls and the dwarven captives were going south out of the mountains. I followed as best I could, across rivers, hills, and marsh. The tracks went south for over a month. until I was following a river which flowed south on my west and a great forest on my east. Across the river was the open hills and plains of the horse lords."

"From those plains running towards a boat on the eastern bank of the river came a band of orc, followed swiftly by the people of the horse. I charged towards the boat but it was futile and frustrating as the boat was out in the river before I or the Horsemen could catch them. From the woods came Genron the Kind, and elf, not that I knew his name at the time, firing his bow at the boat that quickly disappeared down river."

"I met Genron, The horse lord and his men. Together we decided to move against the darkness. The horse lords were being raided for several months by the orc who drew the captives back to the forest. The horse lords king had followed into the woods and was defeated. Escaping with his life he declared no horse lord would enter the woods. They would patrol and guard their lands only. The lord I met had defied this command gathering riders who had lost loved ones."
"Genron had returned to the forest of his youth, but on arrival he said he found something disturbing and wrong with it. Investigating he was set on by creatures of the darkness, which drove him from the forest."

"As for Myself I was still looking for my people but the had lost the tracks at the woods. After resupplying at a village of the people of the horse five of us entered the woods following the tracks of the orcs. Genron, The horse lord, two of his riders, and myself. On our first night under the trees we were beset by dark shadow creatures, like rodent or squirrels, but which evaporated into vapor when struck. We kept watch and easily fought them off, but they watched us everywhere we went, and all that we did."

"On the second night we were attacked by a corrupted Ent. The tree like giant pleaded with us to slay it while it attacked us. We almost lost this fight from trying to save it but as we fought, we could see darkness take over its heart core. I held its attack at bay as the horse lords made moving attacks and Genron unleashed magical fire on it. Finally it's heart core caught fire. As it lay burning to death, the Ent told Genron how it's doom came to be, in a language I did not understand. Genron relayed it to the rest of us after."

"The Elven grove of great trees, have a keeper. from what I am told. This keeper was enticed and corrupted slowly over centuries. The keeper then set about corrupting the grove. Once the grove was corrupt other elves noticed but it was too late. The keeper had turned some elves into Orcs, these orcs and corrupted forest creatures captured more of the elves turning them, Then turned their eyes to the remaining forest. The Ent had moved to protect his section of the woods but the corruption had infected him in the end. He also let Genron know that trolls had come to the keeper bring my people who were forced to work in a quarry and make arms and armaments for the orcs."

"Again we moved into the forest forcing our way deeper but the resistance became heavy. We discovered the quarry and found some of my people guarded by orcs. We attacked. In the end we were successful in freeing a few of my people and killing the orcs that guarded there. In doing so we alerted the keeper, orcs, and trolls how close to the grove we were. The horse lord was wounded, as was I and one of his riders was close to death. Genron said we needed to achieve some victory for the light. He asked me to see my people and the horsemen out of the woods, then to come here to his people and report what I had seen and what he had told me."
"I took the horse lord and his men to their land, one died on the trip back. I saw my people to the hills of our cousins in the south, then I ran here to give my report as quickly as I could. This all happened several months ago."

With those words spoken the dwarves shuts up, takes a bow at the waist and takes two steps back without turning.
(Songs&Tales roll 76 - 10 = 66)

Rob Harper has reacted to this post.
Rob Harper

As soon as Kal begins to speak, Oberon’s eyes grow wide. If one did not know Oberon to be a just and empathetic lord, one would be tempted to interpret the reaction as a discourtesy, perhaps even unvoiced mockery that a Dwarf could use so many words. But Oberon remains attentive during the tale, and, when it is finished, Oberon takes his seat, as if Master Windhammer’s report has struck him a particularly grievous blow.

”So our brother Genran still lives. It... it has been so long, even for an Elf, since we have heard from him...”

Oberon’s gaze fixes on an indeterminate area among the assembly. After a few moments, Queen Mab rises from her seat.

”Two tales have we,” she proclaims. “Weapons that do not rust, four such blades, sought by the Darkmaster and presumably carried away by his servants; Dwarves, too, many of whom are craftsfolk, second only to my own people, borne into captivity. An answer appears to emerge from this riddle, but perhaps we need additional clues.”

Her gaze encompasses the entirety of the assembly. “Is there one here who can solve this puzzle? Or are there any who have pieces to add? Speak now, for we must deliberate on what these tales portend.”

Queen Mab leans down to whisper into Oberon’s pointed ear. After a moment, she straightens.

”Any who have further reports are welcome to bring them to the attention of my husband.”

Her gaze turns to Gyantwaka and Kal. “You two I invite with me to our library. Together, we shall determine what we can about these tidings.”

With a hand motion, she conducts you to follow her through a door beyond the dais, on her side.

Gyantwaka puts down the half-empty goblet he had been nursing, recalling uncle's advice about the fermented drinks of other kins (though if the pause had been longer he would have been tempted to down all of it, uncle never said just how good it was).  He follows after the Queen with a shake of his head at the silent gathering.

OOC - if more than one PC per player were permitted I would create one of another kin with a better Healing skill than G's +45.

 

Kal waits and seems a bit miffed by the comment that dwarven craftmanship is second to anyones, but keeps his mouth shut. He waits in the cold quiet of the hall with everyone waiting for the next brave soul to come forward. He understood well the embarrassing feeling of not wanting to give voice to ones failures in such a public venue, but also knew it became easier as others had already done so.

He is begging to worry that there is only one other brave soul, besides himself. When the queen invites him and Gyantwaka to the library. ...
So few.... Maybe the darkness would win, not from a lack a strength, but from the lack of people to even come forward.

Kal Windhammer heads across to the open door sad resignation on his face.