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About This Game

An OSR-style tale of adventure inspired by classic 80's fantasy.

Game System

Castles & Crusades

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09/25/2023

Detailed Description

 

You are a hero. Or, at least, you need to be. Some people already know your name, be it from local good deeds or some position of significance that you hold. A figure of note with potential for greatness. But even heroes run into obstacles and right now you are facing something beyond the scope of your usual derring-do. An impossible task, a quest with far reaching implications that will require all that you have to offer and more. It is the 'and more' that has brought you here, to the mountain home of the Oracle of Stone, with the promise of finding aid to make this impossible task...well, possible.

 

Help design a world of sword and sorcery, a place of unfathomable magic and ancient evils. Work with the other players to craft a setting steeped in that grimy, 80's fantasy nostalgia complete with bad special effects and stilted dialogue. Inspiration for this style runs the gamut from Conan and Krull to Willow and The Dark Crystal. Best of all, be the architect of your own triumph (or tragedy) as you create the ultimate, impossible quest that will guide the characters through a (hopefully) compact and well-paced arc and tell an inspiring story of what it means to be heroic.

 

Please reference the Game Expectations for general game structure and the How to Apply topic in the Applications forum.

  1. What's new in this game
  2. So it shall be! (read that is a booming voice) I really appreciate everyone's participation in this game and I would welcome each of you in any future games I ran without hesitation. Wow, talk about going back. Way back. Shadowrun is such a great setting and I want very much to use it but I always end up tripping over the mechanics no matter which edition I use. It was good, though, story-wise. I look forward to future opportunities to interact with you all.
  3. A belated third in agreement and regret. Apologies for not checking in sooner - this month has been uncharacteristically. . . unkind on my end. Mayahps not as dire but still shitty. ( Every major appliance that could break has, there's been illness, there's been drama both work and domestic. In short, May SUCKS) This week is the first one where I could really catch my breath. I managed to keep two other games on life support during the period but this one continually got the short shrift from me and I'm sorry for that. You were all awesome to play and create with, and while it's been years since last played together it was worth the wait for this one, even if it ended sooner than planned. No joke, you inspire me to make the BEST shit - if you remember that old Shadowrun game you ran over a decade a go? I still use the NPCs and stories we made for that in my home SR games to this day, and you can be for damn sure The Fell will find a home when I'm up to running here again ~eyes his copy of Shadowdark longingly~ Catch you all on another page in another story.
  4. Totally understand; ironically, I finally wrote a post but realized nothing was happening so I decided to hold off and see what this was. I deeply enjoyed it, but yes, I agree we never caught our momentum. I look forward to seeing you all across the Weave.
  5. Thank you for the game. Even though short, it was a good one! See you in the Weave! 😎
  6. Having sat on this for a bit while concurrently battling a kidney stone, I've come to a conclusion. Our game has never really caught momentum due to my erratic work schedule and health issues. Work for me is in a real flux and I'm currently unsure whether it will end with a more reliable schedule or a less reliable one. With such a small group I'd usually call a break for a situation like this but past experience has told me that calling a break in a game that's barely moving is far more likely to result in kicking things down the line for a month and then having the game just kind of dissolve. I think it is best that we put this one to bed, if only for my mental well-being. I appreciate your involvement in this experiment but I was never really able to get this thing rolling and I doubt my engagement will improve given everything. I enjoyed everyone's characters and am glad to have played with you even briefly.
  7. DM - Val is the primary contact in the storyline. Should we temporarily pause or are you going to NPC Val for the short term or other?
  8. Sorry guys, I'm dealing with some cyclical burnout that happens yearly. On top of that my grandma is being severely rude to me and I quite nearly got kicked out yet again over a simple argument (she doesn't care to shut doors quietly so I'm not woken up early). I'm so stressed out I'm sick to my stomach and can't focus on the game at the moment.
  9. None of these derro have given any indication that they speak the common tongue. Val has, I presume, been translating for the Sister and when she does the derry don't seem to register the meaning of the exchange.
  10. Let me know. I have half my post written, but need this information to finish. Thanks! 😀
  11. DM - Are the derro speaking in common or derro when they say "STAY"? _________________________________ Then does the woman in charge speak in derro or common? Either or a combination of both would be cool, since that would allow me to react to what I think they said versus knowing for sure, which is cool. Just let me know. Thanks.
  12. Two Truths and a Lie There is no doubt in any of your minds just how precarious this situation is. Derro are not widely understood on the surface but what concrete information exists paints them as a lawless society of loosely knit clans constantly vying to space, resources and power. Far more numerous than the elves of the deep dark, but not as cohesive or focused. Murder is not a concept that draws the same kind of ire as in many cultures from above. If one successfully kills another, their strength or cunning proved them greater. Might truly makes right here, and even Val and Clairese can sense more eyes on them than the trio they can see. A fight here could be bloody and costly, but it would probably be quick whichever way it went. Val makes the agreed upon overtures, that they are there tracking a creature and that search turned up the body and the implications it makes. The bag of letters tossed on the ground beside the corpse, the knife held still in Val's hand so as to not provide another weapon to their enemies. "Stay." The tallest of the trio, his voice like sandpaper on your ears, points to Val and Clairese as he turns to the other two and the whisper in a huddled position, eyes constantly jumping back to make sure the two women aren't making a move. The whispers cease and the tallest shoves the shortest back into the darkness where he scampers off toward the tunnel in the back of the chamber. "You will speak of this to Assessor Temrig." The taller derro makes a motion into the darkness to both sides and Neve sees the two creeping figures fall back a step from their position, blades held but lowered. Wicke hears a shifting of cloth from his right where the footstep had sounded before. It is less than a minute before footfalls sound, these heavy and giving no effort to a stealthy approach. A woman melts out of the dark with the smaller derro close on her heels. She is all edges and angles, a tight and complicated braid of white hair falling over the etched metal pauldron on her left shoulder. Her right bears the weight of a heavy maul with a metal haft and stone head, and she balances it there with a single hand. The ring through her nose catches the light, but it isn't metal. Dark, shiny stone like obsidian. She shares similar leathers to the other derro but patches of metal have been sewn over vital areas in a look that screams practicality over aesthetics. "Surface blood. You risk much coming here, but I imagine you knew that." She steps closer to the body that the women presented, closing far more than the others despite an obvious discomfort at the tokens magical luminance, as she puts a boot to the corpse and rolls it over. Reaching down, she picks up the satchel with the letters and roots through it, pulling out one and then another. Her eyes dart across the page as she opens them and then replaces each in the bag. Finally, her eyes go the knife and she draws a slow breath in through her nose, thoughts floating across her face. With a sudden and decisive nod of her head, she motions for Clairese and Val to follow. "Come. Too many eyes here." She turns and points to the body, inspiring the three derro behind her to spring into action. They too squint and sneer as they draw closer to Clairese's light, but they bear it long enough to pick up the corpse and follow behind the Assessor as she moves into the ruins. The trek isn't long, and most of the derro lurk in the dark outside of the duo's light so the ruined structures take on a distinctly empty feel. Circling around to the crumbling remains of a wall the women find themselves in a decently appointed dining area. A round table with a half dozen chairs around it, shelves along the south wall with bowls and plates and other utensils. The three derro dump the body on the table with little ceremony before spreading out around the edges of this central area, seeming to take up guard around the edges of the light, but against what exactly? "Were you derro, or drow, I would cut you open and read the lies on your entrails. Since you are not, I do not see a reason for this to be a trick. Not from my people, or the elves." Her eyes, empty white spheres, make it somewhat difficult to see where exactly she is looking but for some reason Val can feel the weight of her gaze as she continues. "They hate your people more than we do, so you can't be a spy for them." She sets her maul down on the table beside the body, pulling out a chair and perching a leg on it before sliding into the seat reversed, arm resting on the back. Out in the dark, Wicke and Neve are able to move forward as the action draws much of the attention into the center of the ruins and away from the periphery. They are able to close in to the walls of the ruins safely, Wicke having to move to by sound and touch but not unaccustomed to such difficulties. With Wicke at the east and Neve to the south, the conversation carries to their eyes but only just. "So I take this as truth, which means Hewcrier Vanik did this thing." She nods toward Val, toward the knife she carries with it's skull emblem on the pommel. "His knife, his crest. No doubt he had his Shadow do the deed rather than bloody his own hands." The way she says shadow seems to capitalize the term, some kind of title perhaps? The way her voice turns as she says these things speaks volumes of her personal feelings on the Hewcrier, ice clinging to each word. "You are mercenaries? Hunting ankheg? The beasts are his, three in all. His following is...greater than mine. To bring justice would be hard for me now, but are you are warriors, too? We have the workings of a deal, perhaps?" What exactly is being presented? A battle, an assassination? It feels like that moment when you cross mud and your foot sinks much deeper than expected as the muck swallows your ankle. How deep will this muck get? OOC Our ambushers have successfully moved to the indicated locations on the map. They can hear the conversation happening at the table. I do rather love the idea of Clairese and Val strolling up and just dumping this body in front of these three derro, and I believe the corpse was intended to be presented as evidence, but once again let me know if things here aren't as intended and we can adjust.
  13. Signals are good. Wicke would react accordingly. I have no issue with the plan as presented here.
  14. I'll have to get to this tomorrow. I'm.still getting over being sick, again. My immune system sucks.
  15. What has been posited above all seems like a solid plan to me. You absolutely can have worked out a go signal before hand. If you folks want to use the approach of 'as much honesty as is necessary but no more', I can work that easily enough into the narrative. I'll plan an update for Thursday to give everyone time to chime in with any specific details they want to address.
  16. Sorry, when I posted I was tired and in a rush. I do not mean dispute or argue with them, which was not clear when I re-read my post above. 😕 I meant ignore their words and rephrase them with softer words that we choose. ____________________________________________________________________ For example, when they state a demand for blood, twist it to something else, like maybe, "Possible blood split against your clan is the only reason we come forward." When they say trespass, we counter with "In fact, we paused our hunt to deliver 'this' information to you, without obligation or expectation." _________________ ________________________________________________ Then let them respond, which will likely be something akin to "what information?" Only if we are pressed for more information about why we are here, then use something like a simple statement of truth that reveals basically nothing specific, such as, "Tracking the path of an Ankeg who has taken one of us." ______________________________________________________________________ Until we know their demeanor and intentions, I think "Less is More," and agree try, at least in the beginning, to avoid direct references to the witch or anything but the bare minimum facts. If we stick with the truth of a hunt and a discovery of information potentially concerning them and that we paused our hunt to come forward, we do not have to roll bluff checks and their sense motive checks will reveal we are being truthful in terms of game mechanics. Essentially, since we are telling the truth, in the storyline our body language, voice intonations, eye contact, etc. will indisputably indicate truthfulness, including any magical examination, if they have the capability.
  17. I'd wager the demand for blood is posturing - it almost demands a ritualistic response of "'Aye, and yours shall serve it well. Or shall we talk of opportunity rather than debts, etc . . ." I mean, it's a clear, unambiguous threat but they didn't have to warn off two topworlders given their numeric advantage. We've got a little room to play without taking them literally. Probably. . . . not gonna lie, really wish Neve had some sort of message or ghosttalk ability right about now. Downside of splitting the party for this setup is the rogue is sidelined for negotiations unless it goes sideways. For what it's worth I figure we either bluff - act like representatives of the treaty that wasn't, just roll in like there's a peace and we're gorram ambassadors demanding information on that insufferable woman so we can deal with her on our terms - or play the merc card: get them to tell us what they want and get it for 'em in exchange for the witch. Without doing a full convo there's not much nuance to leverage otherwise Would it be possible to stipulate that Val and Clarise agreed to some visual or verbal signal to trigger Nev and Wicke into action beforehand? If the goal is ambush Nev would have suggested something a bit less obvious than "now!" as the starting gun.
  18. Clairese has committed not to speak during the initial negotiations. Perhaps their demand for blood could be satisfied by the blood and marrow of the fallen body we brought. And maybe bringing them the messager's scrolls/papers is a delivery not a tresspass, which is defined as refusing to leave if asked which we could volunteer to do as a show of good faith.
  19. Never announce your violence ahead of time. That's rookie stuff. While I imagine it ultimately comes down to Val since she's the speaker, you can have made some conclusions as a group about what you want to say. I don't want to assume any specific information is given unless you all confirm it.
  20. Compelling reason: we will murder your asses if you don't let us live. But more seriously, what do we want to do here?
  21. Once again, sorry for the delay. Work has been impossible this month. So, to get our pace back to what we set in the beginning, we don't need to linger on this initial conversation. If you present them with a compelling reason to not kill you, we can move forward to bigger dealings. I am working under the assumption that the group's genuine goal here is to avoid a fight but if you'd prefer to press your current advantage and kill these fools, let me know.
  22. Breaking the Ice With a plan in place, the group splits to each of their respective positions. Wicke uses the depth of the water trench to avoid notice while Neve keeps to the low rubble nearby. Sister Clairese and Val make an odd pair as they move through the gloom with only the priestess' glowing token to guide them. As they draw near to the ruins in the north of the chamber, figures melt out of the darkness ahead of them, keeping to the edge of their globe of luminance. Shorter and less stocky than the surface dwarves they have likely encounter before, these three derro present an obvious aura of menace as they brandish short blades in the womens' direction. "This is Consortium grounds. Your trespass demands blood." Val passes the message to Clairese, who hears the words as something akin to a series of hissing growls. As languages goes, it certainly is among the more guttural and carries similar inflections to the tongue of the orcs. Initial tense moments pass as overtures of non-aggression are made, weapons lowered but not sheathed, as the trio agree to hear words before committing to violence. Clairese's skilled eye for body language reveals no indication of duplicity from them, but the distrust is written all over their faces as they ask for the duo's purpose here. Wicke can make out some of the details from his hiding place. The bright spot up ahead, the five people within it, the possibility of bloodshed. Sound carries in an odd fashion underground, and this chamber is large enough to send echoes of the conversation to his ears. Whether he can understand it or not, the initiations of a dialogue is evident. This may end in death but at least it won't start that way. Listening to the words and the soft trickle of water against the side of the trench, a shifting sound catches his ears. A scrape of stone, a soft exhale, and as he stares into the darkness he can almost make out a slight change in the shades of black there. Another derro, likely, lurking in the dark and watching the situation much as he is. That makes four to their four. An increase in the wrong direction. Neve has it easier with her keen vision. As Val and Clairese speak, the derro seem ready to fight but open to Val's explanations. To her left there is movement, one derro at the base of the broken wall and another crawling along the top. They seem ready to join in any conflict and would certainly tip the scales in the derro's favor should it come to a fight. The only advantage given to the group is Neve and Wicke's hidden positions and losing that might mean death for all involved. It begs the question...is Val serving as a diplomat or a distraction in this moment? OOC Okay, so this is not concrete but I went with what we've established and we can alter things as needed. I went with Clairese's light source since neither she nor Wicke would be able to see anything without it and that would really impair them in this situation. The derro are open to hearing you out, so I'll just need to know what you specifically want to tell them. This is pbp so we don't need a line by line exchange, just post any details you want to provide them and I'll sum up a response next post.
  23. I think that approaching the Dwarves that we are tracking an Ankeg might be the best start to explain why we are here. It's simple and easier to explain at first than the witch after we get a 'feel' for the Duoro. Explain that's when we found body/message nearby from years ago. Perhaps trade of knowledge? We can always bring up the witch thereafter, instead of leading with a more complicated issue, once we get a better feel for the situation. With any luck, we might establish a relationship if we both have a common enemy.
  24. Yeah, it's been a minute so let me reframe the scenario. The group's primary goal investigating the cave was locating the Witch and returning her to the tower. The evidence from the room in the tower basement indicated she was abducted and that ankhegs were used to tunnel through the wall from this cave system. Investigation of the tunnels provided the following information so far: Evidence of a conflict at a ruined checkpoint/fort structure. Skeletal remains that were likely elven were found there. The tunnel there had been collapsed through some explosive force. A well-like structure that opens to the surface. A pond in a side tunnel that contained the body of a long-dead elf with evidence of murder and documents detailing treaty conditions. A large chamber with an underground river and ruins that are currently populated by derro. A side tunnel leading off from this location is also populated and the chittering growl of an ankheg was heard from down that way at least once. That was as far the current scouting was able to uncover. The elf's body was buried under muck at the bottom of a thirty foot deep pool of cold water with a slow current. If there ever was a smell, it is long gone given that he has been there for somewhere more than year and less than two. The depth of the body and the temperature of the water would have definitely limited any decay odor and the cave itself has a natural musty fragrance from the lichens and mosses growing in it. It is pretty clear that someone made efforts to hide that murder, and derro culture tends to not take issue with murder in general (the strong rule the weak, etc...) so they likely had extenuating circumstances for doing so. It would be reasonable for the group to suspect, given their proximity and the sounds of ankhegs nearby, that these derro are responsible for the abduction. Is everyone good with the placement Terran suggested for initiating the dialogue?
  25. Heck, maybe these Derro know about the ankheg? I guess we can try that sort of route. Does it stink of a dead body in here, per above discussion? I think that'll impact how/if we bring up the corpse in conversation.
  26. Our ultimate goal is to find the witch, isn't it? And the ankheg, presumably? So safe passage or hints as to where to go would make the most sense to me.
  27.  
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