Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Episode 1.05 - Character Journal - Corrie

Dear Diary,

Whew, these overland journeys will be the death of me. So much eerie business in this waste -- a bit c'est trop. Not too thrilled with this fellow, B. I'd hate to think of owing a favor to that bastard. Asking us to take a child? Nasty business!

Terribly pleased to see the Company forming up a bit better. Really must look into getting a decent kit for entertaining. I felt a bit caught out at the Jarl's hall with just my traveling clothes. Dashed difficult to get any decent whispers when you look like the kitchen help. I might try to pick up a few techniques from these mountain lads. We seem to get in the stew rather more than is sensible. And I'll bet that won't slack up much with them and "their honor" breezing around the place with us. Phwoar, they sure know how to take a hit though. Or maybe Mercutio could train me up a bit. I think quicker dodging might be more my thing, really.

Well, better turn in. Ought to be rested up for Tribute!


Episode 1.05 - Character Journal - Norah


I hope this letter finds you well. I haven't spoken to you in so long, and I know it's my fault for leaving so abruptly. Come to think of it, I haven't heard from Kaden in a while... has he been in touch with you? If you were interested, I have been busy setting up a trading business, which is going well. That is part of the reason I am contacting you now, it has been a long time since I have been home and the route I'm on now will take me to Tribute. I thought maybe we could catch up, since it has been so long. I will stop by when I get into the city.

I hope to see you soon.
– Norah

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Episode 1.04 - Character Journal - Hinrik

A letter sent via multiple anonymous channels to Simon Neville
To whom it may concern,
I’ve recently come into possession of some interesting reading material from south of the border.  Interestingly enough some of it quite prominently features a notable rapscallion by the name of Simon Neville.
It seems Master Neville has plans of improving his family's holdings in Restport by gambling that his homeland will be invaded by it’s southern enemy.  Of course he hedged his bet by selling sensitive information to the enemy.
A thought occurred to me while reading this fascinating account of treason; who should I share this with?  I certainly considered letting everyone know - perhaps by commissioning an article in the Restport Herald.  I then thought, well no, that may be an excessive reaction to something that could perhaps be a misunderstanding.  I then considered letting a select few know, perhaps Earl Oswald Locklight or Duke Esmond Fullspring for example.
But then I thought, that I should really give Simon the opportunity to right his wrongs.  To that end how do you suppose he could repent for his deeds?  I suspect an excellent first step would be to donate his undeserved income to a true patriot.  How do you suppose Simon would take that?
Any recommendation on how best to proceed would be most appreciated.
A concerned patriot.

Episode 1.04 - Character Journal - Norah

Jerrod –

I received your letter and parcel that needs to be delivered, we are on the move now. It seems like we have a lot to move this trip, I am looking forward to our load being lighter on our way back. On a more important note, I have a suspicion of who the mole might be. I don't want to say too much, but I plan on looking into this more on my own. I will let you know what I uncover in Tribute.

– Norah

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Teaser - Episode Five: ...And Through the Woods...

Season One, Episode 5: ...And Through the Woods...

Wherein our heroes travel to the Ogrefist Mountains to seek counsel and assistance from Jarl Tryggvi Stangbern.  What sinister occurrences might they encounter on their journey?  What friends and foes might they meet and will they be able to tell the difference?

Opening Credits: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy "A Sucker's Evening (Live)" from Summer in the Southeast

Monday, November 26, 2012

Episode 1.04 - Character Journal - Trent

[Missing Scene]

Summary - Episode Four: Return to Restport

Season One, Episode 4: Return to Restport

Wherein our heroes researched, debauched, ambushed, investigated and gossiped before fleeing Restport abruptly with a new 'package' to smuggle...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Episode 1.03 - Character Journal - Trent

I don’t particularly know what to make of our recent journey. A decision was made to recover the information gleaned from the Frumentarii that was previously thought lost or unknown. Sorina offered up her vessel to take us to Snakefang Straight, the location of the shipwreck that held this information.
Being mostly useless on the open water (and to my dismay, completely unused to sea travel), I stayed below decks, doing my best to keep from showing any signs of sea sickness. I was more fortunate than some of the others, because when the storm whipped up, I was one of the few of us landlubbers who were not overtly sick. The storm did give us one advantage though; it caused our little stowaway to reveal herself as well, as I heard her retching underneath the covers that she had concealed herself with. It was fortunate that the Thane knew her, as I was more than willing to throw her overboard.
While the child was largely inconsequential, an annoyance more than anything, the item that she had smuggled aboard with her was completely the opposite. She had stolen a great sword from her family, and when I took it from her, it attacked me.
Come to find out, this sword was one that was wielded by the Demon of the Free Valleys. Considering the effect it had on me when I merely touched it, I don’t have much reason to doubt that the sword is genuine, as stories had been told of how the demon had cut down countless Ashen Kingdom troops when they attempted to liberate the valleys from his iron grip.
After the magician inspected the sword, he gave it over to the Thane, who, to what should be no one’s surprise, immediately declared himself the new Hero of the Free Valleys and called the sword his own.
I hope you can see why I may find this somewhat troubling.
We ended up in the straight, which looked like a shipyard for the damned. With David’s help, we were able to find a path up into the cliffs, where we met an ancient priest of the goddess Asasara, the same goddess of the temple we discovered during the Adder Crag fiasco. I’m not a fan of coincidence.
After conversing with the priest, I found that he and his now absent apprentice believed that they had recovered items from the shipwreck we were looking for, as well as the lone survivor of the wreck, who had died not long after. The priest told us that if we were to perform a devotion, that he would allow us to take the items that he had salvaged. I agreed, and he prepared a tea and lead us to a chamber.
I can’t particularly say what happened at that point. It didn’t make much sense, and I only have vague recollections of what went on. We were drugged (which was of no surprise, mind you), and we seemed to have some kind of joint hallucination, and we woke up and we got what we needed. And then others asked for more, because apparently we need all the help we can get. I don’t particularly disagree with that, but even so, panhandling is such a disgraceful practice.
The documentation we received was both enlightening and disturbing. It will take me some time to digest the information that I found, but suffice it to say that even if I was not sworn by blood to reveal the secrets of my people, I would still keep this information from my new companions. I can only hope that the documentation was just information, and not something that has already begun to be implemented. Because if it has, I shudder to think of what could be wrought of it if it comes to pass.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Episode 1.03 - Character Journal - Hinrik

A letter - Sent via a trusted source

Dearest Karin,

I am so very near Last Rest that it pains me to know I cannot see you. If you should find occasion, a short vacation near the coast may be in order.

But, this letter is not about my dreams; nor your’s. I am writing to let you know Carson has found me. She is quite safe, and I have assured her I would keep her that way. She has found the Locklight bloodline to be objectionable, and, having heard my praises from your gentle lips, she decided she may be better off relocated. Please do not worry after her. I am well aware my current lifestyle does not suit the care of a beautiful young woman such as Carson, so I have requested a friend take her in and teach her the true meaning of nobility.

I will write you again once arrangements have been finalized. You may expect correspondence from her through similar means.

Your Servant, Hinrik
A letter - Sent via standard channels

My most esteemed Jarl Stangbern,

Tryggvi, please do not think what I am about to ask you presumptuous, because it is not a question I ask lightly. But, in this case, I believe you to be my best option.

I assume you remember Karin, I spoke so often of her I doubt you could forget even if you wanted. Karin’s young cousin Lady Carson has met will ill fortune as of late, losing both of her parents and going to live in the Locklight household because of her relation with Karin.

Carson could not abide living with the Locklights, as I can very well understand. Having heard Karin’s stories of me, Carson ran away to find me, and find me she did. She has asked for refuge with me, but as you would expect I very much doubt my current traveling lifestyle is suitable for the education of a young girl.

My hope is that you would be willing to take on the safety and education of this fine young girl. When I am finally able to live my life with Karin we of course would take over her care.

I send this letter ahead to give you time to think. You may try to reach me by messenger, but that is at time easier said than done. If I do not hear from you I will be on my way to speak with you in person.

Thane Hinrik Fullspring

Episode 1.03 - Character Journal - Norah

Jerrod - I am writing to tell you that I have found it. We are heading back to Restport now, and I can not wait to get off this accursed boat. I have sifted through the information, and mind you there is quite a bit, and have found the main piece of information that was of high importance. There needs to be some more delving into all of the information, but I feel that this is a huge victory. Now the only problem is getting it back to a safe place. I feel like there will be a short delay on our travel as there is a stowaway on the ship that needs to be taken care of, but I hope that it won't take too long. -Norah

Episode 1.03 - Character Journal - Corrie

Now it is clear, these folk are a rabble. They have no way to guide others because they are new as babies born themselves. And the soldier, who is canny to the world’s ways will not lead. He is a defender and born to support a true leader. Likewise the Cigany woman. Though she and the trader are rich, they run a crew of men far different than their accounts. Which is to say with slack and full play in the line. Though I must credit her full marks for that stormy passage. I thought sure we would die on the rocks. Still it is better to want rule than chafe under iron discipline of a petty tyrant. If this company will last and make a real worthy enterprise someone must take the wheel. All must deliberate well, decide our course and hold fast to it. Sometimes I envy that hawk the soldier keeps. I would look down on high and check that what we’ve done has caused no lasting evil. How is that young girl in the hill lands? How fares the priest? Does the evil army march on us? What dark purpose does the traitor bring to the North? Och, I will take my leave of this company for a week or so. A break away from this motley crew will do my heart and body good. I should reacquaint myself with the port folk and see what intelligence I can find on all these loose ends.

Episode 1.02 - Character Journal - Corrie

Well, best not to elaborate too much on these days, lest this fall into the hands of others. My heart goes out to that Cigany girl. They are a traveling people, I hope she made it away. At some point, this crew will need a captain. The foolishness and havering of the night’s work has made that plain. And what code have these members of my company? They seem to care little for propriety one minute and then cleave to it wholly the next. Best stay back and hold still from now on, and let this play out a bit.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Teaser - Episode Four: Return To Restport

Season One, Episode 4: Return to Restport

Wherein our heroes return from the dangerous waters Snakefang Strait and arrive back in Restport.  What will they do with their newly learned intelligence?  How will they handle the situation of the runaway, Carson Bosworth?  What will they do with their newly acquired artifacts?  But most importantly, what dangers await their return in Restport?
Opening Credits: Extra Life "Blackmail Blues" from Secular Works

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Summary - Episode Three: Snakefang Strait

Season One, Episode 3: Snakefang Strait

Wherein, our heroes, in the guise of the East Bay Company, sailed down to Snakefang Strait and what they discovered on their journey and at their destination...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Prologue - Episode Three: Snakefang Strait - Part Three

Prologue - Episode Three: Snakefang Strait - Part I
Prologue - Episode Three: Snakefang Strait - Part II

Continue for Part III...

Episode 1.02 - Character Journal - Hinrik

A letter- Sent via a trusted source

Dearest Karin,

It has been too long since my eyes have had the pleasure of taking in your beauty, and I hope I will have the opportunity to change that imminently.  Until that time, be assured, you will be in my dreams; with any luck I will stray into your as well.

My time since last writing you has been rather strange.  I held a dinner party for a prestigious general surveying the Ashen border.  It was going quite well until he mistook something I said and took offense.  I still have no idea what exactly I said, he never gave me the opportunity.  I can only assume our difference in accents or uncommon phraseology caused the confusion.  At length, he turned, quite literally, into a feral wolf and I had to cleave his head in two.

A week later I uncovered a bandits nest.  I did not have time to dispatch the ruffians, but I believe I will return post haste to cleanse the countryside and claim the most beautiful jewel so that I might be reminded of a fraction of your exquisite pulchritude.

Until we have the opportunity,

Your servant, Hinrik

Episode 1.02 - Character Journal - Norah

Jerrod –

I wanted to send you an update, recently we have ran into an Ashen Kingdom deserter, Javier, and he has divulged some interesting information. There has been a mole in the Ever-Burning Cinder for six years; two years ago there was a strike force sent out to kill the handlers, I don't remember hearing anything about this but you might as you are far deeper in than I. The strike force was thought to have been lost after they left port and never turned up in the Free Valleys. Turns out that Commander Skaros from the Ashen Kingdom has found a report about a ship that was wrecked in the Snakefang Strait days after the strike force had departed. It seems like Skaros has been moving his forces towards the Snakefang Strait in order to investigate the wreak himself. The information that was in those files the strike force gathered is invaluable to us, so I think I am going to convince my company to move on this. I hope to leave today to get there as soon as possible, I don't know when I will be able to send word next, but hopefully it will be accompanied by mole information.

– Norah

Map of the Free Valleys

GM's Disclaimer:  This map is very rough and is subject to change without warning as needed.

The red line indicates the border.  It is a 2 day journey by boat from Rest Port to the Snakefang Strait.  Most boats sail around Scale Isle and through the larger, much less dangerous strait between Scale Isle and the Isle of Morros to its Northwest.

Episode 1.02 - Character Journal - Hardwick

Journal entry #2:

This is a short entry as I am still healing from from a couple of arrow wounds.

Rule one of stealthy infiltration:  don't be seen
Rule two:  don't be heard:
Rule three: if you break rule one or two, LIE about why you are attempting to be unseen or unheard
- some of my favorites:
 • a wizard made me do it
• that guy said he would pay me to kill you (point to a random guy)
• I am sent from the past/future to warn you...
• I want to join your band/cult (religion)/army/cause

And lastly
• I'm in love with you (doesn't always work but will always confuse the hell out of your quarry... Sometimes long enough for you to escape)

Thing not to do:

• run away
• attack
• ask for forgiveness

Next time I should definitely try one of the Should Do's...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Teaser - Episode Three: Snakefang Strait

Season One, Episode 3: Snakefang Strait

Wherein our heroes find themselves at a crossroads, one way leads to Snakefang Strait, where Javier, the Ashen Kingdom deserter, has warned them that a legion of the Ashen Kingdom is headed to find information that could cripple the rebellion.  Where do the other three roads lead?  As the Unbroken Border gathers strength and prestige, will they oppose it?  Will they seek out the leaders of the Ever-Burning Cinder to ask advice or to once again subordinate the East Bay Company back under the rebellions complete control, merely taking orders and missions as tasked by the rebellion's leaders?  Or will they find themselves caught in a trap set by their enemies?  The heroes sit, listening in silence, to Javier, who swore on his son's bones to only tell them the truth, but outside their warehouse headquarters their foes gather and plot, legions march, the spirits of the dead search across the land and assassins brew their poisons and pick their targets...  
Opening Credits: Om "State of Non-Return" from Advaitic Songs

Friday, October 12, 2012

Prologue - Episode Three: Snakefang Strait

Major Javier Ruggieri waited for them in the back room of the East Bay Company headquarters in Restport. He sat, looking far older than when they had last seen him in Wallingford, on a small wooden crate.  His great wolf, Ochoa, lay at his feet, guarding a large duffel that Javier had aquired since they had seen him four days before.  The bag nestled against the wolf, and sometimes, it almost sounded like a faint clacking noise or rattling would stir from within it.  Javier looked around at the group, his features worn with fatigue, "Good, you're all here.  I swear on the bones of my son that everything I tell you tonight is true..." he said and then explained all that he knew.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Summary - Episode Two: Summit on Adder Craig

Season One, Episode 2: Summit on Adder Craig

(GM's note, I'm taking a little different tack on this summary, laying it out from the point of view of one of the NPC's)

William Manebrush stood before the Earl's imposing ebony desk for his dressing down.  Technically he was a member of the household of the Earl's son, but Osgar was still in his minority and so William found himself serving and answering to the Earl more than he liked.

"So," began the Earl, "What excuse do you have for missing the rendezvous?"

Monday, October 8, 2012

Episode 1.01 - Character Journal - Norah


The troupe has made it through Char-Lay and Alonso has been delivered. There was some problems in Char-Lay though, The Unbroken Border,was there and they have some interesting members in their party. The Unbroken Border had killed The Ashen Kingdom guards, and with them our bribe through, they had also taken some children hostage to keep the townsfolk at bay. We freed the children and killed most of the men, though a few got away. At least one of the members of the rising sun, his name was Joachim, was a shape-shifter as he could turn into a wolf. Thane ended up delivering the final blow to him but we heard more howls in the distance later on that night. Perhaps you should send word around that The Unbroken Border could be a problem for anyone who is crossing the boarder in this area.


Episode 1.01 - Character Journal - Trent

Well, if anything, we all survived. That much we had going for us. And if we can’t be good, hopefully we’ll be lucky.
On what should have been a relatively easy run to deliver Alonzo into the Ashen Kingdom, we managed to run into members of the Unbroken Border, who just by their name imply that they’re going to be giving us problems for the foreseeable future. Knowing how xenophobic they were, I elected not to speak, or else my southern Ashen Kingdom accent would cause more problems than being able to reason would solve. And boy did we want to start causing problems for some reason.
Instead of just sneaking Alonzo through the town in the middle of the night and getting him safely to where we were tasked to take him, ACCORDING TO OUR MISSION, we decided to turn into a death squad and take a crack at neutralizing a superior force. Because they killed some townspeople, and were holding the rest hostage. Not to say that we knew exactly why they killed the townspeople, but hey, snap judgments are always the best judgments.
There was nothing about this that I liked. Not only did we invite the leader of this little band to dinner as a “distraction”, it was decided to split our fighting force to further handicap us in the tasks that we had decided to accomplish. I will chalk it up to blind luck and a lack of discipline on the part of the Unbroken Border leader that he wasn’t more suspicious of us to start with.
My group took down the troops guarding the children of the village without much resistance, though they did manage to get a signal off, which caused the leader to attack our other group. They were successful in defeating him (they said he was a werewolf, which just further cemented how short-sighted they were in wanting to distract him by basically exposing our jugular to him and taunting him to bite), though the blowhard Thane did look a bit worse for wear when we returned.
The remainder of the troops fled, and I did what I could with our influence to make sure that our names were kept out of what happened here. There was talk of hunting them down, but it would be a futile exercise, as they have both familiarity with the terrain and an abundance of time to go to ground and report.
All in all, as long as the mission is completed, that’s all I should care about. But while I am relatively new to the smuggling trade, I’m fairly certain that our methods should involve more subterfuge and avoidance than assaults and mercy missions. We will see if this turns out to be a common occurrence, and I’ll decide from there what kind of role I want to have in this rebellion.

Character Background: Trent Reynolds

Ten years.

Ten years Tristan Reynaldo spent in that labor camp. Ten years breaking rocks down, mining inferior ore for inferior weapons and armor, making enemies, losing friends, and keeping one eye open while he slept. Ten years surviving.

And now as he awakens, groggy, in a small room he’s unfamiliar with, he wonders what kind of new hell this is going to be.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Episode 1.01 - Character Journal - Hardwick

I'm going to start keeping a journal as some of the things we've seen recently are quite extraordinary.  My master taught me about werewolves (or Lycanthropes as the old tomes refer to them) and I thought them as fantastic as a just monarchy.  Yesterday, I believe that I saw a man transform into a werewolf before my very eyes!

We were charged with delivering a "most precious cargo" into the Ashen Kingdom.  We chose the checkpoint at Char-Lay as there is a town there sympathetic to our company and the goods they need and sell are common.  Upon arrival, we discovered that not all was going to go "as planned."

Needless to say, after some investigation, a group of men had taken the town hostage and would not allow our crossing.  We made plans to change their mind.

During the "discussion" I witnessed a most spectacular lightning bolt strike the leader of their group (quite an interesting coincidence how this exquisite bolt could have hit at such a timely moment...) just as he sprouted some strange hair on his arms.  My companions told me of how he continued to transform into a mangy wolf-looking beast.  The royal member of our group made a lucky swing and finished of the beast as it lurched for the door.

I was the first onto the scene and discovered the wolf-like creature transforming back into a man as it lay there dead.  I was astonished at how such a transformation could take place!  I mean, where do the teeth and hair go while the creature it's man form?

We heard some more strange howls in the night as some of the bandits ran off.  I hope this is the last werewolf I ever have to meet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Teaser - Episode Two: Summit on Adder Craig

Season One, Episode 2: Summit on Adder Craig

Wherein our heroes, after their last encounter with the Unbroken Border, have received the results of their intelligence gathering and learned that a small group of the Unbroken Border is gathering for a summit near the border with the Ashen Kingdom.  The summit is to be held on Adder Craig, remote and rumored to have strange ruins upon its peak, one could also see the border from the pinnacle of its height.  What action will our heroes take?  Will they spy upon the summit itself, will they seek to attack the attendees or will they turn their attention elsewhere and allow the Unbroken Border to meet and plot in peace?

 Opening Credits: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis "What Must Be Done" from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford [Music from the Motion Picture]

Episode 1.01 - Character Journal - Corrie

Ruffians at the Checkpoint

Ugh, I hate a zealot. Is there anything more disgraceful than a
gentleman making commoners pay the price for his flimsy messianic
nonsense? If your Hero is destined to deliver you, then he doesn’t
need your help. He certainly doesn’t need three poor boys up on pikes.
Fucking pissants.

My duties naturally, were dispatched efficiently and quietly as I
could, though I wish I’d had a chance to keep my ears open longer
around that ass Bladebright. Well, he’s certainly gone by the board,
eh? These Unbroken Border bastards strike me as a persisting nuisance,
so it is a damn shame we let those dogs slip away in the night. I
would have loved to have a chance to really plumb their depths. An
outfit like that’s certain to have a few poorly guarded caches we
could pilfer and it would be a good move to get a sense of how
numerous these pillocks are.

Don’t know about this lot I’m in with, perhaps they’ll prove sound. So
far they seem terribly green – mostly free of discernment and
untroubled by the future. Must pick up some new boots and a warm cloak
in the next decent town if we are going to be sleeping rough. Better
turn in.

Character Background: Corrie Glendower

Born Lady Cordelia Juno Mountjoy Glendower to the Viscount Deerhurst, Phillip Andrew Cordwain Bosworth Glendower and Lady Margaret Juno Mountjoy Glendower two score and five years ago in their family seat, Glendower Hall, in the County of Deerhurst.

The county of Deerhurst was acquired by Roland Bosworth (Roland the Bold), Duke of Bosworth 180 years before (after Liberation) and given to his vassal Phillip Glendower as a reward for good council and years of service in his company. This connection, though distant, allowed the Glendowers to enjoy a cordial relationship with the Bosworths.

The last Viscount Deerhurst was a quiet and pious man who enjoyed the serenity of their remote holding on the rocky, windswept northern coast. He valued learning and spent a great deal of his leisure hours in their extensive library or endlessly improving their family chapel. The young Lady Cordelia and her two sisters, Olivia and Livinia; were educated as well as possible with lessons in music, embroidery, painting, deportment, modern languages, history, dancing and poetry. She often accompanied her nature-loving mother on long walks in the highlands along the coast.

Though the county was infelicitous for commerce the bracing sea air produced a fine local breed of sheep, noted for their warm, resilient coats. Glendower wool is a prized commodity, allowing the family holding to be comfortably maintained. Lady Margaret assumed matters of property, relying on their trusted shire reeve John Barker to help manage. The family insisted it was their duty to improve the lot of the common people of their land and treat them fairly, holding to an old sense of noblesse oblige. The family maintained loyalty of the peasants by shunning ostentation and fripperies. Her parents would often return from market trips to Tribute with refugees who needed work. A share of the wool price was kept aside to keep up commoners’ cottages, support a village fair and feast, as well as a travelling chirurgeon who saw to the shepherds and weavers.

Treachery on the part of John Barker, in collusion with unknown persons, brought the family into deep debt, simultaneously ruining the reputation of the Viscount and his wife with unspeakable scandal. Since Corrie was quite young at the time and their family obscure, she was never fully certain of how this came about and has since then been unable to get a full picture of their ruin – how it was done, why it happened and who benefitted. Nevertheless, her mother and father took their lives to salvage their honor by leaping from the cliff face. Corrie was sent away to distant relatives, where she’d be adopted and her honor (though not her name) maintained. On the way, highwaymen killed her entire company of retainers. Corrie played dead and escaped to nearby Restport with nothing but her clothes and treasured recorder.

Corrie quickly learned that she could stay alive by singing and playing folk tunes and begging for coins on the street. She did this for many years, eventually learning tumbling and bawdy jokes. As she grew up, she became a valuable asset to the local resistance group (a faction who also engaged in some very radical local politics), relaying to them secrets she’d overheard, breaking into places of interest and running errands. Eventually, the local constabulary found her out and she escaped to sea rather than betray her confidantes.

After five years at sea, Corrie became an experienced and able sailor. Hearing word at port that the local officers who identified her had passed away, she returned to the mainland to re-join the resistance and contribute to society. If her intrigues allow her to suss out the true nature of her family’s fall and restore their good name, so much the better.

Corrie’s colorful story raises a number of questions. Who was behind the scheme to ruin her family? Did John Barker act alone? Is he still alive? Did the Bosworths just take back their fief when things went awry, or were they involved? If so, what made the Bosworths turn on the Glendowers? Were those really highwaymen, or Barker’s assassins? If Corrie’s background were revealed, would the last Glendower be in danger? Can Corrie restore her family’s place in society, or their lands? Should she?

Glendower Coat of Arms
Motto "Bold and True"

Deerhurst County

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Summary- Episode One: Checkpoint Char-Lay

Season One, Episode 1: Checkpoint Char-Lay

Wherein, our heroes, in the guise of the East Bay Company, procured raw leather, dyes and tanning supplies to use as a cover for their trade in the tannery village of Char-Lay. Having been tasked by the Steel Lady, leader of the Ever-Burning Cinder, with smuggling Alonzo, spy-extraordinaire through the supposedly lax checkpoint at the edge of Char-Lay.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Five Families of the Free Valleys

Being a brief description of the Five Families of the Free Valleys, nobles who rule fractiously over the city of Last Rest and the surrounding Free Valleys.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Character Background: Norah Lawrence

My family was prosperous in the Ashen Kingdom. My father came from a long line of traveling merchants, my brother and I were to continue the trade. However, when I was 10 years old my father got wind of a deal that sounded profitable. Supposedly a neighboring region was going to be adding more silver to their coins in the following months, the plan was to gather plenty of their currency before that happened; when the coins gained value my father was to reap the rewards. The nobleman who had traded the coins to my father had spread that rumor around, when my father realized what had happened it was too late. My family was bankrupt, and no one was willing to lend my father money to help him out. My father fell into a deep depression and ended up killing himself shortly after. My mother ended up working the streets in the seedy part of the city, some nights she wouldn't make it back home, when she did come back she was riddled with bruises. My brother took off after my father died, last I heard from him was that he had made it onto a cargo ship and hoped to someday have his own shipping business; for all I know his ship has sunk to the depths of the sea.
Since my mother wasn't the most dependable I found myself begging for food or money to buy food. There were many nights when I went hungry, and many more when the guards would chase me away. Begging wasn't enough though, it might put food in my stomach, but I needed more than just food to survive. I started stealing what I needed, usually from the vendors in the streets when they were distracted with a paying customer. There were some other kids that were begging and stealing to get by, sometime we would work together but we tended to keep to ourselves, it's easier to blend into the crowds when you are by yourself verses a group of shabby looking kids.
When I was 14 I had heard whispers of a rebellion that had been moving against the Ashen Kingdom. I found one of it's members after some round-about searching and talked him into letting me join. Jerrod warned me that it was a dangerous life, but I refused to back down. There was to be a task to see how committed I was to the cause, the task was more of a trial, one I almost didn't survive. There was a caravan of five wagons heading towards the Ashen Kingdom, I was told to steal one of the wagons full of supplies and destroy the others. I figured fire would be the best way to destroy the wagons as well as create a distraction so I could escape with the last one. I stole some matches and oil and made my way to where the caravan had made camp for the night. I had dowsed a fair bit of the oil on four of the wagons and had even lit two of them on fire before the guards noticed what was happening. I was in the process of lighting the third wagon when I heard guards yelling and running around rousing the wagon drivers. I started making my way towards the last wagon that was set to burn when I was spotted by a guard. He started to chase after me so I ditched lighting the third wagon and launched myself onto the one I had planed on stealing. I whipped the horse so hard I thought it would rear so far back and topple onto me, instead it took off into the night. This wasn't how I planned it, I had hoped to make off with the wagon while everyone was distracted with the fires, but I could hear the guards chasing after me. I was running the horse as fast as it would go, but it was pulling a wagon of goods behind it. I could see the horse foaming at the mouth from exertion and I was still quite a distance from the rendezvous with a the resistance. There was no way I would make it, desperately I looked around but saw nothing that would help my escape. Being captured wasn't an option, I would choose my own death before I would endure the guards torture until they decided to kill me. I saw the edge of a cliff to my left, I wasn't sure how far down the cliff went but I didn't see any other way out. I leaned forward and started to cut the ties used to tether the horse to the wagon, there was no sense in letting the horse die, if anything it was a liability to the plan since it could refuse to go over the cliff. I managed to loose the horse from its restraints and whipped it out of the way. The guards were yelling something at me but I was to occupied looking at the cliffs edge that was rapidly approaching. There was a moment of weightlessness as the cart sailed over the edge, then I was gripping onto the wagon as it plummeted, there were loud snapping sounds and bangs, then blackness.
I woke to footsteps shuffling towards me, my heart raced, I had hoped to die in the fall but it seems like that didn't happen and now the guards were almost to me. I started to move, then sucked my breath in when a pain in my chest shot through me. I reached up to my ribs and I new that I had broken some, not to mention my right leg started to throb. There were footsteps right next to me now, I looked up expecting to see the guard but it was Jerrod. He seemed surprised to see me alive and quickly called for the others to bring medical supplies. When he returned his attention to me I said “I failed, I only destroyed three of the four wagons... and this wagon's cargo might be useless after this fall”. He just chuckled at me and told me to rest.
I spent the next few months recovering, when I was fit enough to get around Jerrod showed me the ropes and helped me get set up with missions in the rebellion. I spent a lot of my time in the rebellion running smuggling missions, the benefit of this was that I was given a wagon and started a small trade route to cover for the smuggling. Jerrod used to joke about taking better care of this wagon than I did the last.
I traveled to many areas; and the trade business grew just a steadily as the smuggling business. All the while I was learning about new places and it's people. The people were easy to talk to, and it turns out I had a knack for swaying people. Not everyone is sway-able as it turns out, I've started as many fights as I have as many rallies.
The resistance has been sending me on more missions which in turns grows my merchant business. This is a huge step in reestablishing my families business, which couldn't make me happier... well that and sticking it to the Ashen Kingdom.

Character Background: Hardwick Longshaft

My name is Hardwick Longshaft. I am...a hedge wizard. I hate that name. Everywhere I go, people associate it with dirty hermits and street showmen.

I was born into a military family. My father, Helmut Longshaft, was a lieutenant in a low level Duke's tower guard. I learned the bow early on and even stood watch a couple times.

When I was 12, I took the guild test and scored just high enough to earn an apprenticeship with a wizard of some repute. While I apprenticed, I excelled in the magics of the wind. My plan was to someday combine them with my bow and make my father proud.

When I was 16, a local magistrate heald an archery contest for a large cash prize. I asked my master if I could enter and was told that wizards do not enter physical contests. I entered the contest using the name of one of the guards I used to stand watch with back home. I won that contest...fairly. the magistrate recognized me as I went to collect my reward and had me thrown out of town citing using a false name and inciting some sort of trouble the wizards and king. To avoid starting a war, my master had me branded a traitor to the tower and the magistrate exiled me from the land.

I spent the next year begging for food and shelter before turning to crime in order to survive. I wasn't a famous outlaw or anything but I made a living. Mostly, I stole from caravans... I heard about some band of guys who did something similar in Shertown...or something like that.

One night, I tried to rob a band of entertainers and was caught. Apparently, they were resistance fighters in disguise! One of them recognized my branding just before they left me for the wolves and convinced the others that the resistance needed more wizards. I was offered a choice; join or stay there until the wolves came. Tough choice...

I spent the next couple years with this troupe. We would travel around the land and perform for the people. Our leader would walk among the people looking for those he thought might be sympathetic to the resistance.

Eventually, as my power grew, my band started to gain noteriaty for traveling with a wizard and I was given a new assignment. I was never good at recrutement anyways...

Now, I find myself on a boat. apparently wizards are not unheard of on boats because of the monsters that can sometimes rise up out of the sea...lucky for me.

I am a fighter for the cause that believes in me. I am a wizard trying to combine magic with bow. I am a son trying to make his father proud.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Character Background: Thane Hinrik Fullspring

The story of Thane Hinrik Fullspring's life has been one of extremes in riches and poverty, love and hate, freedom and captivity, and this is his story.

Hinrik was born Sir Henry Fullspring, second son of the renowned Fullspring family of the Free Valleys. Henry was an adorable and charismatic child that grew to a handsome and magnetic man. His childhood was luxurious, his every whim was attended and his every desire fulfilled. That is not to say he never heard the word no, he simply disregarded its finality. At a young age he became aware of his social standing, and thus his ability to get what he wanted. He had no qualms over pleading for what he wanted or simply taking what he wanted if his lessers ignored his incessant whining.

Henry's rise into manhood was much like his childhood, though he tended to rely on his looks and charms to get what he wanted instead. That is to be expected given that what he wanted was women. Henry became skilled in the courtly arts and the stealth required to enjoy the company of many woman of the court. He broke many hearts and probably ruined several relationships.

Unfortunately for Henry, he was susceptible to love also, and fell in love he did. What made the love unfortunate is that he fell in love with a married woman. What made it even more unfortunate is that he fell in love with Duchess Karin Locklight, second wife of the Duke Lennart Locklight and matron of the Locklight family of the Free Valleys. Alis loved Henry too, and their secret meetings were wonderful, and all was well. But, love cannot be hidden, and in time, the Duke Lennart caught wind of the affair, and his retribution was swift.

One evening Henry received word that he should meet Karin. He went to the meeting, but Karin did not show. After waiting for some time his patience was punished by a group of hired thugs. He was attacked and kidnapped by a group of barbarians. Luckily for him the barbarians knew someone of his caliber had more worth alive than dead, so he was brought to their mountain camp and held prisoner.

This is where Henry's life ends, and Hinrik's begins.

Hinrik was put to work in the kitchen. In the beginning he hated it. His feet and back hurt from all the standing. His hands were burned and cut. However the life of a pauper is better than no life at all, and so he persevered. Not only did he persevere, but he actually got to be rather good at cooking, and it was through his cooking that he gained a minor the ear of a minor noble of the barbarian tribe, Thane Larus Axbjarn.

As far as Hinrik was concerned his food was great, though in reality it was a little hit or miss. His popularity was probably more due to the fact that people liked the idea of a noble from the high and mighty Free Valleys cooking their meal. Larus was no different in that regard. What made Larus different was that he thought he could get something out of knowing Hinrik. He talked to Hinrik about the barbarian intrigue, and Hinrik gave him a few pointers.

Pointers to Larus turned into talks with other nobles, and it was through this that he finally came to meet Jarl Tryggvi Stangbern. Tryggvi took a liking to him and decided to bring him under his wing. Hinrik learned what it meant to be a noble of the mountain folk. Hinrik earned his respect and proved himself, and was eventually made a Thane.

Jarl then put him to work as a merchant, knowing that Hinrik's friendly looks and charm backed by his lashing tongue would do wonders in getting deals for better goods. But the reason Jarl really wanted him there was because of the smuggling ring.

Hinrik found the idea appealing as well, since it got him freedom to travel. The best thing is that occasionally he gets back to the Free Valley, and when he does, he is sure to discreetly meet Karin.

Hinrik has never contacted his family. They believe he ran away and is likely dead. But that is not way. His main concern is for Karin. If he suddenly returned there would be questions about where he had been and why, and if the truth came out Karin would suffer either through a physical attack or dishonor.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Teaser - Episode One: Checkpoint Char-Lay

Season One, Episode 1: Checkpoint Char-Lay

Wherein our heroes, smugglers working for the rebellion against the Ashen Kingdoms and hiding behind the front of the East Bay Company, approach the remote border village of Char-Lay.  Their mission, to smuggle the spy Alonzo back across the Ashen Border through the lax checkpoint manned by the greedy and easily bribed Captain Han.  Complications, however, loom on the horizon, for as the heroes approach Char-Lay they can see a towering plume of smoke rising above the village.  What has happened and how will our heroes handle this unforeseen disaster.

Opening Credits: Swans "Lunacy" from the Seer

Monday, September 10, 2012

And the Season One Plot Line is...

It's official, the players have chosen the Season One Plot Line as...

Across the Ashen Border
   Wherein our heroes cross the perilous border between the Free Valleys and the Ashen Kingdom, the dangers they encounter, the rivals they find and those who attempt to stop them.
Soon the players will create their characters and their company (or companies), so watch for the first character summaries and backgrounds to appear in this space soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Season One Possible Plot Lines

Enumerating the five possible plot lines for the Players to choose from for Season One and giving example characters and companies.

Across the Ashen Border
 Wherein our heroes cross the perilous border between the Free Valleys and the Ashen Kingdom, the dangers they encounter, the rivals they find and those who attempt to stop them.
 Possible Characters: Tribute Exile, Caravan Driver, Down on their Luck Mercenary, Border Merchant   
 Possible Companies: Smugglers, Tribute Rebels, Unscrupulous Merchants, Tribute Nobles

Unrest in Last Rest
 Wherein our heroes find themselves in the midst of political turmoil in the city of Last Rest as one of the Five Families that rules the city sways and seems ready to topple.  Will our heroes seek to keep the status quo, foment total revolution or merely take advantage of the chaos to cement their own influence?
 Possible Characters: Noble out for Revenge, Beggar Spy, Status Climbing Merchant, Machiavellian Sage
 Possible Companies: A minor branch of one of the Five Noble Families, a minor noble family (not of the Five), Last Rest revolutionaries, Merchant Guild

What to Call the Last Port of Call
 Wherein our heroes are swept up in an attempted revolution that would break the rule of the Five Families of Last Rest over Restport.  Will our heroes support the noble family of Restport, a sailor democracy or a merchant oligarchy or will they make use of the chaos to enrich themselves?
 Possible Characters: Former pirate, Restport Noble, Power hungry merchant, Sailor Revolutionary
 Possible Companies: Revolutionary cell, pirate ship, counter-revolutionaries for hire, Opportunistic merchants

Unknown Legacy of the Last Hero
 Wherein our heroes discover hidden secrets about Gerard, the Last Hero who shattered the Old Empire and kept the Free Valleys unconquered.  What motivations send them after this hidden knowledge, who will they have to wrest it from and what will they do with it?
 Possible Characters: Knight who idolizes Gerard, Country Sage, Curious Noble, Sorcerer Historian
 Possible Companies: Knightly Order, Adventuring Scholars, Minor Noble Family seeking a connection to the Hero, Cult of the Hero

Seekers of the Lost Temples
Wherein our heroes seek out and explore ancient and ruined temples of the Lost Gods.  What treasures, mysteries or knowledge do they seek, who else haunts these old ruins?
 Possible Characters: Treasure hunter, Devotee of a Lost God, Antiquarian, Warrior troubled by prophetic dreams.
 Possible Companies: Sorcerer’s coven, Cult of a Lost God, Scavengers, Minor Noble family searching for a shortcut to power.

Setting Premise

Being a post in which the GM rambles on about some of the premises behind the home-brewed setting of Last Rest...  More to come on the setting once the players and their characters have added to it...

Character Creation Example

A blog post containing the Character Creation example I am including in my player's character creation packet.

Character Creation Example:

Edward thinks about the setting and decides he wants to play a beggar who is destined for greatness, he likes the idea of starting out hard-scrabble and having his character claw his way to the top.