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.