Sunday, November 6, 2016

News from the Dark Country: October and November 1392


October 1392
The calendar and liturgical months of October and Shocktober have once again aligned, meaning that there is likely to be a very hectic Halloween Muster.Admittedly, sometimes such Halloweens pass uneventfully as the dark powers which govern such things are pulled away by concerns in another dimension.

Still, the omens so far are grim. Women have been seen at dusk flying on brooms and kettles and pans and coffins and billy goats and cats and even men bent over and howling like wolves. Even the "cat lady" who recently... attended to one of the Trull brothers has left the village. They head into the Fog-bound Forest for what is likely to be a hideous rite of some import.


As if this unprecedented supernatural terror was not enough, banditry along the Long Road has essentially stopped all trade during this October. Rupert is beside himself, with a dwindling stock and little news from home. He does have a writ from the Van Toad Merchant House that offers a bounty of 200 gold Knots for anyone willing to find and clear a bandit encampment thought to be in the Great Swamp, somewhere near the ruins of Vollage.


Finally this month, Mervynn came into the village and has stated that Nightwick Abbey itself spoke allowed with the opening of its trap doors and the clapping of its falling stones. He did not understand all of what it said, but says that the short version is that the Abbey wishes to make it known that it can devour souls forever. He's not quite sure why it took the time to say that.




November 1392
The strange coven that had been gathering in the Fog-bound Forest seems to have dispersed without ill effect on the Sons of Adam. Many of them could be seen leaving on their brooms, skillets, and ax handles as shadows on the moon. Halfdan suggests that, perhaps, they forgot some key component to their ritual and will have to wait to some future time to enact it. Regardless, the Cat-Lady from the village has yet to return, so it is possible that some witches still remain in the wood. The men of the Lodge have not yet returned to their work for fear of such women.

The bandit activity of last month has escalated into a full peasant revolt in the southern villages. This one seems more typical than the strange occurrences earlier this year. It's the normal torches, pitchforks, and lynchings. Baltzer the Bold has sent a request to Badder for reinforcements, but Badder seems content to sit his men in Nightwick until the leaders of the Howling Kommandos make their way to Lychgate.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

News from the Dark Country: September 1392


Only a scant few days after the party delivered the electric mechanisms to Halfdan the Black's tower, strange arching lightning was seen exiting the window on a dark and storm night. The next day, a beautiful woman, full of figure and black of hair, was seen in the village buying "supplies." She claimed, in a halting accent, to be Halfdan's daughter.

Word has reached the village that Baltzer the Bold has begun a wave of punitive taxes on behalf of Bishop Notker to punish the "pagans" for the killing of Lord Arn. During the Harvest Moon celebration Baltzer is said to have taken all of the food from the banquet held within the walls of Blackleg. This has sparked a rebellion in the city, the third since Yim Yimsley appeared in 1388.

A group of Badder's Boys, commanded by none other than Badder himself, has entered Nightwick Village. They claim it is in response to the rebellion and that they wish to send raiding parties South to restore the Law to the area. They claim it is in response to the rebellion, but neither Kozel nor Roderick - the most literate men in the village - can work out how they could've heard about the rebellion, mustered troops, and deployed them so swiftly. Even Abraham, who is super-numerate, is baffled.

Badder has with him a summons from Bishop Notker the Unshaven for "Sheriff Blackbird, Brother Kozel, Brother Stavros, and the Howling Kommandos" to appear in Lychgate before His Holiness "before the Halloween Muster." Badder informs the party that they will be given some time to attend to things in the village but from the day they enter until the day the party returns from Lychgate Badder has been placed in control of the village.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

News from the Dark Country: July 1392



Arn of Blackleg is slain! According to the current Regent - Baltzer the Bold, a knight and adviser foisted on Arn by Bishop Notker the Unshaven - a member of the pagan rebel group called the "Yimslians" entered Arn's room at night and light his bed aflame. Why he burned too quickly for anyone to help is, as yet, a mystery. Arn's pregnant wife has been taken into protective custody by Baltzer, and the regent has begun a series of hangings meant to punish the guilty and dissuade potential rebels.

The lost army of Ulrich von Lichtenstein has returned from the Witchwood, or what's left of it anyway. Only 88 men of the original army of 1500 have survived. Ulrich himself is not among them. They are shocked to find out how much time has passed but admit that the Witchwood seem eternally autumnal in a way that made the passage of time difficult to tell. They also tell stories of man-eating deer, rabbits which burrow into corpses, trees that grow out of people, and the dangers of eating pig-men.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dogheads

This depiction of the "Apostle to the Dogheads" is... wrong

Dogheads were men once, and perhaps they still are.  In some barely remembered time before the creation of the Realm of Man, perhaps even before even the Empire, there was a shinning kingdom of men far from the Middle Sea.  Some say it lay south of the Desert Lands, but others say it was somewhere in the jungles of the Land of a Thousand Idols and some say it was in both and neither.  Wherever it was or wherever it wasn't it was ruled by a wise king.*

In some tomes it is claimed that it was this king who first heard the Law, but such a belief is the rankest of heresies.  More conservative theologians who still believe the City existed before the Empire merely state that he could sense the great thrumming but not hear it as the Lady Could.  This has kept them unburned... so far.  In any case, he built the City.  The City was the jewel of the world before the Realm came into being, and it is said to have sparkled for a thousand years - supposedly the unnatural length of the wise king's life.

It's people became decadent and, as people without the light of the Law are wont to do, began to worship strange beings they believed to be gods.  The wise king warned them of their folly, but they did not listen.  Some say the high priests of the nameless god of the dogheads ate the king alive, though some say he still lives.  At the very least, they bit him, and for this they gained the heads of canines - whether as a curse from the God of Law or as a divine boon from their nameless idol none can say.

The City fell into ruin without its king and its (now dog-headed) people were set to a life of wandering.  Somehow, in the time of the First Emperor and the Lady, they came to the Steppe which lies east of the Dark Country.  They burned the human settlements that lay on the Steppe's edge and devoured the people there in the name of their nameless god.  Then they came over the Nameless Mountains.**  The legions beat them back but did not follow them into the Steppe, and they have lived their ever since.

They are a plague on the Dark Country.  They come in great raiding parties down the rivers and through the passes and burn and eat the men they come across.  By the reckoning of the pagans and even most Realmish settlers in that benighted land, they are actually not beast-men.  They seem, in their way, to have a language, a culture, and even two sexes.  Aside from their cannibalism(?) they act not unlike the raiding pagans of old.

There are three known types.

Lesser Dogheads (N) AC 15 HD 2 Attacks Weapon Special None Move 12" The average doghead.  Rarely seen outside of the steppe.  Use spears, shields, and small compound bows to defend their tents.

Greater Dogheads (N) AC 16 HD 4+1 Attacks Weapon (+1d6 damage if melee) Special None Move 24" Taller than a man by half.  Scamper on too many legs in an unsettling fashion.  Fond of compound bows and scimitars.

Doghead Chieftans (N) AC 16 HD 5+4 Attacks Weapon (+1d6 if melee) Special See below Move 24"/24" (Fly)  As Greater Doghead but with two heads (often one male and one female) and two crowns.  Can fly, become invisible, and breathe fire (8d6 damage, save for half) at will.  They may charm person or monster and create a sphere of darkness once per day.  Some may be able to turn into human form but are loathe to do so.  They will retain their second head but will hide it with a cloak.

*Some blasphemous sources record his name as Prestor Ultron, but only in Zenopolis.  All such records have been burned on the orders of High Pontiff Burgos the Sullen shortly before his passing.

**Some hold that the Nameless Mountains are named after the Dogheads nameless god.  This assertion is ludicrous.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

More News from the Dark Country

After the most recent G+ session of Nightwick, Antion or whatever had his character participate in a new system I've developed to eat the PCs money and to also give them stuff.  This is part of the result.


Breaking News
While fishing near his hut in the Fog-Bound Forest, Kozel is approached by a woodsman. He is a young man with a bright face and a nervous smile. He identifies himself as Jurgl and says that "travelers" in the village related to him that when Arnawald the Black Eagle successful sacked Blackleg in a second siege his men found a Temple to "Saint Santa Claus."

Knowing the go-- err... saint was responsible for his defeat at the first siege, he sent his men into the temple to seize the ido-- er... relics inside. They burned the idol after hacking it with axes.


Now the place lies in ruins and is said to be haunted by foul creatures from the Fog-Bound Forest. Perhaps, though, Kozel may find his answers about the "saint" within...




Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Savages of Time


Savages of Time
AC 14
HD 3
Attacks Crude Weapons
Special Cosmic Entropy
Move 9
HDE 6/400

The Savages of Time are heralds of cosmic entropy found in only the oldest ruins on dying and dead worlds.  Their presence seems to erode these ruins such that by the end they are nothing more than foundations.  From Earth the nearest example of their handy work may be seen on Mars, though - due in part to the zigguratic-structure of time, some of the ruins of that planet remain untouched.

They appear as morlock-like creatures - stouter than a man and with imbecilic features.  They are not so much albinistic as colorless.  They have neither art nor legends nor songs.  Their material culture, such as it is, consists only of crude tools for practical purposes.  Even these are prone to break in the hands of non-savages.

Wounds dealt by a savage contain the chill of cosmic entropy.  As such, they may not be healed by non-magical means.  Weapons which strike them must make a saving throw or rust beyond usefulness.  Those made of precious metals do not rust but instead tarnish, reducing their value by half with each failed save.  After four such failed saves the atoms of the weapon scatter harmlessly in a process that is only understood by those who meditate on the impermanence of all things.

Even magic fails in their presence.  Magical weapons used against them must make a similar save (the weapons attack bonus acting as a bonus to the roll) or lose an effect with each strike.  Should all its magic be drained in this manner, the weapon may then be destroyed as described above.  Spells cast on the Savages of Time may never be memorized again and the spell slots used are no longer available to the caster.

Some scholars have speculated about the nature of their spontaneous generation and seeming lack of secondary sexual characteristics.  A mad few have postulated that the savages of time are emanations of a 5th dimensional being best, but still dimly, understood as a god or titan of entropy.  Should such a being exist its presence would only be detectable by use of dispel magic.  Even this would only reveal the parts of the  creature which intersect with the dimensions perceivable by man. In any event such a creature would appear as a shifting mass of colorless bubbles constantly ebbing and flowing, presumably about 30' in diameter.  It would possess the following statistics: AC 15 HD 16 Attacks Beam of Entropy (3d6 damage), Special Cosmic Entropy Move 3/120 (Fly).  Slaying the creature would remove the Savages of Time from existence and may even restore the ruins around them.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

News from the Dark Country

Pictured: The murder of one of Arn's wife's handmaidens by a group of rebels.

News from the Dark Country
Word has reached Nightwick that the villages around Blackleg are once again inrevolt. Arn, Arnawald's son and de facto Lord of Blackleg, is more competent than his predecessor and seems to be managing the situation much better.

However, the reports say the rebellion is more organized this time, relying on raids and terror rather than mass attacks. There are dark whispers of coins left in the eyes of rendered skulls and daggers thrust into dead men's hearts. Perhaps it is the work of the infamous Brotherhood.

The members of the lodge who pay attention to such things have informed Kozel that the Deer-men have once again retreated into the forest. Signs in the soil around the Abbey make it seem as though their numbers are greatly diminished since their last exodus.

The army of Sir Ulrich of Lichtenstein has failed to return from its great campaign in the Witchwood. No survivors have scrambled out in the two years since he left. Those who have gone looking for them, either to help them find their way out or to loot their corpses, report no signs of the Lost Army. The only thing out of the ordinary is some extra activity at the Witchfort.
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From now on whenever I generate news for the G+ and home groups I'm going to post it on here too.  It might not make much sense to y'all but whatever.