The Black Prophecy
In the dawn of days, there was a great war of godly scale that shook the whole of Outremer. On one side there fought the forces of the untamed wilds, of chaos and evil: wyrms and krakens, giants and demons, warlocks and beasts of the moon, unspeakable and forgotten things. All of these monsters, great and small, bowed at the feet of Chernobog, the Black God. He inhaled courage and breathed out despair, devoured hope and begat only strife and misery, for his wont was nothing less than the complete destruction of mankind and ruination of the world.
To oppose him there were men. Brave and strong men, with bronze in their hands and the White God ever at their head and in their hearts. Aye, in those days the Exalted walked amongst men, and so it was that good triumphed over evil -- but barely, and with great cost. The Chernobog’s evil was rooted too deep in the world for him to be truly killed, so his body was hacked into at least a dozen pieces that were strewn across Outremer in the darkest of hidest places. Even still, the Black God’s memory and his corruption persist.
The name Chernobog is now all but forgotten by all save the most insidious of heretics and witches, being so profane that its very utterance is forbidden, just as the Exalted’s own name is too sacred for any but the most devout of priests to know. But legends still remind men of what their ancient enemy was, of all his crimes: as the Chernobog was at last smote down, he vowed eternal vengeance and threw a profane curse upon the land. His last rancid breath brought rot into the air and cursed the land with blights and diseases forevermore, and the rivers of his black blood rolled across the land and poisoned the Earth just as his hundred claws sank into her and grievously her, the hatred and thrumming of his heart he cast into the seas that it might ever stir storms. And he finally promised that one day, his own spawn, his greatest and most monstrous servants, and those mortals that lusted for his power would rise; that they would come as maggots to rot, and so complete his foul legacy.
And you are one of those that intend to fulfill this Black Prophecy.
RP Purpose and Mechanics
This RP flouts the usual tradition of stories where we see from the point of view of the good guys. Here we have an RP where instead of the questing knight, the humble peasant turned hero, or the wizened wizard, you are some fell warlord, monstrous beast, or other dark power. Your characters might only aspire to have a small realm and bastion of their own or they might seek nothing less than the utter annihilation of mankind; they might be willing to tolerate or even ally with the other various scions and rogue beings, or they might want to cast down all their bastard siblings and reign uncontested as the second Chernobog. That’s all up to you.
As the introduction alludes to, there are two general roles that you might fulfill: that of a scion of the old Chernobog, or that of some sort of rogue being. You may have one character of each type if you’d like; however, if you do that then as a general rule your rogue being should not align with or serve your scion. The point of having one of each would be to allow you to interact with more people and more characters, and having both your rogue being and scion together all the time defeats the purpose of that.
Scions would be the most innately powerful of the two categories, their nature as the Chernobog’s spawn making them something like demigods. They would more like than not be remembered in some form in the legends of old, for they would have all served in the Chernobog’s armies and doubtless committed great crimes of their own, and for their part, they would have been slain or banished to some other plane or imprisoned by the Exalted One and his followers. Having only just now been resurrected or summoned or broken free as the case may be, a scion will be returning to a somewhat unfamiliar world where steel has replaced bronze and the men are much more numerous than they once were, even as the savage beings and monsters have diminished. Still, a scion should be able to use their dark powers to raise a new army easily enough. Perhaps the pitiful remnants of the Chernobog’s old horde could be rallied, or some of the weak-willed humans subjugated by sword or by poisoned word and manipulation. And failing that, there are ways to use foul magic to twist and corrupt life to make new breeds of monstrous creatures, ways to raise the dead, ways to conjure demons and monsters from other realms. A true heir of Chernobog would find a way.
Not all lords have their throne by birthright, just as not all scions need draw their powers through the Chernobog’s blood coursing in their veins. It would perhaps be possible for a mere mortal, through ambition or curiosity or some other compulsion, to ascend to the status of a scion. The most likely way for this to happen would be for the person to come across one of the Chernobog’s body parts and take in its power -- willingly or otherwise. This sort of scion would start off weaker with only nascent powers, but would have the advantage of greater familiarity with the world and perhaps they would even have an army or a realm to their names already by that point. How much of their own personality would persist after ascending (or being corrupted -- it’s all a matter of perspective) could vary, and would be up to you.
The second category is more broad and flexible. Rogue beings could take many forms and vary quite greatly in power level -- anything from an ancient vampire to a dragon can fall under the realm of possibility. And while a rogue being could be some ancient monster that’s been around since the dawn of time and served under the Chernobog, it could also just be some humble orcish chieftain or some evil-hearted human sorcerer. While rogue beings can be powerful, their magical might is not so great as that of the scions. It would be harder for them to bring down the realms of men by themselves, to raise an army, or to carve out an empire of their own. For those reasons a rogue being might do well to align with a scion for protection and mutual benefit, but some might choose to stay rogue -- the path is yours to choose.
This would be a mostly sandbox-style RP where we give all participants a lot of leeway to worldbuild and fill in the empty spaces on the map, either by canonizing smaller settlements and such or expanding upon the nature of larger ones. We GMs do not need to control the human opposition along every inch of the way; you can have your character sack a village or slay some band of knights without involving us in the post, but if your intention is to topple a kingdom or conquer some major city then please do consult us. We reserve the right to throw a metaphorical monkey wrench into your operations, to keep things from getting complacent. You can't expect to rampage across the world with nothing ever going wrong, now can you?
Though sailors speak of queer and exotic lands beyond the seas, the scope of this RP is limited to the land of Outremer. It is a quite isolated (both geographically and politically) island of a size comparable to that of Great Britain. In present times Outremer is politically fractured into many realms of petty-kings and dukes, but was once unified under a single kingdom for many centuries following the Chernobog’s defeat. In those times of unity, the last of the great monsters and wyrms were hunted down and either vanquished or driven into the deepest lairs and hiding places, and his more organized and numerous followers like the ogres and goblins were diminished and driven into hiding if not extinction. There was a ‘common tongue’ universally spoken across Outremer and it is the root of all modern languages, though the centuries have of course bastardized certain regional dialects to the point that they have grown very distinct, and are oft only barely intelligible by speakers of other heavily changed dialects.
Despite its small size, the island’s climate is quite varied. Though much of the coastline remains temperate, the placement of mountain ranges has created an arid region in the south and a cold highland in the north.
The land has been mostly tamed, with true wilderness being the exception rather than the norm throughout much of the island and most of the arable land being farmed. Only a few true wilds remain in some of the most rugged, inhospitable, and remote locations; in such places there might still be great beasts and maybe even some goblins or other wretched descendants of the forces that once served in the Chernobog’s vast hosts.
Credits and References
This would be a continuation of sorts of some old RPs based upon a computer game called Dungeon Keepers. Over 10 years ago the first of them started on the now-defunct Spore Forums, and afterward @Lugubrious@BBeast and myself brought them to the Oldguild and then here. This is the most recent of those old RPs, and this was a spinoff that I made later.
The cool picture at the very top was artwork commissioned by a friend of mine who is developing a new computer game with a theme very similar to this RP, or the old Dungeon Keeper games from the 90s. So thanks to him for letting me use his picture, and if you’d be interested in seeing his project and following its progress then you can check out his Discord server here.
Interested in Joining?
Invested enough to join an RP like this? Great! Let us (myself and @Oraculum will be the GMs) know by posting here. If this interest check can garner substantial interest, an OOC thread will follow and expand upon this; after that, we would be creating a Discord server for this and inviting those who want to apply, in order to discuss their early plans for characters and plots. This would be as much to hopefully see that everyone is ready to get active once the IC begins (rather than hitting the early block of not knowing what to start with and never posting) as it would be to ensure character ideas and the applicants’ writing skill/commitment level seem to be where we’d like them to be.