I have, uh, @ed anybody who has replied thus far in my previous interest checks. Thank you, everybody, who has given me feedback and expressed interest. I hope to see you all in character, if not in my game then in a future game.
This will be a narrative-driven campaign. As a player, you will be caught in the middle of a battle between two great nations in this fantasy world. While your starting points are fixed, your course through history is not. However, know that there are always reprecussions for one's actions. It is possible for player characters to die or to be crippled in this adventure, although killing people off is not my goal. Anybody who does lose a character, or anybody who wants to try a different concept, is invited to make another and get back into the game.
Terrenum is a collaborative adventure in a Medieval fantasy setting. It borrows from many elements of table top and classical historical references. The goal of this project is to create an engaging and easy system that grounds the actions in the game and gives weight to player decisions.
Adult themes such as violence, gambling, strong language, mild gore, morally questionable institutional policies, drugs and alcohol and mild sexual content may be present in this game. There will be no scenes detailing sexual actions in this game. Gore, while it may be depicted, is to done so in as tasteful a manner as possible.
Code of Conduct
As always, read and understand the host forum's Terms of Service. They apply here.
Just as always, I reserve the right to exclude people from this role play without needing to give a reason. I am the sole judge in who gets to join in the first place.
Conduct is simple. Behave like an adult while you are acting as a member of this group. If you need to have this explained to you, then it is best that you join another game instead.
Pictures are not, nor will they ever be, required for access to this game. Some beautification for posts is fine but consider this as a rule of thumb; if it takes more effort to create your post template than it does to make the post itself, then your template is too complicated.
There is no post order. I may only be able to post once a day or less because of real life obligations. I do not expect anybody to marry this game. The story progresses on my posts. You , as the players, have until I progress the story to make your posts. If you wish to work out a system amongst yourselves, then be my guest. However, there should never be a reason where you are forced to wait ffor anybody else. Moreso, i fyou feel like you've been skipped then please do not take offense by it. We all have a story to tell and I am flexible. I'll find ways to work with people but the show must go on.
There is no minimum word count. Post as much as you feel is needed to get your point across. Not every post needs be a masterpiece.
I do encourage collaborating with other players and the GM to make fun posts but this is not mandatory.
Posts must be in a font style and size that are easy to read. No exotic font styles will be permitted. No font sizes taht reduce the letters to smaller than the standard font will be permitted. Our eyes are important. Be nice to them.
How to Join
If you are interested in being part of this adventure, send a PM of your character concept to me. It should only take a few exchanges to finish and I am happy to work with people toward their ideal fantasy. Details are located below under Character Creation.
If you have ideas to improve the role play experience of Terrenum, please send them to me. I'm also happy to chat about different concepts, hear your stories and I love getting names for future people and places.
You are a member of the Shield Brethren, one of the many adventuring guilds in the Lowlands of Terrenum Major. While you have yet to gain prestiege for your heroic deeds, you are trained and ready to take on contracts for your guild. Your reasons for joining are your own but the goal is always the same; make the customer happy and look good while doing it.
These guilds vary in status and capability. Yours happens to be of decent size and reputation. Your guild hall resides in a bustling walled port city nestled at the mouth of an estuary almost in the center of the Lowlands. The city was renamed before you were born in honor of some heroic figure. Most people forget the actual name and shorten it to Gallant. Locals still call the city by its founding name; River City.
Nature was kind to the city, giving the estuary a natural break water for ships to dock safely. This, along with a slow, wide river inland, made it perfect as an area of trade.
As with many cities in the land, times of growth are marked by an ever-expanding ring of fortifications. The last of these high walls were eventually built to encompass many thousands of acres of rich farmland along both sides of the river.
Monsters are not nearly as much of a problem for Gallant anymore but the walls remain as a reminder of what has, and still could, happen if the residences lower their guard.
Your adventure guild services the city proper as well as the vast fields and homesteads around the city. Occasionally parties will be sent on missions hundreds of miles from the city, however, these jobs are rare.
Terrenum is a continent in a fantasy world with Medieval and Ancient themes. Terrenum itself is split into two parts; Terrenum Major, the main landmass, and Terrenum Minor, a smaller landmass that exists alongside it. These two land masses are separated by a geologically active body of water known as the Narrow Sea, which is a deep, warm body of salt water connected to the greater Open Ocean. The climate ranges from mostly temperate in the North to stiflingly hot in the equatorial regions to the South.
The Narrow Sea is one of the most defining aspects of this land and runs between Terrenum Minor and Major. Some have speculated that, at some point in the past, a giant had ripped the lands apart to create the sea. Many have called this body of water the Misty Sea, however, the name has fallen off with the creation of the Trade Winds. Only in the North is the Narrow Sea still called the Misty Sea.
The Narrow Sea begins in the South by Caerbea and runs North until reaching the District of Hectate. Then it cuts East sharply where it meets the Open Ocean once more.
The Northern body of land, where the District of Hectate resides, rises steeply toward a relatively high altitude as it moves toward the Northern mountains. This region is rich with rivers and sees constant monsoon-like rainfall all year except for the Winter months, when the rain turns to snow. The land is uniquely rich as it sees frequent ash fall from an active volcano known as Casper's Shadow to the North East. Nothing is known to exist beyond the vast mountain range.
Directly South of Hectate, across the Narrow Sea, is Terrenum Minor. Another active volcano resides in the East of this land. In the central and West part of Terrenum Minor are vast rocky fields and rivers. Once the large rocks were cleared away, these fields became rich farmlands. Much of the East Coast is blocked by a vast mountain range running along the entire body of land.
To the West of Terrenum Minor, back over the Narrow Sea, is the Lowlands. There is more arable land per capita in the Lowlands than in any part of Terrenum. The Lowlands are distinct also in that this stretch of land is close to sea level, where most are well above, making it perfect for trade ships via the Narrow Sea. The active monster presence from the Great Wood and Swamps farther inland mean that communities here must live behind sturdy protective walls. Were this not the case, the Lowlands would out-produce Terrenum Minor and Hectate together in food.
Going West, past the Lowlands, is a vast stretch of woodlands, swamps and jungles. The land drains as it goes West since the altitude rises sharply along the way.
Along the West Coast of Terrenum Major are the Highlands. The land here is rocky and sees only sporadic rainfall. Some areas are dusty. The people who live here are hearty and there are precious few areas low enough to meet the ocean in order to receive trade.
Far to the South, the land lowers to meet the ocean. It is hot and humid there. In the South is where one will find vast plantations of sugar cain, sweet fruits and abundant fishing. The land is uniquely suited for these delightful trade goods. This fact has made the city of Caerbea, at the Southernmost tip of the continent, a powerful and wealthy city.
North of Terrenum Major is considered the Northerlands. This is a mostly uncharted area of land that is also referred to as the Badlands. Monsters and bandits plague this area. It is thought impossible for civilization to exist here and only a few towns are fortified enough to stay together here.
The District of Hectate
The District of Hectate is a powerful city-state in the North of Terrenum Major. It was founded by a coalition of mages as a bastion of magical study and development and grew to be one of the most wealthy cities in all of Terrenum. Their lands are easy to defend as they have only one area of access by sea while the land route is a difficult march up rocky terrain. Fortresses dot the crest of this path while the port city of Lawful trade has strong walls and a sizable garrison.
The city-state is named in honor of their goddess, Hectate, whose domains are law and blood. District lands are fertile and are frequently rejuvenated by ash from an active volcano to their North East and extensive rains from the Narrow Sea. To their North is a vast mountain range and to the South is the Narrow Sea. The only reliable land route is South West, which is guarded by fortresses.
The capital city lords over dozens of towns, hamlets, farming communities and a hand full of smaller cities. The District are frequent trade partners with the Noble Houses which rule Terrenum Minor and are leaders in the study of demonology, negative energy and blood magic. Their lands are as fertile as any other thanks to these magics.
As one may expect, the rule of law is important to District citizens. The law is their religion. In Terrenum, one does not fear dealing with the Devil more than dealing with a Hectatae Law Master. It is of little surprise that the District leads the way in architectural and legal development and manages to keep its mostly magic-using upper class in line through strict oversight of their powers. Even the methods of regulation used by the Church and Trade Federation were pioneered by Hectate Law Masters.
Despite their vast magical power and wealth, the District of Hectate is ill-suited for a large-scale, long-term war. They scare off most offenders by the threat of unrestricted magical warfare but, as a rule, view the act of entering into melee as beneath them. While the District does have a permanent and well-trained militia, these forces are mostly used for patrolling the streets of towns and hunting down monsters. Mages do have elite personal bodyguards and there are a few strong line units but the majority of the fighting is done through summoned creatures, offensive spells and necromancy.
Caerbea is the Southernmost city-state on Terrenum Major and is largely considered to be the most powerful in terms of occupied land and sheer manpower. They are renowned for their martial and naval prowess and are the only known faction which has ships capable of sailing the open ocean. Native Caerbeans are large men with heavy tans suited for their equatorial lifestyles. As a rule, they despise magic and value strength above all else, refusing outright to use 'enhanced' seeds for their crops.
Caerbean rule extends over the Lowlands and Highlands, going as far North as Sandstone. Their reach ends at Iron Harbor and the Northerlands, as the vast walls of the trade city have never fallen to an invading army.
Native Caerbeans are proud, loud and quick to fight. They rarely leave their lands except to enforce the rule of the city-state over their dominion and are known for neither mingling with Highlanders nor Lowlanders.
Their standing army is a relatively small but disciplined, aggressive and highly trained force. They employ long spearmen in phalanx-like formations, make use of excellent longbowmen and fast-hitting light skirmishers. While they are not known for their incredible horsemen, they do employ an elite corps of heavy shock cavalry for scouting and flanking actions.
For the most part, Caerbea allows its vassal states to run themselves so long as they supply their overlords with tithes.
Almost to a man, native Caerbeans offer tribute to the Storm Maiden whose dominion extends over war and weather. They are the only city-state to acknowledge the Storm Maiden and come into continual conflict with the Church of Our Goddess over this fact. At present, the Church is banned from Caerbean state lands, however, worship of Serenrae is tolerated among their vassals.
While there is clear evidence to suggest Caerbeans are a race unto themselves, the culture is considered more important to them than the breed. Humans, orcs, elves and half-breeds are welcome in the city as long as they embrace the culture. Caerbea employs the largest concentration of orcs in the land. The city and its surrounding lands have the highest average concentration of orcs in all of Terrenum. Other races are welcome as long as they obey the laws, can put up a good fight or are rich.
Iron Harbor is a collection of fortresses around the "Swell" in the Narrow Sea. The primary fortress and walled city attached to it exists on the Terrenum Major side. The "Sisters" are a pair of smaller forts on either side of the Narrow Sea just North of the Swell and serve as combination lighthouses and strong points. There is an island in the middle of the Swell that houses a small mining settlement. A final lighthouse/strong point sits just South of the fortress city on Terrenum Major. On Terrenum minor, at the only point on the West bank low enough to reach sea level, is a second walled port city.
Iron Harbor historically has cared little about the wars of the greater realm. It has stood as a bastion of free trade along the Narrow Sea for hundreds of years. Its walls have never fallen to an attack and have expanded inexorably over the generations. Its streets are tightly packed with houses and shops and are kept clean by an army of sanitary workers, engineers and Church-affiliated clerics and mages.
The origin of Iron Harbor is largely lost to time. It has changed hands over the generations but has stood as the primary trade port for Terrenum Minor, the District of Hectate and the Northerlands for as long as anybody can remember. To this day the governors of the twin cities declare their sovereignty.
Iron Harbor is also the home of the largest Church presence in the Northerlands and is heavily influenced by the up-and-coming Trade Federation. They claim to have no standing army and no interest in claiming land outside of their walls, however, the cities do have large garrisons of guards and far-reaching patrols. Most of these patrols are lead by mercenaries. Many Church warrior clerics also patrol the roads. Finally, a sizable barracks for Paladins exists on the Terrenum Major side to aid in their quest to hunt down otherworldly monsters that still plague the less developed Northlands.
The preeminent school for magic studies resides in this city under the close scrutiny of the Church. It is here that mages are trained and assigned duties across the continent.
People of all kinds can be found passing through the streets of Iron Harbor however the upper management is almost completely made up of humans. Full-blood orcs are generally not allowed access to the city aside from dock work. Native Caerbeans are allowed but are usually restricted to the trade districts. Due to the large influence of the Church, Hectatae citizens, blood mages and necromancers are strictly forbidden.
Houses of Nobility
Although the name that most refer to when talking about the feudal lords of Terrenum Minor may differ between regions, the Houses of Nobility are nevertheless one of the major players in the realm. The fertile - if rocky - region of East Terrenum Minor is split up between three sovereign duchies under a feudal system of government. Their lands are then sub-divided into multiple counties.
Unlike most of Terrenum, this region is not nearly as harassed by monsters. This has resulted in a more dispersed population which, in turn, has resulted in more land that is able to be cultivated at a time. Such is the case in a feudal system, the land is owned almost exclusively by noble families and is lead by a lord. Each lord will have their own retinue of loyal House Guard instead of a standing army. In a time of war, these House Guard can be augmented by calling in their levies and training peasants for temporary service. The result is a relatively small force during peacetime which can inflate for a short duration to great numbers during a war.
The word "King" is something of a taboo across Terrenum. It is a much stronger taboo in Terrenum Minor. While currently at peace, the Farm Lords fought a series of unification wars that ended just over one hundred and fifty years before. During this time of hostility, Nobles attempted to unify the region under a single kingdom which was bitterly resisted by the rest of their peers. After the last of these terrible conflicts, it was decided that the region would be split between the three strongest dynasties. These dynasties would then be counseled by their lesser Lords. So, while the Dukes hold immense power and influence, they ultimately answer to the Lords beneath them. Because of these wars, this land is often referred as the Kings Land, or simply Kingsland.
While the Nobility of Terrenum Minor generally worships Serenrae, they outright refused to allow the ascending Church to dictate terms to them. This has lead to a bitter feud between the two factions that nearly resulted in war in the past. The Trade Federation has since stepped in as mediator between the two. Churches do exist across Terrenum Minor but the clergy are forbidden from enforcing any laws outside of these embassies.
Terrenum Minor is home to the third largest school for magical studies in the continent. While they generally lack the expertise for training powerful combat mages, they do lead the way in agricultural and earth-shaping studies. Their mages continue to be critical in cleaning out the heavily rocky terrain of the otherwise fertile Terrenum Minor to expand upon their farms. Primitive aquaducts are being developed along with improvements in metallurgy, masonry and sewage management. Because of this, those residing under the Noble Lords often enjoy a higher average standard of living than many across Terrenum.
The people here are divided between nobility and peasantry. Thanks to the high yield of their fields, few go hungry and the price of food is generally low while work is plentiful. For the most part, the nobility lives in their guarded communities and rarely interact with the lowborn peasantry. As long as wages are fair and food is cheap, the peasantry cares little for the brightly colored outfits and flourish of high society. Here, a bit of pomp and flair is expected of a well-rounded and literate gentleman.
Humans, elves and half orcs are common in Terrenum Minor.
The Church of Our Goddess
The Church of Our Goddess is a religious organization based around the worship of the goddess Serenrae. Most people refer to this organization as the Church. Worshipers of the Goddess wear robes of pure white with golden embroidery. A monastic scapular is worn by members in the field to protect their usually expensive clothes. Some of the order have taken to wearing a ritualistic or expanded version of this apron-like garment for various reasons.
The Church teaches that there is only one Goddess. Even acknowledging the idea that there may be other deities is grounds to have a person ejected from the order. The Church does not persecute those who worship alternate faiths but they are not obligated to offer aid to them. An adventure guild known to have fallen out of favor with the Church may have their access to legally trained mages cut off. Establishments in trade cities may lose patronage by the many traveling clerics who pass through the area or be shunned by citizens who do follow the faith.
The Church operates dozens of medical facilities and funds hundreds of missions at any given time. Many of these missions include disaster relief, monster hunting and general education in addition to proselytizing. Establishments who operate according to Church guidelines are generally favorably viewed by citizens who have come to trust their good word.
The study of arcana is heavily regulated outside of Hectate. Few have the gift to use arcane magics and fewer still have the knowledge to teach it. The Church is one such organization who hoards this knowledge. They fund and oversee one of the largest schools of arcana in all of Terrenum and have a virtual monopoly on combat-trained mages. If there is one area where the Church is most zealous, it is in policing mages. This is partially why there is such tension between the Church and the Farm Lords of Terrenum Minor and is a big part of their opposition to the District of Hectate.
In addition to all of this, the Church funds and oversees the paladins of the realm. This last bit is taken with some level of exasperation by many in the order. Paladins have proven to be invaluable to the greater good of Terrenum. However, they have also proven difficult to control and potentially dangerous.
The Church is primarily a human run organization however they do accept elves and half orcs into their order. Full blooded orcs, tieflings and beastkin are not allowed to join the order, however, they are not turned away from Church run facilities unless they pose a threat.
The Order of the Hammer
In short, the Order of the Hammer are monster hunters. They are loosely organized into guilds with no apparent central leadership. Their warriors are unnaturally talented in finding evil and vanquishing it. They are ruthless and single-minded in their pursuit of these entities. Considering the nature of life in Terrenum, where monsters can and will appear in even seemingly safe areas, members of the Order of the Hammer are seen in a favorable light by the average citizen. These warriors are even welcomed and respected in Caerbea, although somewhat less so in the District of Hectate.
The Order of the Hammer acknowledges the divinity of the Goddess Serenrae and, as such, enjoys a positive relationship with the Church. Guilds dedicated to training these warriors are funded almost exclusively by the Church and proudly carry the iconography of the Hammer on their persons. Most will wear a small coin of stone with the Hammer hand-crafted into its face and rimmed with precious metal to keep it in one piece.
Every member of the Order of the Hammer joins after hearing the calling to become something greater. Many have been turned away for not possessing the essential gifts that make one a true warrior against the darkness. Their ways are a closely guarded secret even to the Church.
Some eyewitness accounts of these warriors in action tell of a blinding light emanating from their strikes. More than a few who have attempted to harass a warrior of the Hammer have been blinded by this very same light and falling to their knees to beg mercy. There are rumors that they can see the darkness even in a person's soul. On the very rare occasion that a member of the Hammer strikes down a person, it is always attributed to the wickedness hiding in that person's heart.
Little is known by outsiders about the Order of the Hammer. In truth, few even know that their order has a name, much less what it is. To most, they are simply known as Paladins.
A paladin's gear can vary. Most orders are well funded enough to clad their warriors in full plate armor. Their weapons will vary but they have an affinity for warhammers, lucerne hammers and mauls. Most paladins will also have a sword for backup. Some go into battle with a one-handed weapon and a shield.
There is no known restriction to race for a Paladin, although the vast majority are human.
The Trade Federation
This organization saw its beginnings as a loose federation of smaller companies who had banded together to compete against much larger ones. In more recent years they have become the standard for freight delivery and have branched into administration. They share a close relationship with the Church and are seeing an increased presence in Terrenum Minor.
The Trade Federation is heavily entrenched in the Lowlands and has a minor presence in the Highlands. It is becoming more popular as an administrative entity among the Nobles of Terrenum Minor and operates heavily up and down the Narrow Sea. They base out of a port city in the far South of Terrenum Minor. Much like the Church, Caerbea has banned the Trade Federation from their city and will actively attack their trade vessels in the Western Open Ocean.
Being the chief administrator for the majority of guilds in the Lowlands, the Trade Federation has access to mercenary, mage, adventuring and industrial guilds alike. While they have no standing army to speak of their ability to project power is still significant. They also aid in funding and overseeing many Church projects and thusly enjoy the protection of Serenrae's battle clerics.
The Trade Federation almost exclusively hire humans for their upper level positions. Below that, they will hire almost anybody except for tieflings and apostates.
Elder Family Bank
The Elder Family Bank (a direct translation to Common from High Elven) is, by far, the oldest established company in Terrenum. They are bassed in Terrenum Minor and operate branches in every duchy, in Iron Harbor, the Lowlands and even in Caerbea. They are also one of the most trusted institutions in the land. Each branch is overseen exclusively by at least one High Elven family. Their bullion is reliably of the purest precious metal and their bank notes are even honored in Hectate, although no bank branches are allowed there.
Only the most wealthy and respectable individuals will be allowed to do business with the Elder Family Bank. They almost exclusively handle large transfers for tradesmen and wealthy peoples.
Officially, they have no standing military. They do, however, have a highly paid security force and significant political and social clout. It is a long-running joke that people who betray the bank or steal from them, by sheer coincidence, suffer from a much reduced life span.
The Highlands is a stretch of land running along the West coast of Terrenum Minor. This area has few points of access to the coast with tall cliffs and mountains. It is relatively sparsely populated compared to the Lowlands. There is one major port with access to the open ocean which is located at Sandstone, just on the edge of what is considered the Northerlands. Due to the long range between Sandstone and Caerbea and the few safe places to go to shore, only Caerbean vessels are capable of making such a voyage with regularity.
A rough road network does exist in the Highlands but these roads only connect the major settlements.
Various mercenary and adventure guilds do exist out here. One of the few established trade roads between the Highlands and the Lowlands runs through a vast swamp. While the swamp road is patrolled constantly, it can still be dangerous for travelers.
The people of the Highlands are seen as strange, loud and rough by the rest of Terrenum. They seem to be related distantly to Caerbeans and are generally large people who favor large weapons. Highlander Sword Dancers are trained here and are prized for their skill as bodyguards, often able to hold off multiple attackers at a time with their greatswords.
Many consider "Highlander" to be its own race. Humans, Caerbeans and Highlanders are common here. Orcs are also relatively common as are half breeds. Elves, not so much. While beastkin are tolerated, they are also generally seen as animals here. Tieflings are more likely to be tolerated.
The Lowlands is a stretch of fertile land on the East side of Terrenum Minjor. This stretch runs along the Narrow Sea and is just across from Terrenum Minor. It runs from Caerbea up to Iron Harbor. Due to the warmth of the Narrow Sea, this stretch of land sees regular rainfall and is a major trade corridor.
There is a lot of potential in the Lowlands. It has a large population over a long stretch of land, access to many resources and acres of food-producing land. There will always be a monster problem due to it running along the great forest/swamp/jungle that runs up the center of the continent, however, these are kept in check by good walls and numerous adventuring guilds.
The Lowlands are heavily decentralized, however, and are often seen as a stepping stone between great powers. Lowlanders are seen as being generally uneducated and unsanitary, although this is more from a lack of consistent funding or developed facilities. In reality, this area is a melting pot of nearly all cultures across the continent. Work is readily available and wages are decent. Due to the decentralized, guild-focused nature of the region, competition is fierce. While the quality of goods is considered above average, the region is eclipsed by the high class of the Noble Lands and the brutal efficiency of Caerbean equipment.
Relatively speaking, though, it's a decent place to live.
As with any region, humans make up the majority of the population here. Elves are rare, just as they are anywhere, and orcs are mostly tolerated. Halfbreed orcs are treated much better than their more fierce couterparts. Beastkin are tolerated with a mixed reception from the locals. Tieflings and anything that looks remotely demonic are generally not tolerated here.
Between Iron Harbor and Sandstone runs a stretch of land that is considered unclaimed. This includes the dense and often dangerous Great Woods (which goes by a few names), the impassable mountains to the far North and the bandit rich Badlands. Notable cities are Gracehaven (a small but quickly growing town) and the city of North of Summer. On the very edge of the known world is a town named Devenshire.
Going from Sandstone to Iron Harbor will see a traveler running through the dense and often dangerous Great Wood. Straying far off the path in this forest will often run afoul of centaurs. Heading North to go around the forest will bring one close to Gracehaven, however, this runs them through the Badlands.
There are not many towns outside of the established, walled cities in this area of land. Those that do exist are often bandit strongholds or abandoned ghost towns. Despite this, the land is fertile. Around Devenshire, the land becomes dry, rocky and cold, creating something of a confusing desert.
Every race is equally at risk in the Northerlands. There is a running joke in South Terrenum. People who are kicked out of Caerbea, Iron Harbor and Kingsland go to the Lowlands. People who are kicked out of the Lowlands go to the Highlands. People who are kicked out of the Lowlands go to the Badlands.
The Great Woods/Swamp/Jungle
The name for this stretch of land changes depending on which region one is in. It is an almost uninterrupted stretch of trees and thick vegetation reaching from the Northerlands almost all the way to Caerbea. Distressingly little is known about what goes on inside of this region since each part has its own dangers to offer.
In the North, they call it the Great Woods or Forrest or the Wilds or any number of names. Some call it the centaur's land. Long ago, a silent agreement was reached between the centaurs and those who live outside of the Wood; leave the trees or die. Considering how difficult it is to populate the Northerlands, no group has put forth a serious attempt to challenge the centaurs here. In return, the centaurs patrol the trade road and chase off most of the smaller monsters. There is a trade road that runs through the Great Wood. It connects Sandstone with Iron Harbor.
Farther South, one finds the Great Swamp. The swamp begins in a low point of elevation in the Lowlands as a thin stretch of bogland which hides useful forestry. Farther South the land flattens out, causing the sitting water of the swamp to expand. There is a trade road that cuts through the Great Swamp which connects the Lowlands to a town in the Highlands called Bloodstone. Although this road is regularly patrolled, it is still dangerous to travel.
Many things live in the swamp. Most of them will attempt to eat wayward travelers. The most terrifying of these are the mimics. They lure prey in by mimicking the sound of a wounded animal or, in some cases, a person. It is said that some mimics can even take the shape of a person or animal in order to sneak into camp and run away with a quick meal.
Just past the Great Swamp is the Jungle. Or maybe the swamp is part of the jungle? Many of the same creatures end up living in the jungle. Most just group them together as the same impenetrable thicket of forbidden trees and hateful animals.
Character creation is generally hands-on between the player and myself. This may involve some back-and-forth to ensure that a player's character concept will fit into the world. I am happy to work with anybody to help make something they can enjoy playing.
In this game, you are being asked to play a citizen of Terrenum of modest position and power. For all intents and purposes, you are an above average person with your own strengths and weaknesses but you are not a god. This game is centered around a mostly realistic and story driven portrayal of living in a Medieval fantasy setting. There is magic, there are monsters and there are other oddities that are well known in the world but the vast majority of people alive are mundane and magic is tightly controlled.
Players have two major options for back story. First, they may be from one of the many regions in Terrenum, born and raised in this realm with local knowledge and conditioned to the normal ways of life. Second, they may be Outsiders; people who found themselves in Terrenum from another plane of existence. Being an Outsider does allow for a different play style, however it is mostly for players who can't be bothered to learn the lore of the world. Outsiders come into the world without knowledge of where they came from and have a nice dose of Hollywood amnesia.
No matter where your character hails from, all players will be starting in the same place.
Let's get the uninteresting bits out of the way.
Each character will have a list of stats to represent their strengths and weaknesses. This is a basic list and is meant for a very broad overview of abilities. After these stats is where we find the really fun things that make your character unique. These are called Special Rules. Each of these will be handled on an individual basis.
The statistics themselves are very general. Players will be given four points that they can use to increase their base stats. These stats may be improved upon during the course of the game. Please keep in mind that Combat Sense must be either earned through role play or increased with these points. Nobody starts with natural points in Combat Sense.
Each category is represented by capability. A character can be:
1 Helpless: Just as it sounds. 2 Inept: Quite bad in this area. 3 Compitent: Trained, practiced or otherwise experienced. 4 Elite: Formally trained, extremely well practiced and/or simply better. At this level, you are known in your community as an expert in this area. 5 Master: You are known regionally for your immense skill and/or capability in this area. You are a master of technique, form and/or fitness and are capable of training others. 6 Legendary: You are known throughout the land at this point. Your skill and knowledge eclipse all but the greatest heroes of legend. Masters come to you for guidance in these fields and you will be recognized in the streets.
For balance, a character may only ascend to Master level during creation. Each level costs a point. Levels of expertise can not be shuffled around. If a player wishes to reduce their character's performance in a certain category, then they do so for story purposes only.
Special Rules are the core of a character's style. These will be created during the dialogue between potential players and myself. Special Rules can be adjusted during the course of the game. Talk with me and we can always work something out. Of course, these perks will be limited so as to keep characters within the realm of believability. Additionally, total equality between characters via these perks is not garanteed. The best advice I can give is aim to make a character that you will enjoy playing and let the rest fall into place.
By defult, characters are considered to be Compitent in all aspects. Please read the descriptions for each area carefully. For each aspect that you wish to add a point to, please put a "+1" or "+2" next to it. Remember that you only have a total of four to place.
Character Submission Template
Character Name "Character Handle" Racial/Ethnic Background: (Highlander, Lowlander, Caerbean, Outsider, etc.) Grapple: (A character's ability to grapple with a foe in extremely close quarters.) Unarmed: (A character's ability to fight without a weapon. Does not count natural weapons.) Melee Skill: (A character's ability to fight with melee weapons.) Ranged Skill: (A character's ability to hit at arget at range with projectile weapons.) Strength: (A character's raw strength and ability to inflict a wound on an enemy.) Toughness: (How difficult a character is to wound.) Wounds: (How many life-threatening wounds a character can sustain before being rendered helpless. Everybody starts with 1 wound.) Initiative: (A character's quickness or reflexes and coordination. By default, all characters have two actions in a turn. At Initiative 4 and every two points after that a character gains an extra action.) Will Power: (The measure of a character's mental and emotional fortitude.) Morale: (Determined by Will Power. A character's reserve of true grit before they succumb to external stress.) Combat Sense: (May be improved up to three times. Represents a character's training, raw natural talent and experience. This is a final save for a character to avoid taking a wound or to overcome or sense an ambush.) Attacks: (Increases the odds of hitting on an attack by adding dice to attack actions.) Weapons: (Personal notes to show what a character has on-hand.) Armor: (Personal notes to show what a character has on-hand. Includes shields.)
Special Rules: Tell me about your character. We will extrapolate special traits that are noteworthy together.
Keep in mind that weapons and armor are up to you to keep track of. I will be referring back to your character sheets exclusively when building scenes.
When submitting your character template, title your PM "Outsider" if they are an Outsider or "Native (Location)" if they are native to Terrenum. Please replace "Location" with the area of the world you wish your character to hail from. This is to speed up the process for both of us.
Faces of Terrenum
Outsider: Outsiders are any being brought into the world from outside of the realm. They are often considered good luck as, once their memories return, they have been known to bring with them special insights or powers. It is customary to aid a fresh Outsider until they can get on their feet and can take care of themselves. (In game terms, Outsiders start with a nice case of "Holywood" amnesia.)
Badlander: While less of a distinct racial background, Badlanders hail from the Badlands of the North. They are often bandits looking to start a new life. The Badlands tends to not have its own distinct ethnic background.
Highlander: Highlanders are known for being large people who favor big, two-handed weapons. They tend to be a bit louder than necessary. Drinking and fighting run in their blood. They are most identifiable by their wide and tall frames and the slightly crazy look in their eyes.
Lowlander: Most people from the Lowlands are of average height and build. They are hard workers and are nominally capable of most tasks. They tend to get a bad reputation for being simpletons simply because they aren't from the Noble Lands or wimps because they aren't from Caerbea. The truth of the matter is that Lowlanders make up the majority of the population on Terrenum. Lowlander is also more of a social rather than racial background as this area of the world tends to be a melting pot of different groups.
Caerbean: Racial Caerbeans have dark tans and big frames. They are born with sea legs and pray to the Storm Maiden. However, Caerbea is represented less by race and more by social background. Anybody can be a social Caerbean as long as they embrace the way of life. As such, most native Caerbeans are aggressive, proud and boisterous. They are quick to fight and quick to play. Most will agree that they are also insane. Any race may be a native Caerbean.
Kingslander: Kingslanders are divided into two groups; the aristocracy and the peasants. For the most part, these groups do not mingle. The nobles do their thing and the peasants do theirs. Kingslanders tend to be somewhat more educated and well cared for than in the rest of Terrenum, excluding the District of Hectate. They tend to enjoy games more often and have an intense, sometimes obnoxious, pride for their lands.
This is my most recent post in my Discord group for my players. If you require something different, please let me know.
The Most Dangerous Game...
Dreamer's advances worked the Magistrate over soundly. Filled with ideas over what kind of fun he might be up to later that night, he asked them to wait for him while he made the arrangements. Minutes later he returned.
"Well, His Majesty Villers did resist at first... but he suggested a wonderful idea. Wait right here."
The mages were still present at the party and kept a wary eye on Dreamer, however she would not feel their oppressive counter spells anymore. She had won them over, after all. The Magistrate went to one of them and spoke softly. The mage nodded then performed some manner of hand movements.
"Now hear this, noble Lords and Lady's," the mage spoke. His voice, surprisingly, boomed as if augmented by a bull horn and easily cut through the noise of the gathering. "An impromptu tour of the city has been praposed by our generous King. Our very own Magistrate shall lead any who wish to observe the festivites and plays going on in the Inner City."
One older couple, clearly filthy rich, and two younger adults stepped forward to join this tour (( along with any player characters who might take fancy to the idea)). The younger one seemed eager to find more adventure in this dying land. The next oldest was dressed more plainly and wore a beautifully crafted rapier on his hip. The older man and his wife had sharp, hawkish features and clear, intelligent eyes. All but the youngest seemed relatively sober.
"I'll take my guard," the older man said to his fellows as they gathered. "Let your men enjoy the party."
The one with the rapier cracked a playful grin and replied, "I haven't need for a guard. But feel free to bring some along if you are feeling insecure."
"Harumph," the elder noble said, deliberately drawing out the sound in feigned indignity. This earned a chuckle from the one with the sword.
"I do enjoy 'mingling' with the peasantry," said the youngest. He was near his mid twenties. "Like it or not, our power is built upon their backs. Might as well get to know some of them."
The older noble rolled his eyes but said nothing. The swordman chuckled and gestured toward the Magistrate. Eyes soon fell upon Niska and Dreamer.
"Oh," said the younger one. "I might have to petition to relax the laws against demons in my county." They all shared a chuckle at that.
Together, they left the castle. In the courtyard they met up with five gaudily dressed guards in black and deep blue fluffy uniforms. Their helmets sported similarly colored feathers standing straight up, some of which were tall enough that their own weight made them droop. They had brilliantly shiny half plate for armor and halberds for weapons with a backup long-bladed dagger for each of them. By contrast, the two Kingsguard who fell in with the Magistrate were quite plainly dressed in their red and black robes over half plate, shields and long spears.
A retainer met with the swordsman and helped him to don a thickly padded gambeson. It had intricate designs embroidered on it and, while gaudy, it was downright modest next to the flashy guards.
"My dear," the Magistrate said to Dreamer while offering her his arm.
As they walked, the swordsman found his way to Niska's side. He looked her over closely before asking, "Not used to a dress, are you?"
The tour would take them all over the Inner City. They stopped at the few fine drinking establishments and even more of the temporary roadside ones. They ate food meant for the 'lower castes' and watched plays put on by people for donations. Musicians played and people danced. The younger noble seemed to have a knack for starting up a song whenever they stayed at one watering spot for too long and the festive mood seemed even to infect the older two. At the main square, a significant band had been set up with expensive strings and sparkling brass. They played music for the noble's pleasure. The couple danced at their own pace. The Magistrate "insisted" Dreamer come dance with him while the swordsman quietly surmised that Niska probably wasn't in the mood. Instead, he offered to share with her some chocolate and honey dipped fruit he bought from a local stall.
Their adventure would continue with time for breaks in between. Naturally, the men would make advances on the women but they were far too well mannered to do anything serious in public. As the day grew long and night approached, the festivities would continue.
Back at the Party...
There was simply no way to miss the tour group's departure. Jackson, Zan and Sterling would know without a doubt what was going on.
Near to roughly three on the sun dial was when the basement was unofficially opened for visitations. At around five was when people began to wonder off to their own devices, often pulling one of the wayward women with them. Some went down stairs. Some went to quite corners of the castle. Others went to the luxurious hotel standing in the courtyard of the castle. Many remained at the party.
By now, there were a fair few guards, nobles and retainers alike who had been thoroughly liqured up. Despite this, the Hecatate guardsmen were (reasonably) alert and sober. The Hecatate Kingsguard (who were nealy indistinguishable from normal guardsmen) remained buzzkillingly alert and dutiful.
In the Dead of Night...
The stars shone brightly even through the slowly rising smoke of hundres of Safety Board Approved Non-Tipping braziers and Construction Code Compliant hearths throughout the city. While city ordinance prohibited loud activites during the Peace of the Traveler, on this night there were still many quite celebrations taking place. Even so close to midnight, some were up playing board games, sharing stories, practicing making babies or competing for the worst possible hangover in the morning.
A woman with long, striking silver hair in form-fitting half plate could be seen walking down the long, dusty road to the city. She rested a heavy looking greatsword over her shoulder. A helmet with the features of a snarling wolf was tethered to the back of her belt. Not far behind her were dozens of horse-drawn wagons. They all moved at a leasurely pace, growing inexorably closer to the last bastion of civilization in North Hectate.
At the Gate House...
Draco would hear a challenge from the guard at the gate. Something in the man's tone might have caught the dragon's interest. There was tension in his voice and maybe just a little bit of fear.
"Yes, right his way," said the guard, now slightly closer. Foot steps sounded all the way up to the door of the holding cells and then the door was pushed open quietly. The same guard who had stopped Draco when the dragon had carried Alani into the city stepped inside. Behind him was a woman with possibly the fiercest scowl Draco had ever seen on a person.
There were three other guards in the holding area at that time. They were seeing to the many drunks who had been brought in to sober up after too much partying.
"Well... There he is," the gate gaurd said, turning back to the lady and gesturing toward Draco's cell. He seemed wary of the woman but clearly thought of her as an ally. Outside there was a soft cry of surprise, a brief struggle and then the muffled, sickly sound of a neck being twisted far beyond its capacity to endure. Following that was the sound of feet racing into the gate house itself and up the stairs.
The gate guard never got to finish his question as the Silver Lady brought her sword around, holding it with one hand on the handle and the other at the middle of the blade, and impaled him in the lower sternum. Neither his chain armor nor his rib cage resisted the sudden thrust. He let out a wheezing gasp of surprise, skipped pain and went straight into shock.
Vistra, the Silver Lady, stared into his confused eyes as she lifted him, with some effort, clear off of his feet and into the air. She held him there until the light in his eyes grew dark then tossed him - and the sword - over her shoulder. There was a clatter of man and metal against the stone floor. She clenched her fists tight enough to cause some of her knuckls to pop and then began advancing upon the rest of the guards.
They abruptly snapped out of their stupor when one of them yelled, "Oh shit! S-sound the alarm!"
There was no way out of that room except through her. When she neared the first one, he lunged at her with his short spear. Although he managed to strike her, Vistra's armor was more than enough to deflect the spear tip. The other two guards held back, having been rattled by her opening action.
Vistra retaliated by grabbing the edge of his shield and throwing it to the side, nearly dislocating his arm in the process. She stepped in close and unleashed a flurry of open-clawed strikes to his chest up to his neck ending with an open-palm strike up into his nose. The guard's helmet toppled off after his head snapped back then he fell to the floor in a heap. She swiftly stepped over the fallen man to engage the next guard. Sparks flew from the buckle of one guard's shield as he desperately used it to deflect one of her clawed swipes. The other was not so lucky and ended with his throat being opened by a swift thrust.
The guard attacked, frantic now after watching his fellows die so suddenly. His first thrust with the spear glanced off of her armor. She deftly stepped outside of the second thrust then tackled him under his weapon arm. He slammed against the cell then cried out in sheer, pain-induced panic as Vistra produced a dagger and slowly forced the blade through his chain mail into his abdomin. His voice cut off abruptly as his diaphragm was punctured.
She watched him until it was clear the man was dead. Then she extracted her knife and used his robes to clean it. The fight, from the first kill until the final stab, lasted all of thirty seconds.
She went back to gather her sword then stepped lightly to Draco's cell. With one mighty swing, she sundered the locking mechanism then kicked the cell door open. There was an acrid stench in the air from the sparks kicked up by her sword. Although he might not be an expert with metals, he would realize that a sword wasn't supposed to just slice through iron bars.
"You have much to do," she said.
Without another word, Vistra hefted her sword back to her shoulder and walked out of the bloody detention hall.
There was a sound of hammers against wood from the guard station above him along with confused shouts. Some manner of liquid was spilled, then came the sound of fire. The shouts became more frantic and alarmed and somebody began kicking at a door. There was more movement outside in the street.
Just Down the Street...
Convel was lightly snoozing on one of the chairs with his feet propped up on a low table. He had opted not to crawl into the same bed as Kit. He wasn't sure if Jackson had noticed but the foxkin sometimes had night terrors. The sounds she made bothered him immensely.
Kit, meanwhile, had been awake since dusk. She had busied herself with taking the fancy red dress of hers apart and neatly wrapping the resulting budle of fabric up for transport. She was in her normal travel clothes by now with her gear ready to go at a moment's notice. A sound of foot steps from outside drew her attention, causing her to pause and listen.
Foot steps in a city were common however the tempo of these sounded... purposeful. There was also a great many of them for this time of night.
The patch of fur on the back of her neck and at the top base of her tail stood on end and her eyes widened. She lept to her feet and silently stepped to the window.
"Convel," she whispered.
And like that he was standing with his sword in hand before even coming fully awake. She liked that about him. He looked around, found no immediate threat then crept over to where Kit stood.
"Oh shit," he breathed.
Outside, they caught a firing line of ten archers in the street facing the inside of the gatehouse. Each wrapped an arrow head with cloth then knocked them while one person moved down the line with a flask of lamp oil. As they prepaired, a steady line of infantry flowed swiftly into the inner city. They moved at double-time and with a purpose.
Convel dashed away from the window and began putting his armor on. Kit stayed by the window. As she watched, the archers set fire to the cloth, drew their bows, aimed for the guard house and loosed their arrows into the narrow opening of the window covers. Smoke was already bellowing out from the guard station by this point from a fire that seemed to have been started from inside. The archers didn't bother for a second attack and began double-timing it deeper into the city.
Kit hissed in a breath and her ears went flat as she saw Vistra leave the gate house and begin walking toward the castle.
If there was anybody else in the suite with them, Convel would rouse them and order them to get ready for a fight.
"Meet me down stairs. I am going to get Draco out of there. Kit, get the wagon ready. Get supplies. Kill who you have to but get us ready to move."
In the Outer City...
Bells began to toll urgently, dragging Elendil out of the depths of his slumber. More could be heard across the city as fire were set. Oddly, out of all the bells he heard, not a sound came from the gate house or the garrisons and gaurd posts scattered around.
"The lumber store is ablaze! Get up! Get up! Put out the fire!"
The shouting was coming from outside. First responders rushed toward the fire. The lumber stores, as Elendil might have learned while looking for work, were staging grounds for construction on the outer wall. There was a lot of lumber in those depots. But that was only the closest of the blazes afflicting the city. The sky was illuminated by fires raging at the lumber depots, the food stores, the gate house and various other warehouses storing non-perishable goods.
"Where's the guard! Everybody! EVERYBODY! Grab bucket and water! Go, hurry!"