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Sands of Anathema

(Credits to Mike Franchina for the artwork)

A History of Sanctuary

Nobody remembers what life was like prior to the invasion. Nobody remembers those days of peace before the lingering oppression of Hellspawn. What we know — that accursed knowledge passed from father to son, a tale seared into the very soul of every inhabitant of the Sanctuary — is simply how it happened.

God remained silent for millennia while transgression piled atop transgression. Our sins rivalled that of our forefathers from before the Deluge. But this time, it was not a flood that wiped us out, nor was it God who passed judgment upon mankind once again. It was a great storm of fire emerging from the depths, its gluttonous maw desiring man's spirit. Sore-covered, pus-filled, grotesque creatures poured into the world from the caverns formed by the flames, slaughtering, raping, and pillaging. However, it wasn't primarily the demons who were to be feared, but those men whose seeds of corruption had blossomed into unquenchable lust and bloodthirst. Brother turned against brother, father against son, mother against daughter, as an overwhelming heretical madness swept across the earth. Mankind was too corrupt to be saved, some believed. Perhaps the Devil thought the same and took his chances, and so unleashed the Blight.

Mankind was consumed by the Blight, turning the affected into mad, horrific, twisted creatures. There was no divine intervention to halt the incursion. Only death and suffering. Cities were razed and entire armies were scattered by the mere slicing of a flaming cleaver. The countryside, too, was turned to ash, while the waters were made bitter with dark unnatural poisons. Survivors, saved from complete annihilation purely by faith, banded together and moved in the shadow as the raving heretics hunted them down. It was as if God abandoned man. But, in the midst of darkness, there was a miracle: an angel appeared before those who were left, like the Star of Bethlehem, pointing towards hope. In the Atlantic, the earth shook violently, and an island arose from the depths, unmarred by the Gates of Hell. Whether God meant for this isle to be another Ark for man to start over again or something else, nobody knew. All people knew was that it was a light in the dark: a Sanctuary in a hostile world. And so it became known as such. Makeshift ships built in secret harbours sailed for the unknown land. The survivors built the city of New Jerusalem and began to multiply under the guidance of the Twelve Founding Houses and the Remnant Church.

In the century of relative peace that followed, man prospered. Despite its isolation, the demons inevitably discovered Sanctuary. Their horrors launched a great siege of New Jerusalem, with armies of heretics and blasphemers riding atop great ships of flame and iron. Though Satan's forces were ultimately repelled, part of the land was cursed and became uninhabitable. The tragic truth came to light: humanity was unprepared. And so, the Church and the Twelve Houses embarked on a mission to fight back. With that declaration, another angel appeared before man like the blinding sun, this time with a flaming sword directed towards the mainland. Armies were rebuilt, and crusader knights nobly drew their swords with a single dream: to retake the world and banish the curse that afflicts the land. Thousands have gone before you. However, in the last Crusade, something else was discovered, hidden beneath the grounds of an ancient monastery: a prophecy that could change the course of the neverending war. The bells toll. The Church signals the dawn of a new Crusade — one that would put to shame the others in terms of sheer scale. Now, take your blade and reconquer in God's name.

For the past six centuries, New Jerusalem carved a path into the Old World. The greatest of the Crusades was the Eighth, conducted only a few decades ago. From the walls of New Tyre came an expedition of 300,000 men. Spurred onward by the Cross and spearheaded by furious and zealous knights, the Hellish armies struggled to organise themselves into a line. It seemed as if the whole of Western Europe could be reconquered, if not for the Pyrenees halting the armoured advance. The Ninth Crusade was called to break the stalemate in the trenches, but the gains were marginal in contrast to the amount of blood shed to achieve them. However, it proved necessary, for in the mountains, an old desecrated monastery was found. It became a fortress for the Knights of Galicia and their men. While blessing the ground to remove the curse upon the soil, a soldier discovered a skeleton clinging to a wooden chest. Inside was a manuscript written by the last of the monks, to whom a revelation was given: in the Holy Land lies salvation, for the very land on which Christ was crucified remained untainted, yet inhabited by the enemy seeking to hide its significance. In that land lies an object, or perhaps a power that could seal the Gates of Hell and reverse the curse inflicted upon the land.

You were one of many thousands upon a fleet of heavy ironclad landing steamships at the vanguard of the Tenth Crusade. After the victory at the Naval Battle of Sardinia, the demonic fleet in the Mediterranean was in full retreat, and the signal for the landing fleet to set sail was given. It was the largest expedition in the history of Sanctuary, with over 500,000 men — nearly ten percent of the entire population of New Jerusalem — poised to strike. The winds of fate were in your favour. Or, so you thought. The landing was uncontested, and neither were the first conquests of settlements. However, your intuition told you that something was horribly wrong. Then, one night, as you camped in one of the deserted villages near the shore, a shrill cry filled the night. You awoke, along with a few dozen others. Rifle in hand, you stumbled out of the barracks. From the starless dark came a mass of flames charging at the village. As they entered the light of the base, you saw the hideous visage of the heretics: twisted, inhuman forms, carrying all sorts of unholy paraphernalia about them. The alarm rang as the sentries spotted them, but it was too late. Their destructive charge dealt a killing blow to your entire company. One way or another, you manage to retreat to the small fortress on the shores of the Levant as one of the handful few who survived the all-out surprise attack along the entire front. Furthermore, in the horizon, a massive storm cloud formed, no doubt the work of some witch, battering the Holy Armada and cutting off the vanguard. Cut off and with no avenue of retreat, the survivors began gathering into a series of small ragtag regiments. You look around you and see pain and misery in the eyes of your brothers. And yet, you also see determination. With scorn in your hearts, you march off into the deserts of unfaith...

Units and Factions

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Sands of Anathema (yes this is a working title). Apologies for the long read, I had too much fun laying the foundations of this world. As you can see from the artwork posted above, this was inspired by Mike Franchina's artwork for Trench Crusade. So, what is this RP? It is a military-centred RP detailing the battle between you, a squad of survivors from the abandoned vanguard of the Levant invasion army, and the hellish forces consisting of heretics, mutated beasts, and grotesque demons.

Some of you may be confused by the technology here. Imagine WW1 tech (with relatively primitive firearm and artillery technology), but mixed in with futuristic machinery, magic, a bit of steampunk, and a shard of medievalism. Just imagine Crusader knights charging on horseback, carrying both broadsword and high power carbine while also being able to teleport into hell, or a soldier in desert camo fatigues equipped with an armet and cuirass firing a bolt-action rifle accompanied by a suit of power armour.

You will be playing as a group of survivors commanding small teams of your own, working in conjunction with one another as non-commissioned officers in a company as you get sent on missions by the garrison commander, Lord Baldwin of Tarsus. Your ultimate goal is to find the source of power which prevented the Levant from falling to the Blight, and hopefully, to unlock the secret to defeating the demonic hordes.

If you wish to give suggestions, feel free to comment!
Very interested in this. I have ideas brewing in my head already, which I'll post at a convenient time.
In Hi! 1 yr ago Forum: Introduce Yourself
@WAN Hello and welcome to you too!
In Hi! 1 yr ago Forum: Introduce Yourself
Hello, I'm Waldganger!

You may call me Wald. I started roleplaying in ~2011, though I wouldn't consider myself that experienced since I sometimes shy away from it as a hobby, and have often gone several years without touching it. However, I've been thinking about getting back into it. My favourite genres include sci-fi and fantasy with heavy hints of military roleplay here and there. I prefer playing with groups rather than 1x1. I also enjoy long-post RPs more so than short-post ones, particularly because I enjoy writing and reading.

Aside from my interests in RP, I am also an amateur philosopher and historian with a degree in political science. In my free time, aside from RP, I like reading non-fiction while working on a sci-fi/sci-fantasy story that has been in my head for the past few years. Or I spend countless hours world-building when I'm bored in lieu of actually writing the story.

Nice to meet you all!
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