Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Roll of Desire

The deepest Desire of this Knight's heart is the Keep of Blackburn
to sit upon its Throne of Dominion in Aasterinian's Hall, to survey my people, safe and Prosperous, to seat them at my Feast Table. 
Now my People are dead, that Throne is useless and I will rescue their Souls from perdition as the ultimate Expression of my protective Vow.
To Commemorate my vow I will inscribe a Tattoo a huge sigil upon the flesh of my Back, that of the Red Rook so that all will feel Backlash of a Knight's fury.

Were I to come upon the wardrobe of my heroic ancestors, I will put upon my tired feet, Boots of Boarding so that I may leap upon my steed or ship at once.
I would don Gaunlets of Ogre Strength so that I may triumph in all arm wrestling contests, or perhaps Dwarven Throwers so that I am never short-hafted.
I would gird my arms with Iron Armbands of Power or those of Flame so that the West Hammer is ever feared.  Ever do the stories of the Red Knight's glories change.
I would pick from the armory to enclose my senses a Helm that is Horned like the charging Bull of legend.  Or else one girded by the runes of dwarves of the most Stubborn Mind.
I would sheath the West Hammer in its Sacred Sheath.
I would plunder the vaults for Power Jewels, Ioun Stones, Cinnabars and the Ivory Goat of Travail, and Hold them all in a magical Bag.

Were I to discover the riches of ancient kings I would don the famed Layered Plate of Dwarven Vigor in homage of that once worn by my indefatigable ancestors.
Were I to rub a genie's lamp I would ask of that a efreet a magic Bridle of Conjuration so that I may never again be without the company of my best friend, Withers, Warhorse of my Heart.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


"I abjure your authority and the despot you serve! So speaks Wolverhampton the Seventh Incarnation of the Red Knight who did found this kingdom!  In the name of Blackpool, Wigan, Fulham, Everton, Tottenham, Bolton and Stoke, I will smite you down!"

Alec the Warlord
Thus spake the rebel paladin as his blood reached a boil under the sinister condescension of the tattooed strongman of Fircrest.  The Company of the Verdant Glade was poised for action and followed through with a cavalcade of devastating violence mildly echoed by the efforts of the Retinue of Glorn so recently converted to the side of justice. 

The savage dragon man had prepared his assassination well and so the tattooed emissary found himself choking on the stuff of shadows even as the devilish Amul Fey called forth his hexed blade newly rededicated to the service of the Lady and brought it down upon his hapless pate.  Alec the Warlord called out orders and Jetberry hurled such insults that men shriveled at the touch of her scorching wit.

In moments it was over and the surviving men-at-arms of Fircrest had surrendered.  Four men were taken prisoner and bound by Luftenant Devlin and his men.  It was then that the discombobulated head of the ancient merchant Sasha appeared and beckoned the triumphant warriors to nearby treeline.

There the companions beheld a curious site.  A spectral serpent of flame twisted about in the air, bound by a circle of runes carved into the loam of the forest floor.  The serpent was apparently an old acquaintance of the the Warlord, the Bard and their Dragon friend, one who's alliance they had rejected some months before.  Now the serpent (who seemed to be in fact the avatar of the dread wizard Mordant) reiterated his entreaties for the heroes to cast aside their aspirations and instead sell their services for "great reward", mocking them for their short sighted-ness for could they not see that he had many schemes and much power? 

Some of the more clever members of the party toyed with the snake for awhile, asking what tasks he wanted accomplished and how they might come to an agreement.  It seemed the wizardly serpent merely wanted the return of a bag of bones won in the battle of the Orc Tree.  Not likely.  Jetberry had been using those to teach grifters' tricks to Kage.  Alec the Warlord was not impressed.  He shouted at the apparition that its false offers grew tiresome.  Its plots would be exposed by the Swords of the Glade.

After holding his peace, Wolverhampton finally spoke with his hammer.  He swung the maul through the soft earth before the serpent, ruining the runes of magic and banishing his presence. 

While looting the bodies of the defeated, performing proper burials and preparing to abscond, the companions discussed all they had learned and the questions they still had.

It seemed Fircrest had been infiltrated by the Cult of Io, a nefarious organization of serpent worshipers that had been a political factor in the southern islands for many centuries.  In fact, the weightless bust blamed this very organization for his long past petrification.  They wish to awaken a god, sleeping or dead. 

The red paladin was reminded of an old adage of the Red Knight: "Many things are worshiped.  Not all are gods.  It is not gods who threaten, but injustice.  We will battle them all."

According to the captured soldiers and the necrotic pendants they wore, the true power of Fircrest was not Hector Greymane, but in fact a Necromancer named Mordant, possibly the one last glimpsed fleeing the Orc Tree and few weeks prior.  It would be necessary to question these prisoners further, but they would be treated with civility and tea.

Plans were discussed as they Company of the Verdant Glade stole into the Blackburn Forest by quiet byways: 
  1. Perhaps they could find the old Hermit who long ago told the Prophecy of the Once and Future King.  Perhaps they could disguise their entry to the town of Fircrest and find what tidings are there.  
  2. Perhaps a gift of venison may be made to the Tiller family or one more deserving.  What blight issues forth from the castle? 
  3. Perhaps allies may be found amongst the populace.  It is said that the Father of the Church is not a vassal of the Castle.  
  4. Perhaps inspiration might be found amongst the Crypts of the Ancients or in the Shrine of the Red Knight.  
  5. Perhaps Steed of Dream may be ridden up the river and under the Castle gate.  
  6. Perhaps other opportunities might present themselves.  
It was all to be played for.  Wolverhampton was salivating with anticipation of noble victory.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It Begins with Justice

In the aftermath of the Battle of Glorn's Crossing, it was apparent to Wolverhampton that Kage the  Assassin was still thirsty for blood.  The clever lizardman had been frustrated by the quarter given to the bandits of the Crossing, a habit so rare when fighting monsters in the howling wilderness.  Now he was determined to execute the whole lot.

Wolverhampton could not let this happen, for he knew from the Annals of the Red Knight that to begin a campaign with a massacre is not a good omen.  It is better to end with a massacre, and so a massacre now would mean an end rather than a beginning and therefore not a good idea.

Wolverhampton did confuse himself while reciting the received wisdom of the Red Knight, but he was sure of one thing: "Let us not execute them all, but rather give trial to the worst, punish them as a public spectacle, and then spare the rest.  That way the bards will sing of our heroism, mercy, and the bringing of the Red Rule of Law to the land, taking the place of the decrepit hand of necromancy that lurks behind the walls of Castle Fircrest!"

Kage was sanguine, "Fine human.  I will humor you.  Then I will blast a bandit in the face with my fiery breath!"

Jetberry gave charity to the downtrodden women of the Inn, and sent a few of them to the Realm of the Sunstaff for training in the arts of Companionship, for she had been contacted by a clandestine spy of the Lady of the Shawl, Mortisha, and a relationship, if not and alliance was broached.

And so the Company of the Verdant Glade left Glorn's Crossing triumphant in arms and honor, and leaders of company of men, for seven had bent their knee to the cause of the Peoples' Liberation of Blackburn.

Now they marched to visit the Wisewoman Maude of Tameril and inform her of her own lineage and of the impending crusade.  Maude was welcoming and kind but unconvinced of the wisdom and righteousness of Peoples' Crusade.  Nor was she suitably impressed by the evidence of her patrimony. "My place is here now, not in Westfall."

Wolverhampton was not concerned with the woman's prevarication and impatient to draw his sword again in righteous battle.  Word came to his ears that the waterways downstream of Blackburn had been contaminated and he knew in his heart that the culprit was the oozing bile of iniquity that laired in his ancestral keep.  Avaunt!

Some days of travel later, the Peoples' Company rested at the Sheppard's Inn, in the Highlands above Fircrest.  Assassin and Bard enjoyed a warm bed while Wolverhampton the Wanderer slept with his retainers in the huts out back, retelling again the legends of the Red Knight.

The morn would be a day of reckoning!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lust for Life at the Crossroads

Death lurked in the hot summer nights.  Emerging from the forest, the Verdant Company encountered a camp of refugees from the hamlet of Glorn's Crossing.  Being generous travelers, and well endowed by the Elf Maiden, the Company plied the poor with songs of sustenance and courage and bid them make themselves secure at the edge of the forest.  To go farther would invite the Lady's wrath, and surely their home would be made available to them soon enough, for the red comet was on the horizon and the Once King Returned, putting bugbear heads on his pike as he went.

Crossing into his ancestral lands, Wolverhampton knew that he would not rest again until his throne had been regained.  He was quietly glad of his companions, salacious and devious as the pretty bard and dark dragonman might be, they had great potential for salvation, and the Warlord Alec was just the sort of man needed in these times, and educated as well!  This would bode well, if only they could be restrained from following the darkest paths of war!

The approach to Glorn's Crossing was clear, but they had been told a road block had been erected to glean more from traveling merchants and naive travelers.  An elaborate ruse was concocted.  Wolverhampton did not understand it all.  For a time he believed that Jetberry was going to tale the tale of the sickened Xorn, who distributed precious crystals from its bowls on midsummer nights (he was convinced), but nay, it was a more practical matter of dressing up as wounded penitents and leading a band into the woods to beat their heads and tie them to a tree.  The Red Knight reborn donned his tabard and sermonized over the defeated bandits, urging them to look to their better selves and see their plight as one and the same in this village as theirs, in opposition to the corruption that sat upon the seat of Fircrest.  It may take eliminating bad apples (the dragon was so good at that), but on the whole, these men were ripe for conversion.

It took a greater act of charity to forgive the Captain Devlin, but after tender ministrations, he allowed his blade to be bought for a handful of gold and a promise of more.  All he need do was to take arms against his former master, the Necromancer Phil the Philanderer.  And so he did.

The Company waited for the search party to leave and then surged in through the kitchen, catching the Philanderer among his pots and trollops.  Said strumpets soon harkened to the Bard's words and attacked their men as the whole place erupted into madness.  The bandit lord was more than a robber of living men, but a robber of graves as well, and his waves of dark necromancy made the warriors lose their footing and fall about the floor, skeletal minions rushing to the finish the job.

Though given pause by the savage defense of the necrophiliac sorcerer, the Company soon found footing and asserted their superior force of arms so that the lecher made to flee, only his insurmountable ego held him back to hurl final insults at the shadow dragon, Kage, who pursued him with furious intent.  When the final blow fell, the remaining bandits were eager to tender their surrender.

Sitting back with a hard earned ale, the refugees sent for, and prisoners disarmed and held in the stable, Wolverhampton pondered their dilemma.  What to do with these two dozen men, criminals all?  They owed penance, that much was clear, and yet it was only the Holy promise of mercy and redemption, as exemplified by Captain Devlin, that kept them corralled in expectation rather than scattering to the woods and further disinterested banditry.  The Blackburn Vale did could not stand a lawless band roaming unchecked, and the Red Knight needed an army to send against Hector, but was this too soon?  Was it moving too fast?  Such a rootless band required action or it would dissolve quickly enough into depredations once again.  It was necessary to learn more about the situation.  What dark arts were being practiced at Fircrest?  Would Gattock Tieg add his arms to a rebellion's spark?  What of the Witch?

Wolverhampton's head hurt.  Perhaps the others could provide advice.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Legend of the Ghost Knight, According to the Hermit Old Gro

"Know, oh king that you are not truly king while the blood of the Wolverhamptons still beats in a heart living or dead! The Red Knight may not ride, but lo! The Ghost Knight comes knocking upon these gates!"

So said Old Gro the Ageless Jester on the day of his banishment from the Castle Fircrest, once Blackburn Keep, in the Northern Lands of Cor.

Old Gro is said to live the life of the hermit somewhere under the Forest Eaves, though all are sure his mind has quite left him. In fact, Gro was the last living remnant of Blackburn Keep's rightful owners, for he was once the tutor of the young Wolverhampton lads in the times before the passing of the Light, in the times before the endless Sorrows.

And though Hector wished mightily that it were not true, the Prophecy of Gro came to pass and the Ghost Knight began his annual hauntings of the Castle Fircrest, an armored spectre of the last Lord of Blackburn, knocking upon the door, astride his hellish steed, demanding the honorable contest he was denied upon the fields of the Bloody Battle of the Peacock. The Ghost Knight has made it his habit to appear only on long nights of the winter's dark when the moon is at its lowest ebb. Few have seen fit to challenge the Knight and all have been slaughtered. The Knight has not seen fit to enter the castle gate.

---"Annals of the Young Lords of the North" as told by, Doraleus the Inker, Appointed Scrivener to the House of Fircrest.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Northward to the Stolen Lands

As told to the refugees of Glorn's Crossing after the requisite recital of lineage: 

After vanquishing the burning wyrm, my companions and I returned to the Verdant Glade to speak with the Lady Monalessa, who bestowed badges and titles upon us to show her deep appreciation for her service.  Thus, we speak as diplomats of that leafy land. 

For a time we availed ourselves of the pleasures of the fairy kingdom, eating fresh fruits and studying the lore of these lands of Cor, of a brighter time before the coming of the Empire, and it was good and restful.  But our destiny awaits to the north, for our stonefaced companion, Sasha, scion on a Lost Family of uncertain morality bids us quest for the circumstances of his long ago doom, and indeed I am not unhappy to visit once again the lands of my ancestors, the fields that service the Keep that once the Red Knight called his own.  Once and Future! 

And so, upon steeds spun of the very stuff of shadow and night time -for my companions do flirt with darkness- we traveled to the edges of the sward, looking to meet with the people here, in particular the Wise Woman of Westfall, and Lord Tieg of the Foothills.  Rest assured my people, though you have been neglected by the one who calls himself Lord of Fircrest, whose mother called him Hector, now there is another who looks upon you with a paternal gaze.  Never again will you walk alone!  Eat and drink from this Bardic Feast! and take these wards so that your children will not know sickness or poverty! 

And now to sleep upon these cold stones...

So it was that very night the boastful new heroes of Cor were called upon to defend their flock from the depredations of a band of Bugbears who came skulking to wrap their cords around the throats of children, as they are wont to do... but they were slain.  All but one, who was taken deep within the woods so that his screams would not be heard as the Dragonman ate him slowly.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Saga of the the Wanderers

What twisted skeins the looms of Fate have lain
Across my path! They haul me hinterland
Far from bloody duty, but never doth
Hammer rest. Here bathed in ghostly froth
I stand, last breath of ancient squire
Abjures me now to serve an eldritch ire.
Forgotten enmity 'twixt green and red,
Does gird my limbs to pass through flames inspired.

What twisted skeins have brought me here,
In flight from port-town's existential fear,
I've fallen in with travelers passing strange,
Deliverance of living statue's grange.
We walked the shadowed forest path,
Soon to find crime's bloody aftermath.
A reaving horde burdened with plundered fare,
We gave chase at a glimpse of golden hair.
A sprint! then heady row, a hammer's blow,
A reaver shorn of plunder's glorious share.

By twisted trails, the forest's byways,
Sent the lady's vengeance swamp-ways.
The poisonous doom that bloomed in kitchen pot
Gave silent sigh at blood filled belly's clot.
Now the incarcerated wights were free,
To wreak their carnage through the Banyan tree;
Two savage champions crushed by knightly arms
Red Wanderer turned to face the fiery lea.

Emboldened knights, like gods of ancient song
came charging forth to face the monster's throng
With lassos loop of eldritch rope twas bound
Arrested flight, and pulled the beast to ground.
My Lady's saviors hurled themselves upon
The burning wing -the lizard's fear foregone-
Through dirty birds hurling clods of filth and fire,
These Red-cloaked Knights did show their merciless ire.

Oh, what twisted runes are carved upon the tree of life
That takes this wayward king from strife to strife!

(This poem is the retelling of the last four sessions in a campaign in which I am playing a Paladin called Wolverhampton the Wanderer)

Wolverhampton the VII Wanderer

Laird of the Keep on Blackburn Hill, a fort held by Hedge Lord Fircrest. He is the embodiment of the Red Knight of Blackburn, the legendary hero who founded the Keep and the last to defy the Old Empire. Wolverhampton wanders in search of companions with whom to regain his throne.
Wolverhampton, the 7th Wanderer, son of Blackpool, son of Ham, son of Ipswitch, son of Wigan, son of Bolton, son of Hotspur, son of Bromwich... called the Beggar King by the people of Blackburn Fief because he comes lurking a couple times a year, usually bearing gifts of supplies in the winter and avenging crimes against the peasantry during the summer. The peasantry may not take his claim as seriously as he does, but it is a rightful claim and he considers them his subjects and his responsibility. He is steadfast and pure in his intentions to regain his humble throne.
Wolverhampton was not raised in privilege. He isn’t a good reader or memorizer of facts, excepting his prodigious memory of the oral tradition of his clan. However, he is slow to anger and merciful. He would make a good king, but not a good administrator. He carries the Blessings of the Red Knight upon his shoulders and he considers it his duty to contribute his deeds to the roles of history and legend. Thus he often composes crudely rhymed epic poetry that he will attempt to get the Bard to record for him. He is not interested in her salacious tendencies as he will only fornicate in order to produce an heir and he has a scheme in his head to affect some sort of politically beneficial union at some point. Perhaps the daughter of some other landless lord. Perhaps Mathias is another such Rightful Lord of the Land. Perhaps Alec the Halberdier is as well.
The Red Knight was a hero who’s legend has become synonymous with the rebellion against the empire and the discontent of the peoples of Core. He happens to be the ancestor of Wolverhampton. Perhaps he communicates in dreams or waking visions. Symbols of the Red Knight are like the jesus fish in ancient Rome. An unlikely avatar, perhaps, but Wolverhamption the VII has great potential... and a fierce mustache.

Friends of Blackburn

Angus Og is a half-orc innkeeper known to Woverhampton. He is a former mercenary who built his country boardinghouse on the edge of the forest where he serves farmers, lumberjacks, foresters, bandits, rebels, elves, orcs, dwarves and even halflings, and any other as long as they are Sir Hector's men. The Elf Haven Inn is a favorite waystation for the landless knight when he visits his ancestral lands. The mead is intense and the wine is surprisingly good. It is sometimes said Angus Og was raised by elves before he took to the reaver's ways.

Mevrain the Herbalist has not been poorly treated by Sir Hector, which makes her mildly amused when Wolverhampton blunders into her cottage every winter carrying a freshly slain stag and a sack full of winter mugroot, but it is a nice meal, and the neighbors do appreciate it. Perhaps she forgets that she was once the niece of the long lost Earl of Pembroke, who's line has been official rent from the Roles of Nobility. Or perhaps she does not forget that, ever.

Old Gro lives in the forest, wizened and half-cracked.

The Campaign

"What Ho?"
This page is for recording the story of our heroes adventures in the Lands of Cor, as brought to us by fevered dreams of RobtheDungeonmaster. All participants are welcome to contribute. There will be some sort of campaign log and an archive of handouts and maps.

Our heroes:
Kage: Dragonborn Assassin
Jet Berry: Elf Bard
Amulfey: Tiefling Hexblade
Alec, Knight of the Verdant Glade: Warlord
Wolverhampton the VII Wanderer: Paladin