“Ah, so you wish to know of the great wonders of the Age of Crystal? It was said that the Cathedral of Heliodrus was one of them. Standing for a thousand years, the one hundred and forty-four crystalline columns represented the twelve months and the twelve muses… or so they said before its destruction. When the first foundations were laid, the temple was for the goddess Ersloiene, and there were one hundred and forty-three columns, for the thirteen moon-months and the eleven passions. That-
“Oh. I see. It is not history you are interested in, but a tale? Not learning, but entertainment? A shame… what, then? Something noble and uplifting…? No? Something bold and bloody? That is thirsty work, then, and my cup is empty.
“The wine will do… so. There were many tales, bold and bloody, that were told of the times after the Age of Crystal, when the cities of the Mage-Kings were shattered, when both Gods and Demons were driven out of the mortal world… the flying city of Aelzo had fallen on top of the Jyau’thur, known as the City of Scholars, and much was lost. The Great Empire of Conarlu, which once spanned the northern lands from sea to sea was shattered into a hundred squabbling fiefdoms… then only two score when the dead began to walk again. The Knights of the Holy Fire were disbanded, and the Summoner Lords of the Spider Islands paid their final blood price…
“The Age of Crystal, the age of high magic, of great deities and devils, had passed. The world was shattered by the collapse of the great magics, and then fed upon by the vultures and the fearful who tore apart the remaining shreds. The Blessed Tree of Life in Pranthalithivlaristh - which kept illness and disease at bay in the the city since it was founded - was stripped of its fruit and seed so that one warlord’s army could defy death for a single day. And the tree burned afterwards to prevent anyone else from ever doing so - though there are tales that a solder kept a seed rather than eating it, and later stole away with it to a far away land… Like the tales of the Demon Lord of the Pit of the Black Flame. The clerics of Ghalyunri paid a terrible price of sacrifice, but summoned him simultaneously to over a thousand summoning circles and shattered him. Each fragment was battled and destroyed… they claimed. Rumors of one escaping persisted…
“The world tottered uncertainty in the gap between Ages. No one knew if history would once again swing towards an Age of Magic, or if it would be one of Steel and Blood. The tribes of the jungles of Imarland grew bold, bidding to make it an Age of Voodoo. But even deeper in the jungle, the spirits of the ancient beasts stirred, sensing a chance to not merely end the Age of Magic, but the Era of Man… and among all this chaos, there were those who strove to be noble heroes among the madness.
“Alas for the time, they tended to be shorted-lived. And those are not the tales you want to hear… so, then, a tale of scoundrels and mayhem and adventure, in that gap of history, before the world steadied and a new Age started…
Narrator notes: Don’t expect a lot of images. I’d rather spend time on the writing than hunting down appropriate and usable visuals. While an image may be worth a thousand words, I’d rather see good writing.
The inspirations are: Conan, Frazetta’s Death Dealer, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Thundarr the Barbarian, Beastmaster, cheap pulp fantasy, Thieves World (novels) etc. Some amount of influence from things like Mad Max, the A-Team, and Cowboy Bebop (the anime series) - the main characters will be scoundrels mostly trying to survive and find some sort of fortune (and/or fame) in an age of chaos, but perhaps end up helping others while in the process of lining their own purses. At least until they spend it all in debauchery and start over.
The game will likely be NSFW and potentially full of stuff that triggers issues for some. By that I mean, given the inspirations and settings, there could be scenes of loincloth-clad barbarians rescuing mostly-to-completely naked princes(ses) by beheading dozens of beast-men in a ocean of gore, followed by a certain amount of celebratory debauchery. Not very politically correct or sensitive. That said, it is not intended to be a story of Gor, though slaver traders, beast-men raiding villages to carry off the virgins, etc. could certainly be part of it. The focus should hopefully be on the adventuring bit.
Also, while, hopefully, the characters won’t get killed off, there will be the possibility of abuse, torture, branding as a thief, molestation to various levels, etc. - consider the Conan movies, in which the character is enslaved left for the vultures, etc. So it would not be out of genre if Bad Things are threatened at the characters, particularly if they get caught. Whether the threats are followed through with on camera, so to speak, will probably depend on the player mix. It should be kept in mind that the setting is essentially post-apocalyptic in many ways, and even in places that seem civilized, the veneer of civilization tends to be crumbling into decadence, ruthlessness, or both.
That said, ultimately the camera focus should be on adventuring, swashbuckling, and some humor, not so much on the dark stuff.
Characters should be human. True magic, as opposed to trickery and slight of hand, is increasingly rare. While characters may have magic abilities, they should be non-epic in scope. Flashy magic will tend to get a lot of notice. In general, characters ought to be able to, at most, deal with, say, 5 villagers, 3 thugs/town militia, 1-2 guards/soldiers/slavers, or, maybe, 1 well-trained/elite guard/soldier, under the right circumstances (i.e. ambush, etc). This might be through fast talk, fleeing, combat, whatever. If the character concept can behead all of the town militia or fast talk an entire squad of elite guards, then it is probably out of scope. (i.e. no glass cannon/nukes, either.) However, the characters working together might be a different story (and hopefully an entertaining one.) This is not to say the characters won’t get better as time goes on, but to give scope for the start.
The characters do not need to have a pure heart of gold, but they shouldn’t be irredeemable, either. They should have some sort of positive qualities.
The story settings will probably meander between some city-states of various sizes and local law enforcement, to smaller towns and villages, and some wilderness. The exact mix will probably vary depending on how things go.
Mechanics-wise, feel free to create your own cards, though at the moment we need a thief-type and a muscle-type to round things out I think - or someone willing to take over Vlordraam. I am not particularly obsessed with Strength vs. Weakness cards - that is, I can be convinced to let people play a Strength as a Weakness or vice versa (i.e. a Strength of ‘Attractive’ or ‘Charming’ might be a weakness if one is trying not to be the one the slavers pick, and conversely a Weakness of ‘Hideously Scarred’ might be a Strength in that situation.)
Hosted and narrated by:
Scenes played: 6
License: Community License