+ Log in or register to post
Results 1 to 10 of 149
Thursday, 17th June, 2004, 06:58 PM #1
Magsman (Lvl 14)
DARK•HERITAGE -- 16 installments to date, updated April 20th
Banner courtesy of shadowlight.
Now that my Dark•Matter Story Hour is complete, and done, I thought it'd be fun to start one up on the campaign I'm currently running, the Dark•Heritage Campaign. Dark•Heritage has been a fun game for me so far, although we're still only a few play sessions into it. I hesitate to call the game D&D, as there are so many changes to the rules that it's almost unrecognizable (the link above explains the changes, for those interested in those kinds of things.) Basically the setting assumes a lower level of magic than core D&D, at least in terms of what characters have access to, as I've replaced most of the classes with classes that do not have access to spells. The setting is intended to be a high-octane swashbuckling type of game, though, with flying ships, floating islands, flintlock pistols, and occasional odd steamtech devices. Imagine a combination of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying with Pirates of the Caribbean and John Carter of Mars and you've got a pretty good idea of the setting.
My players are all members of the boards here: Quickbeam, shadowlight and Stockdale. All of us are in our early to mid thirties, we're married, we all have kids; so we end up not playing quite as often as I'd like to, but after we get through the summer, and our various vacation schedules, we may improve in that regard, with any luck.
The story hour itself is not a faithful game log, in some ways. I'll be adding interludes and cut scenes from time to time, I don't really recall much of the specific dialogue or combat actions or that kind of detail anymore, so I'll be recreating most of that from scratch. However, other than that, the story hour will be pretty faithful to the actual course of the game, as much as possible. It's quite likely, and indeed I hope so, that my players may pop in and comment from time to time as well.
Without further ado, let's get this party started!
Last edited by Joshua Dyal; Wednesday, 20th April, 2005 at 10:08 PM.
Thursday, 17th June, 2004, 09:17 PM #2
Magsman (Lvl 14)
A very long time ago...
(The following is a cut scene/flashback and was not part of the game itself...)
"And so you see, friends and colleagues, that these slight modifications to Nimlanâth's charm's, using the research I published earlier in The Annual Review of Advances in Thaumaturgical Science do indeed make the summoning of creatures from the Shadow Realm not only possible, but quite safe for the Mage who casts the spell. The implications for our understanding of the Shadow Realm moving forward, and our ability to advance the art, speak for themselves. Thank you."
Zimurrun bowed slightly to indicate that his presentation was over, and smiled to himself at the sound of applause. He was at the bottom of a large indoor arena, converted over for this conference. A hardwood stand was placed on the sands at the bottom of the arena, and dark hardwood benches and paneling rose around him in a ring, row after row. Probably two hundred of his colleagues, fellow students of the magical arts, had risen to their feet and were clapping enthusiastically. His summoned daemon bellowed at the applause, and raged within the carefully prepared pentagram he had placed on the hardwood floor. He was still surprised at what had come in response to his summoning, but was gratified that it was such an imposing creature. Grotesquely obese, covered with brownish scales and bristling with ridges and spines, the creature bellowed again. A fetid odor wafted from its wide, froglike, but wickedly toothed mouth, and four beady eyes came to rest again on him as the author of the creature's current helpless condition.
Zimurrun turned slightly weak under that baleful gaze, and his hands shook. He smiled unconvincingly at the creature and spoke the words that would banish it, although he cringed to hear his voice crack, higher pitched than his normal silky lecturing voice. The daemon's outline turned smoky then, and it looked around confused and a bit alarmed, to Zimurrun's satisfaction. He kept his eyes on it as the outline began to break up, and the massive bulk began to fade, and didn't look away again until it was completely gone. He then realized he hadn't taken a breath either while watching it fade. He panted slightly, as his lungs struggled to catch up again.
He looked up again, and nodded and smiled, waving even to a few familiar faces, as the other Magi filed from the room. His was the last presentation of the evening, and most of them would either be heading for bed, or heading for the taverns. His presentation had been a complete success, and he could see most of them talking animatedly about his demonstration.
Well, except for one. Probably the youngest Mage invited to the convention, Virrun Salthukk was an enigma to most. He sat near the top of the seats, unmoving as the rest of his colleagues gradually filed out. He had a small frown, and was looking carefully at Zimurrun with his sharp blue eyes, who couldn't help but feel a bit self-conscious under the intense scrutiny. Virrun Salthukk was a smallish man, pasty faced and thin, with slick black hair pulled back from his face. Finally, he stood, and with a final chewing of his lip as he watched Zimurrun pack away his materials, he left and the converted lecture hall was empty.
Zimurrun let out another sigh. His eyes turned slightly shifty themselves. He bounded up the stairs, taking two at a time, until he was level with the doors. Poking his head around the corner, he couldn't see anyone in the corridors beyond, and the sound of muted conversation was fading quickly. None of the other Magi had remained. Shaking slightly, he shut the doors and locked them. Then he walked around the circular landing that ringed the arena checking all the doors and locking them, as well as extinguishing all the oil lamps at that level. In a few minutes, he was confident that he had ensured himself of privacy. More slowly now he walked down the darkened steps to the hardwood floor and the pentagram that he had inscribed earlier. A feeling of dread filled him, and he questioned whether what he was doing was really wise. Although the summoning he had demonstrated to the convention of Magi had been successful, it had been more difficult than he imagined to control such a powerful, malevolent entity, and his will had been shaken. He imagined that he could hear a dark, murmuring rustling sound behind him, and he whirled.
The murmuring seemed almost to he laughing at him. He knew that no one was there, knew that he was hearing things. Knew that he should not attempt another summoning, especially of so powerful a being as he intended, until he had recovered, rested, let his sanity gradually seep back in. Magic of such a powerful nature always impacted the caster to the point where he became confused, he hallucinated, his mind and will could be broken if he was not careful.
But no, he had very carefully prepared this room for this event. Although his earlier summoning had been spectacular, that was really only the warm-up. Being able to showcase his new theories was a bonus, not the end result. The ultimate goal was to summon a creature capable of striking a bargain that would make him the most powerful Mage ever; one who did not need to fear death, one who could rule forever, as the Magi were meant to do. The accolades of his colleagues would be hollow at that point. He would be far beyond the need of them.
He had reached the bottom of the arena again, and he felt very small. He trudged through the sand to the steps of the lecture platform. There were two lamps here, that gave a fair amount of light to the arena floor, but beyond a row or two of the seating, the rest of the room vanished into pitch blackness.
Zimurrun nervously shuffled his parchment notes, making sure he had everything he needed. Most of what was required for this summoning was in his head, of course, and most of the ritual had been completed hours before, but he double checked his formulae one final time. A fleeting panic crossed his mind again that he was not in a good enough state of mind to go through with this, but he quashed such thoughts. He had prepared for this moment for months, and he wasn't going to let cold feet bring a stop to his plans now.
He carefully relit the candles at the junction points of his pentagram as he chanted slowly under his breath in a strange tongue. He nearly winced at the smell as he scattered crushed brimstone around the inner layer of the pentagram, continuing his chanting slightly louder and faster now. Next to each candle he placed a rat skull, deliberately and stiffly. Even louder and faster his voice rolled over the unnatural sounds of the words of magic. Then he reached into a small, dark wooden box that he had cached innocuously next to his notes.
Earlier he had killed a slave as part of the ritual, a teenage girl who's body was surely even now being rent and devoured by feral dogs in the grim alleyways of the city. Inside the box was her heart, which he had brutally ripped from her ribcage using a small saw and his hands. The heart still beat faintly, even after hours of sitting in the box. A strongly unpleasant smell swept up from the heart, and it suddenly began beating more strongly, and very quickly. A trickle of blood seeped from the organ to run down his forearm. Zimurrun's chanting was now a feverish shout, but his voice had gone somewhat hoarse. He set the beating heart in the center of the pentagram, turned and walked back out of it. He thought he could hear the murmuring voices again, stronger now, but he knew that it was probably not his imagination this time. So close to completion of the ritual, the Veil between the Shadow Realm and the Material Realm was parchment-thin.
Suddenly the pounding heart in the center of the pentagram burst into flame. A cold sweat drenched Zimurrun's face and back, but his hoarse voice continued to chant. Greasy black smoke starting pouring from the fiery heart, filling the room quickly, but all the while contained by the mystic boundaries of the pentagram. And then glowing eyes appeared in the smoke, first one pair, then another, and then another. The smoke faded and dissipated, and Zimurrun's voice stopped with a gurgling rattle in his throat.
The entity before him was blasphemous in every sense of the word. It was huge; swelling up into the dark recesses of the arena, and was only vaguely humanoid. It was the color of a week-old bruise; purple and yellowish. Scaly wings stretched from its back to scrape plaster from the ceiling. Its hideous, daemonic head had three faces, and the central pair had its eyes fixed hungrily on the mage who had summoned him. A long, slavering tongue writhed from a leering, grinning mouth. And then the thing spoke.
Zimurrun abruptly stopped sweating and turned as dry as he could imagine. His mouth was so desiccated that he could barely open it. He felt the blood drain from his face, and a hot flash of panic surged through him, but he seemed unable to move. The daemon spoke with all three of its mouths at once, and although the words were the same, the three voices were all different. One voice was a rumbling deep bass, and the words that spilled from that unnatural mouth seemed curiously malformed, as if it was unable to form the sounds used by mortal mouths. Another voice was a ghastly shrieking, as of a man having his eyes burned out of his sockets. And the final voice was the worst of all; a penetrating chilled whisper, colder than the grave.
"You are daring, mortal, to summon me to the your Realm. Surely you did not think to control me with this pathetic scrawl on the floor?"
Zimurrun was blasted by the voice; his eyes rolled up in his head, and his catatonia became complete. He pitched forward on his face. His forearm fell across the border of the pentagram.
Unseen, but most certainly not unsensed by the daemonic entity, Virrun Salthukk crouched behind the benches, watching in horror. The daemon grabbed almost daintily at Zimurrun's arm and pulled him completely into the pentagram. A long claw disemboweled the hapless mage, and three tongues shot from the beast's mouths to lap up the insides of the man. Salthukk realized with horror that each of the tongues had a ringed toothy maw at the end. He heard a sickening fleshy crunch from the writhing body of Zimurrun, and in just a few seconds he was reduced to a bloody but emptied skin.
Salthukk lost his composure then, he wasn't aware of anything for many hours, he finally came to himself to find that he had been screaming for the god's knew how long. His voice was long gone; his throat damaged beyond repair from the constant screaming. He was still covered in cold sweat and stale vomit, and he stank of stark, naked terror.
He looked around wildly, but the spell had faded and the daemon was gone. In the center of the pentagram was a book, bound in pale leather. Salthukk heaved dryly for several more minutes, his stomach spasming uncontrollably as he realized that it was made from Zimurrun's skin, and that his face -- locked forever in a silent scream -- decorated the cover.
Last edited by Joshua Dyal; Friday, 22nd October, 2004 at 07:38 PM. Reason: Some minor edits
Thursday, 17th June, 2004, 11:58 PM #3
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Ahhh, Barsoom...
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block barsoomcore
Hee. So this is a story about fiendish librarians who take people with overdue fees and, ahem, ADD them to their collections?
*grabs popcorn, settles in at the front row*
Yay! Bring on the demonic swashbucklers!
Friday, 18th June, 2004, 04:12 AM #4
Magsman (Lvl 14)
A not so long time ago…
(The following prologue was actually played out by the players; I gave them some pre-generated characters to use for the better part of our first session.)
“Wanna fried tomato?” Acton asked. In his hand, he had a battered iron skillet with a silvered wooden handle. It still sizzled invitingly, as he speared the breaded and fried fruit with an equally battered fork and put one on Dacey’s and Toren’s wooden plates. Then he sat down next to them on a hard, dried log. The three of them silently chewed their food for a minute, watching the caravan porters finish setting up the small camp. Maybe caravan was too generous a word for what this was; three wagons, and as near as the hired muscle could tell, only one of them had any cargo. The owner, an obviously wealthy, yet suspicious and secretive fellow named Chauncey d’Albereau stalked by the guards, giving them a frown before turning aside again.
Toren spat. “Five silver marks says he tries to sneak whatever he’s got in that trunk in the hard way. He’ll pay us and let us go right before we get to Razina, mark my words. He don’t want our eyes around when he bribes the gatekeepers.”
Dacey burped and waved nonchalantly. “As long as he does pay us, I don’t care if the trunk is full of haoma. Since when have you cared anyway? As I recall you were a two bit bandit six months ago.”
Toren sneered. “A little honest thievery’s one thing, but this bloke’s up to his arse in something worse than that.”
Acton nodded his agreement. “Yeah, haven’t you heard the porters? They’re dead scared of whatever he’s carrying in there. Rumor is he pulled something off the plateau of Leng. Don’t wanna stick your poke in anything from there.”
Toren laughed, although a bit nervously, as he struck a match on a nearby reddish piece of sandstone and lit up a large brown cigar. “The dread plateau of Leng!” he said sarcastically, waving his hands mysteriously with his eyes open wide. He spat again, and chomped down on the cigar. “There ain’t no such place.”
Acton had an indignant look on his face; clearly he was about to lay into his fellow guard with a scathing argument, but Dacey elbowed him. He was staring upward into the sky. “Oi, what’s that?”
All three of them stood. For a moment, it was hard to make out what Dacey had seen. The ground was dry and dusty; a rusted orange-red color, and the dust particles that were constantly suspended in the air gave the sky the same color. It not only made the horizon seem to disappear, but it also cut down in visibility considerably. But they could soon all see a large shape drifting slowly, almost lazily towards them. It was a ship, but a battered, dusty, and moldering one. It looked like it had been abandoned for years, floating aimlessly from who knew which island. It was a miracle that it was passing over them at all, and even more miraculous that the magic that suspended the ship hadn’t faded, sending it plummeting into the void.
But miracle or not, it was clearly coming right for them, and would drift right over their heads no more than thirty or forty feet up.
Acton suddenly had his heavy flintlock pistol in his hand, checking the loaded charge and ball. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” he said, not taking his eyes off the ship.
“Oh, c’mon! That’s clearly just a derelict…” Toren started to say. He thought he saw movement on the deck of the ship, which would be directly overhead in mere minutes.
Dacey spat. “That’s what comes of meddling with Leng,” he said, drawing his sword. The ship was slowing down, and now ropes were dropping from its deck to hang down near them. The porters had all stopped working, staring wide-eyed at the old ship. And then people were disembarking, coming down the ropes slowly. But something was wrong with them. They moved jerkily, and seemed to be malformed. He couldn’t place what it was until they came down to the ground. Then he screamed.
The figures were all dead. Desiccated, mummified faces, with grinning, skull-like countenances and blank eye sockets regarded the screaming and running porters. But that wasn’t all – the walking corpses had been “modified” by some insane genius. Tubes and pipes burst from their torsos, and their hands were replaced by huge, spiked and vicious metallic claws, like grotesquely oversized boxing gloves made of cold steel. The corpses clanked and hissed as they moved, and their dried flesh rustled like parchment in the wind. And they were slaughtering the caravan with powerful blows from their mechanical hands. Chauncey d’Albereau came out of the wagon, screamed and fired a pistol shot at one, right in its face. The skull exploded, and the creature fell to the ground, but another one gripped the man’s extended pistol arm and ripped it from its socket in a spray of blood. Then another blow crushed his ribcage, and he fell in a red splatter to the rusty dirt, and did not get back up.
The three guards saw the hideous corpses coming their way, and drew their weapons. Dacey screamed as he shot one that jerked backwards from the force of his ball, but did not stop. With shaking hands he started reloading his gun. Acton was diving under a wagon.
Then Dacey and Toren noticed that someone was suddenly standing next to them. Toren stepped back with a start. The someone was a person of a race that he did not recognize. She was tall, and had soot-colored skin and piercing blue eyes. She smiled at him, showing teeth that seemed unnaturally white against her dark skin. Her head was shaved, and she wore strange black clothes; a tight leather tunic that fitted her like an ophidian skin, and extremely voluminous trousers. She had two large curved swords hanging low on her hips, but even as she smiled they seemed to leap almost of their own accord into her hands. Toren shouted, “I don’t think so!” as he loosed a blast with his own pistol directly at her chest, but she wasn’t there – she had melted into the shadow of the wagon. Instantly she reappeared behind him, leaping out of another shadow nearby, and her swords flashed so quickly that they were mere blurs. Toren fell to the ground stone dead.
Acton got out from under his wagon as the strange steam-powered mummies smashed it to splinters. His sword chopped down one of them before he took a resounding blow that spun him around. He shook his head, spitting blood and tried to rise, but fell again under the pummeling fists of three of the creatures. His screams were short-lived.
Dacey had given up trying to reload his pistol, and tossed it to the ground, running as fast as he could for Chauncey’s wagon. The shadow woman was suddenly next to him, slashing at him, but he dived to the ground, avoiding all but a stinging blow from her sword, and he was back up again, scrabbling into the wagon. There was the chest; the valuable cargo that they had been hired to protect. With a shout, he chopped with his sword, and the lid of the chest flipped open. Inside was a book. Just a book.
Disbelieving, he picked it up, but as he did he suddenly shivered in terror. The book was made of human skin, and a stretched face was on the cover. He thought for an instant that he saw the face mouthing obscenities at him. He quickly put it down where he wouldn’t have to look at it anymore.
And then he saw that the dark woman was standing right behind him, an amused smirk on her face. He stumbled backward, holding the book in front of him like a shield. She jammed one of the swords into the floor of the wagon to watch him for a minute, chuckling slightly to herself, and shaking her head and her finger at him. “I don’t think so, hero. Give me the book.”
Dacey tried to speak, but his mouth had gone dry, and only a hoarse rattle came from his throat. Then he turned and ran. The dark woman’s face hardened, no longer amused.
He leaped madly for one of the ropes hanging from the flying ship. If the entire “crew” were here on the ground, he might just escape if he could hijack their ship before they could reboard. He began shimmying up the rope as fast as he could. He felt the boat wobble slightly, and he looked around. Several mechanical zombies were also climbing ropes. He would be hard pressed to cut their ropes and get the ship underway before the deck was swarming with the things again.
Breathing heavily, he clambered up on the deck. It was deserted. He cast his eyes about desperately for a knife, or sword, or anything he could use to cut the ropes. And then the dark woman stepped nonchalantly from out of the shadow of the sail. She smiled mirthlessly at Dacey as she slit his throat with the end of one of her swords. He was still choking on his own blood as she pitched him over the side to smash to the hard ground below.
Last edited by Joshua Dyal; Friday, 22nd October, 2004 at 07:42 PM. Reason: Some little edits
Friday, 18th June, 2004, 05:01 AM #5
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Originally Posted by barsoomcore
Last edited by Joshua Dyal; Monday, 6th December, 2004 at 07:19 PM.
Friday, 18th June, 2004, 10:55 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- In The Game
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block Quickbeam
Hey Josh, I just wanted you to know that I'd stopped in. I haven't had a chance to read anything beyond your initial announcement post (that will come later tonight), but I'm here nonetheless.
I can tell you that your efforts herein may prompt me to resume the Call of Cthulhu Story Hour I began long ago. Heck, if you can have fun at my expense as a player in your game (not to mention stockdale and shadowlight), I should probably attempt to return the favor .
Monday, 21st June, 2004, 12:19 AM #7
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Glad to have you! As the player of the one temp player who gave me a lot of trouble (instead of dying gratuitously like the rest of them) represented above by Dacey (can't remember if those guys even had names or not, much less what they were, so I made up new ones) it'd be great to have some commentary!
Thursday, 5th August, 2004, 04:58 AM #8
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- In The Game
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block Quickbeam
OK Josh, I'm finally checking back in.
Before I make my general comments, I have a couple of corrections:
1) The Gray's name is Rosham Boh, with an 'm'. I know that there was some discussion and handwringing over this topic, but not any longer.
2) Rosham has never carried a pistol. I may have sliced the maggot sack into goo, but I certainly didn't shoot the foul abomination. Just an FYI so that you don't give my PC credit for equipment/gear he isn't carrying.
And while there may be another detail with which you've taken poetic license, the rest seems amazingly accurate.
As for overall impressions of the game and the Story Hour...Both are excellent IMHO. The game is unlike any other I've played in recent memory. The plot is intriguing and convoluted; the NPC's seem quite real; the setting is unique; our motives are compelling; and while the pace can bog down at times, the sessions are always good fun!! As for the Story Hour, I've got to say that I'm truly impressed. You weave a captivating tale fraught with great detail, interesting dialogue, curious circumstances and plenty of action. I really am taken aback by the fantastic job you ro reiterating the events of our prior gaming sessions. Kudos to you JD!!
Henceforth I shall be a regular contributing member of this thread. After all, Boh does plenty of taking in game, so why not here as well ?
Thursday, 5th August, 2004, 03:13 PM #9
Magsman (Lvl 14)
True, Rosham has definately made a niche for himself as the faceman of the group. I'm glad your enjoying both the game and the associated story.
Hmmm.... I wonder who shot the maggot bag, then, if it wasn't you. Someone was carrying a pistol.
Thursday, 5th August, 2004, 03:49 PM #10
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Konrad carries a pistol, well two. But, I don't think he deserves credit for the death stroke in this encounter. He was using his mace here.
By Clefton Twain in forum Miscellaneous Geek Talk & Media LoungeReplies: 0Last Post: Thursday, 28th March, 2013, 01:57 AM