The stories of the Crusades are full of glamor and glory: hard-won battles, brave last stands, the slaying of monsters and the discovery and exploration of ancient ruins. But life on the road is not always so exciting – a Crusader’s job is more often than not filled with cleaning duty, caring for animals, long boring patrols scouting for enemy movements, and ferreting supplies back and forth down a long chain of supply wagons; not to mention the more mundane tasks of maintaining latrines, cooking and eating barely edible mush, and attempting to keep up some semblance of personal hygiene.
Clog Prompt: Write about The Ugly side of life on the Crusader’s row. This could be an every day vignette for your character or write about a new side NPC/group that deals heavily with this (Cassidy needs nurses, after all!)
Say your prayers for the protection of archangel Damoduar
Watcher and protector, father to children
Whose boundless love could heal loneliness and sorrow
Whose tears flooded the desert
Whose wings brought shade to Mortua
From “Hymns of the Guardians”
Translated by Bro. Verick Fontaine, 8th Crusade
When Mt. Penumbral erupted over three thousand years ago, it drove all semblance of civilization away from Mortua. What was once a fertile crescent became a dry, deserted wasteland. People fled in massive waves to more hospitable climes. Ironically, however, the monsters of the world found the new desert to be a sanctuary. They came in droves, seeking respite from the monster hunters of the world outside. Creatures that once would have lived exiled and alone found themselves sharing common ground, fighting for the same dwindling pool of resources. Ultimately, the monstruous population that would have otherwise been unwelcome began to come together into a semblance – some would use the word “mockery” – of civilization. Kingdoms and courts arose, none more powerful or feared than the Vampiric Court. But other power groups exist; the Desert Walkers (nomadic undead led by wights and mummies that roam the desert countryside), the Ancients (the preserved remains of the pre-Mortuan civilizations), the Demon Courts – these are but a few of the varied “societies” of monsters that exist in Mortua. Each deals with the others in the ways that other feudal societies function – Dukes rule over Counts who rule over Barons and so on down a long and byzantine line, each fighting for territory and the precious human population that continues to eke out an existence in the desert.
Clog Prompt: Create a villain! What brought him to Mortua? What are his ultimate goals? What groups does he associate with, and what is his standing among the courts? Does he have a particular area of interest? Weakness? Strength?
Bonus Plot Point Opportunity: Stat out your villain using the proper Pathfinder NPC template.
“I ain’t sorry for what I done,” ranted Heidel Decker from his place at the gallows. “I’m glad I done it – sonuvabitch deserved everything I gave him an’ then some! Y’all were just too scared to do it, so I done it for ye, and now you leave me here to twist. Oughta have a medal pinned on my chest, not a rope ‘round my neck! I done y’all a good deed – this is how ye repay me? Y’all’re nothin’ but a bunch of two-timin’, candy-dancin’, back-stabbin’, ungrateful–– yerkle!”
Decker’s speech was cut short by the operation of the lever that opened the trap door beneath him. His neck broke cleanly – the success rate of the rope at earning a clean kill was a big part of the reason why the condemned so often chose it over the unspeakable alternative. It was swift. Continue reading
You know, it totally did not occur to me that next week was Thanksgiving Break. As I will be out of state, I will be unable to host. So we’ll take the week off!
The Crusaders number in the thousands, united in cause, but separated by origin. A group of mercenaries from the Wall. A Valendian noble might have brought a few dozen of his soldiers and retainers. A few dozen young Mesro warriors, ready to test themselves in the field of battle.
Clog Prompt: Give us the background of an NPC/group of NPCs that have joined the Thirteenth Crusade. Why are they here? What goals do they hope to achieve? Who do they serve, and why? How far will they go for the Cause? You can use the factions in the Mortua guide for inspiration, or create wholly independent groups based on the ideals laid herein.
The funny thing was that, the first time, I didn’t even mean to do it. I wasn’t looking to, specifically—it happened almost passively. Like it was meant to happen.
I don’t mean “meant to happen” to imply Fate was responsible, because I don’t believe in Fate. I mean that it seemed to be a natural inclination built into that body, a function of life like any other.
Or—to raise another point—if a child does something (whether or not she means to), are any negative consequences which ensue entirely the child’s fault? Our justice system goes easy on children, cutting off a finger instead of the whole hand, or lessening the years to be served in the castle dungeon. A child’s intention does not carry the same weight as an adult’s, as though a child were as small in mind as in body. Continue reading
The floor of the cell was cool as I settled down beside Mara. She could see me in the dark cell as well as I could see her, I noted. She too was a creature of darkness, at home and unafraid in the confines of the dungeon. She belonged in a place like this – though I hoped it would not be her fate. Continue reading
Currently, our characters are enjoying (or “enjoying”, as the case may be) their status as First Heroes of the crusade. Which has got your character thinking about the other firsts in her life.
Write a reflection or pen a narrative tale about the first time your character did something new, be it leaving home, trying drugs, baking a soufflé, skinny dipping, killing a deer, etc.
(Note: Alex, forgive me if am stepping on your DM toes by posting a clog prompt! — Sarah)
The Fortress of Last Hope was no longer a distant spot on the horizon; at last, it loomed large in my vision. It was one of the most massive structures I’d ever seen, second only to the pyramid at Shaz Kalün (and that I had seen only briefly, as I’d possessed the good sense to flee in the opposite direction the moment I’d laid eyes on it).
I lead my camel by the reins, my packs heaped on its back, Svetu straggling a short ways behind. It was the latter who seemed to upset the sentry, who leveled his crossbow at us and let out a sharp whistle, at which the soldiers on the wall a short ways away turned to us and did the same.
“Identify yourself!” he barked. He was young, and his voice almost broke. I felt bad for having frightened him.
“I am a stranger,” I replied. Continue reading