Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Chapter: Monkey-wrench!

The seventh chapter of The Black Spear

The following takes place on 7 Novium, YE 1022

Cast: Aegir of the Enidùn, Mandan Bansl, Gryff Galan, Velimir Tito, Yolander van Zaar, and Toadface. Also, as NPCs, in order of appearance: Theurge Galeantis of the Draccian army on Cora, Mahdi Abu Aden of the Enlightened Viziers, The Purple Robed Man, Master Octavian Arbalestus of Battlefleet Hermetica.

Having left King Radan the Great of Draccia, the heroes find their plans thwarted by the Court of Star's untimely attack on Cora, and the Pius Fleet escapes before the Kraken drags it into the Deep; a meeting turns sour, van Zaar seeks the wisdom of the Prophet -- and meets a man in a tower -- before they again turn to Octavian for his advice.

On their way down the slopes of Mt. Revelation with Grand Master Martellus, riders reach them, and the knight is informed that the enemy is finally coming. Galan scryes ahead, and out of the dark storm surrounding Cora, a vast fleet of dark ships is approaching the beleaguered fortress-island. Van Zaar then temporarily abandoned his composure.

It was his convicted and outspoken opinion that Cora had to fall, and that defending the blasted rock was a fool's errand. The men on the island, close to 35,000 all told, should, if anyone had the slightest grip of their faculties, be used to wipe the blasphemous Thulist fortress off the face of the moon. Any other use of manpower was, according to the Wezellian wizard, utter ludicrousness. Perhaps (forgive me for speculating here) even outright treachery.

At the very least, the Draccian force should march on the moon!

After talking to the High Theurge, Galeantis, van Zaar realized that the defenders of Cora would not be moved, and the cabal prepared to leave the island before the trap snapped shut. The ships lay ready in the Broken Bay, and the cabal boarded the good ship Pius. Captain Galan now readied the fleet for departure, and -- with a growing sense of disaster -- initiated the teleportation procedure. As the Vis was fed into the Bansl Apparatus, the lookout called out. In the waters outside the bay, a massive beast broke the surface. Yelling for the rest of the cabal to lend their weight to the ritual, the captain managed to transport out before the Kraken's tentacles thrashed everything left in the bay to kindling.

The fleet's destination was the Hannuman port of Petra, and every last ship made it there unscathed. Eleven Men-O-War appearing out of the blue caused some commotion in the busy port, but this was soon settled. The cabal appeared to be a little disparaged, but requested a meeting with the Council of Awakened Viziers. They were told that the local mahdi would receive them at their leisure, and soon found themselves before His Awakened Eminence in his audience-chamber.

Van Zaar can sometimes be a little too direct for the tastes of those who are not familiar with his ways. This was to be just such an example. After first informing the mahdi that the Siege of Cora had begun, thereafter that King Radan the Great had given the Pius Cabal 3,000 men -- the mufti would not be out-done, and promised an equal number of his own men -- words fell between them. Without entering into details about who said what, let us move to where the cabal is told that the audience is over, and that their presence is no longer needed.

Several harsh words were uttered as the heroes found themselves a tea-house, firmly intent on waiting until the narrow-minded Hannumen came to their senses and provided an army with which the moon could be taken. In the Seven White Camels tea-house, Bansl threatened to shoot people, and  van Zaar, well known to be a powerful Fate-weaver, promised dismal futures to anyone who cast a crooked glance at them. The patrons quickly left, but since the good half-dozen grim-faced and quarrelsome warriors of the Apocalypse demanded a party, the room was promptly stocked with rent-a-courtiers and minstrels.

As the sun reached its zenith, van Zaar decided that he would cut through the bureaucracy and go straight to the top. Entering a temple, disarming the mulla's protests with a murderous stare, and a hand on the sword-hilt, he scaled the stairs to the minaret. His intention was to, and here I quote*, "demand the enlightenment of Aziz." Aziz, may His thousand-times-blessed Soul find Its way back to us, is the prophet-god of the Hannumen. He gave his life so that Morfeus, Prince of Nightmares, could slay the Fallen Daeva, and thereafter rebuild the White Tower.

The sun made its slow journey across the heavens, and except from a tardy inscription on the wall of the minaret reading, "Service, Love, Hope," no apparition appeared. As the day neared night, with the sun low on the horizon, a purple-robed man came and spoke to the stalwart pilgrim. As so often before, the wise man did not give out mighty armies, or even powerful Artifacts. Instead he, as so many before him, only said that the Pius Cabal was indeed the Greatest Heroes of this Age, and that their path was only theirs to make. Other words of endless wisdom were also said, and it is my assumption that as night fell, van Zaar descended feeling more at peace with the world.

Back in the Seven White Camels, the rest of the cabal were still a little moody, and as they still had no firm plan for what to do next, they did what they often do when they feel the need for a friendly face. They convened for a telepathic conversation with 'Tavi.

Octavian promised that if they needed his help, he would bring his own cabal to support their assault on the lunar fortress Nattland. On questions about the Red Death, another area of interest for the heroes, he could give them the name of what seemed to be the heart of the plague, a city called Zalburg. He also said that reports now appeared to show some considerable OUT involvement in the Redlands, as Reavers had been seen flying in and out of the area on several occasions.

Toadface, it should be mentioned, asked Octavian if he couldn't be knighted, and made an honorary Wyvern-rider. This was of course arranged, Toadface is after all the only one to ride a dragon for at least an Age.

Thus we leave the Pius Cabla for this time, their fleet still in Petra harbour.

*I am aware that I will probably catch some flak over this quote, but I have a tendency to latch on to just such spur-of-the-moment utterances. I see these moments  as "true" roleplaying, as it is so seldom that characters act without some deliberation from their players's side. Either way, they generate conflict, and as Tolkien said, conflicts kick ass!

Storyteller's note: First, why did I name this chapter Monkey-wrench!? Because that is how I felt as the session started. The exclamation mark is, as I have learned from Porky, to make it more pulp. And this chapter was a little pulp.

The initial outburst of van Zaar was most enjoyable, as the Master of Fate cursed the fates up and down for some time. He even accused Captain Galan of bad leadership and shitty semanship for steering the fleet to Cora. On the siege, there is a prophesy -- that no one wants to acknowledge -- that says, "when Cora falls the second time, the Endtimes will be upon us." For some time now, it has been the goal of the cabal to make sure the island will not easily fall. It remains to be seen how this plays out. Anyway, it is on.

While little quantifiable came out of this evening's session, some good meta-plans were laid, some right amusing roleplaying were exhibited, and the bloody siege was finally started. 

There are elements I have omitted for reasons of brevity, but as usual, if you were there, and if you feel I have left important things out, or misrepresented the events, you know what to do. Also, if any of you fine and esteemed ladies and gentlemen who wasn't there should want to leave a comment, please do so.

[Picture source: Golden Age Comic Book Stories]


  1. A little while back, you said you wanted some constructive criticism from us players. I'm afraid I can't give you much. As a player I always want more loot, more artifacts, the odd free dot and the like... but fuck that.

    This is The Greatest Game I Ever Played. And I recently realized (a shocker, I must admit) that I started playing more than 20 years ago. Playing weekly now, for two years, building this character, it's been a blast. Harald, I think you know this, I am truly dreading the day this will have to end.

    Thanks for bringing back The Last Chapter. To the readers of this blog, the story told in said Chapters, is clearly Harald's take on things. Us players, naturally, have a different point of view, and we should perhaps have been more active on this blog in getting OUR story across. Though I don't know if this would interest any of you followers, it certainly interests me quite a bit. So here we go.

    Van Zaar has chosen the path of The Truth, The Whole Truth and nothing, but The Truth. The people of Eria have lived in ignorance for far too long. We all know ('cause The Ramones told us) that Ignorance is Bliss. And like I have said more than once in play, "We're not in the Good News Business". So get ready, or get lost.

    As for Cora, if we seem undecided or unsure on this matter, we are not. We have strengthened their defenses to make those other bastards bleed. I don't believe there is a better place for 35,000 soldiers to make a stand, than right there. "When Cora falls for the second time, the Dark Horde shall wash over the southern shores of Eria". Well, these shores are the shores of Aragon and Corinth (The Temple of Man Supreme), our sworn enemies. So, bring it.

    This is what we have been trying to do since Day One, put as many and mighty pieces on the board as possible. On our side, that is. Play all the horses. Elves and Gods and the lot of them.

  2. *copy/pase to my scrap-book :)


    Thank you so much. I have used the word "humbling" before, but all those instances are humbled by this time. Thank you again.

    As for matters of intrest, this is a blog about the "the ongoing games in [...] the world of Argos, and the multiverse surrounding it." I would like nothing better than more comments from the most important people in this world, the players. All that happens is shaped by your actions, after all. As you say, the Chapter-posts are my version of what happened, but at any given time there will be a number of other versions equal to the number of guys who sat down to play.

    As it is, Håvard has been piping in on the last few chapters, but I hope more of you will dare to step into the intertubes. I started this blog to make the world and the stories available to all of us, both while we play, and afterwards.

    Did I say thank you?

    Thank you :)

  3. @The Captain - While I can't comment on whether its the "greatest game every played" I can without a doubt say that this series the most epic series of game reports ever. I mean, it consistently reads like well-thought out fiction.

  4. Damn.

    Thank you, Trey.

    I've found that I really enjoy writing these reports, as all I have to do is put it in writing. All that happens has already happened, and thus I can just lean back and have fun with the keyboard.

  5. WORD(s) Captain Galan!
    Undoubtedly the highlight of my week for the past few years have been roaming around in the book of worlds and the curious mind of Harald. Being a roleplayer and GM/ST for the past 20 myself I have no problems with admitting that this is the most thoughtprovoking, bone chilling and bestest story I ever partook in (litterature included).

    Hopefully as a player I have managed to keep the story at hand in focus - my character, at least, does not care much for loot or honor - his mind is set on the future and the imminent end of the world. Harald once pointed out I was good at making other players good - while fear I havent been true to this lately I cherish this comment and will strive to better myself and Yolander as we progress into the new season.

    As I also played the notorious Franco da Cola for some years before the Pius Cabal entered the scene, and functioned as an introductory ST for the group for a brief period I take some personal pride in the developments and fundamentals of the world. But the honor rests with the hand of God ---> Harald, in making it something beyond roleplaying.

    With Haralds blessing(?) I intend to contribute with a post on my current character Yolander; with a bios, some publications, quotes, motives and perhaps even a picture. Hopefully it will be worth a read for the readers of the blog also. Time will show.

  6. Sorry for being late on this one. I've had a few days without logging on, and I'll most likely be blogging less than normal for the next week -- but that'll change quickly.

    Thanks for the wonderful words! As I hinted at in my response to Eirik, this is very much a community effort. Without players who push me at every turn, this would all have been very different.

    While my ego tingles from it, I wouldn't go so far as to title myself God. Granted, I have a few gods on my payroll, but my omnipotence only stretches so far ;)

    I know both you and Eirik have a Hero Biography planned, and I'm eagerly looking forward to that. Have at it, I say. With some luck, that'll push the rest of the guys into doing the same.

    Thank you again, and thank you all for making the Book of Worlds as fucking awesome as it has become.