Friday, 30 October 2009

Artifact: Deicide

About five hundred years before the Covenant, emperor Flavus Pentagenal of the Scythian Empire, led his legions against the worshipers of the deity Xuul. In a campaign that lasted five years he destroyed every temple to the god. The Godslayer War ended when the emperor's adopted son, Ares Demagos, slew Xuul in the battle of God's Demise. Ares himself was killed in the battle, but he was quickly beatified by the Cult of Homo Invictus.

His sword, Deicide, was wielded in battle by Scythian emperors over the next three centuries, until it was lost at the defeat of emperor Emanius in 177 BC at the hands of the Worlock. It was not recovered until 53 BC, when the Worlock's fortress Delmangar fell to the Scythian legions under command of Emanius' grandson Vigorio.

In the last years of the Second World War, Vigorio, armed with the Godslayer, pacified all enemy forces on the Southern Shores of Ahriman. As his power grew, so did the strength of the accusations against him, until YE 4, when he was captured after having made claims on the Imperial Throne. In the process that followed, Vigorio confessed allegiance with the heretical Vanjai Cult -- a circle of magicians who sought ascendancy to godhood -- and he himself believed that upon his death he would ascend. Such was not the case.

The Sword of Ares, Deicide, or Godslayer, was lost at Vigorio's death, but is believed to be in the custody of a semi-mythic brotherhood within the Temple of Man Supreme, the Inconnu. It has been said, most notably by the Second Century Aragonian chronicler and occultist Iñigo Serraliane, that the sword carries a piece of it's most notable victim, the god Xuul, and that it will consume the soul of it's vielder.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Word: Jingoism

It's been a while since the last one, and since the scheduled program is on hold...

Definition: Fierce, aggressive patriotism.

Origin: In the last half of the 19th Century, the Brits were rather beligerent towards the Russians, and as they were rather full of themselves (having defeated Napoleon, as well as pantloads of people on all continents). In those days, there was a popular song with the following lines, "We don't want to fight, but by jingo if we do; We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too."

Source: Bothwell, Robert, The Penguin History of Canada, Penguin Canada, 2007


A random intermission

Due to pooter-SNAFU, the posts I have prepared wont reach the intertubes today. I'm fairly optimistic about the morrow, though. In the meantime, I'll post a somewhat random -- although made of the purest win --  piece of art by Vanja Todoric.

~ Goldie Locks And The Three Bears ~

For the background story (I reccomend that you read it), go to the original post. You may also want to view the artist's CGPortfolio page, or if you feel particularly adventurous, the blog...

Rest assured, gentle readers, I will be back ASAP with on-topic topics.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Featured Artist: Kerem Beyit

This Turkish artist is amongst my favorites, and his dragons are especially neat. I've used his work on this site before, and I will most likely do so again. I had to ponder which of his pictures to use in this post, and the choice fell on these.

~ The Warrior ~

Orcs are cool. Simple as that. And Kerem's Orcs are some cool customers. Same as with his dragons, he manages to make them easily recognizable, while still presenting a unique character.

~ Devour ~

I recommend having a boo at his portfolio, or at his web site.

Dark Arts of the Orc

In deep caves and primordial darkness the keepers of the ancient secrets weave their black arts; in longing of that which is lost and forgotten they stand between that which is and that which must not be. Theirs is the sorrow and the fear, theirs is the forlorn hope. Theirs are the words too dark to speak.
~Ungehaurige Culten IV

Storyteller's note: The Orc does not have the ability to do real magic. Nevertheless, the shamans of the Black Blood possess secrets of dark and terrible rituals. The most noteworthy example is the soultheft performed on the Hermetic Adeptus Andreas in YE 998. The soul of Andreas was cut from his chest, and sowed into the flesh of Franko da Cola. This is also what prompted the Ordo Hermetica to sentence da Cola to Gilgul, or Death of the Soul. The sentence was never carried out.

The dark arts of the Orc are classified as Hedge Magic, and relies heavily on channeling.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A Short History of the Five Forts

by Sir Rojer Arrenwall

My family has been castellains of the Arrenwall Fort since the fortification of the Southern banks of the River Manshield in the First Century of Enlightenment. I have spent much of my time the last twenty years digging into the past, and I have found stories of blood-chilling raids from across the river, as well as acts of great heroism by the castellains and their men. I will now make a humble attempt at retelling some of the stories I have uncovered so that the valour of our forfathers do not slip into oblivion.

The Battle of the Vale
The last campaign of the Elfswar on Pendrellian soil was fought south in the Five Fort Vale, only months before the Covenant. General Erecius, the bloodbrother of Macharius, later St Erecius, had pursued the Elf Sarellion across the highlands and up the Western Coast. With the Elf cornered in the Vale, Erecius formed his lines on the plain below Elf's Demise.

I have uncovered three accounts from the battle, and while they differ somewhat, they agree on the following accounts. Erecius's army counted ten thousand foot, of the III and X Legion, and three thousand Corillian horse. One source, an account from Orthon Kil'Athon, a knight who fought in the battle, also mentions a Hermetic war-cabal consisting of one Master and six Adepts, as well as three hundred Proxima.

On the morning of the battle, the legions formed with their left flank on the Tumblestone Creek. The Elf had formed his four hundred warriors on the low ridge protuding west from Elf's Demise. According again to Kil'Athon, the first hours of the battle was one of great and terrible magic. The Elf drew forth abominable creatures from the bowels of the earth, while the Hermetics rained fire and death upon the enemy from the heavens.

In the third hour of the battle, Erecius ordered his legions to advance, leading them personally. In the melée that followed, the elves were all vanquished, Sarellion himself were killed by the general with his back against the western wall of Elf's Demise.

A local tale has the Elf prince cursing the land drenched in the blood of his people with his dying breath, another has a dozen elven knights escaping the rain of death.

The Settling of the Vale
The first settlements in the Vale were erected by veterans of the last campaign. About three thousand legionaires and knights made their homes here, while another five thousand settled in the highlands around Glencaellyn. The remainder were given land further south on the coast.

While the Elf was defeated, the Vale was a rough place in those days. Small Elf hunting-parties still roamed the fringes of Pendrell, and some of the creatures they had let loose were still roaming the forests and hills. But even as these dangers were dealt with, another was brewing.

In YE 101 the first raid crossed the Manshield. At this time, the river was called River Victory. The raid left nothing but smoking ruins a day's march from the river, and more than five hundred humans were killed or just vanished.
Sir Emerick Halflance tells of the punitive raid across the river that summer: Whilst our noble soldiers much wanted vengeance, naught was revealed to us, for of our enemy we spied nothing we could put steel into. The woods themselves seemed to conspire, and in this conspiracy, marshes, cliffs and rivers were a part. One score and three of us were not allowed refuge to the lands of Men and we are all agreed that something wicked herein lies.

The Hunt
Over the following century the Five Forts were built overlooking the river, which changed its name during these years. Still, the raids continued almost every summer. In the accounts, as well as in the folklore, the raids were called the Hunt. These tales are still alive in the Vale today, even if the last known raid happened in YE 837 (51 dead or vanished).

I have looked into the history of the Hunt, but sadly I find the mist of time too hard to gaze through with accuracy. Some claim that it is the spirits of the vanquished elves who chase through the nights of midsummer, others (and I deem this far more likely) will have that a few survivors of the battle still reign in the wild lands north of the Manshield.

Of reliable sources on the nature of the Hunt there are few - nay, none; the very notion is heresy, be it Elf or ghost - but the stories are very much alive amongst the people of the Vale. Now I have put it in ink, and thus those who come after me might be able to use my tawdry chronicleering as a stepping-stone towards discovering the truth about the Five Forts. My days are soon over, and I plan on one more adventure before I am returned to dust.

Regretfully, I will not share what insight I find, for I do not expect to return from the forests beyond the Manshield.

Adventure awaits.

Saturday, 3 October 2009



The Corps of Hellghasts is the elite of the Ordo Ultima Thule. Following the defeat of general Helmand Döner's forces on the world of Varanger the OUT went into hiding, and it is believed that they today control one fringeworld, as well as at least two larger constructs.

According to intelligence, the Hellghasts are picked at age five, and they go through at least fifteen years of gruelling training before they are accepted into the Corps. Reports indicate that they go through several graduations where they are pitted against one another in deadly combat, the victor being allowed to continue his training.

The final stage of the initiation is said to involve the cadette being inserted on a Netherworld alone, unarmed except for a knife. Here he is expected to track and kill a wolf-demon and capture it's spirit. If he survives, he will then have the demon-spirit bound to his soul.

The greatest caution is reccomended when dealing with Hellghasts, for they are utterly corrupt and extremely dangerous. They are all equipped with high technological weapons and equipment, they are highly trained, and they are fanatically loyal to the OUT.

Luckily, as far as we have been able to ascertain, the Corps of Hellghasts count no more than two and a half thousand, and as far as we know, they are deployed in batallions of five hundred.

When confronted, exercise great caution and proceed with due dilligence. If possible, kill on sight, failing that, observe and report. Do not approach!

Photogram A-01:

The last chapter

Prepare again to be intrigued by the daring exploits if the Pius Cabal. This chapter started quite peacefully where the previous ended; the Company had accomplished their mission in Victoria and had reached the liberated city of Muhwal. Here they had been installed, together with their Proxima and retainers in a house inside of the walls.

Van Zaar, heavily taxed by his dealings with the magic of time, not to mention his enthusiastc pursuits of the wisdom found in bottles and pipes, declared himself (in absentia, as the player is on his honeymoon on the other side of the world) indisposed and refused to leave his room in a nearby brothel.

Banzel spent most of the following morning crafting a pair of rather vicious looking blades for M'narcel, who in turn tried to rouse van Zaar from his state of quietus and narcotic insight without luck. The Prince, somewhat unimpressed with the state of things, sent scouts out to see what the strategic situation looked like.

Captain Galan received an invite to meet with the Marshall at his earliest convenince, and had a most enlightening meeting. Galan was told that while the Marshall didn't see the voyage of the plagueship Naglfār as his business, he would be free to pursue this at his own leasure - providing he helped the Marshall with a small problem first.

The problem in question was a half-way fort north of Muhwal, on the road to Victoria. It was held by a garrison of some five hundred men of the Blood Legion, and the seventeen hundred Pendrellians of the 1st Glencaellyn Rifles had been tasked with taking the fort. The Captain agreed.

Later that afternoon, the Company met with the commander of the rifles, a Sir Duncan Elm, and they decided that the Company would make for the fort on their own, take the Southern gate of the fort, and let the Glencaellyn men in.

Later that evening, Octavian paid the Company a visit, and a few things were discussed.

Come morning, the expedition left Muhwal. On the Captain's orders, lt. Lance dressed van Zaar and had him put on a horse. Together with the marines, he would follow the 1st Glencaellyn. Fortune (or perhaps the devious nature of an NPC) would have the Wezellian adventurer ride together with the regimental preacher, an old sulfuric Macharian war-hound.

The day went quietly for the Company, and they made good speed, opting for the long way around. Come nightfall, things changed somewhat. About two hours before midnight they came accross one of the Enæïd scouts, killed with a knife or dagger. Shortly after, Galan was suddenly struck to the ground. A few seconds later, a sound like that of a mighty crack of a whip ripped through the night. The Captain was gravely injured.

The Prince took an Enæïd with him out into the night to find the killer, while the rest tried to pinpoint their invisible assailant.

About seven or eight hundred meters from where the Captain had been injured there was a low ridge running from north to south. When the Prince and his man was approaching it, his man seemed to stumble, but shortly after, the horrible whip cracked again.

This time, Banzel spotted a small flash of light on the ridge, and the Captain managed to briefly pinpoint the location of the enemy before he disappeared again.

M'narcel refused to let the foe get away, and promptly summoned a spirit of the wind to his aid. He jumped on the Windmare and set out into the night, sending lesser windlings to scour the ridge. He quickly found the elusive enemy and charged. Unfortunately, the enemy was aware of the attack, and with his blade quickly killed the Windmare under M'narcel, sending him sprawling on the ground. Luckily for the Worlock, the Prince was now close enough to come to his aid before the book was closed on him, although not before he too was injured.

The Prince set fire to the dry grass on the slope, hoping to provide enough light for his archers. This have the enemy time to escape into the shadows.

By now, it had become clear to the Company that the enemy was not only extremely dangerous, but also capable of slipping in and out of the Shaderealm. With several severely injured, the Company dug in on the ridge to reassess the situation and tend to their wounded. Thanks to the Blood of the Unicorn*, only one man lost his life.

Moving out an hour later, all painfully aware of the danger they were in, M'narcel led the Prince and five of his Enæïd through the Shaderealm while the main party stayed on Argos prime.

Some time later, coming up on some cliff-formations that had ambush written all over them, the main party went through the gorge, while M'narcel and the Prince took the high ground.

In the gorge, Banzel dicovered some sort of trap; a thin, wowen metal wire, stretching across the path, leading to a small metal box, the word 'death' stamped into the side facing towards the group. Tricky to disarm, the Bombman still managed to disassemble it.

Now M'narcel spotted the enemy, on the far side of the gorge. The Prince jumped across to make sure he didn't slip away again, while the five Enæïd archers let their arrows fly. This time there was no handy escape for the enemy, and he was quickly dispatched.

Before the Prince could make his way out of the Shaderealm, he was attacked by a prowling Forgedemon and near killed before it was driven away.

The chapter ended without completion of the mission, but barring one Enæïd, none lost their life this night. They also managed to secure all the possetions of the attacker, armor, rifle, dagger, pack and mask.

*O'Connor/M'narcel was given a bottle of blood from, what was presumably the last, Unicorn on the eve before the Last Battle of the Enæïdan. The blood proved to have great potency, although it is all used now.

Storyteller's note: This chapter was perhaps a little hard on the lads, but thus it sometimes has to be. There is a great war being fought on Argos, and much evil has been let loose on this world. Undoing it is a tough job, and sometimes it's harder than other times.

I must also say that now when all the mage-players are starting to understand how magic works, they are that much more powerful. Also, the group are amongst the most informed on Argos, and their names, be it group or individuals, are known by several of the big players.

So we come to the tricky bit. As we use a system without levels, the characters aren't much harder to kill now than when they started. Their enemies have multiplied, and they've gained a few really powerful ones as well.

I'm looking forward to picking this up again on the other side of my vacation.