Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My DCC Campaign Snippets #2

Here are the last snippets that I sent via Whastapp to my players before really starting my 2nd DCC RPG campaign. There’re also a few specific snippets about deserted villages and beastmen attacks, all as a prelude to Sailors of the Starless Sea. There’re many (obvious) links to DCC RPG modules below, because my idea was to use as many official adventure as possible, while planting the seeds for a campaign.

# 5 The Council of Elders from Skaeth is a distinguished, juristic, unadventurous and – ergo – absurdly depressing institution. Like other subjects of the Duchy, the Council preaches the Cannon of Ophysis, the Thrice-Blessed, the most famous historian from the Fallen Empire. The great Ophysis was – of course – born blind, deaf and mute, the reason why he was spared the destruction inflicted upon his kind by the gods of Law when the last Emperor summoned the Doom That Broke the World. “Ever since” – so wrote Ophysis – “the Dominion of Man has slowly but surely receded. Land is surrendered and villages are abandoned, while things walk in the woods, craving the houses of Man”. Today, the last cities of the North are walled against the Chaos that consumes the borders of the World. The Return of the Elves (and their dreaded King) is but the first Sign, as is the Dusk of the Dwarves. That the Halflings (those burrow-digging gluttons) still fornicate like rabbits is a testimonial of their allegiance to Chaos – or so preach the clerics of Damus, the Sinking Port.

# 6 The Elves are the Children of the Twilight – those wilds between the Dominion of Man and the weird Warrens of Chaos. Numberless, byzantine and arcane are the castes and tongues of the Elves. It’s known that Elvenkind deal with demons, fell spirits and Things from the Warrens in the same way that mortal Man deal with his lords and fellow countrymen. That Elves are otherworldly is obvious given that iron is their bane. Elves are also known to use imps, gnomes and goblins as servants, currency, moving furniture, living memory and – as is told by the Dwarf of Oldgrind – for reproduction. However, this last bit of gossip is clearly untrue, because everyone knows that Elves steal the daughters of Man (and that Dwarves mate with rocks sculpted in the likeliness of small rotund women). Halflings? Well, those depraved creatures can mate with anything as far as most decent people are aware…

# 7 Just as the Rune of Chaos has eight spores, there’re eight cardinal points. North, South, East and West are followed by Khaouth, Douth, Morteast and Voist. The fact that most sane people are ignorant about half the cardinal points gives you a clear idea about the kind of places that warlocks, wizards and sorcerer get their heads into. Khaouth is, clearly, the cardinal direction for Chaos, the antithesis of the Dominion of Man (which lies – logically – at Morteast). Contrary to popular belief, Khaouth doesn’t lies in the North. By following the Wyrd Star, which is invisible, one can go in the Khaouthern direction. Douth is the cardinal point leading to the Underworld (wizards and necromancers adamantly argument that this isn’t the same as “Down”). Voist is the cardinal point to the Overworld and the Darkness Between the Heavens. Morteast, just to be clear, is the direction to the Dominion of Man. Now, if you can easily follows Khaouth, Douth, Morteast and Voist, then probably you’re a gentlemen also fluent in Aklo, acknowledged with the existence of the Hidden 13th Month, and able to distinguish the colors Blue, Red, Dolm and Jale. Congratulations! 

# 8 And finally let’s talk about the greatest threat to the ordinary man’s life – the Nobility. At least the Duke lives far, in Great Magnussen, and the Crown lies lost in the south – at the deserts of the Fallen Empire (with the King’s still leaving head attached to it, if you believe certain pirate tales). The last scion of the cursed bloodline of Liis disappeared a generation ago in the swamps. Meanwhile, Lord Gormen still rules over fogged Crac-Ghast – as drunk today as 10 years ago, when he returned from the Cave of Secrets (thus ending the shortest errant knight career in the Duchy). We also have the Four Houses of Oldgrind, the vast Crac-Lacrimodrac, the guardians at Vigil Castle, the Dunkeleisen of Dunkeleisenstein and – finally! – the Margrave of Damus (probably the wealthiest and fattest man in the North). And all those herein quoted are cousins by old and incestuous degrees. And please let’s not even mention their most evil scheme – taxes! Oh, the horror, the horror!

# 9 There’re several altars, small shrines and even a church or two at Skaeth and surroundings. Everyone at the village knows about Father Illard and his “devotion” to Ulesh (he vowed never to drink water but only consume the white wine of the Serene Goddess). And there is the altar to Iustia in the Council of Elder’s Hall (and, it’s said, a second altar lies in the cellar, dedicated to the Hidden One). Everyone has seen the Black Mother's straw dolls in the fields and the Moonstones in the woods – and knows that both shouldn’t be disturbed. And everyone also knows that you ought to pay your respects to the Lady of Ravens, or her feathered children will bestow the Plague upon you. Traveling merchants tell of the impossible high temples of the First Father at Magnussen; and at Damus you can see the red zealots of the Veiled Vengeance, clad in steel. But very few know about Choranus, the true Creator; or about Shull of the Four Faces; even less about Ulesh of the Last Sleep, Gorhan Ironveiled or bloody Klazath. There’re also darker powers, the lords of Chaos – Names like Nimlurun, the Impure One, or Malatoch, the Endless Hunger. But there’re yet Others – elder entities from before Law or Chaos. Outer essences from whose dreams Law and Chaos came forth. The point is: the common folk know nothing of the true powers of the World. And they’re blessed for that. The demands and rites of true deities are too much for ordinary Man. Even among the cults of such gods, for every 100 initiates, only 9 become acolytes. From those 9, only one becomes a true priest – a cleric. These’re the ruthless ones, the zealots and madmen. They’re the witch-hunters, the crusaders, the invokers and prophets of the True Powers. They’re hardest bastards you’ll ever meet.

# 10 The most famous wizards of the Duchy you ask? Many know a local adept or wise man/woman. At Damus, the Sinking Port, you can find scores of diviners, wax witches, tephramancers and lesser arcanists. But the genuine practitioners of the Arts are rare. The leper-sages of Pyj are known for their mastery of curses, but live far. Closer to Skaeth we have the feared Emerald Sorcerer with his House in the hills. There’re those who believe that Emirikol, the Mad, is the greatest wizard of the North. After all, few in Damus can ignore a shudder while gazing at the Shifting Tower. Others debate that Leotah, the Ironmaiden, is strongest one. Sages and historians alike prefer older sources – the legends about the Seer-King Darjr and his Tower-beyond-the-Moon; the wiles of the enchantress Erodiade; and the awful truths of the accursed scribe Al-Hazred, the Mad. The rabble have their own tales, many of which must be whispered far from the authorities – like the famous story about the First Duke of Magnussen and his pact with a devil. And speaking of devils, let’s not forget the Devil Himself – Sezrekan, the Wicked. His Names is still not said aloud, for the Doom That Broke the World might still be around. After all, Sezrekan was none other than the Imperial Archmage; personal adviser to the Last Emperor.

And then we started our little DCC campaign…