~You are Sigmund Wagner, sole survivor of the Ulvenacht which left your village a charnel house. You alone were spared death by the hand of Lector Gwynneau Tylmarine, a Paladin and master of the stronghold known as The Castle of Bells. She took you under her protection and brought you to her home to give you an opportunity at a life that you would have otherwise lost to the horrors of the night. ~
Character Sheet: http://pastebin.com/c61mL50g
The triumph over the fae fresh on your mind as you awaken from your sleep; you stretch, do your morning routine, clean your armor then dress for the day. The castle of Lord Knight Olondre is welcoming as it has been this past week, and you are treated to a very enjoyable breakfast. The master of the house joins you, his face rejuvenated with youthful joy.
"Your Honor," Olondre says as he gestures the fork towards you with a smile, "it has been a true pleasure working with you this past week. Without your timely arrival I am not certain help would have arrived in time to spare my castle." You nod and tell him that it was no problem and that you were happy to help.
The man takes a long drink from his tankard and lets out a pleased sigh, "So! Are you destined for the road beyond my castle, or would you be willing to spend some more time here? Perhaps join me on a hunt? I am eager to enjoy the newly restored forest."
>A) Join Olondre on the hunt.
>B) Politely decline, Font Florene beckons
>C) You have to leave, but ask for a reward for your work.
"Thank you for the offer, Lord Knight, but sadly I must depart. I have business at Font Florene." He nods his head and grabs your arm, giving you a firm shake and a smile, "You are always welcome in any of my lands, Sir Wagner, go with peace."
You finish your meal, dress in your armor and head out the other side of the castle, heading towards the massive city that seats your Order's most talented and eldest.
An uneventful three days of riding and resting later brings you to the outskirts of the city, which you have seen the outline of for the past few hours. The road, once traveled solely by you, is now teaming with people of all ages and descriptions either coming or going into the capital. Some are clearly seeking blessings or help, others are there to sell or trade. Your pace slows considerably as people are processed through the gates, the guards inspecting them, overseen by a weary looking young woman.
The man directly in front of you pays his coin to enter the city and the overseer rubs her eyes before calling, "Alright, next!" You ride towards her, stop your horse and dismount, removing your helmet to identify yourself. You...
>A) Pay the toll and keep the line moving
>B) Politely make her acquaintance
I am prety shure justice can be a rather insane lady though..
"Here's my toll. I am Sigmund Wagner," you say with a flash of your teeth in a wide smile, "It's a pleasure."
The woman nods, barely looking at you as the guards check you over and she puts her hands together before holding them up and looking you in the eyes. She seems almost taken aback by your appearance. "Oh...well, welcome to Font Florene, Sir Wagner. Please allow me to scan you." You nod and she runs her hands over you, not touching you as she closes her eyes, a bit red in the face before she steps back and coughs, reasserting her seriousness.
"Well! It appears that you have no impurities to be detected. As a Paladin I'm sure that you're looking for the High Temple, that is directly in the city center, just go straight and you can't miss it. If you are looking for a place to slake your thirst might I recommend The Rambling Rooster, it's close to the gate. I would recommend eight this evening." She says with a firm salute as the guards make the same one and you give her another handsome smile and thank her for the advice.
You mount up and pluck your way through the city. The sight of the sea of people is staggering for you. You don't recall ever seeing this many people in one place at the same time. Eventually you reach the High Temple and dismount once inside the complex, removing your helmet and making your way up to the Keep.
The inside of the keep is a disorganized mess with a man standing above everyone else on a pedestal calling out, "For the God's love, all of you, listen! If you are an appellant, please move to line four, an Innocent move to line three, and a Prior or Prioress move to line two. Line one is reserved for personnel and Faithful!"
You move into line one after the initial chaotic organization and make your way easily past the mob of people. The line takes you away from the main chapel, where two dozen or so robed men and women are speaking to those seeking help.
The line ends with a pair of stairs, which you quickly ascend, and ends in a large rotunda, overlooking the chapel. Several halls lead away from the rotunda and you follow the tall man in front of you.
Eventually the trip stops as he faces you and bows his head, "Forgive me, Brother, am I impeding your passage?" You shake your head and...
>A) Ask him where you can speak to a Master
>B) Ask him where he's going
>C) Yes, you're impeding me (walk to a random area)
>D) No, thank you. (try to find where you're going)
"Not at all, Brother, but tell me, I seek a Master's audience. Do you know where I could speak to one?" He nods, checking behind you to see that no one is trying to get past the two of you. "Of course, I am Sir Daventry, and I am a regular visitor here. What kind of Master do you wish to see?"
>A) I'm having a crisis of Faith
>B) I want to learn more about my Path
>C) I want to learn about Disciplines
>D) I want to learn about any problems I can attend to
>E) I want to learn about Zielrand
"I want to learn more about Zielrand." He nods, "Ah, yes of course. Zielrand, some say, is the mark of a true Paladin, whatever that means. However, you're going to be a bit out of luck. There's no Zielrand master in this Temple, at least, not right now. Last I heard, Master Garrick wasn't taking students or even visitors. He's having a bit of a dispute with the High Master Bellora over something or other and stormed off." He says, lowering his voice to a whisper on the last part. He shakes his head and spreads his armored hands, "What can I say, even those as blessed as we Faithful are not above petty mortal squabbling."
You nod, taking a note of that for later, before asking, "Alright, well, is High Master Bellora taking visitors?" He nods, "Certainly, she should be done with her morning lectures, you can visit her audience chamber to speak to her." You thank him and stop to ask one more thing,
"Right, one last question then, tell me, who is the Elder Sentinel here?" The tall man turns back and smiles, "You're in luck, that is High Master Bellora. Two birds with one stone, eh?"
With a last wave, Daventry heads off after giving you directions. You head down the long hallway with images of various other Elders lining the walls all around you, their gazes either stern or benign. The large audience chamber awaits at the end of the hall and a small area is laid out for you to sit and wait, an elevated portion of the room on the opposite side as the door.
You settle onto your knees and wait, closing your eyes and patiently calming your thoughts. The time stretches by as you let your mind slip away into idle remembrances...
>A) Think of your training
>B) Think of your youth
>C) Think of your parents
>D) Think of the mission
Your time as a young squire comes to mind very readily as you think. The struggle of training and the challenges laid before you come surging back. Still, you think with no shortage of self-confidence, you overcame them, and in fact impressed even Gwynn with your great works. You remember the feel of your sword in your hand and studying the ways of what would become your Path, that of the Sentinel.
The future still looms, the notion of taking a Discipline and becoming fully recognized as a mature Paladin is not that far from now, and you still aren't sure which you exactly want to follow.
With your gifted military mind and love of the art of war, Marshal seems to be natural choice. Soldiers listen to and respect you, and it would be nice to have a major effect on the world. Alternatively, Lector is a Discipline you are very familiar with, and have heard many tales of Gwyn's great deeds in her youth.
Your mind is disrupted by the sound of a voice, "And who presents themselves before me this day?" An older woman is sitting, rather languorously, in a chair on the elevated portion of the room. Pale brown and gray hair is tied up in a tight bun atop her head and though she slouches so, you can see her eyes are very awake and alive.
"I am Sigmund Wagner, a Sentinel, and I seek an audience with you, High Master." She nods and gestures lazily, "The audience is granted, Sir Wagner. I must say, it is uncommon for me to receive such a fair young Paladin in my chambers, of late. What do you desire?"
>A) Information on the Disciplines
>B) Where is Master Garrick?
>C) What is the reason you and Master Garrick are fighting
>D) To know more about being received [Charm]
You nod, doing your best to ignore her last comment as you begin, "Tell me, High Master," you begin before she cuts you off with a smile, "Oh no, please, call me Bellora. Such titles are too stuffy," she says as she sits upright and begins to lean forward, smiling. You were going to ask her about Disciplines, but seeing her acting like this you decide, perhaps, it is best to be succinct.
"I am looking for Master Garrick, yet I hear that you two are at odds. Why is that?" At the mention of his name she sits upright and her heavy lidded eyes open straight away. "Oh, HIM," she says dismissively, leaning back and crossing her legs. "Well, I just can't quite say. I never know what gets up in that mind of his. He's so sensitive, you know, Garrick is." The older woman stands up and paces for a bit,
"I suppose I could think of a few places he usually goes to. And, perhaps my memory could be jogged with good company and a drink?" She says, turning to face you again with a smile.
>A) Accept, begrudgingly
>B) Politely refuse, and escape
>>B) Politely refuse, and escape
>Pale brown and gray hair
"In that case, I'll find an attendant to send food up, High Master, thank you for your time." You say and bow, turning on your heel and swiftly escaping the room without a chance to let her respond.
After you've gotten a long way away you sigh and shake your head. It appears that having such looks do not come with only upsides. You wander around for a bit, asking up and down for any information you can gather in Master Garrick before, eventually, leaving with a bit of a clue.
The sun is settling down and from the local clocktower it's seven thirty. Garrick, from what you've gathered, has isolated himself in a nearby forest monastery and is refusing to leave or accept any visitors until High Master Bellora apologizes. Without even knowing much about their fight, you already sympathize.
You know the forest it's in and could find it with a few hours of searching, probably.
>A) Go find Garrick
>B) Go to The Rambling Rooster
Well, you reason with yourself, it's not like the Master will be going anywhere, Bellora doesn't seem the type to go and apologize. So you decide to go to the Rambling Rooster. Before you do, however, you change out of all of your armor, leaving it at the High Temple, and walk out in more comfortable garments.
You enter the tavern as the bell-tower strikes eight o'clock and settle down in a corner table. A barmaid comes up and grins, very happy to see you it seems, as she lingers around the table after you've given your order.
"So, what brings you to Font Florene, your Honor? I can tell from the look of you, you're a Paladin. No one else has arms like that. I must say..." she says before being nudged not-so-gently by the woman from the gate. "Winny, I believe you're being rude." The barmaid, seeing the gate-guard, snaps up to attention and bows, apologizing and hustles off to get drinks.
The woman sits down opposite you and smiles, a bit nervously, "I'm surprised to see you came. I was very forward to bring you here, Sir Wagner, forgive me." She says and looks around a great deal, seemingly nervous to meet your gaze. "Oh, forgive me again, I haven't told you my name. I'm Charity, Charity Vance of the Vanguard Path."
A Paladin it seems, you note mentally as you smile, "Well, the honor is mine, Lady Vance." The two of you then sit in silence for a while before, mercifully, Winny brings a drink, giving you something to occupy yourself with.
As you sit there, drinking more ale in a single draught than you ever have had, you realize that talking to women is hard, and you aren't very practiced in it.
>A) Talk to her about her job
>B) Talk to her about being a Paladin
>C) Dckjwijfklcjqlwejcef, SAY SOMETHING
"So," you say at the same time as she says, "Well". The two of you apologize and she gestures for you to talk.
"Well," you say, starting up with a smile after wiping your mouth dry. "Tell me, what makes it so necessary for a Paladin to be part of the gate guard? It seems, well, frankly, beneath you." She shakes her head fervently, "Not at all! My Uncle, a very esteemed Paladin, had me personally recommended to it. He said that it may be boring and hard at times, but that it's the stepping stones to becoming great one day. Besides, how else would we be able to detect heretics entering the Font?" You nod, understanding a little bit.
She continues, "So, what brings you to the city? I haven't seen or heard of you, so you must be coming from quite far away."
>A) I'm here to learn
>B) I'm here to find a Quest
>C) I'm just passing through
"I'm here to learn. There is a lot to be learned as a Paladin, and I feel that I could do well with some more training." She nods and smiles, "Well, maybe I can point you to some of the masters who can teach. What are you looking to study?"
"Zielrand, but I'm not sure if the Master is around." She nods eagerly, "Oh, you mean Uncle Marko? He's gotten in a fight with his wife again, I'm sure." You cock your head, "You mean, Master Garrick?"
She nods, "Yes, Marko Garrick, he's my mother's older brother. I know where he's gone and run off to, like usual. I can introduce you, if you'd like?"
>B) I'd rather go find him on my own merits.
The revelation of his marriage to the High Master duly noted, you grin and nod, "I would absolutely appreciate it, Lady Vance." She pays the bill, after you gracefully attempt to do so before realizing you're nearly broke, and the two of you leave the town.
As you walk you get a better look at the young woman. She's still wearing her armor from her post, you assume she ran over directly after her shift was over. Her hair is a medium shade of brown and she appears fair and graceful. She comes neatly up to your mid-bicep and you have to walk a bit slower than normal for her to keep up.
"I see the Chalice blessed you in spades, Sir Wagner. I am having a difficult time keeping up," she admits and you politely turn it down, "Oh, no, I'm just eager to see the Master, I must be nearly running." She laughs, accepting you excuse.
A fifteen minute walk into the woods later and the two of you stand before a single building standing in a clearing. A dim candle's light is cast through the window and you can feel the presence of the man within the building. She walks up to the door heedlessly and knocks, "Uncle Marko! It's me, and I brought a friend."
The door opens and reveals a giant of a man, standing nearly seven feet tall, but relatively lithe and athletic for his height. He wears a handsome brown beard, though it is dotted by flecks of gray and white, as is his hair. The man bows his head and Charity throws her arms around his neck and he laughs, shaking his head and returning her embrace.
"Hello Charity, dear. Who have we here? Your intended?" He teases and she flushes red, "Uncle! Desist in your jokes. This is Sir Sigmund Wagner, from the East." He steps towards you, allowing you to see the vast difference in your heights.
>A) Be official and formal
>B) Be polite and respectful
>C) Be casual and friendly
You bow at the waist, "Master Garrick, it is an honor to meet you." You look up at the giant of a man who nods, "I see you have learned respect and propriety, Sir Wagner, your Master did his job well." You thank him and he invites the two of you inside.
The central room, forming the entirety of the chapel, is a large square room with a central cushion and an altar to the Gods on the far side. He produces two stools and offers them to you as he kneels on the cushion and breathes in and then out slowly.
"So, to what do I owe the pleasure of this meeting?" Charity explains that you came to learn, and when questioned, you expound upon it specifying that you are here to learn Zielrand. He nods, "Then yes, I am the one you seek. However, I am sorry, I will not teach, nor leave this isolation until my trifling wife apologizes."
>A) Ask him about what's wrong between them
>B) Tell him about what his wife tried on you.
"Forgive my intrusion, but what has caused this rift between you?" He grumbles for a bit before speaking in his harsh voice, "My wife, like all mortals, is feeling the weight of years upon her. And so, she has taken to being overtly and inappropriately friendly to any young man who pays the slightest bit of attention to her. Naturally, in her station, she sees many of them, but I found her nearly throwing herself at a young Paladin. Well, after walloping the young man for his indiscretion I told her that such advances were beneath her station and her promises. Until such a time as she apologizes and swears to desist in such foolishness I will not help her or teach in her name."
Internally, you breathe a sigh of relief at having avoided the wrath of this giant, and think on how to fix the situation.
>A) Don't fix it, find another Master
>B) Offer to go talk to her for him
>C) Tell him what happened to you
"Perhaps I can go speak to her for you?" You offer and he laughs, shaking his head, "Oh no, that is not going to work. No, Sir Wagner, you are just the type of man that will set fire to her. No, time will resolve this issue." Charity pipes up, "Uncle, if she's being this way, perhaps showing her that it does not bother you, and that you are aloof to her will bring her around?"
He nods, pensively, crossing his arms before saying, "You know, Charity, that's not a bad idea. Leave it to a maiden to understand a woman." He stands, "Very well, then today is your lucky day, Sir Wagner, for my services are in high demand. In the morrow I will begin your training. Tonight, however, your first mission is to take vigil with me."
Charity sighs, "Oh come on, Uncle, he's had a long day." The older man shakes his head, "Charity, this is no time to think of yourself. Sir Wagner will be here a while training, I'm sure you can see him plenty more." She flushes a bit and speaks up, "That's...that's not what I was talking about!"
He laughs and she bows before stomping off. The two of you are left alone in the building and he looks out the window to see her go, then speaks with a smile. "In truth, however, I want to be more secretive. Charity has been after me for Zielrand training for a long time, but she doesn't have the strength for it."
The man looks you over and nods, "You, however, I can see have the talent. I can teach you, yes. But, first you must tell me what you want from this. Do you know of the Stances? Which do you wish to learn?"
>A) Write in [I'll combine as best as possible]
"The Valiant, the Paragon, and the Silencer are the ones that interest me the most, Master Garrick." The older man nods, "Stance One is simple. If you train with me all day I can teach you the basics in a week. Stance Two requires a great deal of physicality, something you seem to possess in spades. We can learn that one in two weeks. Stance Six is difficult, and without a spellcaster here to fight against we will have to study the principles and form without any real world practice. That one will take two months. How strong is your Faith? Are your Miracles potent?"
You shake your head, "Forgive me, Master, but I have no Miracles outside of the most meager, I can cure the dying from death's door and can vaguely sense the Faithful and impure." He shakes his head, "Miracles are very difficult, and the litanies and hymns for them are hard to use and taxing on the spirit and body. I can bring you up to a Disciple level in Miracles in three months. In exchange, of course, you will do what all apprentices do, clean, work for me when I'm not teaching you, and at the end of it you will go out and represent my teachings with nobility and purpose."
You nod, excited at the prospect, "So, which ones do you want to learn?"
[Select One or More]
>A) Stance 1
>B) Stance 2
>C) Stance 6
[At present we have nothing demanding our time, so we can pass the time training. A year's training will constitute a Major Cycle, a month's training will constitute a Minor Cycle. We'll be stronger, but events we are unaware of will conspire and advance as we're away.]
"Then I would like to learn the Paragon Stance and improve my Miracles." He nods and shakes your hand, signing the compact.
[Introduction to Miracles]
[Even the Faithful, as close as they are to the Gods, cannot call upon the power of the divine like a spellcaster perverts nature. Instead, the Faithful let their cries be heard and wills the request for salvation. As such, a Paladin must make a Faith Test to see how much divine attention they receive. The Test has no difficulty, instead, returning a result of Holy Power, which may be spent on a Miracle that we know. Holy Power cannot be stored in one's self, unless a certain Focus is gained, but can be stored in properly prepared items, called Reliquaries. These items are standards of any Temple and can be purchased at cost of creation for Paladins.]
Miracles are here: http://pastebin.com/ueyK6tGX
[Please select two level 1 Miracles and one level 2 Miracle.]
[Adding Lay on Hands, Fleetness, and Light of the Gods]
Your first months with Master Garrick are spent in deep reflection and study. You spend your mornings keeping in shape, your afternoons and evenings reading ancient texts and scrolls, and your nights sleeping, mentally drained from the day. Every week you spend an entire day in silence and prayer.
However, true to his word, at the end of the three months you are able to reach within yourself and call out to the Gods themselves for help, and, for the first time ever, it seems as if you have their ear directly. You feel the warm power of the divine surge through your limbs like a flame and as you chant the holy words, you perform literal miracles.
At the end of the time you feel more aware of the world around, sensing the general thoughts and feelings of the men and women in the streets, and even able to hear surface thoughts of the Innocent who you focus upon for a length of time.
The day after Garrick says that your training is complete in Miracles, he emerges from the chapel clad in radiant silver and golden armor, a shroud around his waist and a sword as long as he is tall in his hand. Your body, though kept in shape from the months of daily exercise, is eager to fight again.
He presents you a sword that he says is prepared for Zielrand use and instructs you on its usage. He grips the blade of his sword and closes his eyes, and sure enough, a radiance forms around the blade, a cool blue in color.
It takes a few hours for you to see more than flicker, but once you understand the weapon's construction and get your mind around exposing your soul and channeling it through your blade it bursts alight, the radiance illuminating the room with....
>A) Silver, the standard color for Paladins
>B) Gold, the color of Paladins of extreme purity and faith
>C) Blue, the color of Paladins who favor mercy
>D) White-Red, the color of Paladins who favor vengeance
Your blade jumps to life with white-silver light forming around the edges before encompassing the entire blade and covering it with a brilliant silver radiance, like molten steel. No metal can be seen beneath its glow, and Garrick gives you his firm approval.
The next two weeks are spent with the two of you, shirtless and only fighting after an exhausting sprint to ensure that your mind interferes the minimum it can with your innate nature, lunging at one another with Zielrand Swords in hand, your form imitating his own as a child imitates its parent.
By the end of the fortnight you fight with as much animal reflexes as you do training. Your weight rests squarely on the balls of your feet and your entire back serves as a wound spring, ready to unleash the moment an opening appears.
One day, during your training, the two of you clash again, but this time, blood runs onto the ground from a gash on his shoulder. His block wasn't fast enough to stop your attack and he blinks in surprise before laughing, sheathing his sword and firmly gripping your forearm. "Well done, lad, very well done!"
From there, you round out the last day studying attack patterns and, more importantly, how to improve your own use of the Stance. He assures you that, with your youth and fire for combat, that such a thing will come naturally, and that it would only be worth talking to a Master to learn some sort of advanced Maneuver.
[The end of a Minor Cycle has come. We have two Stat advancements, which both may be put towards a single stat, should you wish it. Additionally, we gain 24 XP for our Training, leaving us with 27 total. Purist and Stance 2 will cost us 17 of that, giving a grand total of 10 XP to spend on Focuses]
[Please spend your XP on the Focuses listed here, including a couple of new ones.]
[You gain +1 to Swordsmanship, Knowledge (The Faith), Knowledge (The Order), Courtly Manners, and Prayer Skills]
[Additionally, you gain +2 to Zielrand Skill.]
[And by here I meant the Feats page, but I'll post them here.]
Rush of Battle [5 XP]: On the initial round of combat, both on Attack and Defense, you may double any bonus to you rolls you enjoy from any source.
Scorn the Foul [10 XP]: In your studies you have found utter revulsion for the horrors, more so than other Paladins. You may suppress any effect inflicted by horrors once every other turn at will. Effects inflicted by human agents of vice, such as witches, can be removed at will at a rate of one per turn.
Ascetic [5 XP]: The charms of women, while of course appealing, can be easily resisted by a devout man such as yourself. In non-combat scenarios you enjoy a +5 bonus to any Resist rolls against seduction or coercion from women. In combat, you automatically resist them, unless the seduction is magical, in which case you enjoy your +5 bonus.
Absolute Focus (Requires Rush of Battle) [4 XP]: In combat you declare your victims openly, challenging them to stand against your onslaught. If you deal two or more Minor Wounds, or one Major Wound, in a single turn, you may deal an additional Minor Wound to the subject of your Focus. You cannot shift focus until your current focus is defeated or flees.
Tongue of Beasts [4 XP]: You may converse with non-Horror animals, though they make poor conversation. They are, however, capable of answering basic questions and, if you spend enough time trying, you may even be able to ply favors from them.
Litany of Revival (Requires Prayer) [8 XP]: Throughout the course of a battle, so long as you have Prayed before the start of it, your flesh knits and bones mend. You may regenerate 1 Minor Wound per turn, or 1 Major Wound per two turns. To enjoy this benefit, however, you must not speak during the battle, for once the Litany is broken it cannot be resumed in the same scene.
Savage Attacker [4 XP]: In combat you throw yourself like a Horror against your foes. However, this aggression is not entirely reckless and grants you a great advantage for a little risk. Your Brawn is considered to be the next die level higher for the duration of combat, but you may only use half of your Swordsmanship Skill to Defense. You must make this choice after Charging or after completing your Prayer.
Slaying Step [4 XP]: When you Defeat an enemy you may immediately make an Attack against an adjacent enemy.
>Ascetic [5 XP]: The charms of women, while of course appealing, can be easily resisted by a devout man such as yourself.
Considering today, this is starting to look useful.
Slaying Step [4 XP]
>Rush of Battle [5 XP]: On the initial round of combat, both on Attack and Defense, you may double any bonus to you rolls you enjoy from any source.
>Slaying Step [4 XP]: When you Defeat an enemy you may immediately make an Attack against an adjacent enemy.
Leaves us with 1 point left.
Scorn the Foul [10 XP]: In your studies you have found utter revulsion for the horrors, more so than other Paladins. You may suppress any effect inflicted by horrors once every other turn at will. Effects inflicted by human agents of vice, such as witches, can be removed at will at a rate of one per turn.
[Added Slaying Step + Rush of Battle with 1 XP leftover]
The next morning after your training is complete you and Sir Garrick shake hands once more. "I must say, lad, my expectations were high, I didn't believe that anyone but myself could meet such deadlines, but here you stand before me. Whatever Blessing the Chalice gave you was quite potent. In fact, in these months I've noticed you grow a little bit. Perhaps in five years or so you'll be as tall as I am." He laughs and puts his hand briefly on your shoulder, "Now, there are a few final lessons I wish to impart for you before you head off into the yonder."
The man leads you to the river bank nearby where you bathed and drank from. The two of you sit down and he holds out the Zielrand sword you trained with, "This was my sword when I was young, and while I've noticed you have a fondness for fighting with two weapons, I would like to offer you this half with sentimental value." He then unsheathes the other sword on his hip, "And this sword, which I requisitioned a few weeks ago. Keep them both and use them well, Sigmund."
You nod and thank him profusely for his generous gift. He nods and begins to speak, sounding very serious, "There is one more topic, that of Oaths. A young Paladin is free from Oaths, but he is also free of their protection. Oaths are the most powerful thing we Paladins can undertake, stronger even than the mightiest Miracle, but they toll our spirits, and require constant upkeep of Holy Power and adherence to its tenets. I caution you to not take too many in the future. The appeal may be strong, but should you take too many you risk becoming an Eversworn."
The older man continues, "Eversworn are so pulled by the Oaths that bind them that they forsake their mortality and become mindless servants of Oaths long-made. They are friends to our cause, but must be minded mournfully and respected. If you encounter one, you may contact it easily and it may help you."
"However, do not let my warning scare you away from them. As I said, they are vitally powerful, and must be used with discretion. Oaths vary in their duration and their effect, and no one can say for certain, save for those under the effect, what such an Oath will do." His piece finished, he leans back on his hands and looks out across the water with a smile.
"You have a long life, Gods willing, ahead of you, Sigmund, and I am certain that I will hear news of your success for many years to come. What are you planning on doing now, though? Where will you go?"
>A) I want to join the Crusade in the South
>B) To the North to return to my homelands
>C) Do you have any suggestions?
[Also, we do need to spend our two stat upgrades. So, go ahead and add those to your reply as well.]
[1d12->2d6->2d8->2d10->2d12->3d8, etc etc. So we're two upgrades away.]
"Yes, Garrick, where would you go?" He nods at your question and ponders for a moment before replying, "I think I would go either on the Crusade, or journey to the north. You're from the north, I can tell by your appearance, and I know the Ulvenachts have grown more and more frequent over the past few years. People are struggling, and all eyes are on the South. The war against the Necromancers is exhausting, as you'd imagine. Still, I'd be concerned for your lack of counter-magical defenses. Truly powerful Necromancers can kill even we Faithful with a wave of their totems."
>A) To the Crusade [Hard Mode]
>B) To the North [Normal Mode]
>C) East into the Woods against the Fae [Easy Mode]
[Brawn is one upgrade, what's the last?]
"Alright, I've made my choice. Thank you once again, Master Garrick." You stand up, sheathe your new swords, putting the one Gwyn gave you on your back, and gather your horse and armor, putting it on again for the first time in a long time, and ready your mount. You notice as you are loading the saddlebags that there is a purse full of money in there, another kindness from Master Garrick. You smile under your helmet and climb up onto the horse, nudging it into a gallop as you tear down the now-familiar streets and head out through the exit only gate.
~~~~A fortnight goes past~~~~
Your trip took you immediately north, up the Pilgrim's Way, and then a hard east through the relatively easy lowlands. It was at this time that the snow started to gather on the ground and you don the heavy fur cloak around your shoulders and add a second layer of padding for the horse to keep it warm.
Night falls damn quickly in the North, a fact that you remember as the seasons draw towards true winter. While there is a level of snow here in the early fall, as it is now, once the winter comes it becomes hellish blizzards all over.
You set up camp and the horse rests by the fire, enjoying its warmth as you consult a map by firelight and guide yourself to the nearest Paladin hold in the north, Caer Dromon, home of the Ulfbane Knights. As your mind drifts to werewolves you hear a loud howl pierce the night's air, though it sounds far away, you begin to become concerned as to its source. It may just be a normal wolf.
It could also be a werewolf.
>A) Stay awake and be prepared.
>B) Go to sleep, trust in the Gods.
The Gods favor the prepared, after all. You shift the ashes and throw another log on the fire, calming yourself and drawing from your internal reserves of energy to maintain vigor and energy.
Hours pass, dripping by as you keep the fire alive and your horse gets plenty of rest. Eventually, not three hours later, you can feel malicious presences drawing near, bestial intent and a savage intelligence that belongs to no lesser beast. They do not appear to know that you have detected them. How could they imagine, after all.
>A) Wait for them to draw close and attack first.
>B) Charge them out now
>C) Pray, then Charge!
You kneel in front of the fire and begin sending your words of hope and protection to the Gods. Your Prayers are sent and the call for a Miracle is answered justly.
[Piety Test: 3d6+5]
It seems that there will be no Miracle this day. No matter, you are prepared.
With a determined shout you sprint towards the presences, reaching them at amazing speed, so much so that you are confronted by the sight of them before they are even prepared to receive you.
Three large wolves, white furred like the snow, are snarling as soon as they see you, and a large werewolf opens it mouth in a fanged hungry snarl, its jowls flapping as a roar explodes out towards you. Your swords spring to life, casting their pale light throughout the night as the Aura leaps to life.
You bring both weapons down on.
>A) The Werewolf [Brawn Test: 17 for a Minor Wound. 27 for a Major Wound. 37 for 2 Major Wounds. 4d12+ 12(+5 Skill, +1 Charge. Doubled for Rush of Battle. Prayer Bonus Active.)
>B) The Wolf [Brawn Test: 12 for a Minor Wound. 22 for a Major Wound. 32 for 2 Major Wounds. 4d12+ 12(+5 Skill, +1 Charge. Doubled for Rush of Battle. Prayer Bonus Active.)
Rolled 6, 5, 10, 12 + 12 = 45 (4d12 + 12)
>>A) The Werewolf [Brawn Test: 17 for a Minor Wound. 27 for a Major Wound. 37 for 2 Major Wounds. 4d12+ 12(+5 Skill, +1 Charge. Doubled for Rush of Battle. Prayer Bonus Active.)
Are we using the stance?
[Forgot the Stance. +2 more.]
Your swords swing down with lightning speed and slice deep into the side and shoulder of the werewolf. With a surprised yelp you part its left arm from its body and its blood turns the snow around it dark red, a hissing blast of steam rising as it scrambles away.
[Inflicted 2 Major Wounds. +1 free Minor Wound, upgraded automatically to a Major Wound via Prayer. Ulven Armor (Light, Supernatural) negated by Zielrand. 3 Total Major Wounds.]
The wolves turn tail and begin running away, trying to keep up with the werewolf. The dismembered arm begins to wither in the snow and turns into a human arm which begins to float in the puddle of water from the melted snow.
>A) Keep chasing it down, go for the kill.
>B) No need, you've done your part.
The light of your swords' Auras illuminate your way as you take off, feeling your chest rising and falling rhythmically as you run it down. Your physical blessings are especially noteworthy here, as even a running wolf can't outrun you at a full sprint.
You lunge at the werewolf as it turns around, slashing with its good arm, a clumsy attack at a counter, though its attack gets nowhere near you as the wolf is so blinded by the Aura that burns its eyes.
>A) The Werewolf [Brawn Test: 17 for a Minor Wound. 27 for a Major Wound. 37 for 2 Major Wounds. 4d12+ 8(+5 Skill, +1 Charge, +2 for Stance. Prayer Bonus Active.)
[Yeah, 10 higher than two wounds is critical. That's autokill.]
"Death to you, monster!" Your left sword parries away its counter, then slides towards its shoulder, skinning the fur and muscle clean off of it as you bring both swords down into its torso. With an audible sucking sound you pull both swords through its remaining matter and cut it cleanly into thirds. The wolves are long gone, having panicked and run at the sight of their pack leader's death. The werewolf shrivels away to reveal itself as a middle aged man. You pray for his soul to be spared from torment after death and bury him in the snow.
One nice thing about these Zielrand blades, you think to yourself as you sheathe them, is that they don't need to be cleaned. The purifying fire of the weapons themselves cleanse away any blood or gore. You lay down on the bedroll under your tent for some rest and relaxation.
The next morning you mount up on the horse, clean up your campsite, and head towards Caer Dromon.
You arrive by nightfall, though you guess that it has only been about six hours. By the time you are this far north, the sun sets after only a very short day. The castle's guards ride out to meet you and easily identify you as a Paladin.
They rush you inside and you are treated to the sight of a Great Hall lined with severed werewolf heads, and since they have not changed back into men, these are from Pureblood Werewolves, as opposed to infected humans.
In the middle of the room a large group of men in long black furred cloaks are standing around a table and gesturing. They are planning an attack, it seems, and when you arrive one of them calls out, "Ah, your Honor, what excellent timing. Welcome to Caer Dromon." The man who speaks is an older man, with snow white hair and a wrinkled face, but his body is hale and hearty. These men, despite their zeal and skill, are not Paladins, however, but devoted Innocents.
You step towards the group and they point at the map at varying places, telling you that they have noticed a frightening thing. With so many Ulvenachts and so little Paladin attention in the North it seems that what they call a Great Ulvenacht will happen with the winter. The winds of the north will sweep down into the south, and once the land is blanketed with snow, the massive Werewolf Host, with their Great Packmaster at the head of it, will lead their own foul crusade to convert as many men and women to werewolves, and to not stop until they are stopped by force.
"Obviously," the old man says as he lights a pipe, "We cannot allow this to happen. Now, I have sent messenger after messenger to Font Florene, but we have heard no news. We assumed they sent you, but to hear that you came here randomly is dire news indeed. We cannot allow this sort of massive uprising to occur, it could have disastrous consequences. And with what you tell us of the Crusade in the South, nearly all Paladins are absent from the mainland. We cannot rely on the Order to defend us, and so we must turn to mere men, such as we."
Another man in the group, the youngest, puts his hand loudly on the table in anger and snarls, "We don't need the Paladins! We have been winning every engagement against the snarlers, but we just don't have enough men. We need an army!" These words, apparently very divisive, immediately launch a loud argument as the old man sighs. Eventually they turn to you, asking your opinion.
>A) We need an army
>B) We can take them apart piece by piece and make the Great Ulvenacht not happen.
>C) We need the Paladins, I can go get help.
"I agree with the youngest among you," you say and the young man nods fervently, his supporters agreeing loudly. Once the noise dies down you continue, "I will contact all who I can and see what aid they can provide. I would like to have a list of nearby villages and towns that may have soldiery we can muster. In the meanwhile, as everyone musters, we're going to try and take apart the key elements of their leadership." The room, all of their parts satisfied, cheers loudly and slams their tankards together in celebration as you are properly introduced.
After loud introductions are made the senior Knight approaches and bows his head, "Thank you for calmly taking control, your Honor, without you I fear we never would have reached consensus. The fall has just appeared, and I believe we have three months to get everything ready to stand against them."
You nod and smile, "Three months is a long time in war, Lord-Knight, and I will be sure to make the most of it." He toasts with you and the both of you drink as you look into the fire.
~New Major Quest: Ulvenachtmare, Acquired~
[And that will be the start of our first major story arc. Unlike previous events, this will not be settled in a single thread, but rather over the course of several. I'm gonna do what I can to really bring the good stuff as we move along in this, in terms of side materials, so stay tuned! Thanks for playing along, boys, follow the Twitter and send shit in to the ask.fm to keep me hype, as well as you. I'll be sticking around right now for the post-game Q/A. I will post when the next session is on the Twitter!]