- THE GREAT BURNING -
A Story of Empire
I'll start with saying this is a player campaign, not a server campaign (thank god), and that is is focused on and around the Kaltstaat/Kaltic Empire and the characters within it. I know how big things can get when you include people stumbling on up into it and making it larger than it is, so I'd like to say that this is limited to people actively part of this faction. Through RP I am sure others can and will be brought in if it makes sense to do so, and there's nothing stopping people from making chars for the various vassals (or the army) and partaking that way. I just can't DM for it getting bigger than what I've tried to write out is all. These people in the campaign will not be reaching out to attack other factions.
I've not actually done a player campaign before despite the DMing I do for server campaigns, but I'll be trying to make it as a 'chapter' based storyline with rumours and so on along the way. I'll also be making possibly two 'event characters' which I'll post later on. A lot of information is missing here in the interests of keeping it spoiler free for all the people partaking. I'll update this thread as it goes.
This campaign plan is intended to try and go for the gritty realism approach of war/battle/fighting etc - It will likely have a lot of combat as its focus but I will be going for atmospheric DMing with those involved and not reliant on temps/too many one on one fights.
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[ CHAPTER I ]
Upon sightings of a man in the woods, a group from Motte Eiche sought to take chase, and bring back the possible Eberland rebel for their Lord Longtree to question. Whilst they departed as a solid group of four for one man, they have not yet returned, and it grows less likely they could survive still in these cold winter nights. A search to see what came of them is planned, a trail up into the northern forests...
With no word of the men sent out in pursuit, Peter Longtree organised a group of men to follow suit and see what became of them. Whilst he himself was unable to go, injured from an assault on the wretched dead in the far south, he granted permission for his squire Jean-Mathieu du Beaumont to lead the rest in his stead. Once ensured they were securely garbed in warm clothing for the journey ahead, the group of five moved out as one. Behind the Beaumont followed Halwyn Longtree, Richard Varyn, Reyne von Drachenhort, and Wilhelm von Conrad, all valued men of the Kaltreich.
Stepping beyond the gates, they moved to follow the rough path previously followed by the men before, hiking through snow drifts that varied from knee to mid thigh in depth. Once within the treeline of the great pines known throughout the North, they were sheltered a slight from the bitter winds moving in from the west, and the snowfall that comes with it did not manage to sting their faces quite so much. The crunching of fresh snow was all that accompanied them, as they watched their side lines and examined the trees for any trace, any sign of direction. For a time they found little, and as the dim lights of torches from Motte Eiche became more distant behind them, they found something at long last. An abandoned fabric pouch, the size of a coin purse, lay beneath great boughs of a pine tree, the evergreen bearing the weight of the snow in such a way that the dirt beneath was exposed enough to reveal a partial footprint. Someone had been here, though for how long was unclear.
Pressing onward, the group continued with renewed hope and a direction to follow, an assurance that they were headed the right way. With Jean in the lead, it was he who first glimpsed the crimson fabric in the distance. Mostly obscured by the snow under yet another great evergreen, they discovered the bodies of two men in tabards that place them as men of the Eiche, their torsos each with several arrows that were clearly the cause of their early demise. The snow brushed away from them, they were seen to be partially devoured, sections of their flesh torn away with the imprints of not the teeth of an animal, a forager, but a human. A disturbing find, and yet a discovery that brought only more questions, they pressed onward in the hopes of finding the other two, to see what had become of them.
They pressed through the snow with an air of caution, an expectation to be targeted by whatever prowled in the forests, the suspense of it made worse by the abrupt falling of a body from the high branches of a pine they walked beneath. Weapons were almost drawn for the fright of it, but it was not necessary after a moment of realisation. The sight of the third man was so grotesque that they would surely not forget it, and found it to be far more obviously the work of a beast known well to those of the North than anything else. The wind billowed, and words seemed to carry along with it, only confirming fears even without any actual sight upon it. Jean sought to press on after this, determined to find the last man of the initial four, and as they moved ever forwards they found themselves out of the treeline and in the exposed expanse before them. Nothing but snow, and the winds had little to buffet against, so strong they could hardly see as far as the man in front for the amount of snow blinding them.
Something moved, then, out there in the expanse as they scoured the lands before them. A white shape in the white snow made it hard to be seen at all, but it was movement and they were on high alert from the discovery just moments before. A large creature, its fur white and antlers great, charged forwards for them and was so quick it injured Halwyn before there was ample time to respond, raking its claws across his torso and spilling a spray of crimson upon the white snow. The men are not far behind however, and act to wound it, injure it enough to repel it before it can take away its desired meal, but not without bloodshed on their side as well. It escaped soon after into the great forests, and they took to not following it, but focusing their search on the fourth and final man of the party...
They had no luck in discovering the final man, and even when Peter returned to them, they found little. Sitting about a small campfire, they found relief as the warmth returned to their bones, their hands finding feeling once again. Here, they planned, and as one of their number came up with ample reasoning, the course was made clear once more. Richard suggested that should they kill the Wendigo, they may yet discover what happened to the fourth, seeing if perhaps he was consumed by the beast, as well as removing a dangerous threat this close to Motte Eiche. They stood, then, and with a pang of regret, doused the fire to continue their path.
Following the blood left behind from the injuries already delivered, they were lead to a large pine amongst many, and discovered it to be hiding within the upper boughs. Injured and hoping to avoid further conflict, it was brought down from its perch and slain, and once all was settled they discovered the location of the fourth man... Was nowhere to be seen.
- Written by Elz
Pursuit under the Moon
A watchman on the walls observed a ship bearing no colours as it traversed the cold northern waters, between Meermotte and Oren and further North in the dead of night. He keeps watch for a while longer, and notes it returning to a southern direction the very same night. Upon reporting the sighting to his Lord, he swore to keep a keen eye on the waters for the next week, and several days later it made an appearance again doing much the same thing but closer to the coastline. Once could be dismissed, but two sightings prompts preparation to pursue, and see if both its origins and purpose can be discovered...
In the closing days of autumn, Conrad’s isle of Drachenhort set free a collective breath. Meer Motte stood independent of its laborous construction, and the craftspersons lay in great number upon its craggy shores. The sun shone its light favorably about the outcroppings, so much so that not a shadow might be spied among the men as they mind the year’s final, fair-weathered days.
Disallowed these comforts, a heathenous crew set about the sea with intent. The sun above set a wide birth horizontally in its set, an orange dash that bled its presence into the dull pinks and lavenders of the coming night. Summoned to Meer Motte by Wilhelm von Conrad, the Eisenhand Varyn and Warden Dugald joined he and and loyal crew, to ride a rip-tide pace for execution of Imperial command. A vessel to their bow, and the evening wind at their sails, each man felt the sea-faring effort through ragged bones and pulsing muscles. Binding the vessel to its expediated path, Wilhelm von Conrad stalked a prey whose careful path had eluded and teased his shores for weeks.
A foreign craftsman had hammered the masterwork vessel into righteous submission, and the planks cut the wake without effort. Time nor effort had yet fatigued the skeleton crew – each man sworn in oath and service to the Imperial Kaltreich, and lauded amongst its ranks as men of strength and skill. On Wilhelm’s prerogative, the men worked to prepare their cannons for immobilization – and as they neared, the vessel’s sails of green-and-white rose like phantoms to rest upon their mast. In mere moments, the Jachtschip ran alongside a mystery craft. Perched and boastful atop his vessel, Wilhelm remarked in snide and pre-eminent victory t’ward the fateful men who operated opposite, and bellowed above the winds to signal his crew.
A mighty crack resounded, and four cannons belched their steel-loads and plumes of black gunsmoke toward the kept sails. Heavy, enormous chain-shot propelled from the Kaltreicht’s Jachtschip, eviscerating mast and man alike. Wood splinters expanded from the opposing vessel’s wounds, and red mist fell about the surviving crew, like a cruel dew. The standard was set, and lethality commenced. The marauders returned their fire; Wilhelm’s crewmen fled to the deck in prone, and the abrupt shouts of agony resounded over the open sea and touched the northern shores in their desperation. Already, through thin cracks, a crimson tide washed from the decks into the frigid sea below. With combat at hand, gunfire and bowmen exchanged their volleys from deck-to-deck – and all the while, the Eisenhand Varyn and Warden Dugald grappled and bound the vessels via rope.
Another hideous crack, as the vessels bellowed together and sea rose betwixt the boats. The ocean fell over each man in downpour. Compromise to each ships’ integrity saw them pitch atop the waves, and collide angrily. As much as the men fought, the woodwork did too, and before long the Southron marauders felt the wrath of Kaltreich’s most eager men. Cruel as any, and unforgiving as sin, the trio mounted the enemy vessel and made memorable skirmish with its inhabitants. For nigh half-an-hour, the blood ran from each man in amplitudes so ludicrous that the deck had become awash with seafoam and gore. The pirates were joined by rebellious Northmen, who carried with them incredible skill and undying fierceness in the face of Imperial threat.
Not Lothaire, nor Richard, nor Wilhelm might owe their lives to themselves. At each opportunity, the men bobbed against their foe and swelled alike the tide to engage among each other. Kars, a gigantic foe of Anhalder descent, levied barbarian ferocity against Lothaire. Beaten and bloodied, yet driven by victory, the trio did gainful swordplay when it was convenient. When it was not, the men fought in gritty and unarmed violence. Veins popped, and wide eyes drilled about dying men as breath and vertebrae collapsed under incredible duress.
In the sun’s dying hour, the vessel pitched no more, and the sea fell still with slumber. Wilhelm von Conrad, Richard Varyn, and Lothaire Dugald lay in exhaustion upon a visceral deck... adorned with corpses. Victory was found, and knowledge gained from the spared crew of their opposing vessel. With exhaustion and fatigue setting about each man, the trio began their short voyage home – to relay this information in kind. They met amidst the deck in each other’s limp limbs, and broad smiles adorned their bloodied visage. A war-band, and brothers to match. The sun set on their company, and each arrived at their homes to rest battered souls and grievous wounds.
- Written by Arken
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A Northern Hunt
A hunt organised by the Kaiser is filled with hopes for bonding amongst those in attendance and the mutual goal of supplying Queensport with supplies to last with true winter arrives. Plans are made to establish a site to meet and share in some hot drinks before the hunt begins at sunrise...
A Meeting of Peace
A letter was delivered to the hands of Peter Longtree requesting a meeting of the Northern Court to discuss terms regarding the ownership of Motte Eiche, referred to in writing as Rammbar's Motte. There was no name printed upon the bottom, no signature, and so the sender is unknown. What the men of the Motte do know is that several of them have been attacked and killed in the woods, and that this is the most solid lead to finding those responsible. The location was given: Grünmauer.
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