Author Archives: Rules Director

March 2018 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News


Shapes, Oaths and Laws — these were the tools of order used by Gods and Archons.

Creatures like the Demon were unbound by such trivial matters. He preferred the malleable word, the obscuring shadow and a lawless reality. Of course, he had uses for Pacts, just as even the greatest of liars and thieves had uses for steel. He always believed that those who cannot be constrained cannot help but also be contrary.

And so, when the Demon entered the Nursery, with rain and battle clangouring nearby, it cared little for the wards and runes that sought to keep it out. Once, he had the strength of a hundred thousand devoured souls to lend him power enough to turn the Wards. But without the Tome, older methods had to suffice. After all, had he not witnessed its creation thousands of years ago?

As he stepped through the spaces between spaces, he remembered the time when Mortals discovered runes and writ. They thought that they had found a way to forever preserve their words. “Here was a way to stay immortal” they believed “Our thoughts and our speech would last for as long as these writings would. We have defeated death!”

But even engraved stone and runed steel turns to dust and rust in the end. The ages themselves eat away at purpose and definition. And there is also the glory and power of Context. With it, words change their meaning. They can lose their worth.

It was in this way that the Demons turned the very Wards meant to keep him out of the Nursery against the place’s Warden.

Breaking the Warden was easy. Even her taciturn features showed shock when he arose from the darkness before her and shattered her back against the wall again and again. She held true, of course, but she failed in the end – just as he had foreseen.

Then, he sent the Warden tumbling back into Freehold – a message that the Demon hoped they would understand. In this case, the Context was right but the Freefolk were always too feebleminded to know when to quit and to surrender. Nevermind that so many of them drank power from the Demon hungrily and many more bought from his markets. And with their souls and their coin, he grew and festered in the underbelly of civilization.

Casting the broken Warden upon the doors of their precious Inn was merely a warning, naturally. It was always better to give the warning first, for the spineless many that would be dissuaded by it and flee instead of fight. It would be they who lived while the brave died by the droves — as it always had been with the Demon.

When the Warden returned to do battle once more, the Demon was only slightly surprised. He should not have been. Was she not once Freefolk? Had she not sacrificed everything to contain the evils of this place? Had she not even deny herself the rest of the Afterlife to save her kin?

It was natural then that the fly would return to the spider’s web — foolish, weak and resolved, to be bound by him and crippled. The Warden was the Nursery after all – it would not do for the Nursery to be destroyed. He had work here to do and it was drudgery of the worst sort.

In the end, he had never meant to breach the Nursery. He had never meant to unleash its inmates upon Midworld. Destruction and desolation were never his goals – only his tools. Yet, the Freefolk had forced his hand, just as the Justicar had done decades ago.

They put him to this.

After the destruction of Freehold was over and done, the Demon would move on and start anew. Eternity was a long time and the only deathless thing in Midworld was chaos.

Rumors (anyone may read this)

Callas Selvarion Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Fir’bolg Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Gotterdammerung Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Ixia Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

Jotunbrud Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

Kali-Ishtar Kingdom only
Labyrinthium Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Malak Travak Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Pendrakken Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Riverfolk Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only


February 2018 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News


As the bonfire burned and sizzled, light and darkness danced along the log walls that encaged the area. In daylight, the fire circle would have been a meeting place for rangers and woodsfolk to discuss matters or even celebrate harvest feasts beneath sunny skies. The stones and logs here were for sitting and congregating, though they all encircled the firepit itself, just as the walls encircled the place entirely.

Tonight, the fire circle was for deviltry and dark deeds. The horned figure in front of the bonfire remained seated upon a stone when Dagmar and Zaalamon entered from beyond the walls. They did not fail to note that sweltering heat that pervaded the air nor that the area around the bonfire remained dimly lit despite its flame’s size.

A black stone and a dragon tattoo marked Dagmar’s twisted visage – he seemed eternally wrestling with a hateful wrath. In contrast, Zaalamon was quiet and cool-blooded, moving with confidence and without need for the brutish restraint that characterized his colleague. They knelt before the horned figure, head bowed and neck offered in abeyance.

Dagmar spoke first, in a bitter growl. “Dimitri, we failed the Master. The Justicar’s armor is still out of our hands – perhaps, they are with his slaves. The Freefolk… got in the way yet again”

Zaalamon’s grin crept into his words, slippery and oil as the Troll that spoke them. “But we know who the Lightwalkers are. It is only a matter of time before they are vulnerable again. And when they–”

“The Master already knows of your failure, just as he knows that a piece of the Archon’s armor has already made its way into the hands of the Kingslayer”The horned figure did not look at them when they spoke to him, gazing instead into the depths of the flame.

Even Zaalamon’s smile slipped at the sound of that name. “How did he know?”

“The Master has his ways. He has over a thousand darknesses in his employ, did you forget?”

Dimitri’s eyes left the flame and it immediately dimmed to mere embers. The dance of light and shadow fell to a standstill thereafter but the heat remained – indeed, it only intensified.

Standing up, Dimitri fixed his gaze on the pact-bound souls in front of him, eyeing them like a butcher deciding which of his livestock was for slaughtering. “Remember that you are all morsels to him and he can devour you with but a thought. The moment it no longer pleases him that you live and that you FAIL, he will snuff you out”

Dagmar and Zaalamon were dripping in sweat. Gravel cut into their palms and knees. Worst of all, every instinct they had screamed at them to stand and fight or scream and run.

But they remained prone, with only the crackle of dying flame to count the long passing of moments.

After an eternity, there was a sound like deep, mirthless laughter from around them. And they knew then that their time of sentencing had passed them by… for now.

“Find the armor” Dimitri turned back to the bonfire and it flared up renewed. The heat seemed to recede and the strange shadowed light replaced the utter darkness that was. “Bring it to the Master while you still amuse him. Drown Freehold and the Brotherhood in their own blood if you must”

When they left the fire circle, Zaalamon turned back one last time and could not help but wonder how he had first failed to notice the shadow that towered right behind Dimitri.

*Out of Game Clarification: Those with the Dark Pact are vaguely aware of the Court meeting, having seen it in a few recurring nightmares. They are also plagued by a malevolent darkness that haunts their nighttime hours and incites them to dark acts.

Rumor (anyone may read this):
Rumormonger skill only
Hunter-Gatherer skill only


January 2018 Prologue

PrologueRumors and OOG Clarification


Brother Wisk and Brother Grim were like crows, calling to each other with each corpse they found hanging or chained to a tree. This was the Hinterlands, however and there wasn’t much left to find after the wolves had their fill. They may as well have been crows, their black garments only betrayed in hue by a white cross upon their chests– the symbol of their mercenary order.

Away from the woods and back on the road was the charred skeleton of a merchant wagon. Beside it, Brother Ghost removed his ash-covered gloves and wiped his brow with a bare hand. It was a mild day in a winter so harsh, you’d have thought Anubisath was still alive to threaten Midworld. With the sun out and this bright, the snow and the Brotherhood of the Sword and Cross were sweating. He stood up to face the approaching sound of crunching snow.

A few moments later, Wisk and Grim broke through the treeline to squelch the road’s mud beneath them. Wisk bore a troubled expression whereas Grim’s was a calmer, almost jovial visage. Where Ghost’s gloves had ash, theirs had blood and they had that faint slaughterhouse smell of a “thorough examination”.

“No weapons, no food. Everything else is burned” Ghost slapped his gloves against his thigh.

Wisk shook his head with a grimace. “The Gilded Albatross isn’t going to be happy. Those are their merchants, their teamsters and their guards strung up in the woods”

“Tortured” Grim was smiling when put a twitching right hand upon the tome at his side. It stilled shortly thereafter, leaving blood on the cover. “Mutilated. Broken. Again”

“Same as the other travelers then? They’re not just hitting merchants, they’re hitting whoever they can find”

“Yeah. And it’s the same each time” Wisk spit on the ground. “The torture, the recruitment and then the killing and robbing, these ‘Heavenfall Sons’. Some folk will do anything for a ‘good cause’”

“As opposed to us Brotherhood that do anything for money” Ghost’s chuckle was unbidden and bitter.

“Not like this though. Not for no reason either. Foraging and shakedowns are one thing and a thing of the past. But this is dark work – the cuts we saw on those bodies… this isn’t just banditry”

The tallest of the black-garbed mercenaries patted his Tome softly when the others turned to him for counsel. “Sounds about right. The dead said much of the same”

“And? What else did they say?”

“They also spoke of a Purifier. A seeker and destroyer of Sin. The Sons of Heavenfall venerate and emulate his work in destroying all with sin. They said to the victims, only in this way can the world be saved from the onslaught of more falling stars” Grim was looking at neither of them, staring into space.

Ghost and Wisk exchanged looks then the former scratched the back of his head. “Really? How’d you get all that info?”

Grim’s gaze met theirs, but his expression betrayed an untroubled lack of disturbance. “Oh, I asked.”

Rumor (anyone may read this):
Rumormonger skill only

Out of Game Clarification: Those Kingdoms who have been struck by Anubisath’s “Frozen Stars” were not destroyed but severely damaged. Player Characters from those Kingdoms who were struck by Frozen Stars do not gain Patronage at the beginning of this year– such resources are expended by the Kingdom in recovery efforts. If such a Kingdom stabilizes from the damage, then next year may yield Patronage as normal.

However, such Player Characters do not lose Kingdom Standing from this incident (though other incidents may inflict such a loss). Their Standing increases or decreases as normal as tales of their deeds spread across their homelands.