Friday, 10 March 2017

Your Gods Have No Power Here

In the year 902, the Heretic Army declared war on the forces of heaven. They vowed to bring an end to the reign of the True God. Their goal was to drive him from the world, either slaying or imprisoning him.

Much has been said about gods, but all know that beside from She in Pain, and to a lesser extent, the Darkness, none of them are merciful. The Heretic Army collided with the Church, and angels were sent down by the True god to punish the Heretics.

Survivors of the battle recount men being turned to pillars of salt, men suddenly dropping dead as their hearts gave out, and men crying as they were burned with a fire that brought up all their bad memories as it consumed their bodies.

The Heretic Army was destroyed, it's survivors routed, executed, or imprisoned. It is said that some may still be alive in the Church's dungeons, unable to die in anything other than glorious battle (this could make a good story hook for your campaign. Maybe the PCs need information, and must find a way to get the Church's most hated enemy out from the one place they can do no harm).

However, some men fled, thinking it better to create a new life than to continue their hopeless war against the Church. If you pay attention, you can still find old Heretics, serving in bars or making arms and armour in small towns.

Two of the men who chose to flee were named Jiffron the Red and Koga the Black. They were brothers, so named for the way soldiers saw them as they fought. Jiffron through a haze of blood, and Koga through a shroud of dark magic.

Koga the Black

They were absolutely sick of divine magic, and decided to fight back the only way they could. Each of them founded a town.

Koga built his town at the spot where a river flowed from the mountains, towards an outpost of the Church. Since the town was built, the villagers have been poisoning the water supply with heavy doses of iron. The means for this has been provided to them by demons, which Koga has been in contact with and accepting deals from since the town's creation. Because of the myriad different holds on his soul, he is very, very hard to kill, and his town prospers in exchange for eternal damnation from multitudes of different demons, many of them unknowing about each other.

Jiffron chose a different route, and chose to reject the idea of the divine altogether. Their village is built in a mountain valley, and is so desecrated and defiled that no divine magic can work there. It is, quite literally, a town of atheists so devout in their beliefs that the gods themselves walking the earth would cause no more than an annoyed huff.

Jiffron the Red

The Towns of Haven and Damnation
The two towns are on good terms with each other. The brothers were very close, and their family bonds were not so easily severed.

Multitudes of townsfolk live in a town of their preference, and celebrations in one town usually are paralleled or joined by those in the other. Haven (Jiffron's town), regards Damnation as a group of well-meaning, but perhaps overly violent and religious people. They far prefer them to other religions, even if the occasional human sacrifice and screaming lambs can be grating on the nerves. Damnation regards the residents of Haven as misguided people working with what they have.

Each respects the others traditions, and thinks of them as quaint and amusing ideas. They manage to be civil in each others presence, and marriages between the two towns are common. Trade is practiced often, and most people have families in their parallel town.

The Mad Saint
When Jiffron and Koga came to the mountains to build their towns, they did not come alone. With them was Saint Frenilus Drarian, a well-respected holy man thought killed in the war. His death was fake. He was captured by the brothers, who decided that he was revenge for the killing of their comrades.

Koga bound him through magic, and Jiffron broke him through torture. Thinking it a cruel joke, they let him free, but unable to leave the area around Haven and Damnation. To put it simply, he is in purgatory.
If you understand that joke, treat yourself to a cookie

He wanders the land, forever walking. Nobody likes him, but people leave overcooked or rotten food out at the brother's orders, to keep him alive. He has forgotten his own name, but wears his holy symbol burned into his hands. He hates the symbols. The saint forgot their meaning long ago, and now they are simply old wounds that refuse to ever fully heal.

He wanders, trying to dispense his had wisdom to whomever comes near. The locals drive him off, sneering and laughing, but some do take him in, listen to his ramblings, and give him water and shelter for a few days.

He only ever talks about the Church's prophesies and blasphemy. Every sentence out of his mouth is either a foretelling of what is to come, or a recited curse against religion from ages past, when Jiffron and Koga burned them into his mind.

Whenever he is encountered, roll 1d4 to determined his disposition:

1: He is rambling and making no sense. He will not respond to anything other than harassment or pain, in which case he will cry out and flinch away before resuming his muttering. If he has taken half his health in damage, he will instead scream and try to run away.
2: He is asleep, and will wake up in 1d12 hours or if he is shaken awake, after which he acts as if you rolled a 1.
3: He is injured (half health), and will respond gratefully to any aid (patting the person's head, smiling a toothless grin, clapping his hands). However, all he will talk about is how much the party has been very bad.
4: In his ramblings, he suddenly has a clear moment and says something prophetic in a different tone. This can range to anything from a prophesy about a world-destroying catylism to a minor thing (the fighter is getting laid tonight). This will always come true.
Random Encounters in the Two-towns
Roll 1d6 every time the PCs move between each town (unless it would disrupt the flow of the game).

1: 1d4 children running around the roads from whichever town is closest, on their way to a new cave they found. Roll 1d4: 1: the Mad Saint currently resides in the cave, although the pestering of the children will drive him out in 8-the amount of children days, 2: the cave in empty and uninhabited, 3: the cave has a bear in it, and there is a 25% chance a child will be killed, 4: the cave has a bound demon living in it, and there is a 75% chance a child will be killed or make a deal (50% chance of each). Be creative with this, and think about what children want (your eternal soul in exchange for a lifetime supply of candy).
2: A lost child will be heard wandering 1d6x10 feet off the path from whichever town is farthest, hopelessly lost. They will want their parents, who will provide 1 iron for every PC who delivers the child back to them.
3: The mad saint will be on the path. Roll for his disposition.
4: 1d6 travelers, coming from the town the PCs are going to to the town they left. They are in good spirits, as long as none of the PCs look religious.
5: Jiffron the Red, taking a pleasant walk through the forest. He will be distinctive by the sword at his side and his blood-red clothing and long blond hair. He carries a longsword.
6: Koga the Black, taking a pleasant walk through the forest. He will be distinctive by the demonic stench about him, and his black robes, with greasy black hair reaching almost to his waist.He carries a book with a list of demons in it. 

 A fairly common sight.
Every 1d10 weeks, there is a random festivity in one or both of the two-towns. Roll 1d#
1: A wedding! Most of the residents of one town (about 75%) will be in the other town. The celebration lasts for 2 days, and free food and drink can be found in abundance during that time.
2: A funeral. Most of the residents of one town (about 75%) will be in the other town. There is no celebration or food anywhere in town for that day, and at the end of the day, the body will be buried with a tree planted over it if in Haven, or burned and it's ashes scattered into the river if in Damnation.
 3: A sacrificial ritual. All in normal in Haven, but at least half the residents of Damnation will be somewhere in the forest. They will be gathered around an altar, ritualistically chanting for 1d100 minutes, before the sacrificial victim is brought out and stabbed to death on the altar (this takes 1 minute from the time they are brought out). Roll 1d4: 1: the victim is a young animal, probably a lamb or calf. 2: the victim is an older animal, probably a horse, goat, or cow. 3: the victim is a traveling priest. 4: the victim is something entirely odd. Examples are: a child with all-black eyes, a talking dog, an ogre, or a very confused frog. The PCs are rewarded if they do not interfere.
4: Priest-burning. All residents of both towns come together in the middle of the road with a traveling priest. A list of charges are read, usually including public vandalism (putting up holy symbols), inappropriate public wear (priestly robes), and conning. The priest is then put on a crude, quickly made version of their own holy symbol, and then burned. 
5: Seasonal Festival. These are common, and celebrations between both towns giving thanks (not to anyone in particular) for keeping them free and happy. People from both towns intermix. If it is spring or summer, the festival will be in a field somewhere between the two towns. If it is fall or winter, then the festival will not be out in the open (except for a bonfire in each village at night), but will be a private thing celebrated between families.
6: Attack. It happens every once and a while. Roll a percentile dice. 50% chance the attackers are priests of the True God (80%) or another one (20%) of level 1d4. 1d4 of them will be attacking. 30% chance the attackers are warriors who want to uphold their religion, of level 1d4. 3d10 of them will be attacking. 20% chance the attackers are something other (angels, pissed off holy dragon, think something up). Koga and Jiffron will defend, along with 3d10 bandits, who are residents, but they will appreciate any help they can get.
Many a priest have met their ends in that 
nameless valley.

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