Thursday, April 19, 2018

“Escape” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 24: DeFrantis

“Hey! Wake up!” DeFrantis hissed as she leaned over and shook him gently. “Anto-- rini? --rooni? What is your name, again?”

She sat back. Is he even alive? After the confrontation with the confessor priest, he had just laid there in his cell. She had decided to let him rest. After taking the magical blasts, he was obviously hurt. That those blasts had been meant for her weighed on her mind.

She reached out and poked him, again. “Hey!”

This time, he stirred, and groaned. He rolled onto his back, and lifted his hand up to wipe his face. It looked like a painful motion.

“You ARE alive, after all.”

He opened his eyes, and gradually focused. She stood, then leaned over him, offering her hand to help him up. He took it, and they pulled together. She had misjudged her stance and started to fall. She reached behind her, quickly, and grabbed the cell bars for stability. Now braced, she helped him up.

“I’m guessing it’s probably night right now, so it’ll be easier to escape.” He let go of her hand, and stood on his own for a moment. His eyes finally fixed on the two open cell doors.

He smiled. “It looks like the keys worked,” He mumbled.

“Can you walk?”

He just nodded and stepped toward the door. As she walked behind him, she glanced at the small table with the mage’s bane incense burning in the bowl. She would be glad to finally be away from the smog it created, both in the air and in her soul.

The main room door was wooden, with steel banding as reinforcement. She paused in front of it. “I don’t know what’s beyond this door. Do you?”

He nodded. “There’ll be a short hallway, and then the main guard room.”

She slipped the key into the hole carefully, not wanting to make any noise. It clicked, but not too loudly. She pushed on the door and it began to swing out.

It squeaked a little, and she stopped, took a breath, and then pushed again, more slowly. When it was halfway open, Antonneri stepped through. She followed.

A lantern in the guardroom cast a hopeful light down the hallway as they crept forward.  They heard voices ahead, with a rattling noise. Antonneri turned around and gestured a shaking and tossing motion with his hands, then held up two fingers.

There are two of them, playing Lots. The air around her in the hall was a bit musty and smelly, and even still a bit damp from the rain, but she breathed it in eagerly. As it filled her lungs, she could feel it clearing her mind. She felt hope, and a bit of excitement. She nodded to Antonneri. I’m ready!

Antonneri nodded back, then turned and rushed into the room. DeFrantis immediately followed. Antonneri leaned under the heavy wooden table where the guards were playing, and flipped it up onto one of them. As the other stood, surprised, Antonneri swung his fist hard into the man’s gut. The guard dropped, gasping for breath.

DeFrantis took in the room. It was circular, but not large. Opposite the table were two straw mattresses on the floor. Behind them, circling up the wall, was a stone stairway. That’s our freedom!

“This way!” she called out as she darted to the stairway. Antonneri hit the downed guard across the back of his head, and he flopped to the floor, out. Antonneri stepped over him, then reached for his sword.

The other guard was pushing the table off as they started up the stairs. He called out, “STOP THEM! They’re coming up!”

As she came to the top of the stairs, she saw another circular room about the same size, with two more guards leaping from a table and drawing their swords. This room had windows, and a large double door. Cool air wafted through the open window, and she took a deep breath. Her head was clear, now, her will and focus returning. She grabbed Antonneri’s arm, then waved her other hand before her. She summoned her will and the darkness of the night flooded into the room, swelling up from the shadows on the floor until the entire room was shrouded. She heard the soldiers stumble and curse.

Antonneri’s chuckle sounded behind her. “I thought you renounced the shadow.” She yanked his arm and ran toward where she knew the door was. They hit the door, then Antonneri shouldered it. A third hit burst it open, and they stumbled out into the street.

“This way!” She shouted, even though she had no idea where she was. They hadn’t taken more than a few steps when a bright explosion boomed just behind them, knocking them off their feet. Antonneri jumped up and ducked in between two buildings, with DeFrantis running scared behind him.

They ran through the alleyways, avoiding the streets, behind carts and crates and fences, until they finally collapsed, exhausted. As they gasped for breath, she got her bearings. We’re in the InnerWall, near the RiverFront. She leaned against the wall and slid to the ground. With a groan, Antonneri sat beside her and they huddled in silence.


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This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.


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Monday, April 16, 2018

“A Fight to Remember” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 23: Granthurg

The rains had finally ended, and they had arrived that afternoon in Twynne Rivers. As soon as they arrived and claimed a pier, Granthurg and Rinkmorr uncovered their cargo and began to offload it. It was heavy, laborious work, but Granthurg was accustomed to it. Once most of it had been loaded to the pier next to the barge, Granthurg began carrying it up to the quay, where the street ran along the river bank. There, Rinkmorr stood, and negotiated with the buyers and vendors as they passed.

As Granthurg was carrying a crate across his back, walking up the pier, his eye caught sight of a young girl on the wharf. She stood out, partly because she was dressed in a light-colored, finely-made cloak, which you don’t see too often on the RiverFront, but also because he couldn’t quite pin down her racial features. She looked elvish, but she was thinner, and her face was more angular than most elves he had seen here and in the forests. Her pointed ears stood out more. She walked with a step that was pleasant, almost haughty, and she was looking around as if she’d never seen a wharf or a waterfront before.

I know! She’s a high elf! He’d only seen drawings of them in his scrolls, but once he made the connection, the facial features made him certain.

He leaned forward and shifted his load across his back.

When he got to the quay, he dropped his load near Rinkmorr, and glanced around. He couldn’t see her. He shrugged it off and went back for another crate.

Back at the barge, he stretched his muscular shoulders and scanned the quay and the street again. She must’ve gone into a shop. I wonder what she was doing down here by the river. I’ve never seen a high elf here in Twynne Rivers, much less in this part of town.

His thoughts were interrupted by shouts from the street. He turned and looked and saw people scattering away from the girl, with her back to the river, staring down three full-grown human men. Oh, she’s in trouble!

Granthurg reached to grab his hammer, and jumped off the barge onto the pier. His leap rocked the barge, so his footing slipped him to one knee on the pier. He jumped up and ran with thundering feet up the pier.

Rinkmorr saw him coming with the hammer in his hand and determination on his face. “Now, stop, there, Granthurg! What are you doing?”

Granthurg swung past Rinkmorr and ran up the street. He saw one of the men lunge at the girl and grab her at the waist, pinning her arms to her side. Another one stepped forward with a dagger. “Get her pouch!” The man said.

Granthurg was on a full run at the moment, and had no time to slow down. He swung his hammer in front of him, but missed as the man dodged. Granthurg’s momentum, however, carried him right over the stunned man, who crumbled under the weight of the Giant.

Granturg rolled off of him, as one of the others leapt onto his shoulders and tried to stab at him. Granthurg blocked the man’s hands, then grabbed his cloak and used it to throw the man off of him, over his shoulder. He sat up, and looked for the girl. He saw her tangled in the assailant’s arms. Then he saw her fade and dissappear, and in a rush, reappear a few feet away, free from the man’s grasp.

Granturg felt a sharp pain in his shoulder.

Not again! He swung his hammer around him, turning his shoulders and knocking the attacker to the street. The man struggled to gain his footing on the wet cobblestone as Granthurg stood and brought the hammer down in an arc above his head. The thief's eyes grew large and he rolled to one side as the hammer smacked into the stone below where his head was. A loud clang resounded and sparks chipped off the rock.

Granthurg looked up and saw the girl thrust an open palm at the one near her. A ball of light lept from her hand and exploded in brightness on the man’s chest, sending him sprawling over the edge of the wharf and down into the murky water.

The other two thieves scrambled away.

Granthurg and the girl stood, staring at each other. She was defensive, not sure what to make of the Giant. Gradually, she eased and looked around her. The people on the street were looking at her with a mix of awe and fear. As she looked at them, they averted their own faces and scurried away. She turned her face to the street, as if she were suddenly very self-conscious.

Granthurg took a deep breath and smiled. “I’ve never met a high elf before.”

She looked up with her own smile. “And I’ve never met a giant!”



<<<>>>


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.


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Thursday, April 12, 2018

“Watch The Street” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 22: Thissraelle

For the rest of the day, Thissraelle avoided children.

This left her conflicted. On the one hand, she wanted to help. They are just children! They need a meal and a roof to sleep under! But there were just so many of them, and they were so aggressive, it was more than a bit overwhelming. She struggled to understand as she walked the streets of the Twynne Rivers InnerWall.

I knew there was crime and poverty and suffering. I just imagined it happened to grownups. Isn’t there some sort of shelter? An orphanage?

The streets meandered, lined by wood and stucco homes and shops, most of them two stories, occasionally separated by fences. The streets themselves were still wet from the rains, but drying. Most of them were paved in cobble, but many of the smaller side streets and alleys were dirt, now mud. There were many dogs trotting along the streets, and she thought she even saw some rats.

She walked past the working people, carrying heavy loads, leading carts and animals, sitting on the streets surrounded by food and wares for sale. Most wore rough and ragged clothing, cloaks and leggings. Many looked at her as she wandered.

Before long, she stepped down a street that opened up into a wide and busy walkway. As she moved forward she worked her way between passers-by and suddenly found herself looking over the expanse of docks and piers that lined the edge of the Wynne River.

She paused, struck by the sight. For years, she had seen it only from her tower window. It meandered through the town below her. Now, as she stood on the waterfront itself, it was much wider and stronger than she had imagined.

And much busier! People were walking up and down the piers next to barges and boats, loading and unloading. Carts and animals helped carry the heavier loads.

She began walking down the waterfront, away from CenterTowne. She was fascinated by the constant motion. So much so that she almost ran into a man. She was startled and backed away.

“Oh! I’m sorry!” She stepped to the side, out of his way. He was a tall human, and wearing a dark shirt under an very black cloak.

“You look a bit lost.” He said, and stepped into her way again.

“I’m... fine.” This time she stepped away from him, a bit taken back by his imposition.

“You look like you’re not from this part of the city.” He took a step toward her.

“Excuse me, sir, I’m just passing along the street.” She stepped back again. “I’m not trying to be in your way.” She continued to back away.

She felt herself back into someone else, who immediately steadied her by grasping her shoulders.  “Steady, there, miss,” a man said, but didn’t let go.

She tried to move aside, but he held her firmly in place. The first man moved forward again, so there was very little room to spare. She looked to her right, toward the buildings of the RiverFront, and saw a third man in a deep brown cloak walking forward, smiling and stealthily drawing a dagger.

He spoke, “You really shouldn’t be in this part of town. Why don’t you come with us?”

She felt her breath quicken, and her heart race. Her imagination ran to dark fearful places in her mind as she saw herself beaten, robbed, or worse.

Get control! Get strong! Breathe deep! Her fingers pressed to her temple, focusing her concentration. She dug deep into her will, and suddenly pushed out with her mind. The three men tumbled away from her, knocked off their feed by the force of her mental impact.  Suddenly freed, she stepped to put her back away from them, to see them all, and to draw her own blade.

The surprised passers-by lept aside and the three men scrambled to their feet and faced her. They all stood, facing off, as she started backing away. She glanced behind her and saw that she was only a few feet from where the dock drops straight to the river. She was cornered.

“She thinks she’s a mage!” one of them taunted, but he was still a bit hesitant.

“I don’t care!” Another said, “She’s obviously got money!”

She tried to play it up. She stretched her hand out and said, “I WILL use my powers!” Her summoned confidence was doing a bad job of hiding the fear shaking her voice. “I Will!”

Someone on the street shouted, “A wizard! Run!” People started to scatter.

The man to her right laughed and lunged forward.


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This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.


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Monday, April 9, 2018

“Magic in Her Hands” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 21: Karendle

Karendle sat on the street, watching the guard tower.  How am I supposed to get in and get that mage? If she’s captured already, should I still take her? Her mind slipped back to the day after that first meeting in the inn. The two men had come back and found Karendle ready and eager. She could hardly keep her seat.

“Can I have the oculi?” She had asked as soon as they appeared. She reached out.

“Easy there, miss.” One of them held back the pouch. “First, a couple of rules. Then, we’ll have to show you how to use them.”

She sat back, still impatient.

“First of all, you will tell no one about us. You will communicate with us using the blue oculus, but only when you have caught a mage, or are in dire need. And no-one can see you do it. Understood?”

She nodded, “How do I use the gem?”

“Calm down, we will explain all!” The other one also laughed at her impatience.

“Second, do not feel you need to ask questions of us. We will tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it. Dig no deeper than that.”

That was a little troublesome, but she had nodded anyway.

“Good. Here.” He tossed a small pouch to her. It jangled a bit as it hit the table. “That will get you started.”

She opened the pouch and saw coins, easily five gold, and a few more silvers and coppers. She looked up, her eyes wide.

“When you bring us your first wizard, you’ll get more.” He stood and gestured to the door, “Shall we?”

She had followed them into the storm, to an isolated alley, and they had shown her how to hold the oculus. She had struggled at first, but was finally able to channel her will through it and shoot out a sharp blast of fire, which quickly fizzled in the rain. The memory of the thrill of feeling magic in her hand for the first time still made her tingle.

The next few days had been spent in her room at the inn, practicing with the oculus. When she did get out, the constant rains meant there were few people, so she found no information about any mages.  Finally, a pubcrier had announced another criminal wizard assault at an inn called the Brown Boar. Rain or shine, she would find this wizard!

As she sat remembering, an ornate white carriage rolled by and stopped in front of the tower. It was pulled by a single horse, and the carriage and livery were all white. There was a symbol of three stars or lights on the side. What’s this?

The driver set the brake, and climbed down to open the door. A man in white robes stepped out, then reached back in to get a long staff.  He and the driver walked around to the door of the tower, being very careful to not step in any mud or puddles.

The driver opened the door and called out, “Please stand for the Priest Confessor!” The priest stepped in, and the driver returned to the carriage.

Karendle stood and walked down the street a bit further to get a better view. She’d seen the symbol a few times in the city. It was on a few of the cathedrals, and some of the soldiers wore it. She’d never seen it in the Dwarven Kingdom.

After a while, the Priest emerged from tower and called out to the driver, who scurried to open the door for his master. Karendle noticed that the priest looked agitated, flustered. What could have happened inside?

Karendle sat back down as she watched the carriage rumble away.

<<<>>>


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.


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Thursday, April 5, 2018

“The Tower” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 20: Karendle

After her meal, she walked down the gentle slope of the hill, and found the wall separating the Inner and the Outer city areas. It was tall, possibly fifteen feet. It was built up of stone, and thick enough for a walkway along the top, complete with battlements. All along the wall was a wet cobblestone street, and opposite were houses and shops. The shops were starting to close up for the evening, and the people she passed were moving into the homes. As she walked along the street, she soon came to one of the guard towers built into the wall.

It was large and round, jutting out from the wall itself, with doors and windows. The tower was a few stories tall, much higher than the wall itself, with battlements on top. Upon finding it, she stepped into the door, and found two soldiers sitting at a table.

They were tall humans, especially compared to Karendle’s own stature, each wearing a tunic with the emblem of the Twynne Rivers army. They stood right away and put their hands on their sword hilts.

“What are you wanting, now, miss?” One of them said, with narrow eyes full of suspicion.

“A - a young wizard was brought in here last night. A thief. I want to see her.”

“Prisoners don’t get visitors!” He barked, then reconsidered her. “What’s your authority?”

She hadn’t considered this question. She looked carefully at them both, “I’ve been given charge to track wizards in this city. I want to speak with the one you have captive.”

“So you say. Show us your letter and seal. We won’t just let anyone through here.”

Of course. Those men didn’t give me any authorization. And I should have asked to see theirs, too. What’s their authority? Who hired them?

“I, ah, I don’t have one yet.”

The guards laughed and glanced at each other. “Well, you’d best be getting one, or we won’t let you pass.”

“Of course,” She muttered, mostly to herself, “Thank you.” She stepped back out onto the street.


<<<>>>


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.


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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Family-friendly Role Playing! Updates, Revisions, Preparations

We interrupt this thrilling narrative to bring you news of the game itself. You know, what all this is based on?

This friday will be interesting gaming session! We’re setting aside our regular characters and our ongoing epic story line to test a new combat system. We’re looking at a whole new way of dealing with initiative and ordering the actions in a fight. See, fight scenes are chaotic messes with lots of actions and reactions and general craziness. In order to play it at the tabletop, it has to have, well, ORDER. And a big part of that order is figuring out who’s first, and what happens next. This week, we’ll be testing a new system of doing that.

I’m very excited for this, but also very nervous. On the one hand, this new system is more fluid and more story-driven. It also will take into account some things I’ve observed as I’ve been watching fighters fight, both for real, and in simulations (like with foam swords and things) on youtube. It has the potential to make the game much more exciting, and much more like the game I want.

Or...

It could melt down into total chaos and completely break the game.

If that happens, that’s OK, really, because then I’ll know, as the “lead designer”, what went wrong and we’ll start to tweak it. That’s what playtesting is. But also, we’ll all know that if it really goes south, we can revert back to the system of initiative that we had, and it would all still function. I mean, we’ve been doing that for 3+ years, now, right?

This comes at a time when we’re seriously looking at a lot of aspects of the game, and doing some changes that I’m really happy about. We’re working on detailing the economy of the game, which we had always left to the abstract, before. We’ve recently made some excellent changes to the skills tree, and there are more changes on the way. This current adventure (Narrated by Tyler) has been the longest one we’ve done so far, and looks like it will yet continue for a very long time. That will give us the opportunity to see how the game plays with higher “level” characters.

So!

Stick around! We’ll keep you posted. It’s likely that we’ll be making the game available to the public sometime soon, possibly this summer.

In the meantime, enjoy the story!

PS Are there any artists among us?  Post in the comments!



<<<>>>


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.



Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins.

Monday, April 2, 2018

"Forgiveness Is The Key!" - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 19: Antonerri

What is she doing? Is she mad? Antonerri was stunned.

“It’s all true.” She spoke with a clear, determined voice. “I confess.” The priest turned toward her, distracted from his ranting.

Antonerri saw her shoulders shaking behind her bowed head. Her hands were raised before her face, pleading for mercy. “I renounce the shadow! I embrace only the light! Please, Father, save me!”

No. Don’t give in. Resist! But Antonerri had no strength to protest, or even call out.

“This is good, child, your punishment may be eased.” Turning toward Antonerri, the priest declared, “You would do well to follow her example!”

She lunged forward, throwing herself down at the priest’s feet and reaching for his robes. “Please, Father! I need redemption!”

The priest jumped back, unwilling to let his robes be sullied by her dirty hands. She shifted, and reached for the guard, grabbing at his tunic and leggings. “Please. I’ve been so wrong! My life is over! Help me be renewed!” The guard ripped his clothing from her hands and stepped back behind the priest. DeFrantis fell to the ground, shaking and sobbing.

The priest and the soldier exchanged glances, then with a nod from the priest, they stepped to the door. As they left, the soldier tossed a few more grains of incense into the bowl, which flared momentarily, adding to the smog in the room. Antonerri watched them go, then closed his eyes against the pain. He heard the door creak shut.

Only silence remained. DeFrantis had stopped crying and was lying, curled up, on the floor.

After a moment, he saw her raise her head and look at the door. Then she looked at him and curled her lips into a faint smile. What is she thinking? How can she confess?

She rolled onto her back and sat up. She brought up her hand, pointing her finger. Dangling from it was the large ring of keys from the guard’s belt.

In spite of his hurting, he shared her smile.


<<<>>>


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.


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Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins.