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Excerpted From the Crystal City Tattler

Here's a little RPG FIC for my D&D (Pathfinder) game. Our heroes are in the old Lands now. here is a sample of what's happening, via gossip rag.


The Crystal City Tattler

From the Editor

Hello Subscribers, and Gentle folk who have stolen this scroll from their neighbour’s doorstep, or found us wrapping that battered fish you shouldn’t be eating. 

One and all: Thank you for reading The Old Lands number one gossip sheet. We appreciate the recent influx in advertising revenue, and are directing all our readers to visit the pubs, magic shoppes, and Armouries listed throughout. Our loyal subscriber base is dwindling, due to the recent influx of adventuring folk into our long ago plundered lands. And we need ads to help us keep you informed of which Half Orc Princes have killed which Ogre Magi, and what famous Gladiator was eaten by a bored Dragon.

Of course the most recent “Hard News” is that the Black Dragons have recently taken over a great deal of those small islands where most folks live these days, what we OldLanders, call derisively, the North. Let them have it says this Elf, who is old enough to remember when all those places were nothing but prison colonies and places to hunt dinosaurs. None of that war news though really has much place here in our little gossip rag. 

Lets get to the juicy stuff, I hand you over to our field reporters both overland, and underground. - Ser Nasimuth Herringbreak, RGR, Ret.

Kiss of The Orcs?
- Filed on the 4th day of the Green Dragon, Year of The Fire Giant.
   - Senior underground correspondent: Melisande Harkness

I spotted whilst clubbing underground below the Crystal City, last night an unexpected small “Royal Entourage,” composed of the Prince-in-Exile: Duke Gor-Dok III (Don’t call him Duke unless you want your face bitten off by a Goblin), his near shadow, and half brother, Mar-Dok the Bastard, called by his friends and enemies alike, as simply The Bastard. Actually Mar-Dok is perhaps the handsomest Half Orc you have ever seen, rumours swirl that this is because he is one of those rarest of Half Orcs, whose Mother was an Orc, and father a dirty human. Perhaps the dirtiest human in recent history, the man who called himself the Orc-Slayer, Nigel, the same man though who wooed the Orc Queen Vanestrakia in high court Orc fashion after killing Gor-Dok’s Father.

Most smart folk think it’s likely not quite like that, why would the deposed son be travelling with the spawn of the man who killed his own father, the King? I tried to gain entry to the roped off section of the trendy Gnome Dancehall, ‘FireDrake’ that seemed to appear right out of the rock filled with beings of all descriptions drinking, and partying like the Dragons were at the door. I floated by several times (don’t tell people I’m a Witch shhh!) wearing my best frock, but none of the Orc court seemed to have eyes for the female of any species. there is a scoop for you. They are either celibate, or those young elf boys had a rougher morning than I did after waking up next to a Hobgoblin Shaman last week. I shan’t live that down for a while. But hey, the dragons are kind of at the door. Just haven’t knocked yet. Back to the Orc court, a small affair made up of The Heir apparent, the Bastard and a curious bodyguard, a Goblin Ronin by the name of Hacker Bob. 

One may recall that this “Hacker Bob” was briefly a champion of the arena circuit, but that he won his freedom, and vanished off the gossip vine until recently surfacing underground (if that’s a possible turn of phrase) a few weeks ago with the Orc court. He is rumoured to also be the King In Waiting’s night time as well as daytime companion. I saw ample if very above board and gentlemanly as an Orc and a Goblin can manage, evidence of that fact. Hacker Bob tasted every drink for the King. Who never once wiped the Goblin drool from the goblet.

I was eventually driven off by the Bastard, eventually: who grabbed a hold of my arm faster than I thought any being able to, and whispered in my ear; that “my kind” were not welcome in the court, without a proper introduction. Then he kissed me hard and deep, very much against my will, and threw me to the ground like some half elf trollop, stomping back to fist bump with his brother over it. It was the only time I saw The Heir smile. Maybe I ought to have put a blight upon them right there, but I didn’t want to start a scene in a trendy club. And they would have kicked my scrawny elf witch ass. Such is the life of a reporter. The kiss was horrible, really.


The Return of the Vax Maruk
Filed on the 5th day of the Green Dragon, Year of The Fire Giant.
- Field reporter, Intrepid Class - Romm Bronnstein

As you likely know, the Vax Maruk are an ancient council of Elven Rangers who handle any crisis of nature, that apparently only rangers can handle. Many Folk believe the group to be a myth, or an artifact of ancient times, when Elven rangers were nearly a race of their own, so secretive and clannish they were. But over many human generations and one or two Elf Generations, the group has become more of a bureaucratic part of being a Ranger. They all pay some nominal dues, and occasionally one will get picked for some secretive Ranger mission.

The current group has never had a confirmed membership, until now: In this Exclusive Story I have filed for The Tattler. As a retired Ranger, of some note, our editor got me a chance to interview a few of the members. I got to meet with them all, but most refused to answer my most of my questions, and of course, the big question though remains unanswered. 

What “mission” brings them all to the Crystal City, to a ruined Cathedral of Erastil, to perform a ceremony that I am only allowed to tell you was spectacular to view, and that they spoke with a being from another plane. the being’s name must remain a secret if I am to remain alive, but i think it is safe to say that something big is afoot, and that it had to do with one of the groups of beings trudging toward the Boot of the Old Lands, to the Home of all the Dragons.

I do have clearance to tell you that the current Vax Maruk is composed of Veteran Rangers, most of whom are legendary in their own lands. The current Speaker for the group is Brian Arr the Famed Skirmisher. In fact the legend that each Ranger in the Vax Maruk has a different style of combat training. I noted that the very proud Arr carried his legendary Lion’s shield , bearing the head of a growling lion on its front. Apparently in battle it can take on the aspect of a real lion and bite attackers alongside Brian.

Other Legendary elves include Brixxivor, who was raised to be a legendary brawler living with some obscure Ogre chieftains from the South, as a child. They say he has the widest shoulders of any elf who is not really a dwarf pretending to be an elf. 

The famed Giantolli the Giant Slayer of many stories and songs, was looking old even for an Elf. it is said that he has sat on all but the original council many millennia ago. he appeared to be sleeping while I asked him questions, but nonetheless answered his name and that yes he had killed a cyclops, but that he has always regretting having the cyclops stuffed and mounted. the folly of youth, he said. his description of the ancient taxidermic giantling gave me the willies.

The enigmatic Oranginto the famed quick draw crossbowman refused to let me see his face, wearing a strange feminine veil over his face, maybe he is scarred or just very private either way. The only thing he did other than grunt a few yes and noes my way was take out a skinny rat that ran across the ruined cathedral while we talked He told me this one thing. “I hate rats, hate them more than dragons. then got up and left. strange cat even for a Ranger.

The most gregarious of the bunch was the only female of the group, the retired former champion Jouster of the Old Lands Variana Vax. Of course I asked her about having the name Vax and also being a part of the vax maruk. she told me that the first group was made up mostly of members of her family, most of whom took the Ranger path. She had a wineskin and shared with me some Elven Champagne, which I must say may have been the greatest thing I have ever tasted. Never had Champagne that tasted great warm bizarre. She hinted to me that Giantolli is thinking of passing his ceremonial long bow onto a a more youthful Ranger, but was tight lipped about who that might be. It seems there are a few interesting choices, one of whom travels with some kind of actual Pirate who is crossing the desert on behalf of the Frost Giants. Which is just as weird as it sounds. Apparently the pirate is some sort of Drug kingpin. That’s who the Frosties trust, I guess, a Pirate drug kingpin. That might be the big gossip here, rather than whatever is going on politically. The longest serving Vax Maruk is looking for a replacement.

The New Kids
Filed on the 6th day of the Green Dragon, Year of The Fire Giant.
- Junior reporter Zap Brinagain

It’s me: your almost intrepid junior reporter Zap, reporting in from the Trail to Crystal City. As you may recall from last week’s Tattler, I have been following at a discrete distance, the gang of so called “Gunslingers” known as the Kid’s Gang, despite “The Kid” rarely ever uttering a word as they rob and pillage their way in a pretty straight line to the Crystal City.

They are a motley if well dressed crew. The Kid is one of those rarely seen in the desert Catfolk. They say he can shoot a gun with his tail. But having watched the gang in action, I haven’t witnessed that. I would say that he doesn’t need to as fast as he is and accurate off the draw. Maybe he doesn’t speak because no one gets a chance to ask him anything. Most folk who survive to talk about the Gang say that the Elven one known only as “the Old Man” is the strategist and brains behind the operation. 

He is definitely the one barking orders when they surround a wagon, or step into a bank with their freaky obsidian guns drawn. That maybe the weirdest thing about them, that their guns seem to all be made of magical glass. Obviously they are magical relics from that long ago era when the Goddess Obsidia walked the Old Lands, and all was glass and clockwork. Most likely they found the weapons on their marauding adventures, and drifting. It seems impossible that they are followers of Obsidia, but who knows, maybe they send all their old to The Obsidian court.
The only one of the group that I have been able to “accidentally” make contact with is their Half Orc Machine Gunner named Zzzzz. Nowhere in the old Lands has anyone ever seen the heavy weapons that this Half Orc wields. He is also the one who carries much of their gold, and for my money seems the only one with an agreeable temperament.

Last night, they were in a local watering hole Tavern and Oasis 4gee. The place has no name, but all the travellers seem to just call it “the Bar”. You can also buy black market goods, there, but I never saw any of that. I was at the long bar at the back of the room trying to wheedle information out of the most tight lipped bartender I have ever met. Dwarves, it takes a lot to get them yakking. At any rate, eventually The Kid Gang came in, all stood in the door kind of expectantly. The Drow Noble member of the group, who uses the Drow- improbable alias of Doc Aitch smiled his platinum toothed grin and shouted out for the barkeep to put a round for the house on their tab. Everyone cheered, and rapped their goblets and mugs on the tables in a cheer. The Kid nodded at the room, and they took a table in the corner that some Goblin labourers scuttled away from as the group approached.

Zzzz came over to the bar and asked for some of the house’s strongest Dwarven ale be given to their horse after he has his oats. He flipped the barman a piece of platinum. The barman smiled for the first time all night, his Dwarf eyes glinting with the platinum he was holding close to his face. He pored a big Stein of Beer, and took it out to the Horse. Zzzz grinned and punched me in a friendly way, laughing. That horse, he loves his beer, but I think he is going to just drop dead one day.

 “What are ya gonna do, right kid?”

I am a small person, but I am more than a hundred years older than any half Orc. I thought about correcting him, but then thought against it. I rubbed my shoulder (I can’t move that arm today at all, good thing I am left handed) and laughed my little Gnome laugh in harmony (an old Gnome reporter magick) he took a stool next to me, and asked me more questions than I was even prepared to ask him. My reporter skills kind of went out the window as we ended playing drinking games, and eventually he dragged me (very much literally) over to the Gang’s table. In my haze I recall talking to each of them about where I come from, Gnome life in the Desert. 

I woke up this morning laying on the table where they had sat, covered in vomit, that I think, hope is/was my own. My clothes, weapons and gear were stack on a chair. I was naked and covered in vomit, my stuff was fine. Except they appear to have found my notebook, and taken it. The bartender gave me no more than a head shake and a tsk tsk as I used the towel and bucket he had left next to me to stand in and take a Gnome bath.

“Hurry up, we open in an hour,” he said. I grinned a shameful smile and cleaned myself off hoping daring to hope than none of those gunslingers can read Gnomish.


To be Continued...




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