GURPS: The Known World

Session VII: Intro
After the Death of a Thane

_“Because I could not stop for Death _

_He kindly stopped for me. _

The Carriage held but just Ourselves -

And Immortality.”

On the day the 1st Cohort and its victorious auxiliary forces were to leave the culled city of al-Abyad, a lone figure sat by the mound that was Harlon Thanes last gift to the world and is now his final resting place. He sat completely still and had been sitting there for a while in deep thought or prayer.

None of the guards dared approach him for the stories about him in the Army of Light were many and enough to give a certain caution when accosting him. It was said, he was the first over the wall and in the city – and alone at that. That he was the reason the defense line was in disorder, when Sir Calder Tremelor was first through the breach at the Purge of al-Abyad only seconds after the explosion by Ecco Fat-Fellow, even though no one saw him. He certainly was one of only three survivors fighting the Chosen Champion of the Triumvirate and his elite guards. A Chosen Champion distinguished and renowned throughout the Caliphate for his skill and valor. That it was his timely turn up that saved some of the most celebrated and recognized heroes in the Army of Light and were the only reason they ‘only’ lost one. And that when he carried out the body of Harlon Thane his tears stricken chins was the only bloodless part of him and that there were murder and vengeance in his eyes.

His eyes could not be seen now but his body was, even sitting still, poised as a lion ready to strike. Suddenly he bowed his head in a final show of respect and whispered something and then he walked away towards his company, his friends. Apparently he had come to some agreement with himself or something else. Not many got to see his face or his eyes when he went, but those who did bowed away in fear. And to those with very sharp ears his whispering sounded like: “I’m sorry. I came too late.”

When he reached the camp, Corwin Giantson was waiting for him. They spoke a few words each and then nodded, apparently agreeing on something. None of them were smiling but there was a deadly fire in their eyes!

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How the Rise of Religion, a new Military Doctrine, and a new Crusade Keep Peace at Bay.
The 4th Crusade

By Salah ad-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub, Royal Historian and Adviser to the High Imam Rakeem Iblis in 644 FK.

My Lord High Imam Rakeem Iblis,

Al-Abyad, remember, is only one city in a mighty catalogue of misery, whose entries are inscribed in tears. The believers of Thenos and the Caliphate of Ashemelech have been fighting on and off for more than 300 years. In 309 FK the First Crusade of Thenos saw a mighty host of crusaders slaying and destroying a lot of the unsuspecting Caliphate. Since then has come the dismal march of two more Crusades – each seared in blood and fire into the conflicting myths and memories of both sides. The intervals between the Crusades have not been filled with peace but by hate crimes, raids, uprisings and atrocities. Caliphate inhabitants today still cite, as if it were yesterday, the massacre of Alhallabad in 310 FK, and the descendents of the survivors of the 2nd Crusade still remember the bloodbath and desperate flight from As-Siyassi in 496 FK. The slaughter last month in Al-Abyad, in which an almost entire city, children and women, were killed in a single day, will pour fresh poison into the brimming well of hate.

A conflict that has lasted more than 300 years is not susceptible to easy solutions or glib judgments. Those who choose to reduce it to “colonialism” of the one side or “land preservation” of the other are just stroking their own prejudices. At heart, this is a struggle of the peoples for the power to force and expand their religious beliefs. It is not the sort of a dispute in which enemies push back and forth over a line until they grow tired. It is much more complicated than that.

Religion is why this conflict grinds on remorselessly. During eruptions of violence, the mantra of diplomats and advisors is the need for a two-religion solution. It sounds so simple; if two peoples cannot agree on a pantheon, they must have two pantheons. This was obvious to outsiders even before the First Crusade. In Thenares, however, things are seen in a different light. After a new doctrine was implemented in 641 FK, the Church has been extremely hostile and aggressive to all non-believers. The doctrine basically and simply states that all Churchmen of Thenos must aggressively pursue a way to turn people towards to Light. It is clear that they want a war.

That said I feel our only option is to answer this in kind. There will be no rest or peace until the infidels have been banished from our lands. Until the church of Thenos understands that there are easier targets for their misguided and heretic hate. Our preponderance should be made clear in al-Wazif, when the Prophet joins our ranks and our army will shine in all its might. After our win we should follow them to Thenares and destroy their church completely!

Your faithful servant,

Salah ad-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub

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The Memory of Corwin Giantson Still Lives in The Bloody Skull Clan
The Hunt Continues

Dette er skrevet af Lars, men er lagt ud af Marc pga problemer:

Han så rundt på de andre, som sad ved bålet. Der var Huran Splitface, som havde fået sit navn efter han var blevet ramt i ansigtet af en økse. Han var efter deres bytte, fordi byttet dræbte hans ven Ektos Strongarm.

Ved bålet sad også Eben Onehand, der med sine 2 meter og 40 tårnede over alle. Han forklarede grunden til, at han var efter deres bytte, var fordi han havde bragt skam over Shatterstones søster.

Ved siden af ham sad hans bror Walgar the Giant, som med sine 1.55 smalle skikkelse mest af alt lignede et barn ved siden af sin bror, men man ville gøre klogt i ikke at tage fejl af ham. Rygterne sagde, at han en gang havde skåret tungen ud på en, der kaldte ham lille, og med den daggert han sad med, skulle man nok tro, det var muligt.

Også var der ham selv Barduk Lightning Axe. Den bedste kriger i The bloody Skull Clan. Han var ved at blive gammel, men der var stadig ingen, der kunne stå imod ham. Byttet havde dræbt hans ældste søn, og var derfor blevet bortvist, men det var ikke nok. Byttet måtte dø. Byttet havde dræbt hans ældste søn og derfor måtte Barduk dræbe sin yngste søn!

I morgen ville de dele sig for at lede efter deres bytte Corwin Giantson.

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Session III Continued: Fulfilling an ancient Prophecy
Fulfilling an ancient Prophecy I

III Session continued: Fulfilling an ancient Prophecy I

After six months of doing business of no importance to this storyline, the Order initiates group consisting of Decius Malthus, the Prince of Lions, Ecco Fat-Fellow, the famous Halfling pirate, Harlon Thane, Son of Ungol the Beastlord and potion maker extraordinaire, and Corwin Giantson the Northman colossus, was summoned again by Lonius the old wizard. Sir Caldor Tremelor, Champion of Thenos, was still missing in action and was at this point considered dead by most Order members. Of course the rest of the party was sure he would make it back to them in due time. This time the band of heroes, who was considered by many as the most promising party of Order initiates ever, was to go to Nakyrim on the southern coast of three Realms to find a person known as the Dirgewarper, one of the Founding members of the Order.

We quickly travelled to Nakyrim and easily found the Dirgewarper. Everybody was happy to see each other again and the group quickly re-grew the bond heroes share (NOT the barbarian way). The old paranoia hadn’t left us though, so we slowly and readily approach the mansion in which the Dirgewarper resides in. The door opens in front of us and a voice guides us into a room that mostly look like an office/library crossover. The Dirgewarper is an old beautiful lady, who doesn’t look human. There’s something unsettling about her, but it’s probably just her unearthly beauty or the way she looks like she can look right through you. She certainly wasn’t afraid of four well-armed, veteran warriors.

The Dirgewarper explains our mission in a very direct fashion. We are to sail to the Caliphate of Ashmelech and find the Lost City of Mudeenah somewhere south of Gebel al-Hikmah, where an ancient Prophecy is about to be unleashed unto the world. Apparently some primeval evil from before the Age of Ice, which is neither Man nor Demon, is about to come back into the Known World, which would be doom to us all. We are to see it does not happen or in case we are too late destroy it.

We spend three weeks on the open sea just enjoying our selves. Or at least some of us are. Corwin really isn’t all that happy about his first adventure on the high seas. And then we reach the city of al-Abyad, which is a busy harbor city in the north eastern side of the Caliphate. A city broken and ravaged by our return 4 years later, but then, of course, we don’t look back on that fateful day with any joy either. We quickly find a very helpful guide and translator, Mehmet, who can get us anything we need to continue on our journey. Since time is of the essence, we decide to pay a bit much but thereby keeping him all the way to Gebel al-Hikmah. Mehmet is an expert haggler and he gets us a ‘cheap’ ride from his cousin. We are to travel by something called a camel, which is a special desert creature known for its two humps and a special ability to retain water for a long period of time.

Mehmet is frightful about meeting desert raiders since there are only five of us, but Corwin convinces him to think otherwise. He mumbles something about a special orc race riding huge lizards and being very ferocious. As far as Decius thinks raiders isn’t a problem. The heat is. It’s impossible to bear armor or even to think properly in the heat. Although we all are physical wonders the heat is a greater annoyance than normal raiders. Even Fat-Fellow is starting to lose some of his girth. Not long after leaving al-Abyad we are beset by desert raiders. They start raining arrows over us, but they couldn’t hit the Fat Lady in Eugubium from 10 yards away. Still they could get lucky with a stray arrow, so Harlon calls forth a Windwall and covers us from their arrows. They yell something a Genie and run away. Cowards!

We reach the big city of Gebel al-Hikmah without further incident. Since we still have no clue to the whereabouts of the Lost City, we decide to hire a new more local guide. Fortunately Mehmet’s cousin is in town and he’ll be happy to help for the right price, which is very high because of the danger. Apparently the Lost City has a very bad reputation. We leave at dawn, and given that it’s out last time in a town for some time, Decius decides to try some of local entertainment. Apparently there’s something called belly-dancers who shake their belly in a sensual way to entertain men. Decius uses his years of experience to be entertained privately.

We ride at nightfall. Again we don’t get far when we are attacked by a special breed of orcs called Red Orcs. They are big, ugly brutes riding big lizards and even carrying lances. Decius veer into a lion in order to match their speed. Harlon again uses his druidic abilities and creates a Windwall to protect him and Mehmet. Corwin, however, has a completely different approach, and he meets the red orcs charge with a charge of his own. Ecco uses his staff-sling to put small holes in the evil creatures. Corwin and Decius downs one together, and Ecco slips inside the Windwall to protect himself. The orcs defend themselves very well, but with their charge broken, they really aren’t a match for Corwin. Decius follows a fleeing orc across the desert, while Corwin, Harlon, and Ecco finish off the rest of them. We are again victorious. Not long after the fight we find the Lost City of Mudeenah.

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Session III: Tomb Raiders
Inside the Pillars of Night

III Session: Inside the Pillars of Night

After the battle with the giant animated statue, we suddenly find our selves missing a party member. Caldor Tremelor the Blessed, Chosen of Thenares, has fallen down a trap door and there’s no way to get him back. After a quick debate the consensus is to move on without him.

The band of heroes therefore consists of Decius Malthus, the Man-Lion, Ecco Fat-fellow, the halfling marksman, Harlon Thane, Son of Ungol, and Corwin Giantson the Barbarian. At this point they are trapped (by their own doing) inside the old temple now known as the Pillars of Night. Outside an army tries to knock down the huge stone doors. Inside waits Narash the ancient demon and its chosen champion.

As we decide to move on, Ecco suddenly finds a very well hidden door. He quickly uses his nimble fingers and special tools and opens it. We enter a long dark hallway with ancient gobelins and runes portraying and describing how Anak the powerful orc shaman or maybe warlock begins the cult known as the Hand of Narash, their first struggles and ancient victories, and their rise to power in the region. We truly believe we are on the right path.

Corwin spots a mysterious Eye on the wall, which looks like its some sort of keyhole/door mechanism. Ecco claims to ‘see’ a door around it. Since the hallway ends in a cave-in, and we cannot find any sort of trigger, Corwin decides to pound on the Eye. No wonder barbarians have a reputation as being violent. A white blind blinds us, and while we try to gather our selves, we are attacked. Ecco stumbles and is hit hard. Corwin defends Ecco bravely and cuts of one the assailants hands. As the blinding lights clear we see that the attackers are some sort of giant zombies with gray skin and big tusks. Corwin and Decius hack them to pieces. We are a bit puzzled about the looks of the giant zombies since none of us have even heard about a race that the monsters could have been before becoming undeads.

As Ecco searches the rooms nearby, he is attacked by one of the giant spiders that live in the ancient tunnel system around the ancient temple. Decius quickly dispatches it. Somewhere out in the tunnels we here Caldor Tremelor’s warcry. The Chosen is obviously still alive and fighting strong against all odds.

We press on and Ecco finds another hidden door. This one maybe a bit more obvious since the hallway kind of went that way. On the other side we find two human and three orc guards. Leading them is our former Order compatriot Sir Drac Evenford, the Order paladin of Thenares. We quickly slay the guards, but are unusually hesitant when it comes to Sir Drac. After some opening remarks, Sir Drac offers us wine and try to explain his situation. He is now a champion of the demon Narash, and although it is clearly evil, he believes he is still fighting the good fight, only this time for evil for the greater good. The man is clearly possessed, and we see no other line of action than to release him from his possessor. We unleash punishment on like there’s no tomorrow, but the man has clearly been enhanced in skill after submitting to the will of Narash. Corwin’s feet is swept from underneath him and he falls prone and Decius’ neck takes another huge hit. Add one more scar to the count. In the end the sheer pounding gets to him, though, and Sir Drac falls lifeless to the ground beaten to death.

Before we have time to rejoice a blue light over an ancient alter suddenly appears. It is Narash himself, or at least an aspect of him, and he is surprised, but not enraged as one might expect. He offers any of us the opportunity to be his champion and carry forth his name and power unto the world. We all pass, although it looks like both Corwin and Ecco contemplates the idea, while Decius passes out from sheer exhaustion. After being denied a champion, Narash is furious. Corwin isn’t afraid, though, and after some mighty swings from his enchanted axe, Narash is crushed. The body of Narash explodes and we all leave by a small whole in the mountain. While escaping we at one point overlook the camped army in bloody infight. Orc vs human, troll vs giant and so on. Our work here is done. The power of the Pillars of Night are broken!

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Session VIII: Corwin's vow
4th Crusade

Under Harlon Than`s begravlese svor Corwin at han vile dræbe 30 fjender og sende dem efter Harlon`s sjæl så de kan tjæne ham i død`s riget, Der efter forlod han de andre 5 fem dage hvor han ikke lavet andet ind at være fuld, slås eller være med ludere, Da han kom til sig selv efter de 5 dage opdaget han at har fåget tatoveret et bjørne hovet på højer side af halsen og det liner Harlon Than som bjørn, han har nu brugt 3 dage på at finde den tatovør der har lavet det men de sige alle at de ikke ville kunne lave en der har lige så mange detaljer. Som den han har. Så nu er Corwin over bevist om at det er Harlon`s siste gave til ham og når han tænker over nået nu ses han tit tage sig til højer side af halsen.

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Session IV: Intro

Initiates of the Order

The Heroes of the Pillars of Night, in that time, was perhaps the finest group of initiates the Order had yet to encounter. Even given the loss of the templar in the tunnels beneath the ancient evil Temple and the debacle under the Lost City .

Drawn from all over the Known World, they were not one but two shape changers. One was a spirit possessed ex-legionnaire of Callus, who it was said could not die, and if you look at his neck you tend to believe that the spirit somehow defended him. The other a True Blood, a Son of Ungol, who was on his way to become to first Mortal Sword of Ungol the Beastlord since Fell Ansgor fell in the Last Flight of Mammothat the Magnificant more than two centuries ago. In their front stood a giant of a barbarian swinging a legendary axe, and who probably had more giant blood than human blood in him. In stark contrast the smallest member was an extraordinary character and marksman with an special ability to succeed. Most of us have heard how he spirited away the Unbound Guardian’s key and then forced him to break his weapon on the stone wall. The final member was a holy templar, who it was said, was touched by Thenos himself. That he survived under the Pillars makes this claim very likely to be true.

Remarkable indeed. How does one measure such people? By their deeds; and what awaited them in the 4th Crusade would make their names legends carved in stone.

Excerpt from a History of Order initiates.

The Dirgewarper

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