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    CHRONICLES OF AITHAR

    The Wars of Arithea


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    Last edited by Asherion; 2012-08-11 at 09:16 AM.
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    After returning to your home barony of Salt Peak, amidst rumors of war and rebellion, you have watched your family come and go from a nearby Inn, ashamed to approach them but now also finding yourself unable to leave, with the war growing so close to the Peak, which, although a prosperous area due to the mines, is not particularly well protected. Although you may or may not bear the Council and the Arithean government as a whole any particular love or ire, an open, armed rebellion is certainly a foreign concept, and who knows what to expect!

    As you see the Baron and Baroness leave the property, you wind your way up the road to the gates of the sprawling property. A castle, really, the Baron (and perhaps more so, the Baroness) have made it into something else entirely. Although still a defensible structure, the property is very well maintained, tastefully decorated, and filled with flowering plants. They surely evoke memories of your mother's attempts, repeatedly, to instill in you her world-view of ladylike behavior, of flower tending and the management of a house and estate, of marriage and ladyship.

    When your brother comes out to meet you, it is a joyful reunion. As always, he doesn't judge you the way others do, and doesn't question your sudden appearance, but breaks into a smile and embraces you. He leans away, and you notice that he looks a bit more gaunt, or drawn, than usual. His experiences away have left him looking somewhat fragile - but he exudes more energy than perhaps you've ever seen in him.

    Your younger brother, not unexpectedly, is nowhere to be found.

    As your brother opens his mouth to quiz you about your comings and goings of the time apart, a messenger rides through the gates. The messenger is covered in blood, and slips from his horse to fall to the ground. As the two of you, and the servants and guardsmen in the courtyard, rush to him, he looks up at you, and then makes eye contact with your brother.
    "The Council... the Army is here. They're here to oust the Baron and... and execute you, sir. Flee, flee now!" the man gasps out a breath, and then relaxes to the dirt.

    Your brother looks up at you, eyes a storm, face calm. "Father will be back any moment, they were just paying a visit to the shop at the end of the road here. We have to prepare for an assault on the compound, or flee. I'm not sure that we have the troops, or that they'd stand with us. With me. I'm sorry, Isma, I've brought this upon us."
    Last edited by Asherion; 2012-08-11 at 09:34 AM.
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    Isma's gaze flickered back and forth across Esmond's face, searching for a clue, a reason that the wrath of the Council would fall upon their family. His expression was unreadable.

    The thought rose unbidden to her lips—What did you do?—but she quickly silenced it. Inquiry was moot, searching for answers an exercise in futility. She had trained her entire life for war, to defend the things she held dear. Questions of "Why?" were for Councillors and members of The Order, perhaps, but not for hedge knights. For hedge knights, all things coalesced into a single point, a question that answered itself:

    Does the enemy stand? Then defeat him.

    Isma turned away from her twin toward the manor. Her stride purposeful, she passed through the doorway of the house and made directly for the thing that lay above the mantel: her father's longsword. She pulled it roughly free of its mounting, a small part of her admiring its balance and weight even as she rushed back outside. She found her brother and grabbed him roughly.

    "Take a horse," Isma instructed, "and leave by the back gate. Ride for Harreton. Neygan's Inn. Tell no one your name. I will find you there." She squeezed Esmond's shoulder and shoved him in the direction of the stable. "Now go!"

    Isma then turned to those standing in the courtyard, roaring "Servants, inside! Guards, bar the gates!" Her studies in tactical placement and fortification were years behind her, but she pressed on, attempting to direct the guardsmen into defensive positions.

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    Which rolls and such do you want me to do? I'd like to use Tactics to put the guardsmen in an advantageous position when the enemy strikes, and also to try to predict the manner of their attack, if possible.

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    Do Leadership to convince the men to follow your lead, and bolster their courage, and Tactics to place them as appropriately as possible.


    The servants turn and flee towards the quasi-keep of a stone mansion, and the guardsmen hesitate and look at you. Your brother takes a look at your face, decides that he will not win this argument, and sprints off around the side of the building, in the direction of the stables.
    Last edited by Asherion; 2012-08-11 at 09:57 PM.
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    Isma broke off her barking of orders as she noticed the guardsmen's lack of compliance. They shifted uncomfortably as though torn between their responsibility to protect their liege lord's home and their desire to flee.

    She stared at them incredulously. "Has my father treated you so poorly that you would forget your duties?" Isma shouted. "I am Ismaradis Altera, daughter of Therron, and I order you to bar the gates and defend your lord's home!" She paused for a moment, collecting herself. "Cravens and oathbreakers may leave by the back gate. Everyone else, prepare yourselves."

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    So you want me to roll for all my skills except those that have a "hidden" element, right? So me rolling for Tactics is fine, but Detect Lying you need to roll in secret?

    My Leadership defaults to SL6. Modifiers are up to you; if any of them have been there longer than, say, five years they probably know me decently well, maybe even sparred with me while I was training. I doubt any of them have explicit loyalty to me, but their loyalty might extend to my entire family somewhat.

    Leadership (6): (3d6)[6] + any modifiers you decide

    Tactics (9): (3d6)[17]

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    Yeah, for most of those kinds of rolls, lies, hidden doors, etc, I'll roll. If you ever feel that there's a roll you'd like to make, you can feel free to mention it, but as you said it may already be done behind the curtain.



    The men seem to snap out of their reverie. A few bolt for the back gate, while the rest scramble for position. The compound is roughly rectangular, with a ten foot stone wall about it, and scaffolds at a few points that allow men to watch or fire from behind the wall. The gates are heavy wood, and the men shut them securely behind the last few town guards that come in.
    The men begin to organize, and arrange themselves about the front wall.

    One of the newcomers approaches you.
    "Milady, the Baron... he was called to the gates when the Army arrived." he pauses, weighing his words, hesitantly, as he is uncertain of your temperament, "When he challenged them for their business, they charged him with harboring a mage, and ordered him to surrender and have his guard relinquish their weapons. He refused, and ordered the gates barred. They ran us over, milady. The Baron, he fell trying to hold the gate, dealt a grievous blow and surely dead, and the Baroness cannot be found, milady. Only a few of us escaped, and we've been grabbing every able bodied guard on our way back here... but I don't think there are enough of us." He pauses again, "Your brother... where is he?"
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    Isma's breath left her all at once. Her vision seemed to swim, and the voices around her grew indistinct.

    —dealt a grievous blow and surely dead—

    Her father couldn't be dead. Couldn't. Therron Altera was stone and salt like the mountain over which he ruled; the idea of him being dead was as ridiculous as the idea of Salt Peak vanishing overnight.

    Isma was snapped back to reality by the guard's question:

    "Your brother… where is he?"

    "I told him to leave for safety by the back gate," she said, struggling to speak. "Why?"
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-08-12 at 05:15 PM.

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    "The rumor... the rumor among your father's men is that when he returned, he was different - he studied at some monastery in the mountains for all this time, and they say that he came back some kind of mage. And, milady... you know what happens to mages. Especially noble families, and they won't deal kindly with those who harbor him."

    At this point, a yell comes from one of the men at the gate. "They're coming up the road! Three men coming up ahead of them, looks like they want to talk"
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    Esmond, a mage? Isma recalled her brother's frailty and strange energy, his tired eyes, his lack of surprise as the messenger collapsed in the courtyard.

    "I'm sorry, Isma, I've brought this upon us."

    The twins had always been a study in opposites—Isma, proud and sullen and taciturn, intensely focused, dreading staying indoors when she could be outside practicing; Esmond, cheerful and outgoing and intelligent, absent-minded but eager to learn, forever perched in the manor's windows with a book in his hands.

    It hadn't surprised Isma, then, when her brother had chosen to leave home and further his studies. The monastery, located far to the south, was famed for its vast library, and many young men and women who studied there went on to become great scholars, theologians and employees of the Council.

    So why—and how—would Esmond become a mage?

    "I will treat with them," Isma said, a quiet rage in her voice. If her father were truly injured, there would be hell to pay. But if what the guard said was true, if Esmond was the one they were after, then perhaps she could buy him some time. A few minutes of talk could mean the difference between his escape and his execution.

    Isma went to the wall near the gate and climbed the scaffolding to speak with the approaching men.
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-08-13 at 09:33 AM.

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    The three men are dressed in the standard issue Army uniforms, dark reds, with mail. The first has a polished breastplate, and is holding an officers helmet under his arm. He smiles up at you.
    "Ah... the Lady of Altera... " he sketches a mocking bow, and then returns his gaze. "You seem to be arraying to defend a compound, when your rightful government's emissaries approach. Surely this is a mistake brought on by... well, by the lack of emotional restraint shown by the... fairer sex. Have your father's men lay down their arms, and I will let them all walk away from this unpleasant business."
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    "Where are my parents?" Isma growled. "And what is your business here?"

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    The commander smiles up at you "Well, milady, of course I'm not your parents' keeper, as it were. I did, however, see the Baron at the town gates. He appeared to want to stop me from coming here. Pity how that turned out."

    His face grows cold "Hand over the mage. This business of arraying the town's guard against the Army is absurd. Hand him over and none of you shall be killed."
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    Isma paused before responding, speaking slowly when she did so—every second of delay was another second for Esmond to escape.

    "I do not know the mage you speak of; I arrived home only today. If, as the guards say, you're referring to my brother Esmond, I'm afraid you're too late. I've been told he left two days ago for the south. Where he was going, he did not say."

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    Fast-Talk to see if he believes my lie? Defaults to SL6. Not sure if that's one of the "behind the screen" rolls you wanted to make. If not:

    Fast-Talk (6): (3d6)[9]

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    The man smirks at you "And what I heard is that he was here, only a few days ago, and I'm going to look inside. And I'm taking you and your family into custody and placing this Barony under Army control. Are you going to surrender the compound?"
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    The harboring of a mage was an act of treason against the Council. If what they claimed were true, then the lives of anyone who might have aided Esmond would be forfeit. Isma had no illusions about what would happen if she were taken into custody: She would be executed publicly, made an example of as the daughter of a traitor … or left to rot in the deepest dungeon they could find.

    Dead or in prison, she would not be able to find her brother in Harreton. Or avenge her father if he were truly—No, she wouldn't think about that. Couldn't.

    The ultimatum had been delivered, and the time for talk was over. In a way Isma was relieved; she'd never had much patience for false politeness and veiled threats. She'd given Esmond ample time to flee, and by the time they realized he wasn't there, her brother would hopefully be miles away.

    It was the time for battle.

    "Not only will I not be surrendering the compound, but my father will be keeping his title. The Alteras have kept Salt Peak—loyally—for the Council for some years now. If they wish to relieve my father of his duties, then perhaps one of the Councillors can deliver the order themselves rather than sending an upjumped pissant such as yourself."

    Isma heard gasps and mutterings from the courtyard behind her, but she kept her eyes trained on the officer's face. There was a fine line between mild dissent and outright sedition, and Isma had gone charging over that line like a drunken ox.

    She raised her father's sword lazily. "And if you so much as step foot past my family's gates, I'll personally carve that ugly little smirk off your face. Sir."
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-08-17 at 10:11 PM.

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    "Then, I suppose we are at odds." He says, glancing at the couple of guardsmen with crossbows trained his way, and proceeds to begin backing down towards his unit, "and when I return, milady, I'll make you pay for that tongue of yours..."
    He turns and marches with his two men down the roadway, turning to mime a sketched bow in your direction.

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    Is there anything else you'd like to do as far as the house, men, anything, or can we proceed with fight/etc? They're preparing their assault for a moment.
    You have probably 10 guards in this compound, and they have probably 20 men forming up out there. They and you both have more men out in the city, but there's no time or organization for you, and he'll only call his in from pacifying the city if he feels he needs it.

    Anyway, if you're ready, roll an initiative for you. I'll roll your men as a lump, his as a lump, and him.

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    From the scaffold, Isma motioned to the nearest guard who was standing below her at ground level.

    "Quickly, run inside and find a few keen-eyed servants or stablehands to watch the back gate," she instructed. "Tell them to stay out of the fight, but to give warning should they see the enemy approaching from the rear. Send the fastest runner with them—tell him to leave by the back gate and bring back as many guards loyal to my father as he can. Then prepare to fight."

    With that, she turned back to watch for the approaching enemy.

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    By initiative you mean the one for (partial) surprise attacks, and not the Basic Move that normally decides combat order, right?

    Initiative: (1d6+3)[4]

    +2 for my Combat Reflexes, and +1 for having a point in the Tactics skill. I also might have an extra +1 if I have a higher IQ than the army officer?
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-08-19 at 11:07 AM.

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    The guard you address nods once and heads for the door at a dead run.

    From around the bend you can hear the officer yelling orders, and then his men come into sight. He stops them, and they line up in the road, and then begin to march.

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    Are you intending to do anything particular as far as leadership/tactics go during this fight, or would you rather just play your character and let the rest happen? I'm good with either. You tell me how you'd like it to work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corrino View Post
    Are you intending to do anything particular as far as leadership/tactics go during this fight, or would you rather just play your character and let the rest happen? I'm good with either. You tell me how you'd like it to work.
    Hopefully have the crossbowmen try to pick off as many as they can before the soldiers get to the walls, but otherwise I'll just focus on my character, I guess. I admittedly don't know much about tactics IRL.
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-09-09 at 12:46 PM.

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    The soldiers coming up the road, the ones armed with bows, begin to exchange fire with your crossbowmen. The rest hurry towards the gate, shields up (and those lacking shields simply running in an attempt to avoid bow fire).

    Almost immediately you hear a shout from the back gate, a servant, voice raised and panicked "More of them coming from the back!"

    While the archers exchange fire, the men at the gate will begin to attempt to break it down.

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    Any actions, or are you waiting until people are in and in melee? IF so that's fine, I just didn't want to choreograph out half the fight without giving you a chance to act. Not used to solo campaigns :D
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    "Half of you, with me!" Isma cried, leaping from the scaffold. She rushed around the side of the manor toward the back gate, a sickened, dead feeling settling in her stomach.

    There was little chance that she and her father's few remaining guards could stave off a two-pronged attack. Isma had been counting on facing a single force, and she cursed herself for it; there was the very real possibility that she had led everyone inside the walls to their deaths.
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-09-09 at 12:46 PM.

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    As Isma and several of the guards rush towards the back gate, the gate opens, having been released by a pair of servants. There is a group of ten persons standing in the gateway, men and women. They are dressed in ragtag arrays of uniforms and armor, but all have a dark blue armband on. Most of them keep their attention turned back the way they came, scanning the road down away from the compound. A man with raven black hair in a ponytail and a jagged scar from his right eye down across his cheek lowers an interesting looking crossbow so as to not be threatening, and looks at Isma as he steps inside.

    "Lady Isma of House Altera, I presume?" he sketches a pseudo-bow, almost a nod, and continues "I am called Gelvin, and I am a captain in the Arithean Resistance. I don't know how you feel about the political situation at the moment, but whether you approve of our cause or not, the only reason these men are dying is for you, and an Army force is closing behind us. Your brother is safe, and you're trapped here. There is no reason for you and these men to die here today; Come with us if you want to live" he says, extending a hand, "I'll explain more after we get out of here."

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    Sorry for the cliche, but I had to use the line in this situation :D

    All right, I'm going to do my best to start checking this each day. I really am interested in developing this story, but I'm a habit person and I've got a bit of an attention problem, so if I don't form the habit, it doesn't happen.

    Anyway, I will try, sorry about the delays. This should be fun!
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    Well, this was certainly a new development. Isma blinked, struggling to process the new information. Moments ago she'd been certain that she and all her father's guards were doomed, and now this scarred man was not only offering her a way out, but claimed to be a captain of the Resistance—the very Resistance that she'd returned to Salt Peak to protect her family from.

    Isma glanced at the four guards that were with her, then back over her shoulder. The manor blocked the view of the front gate, but she could hear the heavy thumping and groaning of wood as the soldiers outside attempted to break through. And the harried shouts of the six guards she had left to defend it.

    She turned back to Gelvin. "The guards at the gate, and the servants—" Isma said, eyes wide. "And my parents …"

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    Ain't no thang! I have attention issues too, so I know how you feel. Glad that you're back!
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-09-18 at 10:46 PM.

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    The man shrugs impatiently, as though the guards' lives matter little. "Quickly then, tell them to either set down their arms or to come with us, no matter to me. The servants should come to no harm, most of the Army aren't butchers, they're just... anyway." He pauses, glancing worriedly over his shoulder to the back gate, then back to you, and he loses some of his smugness as his face softens. "Your parents... the Baron fell at the city gate... my scout tells me that he tried to defend the city when the Army demanded your brother. Your mother... the Lady was taken by the soldiers; I assume they will already have her either in their camp or on her way back to the Capitol, as she is a noble prisoner of the war, now that they've stood up to the government."

    "Either way, we must flee this place with or without you - I would like to aid you, but I will not sacrifice these men with me for no reason."

    The shouts from the front grow louder, and one of Gelvin's men nocks an arrow and lets fly at something unseen in the trees down the road (out the back gate).



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    BTW I don't know yet what kind of player you are - PbP will make RP/psuedo combat type of events last longer, so if you'd rather be hack and slashing more let me know, or if there are any skills that you deem appropriate that you don't think I'm already checking for, feel free to say it. If I'm going to do this actively I certainly don't want you getting bored :D
    Last edited by Asherion; 2012-09-19 at 08:44 AM.
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    The Baron fell at the gate.

    The words stung like acid. The guard, the Army commander and now this rebel, all with the same story. Try as she might to fight it, Isma's hope that her father might still be alive was fading fast.

    She then thought of her mother, the tightness of her mouth, the way her eyes filled with shame and hurt and frustration when she looked at her daughter. The relationship between Isma and Lady Altera could be described—at best—as antagonistic. But the thought of her mother as a prisoner of war …

    And Esmond. Were she to die here in these walls, what fate would befall him? How long would he wait for her in Harreton? How long until he was captured and killed?

    Isma stared at Gelvin's outstretched hand, and then did the one thing that she thought her pride would never allow her to do.

    "Men," she spoke through gritted teeth, turning to the guards, "stand down."

    The four guards blinked and glanced at one another. "M'lady?"

    "It's me they want. If I leave, if you cede to their demands, no one has to die. Return to the front gate, tell the others to lay down their weapons." Isma's voice was flat and dead, but her eyes were fevered as she met each of their gazes. "Remember this: I will return and right the wrongs that have been done today. You are strong of heart, and your loyalty will not be forgotten."

    And with that she turned back to Gelvin, ignoring his offered hand and striding past him out the back gate. "Come then, rebel," she called.

    Her face red with shame and anger, Isma didn't allow herself a final glance at her former home. It belonged to the Alteras no longer.

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    I prefer roleplay more than mindless hack-and-slash. Not to mention that going into combat alone is pretty risky in GURPS, and it'd be depressing if Isma died in her first fight and ended the campaign, haha. If we ever pick up another person it might make combat a less frightening option, idk.

    And I must admit, it's kind of fun to do roleplay-heavy stuff using a character with no real social skills whatsoever.
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-09-24 at 10:19 PM.

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  26. - Top - End - #26
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GnomePirate

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    Correct. I intend to keep you in the company of NPCs as often as the situation allows to mitigate some of the danger of solo gurps combat, but we'll see how it goes :D

    Also, before the rest of the story spirals out - did we edit out the younger sibling, or is he still here? If so he's going to show up soon.


    The small rebel squad formed up around Isma and Gelvin, as he catches up and paces along beside her.

    "We need to head down through the city and out the Western Gate. It should be clear of troops, and it will allow us to hit the High Road and meet up with some reinforcements. We only have a few squads in this area, since it's pretty heavily enemy controlled."
    He looks over at Isma, who appears none too happy to be here, "I'm sorry about your parents. And we will do everything we can to connect with your brother and ensure he is safe as well, although if he left before the army came in, he should be fine.

    I know you're not happy to be in our company, but it's for reasons like this that all of us are here. The Council and their puppet Army have hurt all of our families and friends. That's why there's a resistance, and a war going - it's not because we just felt like fighting." he grows silent as the group heads through the city proper. Doors and shutters slam as they approach, as if the citizenry know that where they go, trouble follows. The sounds of battle on the hill estate have died off, hopefully in a peaceful manner.

    "Do you have any other urgent business in the city, or can we flee this place for now, and regroup?"
    "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground." - Cersei Lannister

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  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Inglenook's Avatar

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    Good deal. And you mean the traitorous younger brother? Yah, I'd like to keep him in.

    Isma had left a few scant supplies at the inn she'd been staying at, but she dared not return for fear that soldiers would be waiting for her there.

    There was only one thing she had left to do in the city.

    "My father …" she said quietly. "Will I be able to see him?"

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  28. - Top - End - #28
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GnomePirate

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    He hesitates. "We might could arrange for you to see him, but we would have to be quick. The healers are doing what they can for the survivors at the gate, they will hopefully have possession of your father, if the Army hasn't taken him."

    Glancing back at her, he continues "I see that this is going to be important to you. If they've left any guards, they'll need to be killed, but quietly. We can't all go traipsing back to that gate if it's occupied. I'll send my men ahead and accompany you myself."

    He gestures the men to head towards the rendezvous, and turns to go with Isma. "Are you capable of a quick kill, should it come to that? You appear to be... a fighter, of some kind, yes?"
    "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground." - Cersei Lannister

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  29. - Top - End - #29
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GnomePirate

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    He hesitates. "We might could arrange for you to see him, but we would have to be quick. The healers are doing what they can for the survivors at the gate, they will hopefully have possession of your father, if the Army hasn't taken him."

    Glancing back at her, he continues "I see that this is going to be important to you. If they've left any guards, they'll need to be killed, but quietly. We can't all go traipsing back to that gate if it's occupied. I'll send my men ahead and accompany you myself."

    He gestures the men to head towards the rendezvous, and turns to go with Isma. "Are you capable of a quick kill, should it come to that? You appear to be... a fighter, of some kind, yes?"
    "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground." - Cersei Lannister

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  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Isma tightened her grasp on the grip of her father's sword. "More than capable."

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