RQ: Black Rock Epilogue

For two days they plodded in silence, each lost in their own reverie, as they considered the days which had gone before. For most it had been their first encounter with Chaos, their previous duties being the maintenance of law and order or shows of strength when a bandit party approached the town. This was different on a very real, very visceral way. Though for some there was satisfaction in the dispatching of so many foul Chaos spawn, the cost that had entailed was weighing heavily.

Any attempt to speak or make light of the events at Black Rock was met with a silent contempt from the others and a sharp look from their commander, Anaxippos. There was no place for levity in their hearts and only when they could see the townsfolk of Queenscliff, the people going about their day to day routine, could they finally relax.

Hesiod would continue to mutter to himself and complain of broken sleep for weeks for it was his gladius that cut down an ogre-child. Turtle too, having slain a handful of ogres and corrupted militiamen, looked haggard and drawn and not even his favoured strumpet could silence the cries in his ears. Del, having faced death and survived, was outwardly triumphant but every night would clutch and claw at the night air until his commander ordered him to stand down and he could lose himself in the oblivion of drink and stop the dreams.

Of the file, Zakary seemed most stoic. His anger at finding the Hazia farm was perhaps eclipsed by the remorse he felt at the slaughter but he seemed to have grown in the experience. His thoughts would stray to the thought of the solitary baboon, now carrion, and the people who burned in the fallen Temple of Yelmalio. The lesson was learned that with Chaos, there could be no retreat, no surrender, no ground given.

Anaxippos involved himself in the routine of drill and practise. He marched in full armour, weighted with stones. He fought shadows in the noonday sun as if the light of Yelmalio might cleanse him. And no-one could tell if the salty rivulets that ran down his body were just sweat from exertion.

News of the massacre at Black Rock spread quickly and it became known as an accursed place. Cries were heard for a full company, with Rune Lords and High Priests to be sent from the Sun Dome to cleanse it of whatever great wrong had been committed.

But that is another story.

[See the Actual Play report on RPG.net.]

RQ: Fantasy Games

Since I joined the group, we’ve been playing either Delta Green (check for kinnygraham’s Actual Play on rpg.net) or Gaslight Cthulhu. Michael’s RuneQuest represents the first game where we haven’t had guns and we are not playing characters who are completely in the dark.

We’re playing inhabitants of a world where Magic and the Gods are real. We accept the truths we see. Visions and dreams have meaning and while the appearance of a half-man-half-goat brandishing a sword might shock the delicate sensibilities of a Victorian gentleman or a Air Force Deserter, to a Templar of the Sun Dome it’s just something that needs killed and burned.

It’s a very different experience. We must play as if we are confident in the world, we do not express surprise at the Morokanth and we should be well-informed about the behaviours of the rare but dangerous dinosaurs that roam the plains.

They use the same system but the method of play is exceedingly different.

RQ: Something bad at Black Rock

Anaxippos removed his golden breastplate and greaves and started to unpack his kitbag. He opened the cap of the spiced oily lotion he had prepared and began kneading it into his tired limbs. Even from another building he could hear the raucous laughter of the men as they settled in for the night. Hesiod’s laugh echoed off the walls of the peaks as they relieved themselves and made crude comments about the womenfolk of the village. Soon they would be asleep, Hesiod with his leather cap reversed and pulled down over his eyes, Zakary curled up into a foetal position clutching his backpack. Del, fearful of the night, would be huddled close to his friend, Turtle, for warmth and comfort.

He arranged his pack as a pillow and stretched out on the cloth pallet which served as the smallest boundary between him and the smoothed rock floor. Countless generations had worn this floor smooth as they walked and sat and slept upon it and for a moment, Anaxippos felt he could hear the hustle and bustle of bygone generations before he slid into darkness.

He woke to hear the creak of the door. Silhouetted in the red light of the moon stood a young child clutching a crudely hewn wooden figurine. Anaxippos reached out to rise but felt his legs pinned. The child stepped forward and as fear gripped him, he summoned the spirit memory given to him by Sahlan back in Pavis. The tip of his spear began to glow with the light of Yelmalio and the child started.

The light of Yelmalio shone and dismissed the gruesome luminscence of the Lunar’s moon but Anaxippos saw the flesh of the child was squirming as if tentacles writhed beneath. The eyes, blackened sockets, struck him cold and then it spoke.

“Save us…”

Anaxippos woke alone. There was no child, the door was closed. But the tip of his spear glowed bright. He shivered and knew the chill he felt would not leave him until morning.

Meanwhile, not far away in the darkness, a ochre-stained baboon looked balefully at the peak and muttered to himself in Firespeech, “Light me….brothers”