In regards to the deities of Mjörgard, I've decided to use the Deities of Fury from Forgotten Realms: Talos (The Destroyer, the Storm Lord, God of Chaos, Storms, and Destruction); Auril (The Frostmaiden, Queen of Air and Darkness, Goddess of Winter); Malar (The Beastlord, the Black-Blooded Pard, God of Hunters, Skinchangers, and the Moon); and Umberlee (The Bitch Queen of the Depths, Goddess of the Sea).
I'll be honest, these are all evil deities, but the Naurung mostly worship them out of fear of retribution, rather than admiration. The Naurung are not an evil race, but they believe that the Gods are fearsome, jealous beings, and need to be placated by offerings of blood and wealth, or they'll turn their terrible wroth upon the world in spite. In their eyes, people who believe the Gods are just and benevolent are naieve.
It should probably go without saying, but the Naurung are Half-Orcs. I decided to write up an alternate history for them because, well, I'm tired of the standard Half-Orc stories. Also, the Player's Handbook offers alternate origins for the race as well; it says Half-Orcs could have sprouted from the union of Orc and Man, but it also says that Kord created them for battle at the dawn of time, mixing the best parts of both races. So I made my own origin story. Not all Half-Orcs in the game world need by Naurung, obviously. The Naurung are closer to Half-Giants than Half-Orcs, anyway.
Lots of new info! Sounds like a fun adventure and great transition point for a new dm. I like the Naurung but im glad you mentioned they were half orcs because i would have said they were goliaths since they are essentially half giants. Low birth rate plus harsh conditions equals a doomed people though, if that wasnt your intention i would consider giving them some unusual advantage (besides the dragon protectors, they cant stop disease, exhaustion, etc) that allows their continued survival. I look forward to reading of Prince Mogr's exploits.
They are conceptually a bit closer to Goliaths than they are to Half-Orcs, I'll admit. That wasn't my intention, but that's certainly the way it ended up. I just wanted a fresh Half-Orc concept, because I was tired of all the same old stuff. You know? I included the stuff about difficulty breeding because of the old D&D rules, where Half-Orcs were sterile. And I do sort of see them as a doomed people, honestly. They aren't exactly thriving out there, beyond the Reach, but Hollowhome is a safe haven, none-the-less; a place where they can live and breed in relative safety. The Naurung have an extraordinarily strong sense of community, so the clans are really tightly-knit, and like I said, every birth is celebrated. Sooner or later, though, something will need to change for them as a people, because it's simply not sustainable forever.
Well you certainly said what you meant then. I don’t blame you for wanting to throw a new spin on half orcs, they can get a bit stale, im glad you clarified though. Any new updates? How did your first game as a player go?
Our first game is tonight, actually. Akkarin needed some time to find his DM groove, and we've had some scheduling setbacks, but tonight we'll finally get to play. I'm super excited, and I'll update the thread tomorrow morning, if I get the chance.
Sorry for taking a while to get the update posted; I've been pretty busy with school this week. So, yeah. Akkarin's first game went well, I think. For those who may have forgotten (I know it's been a while), the political climate of Strasa has vastly changed following the failed lizardman invasion: roughly half of the Strassan Council was killed, leaving a sort of power vacuum. Certain members of Strasa's wealthy merchant class were chosen to fill the open slots, and not everyone in the city is happy about it. Many people believe that the lizardman war chief, Zessith, was working with an organization inside the Raining City (the Thieves' Guild, if the rumours are true), and some say that the whole invasion was a plot to remove the current Council. These new merchant-class Councilors, it is whispered, were using Zessith as a kind of proxy-agent, and everything has worked out according to their grand designs.
The city watch has been largely changed and re-formed, as well: the new Council essentially disbanded the old guard, keeping only a handful of the original membership, and created a new guard from the ranks of the merchant-lords' own personal armies. These men and women are marked by the purple cloaks they wear. There are far fewer purple cloaks than there were city guards, and the cloaks tend to focus primarily on protecting the Council. A kind of lawlessness has begun to spread through the streets of the Raining City as a result.
The 'Watch has been changing, as well.
Mögr, a nauring warrior from the frozen lands of Mjörgard, north of the Reach, has come to Strasa. The Naurung believe that the Raining City is a holy place -- the earthly seat of Talos, lord of Storms and Destruction -- and Mögr has come to see it rebuilt, so that he might earn the Destroyer's favor. He fell in with the 'Watch soon after he arrived in the city.
Victoria worked with the remnants of the city guard, until it was dissolved. She worked as a battle-captain, using her knowledge of warfare and tactics to both train raw recruits, and sharpen the skills of the veterans. Formerly a Cleric of Kord, Victoria has officially swapped classes, and is now a Tactical Warlord.
Akkarin has largely lost himself in research, convinced that the Abiding One is still at work against the city.
Phedré has spent the last few months investigating the rumors against the Council, using her contacts within the Theives' Guild to uncover the truth.
And Virgil, as a former member of the city guard, was extremely upset when it was dissolved. He hates the new Purple Cloaks, and used a portion of his resources to gather up some of his friends from the old guard and form a mercenary company called the Storm Wolves. Their first official mission was to track down Vhauglohrl's lair, slay her consort, and smash her eggs -- so that's what they did.
When the game started, Virgil and his Storm Wolves were just returning to Strasa, victorious.
Phedré discovered a mysterious note, warning her of danger from an unknown source, and urging her to get out of the city. She tried to investigate a little further about it at the Thieves' Guild, but wasn't able to track down any leads. The next morning, a messenger from the Council arrived at the Roost, and urged the 'Watch to help track down some murderers who've fled into the cisterns beneath the city. The 'Watch sensed a trap right away; why wouldn't the Council just send their Purple Cloaks?
Virgil was itching to throw the request back in the Council's face, but Mögr convinced him not to. "Let's say it IS a trap," he said, "We'll be prepared when they spring it, and once they've failed, we'll have enough evidence to take them down." Virgil liked that idea, so we headed down into the sewers.
The 'Watch did come upon a group hiding out down there, but they claimed to be "Resistance Fighters", and when we mentioned why we'd been sent down there, they called us "Council Dogs", and asked, "Where are your purple cloaks?" Then the fighting began.
There were maybe 6 or 7 enemies. And they were pretty far away when we rolled for initiative. Mostly humans, but a few dwarves were there as well. As forces from both sides began to converge in the middle, Mögr sprang over the water, dove over some low cover, and made a mad charge toward the dwarves, who were armed with crossbows ("Women's weapons!" he told them as he brought his fullblade down). Mögr's first attack was a critical hit, and it basically split the dwarf in two. He then charged the second bowman (via Swift Charge), and bloodied him badly.
During all this, the rest of the enemy forces were still fortifying themselves, and the 'Watch was closing in from the other side. They clashed in the next round. The battle was over quickly enough, and before the 'Watch could even figure out the truth about the encounter, a squad of Purple Cloaks rushed down the stairs. They said that the 'Watch was under arrest, for "War crimes, and the murder of Strasan citizens". We were ordered to come quietly, but of course we did not.
I'm not going to lie. It was a hard fight. Right now, we have very few ways of dealing with minions, so that's something we're going to have to change next level when we're allowed to re-train. I will probably swap out my 5th level rage for Rage of the Crimson Hurricane, for example, and maybe replace Recouperating Strike with Great Cleave. Fortunately, Mögr was able to bring serious single-target DPS to the primary targets, while Phedré used her Blinding Barrage, and Virgil used Rain of Blows to mop up the minions.
The game session ended as soon as the fight was over, because it was getting late.
So, yeah. The 'Watch are now outlaws, set up by the Council. What will we do? Where will we go? We're still trying to figure that out ourselves.
No worries on the late post, im in school myself right now and totally understand.
As far as the game-interesting stuff. What were the remaining half of the council’s response to the upstart merchant councilors? Did the old councilors oppose the new when they dissolved the guard? If so how did the new councilors gain the majority they needed? Does the watch hold no political power or have no friends amongst the old councilors? If so, can’t you bring these matters to them? Your game sounded like fun, critting on your first hit is a great way to start a barbarian. How will the Storm Wolves react I wonder. Can they be bought? Lots of questions with likely no answers.
Lots of questions, yeah, and very few answers at this point. Akkarin was actually kind of vague regarding the whole "City Guard to Purple Cloaks" transition; he said that the guard was basically stripped down, and replaced with people loyal to the Council. For a major plot point, it was actually kind of glossed over. That's okay by me, I mean, I guess I understand where he's going with it: the guard's been replaced by the sellsword companies loyal to the merchant lords, basically. It gives the city a completely different feel. Kind of oppressive, to be honest. And there's this very obvious "us versus them" mentality now.
The 'Watch does have contacts in the Raining City, and we do have a certain amount of political power. The 'Watch are heroes, after all; we took down Vhauglohrl, and broke the back of Zessith's invasion only a few months ago. That victory is still fresh in the minds of the people, and they aren't likely to forget it anytime soon.
This new Council, though ... isn't well liked. Rumours are flying around that the merchant lords and the Thieves' Guild were implicit in the attack on the city. Some people are claiming that they out-right facilitated it, by feeding Zessith the kind of tactical information that only high-ranking members of the city would have access to. About half of the original Council was wiped out in the attack, but who's to say that the ones who remain weren't in on the plot all along? You know what I'm saying? Maybe the ones who died were the only innocent ones, and now the Council is entirely made up of terrible people.
I don't know if you're familiar with Warcraft, but there's a situation in World of Warcraft that seems similiar to this: during the events of the original series, the city of Stormwind was completely ruined by the Horde; burned to the ground, essentially. In the years following the Wars, the master craftsmen and builders of the area got together and worked hard to restore the city to its former glory. When it was all over, though, the nobility of Stormwind refused to pay for the services of these craftsmen -- at least, not in full. For years, they lobbied the city for the money that was owed them, but the truth was that Stormwind's coffers were empty. The war had devasted everyone, including the rich. At any rate, the craftsmen and builders eventually formed a kind of thieves' guild of their own, called "The Defias Brotherhood", dedicated to striking back at the nobility of Stormwind, and stealing from them all the money that they're rightfully owed.
Sort of reminds me of that scenario, I was thinking. It's become something that's just completely corrupt. It was always there before, beneath the surface, but now it's boiled over. It's on top now, and everyone can see it.
I think the people of Strasa will side with the 'Watch on this issue, I really do. But now is not the time to strike back against the Council. I personally think we need to temporarily flee the city, gain information about what exactly happened, who was behind it, etc, rally our strength and our allies, and push back when we're properly prepared. If we strike back against the Council immediately, I think it'll end up looking like a coup -- the 'Watch may be well-respected, but Mogr's a heathen barbarian, and the Storm Wolves are a mercenary company created from the remnants of the old guard. I just think it paints a bad picture.
I think a better opportunity will come along quickly, frankly. The city doesn't trust this new Council at all. I think they'll side with the 'Watch. When we leave town, and the Council's talking about how we're wanted for war crimes and murder, I think people are going to know it's false. The longer they suffer the Council's lies and oppression, the more they'll cry out for the 'Watch to save them. And when the time is right, we'll show up again, stronger than ever, and put an end to this whole farce.
And the campaign definitely seems to be taking an interesting turn. I kind of like the scenario where you've been spending your time protecting Strasa, and now Strasa is turning into one of your enemies. Definitely an interesting twist! It also almost seems like the campaign will continue to be in Strasa for a while, as I'm guessing the Night Watch wants to take the city back.
Keep up the recaps! Look forward to them every week!