Author Topic: Crack-Bones Guide to Everything  (Read 610 times)

The Dan

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Re: Crack-Bones Guide to Everything
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2019, 06:45:50 PM »
Concerning.... Battles

Just survived the battle of Ravenia. Had a nicely painted shield and everything.

So... battles then.

Not every clan celebrates war like the Karits, rejoicing at the chance of blood upon the battle-claw, but war is a part of life. Everyone has seen blood, carnage, and death. But mostly not like this.

We had wars before: The Spider King; the war of Karlaban uppn Karvosti, when I first saw the Wrathguard and Aleona stride the battlefield; the Ambrian invasion. These times were real wars - war like the Ambrians speak of, desperate and without restraint – you know, part of the problem with Ambrians to begin with.

Most of the time, clan wars are really just raiding and counting coup, stealing cattle or wives or the seizing places like the Arch Bridge, which is really just another way of proving you or your clan’s greatness. So, the first question you must ask is always “why are we fighting?” What’s at stake, the fate of all Alberethor, or just a chieftain’s vanity?

Most battles aren’t fought to the death. They’re not about killing everyone where they stand; usually its “take this thing” or “make them run away” instead. Know what you are fighting for, that is the first rule. It matters. This I have learned: Battles are not about who kills the most people, they are about whose resolve breaks first, and which band ceases first to be an army, and become a mere mass of men. Good leaders win battles. Do not underestimate the power of a good speech, or a good singsong before hand. 

We have spoken of Fear, the hound of Death before, and how the breaths just before combat, the anticipation before the fight begins, is the best part of being alive. But how do you stay alive?

    Dress to impress. Endings matter, and if your plan is glory and reward for valour, make sure you stand out.

    Leave your junk at home. Don’t be weighed down by anything you won’t need in the fight - or afterwards, if you think you’ll be running away. Weapons, armour, bandages and healing poultices. That’s it.

    Know your companions, those who will stand beside you, right and left. To your right, that’s the side whose shield will protect you. To your left, they need your shield to help protect them. It helps if you are all the same size.

    Speaking of shields: Carry a shield. Its handy when It’s raining arrows. Don’t drop it, that’s how routs start. Come back with your shield or on it.

    People at the front are busy fighting and dying, too preoccupied to run. People at back can’t see what’s going on, but they can see the commanders watching them. Routs start most often upon the sides.

    Do not fear the hound of death, it cannot touch you.

They often put us in the front; the ogres, goblins, the reckless, the expendable. Every game has pawns, and pawns mostly die – just make sure you are one of the ones that reach the other side of the board. I think you can tell a lot about a leader by who they send up front. Do veterans lead by the example, or do they bring up the rear to herd the young ones forward?

Being put in the very front may seem like a death sentence, but standing your ground is often by far the best wager of survival. It’s trying to run that attracts Death’s hunting hound. I have seen more men cut down from behind in battle than I ever saw hewn from the front.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 06:53:12 PM by The Dan »
Dan: A title of honor for respected men, equivalent to Master or Sir. Any of 12 levels of proficiency at the grade of black belt in martial arts such as judo and karate. An expert or expert level in shogi and other such games. He that judges.

The Dan

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Re: Crack-Bones Guide to Everything
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2019, 02:05:07 PM »
Lessons from This Year

So, quite a year: Explored the Davokar, went to the spirit world, trespassed in Karvosti, got bit by a thousand spiders, saved a Duke and killed a lot of bad people. But what did we learn?

Be friends with the healer. Good friends.

Some of your companions are assholes. You don't need to be friends but you do need to work as a team.

Every group needs someone who's prepared to do stupid things. Is it you?

The taller the elf, the more you want to avoid trouble with it.

Templars are bad news.

Black Cloaks are annoyingly jumpyabouty (same as blightwolves). Space out, try not to hit each other as they are dancing about. Especially try to not get hit by me while they are dancing about.

If you encourage the goblin, its your own fault.

Poison is more dangerous than steel.

Don't mess with things warded by witches.

There are no prizes for being unprepared.

Your light is how long you have to explore. Know your limit, give yourself time to get out.

Thistlehold is bloody expensive.

Who is watching the mule? What are you abandoning when it dies?

If you can't use it, give it to someone else. If nobody wants it, sell it.

Casualties are inevitable.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 02:10:46 PM by The Dan »
Dan: A title of honor for respected men, equivalent to Master or Sir. Any of 12 levels of proficiency at the grade of black belt in martial arts such as judo and karate. An expert or expert level in shogi and other such games. He that judges.

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Re: Crack-Bones Guide to Everything
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2019, 02:24:47 PM »
Concerning... Hoodlums

So it has been a few months, and I know my fellow Hoodlums better now. I think I will write down what I think of them, just in case. I do not approve of this really, hear truth or lies from a mouth, if you want to know which is which. But here it is:

Bran. A good soldier, good fighter, good talker too. This is a rare skill.

Father Ulavan. Decent fellow, braver than he appears, but not cut out for this. He has strange ideas about goodness and evil, as if they were real  things, like day and night. I do not understand this, people are just people. Still, he is a good man, except that he hates the cursed dead. This  is because he remembers when  they were his enemies, and he believes the lies that are told to pawns in war. Knows much about Symbaroum, and the old ways. Not an asshole.

Freya. Ah our happy changeling. I wonder sometimes, how much the act she puts on for others is also the act she puts on for us? I don't know, but she is one of us, does us no harm and much help.

Doctor Kirsten. Hahaha, the rich girl playing with bad people and loving every day of it. Always be good friends with your medicos, especially if they also like grenades. She likes cutting people, I think that is why she became doctor. Family is important in Thistlehold. Bad friend in time of peace, I suspect - but these days, very good.

Korik. He is like bad winter. A killer. He is not nice dwarf. Or maybe he is just an honest dwarf, without a smile and lies for big folk. He cares about money, and power, about revenge and beautiful crafted things. If you do not try to make him human, he is a good battle-brother. Ulavan would call him a terrible, wicked person, but the world needs terrible people to keep the other terrible people in check. Difficult, sometimes. But he has earned the right to be our brother.
   
Will the Scholar. Old I think, as human's measure it. Sharp but brittle, like over-hardened steel. I think he is practical man, struggling to be a good man in his heart, but lacks faith in it. I think he is ill-lucky too, but a fine shot and could track a black moth upon a moonless night. Never underestimate a Queen's Ranger.... also stole my kill, you thieving bastard archer.
 
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 02:55:46 PM by The Dan »
Dan: A title of honor for respected men, equivalent to Master or Sir. Any of 12 levels of proficiency at the grade of black belt in martial arts such as judo and karate. An expert or expert level in shogi and other such games. He that judges.

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Re: Crack-Bones Guide to Everything
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2019, 07:38:20 PM »
Yndaros

Yndaros, I do not think I like you. Yet, at least.

The first I ever heard of the outside world was rumours of the death of Lindaros. When first I came here it was just a ruin beyond the halls of the Kadiz. We camped on the northern side of the river and sang poems about the pride and plague that brought them low. I wonder at the cause, now, knowing what I do.

The second time was after the War, among hundreds, thousands, of captured clansman. For all the hard winters and elf arrows, I count myself lucky that I was sent north to Thistle Hold, not indentured to this foul monstrosity. How long has it been now, 20 summers? The place still looks half-built.

This is the heart of Ambria, and it seems to be the Ambrian people, for all the good and ill that entails. It is where the queen resides. Her hall, her ‘palace’ looks as wide as Thistle Hold. How can anyone need so much space? Like everything about these people, Ambria’s capital city is too big. It claims too much land, too much ambition, and rams its hordes together like rats in too small a cellar, filthy and stinking and biting each other. If Thistle Hold is a machine to take your coin and drive you back out into the forest, I wonder what this machine does? Whatever its task, the machine seems half-complete or half-ruined, or both at the same time.

Everyone says the city is dangerous, its people treacherous, its guards corrupt. This is the heart of their nation?  I have likened Ambrians to wolves before. I think Yndaros is what happens when you trap too many wolves in a single cave.

The people are people, like people everywhere. Goblins in the slums, a few ogres hauling and fighting for others. A few clan faces, but newcomers everywhere, dirty and desperate. All the east is slums by the look of it, facing the mountains. They tell me there are still people coming over the mountains each month: The squat in a place they call the ‘refugee camp’ where they languish, almost citizens. Like Blackmoor but worse. Its no so bad further west, but that’s where the dwarves are, people say. People don’t like the dwarves. The rich lair to the west, on the palace side. It looks like the safest streets for the rest of us are between the palace and the docks.

Still cheaper than Thistle Hold, though.

Lots of talk of the underworld in town. Dwarves control some of it, smugglers and thieves hold other parts. Its easy to get into but even easier to get lost in. They don’t recommend you go in there without a guide.
Dan: A title of honor for respected men, equivalent to Master or Sir. Any of 12 levels of proficiency at the grade of black belt in martial arts such as judo and karate. An expert or expert level in shogi and other such games. He that judges.

The Dan

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Re: Crack-Bones Guide to Everything
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2019, 06:02:31 PM »
Death and Magic Doors

Death, the patient, always following us, lead by his hounds, Fear, Sickness and Ill Luck. Is he hungry for us, or just interested? Saving us from all the horrors of life, maybe - I don't know, we never ask the dead, and they do talk often with us - if dead is what they truly are. Well, today, I feel like Death swallowed me down and couldn't stomach me, threw me back up: I feel like a bellyful of last night's ale and late night goblin food, vomited up to see the light of day once more.

Fucking magic doors. Fucking runes and sigils you can't read.

Under Death's unseen eye we fight our wars, great and petty; shout our victories and fume at our defeats - suffer and nurse our wounds and hope he is busy elsewhere. You endure life for as long as you can, and when you've had enough, there Death is. Never known them to be a bastard though - that's all work of the living. Death's embrace is like the mountain, certain and silent, ungrudging, like the peace of the earth.

Feel like Death's on my shadow today... so thinking about what I'd like after, what I'd want. Don't know if I'd mind or not what folk did, but here's what I'd want: A good drink for all, and my place kept open; my things put to use, one thing each taken as proof you knew me, and one story told to someone who never did. That's all the funeral I'd need - though I'd not turn down a cairn filled with the skulls of my enemies, ha!

It be nice if part of me were to make it to Symbar, if the place still exists. 

Dan: A title of honor for respected men, equivalent to Master or Sir. Any of 12 levels of proficiency at the grade of black belt in martial arts such as judo and karate. An expert or expert level in shogi and other such games. He that judges.

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Re: Crack-Bones Guide to Everything
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2019, 11:50:23 AM »
Dwarfs, Again

Well, I finally seen me some other dwarfs. Not sure I have learned much new, but I was mostly smacking heads in. Think one of them was a woman but didn’t really have time to check. She didn’t punch any less hard or seem nicer or anything, just another dwarf. Fact number one: There are dwarf women, so they are not all carved from the same stone.

So in Yndaros, there are lots of dwarves. Divided into families but I think ‘clans’ may be closer: I have the suspicion blood and business are intertwined. When Korik says ‘business’, I think he means a gang, ours or theirs. They are not like goblins, living among humans. They live within Ambria but separate, at least here. They do not try to walk as one of them, or mimic them as ogres and goblins do. They are not one people, either. There is bitter in-fighting, every dwarf is for themselves, with everyone else fair game. But a dwarf's clan before any non-kin, and all dwarfs before everyone else…. Maybe. They are like a nation within a nation, and I suspect 'loyal' only because it is good for business. But the feeling I get is they are not where they should be - Escaped? Exiles? Refugees. just like the Ambrians themselves? That is useful. It binds them to Ambria, but it does not make them loyal.

These ones, they do remind me of Korik. Hard, inflexible, practical, good at violence, disliked by humans. Disliked by Korik too, far as I can tell. I think this is because they are not his clan. Tough, not much for talk or mincing words, so far; Bloody good wrestlers, brutal. Don’t know if that’s just this clan though. They seem single-minded, like a starving wolf or a charging ox or a berserker. Wouldn’t negotiate, wouldn’t retreat, even when there was only one left.

I would not ask one for mercy. But I might say "can we make a deal?"

We found one in a cage, and Korik said it was atoning, and seemed to respect that. It was... voluntary, I think. This makes sense to me; that duty, that being "reliable" is so important to them.

I learned more about their curses, too. If they curse you before you strike them, they will have luck in battle against you. If they curse you because you struck them, then later blows against them will harm you also – unless you can kill them before the curse strikes. You must be very sure before you try this, especially if you are a big lad.
 
This power is a good way to keep your people safe, I think. Fear hurting a dwarf, for they will make you suffer and feel equal pain. They must have other curses. I hope to not discover them.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 05:09:29 PM by The Dan »
Dan: A title of honor for respected men, equivalent to Master or Sir. Any of 12 levels of proficiency at the grade of black belt in martial arts such as judo and karate. An expert or expert level in shogi and other such games. He that judges.