I've started releasing a new series of AP podcast episodes
and blog posts
chronicling my most recent playtest story arc of Final Hour of a Storied Age
. For those who prefer a "fiction only" approach to AP, I present the AP report here with the mechanics stripped out.
An Empty Throne BeckonsPrologue
Long ago, beyond the memory of even the oldest dragon, there was a war in the heavens. The fire god Pyrotenax wished to return the world to his forge where he might refashion it to his liking. The other gods resisted, so Pyrotenax tried to overturn the celestial order and seat himself on the throne of the gods from whence his will would dictate the cosmos. To safeguard the throne, the sea goddess Hydrallia transported it to the mortal realm and gave it to her most devoted followers. They founded a peaceful and prosperous kingdom around it where the throne would pass from father to son throughout the generations, thus guaranteeing by the magic of the throne that no god could sieze it.
But, with time, even the strongest traditions can go awry. A king ascended the throne with a lust for knowledge so intense that it bordered on madness. In all the books and scrolls and songs and stories there was one secret that eluded him, one question that seemed to have no answer. It was said that the sea goddess commanded that the very throne he held be passed from father to son through the generations, but what would happen if there was
no heir? What great celestial truth would then be revealed? A cabal of prophets and scholars saw the folly of the king's path and smuggled his infant son out of the palace where he could be raised in safety and secrecy so that he would be ready to ascend to the throne when the time was right.Chapter 1
For as long as he can remember, Marcus has lived in a small, secluded house with his mentor, studying a wide variety of topics in the scholar's immense but eclectic library. The influential knight Robur, Assistant to the King, arrives to consult the scholar and Marcus is relegated to a back room. Robur and the scholar get into a heated argument. Robur is clearly intent on following his liege's orders with regard to some mysterious courtly intrigue and is trying to force the scholar to do something against his will. Ever eager to be where the action is, Marcus prepares a pot of tea for his master and takes it to him, hoping he will be able to insert himself into the converation. Robur is too clever a courtier to let anything important slip in front of a mere apprentice, however, so Marcus's efforts are for naught. Despite the scholar's reluctance, Robur is able to manipulate the scholar into leaving the house with him, in furtherance of the king's plan.
Marcus quickly realizes that he needs to follow them surreptitiously if he has any hope of figuring out what is going on. Robur hears Marcus following and orders the scholar ahead while he turns around and blocks the path. "Don't think I don't know what you're up to," Robur says, taking Marcus more seriously than he is used to being treated. The burly knight readies himself to physically confront Marcus. Marcus quickly deduces that, even though he is not being especially courteous, Robur is still bound by the code of honor and shouldn't raise a sword against an unarmed young man like Marcus, so Marcus marches right up to him to call his bluff. Robur grabs the scrawny apprentice and lifts him up to say directly to his face, "You're right, my honor won't let me draw my weapon here, but it won't stop me from breaking you if I need to." Marcus is terrified, and Robur tosses him to the ground and stalks off after the scholar.Chapter 2
After millenia of waiting, Pyrotenax's consciousness, embodied in a golden ring buried in the earth, senses that the time has come for him to make his move and claim the throne that will allow him to impose his will on all of creation. The ring is not just underground, but under a cornerstone of the farmhouse, built there to contain Pyrotenax's evil. Pyrotenax calls out to the minds of the mortals in the area, hoping to find someone who can rescue him. The psychic influence weighs heavily on the men who work the farm, especially on a farmboy whose work begins to suffer. Although Pyrotenax is able to communicate with the boy, he's so dense and set in his ways that Pyrotenax finds it difficult to manipulate him effectively. "Listen to me, child," Pyrotenax whispers to his mind. "I am your ancient god and I need you to help me." Agricola the farm boy finds this argument compelling, and Pyrotenax knows he can exploit this weakness to begin bending the boy's mind to his will.Chapter 3
Marcus has returned to the house where he is alone and left to his own devices without guidance about what to study. Marcus figures that his master must have some notes about what lessons he was planning next, so he begins searching for them but finds nothing but a sense of directionless confusion.Chapter 4
Marian, daughter of the Sea Goddess, is aboard a large sailing ship bound for the capital city where she is destined to marry the land-dweller who becomes king. The god of thunder must not want Marian to reach land, because a huge thunderstorm heads straight for the ship. At first she is unconcerned, knowing she can survive perfectly well in the water even if the ship is smashed to splinters, but then she remembers that she should care for the humans who crew the ship as well, so she extends her power over the water out to calm the waves around them and drive away the rain. Thus protected, the ship begins sailing through the storm. A huge bolt of lightning strikes the mast, shattering it and leaving the ship adrift. As the crew rushes to attend to the burning splinters of the mast, Marian feels her obligation to help these people and calls on her power to have the waves themselves push to vessel in the direction in needs to go. Unfortunately, the chaos of the storm has so befuddled the captain and crew that they are hopelessly lost.
That's where we broke for the night. The story will continue in the next playtest report.
If you're at all interested in the game please check out my other thread
where I'm asking people to participate in beta playtesting of my game.