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Thread: Dead of the Night: Game Thread - Chapter One

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    Dead of the Night: Game Thread - Chapter One

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    I AM THE WAY INTO THE CITY OF WOE
    I AM THE WAY TO A FORSAKEN PEOPLE
    I AM THE WAY INTO ETERNAL SORROW...

    ...ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE.

    ~Dante Alighieri, The Inferno



    In a world full of contrasts, of beauty and horror, of truth and deceit, of virtue and sin, of light and of dark, there often lies little gray in between opposing extremes, though the boundaries that divide them may, nevertheless, be difficult to distinguish. It therefore becomes of paramount importance to keep a constant vigil on one's position in such a world least ye may discover one day, that thou hast crossed over into the realm of opposition unawares.

    And when one has striven to combat the evils of the world, one must not fail to recognize the evils that lurk from within. For, more often than not, this has been the true downfall of many a man. Let it be known that one's own reflection pales in comparison to that which others' eyes can see with perfect clarity. And let it not be forgotten that in this Realm of Dread, many are the things that go bump...

    ...in the Dead of the Night.

    ~Arkhemedes



    It has been nearly a year since the Grand Conjunction took place and the autumn leaves have taken on the vivid colors of yellow and red, while a cool crisp breeze heralds the coming of winter. For now, however, the air is a tad chilly but not overly brisk. It is Thursday, the third day of October in the year 741 of the Barovian Calendar. And on this day, a lone traveler makes his way along a trail that skirts alongside the northern edge of the Vuchar River.

    As he travels along, his mind is preoccupied with the thoughts of events both very recent and very distant. Unable to shake the images from his mind, and the strange and enigmatic clues that only hint at the meanings of the mysteries which haunt his every step, the traveler ponders the nature of the realm he now traverses, in the hopes that therein he will find answers to his dilemma.

    Darkon, he thinks to himself, has always had the appearance of a peaceful land, but not a calm one. The crux of Darkonian society, from what he has seen and heard, is the unyielding control of its king, Azalin. Azalin's rule in this land is unseen yet unavoidable. This a kingdom of whispers and intrigue, where much is implied but little is seen; creeping nightmares exist but, for the most part, keep to the shadows where they belong. Life is placid for those who know their place, but it seems that for those folk who insist on kicking over stones they will invariably find the worms.

    Darkon's wizard-king is rarely seen, but his sigil - an ornate eye surrounded by golden flames - appears everywhere: engraved above gates, hanging from the chains of office, and fluttering on blue-and-black banners. Many Darkonians ascribe supernatural properties to the fiery eye. Some see it as a lucky charm, placing their possessions under Darkon's protection. Many sailor's claim that ships whose prows are marked with the fiery eye will always find their way home, even without a crew. Other folk ascribe more malicious properties to the marks, claiming they are windows through which Azalin spies on his subjects.

    The traveler pulls his cloak tighter about him as a sudden chill sends an involuntary shiver through his spine. Peering at the afternoon sky, he sees that dark clouds are rapidly advancing from the north. The thought of finding shelter from the coming storm, leads him to quicken his pace through the gently sloping river valley.

    The Vuchar River, which flows though this valley,originates in the region known as the Regiones Caliginsae ("Mistlands"). And as the traveler is aware, Darkon's Misty Border continually shifts and curls, its fluctuations far more extreme than those seen in other lands. The fog may drift miles inland, giving the northern region its name. The Mistlands consist of gently rolling hills and forest glades, and due to inconsistent sunlight, mosses and lichens predominate. What little grass grows here is faded a sickly yellow and seems to whisper secrets in the cool breezes. Banks of fog continually drift through the low lying areas, supposedly concealing goblin borrows and the entrances to ancient mausoleums.

    These Mistlands are home to Darkon's elven society, including the nearby settlement of Nevuchar Springs. Some folk claim ruined towers of vaguely elven design can be seen when the Misty Border recedes to its fullest, but explorers who venture into the swallowing fog to investigate those ruins never returned. Darkon's elves seldom leave their homes when the fog grows thick. They believe that the borders of reality fade as the Mists swell and lost travelers may wander out of existence entirely.

    Once again the traveler is roused from his troubling thoughts as the cold patter of raindrops hits his face, quickly followed by the low grumble of a distant thunderclap. And just when the traveler feels sure that he is about to spend a night cold, wet and miserable, he spies off in the distance the welcome lights of what appears to be lamplight issuing from the windows of a fairly large building, perhaps even an inn.

    Yet again the traveler quickens his pace realizing that with a little luck he might be able to make it to the building before the sky opens up with a torrential downpour, and thereby avoid a thorough soaking. "A fortunate thing," the traveler thinks to himself, for he doubts that there is another building within 5 miles of this secluded place. When the traveler gets close to the building, which is a sturdy stone structure, he sees a sign out front that reads Ardmor's Inn and Trading Post. It seems to the traveler that a rare bit of luck is with him this day and he manages to reach the door of the establishment just as the rain comes pouring down behind him.

    Quickly stepping through the door and out of the rain, the traveler pauses a moment to take in his surroundings. Directly before him appears to be a small lobby of sorts with a counter and an open staircase with a banister that winds up to the second floor. A potted plant sits at the bottom of the stairs and a cabinet hangs on the wall behind the counter. On the counter rests a small copper bell, a quill, ink pot and register. To the left of the lobby the traveler takes note of a barroom and a number of patrons who are seated at tables there.

    As the traveler looks into the barroom, he sees a heavy-set man headed in his direction with a look of acknowledgement. The man is balding slightly on the top but otherwise has dark hair, beard and mustache. He appears to be a good-natured man and wears the simple attire typical of an innkeeper. The man steps up to the traveler and says, "Welcome to my establishment. My name is Ardmor. What can I do for you? A room perhaps? A nice warm meal?"
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-17-2009 at 10:31 PM.
    "Plan?...There ain't no plan!" - Pigkiller

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    I am a tall human man who stands about six feet tall and around average weight. I have short brown hair and dark brown eyes. I am very young but a warrior nonetheless. I am wearing scale mail and carry a sheathed bastard sword on my left side and a steel shield across my back. As I walk into the inn that says Ardmor's Inn and Trading Post, I say a quick, quiet prayer to the Morning Lord for my great luck. "Hello my name is Alden and yes, a room would be quite nice and something to eat. How much for both?"
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-09-2009 at 05:44 PM.

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    "Well, that'll be one gold piece for the room," Ardmor tells him, "and a silver piece for the meal. All we have is stew, but it's hot and my wife, Gisele, makes as fine a stew as you ever had."

    Alden thinks the price seems a bit high, but considering the remote location of the inn he realizes it is probably reasonable. Ardmor also seems to be a nice sort of fellow, and not at all the greedy sort. So he nods and pays the man without a fuss.

    "Don't forget to sign the register," Ardmor tells him as he points towards the counter. "You'll be in room number four, " he says, handing a key to Alden.

    Alden signs the register then heads upstairs. There he quickly locates his room and steps inside. The room is simply furnished with a bed and a chest of drawers. Under the bed, Alden finds a footlocker with a key in it, obviously left there so that guests can lock their valuables inside. Alden locks his backpack and gear away in the footlocker and sets his shield by the chest of drawers. But being cautious, he decides to keep his armor on and his sword strapped to his back.

    While he is in his room, there is a knock at his door. When Alden opens it he is surprised to find an attractive girl, appearing to be about eighteen years of age, standing there with a pottery pitcher full of water and a pottery basin. The girl smiles and says in a somewhat timid voice, "Hi, I'm Imogen. I have some water for you so you can clean up."

    Alden, never having much experience with creatures of the fairer sex, and being somewhat taken aback, doesn't say a word but steps to the side and lets the girl enter. She then places the pitcher of water and the basin on the chest of drawers, gives Alden another big smile and leaves.

    A few moments later, Alden, after washing up a bit, heads down stairs himself and enters the barroom to get some dinner. In the barroom are seven tables, a small bar to the east, and a coat stand in the southwest corner and to Alden's left. A fireplace on the far west wall warmly lights the room and next to it in the northwest corner is a second set of stairs with a wooden railing that leads to the second floor. As Alden enters the barroom he sees a number of patrons there already:

    Seated at the bar near the entryway is a fairly stout and tough looking man in his mid-twenties, with dark hair and a scraggly beard, nursing a mug of ale. He gives Alden a quick cold stare as he enters, then returns to staring at his drink. Next to him are three empty bar stools.

    Sitting at the nearest table is a bearded dwarf who is likewise sipping on a mug of ale, though he appears to be lost in thought and pays no attention to Alden. There are two empty chairs at his table.

    Along the south wall and to Alden's left are two tables each with two chairs. The nearest table is occupied by a young man about the same age as Alden eating some stew. He glances up at Alden, gives a pleasant smile and a nod and returns to his meal.

    At the table beyond him sits a halfling who is also stuffing his face with food. He too gives Alden a glance and a smile but seems to have more of an expression of mischievousness as though some private joke had just been shared between the two.

    The four tables further into the room each have four chairs around them and each table is occupied by one person.

    At the nearest one sits a woman in her mid-twenties and dressed in the sort of robes one might expect a mage to wear. She is busy reading a book while picking at some bread and barely gives Alden a glance.

    To the west of that table, sits an elf who stares out the window at the pouring rain while sipping on a glass of wine. He gives Alden a quick glance with his eyes only and returns to his view of the weather outside.

    At the northeastern table sits a man who appears to be in his forties and is dressed in the clothes of a traveling merchant. He is busy eating a bowl of stew and does not appear to notice Alden as he enters.

    And finally, in the far corner, sits a young man dressed in dark clothing. He is kicked back in his chair as he sips on a mug of ale and has a grin on his face as though he seems to be enjoying the stormy weather outside.

    Just as Alden steps into the barroom the flash and boom of a nearby bolt of lightning momentarily startles everyone and serves to announce to all the occupants of the inn that the storm is now upon them.
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-11-2009 at 10:27 AM.
    "Plan?...There ain't no plan!" - Pigkiller

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    When I walk down from my room I see alot of people, a few that I would rather not want to talk to but I know I want to start a party of adventurers soon. There are a few people I would like to speak to, that halfling who I think just made a joke about me, and the woman in robes who may be a mage of some sort. I think I'll head over and see if I can speak to the woman first. As the thunder roars I give a quick prayer to the Morning Lord for sunny days. I walk over to the woman in robes and say nervously "Hello there miss, I was wondering if I could speak to you a moment, may I sit down".
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-09-2009 at 05:40 PM.

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    The woman looks up at Alden with a bit of hesitation, gives him a brief look as though she were trying to figure him out and slowly says, "Sure...have a seat. What can I do for you?"
    "Plan?...There ain't no plan!" - Pigkiller

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    I sit down and look at the woman nervously and say "Hello my name is Alden, and I was wondering if you would like to join me in my group of adventurers. I want to go and see things that no other person has seen before, set out to new lands, explore dungeons, you know, all the great things adventurers do. Right now my group consists of only me. My master said that if I was to ever go out adventuring I was going to need someone who casts magic, a person who can heal you, a person who knows dungeons, and a warrior. I myself am a warrior. So I fit that role just fine."
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-09-2009 at 05:46 PM.

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    The woman smiles as though she just heard a joke and says, "Well... Alden...I don't know. My name is Lyons by the way. Just who is this master of yours, if you don't mind my asking, and what exactly did you have in mind? Do you have anything in particular that you want this group of yours to do?"
    "Plan?...There ain't no plan!" - Pigkiller

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    I am puzzled. Does she think that my dream is a joke? I say, "His name was Wat, he was a friend, and a great father figure. He died just a little while ago by some type of creature. I think it was a damn vampire who did it, and like I said before, to go to places where no one has gone before, to raid dungeons, and all the other things adventurers do, but mostly to make a name for myself and the others who join me. If you wish to join me then so be it, but if not I'd rather you not waste my time."
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-09-2009 at 05:48 PM.

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    "Well," she says with a bit of a surprised look. "I tell you what...if you can come up with anything specific that you're after...something that will be worth my time and effort...and you still need a mage...and provided, of course that you can convince anyone else to join up with you, then I may be interested. Otherwise I do not wish to waste your time." She then opens her book again and starts to read.
    At that point, Alden overhears the halfling at the table by the window snickering.
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-09-2009 at 07:20 PM.
    "Plan?...There ain't no plan!" - Pigkiller

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    I hear the halfling laugh again, and I know that that one was definitely towards me. I don't mind though. I walk over to his table and in a polite way say, "Hello my name is Alden, and I overheard you laughing at me. Don't worry I don't mind. I was actually going to come over here and ask if you wanted to join a group of adventurers who seek riches, and to make a name for themselves. Well what do you say? Would you like to join?"
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-09-2009 at 05:50 PM.

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    The halfling looks up at him, "Adventure huh. Why 'adventure' is my middle name! The first name is Goddle by the way, and I'm very pleased to meet you! Here, have a seat."

    After Alden takes a seat, Goddle continues,"But let me ask you something first Alden. Is it really adventure you seek, or is it revenge? Yeah, I heard what you said over there. Your master was killed by some kind of creature? A vampire you think? Well don't worry. I'm not about to run away. No sir, not me!" Goddle lowers his voice to a whisper then and says, "Just don't say that word too loudly around here. It tends to spook most people if you know what I mean." He then leans back in his chair with a look of confidence and continues in a normal tone, "But not me. Nope. I ain't afraid. Why, let me tell you Alden, today must be your lucky day. 'Cause today you have met Goddle the Fearless, the greatest warrior to ever come from the wee city of Rivalis."

    At about that time, Ardmor the innkeeper comes out of the door by the bar, looks over towards Alden and says, "Ah, there you are. I'm sure you're ready for your dinner by now." And without waiting for an answer, he turns and looks back through the door from which he came and calls out, "Imogen! Fetch this man some dinner and be quick about it."

    From inside the door, Alden hears the faint sound of Imogen's voice, "Yes father. I'll be right there." A few moments later, Imogen arrives with a bowl of stew, a loaf of bread, silverware and napkin. After placing the food before Alden she says with a smile, "Here you go. What can I get you to drink with that?"
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-12-2009 at 08:32 PM.
    "Plan?...There ain't no plan!" - Pigkiller

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    After my talk with Goddle, Ardmor tells his daughter to fetch my food. When she comes out my hands start to sweat. Then she asks me what I want to drink. After about a minute of uhh's... I finally bring the courage to tell her just water. She smiles and giggles. After she leaves I go back to talking to Goddle "Uhh... Where was I... Oh yes, well if you want to join it's free and we split anything we find evenly".
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-09-2009 at 06:57 PM.

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    "Sounds fair enough... you smooth-talker you." Goddle grins as he glances at the retreating Imogen. "And we don't any greedy, uppity mages coming along either," he says as he shifts his glance over to Lyons. "We can do just fine without one."

    Imogen returns a moment later with a glass of water and says, "Here you are," as she smiles at Alden again, sets the water on the table, then turns and leaves.

    After, Imogen disappears behind the kitchen door, the young man seated at the other table by the south wall, taps Alden on the shoulder and says, "Pardon me, but I couldn't help overhearing...Did I hear you say something about a vampire?"
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-11-2009 at 10:32 AM.
    "Plan?...There ain't no plan!" - Pigkiller

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    When Goddle says that to me I want to get up and leave, " I agree, she really didn't care, but we are going to need someone who can cast magic soon."

    "Oh, okay," Goddle whispers. "If you say so. But I'll be watching her."

    When Imogen comes back, I almost spill the water just trying to thank her. After the man taps me on the shoulder and starts to question me about what I said about vampires, I say "Why would you like to know?" in a stern voice.
    Last edited by Arkhemedes; 08-14-2009 at 06:26 PM.

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    The young man behind Alden, looks a little startled and says, "Oh...I'm sorry. It's just that...Well I'm concerned about such things myself, and I thought you might be in need of a cleric. I didn't mean to intrude on your conversation." The young man then goes to turn back around away from Alden.
    "Plan?...There ain't no plan!" - Pigkiller

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