Wednesday, April 23, 2014

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #1: Origins

Septdec, 1132 - Village of Califon, Kingdom of Marakeikos

While a forest river in western Talaishia was the final resting place for a group of ragamuffin adventurers, on the eastern half of the continent, something fantastic was just starting.

The Kingdom of Marakeikos was still carving its niche out the northern border of the Barthey Empire.  Orcs to the west, were-creatures and Dread Lords to the north, pirates and slavers on the seas to the east, and a corrupt empire having second thoughts ceding land to a rebelling duke, Marakeikos looked for strong adventure seeking individuals to strengthen the kingdom in spots where the army was stretched far too thin.

Califon was such a place.  Still a hard day's ride from the border fort of Frandor's Keep, Califon was a launchpad for caravans, adventuring parties heading into the Orclands, mining and logging interests headed towards the capital, Mirros, and as many frauds and charlatans to ease them of the burdens of their fortunes.  It's 2,000 inhabitants were in a tight spot along the river, but late summer brought an extra 3,000 crammed in every inn bed, tavern floor, and open spot outside of the safety of the rickety town gates.  A perfect place for anyone seeking fame and fortune.

Sitting around the Drunken Tilted Keg were:
  • Zorin Redrock, Gnome Titan Fighter.  Veteran of the Barbarian Wars against the Gnomish City-States, Zorin had retired and has honing his skills for future glory in Markakeikos.  Unfortunately, his near bloodthirsty disdain for humans was putting a krimp in his plans.  He was accompanied by his cousin.
  • Janus Redrock, Gnome Titan Priest of Pangrus.  Looking for brawling and booty (both financial and otherwise), Janus made the killing machine of Zorin even more effective
  • Gwendylyn Lorax, Half-Elf Druid.  Even a Druid of the native Rifflani Elves needed a moment or two in the dirty city for supplies and information.
  • Brother Thomas,  Human Monk.  It was never ascertained exactly which monastic order Thomas orginated from, only that he could indeed kick ass.
  • Esmerelda,  a quiet, unassuming human thief, possibly skilled in gold digging, and I'm quite certain she put no BPs into any mining skill.
  • Marek the Mage, some claim this bookish human magic-user acted like a prick when he was drunk, but his true friends knew the truth:  unless you dealt with him in the matters of magic, he was a jerk regardless of sobriety.
The legends of those early days are quite vague.  It seems like every other adventuring company was formed after rescuing someone from/investigating a goblin-infested root cellar.  Perhaps the Trogs, before they became the Burning Trogs, were the first to encounter it and legends duplicate via sheer willpower. 

What they found in the burrows that broke through the wall of the root cellar is up for debate.  Some claim it was a minor goblin warren, some believe they breached the old sewer system from the Golden Age of the Traldar people.  Still, others, some the most foolish people you might meet, make outrageous claims of an upside-down zigguarat and a necromantic cult.   All of the tales end in success for this party and the their decision to hang around for more success.

If the Trogs had their own movie the next few adventures would be wrapped up in a training montage.  Clearing out houses of stirges, raiding minor crypts, barely keeping themselves alive were the stories of the day.  The party improved their abilities (the gnome-titans half as fast due to their half-xp gain), and Zorin was learning to slightly tolerate the humans a bit more without hourly threats of groin stomps.
Then the black guy showed up....

As much as I love the journal system for tracking the campaign, it created a problem when the journal wasn't available at the beginning.  With players needing to take evening classes for college, we angled the game schedule to accomodate the most players.  Some of those players who couldn't make would get pick up sessions on the side to keep their stories going.  It just happened that the one player had the campaign journal to subsequently disapeared for the entire semester.

Next up for the Burning Trogs:  Burning Trogs Supplemental #1 - The Untold Tales of Mutumbo

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