Thursday, November 29, 2018

Blackwood: This Little Light

When folks talk about the Hartsworn you hear the same tired things - an Errant fellowship lost to the Wood, the spitting image of heroes past, and gone too soon. Composed of masters and their apprentices, their deeds were the stuff of legend. In a short time they defeated the Six Eared Howler, turned a Lonely River (1) away from swallowing Talbrand, and brokered peace with the Scarlet Child. Set on reviving the Kingdom of Light's lost secrets to pacify the Blackwood. Falcon Master Wulf Schafer spearheaded the expedition into the Eastern Wood and the fellowship was never heard from again. Until now.

Two years ago folks on the Margin gossip that one of the Hartsworn's returned from the Elven Deeps. Not long after terror stalked the streets of Talbrand. First the chandler apprentices formed the Ghost Light Gang and carved a bloody swath through the local underworld, claiming the Tenderloin district. Then Pigeon Hawk, a crackshot and fearsome fighter, was found skewered with pagan arrows in the village square. Glistening in the morning light.

Now the Gang spreads to town and city while the list of skinless masters continues to grow.

CULTURE - Riverfolk - Raised by big cities and bustling river markets, the Butcher gains the Dirty Fighter Edge.  
BADGE OF ERRANTRY - A necklace of large prayer beads. The only thing he has left from his previous life.
STATS - Strength D8 Agility D10 Vigor D6 Smarts D6 Spirit D10
SKILLS - Fighting D10, Intimidation D8, Notice D8, Persuade D10, Shooting D10, Stealth D10, Streetwise D8, Thievery D8

EDGES - Acrobat, Dirty Fighter (+2 to Agility Tricks), Frenzy, Improved Frenzy, Martial Artist, Prospective, Worthy, and Master of Falcon School, Worthy Student and Master of the Firecat School, Prospective and Worthy Student of Red Bear School, Versatile Student (Fang can benefit from 2 Schools at once)
HINDRANCES -Driven (Major, It will take blood and great violence to pacify the Blackwood. The Elder Kingdom would be better prepared for the task if the fighting arts were wider spread.), Vengeful (Major, Frog's shortcomings shamed Wulf and failed the Hartsworn. He will kill his failed student.)

THE CLAW - STR+D6, +1 damage for each successful attack. AP 1
NAILSPITTER - 2D6+1, Ranged weapon, Wound penalties apply to Pace. AP 1

LIGHT OF KNOWLEDGE - The Butcher learned how to conjure the dead and bind them to their skin. With these grisly materials he crafts lanterns and interrogates the trapped spirits when the lantern is lit. Wulf is stalking masters to learn the secrets of their fighting arts, disseminating them among the Ghost Light Gang.
OGRE MASK - Double the bonuses from Wild Attacks, ignore Wound penalties, and Armor 4.
SHEDDING DEATH - Put him down and he just keeps coming. When the Butcher gets his third Wound he exits the scene, suggesting his death but not leaving a body. He can't do this in his workshop. Or can he?

The Ghost Light Gang's brand. From Wikipedia.
The lines between cult, secret society, and criminal organization are fuzzy on the Margin, the Ghost Light Gang plows right through them. Initially organized among apprentices, under the Lamplighter's tutelage their membership and activities quickly spread. Their distinctive take on the ancestor lantern marking their turf is now a common sight in major cities. Inductees often come from trades with secret knowledge and initiations of expertise, the Lamplighter exploits their frustration and impatience as avenues for recruitment. He gives them a sense of belonging and control over their lives, equipping them with weapons and guidance.

Tactically the Gang harries their foes, using the rudiments of Falcon School to stay out of reach and pepper their opponents with arrow fire. Baiting or driving them into dead ends where the Lamplighter has become the Butcher, lying in wait. Within the Gang's mythology the Lamplighter and the Butcher are two sides of the same coin. The Lamplighter kindles the flame of secret knowledge among the Gang, while the Butcher demonstrates his lessons. Unleashing them on hapless criminals and the occasional Sentinel who gets in his way.

STATS - Strength D6 Agility D8 Vigor D6 Smarts D6 Spirit D6
SKILLS - Athletics D6, Fighting D8, Intimidation D8, Knowledge D6, Notice D8, Shooting D8
EDGES - Prospective Student of Falcon School (They can run through the air.)
HINDRANCES - Mean (Major,  Rule #1 - The Wood does not know mercy, and neither do we.) Delusional (Minor, Rule# 2 - The Light has chosen us. We serve the Light.)
Axe Str+D8
Bow 2D6, Ranged
LIGHT THE LANTERN - On the second round, one of the Ghost Light Gangsters lights a sky lantern. 2D6 more gang members show up at the end of the round.

1 - I first mentioned Lonely Rivers back in the Blackwood Giants post. They're roving bodies of running water that rove the Blackwood and swallow things whole. What if the River Lethe was a sandworm?

The 7 Errants are a fellowship of heroic martial artists and wanderers for Eli Kurtz' Blackwood setting - a mash-up of Wuxia action and frontier fairy tales. You can find the book for sale here and a free quick start bundle here

This particular entry was inspired by the film Human Lanterns, you get a great summary and discussion by the Jianghu Hustle guys here on episode 19.

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