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“Sir Ambrose Carouliti, thou hast trespassed against the Rule of the New Mercy and sinned against Our Weeping Lady.”

The voice of the Living Triptych crackles with the sound of the Violet Light. Holy static jolts through you, sweat beading on your forehead as the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

“Thou art a knight of high standing and virtue, but none are exempt from the law of The New Goddess. For one such as thee to sin so, degradeth all mankind and maketh a mockery of Her Mercy and Her Suffering.”

The Living Triptych points at you accusingly. From the galleries, the priests and inquisitors look on with concern and disapproval.

“But Her Mercy is great and unfathomable. By Her Love I bid thee speak, lay thy sin before Her representatives. Bare thy heart and forgiveness shall be granted.”

There is no escaping the manifold gaze of the Living Triptych. Lies and secrets cannot withstand that gaze.

You try to wet your lips before you speak, but the charge in the air has left even your tongue dry.

Your sin was…
>Pursuing a forbidden love
>Murdering a close friend
>Invoking a dark power
>Abandoning a holy battle
>Defiling a sacred place


Gothic fantasy quest. Expect a mix of dungeon delving, character building and local lord administration.
>>
>>5409855
>Defiling a sacred place
Interesting
>>
>>5409855
>Defiling a sacred place

I didn’t know It was sacred and I REALLY had to pee my bad
>>
>>5409855
>Pursuing a forbidden love that you summoned by Invoking a dark power, which you did by Murdering a close friend while you where Abandoning a holy battle. And you where Defiling a sacred place along with it.
>>
>>5409855
>Abandoning a holy battle
>>
>>5409855
>Pursuing a forbidden love
She said she was 18 I swear!
>>
>>5409855
>>Murdering a close friend
>>
>>5409855
>>Pursuing a forbidden love
>>
>>5409855
>Abandoning a holy battle
>>
>>5409862
>>5409874
>Defiling a sacred place

>>5409884
>>5409914
>Abandoning a holy battle

>>5409894
>>5409912
>Pursuing a forbidden love

Two votes for each of these, so the one to get a third vote will win.
>>
>>5409919
Ok ok I’ll take the vote seriously…
>>5409855
>Murdering a close friend
I lied.
>>
>>5409899
>>5409932
You know what fuck it I'm switching to
>Murdering a close friend
Let's get this going
>>
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>>5409899
>>5409932
>>5409964
>Murdering a close friend

You answer the Living Triptych.

You murdered Sir Jacques di Pacini, a knight who for many years you had called friend.
Even as you confess you remember your friendship, forged in blood on many battlefields. There were few men you trusted more to have your back. He was blunt and military minded, and had little time for chivalry and romance.

Of course, that’s why he had never gotten on with her. Jacques bemoaned that she was making you soft. The two of them argued jealously over you, and eventually Jacques could no longer visit while she was there, and whenever you visited him you could not bring her with you.

After you lost her, you were at least spared that sour problem for the next few years. But one night, as the two of you lounged and reminisced before the fire in his hall, the issue reared its undead head. You had drained too many bottles of wine between you and now Jacques’ tongue was even harsher than usual. He admitted that he was glad she was gone, glad that he now had his friend back, free of that doe-eyed seductress, and that was the hill he would die on even as the two of you began to scream and rage at each other.

There were few men you trusted more to have your back. If only you had not plunged your knife into his when next he stood up to retrieve another bottle.

The regret had set in immediately. Drunken fury gave way to sobbing. When at last one of Jacques’ servants came to wait on the two of you, you made no attempt to escape nor dissuade them from reporting the dreadful scene to the rest of the household. You merely sat there for the rest of the night, resigned to the consequences, ready to go quietly with the bailiff and militia when they came for you in the morning...


"Thou betrayed thy friend and robbed him of his life," echoes the Triptych. "And in doing so, thou hast robbed The New Goddess of a knight, as good and devout as thee. Doth it not make a mockery of the Mercy of Our Weeping Lady, saviour of mankind, if thou deniest that mercy to thy fellow man?"

Murmurs rise from the clerics in the gallery. A look from the Living Triptych silences them, while you look down in shame.
>>
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>>5410031
The warm, golden finger of the Living Triptych rests beneath your chin, tilting your face up into the light. The Violet Light arcs through your body, electrifying but painless.

“But Her Mercy is infinite.”

Your face is ruddy and paunchy from years of drinking too much wine. Your grooming has slipped. You are not the bastion of knighthood you were once well known as.

“Sir Ambrose, thy sin shall be forgiven. For the death of Sir Jacques, a proud warrior, thou shalt do the good work of a knight in wretched lands, where thy arms and thy lead art needed most.”

The Living Triptych swivels to address the gallery, black and silver robes swishing.

“Devout witnesses! Her Mercy is extended to Sir Ambrose Carouliti. His sentence is Penitence. Sir Ambrose is banished from the estate of his family, and shall instead reign over a manor in the Charnel Lands of The World Father. To repay his debt to Our Weeping Lady, he shall run goodly his new demesne, and he shall use his skill at arms to retrieve relics and put down the threats of that land, in the shadow of the Abominable Monument. Through Suffering our fallen comrade shall be reforged into the great knight once known wide and far, and The New Goddess shall be with him.”

“Great is Her Mercy!” cries the gallery.

“Great is Her Mercy,” intones the Living Triptych.

“Great is Her Mercy,” you echo through a painfully tight throat.
>>
>>5410037
The Charnel Lands of The World Father. A place few in their right minds would ever go, letalone reside in. A vast and cursed domain rending the continent in two, where divine war put a bloody end to the old order and permanently scarred the world.

When The New Goddess came, those who took up her cause were able to use Her power to drive back the worst of the fallout, and Her teachings to restore order. Little by little, century by century, the world you grew up in was made.

But the heartlands of The World Father could never be truly recovered. His power and that of the foreign divinities that tore through lingers still. It is a place of phantasms and dark magic, where things from other places still slip through and where the evil doers who cannot bear to live under Her Mercy flee to lurk.


You are able to return to your home for a week between your sentencing and your exodus. but there is little to keep you busy: the Church of the New Goddess commands a bureaucracy of vast scope and efficiency, and already arrangements have been made for your demesne. The estate shall remain with the Carouliti family at least: your niece will administer the lands until you return, if ever that should happen.

All that you have left to do is to say goodbye, to loyal subjects and old friends. Still, the week goes by too quickly.

On the morning of your departure, laymen of the church are ready to escort you away. Your necessities such as arms and armour have been loaded onto the horses. All that remains is a quick search of your manor for any personal effects you want to bring with you.

That’s when you remember, the token of allegiance, hidden in the bottom of a chest. You were once part of a goodly band of men and women. When you lost her, your relationship with them deteriorated. You hid the item, too painful a reminder of her and of the man you once were. But now, on your way to lands most foul, any reminder of better times would be welcome.

The reminder is…
>A livery badge of the Order of the Opened Heart. A knightly order and the true masters of chivalry, dedicated not only to the battlefield but to the arts and romances. You were just as deadly with a quill or brush as you were with a sword.
>A rosary of the Rule of Saint Camiola. A unity of clerics and knights, sanctioned by the church, dedicated to the military efforts of The New Goddess. Doctrine and war were one in you as you sought to battle against the darkness and master the Violet Light.
>A livery badge of the Esoteric Fraternity of the Old and New. Philosophers, artists, warriors and antiquarians unified in the search of truth, to understand the legacy of The World Father and what it means for The New Goddess. You knew more about what happened in that awful cataclysm and the nature of the divine than most.
>>
>>5410042
>A rosary of the Rule of Saint Camiola. A unity of clerics and knights, sanctioned by the church, dedicated to the military efforts of The New Goddess. Doctrine and war were one in you as you sought to battle against the darkness and master the Violet Light.
Culture vs faith vs knowledge, it seems
>>
>>5410042
>A livery badge of the Esoteric Fraternity of the Old and New. Philosophers, artists, warriors and antiquarians unified in the search of truth, to understand the legacy of The World Father and what it means for The New Goddess. You knew more about what happened in that awful cataclysm and the nature of the divine than most.
Full on tomb raider
>>
>>5410042
>>A livery badge of the Esoteric Fraternity of the Old and New. Philosophers, artists, warriors and antiquarians unified in the search of truth, to understand the legacy of The World Father and what it means for The New Goddess. You knew more about what happened in that awful cataclysm and the nature of the divine than most.
>>
>>5410042
>A livery badge of the Esoteric Fraternity of the Old and New.
its big brain time
>>
>>5410042
>A livery badge of the Esoteric Fraternity of the Old and New. Philosophers, artists, warriors and antiquarians unified in the search of truth, to understand the legacy of The World Father and what it means for The New Goddess. You knew more about what happened in that awful cataclysm and the nature of the divine than most.
>>
>>5410042
>>A livery badge of the Esoteric Fraternity of the Old and New. Philosophers, artists, warriors and antiquarians unified in the search of truth, to understand the legacy of The World Father and what it means for The New Goddess. You knew more about what happened in that awful cataclysm and the nature of the divine than most.
>>
>>5410042
>A livery badge of the Esoteric Fraternity of the Old and New. Philosophers, artists, warriors and antiquarians unified in the search of truth, to understand the legacy of The World Father and what it means for The New Goddess. You knew more about what happened in that awful cataclysm and the nature of the divine than most.
Loreman, give me your lorrrrreeeeee
>>
>>5410042
>A livery badge of the Esoteric Fraternity of the Old and New. Philosophers, artists, warriors and antiquarians unified in the search of truth, to understand the legacy of The World Father and what it means for The New Goddess. You knew more about what happened in that awful cataclysm and the nature of the divine than most.
the rosencreuz/gnostic route seems interesting
>>
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>A livery badge of the Esoteric Fraternity of the Old and New. Philosophers, artists, warriors and antiquarians unified in the search of truth, to understand the legacy of The World Father and what it means for The New Goddess. You knew more about what happened in that awful cataclysm and the nature of the divine than most.

Indeed, you were once sworn to the Esoteric Fraternity. Nobles, clerics and even wealthy commoners rubbed shoulders in those secretive meetings, the usual stations and duties thrown aside in pursuit of shared learning: the Count of Orvieti always had some new, grotesque trinket from his expeditions into the Charnel Lands; the Abbott of Magliouve would read from chronicles written by monks of secret sects not officially sanctioned by the Church; the wealthiest wine merchant of Boigeau, the city closest to your home, seldom had oddities to show off, but everyone always looked forward to when she would host and uncork an exotic vintage to sample as you all prattled and debated far into the night.

Accusations of witchcraft and heresy were not uncommon, but the Church seldom had reason to chastise you. The discussions and discoveries ranged from harmless inspiration for the more macabre artists amongst you, to legitimate theological and historical discoveries. For the great debate at the heart of the Fraternity was the nature of that cataclysm that had slain The World Father and plunged the world into a century of turmoil… and how that century was ended by the arrival of The New Goddess, descending from far flung stars, resplendent in the Violet Light.

For you, the Fraternity provided both diversion and education. It was fun for such an upstanding knight as yourself to play at conspirator in the shadows, to speculate about sorcery and poke fun at heathens and mad men, but to the devotee in you it lead you to a better understanding of the Weeping Lady and He who had ruled before Her. The Fraternity did not make a sorcerer of you, but knowledge is power, and still you remember how to recognise the warning signs of certain curses and hexes, and the weaknesses of certain foes.
>>
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>>5410289
It has been a long time since you dared to reminisce at such length about the Esoteric Fraternity. The memories provide some entertainment and distraction from your current situation and your weary journey. Weeks on horseback, through the petty kingdoms and principalities sworn to the Church, past vineyards and fields and villages. Away from the lands you have known your whole life.

Your mind is drawn back to reality when you pass the first of the great curtain walls, marking transition into the Charnel Lands. . The cursed land has no exact borders: it is surrounded by concentric walls that arbitrarily divide areas of increasing malignity, built over generations by the early Church in an attempt to contain the horrors of the World Father’s heartlands and delineate the old from the new.

With each wall you and your escorts pass, you notice some familiarity of the world is off kilter. The colour of the sky does not look right. The grass takes on a sickly tone. Sometimes the sounds of animals, and even the rustling trees and running water, suddenly falls silent, as if everything is hiding from an unseen predator.

Most obvious of these unnerving changers: the Lurkers become more common. You have never known a world where they are not ubiquitous, one or two always visible on the horizon, behemoth and unmoving, but as you plod deeper into the Charnel Lands you see more than ever before: mostly in the distance, but sometimes uncomfortably close to the road.
>>
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>>5410298
Deep within the Charnel Lands you finally come to the locale of your new demesne. A huge lowland valley, scored into the earth, surrounded by mountains and rocky slopes. At its centre a mountain of masonry, a haphazard pile of titanic walls, battlements keeps, spires and temples, valleys of pillars and chasms of brickwork, all built atop or crumbling into each other.

The Living Triptych called it the Abominable Monument. You have heard it called it the Crypt Keep, the Castle Heap, the Pagan Mountain, the Endless City and a dozen names more during your time with the Esoteric Fraternity; the place was a favourite stop for the Count of Orvieti.

The Monument was here before the cataclysm. For millennia, pagan rulers warred with each other to build yet greater temples and kingdoms on the slopes of hallowed land. Their works were built atop and dwarfed by those of The World King. Since His death, a dozen more madmen, cults and warlords have built it larger still.

Long ago, the Church itself crusaded to take control of and build upon the thing, but those efforts have left only a scant few decorated towers and chapels clinging to the Heap’s exterior. The Church’s true legacy here was the development of the valley, now scattered with patchwork fields and dotted with hamlet, manors, and abbeys. So far, your impression of the Charnel Lands was little more than twisted wilderness and a few stray ruins, but here the Church has cultivated an enclave of normalcy, even if is more sparsely populated than most countries. There is neither king nor queen here, nor any dukes or counts. All land owners here owe their allegiance to the Church, whether they be native colonist or those, like yourself, who have been relocated here; there is always demand for knights and myriad other experts in the Church’s continued attempts to, if not conquer, at least plumb the depths of Monument.

The new demesne you have been assigned is the village of Deveché. It is a…
>Farming settlement on the grassy flats, some distance away from the Monument. At its centre is a crossroads and an inn, and fairs and markets are sometimes held there.
>Woodlands settlement, close to the Monument, often in the darkness of the forest and the heap. A foreboding environment, but its manor is well fortified and the whole place is defended by a palisade.
>Riverside settlement, far from the Monument but directly downstream of it. A number of watermills allow for a variety of small, productive industries.
>>
>>5410305
>Woodlands settlement, close to the Monument, often in the darkness of the forest and the heap. A foreboding environment, but its manor is well fortified and the whole place is defended by a palisade.

It's our penance, we must stay close to the monument, watch it's cruel machinations, and conquer it for the church.
>>
>>5410305
>Woodlands settlement, close to the Monument, often in the darkness of the forest and the heap. A foreboding environment, but its manor is well fortified and the whole place is defended by a palisade.
>>
>>5410305
>Farming settlement on the grassy flats, some distance away from the Monument. At its centre is a crossroads and an inn, and fairs and markets are sometimes held there.

Earn penance by protecting the farmers
>>
>>5410305
>Woodlands settlement, close to the Monument, often in the darkness of the forest and the heap. A foreboding environment, but its manor is well fortified and the whole place is defended by a palisade.
What kinda goodies will we find for the goddess so close to the stench of the monument
>>
>>5410305
>Farming settlement on the grassy flats, some distance away from the Monument. At its centre is a crossroads and an inn, and fairs and markets are sometimes held there.
>>
>>5410305
>>Riverside settlement, far from the Monument but directly downstream of it. A number of watermills allow for a variety of small, productive industries.
>>
>>5410305
>Woodlands settlement, close to the Monument, often in the darkness of the forest and the heap. A foreboding environment, but its manor is well fortified and the whole place is defended by a palisade.
>>
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>>5410340
>>5410432
>>5410563
>>5410764
>Woodlands settlement, close to the Monument, often in the darkness of the forest and the heap. A foreboding environment, but its manor is well fortified and the whole place is defended by a palisade.

The descent alone takes some time, you and your escort coaxing the loaded horses down steep and winding paths into the valley. Dirt roads bordering scattered fields and woodlands are reminiscent of home, but the cold is unfamiliar: the low lie of the land would be enough to gather a chill, but with the titanic shadow of the Monument there is no doubt that much of this land spends a great part of the day in darkness. Indeed, the commoners you see as you pass villages and farmsteads are waxen and sallow, their crops a variety of unfamiliar, hardy-looking growths that resemble weeds and tubers more than any golden grain. The people seem otherwise in good health though many of them bear scars that one might expect of levies coming back from war, but in the Charnel Lands you suspect the provenance of these injuries to be something else entirely.

It takes some time for your escort to lead you to your new fief, but it is hard to tell the exact hour: the sky has worn the same sunset hue all day, and the light grows dimmer still as you approach the Monument and plod into the shadows of the woods. The trees are tall and twisted, gnarled roots creeping across an uneven landscape of clay slopes and chalk pits. The entirety of this forest is your new estate, but it hardly seems an inviting place for a stroll through nature or a lively hunt.

Deveché squats in the middle of the woodland, the road skirting around the palisade rather than going through the village. A heavy gate blockades the only entrance, and when the Church escort announces your arrival it takes some time before the gate is pushed open at a leisurely pace.

The space within the walls is crammed with huts, mostly log and plank save for the occasional wall or roof of broken masonry cobbled together. A squat church with a stumpy spire pokes above the cracked rooves. A few herb gardens and vegetable plots are slotted into the spaces between homes and workspaces. Free roaming pigs rummage in the muck, and there is a strong smell of blood and woodsmoke over everything.

There is no welcoming committee. A few of the peasants stop to eye you as you trot past, and frankly they look unimpressed. Most of them don’t even bother to stop walking or working.
>>
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>>5410911
The only reception is an old, sharp featured woman. She manages a thin smile and spreads her arms in welcome.

“Sir Carouliti! And good men of the Church! A hearty welcome to you!”

She introduces herself as Claudine, your seneschal, the steward of your household and administrative aid; your own familiar servants remained at home, your new demesne already hosting a full household you are expected to work with.

The Church laymen ride ahead of you to unload your personal effects while Claudine gives you a very brief overview of Deveché. Lumber, carpentry and charcoal are your main sources of revenue. Food is largely imported, bought from other villages: only so much can be grown in the plots or foraged from the woods. Many of the locals hunt or trap, finer furs and hides sometimes fetching a good price at market.

“Of course, the hunting rights of the forest are yours,” Claudine assures you as you pass by two locals skinning an unwholesome animal you do not recognise. “But the people of the manor are used to being permitted free access to the woods and its game, and while you are entitled to change that arrangement…” She trails off as one of the trappers acknowledges you for the first time, by throwing a dirty look in your direction at the mere hint of ‘changing the arrangement.'
>>
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>>5410914
“The people will grow used to you soon enough,” Claudine assures you. “They have had many lords and ladies, and in our isolated spot they are wary of newcomers. Dame Lucrezia, your predecessor, kept her distance and seldom involved herself in the running of the estate; myself and the reeve are quite capable of taking care of all, if administration is not your pleasure.”

Your new home looms behind the palisade, and behind it looms the Monument; still miles away, but an inescapable and imminent presence even at this distance. The house is no true castle, though it is certainly defensible: a wooden boardwalk spans the dry moat and mound separating it from the village; there is a sturdy gatehouse, and a stone wall encircling a courtyard with a few buildings, including a smithy and a stable; a small keep or large tower house marks the heart of the manor.

Your first order of business is to…
>Go to the keep and review your Penitent task: you have a heap of scrolls and ledgers detailing an impossibly long list of relics and artifacts you are to attempt to retrieve from the Abominable Monument
>Have Claudine give you a more thorough tour of the village and meet some of the locals, including the priests and the reeve, the manager appointed by the peasants
>Have Claudine give you a more thorough tour of the manor, and meet the smith and other members of the household
You can also ask Claudine about anything else that seems pertinent or needs clarification.
>>
>>5410924
>Have Claudine give you a more thorough tour of the village and meet some of the locals, including the priests and the reeve, the manager appointed by the peasants
Might as well make friends with our new charges
>>
>>5410924

>Have Claudine give you a more thorough tour of the village and meet some of the locals, including the priests and the reeve, the manager appointed by the peasants

Best to integrate ourselves with the locals sooner rather than later.
>>
>>5410924
>>Go to the keep and review your Penitent task: you have a heap of scrolls and ledgers detailing an impossibly long list of relics and artifacts you are to attempt to retrieve from the Abominable Monument
>>
>>5410924
>Go to the keep and review your Penitent task: you have a heap of scrolls and ledgers detailing an impossibly long list of relics and artifacts you are to attempt to retrieve from the Abominable Monument
>>
>>5410924
>Have Claudine give you a more thorough tour of the village and meet some of the locals, including the priests and the reeve, the manager appointed by the peasants
>>
>>5410924
>Have Claudine give you a more thorough tour of the village and meet some of the locals, including the priests and the reeve, the manager appointed by the peasants
>>
>>5410924
>Have Claudine give you a more thorough tour of the manor, and meet the smith and other members of the household
>>
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>>5410951
>>5410956
>>5411090
>>5411180
>Have Claudine give you a more thorough tour of the village and meet some of the locals, including the priests and the reeve, the manager appointed by the peasants

Rather than heading up to the house, you ask Claudine to show you more of the village: if you’re to be their lord for the foreseeable future, you ought to know the peasants and familiarise yourself with their crafts. In a land such as this, having some friends at home will certainly help you settle in quicker, and the locals seem a hardy lot: having them as allies might even be crucial in future.

Claudine seems pleased with your decision and as she leads you through the cramped village she rattles off a more in depth account of incomes and expenses, and which of the neighbouring manors you have the most business with. The aged woman certainly knows what she’s talking about when it comes to the estate’s finances and administration. She no doubt has years of experience as a seneschal, and while she is neither a noble nor a cleric you suspect she has no small amount of formal education. As she introduces you to charcoal burners, carpenters, woodsmen and butchers she is treated politely, but few if any seem to be intimate friends of hers. At her side and being directly addressed, the peasants are finally forced to acknowledge your presence. Their manners are rusty, but you receive a few bows and most of them remember to address you as ‘Sir.’ However, you cannot throw off the feeling that your new subjects are deliberately guarded and reticent to say much to you.

The church is the largest building in the village proper. It’s no grand cathedral but as far as village chapels go, you’ve seen worse. One of the priests is in attendance, tending to the shrine. She’s a waxen local of the village, and from the soot on her face and the reek of smoke clinging to her you summarise that she works as one of the charcoal makers when she is not tending to the congregation. Claudine introduces her as Simonetta; she is younger than Claudine but hunched and bony looking nevertheless, and she’s even less friendly than the rest of the locals; she seems to have little patience even for the seneschal, let alone yourself.

It is not uncommon even for a small village to have more than one priest, the bureaucracy of the greater Church replicated at a smaller scale, and Claudine is just about able to gather from Simonetta that her fellow priest, a man called René, is likely at the public house; Simonetta’s disapproval is obvious
.
“The reeve will likely be there as well,” Claudine says as she mercifully ushers you away from Simonetta’s withering gaze.
>>
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>>5411933
Claudine gathers from the peasants that tonight the public house is being held by a husband and wife, trappers both, who have a freshly brewed pot of ale to sample. Sure enough, you find many of the villeins crammed into a cabin, the furs and small game hanging from the walls in the dark, smoky interior lending an oddly cosy if somewhat macabre feeling to the house. The boisterous atmosphere of the place is quashed immediately when the locals see Claudine and yourself stood in the door way. Mugs are raised awkwardly and stiff nods are given as Claudine introduces the new lord of the manor.

The crowd parts to give you a view of a heavy, bearded boulder of a man sat by the steaming cauldron.
“The reeve, Sir Carouliti: Giordano,” Claudine says, indicating the man.

“Ho, Claudine! Why not join us for a drink?” rumbles Giordano. Claudine offers him a thin, polite smile, but the seneschal seems reluctant to actually step into the public house. “And you, Carouliti!” he roars. “A warm welcome to Deveché!”

He does not call you Sir, and he does not bother to rise from his seat. What he does is take up an empty mug and plunge it into the simmering cauldron of ale, before raising it in your direction with a sharp smirk. A challenge.

Drink has given you much solace over the recent years, a more immediate relief than Her Mercy. It might also be blamed for the fact that you are here in the first place. Whatever the ale here is made from, it smells sweet and sour. Fragrant steam beckons from the tankard. The peasants are silent and apprehensive, looking between their new lord and their familiar reeve. Claudine glares at Giordano but does not dare to speak on your behalf.

You decide to…
>Rise to Giordano’s challenge and quaff the hot ale
>Sip the ale at your own pace and talk with Giordano
>Ignore the offer and go to the keep to continue your conversation with Claudine [roll 1d20]
>Refuse the drink and reproach Giordano for his ill manners [roll 1d20]
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>>5411936
>Rise to Giordano’s challenge and quaff the hot ale
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>>5411936
>Sip the ale at your own pace and talk with Giordano

I see no need to engage in a contest of livers and beer guts, but we should seek his wisdom and knowledge of the town.
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>>5411977
>+1
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>>5411936
>Sip the ale at your own pace and talk with Giordano
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>>5411936
>>Refuse the drink and reproach Giordano for his ill manners [roll 1d20]

Am I meant to roll now or only if this option wins the vote?
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>>5411936
>>Sip the ale at your own pace and talk with Giordano
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>>5411977
This, it will endear us to the peasants
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>>5411936
>Rise to Giordano’s challenge and quaff the hot ale

A challenge such as this should not be refused!
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>>5411977
>>5412007
>>5412137
>>5412151

The whole point of this quest is that we're doing penance for getting drunk and murdering someone, and you want to get into a drinking contest?
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>>5412179
Yes
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>>5411977
>>5412007
>>5412137
>>5412151
>Rise to Giordano’s challenge and quaff the hot ale

You step boldly into the public house and approach Giordano.
As assuredly as you would take a goblet of wine from a cup bearer at a banquet, you take the steaming mug from the reeve and tip it back. The ale burns your lips and throat but your constitution holds and you do not flinch. It’s unfamiliar, as sour as it smells, and you cannot identify whatever crop it’s based on, or whatever herbs and fruits it might be flavoured with – but it is not unpleasant.

You drain the mug in one and stare down the reeve, his smug smirk replaced with a keen, appraising look. He breaks into a genuine smile and roars his approval, clacking his own mug against yours. The tension in the room breaks. The peasants smile and laugh, some cheer. Conversation resumes and the drinking continues.

Your mettle proven, Giordano is happy to talk. With no hard feelings apparent between the two of you, Claudine follows you into the pub. The mannered old seneschal is evidently out of her preferred environment, but more than willing to join the reeve in giving you an appraisal of Deveché’s situation. Claudine knows the shape of the finances and the overall productivity of the manor, while Giordano knows the gritty details, the technical details of the work, where it excels and where it needs improvement. Overall, the estate is in good order and fair wealth: Dame Lucrezia seldom took more from the treasury than what she needed for her expeditions to the Monument, preferring to barter directly with other lords of the valley using whatever wealth she scavenged from within, leaving Claudine and Giordano to direct most of the profits back into the village and its running.

The reeve quickly reveals himself to be a good fellow. He is completely ignorant of or utterly unconcerned about courtly manners and pleasantries, but he is not overly crude. His little jabs are not reserved for you: now that you have the reeve’s approval, a few more of the locals are willing to be drawn into the conversation when Giordano calls them to elaborate on some recent problem or detail of craft, and evidently the reeve is familiar enough with each of them to lightly lambast them in turn.
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>>5412297
Not long thereafter, you are joined by René, the village’s other priest. A spindly youth, his sunned skin immediately indicates that he too is a foreigner to the valley, while his refined manner and the deep purple dye of his tunic hint at an origin of respectable wealth and standing. The chilly Simonetta opted for a bolt for her clerical symbol, while René instead wears the tear drop. His greeting is the politest you’ve received yet: he bows and wishes you well in your Penance, the first villager to mention it since you arrived. Giordano laughs at the boy’s courtesy, and is quick to thrust another mug into his hands before he refills yours.

With each gulp of drink the conversation becomes more casual and wavers further from business. Claudine excuses herself to finish overseeing the unloading of your possessions once you’re some way into your third mug of ale.


“I won’t lie to you, Carouliti,” Giordano rumbles as the two of you wipe drips from your moustaches. “A lot of the folk aren’t keen to get too friendly with a new lord, because they don’t know how long you’ll last.” René winces. “I’ve lived here my whole life and in that time I’ve seen about ten lords of the manor come and go. Locals and foreigners both – though the locals tend to last longer!”

“Mercy on Dame Lucrezia,” murmurs René, one hand fumbling at his necklace. “She never came back after she last set out to the Heap.”

“Never mind Lucrezia,” huffs the reeve. “She hadn’t the time for any of us. The Heap’s a tough bastard, Carouliti; I’ve been in there myself more than once and I’m not jealous of your sentence, but Deveché is part of that sentence too: people like to know the lord is there for the estate and not just using it as a sally port whence they can ride off to get themselves killed. If you remember that we’re here and do your duties as a lord and not just a knight, the rest of these villeins will warm to you.” He seems impressed with your performance so far at least, as he insistently gets you another measure.

Will you...
>Talk to Giordano (write-in)
>Talk to René (write-in)
>Retire to the household
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>>5412302
>>Retire to the household
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>>5412042
Good question! I would probably have used the first roll that option got if it won. Going forwards I'll try to clarify which roll an option uses in future: it might just be first roll received, but depending on the difficulty of the action the highest or lowest roll received might be

Thank you to everyone who has taken part so far! This will probably be the last post for a little while as I am going to be away for a few days. If the thread is still here when I get back I'll continue here, otherwise keep an eye out for thread #2: if there are votes to talk to Giordano and René, answers and responses will be posted when I'm back.

Bonus image: 'defiling a sacred place', which at first I thought was going to be the winning origin vote only for a bunch more posts to have popped up when I finished it. This almost happened again just now: >>5412302 was initially drawn for sipping the ale at your own pace, but the chug had won by the time I was done and had to draw up the other picture.
Going forward, for my own insanity and to keep the threads going at a decent pace, I'll probably put a time or post limit on each option (e.g. first option to reach three votes).
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>>5412308
I suggest that before you start writing and drawing you count up all the votes and say which option won.
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>>5412302
>Retire to the household
>I'm afraid I must cut our meeting short for now, I have a history with drinking and bad decisions
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>>5412308
Can you post the sipping? I want to see it.
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>>5412308
>Bonus image: 'defiling a sacred place'
interesting. btw what would be the story of how/why we defiled it ?
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>>5412302
>Retire to the household
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>>5412302
>Talk to Giordano
>What are the greatest concerns of this village? Any local custom or taboo I should know of?
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>>5412429
By the looks of it, Ambrose would have throw a wine bottle at it.
Drinking might have been involved in all of the sins.
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>>5414321
ALCHOHOLISM QUEST LETS GOOOO
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>>5412302
>Retire to the household
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>>5412302
>>Retire to the household
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OP ?
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>>5414317
>Talk to Giordano
>What are the greatest concerns of this village? Any local custom or taboo I should know of?

Giordano considers the question about concerns, swishing ale about his flagon.

“We’ve the same concerns here as anywhere,” he settles on. “People want satisfying work and good drink. They want warm houses and rooves that don’t leak, and their children to reach adulthood. We want to please Our Lady and show our thanks and help Her Suffering. You’re probably thinking we’re always in fear of the things that come out of the Heap or come into the valley, but you foreigners learn soon enough that’s just what life here is like. ‘Course they cause us bother, but then it’s your station to deal with it.”

“It’s not all as imminently terrible as the tales tell, Sir Carouliti” adds René, nodding. The boy looks at you knowingly: of the same western persuasion as yourself, he’s no doubt heard the same accounts of the Charnel Lands that make it sound as if there is some awful monster or curse behind every stone and tree. “You witness things that are quite upsetting, especially this deep into the old country, but it is not as if we are under siege at every moment.”

“Don’t let your guard down though,” Giordano grunts into his mug. “The valley’s finely tamed and cultivated, but once you’re within the Heap, you’ve only the Goddess at your side. And this close to it, the shadows aren’t always safe: don’t go wondering the woods by yourself, especially not at night. Folks all make sure they’re back in the village by sundown, and they see and hear things over the wall. You come walking out of the woods in the dark or first thing in the morning… they’re liable to think it might not actually be you.


>>5412307
>>5412444
>>5416396
>>5418257

>>5412349
>Retire to the household
Giordano’s warnings fresh in your mind and the last of the sour ale drained from your cup, you bid him and René well and excuse yourself. The reeve raises his mug to you once more and says that he hopes he’ll see you regularly, while René bows again and wishes Her Mercy on you. The villagers in the pub part for you, and there is another round of polite nods and awkward bows as you leave the public house.

Night is truly setting in now: the peach sky has darkened to star dotted sanguine and the chill valley air bears a sharp bite. It is rather refreshing after the stuffy heat of the cabin, even if it does hurt your face. While your conversation with Giordano had run its course, in truth you can feel the all too familiar fog of drunkenness setting in and removing yourself from the public house seemed the most sensible recourse. As you spent most of the day riding you have not eaten well, and now the unfamiliar brew swills uncomfortably in your empty stomach. The cold air sharpens your focus, helping you find your way through the cramped village and to the household.
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>>5420621
The courtyard is quiet and empty. There are no guards on the wall, nor can you see a light through the arrow slit window of the gatehouse. There are still embers smouldering outside the smithy, and you can hear the occasional huff of the horses from the stable.

The door to the tower house is unlocked and opens onto a small foyer. Just beyond is the main hall, taking up most of the ground floor. Within, you find just two people sat together at the long table, hunched over a parchment by the foul-smelling light of a tallow candle. One of them you recognise as a Church layman who escorted you here; the other man is unfamiliar, but as you hear the Churchman going through an inventory of your belongings you surmise it is one of the manor’s servants. This is confirmed when you step into the hall and the two of them notice your presence: the unfamiliar fellow stands and bows, introduces himself as Nevio, and apologises on behalf of Claudine.

“The seneschal was unsure when you would return, Sir, and has retired for the night. I am to see to anything you need, and to show you to your chamber when you wish.”

Frankly you would like to lie down right away, but you bid Nevio to fetch you a little food before you retire. The servant hurries to fetch you a plate, and leaves you with the Churchman.

“Your belongings have been unloaded and your new servants await your direction in setting them up to your liking. Your seneschal tells me you have been familiarising yourself with the villagers. You’ll have the opportunity to do the same with the household ere long, I’m sure.” The man is merely a servant of the bureaucracy and so does not have the right to reprimand or instruct you, but the disapproval in his voice is clear and even in the dim light you can see the sour expression he bears. “I and my companions will leave first thing in the morning: we have other business to attend to in the valley. You will be without oversight for the time being, save for the attention of your new estate. I gently remind you that everyone here, yourself included, are tenants of the Church. You are free to acquaint yourself with your new fief at your own pace, but you are expected not to delay your first expedition to the Monument. You ought not to leave it more than a week.”

The Churchman’s implications are obvious: you might not have anyone from the Church looming over your shoulder, but if you get up to mischief, neglect your duties or attempt to flee your banishment, word will soon reach the appropriate authorities, and the consequences would soon find you.
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>>5420625
You have half a mind to give the layman a harsh scolding for his inappropriate manner and barely concealed threats, but Nevio returns at that moment with bread and cheese, and the siren lure of food and a soft bed after weeks on the road is infinitely more tempting than picking an argument with the upstart Churchman. You give him only a curt nod before Nevio leads you up to your room.

Anxiety about your new position and the excitement of your introduction to Giordano had done a great amount to suppress your exhaustion, but now it makes itself more and more obvious with every aching step up the spiral staircase of the keep. Nevio lights a candle in your bed chamber and leaves you in peace, and as soon as he shuts the door you strip down to your braies and bury yourself under your bed sheets, not even stopping to examine the room. Your attention is entirely on the platter of food now balanced on your belly. The bread has the same sour flavour as the ale, but it is fresh and the cheese is soft. Compared to the hardening rations you’ve been eating on the road, the bedtime snack is as good as a welcoming feast and it does a great deal to settle your stomach.

You blow out the candle and sink into sleep.

...

You wake up. Cold but not freezing. Sore and slightly hungover, but not in agony. Pallid light pours in through the window. At first it seems like the stark light of an early morning, but as your eyes adjust and you look out you see that the sky is actually a pale, sickly yellow today.

Hauling yourself out of bed, you examine your new abode. It is not as luxurious as your room at home, but some effort has been made to make it comfortable: the walls are plastered even though the masonry shows through several cracks, and there is no carpet but the floorboards are partially covered by rugs. There are standing shelves and even a cabinet with glass doors and brass ornamentation, mostly empty but with a fair collection of glazed pottery and varnished wood crafts. A bare desk sits beneath the window, and besides it a small pile of saddle bags and travelling cases: your personal effects, awaiting arrangement. You find that your clothing has already been unpacked into the wardrobe.

You know that there is more luggage, though that is likely to be in the study: your arms and armour, of course, and the intimidating inventory of artifacts you have been designated to retrieve from the Monument.

A cold pitcher of water on a bedside table allows you to swish out your mouth, splash your face and scrub yourself before you put on clean clothes and fold yesterday’s outfit, pungent with the smell of smoke, ale and travel. Your first full day in Deveché awaits. It is time to…
>Go to the study and review your Penance, and begin considering your first sortie to the Heap.
>Get some proper breakfast and acquaint yourself with the household: Claudine is surely around somewhere, and there are other servants to meet.
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>>5420628
>Get some proper breakfast and acquaint yourself with the household: Claudine is surely around somewhere, and there are other servants to meet.
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>>5420628
>Get some proper breakfast and acquaint yourself with the household: Claudine is surely around somewhere, and there are other servants to meet.

I'm anxious to get to monster mashing, but the staff did seem a bit snippy they weren't a priority yesterday.
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>>5420628
>Get some proper breakfast and acquaint yourself with the household: Claudine is surely around somewhere, and there are other servants to meet.
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>>5420628
>>Go to the study and review your Penance, and begin considering your first sortie to the Heap.

We shouldn't delay our task.
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>>5420628
>Get some proper breakfast and acquaint yourself with the household: Claudine is surely around somewhere, and there are other servants to meet.
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>>5420628
>Get some proper breakfast and acquaint yourself with the household: Claudine is surely around somewhere, and there are other servants to meet.

There might be some thing we miss or whatever because we choose to do this, but it is best to get our foundations in order before rushing straight into action. Plus methinks the chance of betrayal by a member of our household is near 100%.

Also respect for the art Penitence DM, it's lookin' mighty fine.



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