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Boldly Into Darkness Go
Last Knight posted a topic in The PlayingThey say life is 'nasty, brutish, and short' and for nobody is this truer than the peasants. Maybe you were born into poverty, maybe you achieved it, or maybe it was thrust upon you; whatever your personal circumstances, you've had entirely quite enough of being poor, overlooked, and kicked around. It's time to seek your fortune in the big, bad world. There are many ways to make a ducat, but few of them are open to folk such as you in this day and age. You could be a merchant-venturer - if you had the money to buy goods, a caravan or ship, and a trade route that wasn't locked down by the established merchant guilds and houses. You could join the Army and seek honour on the battlefield; if there were any wars to fight, in this unprecedented age of peace and prosperity. Even banditry is beyond your reach, thanks to the thieves guilds and highway bands that lock you out if you don't already have an "in," or enough money to buy one. But there is one way for a down on their luck peasant with guts and a good sword to achieve fortune and fame; down in the deeps of the world, in the ruins of yesteryear, lays the gold of long-gone civilizations. It won't be easy; dark things dwell in dark places, and few who go down in the deeps come back whole... if they come back at all. The village of Keppelshire is a quiet, backwards hamlet in a quiet, backwards barony on the northern borders of the kingdom of Generia. The old King's Road runs within a few miles of the village; once upon a time, this was a major source of revenue, but a particularly nasty group of bandits succeeded in frightening away the merchant traffic to safer and more lucrative routes, and the village has been slowly fading away since. Nearly a century ago, the Imperium withdrew from its more isolated provinces and abandoned the border tower known locally as Goblinwatch. Nearly forty years ago, a group of bandits occupied the tower and threatened the region until they were brutally exterminated by a wandering band of adventurers. Twenty years ago, reports of haunting and demon possession in the ruins lead a roving monk to exorcise the ruins in a night of flashing lights and terrifying sounds that have convinced the locals to stay away from Goblinwatch - although everything of value had been picked clean roughly five minutes after the Imperial legions left, and surely by the time the adventurers were done mopping up the bandits. Even so, two weeks ago a rowdy band of freebooters came through Keppelshire, boasting about the treasure they were going to pull out of Goblinwatch. The locals watched with amusement as the rich kids went up the hill full of vim and vigor; but they never came back down... Two days ago, a courier passed through Keppelshire. One of the missing adventurers had been some relation to a Lord High Mucky Muck down in Arl's Grange, and he's looking for his relative. Last night, you and some similarly distressed compatriots were drinking in the tavern and the subject of gold in the dark earth came up. If Goblinwatch is empty, then what happened to the rich kids? And more importantly, were they right about the treasure the fortress holds? You woke up this morning and climbed the hill. It's a rough, rocky climb up an old road that hasn't been maintained or used regularly in a hundred years, and a low mist clings to the tumbled stones of Goblinwatch tower. The walls are gaping open, torn by the ravages of time, and you can tell nothing more than mice and birds have disturbed its empty chambers in over a decade. The upper levels probably aren't even strong enough to bear your weight. In the center of the courtyard is an old well. Local legend says it had gone dry even before the garrison had abandoned the keep; they used to fetch water from a stream down the hill. The bandits who'd occupied the ruins would throw their prisoners down into the blackness if their ransom wasn't paid, and so it gained the sobriquet "the Murder Hole." Somebody's recently hammered a piton between the courtyard flagstones and attached a sturdy hawser to it; the rope dangles down into the blackness of the Murder Hole, beckoning you onward. Adventure awaits, and there's only one thing for you to do; get rich or die trying!