Once again it is that time of the year. It is the day of Unorium. A special festival held in the City of Valize in honor of the fallen. The same ones that gave their lives guarding the continent’s border walls from the Eldritch Horrors of Akat. Many indebted souls from around Sevent flock into the city at this time to pay their respects. Thus, the city alsouses the celebration as the perfect time to recruit new champions to the cause.The people of Valize have grown accustomed to this arrangement. Yes, there is the uncertainty of invasion. But this is quickly turned into confidence as this day approaches, for they know that for every warrior that falls, a new one emerges. One filled with stronger convictions and righteous vengeance.
You and your friends are huddled in the city squareeager to see the would-beheroes who will present themselves to the High Inquisitor. The crowd is thick.You can find yourself easily swayed by the mob of different cultures and origins. Merchants have also taken this opportunity to display their most prized artifacts for everyone to see. Not to mention the traveling mercenary guilds looking for opportunities to prove their mettle and of course earn a living.You find yourselves a good spot by the center fountain. It was sturdy enough to support all four of you. But more importantly, it was tall enough to become an awesome vantage point.A few minutes pass and the church bells start to toll. People clamored to find their designated seats and you see a group of well-armed people fall in line in front of the large stage-like structure in front. They are of amusing variety. One of them is clad in armor that looked like it can crush you under its weight. Another one busy going through a tome as if her life depended on it. And actually, one of them sat on a mighty steed—at least that is what you decided to think it was,before started to flap its wings and breathe fire. Once everybody got to their respective places, the High Inquisitor started to walk up the platform. You could see his aged face from that distance but still his Golden Armor shining in the crimson afternoon stole the show. He was holding the hilt of sword as he traversed the stairs, making it seem that he was about to go into battle. He stood at the podium and started to move his hand over his throat as it glowed blue. And soon enough, he greeted everyone in a booming voice, “Welcome everyone to this year’s Unorium!”. Everybody erupted into thunderous applause. “There is always danger lurking behind those walls… But we will not falter.”, the Inquisitor’s voice demanded attention from the crowd and everyone was eager to listen. And then it was just like that for the next few minutes. A legendary defender, telling stories of valor that excited the crowd—like how they were unbreakable.
Everything seemed to go about its course as normal when suddenly a large shadow started to loom above the old man on the platform. As you look up, you wanted to make sure it was not a dream. A few seconds later, you started wishing it was.It was a large creature with horns. It looked like it was on fire, but you soon realize that it was fire itself. It propelled itself downward like brimstone from the fiery pits of hell. There was no doubt. You knew it brought death. You know of the monsters your neighbors conjure, but you have never seen one so close. And never have they breached the walls—until now. It landed in an explosion on top of the High Inquisitor with the intent to kill. You see many of the soldiers along with the warriors in front rushed to his aid at once. As the dust settled, you see the Inquisitor on his knees.It seems the creature attempted to crush the High Inquisitor as it landed, but surprisingly the aged warrior was still fast on his feet. He unsheathed his sword and raised just in time to catch the horned creatures flaming fists. It was then that that the creature displayed its dominance. It roared viciously as it addressed the now panicking crowd, “VALIZE FALLS TODAY!”.
The ground started to crack with fractures as eight legged creatures started to pour out. You recognize them immediately. These were the Aranea. Winged-spiders the size of cows. Creatures summoned by those Eldritch Mages. While significantly smaller than the horned creature, you know for a fact that they are not any less dangerous. Some unfortunate souls fell into the crevasse never to be seen again. While some fell victim to the monstrosities that emerged from the fissures. There are countless of them. The militia is getting overwhelmed and majority of the townsfolk have started to flee, abandoning hope, never looking back. As they ran past the fountain, you see one of them get knocked down violently.One of the creatures notice this and quickly sprints towards his direction. You recognize him from the academy. He is in one of your defense classes, and you know for a fact that his fighting skills are inept. He will not survive.
You have never been in a fight outside of training. You look behind you for support, but to your surprise, your friends are not there anymore. You are confident you can outrun these creatures to safety in the hopes of fighting another day. But are you willing to leave your hapless peer to perish?
What do you do?
This excerpt was inspired by a Pathfinder Adventure Path I ran for my friends for two years. I won’t get much into detail until my next article, but I at least wanted to show you how a Table-Top Roleplaying Game starts. As you have read,it pretty much begins and sounds like any other story book. It tries to capture the reader’s imagination with vivid descriptions of the world around her. Then it presents a plot hook that attaches itself to the person who reads forcing them to relate. The more exciting about this though, is you are given a choice to interact with the story. And not just through the means of choices you want the characters to decide on, but you are actually part of the story! I mean this does not happen like a typical “Goosebumps” book where you are presented with options. In Table-Top Roleplaying Games, there are no limits. You create your options.
There are also different systems that these games run on, so it can certainly accommodate the type of hobbyist you are. There are ones that stay faithful to Dungeons and Dragons, using a twenty sided die. While others prefer their adventures to have eastern influence in Legend of the Five Rings. Yes, there are different structures that a game can use, but ultimately the goal is the same. To have fun!
In my next write-up, I’ll discuss more on the history and how exactly it came to be. Its humble origins from War Gaming to becoming one of the most sough tafter hobbies today. Not to mention the platform it provides for competitive world building that lot of the classic fantasy stories came from. So, if you’re a big fan of Tolkien and Lovecraft, read through my next article. Who knows,you may be starting your own story this weekend.