The Holy Mountain

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by RiverNotch, Mar 4, 2016.

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  1. I've been wanting to get back into the rhythm of forum roleplaying for a while, but my mind's been stuck lately in a certain story, so I couldn't really settle into another's game.

    Premise: A small band of mercenaries escort an alchemist and his assistant through the mysterious wilds of 15th century Russia to the grand city of Vladimir.

    The Setting: 15th century Russia, but with a ton of liberties -- it's probably Russia only in name, spirit, and all thoe fiddly external bits. Maybe the world's moreso early to high medieval Germany, a world I'm more familiar with, but with Patriarchs and Shamans instead of Popes and Druids -- and all the doctrinal implications locked therein. Yes, religion is a big part in this story, it must be noted, as all magic (which none of the players should be able to manipulate) stems from faith. The escort job started at the city of Novgorod, but the story should definitely not start there.

    The Characters: I need only three players, each playing one mercenary. Since this is an escort job through ruralia in a fairly "low-magic" world, there are only "thieves" and "fighters", though even the thieves have to have greater value at fighting, or at least at not-getting-caught-by-bandits. And being cheap mercs, all of you have to be kinda-poor city-dwellers (up to you how you got upgraded/downgraded to that position, though -- but, again due to their cheapness, they can't have come anywhere near or along the way to Vladimir), Russian (not in race, which doesn't really matter here, but in culture, language, etc), and Christian (in name and practice only is acceptable) -- I should also say "male", as this is not a world fooling around too much with how gender was treated then, but for anyone wanting to play a female, this should be a fun enough obstacle, though I wouldn't expect the alchemist to hire out only women.

    The Conflict: Again, y'all just have to escort the alchemist and his assistant to the city of Vladimir -- for now, there's no real baggage behind the alchemist's quest (Vladimir's just one of those places everyone goes to, and the alchemist seems innocent enough), so conflicts should be situational, mostly depending on how hard traveling can be in a world without cars and such. Two big rumors, however: increased outlaw activity this time of year (autumn), and increased restlessness among the local serfs....

    Note: And I do hope the story manages to move away from the initial premise, but only once y'all get to Vladimir (or, if anyone including me does something stupid, TPK).

    Influences: I'm hoping this to be a fun exercise in writing, esoteric symbology, and, well, role-playing. This story's influences, at least in my mind, are Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain, Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev, Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke, all those Fafhrd and Conan stories I've been reading lately, Greek Myth, and Adventure Time.
  2. I'll take one of the merc spots.
  3. I probably should post outlines for the alchemist and his assistant -- and you should too, Loveandhate!
  4. Your meaning a Character Sheet?
  5. Well, yes and no -- you can call it that, but character sheets are usually more detailed, and this ain't the OOC yet. Just a few rough sketches on your character's History, Personality, and Biology.

    Name: Goes by "Ioannes the Good"
    Sex: Male.
    Appearance: Around 5'11'', not very muscular, with a slight bulge round the midsection, and a slight bulge round back (though his walk always feels somewhat royal). Face shines with youth, yet always serious, and look closely enough, and the lines of old age -- or long, hard study in cold, dimly lit quarters -- show. Bearded, but nothing as long as the elders' -- long brown hair (again, closely enough, and more than expected strands of silver) of uneven length crowning his scalp, as if once tonsured in the Latin way. Grey eyes, usually locked in meditation -- squints whenever he looks at distances. In black priest's frock with ochre sash about his waist, thick gold chains about his neck, and a tall black hat.
    History: Born in an island out near Finland; family emigrated to Novgorod when he was still a babe, for business reasons. Taught by local clergy, became a scholar of more mundane arts (theology, medicine, never clear about it), then got interested in the higher arts because of one (expelled) monk's influence. Only child. Presumably, family's rich, because he has private estates in both Novgorod and Vladimir, but he's surely not that rich, as evidenced by the fact that he hired you.
    Personality: Intelligent, but very *Mysterious* -- likes talking in riddles, or at least in half-truths, and always with a certain (dull) twinkle in his eye. Timid, physically -- exertion is not the world he was born in -- and also socially -- always with faint contempt, when he talks about his mercantile origins -- but very active when dealing with intellectual or spiritual stuff.
    Name: Goes simply by "Assistant"
    Sex: Female
    Appearance: Around 6'2'', thin, long-limbed, very sensuous -- gait is equal parts seductive and foolish, though neither as a playful harlot nor as a lost fool -- more, perhaps, a fulfilled fool-for-Christ. Skin black as ash -- hands and arms even blacker with tattoos. Clearly more mature than her companion, even though there are less lines about. Bald, though usually hard to say, as her head's covered by an elaborately styled headscarf. Body always covered by thick sable coat (also expensive-looking, though very plain) -- shoes, too, fine: bejeweled. Eyes green as olives, often peering clear into the distance, into the souls of any nearby leerers, into the spirits of the earth....
    History: She neither speaks nor understands Russian -- when the Alchemist talks to her, it's always in foreign tongue, presumably Arabic or Turkish, languages your characters probably don't know. As for how she got to Russia, it's never clear, but presumably it's something related to the Alchemist's business -- again, those tattoos, Judaic symbols and astrological pictograms. And all her things are probably not hers -- probably the Alchemist's, gifts to her for the sake of, what, love? partnership? simple pay? Perhaps even marriage, of the alchemical sort --
    Personality: A dull and dumb, servant, never talking to anyone but her master. Quick and efficient when at work, though, guiding the pack-horse, pulling out necessities, drawing strange symbols.
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