Monday, May 21, 2018

Conan 2D20 Interlude: The Empress of the Damned. Dreams of Darkness

I introduce to you.. The Empress of the Damned.

The magic of 2D20 Conan is that the game literally can write itself. Below, is a short story written by +Frank Falkenberg after rolling his in between adventure rolls. I wanted to share this with you all, as I think its a real gem!

Carousing Event: 22 - Slumming Nobility

The Empress Of The Damned!
Carousing Event: 22 - Slumming Nobility
At times, the idle rich will don rough clothing and try to move amongst the common folk, seeing their forays into the lives of ordinary people as an adventure, a form of daring exploration, or even a means of avoiding notice. These nobles are often easy to spot, but just as often they find themselves in trouble because of whom they cross while slumming. The player character stumbles upon one of these nobles — whether a jaded youth seeking the rough-and-tumble world of mercenaries, or pursuing a tryst without courtship and decorum. How does the noble respond to this encounter, and how does it go wrong for them both?

Well, it went down this way...
I was hanging around at Peg-Leg Penny's tavern near the harbour, bragging a bit about the strange and frightening adventures I had of late in the Temple of Mitra, when I noticed the attention of a sweet girl in a short dress. She looked young, even younger than me, but kids grow up so fast around these seedy parts of town, so you never know how long she was already working for her living.

We got a bit closer and then I knew what was wrong with her: she smelled good! Too good. Too good for a typical tavern wench working in Peg-Leg Penny's seedy den. And her clothes, though simple, were of very high quality, not second or third hand often-mended stuff people around here usually wore.

I was just about to feel out whether her skin would be as smooth as her dress, when all of a sudden two expensively armored men, obviously men at arms or such, entered Peg-Leg Penny's, took a look and pointed towards my new acquaintance. She immediately paled, her big eyes looked at me for help, and I immediately dove under the table we were sitting at.

In the moment of me diving out of sight I knew that trouble would be unavoidable. So I used the girl as bait and drew my trusted dagger. As soon as the first of the thugs neared our table and said something like "your father and your fiance are looking for you, mylady", I stabbed him from under the table in the groin. He was spurting hot red blood all over the tavern floor, while he went down not to get up ever again.

The other one was a bit smarter and kicked a stool under the table which got me square in the face, the bastard! He then drew blank his huge sword and adressed the girl "don't get in the way, mylady, I'll squash the bug and then I'll escort you back to your father's estate".

As my aunt Agatha used to say: "If you want to kill, kill, don't talk." So I got up on the other side of the table and threw a couple of throwing knives at the big-mouthed meathead. He actually managed to parry away the first one, when the second one went right into his throat.

I wasn't much inclined to wait how he liked that, so I grabbed the girl and dragged her behind me through the kitchen and out of the backdoor of the tavern.

(I actually came back next day to pay Peg-Leg Penny for cleaning up the mess. She was gruff, as usual, but nice enough to return my throwing knives, freshly cleaned, to me. - This tavern is simply the best!)

Well, I moved the girl away from the harbour district towards a silk import warehouse which I used for spying on the open harbour area before. The night was warm, but she was shivering, which was probably not due to her short and revealing dress. Always the gentleman I kept her warm by offering her my jacket, and then a place to spend the night overlooking the harbour from the top floor of the silk warehouse.

She was well-educated. Especially in things to please an inexperienced young man used to the services of copper bits whores. Time flew and too soon it was morning.

She excused herself, she said, she needed to leave. I was so distracted that I actually didn't ask about her father and her fiance and the two thugs. But before she joined the morning crowd on the streets I asked her her name. She hesitated, obviously wanting to give me a made up one, but then with more resolve said: "Xilandra".

"Don't try to follow me, don't try to find me. This night was nice, but probably my last night of defiance towards my father's plans for me. Live well, Alric!" she said and vanished in the crowd.

Three days later, in the merchant district, I was snooping around to get more information about those pesky Stygians doing shady business in town, a handful of guards were accompanying a huge, expensive litter that was carried by some slaves. Though the slaves were sweating like an Argossean merchant prince over counting his gold, I got a whiff of a very distinctive, sweet and comforting smell from the litter. I'm sure this smell is so unique, that it must have been her!

I was about to follow the litter, when "Honest" Phaikos, an ex-pirate, still a traitor and blackmailer, and one of my more reliable contacts approached me to give me my well spent gold's worth of information about the Stygians.

Her smell disappeared to soon, overwhelmed by Phaikos' old, rancid garlic breath. - Will I get the chance to meet her again?