SIGN-UPS ARE NOW CLOSED.
(If you were planning to sign up and missed your chance, but you still really want to get in, shoot me a PM and we can negotiate something. I realize I closed these rather abruptly, but I didn't expect this many sign-ups so quickly! So I'm still open to negotiations.)
Your ride into the city of Redfield goes as planned: although you draw more than a few curious glances, no one disturbs you. The city around you is quite the spectacle of old buildings and architecture combined with the new; the entire city is walled, and you see many flags displaying the red and black scorpion heraldry of the house of Lysander, the ruling family.
You're here for a most unusual and rather clandestine meeting... one you were informed of through a friend, or at least an ally, if you don't know them that well. No matter how you came to be aware of the possibility that something called "the Umbra Coven" may exist, you are aware that it's something that needs to be stopped... If it is even true.
And if you do not believe it to be true, then you have ended up here by pretending that you do. Perhaps you are here to make sure this ragtag group doesn't cause further trouble in their ridiculous beliefs of some conspiracy theory, some kind of network of spies and evil mages and undead working toward unknown goals.
Whatever the case, here you are. As you approach the manor, you guess it belongs to some lesser nobleman, or perhaps even a wealthy commoner. Its architecture is, like most of Redfield, rather Old Achaean, though this manor does not bear the columns and statues of true noble homes... As you look closer, you observe a lack of heraldry anywhere. Yes, it almost certainly belongs to a commoner who has somehow acquired a large amount of coin.
You stable your mount and head inside. No servants or guards await you, but the doors are unlocked. Navigating through halls of doors hanging partially open, you pass by a large staircase that seems to lead up to bedrooms. Rounding a corner, you find a large pair of double doors: the largest you have yet seen. Surely this is the room in which the meeting will take place.
Like many of the doors to the quiet, unoccupied rooms, these doors are slightly ajar. You hear voices from within. Pushing the doors open, you step inside, and find that the meeting is about to begin...
Neitha Ardet (Sareth) intro:
Percula Saffron (Burger Warrior) intro:
Marcus Capulet (Lord_Capulet) intro:
The room was fairly cramped, cold, and bare - at least compared to the open castle halls most of them were used to. The round table in the middle of the chamber was pretty much the only thing occupying it other than the figures that now gathered around under the dim glow of the wooden chandelier overhead. One after another, they stepped into the light, several exchanging nods, others even managing a few short-lived smiles. All in all, it was a rather small group - especially for one with so ambitious a purpose.
Standing at the head of the room was Caiden Voros of Redfield, veteran Venator. He leaned forward with his hands on the table, which further emphasized his impossibly broad shoulders, as his one eye roved over the faces of those present.
Inquisitors, Templars, Venatori, knights of various orders, other Imperial officials, soldiers, and even some unaligned mercenaries or wanderers all stood gathered around the table - and they now turned their gaze to Caiden. He was no leader, and no one here followed the orders of anyone else, except for what was dictated to them normally by rank and file. But Caiden had garnered himself a reputation in this crowd: of every single one of them, whatever their issues, no one wanted to take down the Umbra Coven more than Caiden Voros.
"News?" Caiden asked, stoic as ever. His tone was terse, and yet somehow not exactly what one could call 'rude.'
"Well, good news is we managed to get a pretty good number of people here this time, I think," said an exceptionally tall man, one clad from head to foot in solid black Inquisitor armor: Ben Blackburn of Blackwall, Ebonguard. "And the bad news is, it's because the Coven might be making another move."
"We've never been able to track them before."
"No, but the Hidden aren't quite as hard to figure out," added a Templar, Knight-Captain Stevan Rolf from Stonebridge. He removed his helmet, setting it on the table before him and turning his bright blue eyes to Caiden before his gaze passed over the various warriors and soldiers. "I'm the one who called you all here, or at least put in the summons for everyone to bring their allies. The Templar and Inquisition have received word that the Hidden have been communicating under our noses for years - using old history tomes. A historian by the name of Faustus Livius was recently uncovered to be a Hidden One - we found some of his personal documents that indicated a loyalty to Ildrius... even though he lived far after Ildrius's time."
Another figure stepped into the light then: a tall man, his bare arms bulging with muscle, his face strikingly handsome, his hoplite armor decorated in dragons. "I read a few of his books... Just what was he saying about Ildrius?" asked Sir Tom Drake, drawing the gaze of almost everyone present.
Ben gave a sudden laugh. "Good gods, Tom, I didn't know you were here!"
Drake offered a grin. "Yeah, I seem to be anywhere but home these days," the knight said, though his tone was rather dry - perhaps even disdainful.
But Stevan quickly returned to the matter at hand. "Some of Faustus's heirs recently came into possession of notes of his. They were found in a personal study, in an underground wing of a library. Another library was built on top of it, and this older one was only discovered a few weeks ago. We found letters to other members of the Hidden, written in code, and some keys - written keys - that are symbols no one can make sense of."
"Sooo... what's the point?" Ben prompted.
"We think these keys are to ciphers he hid in his history books. Trick is, the code disappears once it's been cracked in that particular book and the message has been relayed. They could've been moving some powerful artifacts with messages like these, and we've found a few keys, but no code. One of Faustus's original tomes - one of the few left that we haven't gotten our hands on - recently got shipped to the castle in Artorius. King Rickard is apparently making himself a history collection." Stevan shook his head. "We need to find that book."
"What you're saying is, we're looking for an old book because the Templars think it has a code in it that's somehow related to the Hidden." Ben snorted. "This is crazy."
"Ben, we've talked about playing nice with the Templars," teasingly chastised an Inquisitor channeler standing by his side, a woman with lovely features and bright red hair - Plexaura Voros, Caiden's younger sister.
"Don't we all believe in the Umbra Coven?" piped up a dwarf, the only one there, a cheerful-looking woman who wore an uncharacteristically serious face. Daisy was her name, a blonde Hill Dwarf Venator clad in the long blue cloak and silver brooch of her order. She had dragged a box over to stand at the table's height, but she didn't seem embarrassed by it one bit. "Is it really so far-fetched to be lookin' fer old books? T'isn't like we got any other lead!"
"True," Ben grumbled. "And a lot of our orders think we're crazy for even believing in them."
"One of my commanders said he'd put me on an assignment in Karak du Vide for the rest of my career if I didn't 'shut up about the damn Umbra Coven nonsense,'" Plexaura agreed with a disdainful snort.
"Some of the orders seem almost angry at the thought," Daisy added. "Especially the Inquisition. I think their noses're too high in the air t' ever imagine they could have spies in their own ranks."
"It's bad for morale and appearances," said Stevan. "The Templar Grand Master has spoken to me about it, but she's not sure trying to be open about it is the right thing to do. What would the citizens think if our orders could be breached by something like the Coven?"
Caiden grunted in agreement. "Some of us have shaky enough foundations as it is," he muttered.
"Yeah, well, unfortunately for our little mission here," said Durante, a white-haired but young and handsome Inquisitor channeler who stood next to his brother, Ben, "pretty much all of us actually have to work - and not on this. I'm only here on leave, and," he shrugged, "I've already got another assignment lined up. I gotta be out of here before sundown."
"Aye, same for us," added a pair of gangly Venator wood elves with red hair - twins, Jed and Forge, conspiracy theorists if there ever were any.
"We just came because we had the opportunity," said Jed.
"We can't actually go sailing off someplace to help," Forge finished.
"That's probably a good thing," Plexaura muttered under her breath. The elf twins grinned.
"Not right now, please," Stevan sighed.
"Oy, the big boyfriend, he's jealous!" put in Jed.
Forge gave him a nudge. "Maybe we should--"
"Enough joking," Caiden ordered, so sharp and sudden that even the elf twins fell silent in an instant. Forge muttered something to Jed about the boyfriend remark being too far with 'her big brother' around, hence Caiden's interruption.
"If we have a lead," Caiden continued, "we take it. Who here has to return to duty immediately?"
Everyone gave indication they had to leave... except Drake, Ben, Plexaura, Stevan, and a few others present. Neither did a tall man standing in the corner: Kye Vakurseth, his true form veiled under the guise of a human man with raven black hair and blue eyes.
Caiden nodded silently.
"Well that leaves anyone decent out," said Jed.
"Shut your trap, eh, Jed?" Forge retorted. "Y'forgot Ben's still here. An' Caid! Gods know 'e'll punch the jaw off anythin' that deserves it."
That warranted a stifled grin from Plexaura and a laugh from Drake, while Ben's reaction was unreadable under his helm, but Stevan said, "Daisy, did you bring these two?"
"Aye, I did," Daisy said with a slight sigh, as if in regret.
"She brought us because we found a Coven spy in the Venatori," Forge said, and Jed nodded for emphasis.
"You think you did," Plexaura clarified.
"Bloody 'ell we did!" the elves said in unison.
Caiden, however, didn't indulge in the conversation. "We leave at dawn. I'll make arrangements for a ship to be in Templaria that'll take us straight to Artorius. Those of us who don't have immediate, pressing issues, we need to meet and discuss who wants to join me. This won't be an easy task, and for those of you who don't have a personal stake in this..." his eye briefly landed on Drake, passing over Kye, and then to Neitha and Marcus, "I can understand if you don't want to get involved. In fact, I recommend it."
Stevan noticed where his gaze went. "You shouldn't discourage your own friends, Caiden," said the Templar, his tone understanding. "Not if they want to help you."
"Maybe," Caiden replied - but that was all.
And, with that, he turned and strode out of the room. They were in a fairly sizable manor, though certainly not a grand castle or some personal keep, and Caiden stepped through a pair of double doors, closing them behind him. He took a deep breath and closed his eye for a moment, trying to focus... but the haze in his mind was growing. He grimaced at an unknown pain, feeling something stir beneath his skin, and he wondered...
Who could he trust? On a mission like this, he didn't want to put anyone else in danger. This was personal, no one had a stake quite like he did... even if no one in that whole room truly knew the depth of his goals. This went beyond justice. It went beyond revenge. It ascended past personal goals or noble ones, into some unknown realm of... pure fear, possibly selfishness. There were forces at work he didn't understand - and many of them were at work inside him.
Perhaps the greatest question in his mind was not one of duty, or honor, or vengeance, or justice - it was a question concerning everyone he cared about, everyone who could possibly accompany him on this mission. And that question was one that struck fear into his seemingly stone heart.
Could he trust himself?
Welcome to Chasing Shadows. This RP (and/or campaign, as I call them, as it's still a part of the persistent world, but it's its own storyline) is heavily centered around characters and character interaction. A very important disclaimer follows...
DISCLAIMER: This campaign is centered around characters, character interaction, character development, etc. It will focus in particular on one of my own characters, Caiden Voros, who has accompanied players as a NPC companion since the start of Errant. Other characters very important in the official Wulfgard canon will also play large roles. The players will take part in events in their lives and have the opportunity to influence them and their actions. However, the players are not the center of this campaign. You are not the one at the center of the action, you are not the driving force, hero, victim, or - to put all those together - protagonist. This does not mean your character is not important, but don't expect to be the one everyone is after. You will, however, have multiple opportunities to influence events and other characters - for better or for worse.
With all that said, also bear in mind that - as mentioned multiple times elsewhere - Errant runs on its own canon. None of this should be considered true to any of the official stories, nor a hint of anything to come. This is all entirely separate from official Wulfgard canon (that means any and all official stories, for sale or posted online for free, including the upcoming Echoes of the Mage-Emperor).
None of this should be taken as an indicator of things to come or things that have previously happened in any stories in existence or to exist in the future.
Therefore, you should sign up as a character you truly want to enjoy playing as and explore. This campaign will put your character's qualities to the test. You will have opportunity to influence the lives of many important characters, and you may choose how you influence them. Potentially, you could even forever change their lives in the world of Errant.
I want to stress this, and I don't mean to imply that people ever just throw sign-ups together, but I really want everyone to play as characters they will enjoy and feel confident in exploring. Feel free to get complex. Feel free to have secrets. Feel free to have no secrets and hate those who do. Take your time making your character, and make someone you're going to have a blast playing. Don't end up as a character who you just make go to sleep or stand around thinking about how bored they are and how much they don't care or sitting in a corner brooding and, in any case, adding nothing at all to the roleplay. Think of this as an opportunity for character exploration.
You can expect some adventure, mystery, action, certainly a lot of horror, and other elements in this campaign, but most of all, expect character interaction.
However, due to the nature of this campaign - which is in part a culmination of events and buildup over the course of Caiden's entire existence in Errant (and will take into account many player choices, including some from a very long time ago) - your character cannot just walk in and sign up for this adventure. This is personal. See the Character Creation Criteria for details, and please be sure to read it before you begin forming your character.
To sign-up for this RP, head on over to the sign-up thread and create your character using that. Copy-paste the sign-up sheet found at the bottom of the sign-up thread, fill it out, and post your character here in this thread.
Character Creation Criteria
First and foremost, your character must have some kind of personal investment in this mission. To elaborate: your goal is to find this tome of history and discover whether or not there's a hidden code left inside it. If there is, you are to decipher it, find the message, and use it against the Hidden - even if you have to just use the tome itself as a trap to lure them out. With that, the Hidden could potentially lead you to the Umbra Coven, as they are closely tied and the Coven desire to - essentially - snatch anything powerful from the Hidden's hands for themselves before they can acquire it.
Of course, that's just the plan... and plans never go as expected, do they?
The Umbra Coven is an organization that has its tendrils in several different orders; their goals, while believed to be similar to the Hidden, do not align with the Hidden themselves, as they are a secretive splinter organization (the Hidden's exact opinion on them is unknown, however). The Umbra Coven has spies everywhere, on both sides, and they work to influence events in their favor. They are probably mostly vampires, though they most likely have human thralls as well. They are thought to believe both magi and undead are superior to mundane humans and mortals, and they are extremely dangerous. They are (again, thought to be) led by Albertus Lysander, a relative of the ruling family of Redfield, who once attempted to overthrow the city (in Caiden's backstory). No one can confirm or deny their existence, and no proof exists about them whatsoever, only very good conjectures that no larger organization is really willing to believe. Surely the Hidden's interest in this tome will draw out the Coven as well.
A good place to start is to sign up as a member of the Venatori, Knights Templar or the Imperial Inquisition, but this is not required. You can also be independent, or a member of some other order, such as the Paladins, the Imperial Legion, or Knights of Dracon or Knights of the Star Sapphire, etc.
No matter what order you work for, however, you must have some reason to suspect that the Umbra Coven may exist and a reason to go after them. It doesn't have to be a revenge story; it could be as simple as they're evil and you want them gone. It could be that you secretly want to join them and use them to find a means to power. You could even by a Hidden spy in some other order - or alone - who somehow ingratiated yourself with this crowd enough to be here and go on the mission. You could simply be good friends with someone who is present at this meeting (Caiden, Ben, Durante, Plexaura, Stevan, Daisy, or Jed and Forge, or possibly even another player character) and who has been hunting the Umbra Coven for years. I am very open to any of those options and a lot more.
Whatever reason you have for suspecting the existence of the Umbra Coven, I want to stress that no one truly knows whether or not the Umbra Coven exists. It's a very large and sweeping theory. No one has ever outright said it exists, no one professes to work for them, and no member of them has ever been broken to even utter the name. They primarily operate out of the Hidden, as mentioned in the intro, but it is also believed by the characters in this campaign that they have spies hidden in many orders, including the Inquisition, Templars, Venatori, and more, which these orders themselves deny.
If that's still confusing, then think of it as when a spy in a spy movie believes there to be a bunch of evil double agents sowing chaos, and those double agents exist in the governments of countries all across the globe. It's a dangerous theory that no one believes because it sounds ridiculous, and they don't want to even start believing it because it's too dangerous to confirm or try to investigate due to tons of red tape and politics and danger in general. However, a few individuals do this under the radar and come together to try and take down the evil rogue agency. The Umbra Coven is something similar to that.
If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask me anything. I'm here to help. In fact, it may be best if some of you PM me ideas about how and why you came to join this group. I will tell you more info on the Umbra Coven as needed for your ideas and help you work yourself into this campaign.
For more info on these assorted factions, consult the Wulfgard wiki and the sign-up thread.
Races that are allowed must be something that can pass as a human. Note that different factions may have different restrictions; ask me for details if you're confused about any of those. Generally speaking, however, these are the races allowed in this campaign:
- Any ordinary-looking half-bloods (i.e., half-elves, half-dwarves)
Kill-on-sight, but can hide in human society:
- Mages/magi (individuals with the Gift)
- Anyone with Demonic Pact
If anyone has any monsters-hiding-among-men that I've left out (regardless of whether or not they've appeared before; remember, Errant is supposed to be very open) and you want to sign up as that, just let me know and we can try to work something out, depending on what it is.
As always, sign up as a hidden monster at your own risk. Note that, no matter which two companions accompany us in addition to Caiden, they generally won't take too kindly to inhuman things (and neither will Caiden himself). And yet hiding your true nature can be so very exciting, so no one can blame you if you want to try! Just don't be surprised if there are heavy consequences down the road.
Returning Players: I may or may not get to do a sort of prelude to this campaign within Errant itself, but regardless of whether or not I get to, essentially what is going to happen after the Veritshire campaign is that Caiden is going to receive a message and explain to the current Team Drake that he's being summoned back to Redfield on personal business. I've made intros under the assumption that these characters would willingly follow him - and after asking each of you if you'd be returning as that character.
So, those of you who are returning to this group from Team Drake, please just re-post your character's sign-up sheet. I'd like to have them all in one topic so I can make a simplified guide later after everyone's signed up. Thanks, and welcome back!
Everyone is, of course, also free to use a character from elsewhere in Errant (such as another campaign), as long as they have a reason to be here. I encourage using characters again; it's always nice to see a familiar face.
P.S.: Dalton, I wasn't really sure if Agethar would want to accompany Caiden and/or if you want to bring him back, so I didn't write him a personalized intro like I did other returning characters already in Team Drake. That doesn't mean you can't sign up as him - feel free to do so, if you want to! I just wanted to leave it up to you whether or not you want to play as him, since I wasn't entirely sure.
Posting Schedule: This is a section intended to inform me about my own posting schedule, not dictate yours to you. This is going to be fun and fairly slow-moving, so you should be able to keep up.
Big DM posts that advance the plot (and/or advance the current sidequest) will generally be posted once a week. If I can't get a DM post up one week, I'll do my best to let everyone know. If I choose not to advance the plot because there are too many interesting character interactions going on, I'll also let everyone know. But, generally speaking, the RP should update about once a week, and/or whenever all players have replied to a big DM post.
I'll be posting smaller posts much more frequently as necessary for character/NPC interactions, however, as I want to heavily encourage that sort of thing.
Campaign Pacing: This campaign will be divided up into chapters: a prologue, three chapters, and an epilogue. I have each one planned out, but there's a lot of openings for players to throw monkey wrenches into my plans (which I welcome) and you guys are going to be making a lot of choices along the way. Choices you've all made throughout Errant will also be factored very heavily into this campaign - you've been warned!
Each chapter will be slightly different than the last, somewhat in the spirit of some traditional RPG games. Expect a lot of variety in gameplay, twists and turns, and adventure, though I will also allow breaks for interaction and some downtime.
Sareth - Neitha Ardet, Sarael Raia
Burger Warrior - Percula Saffron, Rosette Saffron
Klaykid - Sef Yung Tzani
Dalton Westmoore - The Weeping Mage, Katrina Windborne
Halicon - Lord Otto of Eisenherz
Ter Loki - Javed Shahzad, Dominica Abbadelli
Lord_Capulet - Marcus Capulet