A cold wind blows over the Blackrock Foothills, word has it. The shepherds, hobbling along the goat trails, nearly bent double over their crooks, say it’s an omen. Then again, the shepherds are prone to claiming a grave portent every time the setting sun dyes the sky blood red, or if the herd is late to pasture. They are by their very nature a superstitious bunch, and many a shepherd’s story has been told to a chorus of laughs in the tavern. Yet when the sun sets and darkness reigns, the townsfolk scurry to lamplight and locked doors. People speak in hushed tones of men going missing in the night, only to be found stripped of their flesh in the hills the next morning. Growls and moans far off in the darkness keep the guards gripping their spears under the flickering flame of torches.
Midshire, the largest settlement within a day’s travel of Blackrock Foothills, is plagued daily by rumours and hearsay spread by travellers and traders on their way to the lush plains of the northwest, or more infrequently the caravan folk returned from lucrative bartering with the mountain dwarves. They speak of living dead, creatures of foul necromantic origin that shamble across the foothills in search of flesh. One caravan guard told the enraptured tavern-goers how they fought off five– nay, ten! – of the shambling dead that stumbled upon their camp in the night, losing one of the other guards in the vicious battle that followed. Refugees from the outlying towns begin to stream into Midshire, first a trickle – two or three families in a week – then a flood, with ten or fifteen folk a day coming to make camp in the safety of the town.
The terror of the dead in the hills has gripped the region. Midshire has neither the facilities nor supplies to maintain the refugees, who refuse to return to their farms and hamlets further up the Blackrock Foothills. The call is put out for aid, although in these times little can be spared for an insignificant town so far from the capital. Several Hunters’ Guild members trek into the foothills in an attempt to contain the threat. Three days pass with no word, thus it assumed they too were overwhelmed. Although the situation is stable in the town, the coming winter may buckle the back of the already strained reserves. In private the leading heads of the town resolve to contact what may be their last hope.
One of the eldest priests of Demeter recalls a compound that, in another time of distress in years long past, the Venatori had used as a base of operations and secret training ground. It is a matter of some debate, but eventually it is agreed that there is no other avenue they can pursue. An emissary is sent to the compound. He is told to memorise the location, carrying with him no evidence, and to consider his mission to be of the utmost secrecy. There are many within the Empire who would hunt down and destroy the Venatori, or at least attempt to, if they knew the sites of their otherwise hidden safe houses. The message is delivered safely with no word of approval in return from the mysterious hunters, and upon the messengers return all the people of Midshire can do is wait .. and hope.
Although they do not know it, the Venatori already travel to the compound for other, more sombre reasons. One of the eldest – and wisest - of their order is rapidly deteriorating in health, the wounds and scars of his long life mounting a painful and slow decline towards death. As is the tradition of the Venatori, those who are able rush to be at his side, to be at peace with him upon his death and to resolve the order’s next course of action in the wake of it. It is the same regardless of whether a Venator is struck by monster’s claw or illness. The available hunter-pairs make the journey to the compound, with the elder’s partner already in silent vigil over his bed. And thus marks the first steps towards the cold wind of the foothills..
You will be playing as one of the Venatori, the mysterious and secretive order of monster hunters funded by the Empire since the age of the shifters. Many have not heard of them, or think of the hunters as a fanciful children's tale. Others fear them, thinking their magic and alchemy a force of evil. This RP will not only be about monster hunting, also including espionage and intrigue as the players search Midshire and the Blackrock Foothills for the dark forces that have brought the blight of the walking dead - and other, more terrifying creatures - upon the region. There are six spots available at present, which may expand if there's enough interest.
Name: [Appropriate to your species and ethnicity, naturally. It is not unusual for Venatori to operate under a mononym, or even an assumed title (think along the lines of ‘Strider’ from Lord of the Rings) to keep a veil of anonymity.]
Age: [It’s not exactly a part-time job, so many Venatori have been monster hunting for decades. Others are newer recruits. Point is, ages run the gamut from young to old.]
Gender: [Males naturally make up more of the Venatori, but females have been members in the past even if it is reasonably uncommon.]
Race: [The Venatori don’t discriminate, and allow Imperials, Northerners, Southerners, elves and dwarves and those of mixed heritage. The only stipulation is that no matter your race, you act in the interests of the Empire and its citizens.]
Physical Description: [Venatori are typically in peak physical condition, but come in all shapes and sizes. Describe everything sans clothing and armour about them. If you use a picture, you still have to fill in this section.]
Outfit Description: [The Venatori are gifted deepsilver chainmail upon acceptance into the order, but otherwise clothe themselves according to their own taste. Many prefer understated, concealing garments. Describe everything they wear.]
Equipment: [With power comes responsibility, and cool gadgets. The Venatori do not shy from utilising magical trinkets or potions to aid them in battle, as well as gear expected of any traveller. Don’t overpower them; I will okay all magical equipment you describe.]
Weapons: [Traditionally, the weapon of the Venatori is the silver sword – both a symbol of station and a deadly blade. They are often proficient in other weapons in tandem, as well as being skilled marksmen. Again, not too powerful or it’ll be nixed.]
Skills: [Although all Venatori are proficient warriors, it is natural that some excel in certain areas, such as alchemy, the bow or the blade, tracking or monster identification. It doesn't have to be extensive, just an idea of their skillset]
Personality: [Despite their reputation for seriousness, the Venatori aren’t all gruff silent types. They’re still people, with emotions and motivations, and this should be conveyed in the sign up.]
Partner: [It is tradition for Venatori to pair with another hunter, who will be their partner until death. Although a sense of brotherhood is shared throughout the order, the dynamic between partners is different. You should explain the relationship in this section. Organise this amongst yourselves.]
Biography: [Training generally starts young, but talented hunters may be recruited later in their lives. Venatori come from all walks of life and various regions, so you should explain how they came to be a member of the order.]
Here's a coded version:
[b]Name:[/b] [b]Age:[/b] [b]Gender:[/b] [b]Race:[/b] [b]Physical Description:[/b] [b]Outfit Description:[/b] [b]Equipment:[/b] [b]Weapons:[/b] [b]Skills:[/b] [b]Personality:[/b] [b]Partner:[/b] [b]Biography:[/b]
Thanks for reading, now get to signing up!