Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Here will be collected whatever mysteries and pieces of esoterica the Knights of the Bull Mirror encounter on their quests.

I.i. One of the rooms the cadets encountered during their vigil was the great hall of some other castle. It had stonework more red-brown than anything to be found in Leafehold. The knights in this hall wore blue surcoats with a griffon emblem on them (arms which have been identified with the great fallen kingdom of Diama, in the southern half of the Circle of Strife). The cadets could not hear what these knights were saying, but they seemed to be discussing the fate of one of their members, a red-haired man who seemed resigned to his fate, standing in chains at the foot of the table. His sword lay at his feet. The knights argued until their leader, a dark-haired woman, cut off all discussion with a gesture. She said something, and everyone reluctantly seemed to accept it. She stood in front of the chained man and killed him with a sword to the heart. Her sword was a twin to the one at the man's feet: ornate, and with a giant pearl for a pommel. As the red-haired man died, the pearl on the woman's sword turned black.

Also somehow present for this vision were three Red Knights, presumably viewing this as part of their own vigil. One of the cadets remembers one of these Red Knights from the war in Goodfountain, a blond man with a broken nose. The other two present are a Piraque knight with a winged helmet and a cleric with a gold tooth.

I.ii. The cadets recovered a tapestry from a hallway that looked like it was from yet another castle. The tapestry depicts four scenes from the life of a man with a receding hairline and humourous eyebrows: he wins a battle against a knight in blue armor, he marries a woman in a green dress and hood, he rides a horse while wearing a white surcoat with a kingfisher emblem on two chevrons, he looks on while men build a bridge. A signature appears at the bottom of the tapestry: "Yw. a Roscn". Elaborate knotwork patterns are all around the edges of the tapestry.

I.iii. The cadets had one other vision during their vigil, through an arrow slit at the end of a hallway. They could see a tower room in which a woman cried, her face turned away, while a man shouted at her defiantly. He was obviously sad or ashamed about something but was arguing through that. A white carafe lay broken on the floor, with a trace of some kind of liquid seeping away through the floorboards. The man had a limp and the woman wore a single grey glove.

II.i. The knights who rode to the succor of the town of Blackrats encountered a cave with a sleeping giant in it. There were many bells hanging from the ceiling of this cave. Who is the giant? How long has he been sleeping there? If the bells were rung, would he wake up? What would he do if he woke?

Quest I and Quest II: Summary

I. The Quest of the Vigil.

Several young cadets of the Bull Mirror were undergoing their final vigils to qualify as full knights of the order. While in this heightened state of holiness, they discovered a secret door in the altar that led them to several mysterious chambers, some within Leafehold, some apparently in other castles of different places and times. They have many strange experiences and finally defeat the giant glowing spider Mr. Tickles, who has infested the lower vaults of Leafehold for years. The cadets complete their vigil and are invested into the Knights of the Bull Mirror.

II. The Quest of the Rabbit-Heads.

During dinner in the great hall, Minig the maiden of Blackrats village arrives at the castle and begs for an audience. Her village is suffering raids from marauders who destroy, steal, and take people away. The marauders have the heads of rabbits. King Rixard sends a small group of knights to investigate. They arrive in Blackrats just in time to interrupt another raid. The raiders are men who wear rabbit masks to make their victims sound ridiculous. The knights pursue the raiders north through a cave that passes through a ridge; inside the cave is a sleeping giant. The knights discover the raiders' lair without waking the giant, but have to make a difficult decision: whether to engage the raiders or to investigate a man who meets them near their lair. They decide to investigate the man, and follow him back to a small castle. They discover that the castle belongs to Sir Torlon, a friend of Queen Arazandra's adviser Sir Colgren; the man they followed was Torlon's steward Snovar. It seems that Sir Torlon is sponsoring the raiders. The knights report this to Sir Aglorak, the leader of their order.

Starting Information and Character Creation

1. Basic information about the setting.

This area of the world is known as the Circle of Strife. It's a ring-shaped area of land full of tiny kingdoms who are often at war with each other. In the centre of the circle is a haunted moor, and at the centre of that is the ruined ancient city of Godchester. The Circle of Strife is surrounded by, starting at twelve o'clock and going clockwise, the Forest Sauvage (to the north), the Chopped Lands (northeast), the Furious Ocean (east), the Starving Swamp (southeast), the Towering Wolds mountain range (south and southwest), and the dragon-infested Ashlands (west and northwest).

You, the player characters, live in the kingdom of Goodfountain-and-Oakpledge. That's actually two kingdoms stuck together, which only happened recently. Goodfountain had been a relatively prosperous kingdom, partly because of its lucrative port on the Furious Ocean. But Goodfountain's enemies went to war against it, and won. Goodfountain had to sue for peace, and gave up the town of Goodport.

The loss of Goodport put Goodfountain in a very disadvantageous position compared to their enemies, so the king, Rixard II, had to do something to strengthen them. So he negotiated a marriage to the queen of Oakpledge, Arazandra, far to the west, on the edge of the Forest Sauvage.

During the wedding ceremony, the officiating priest of Omno had a visitation in which he spoke with the voice of the god. He commanded the king and queen to move their court to Leafehold, one of the minor castles of Oakpledge, right by the forest, and to found a new order of knighthood there to carry out Omno's will in the world.

So the king left his seneschal, Sir Benisor, in charge of everything in Goodfountain and moved everyone to Leafehold. Leafehold is a big sprawling castle that has been almost abandoned for a long time. The only one living there was an old castellan who lived in the gatehouse and who got a few local lads (the castle is right across a small river from the hamlet of Leafethorp) to oil the gates every now and then and keep the rat population down. You all moved into this castle a few months ago and are still working to get the place in shape.

One of the towers of Leafehold is connected to the rest of the castle by a long arm of curtainwall reaching to the east; it commands one the only place where the river's fordable. This tower is larger than it needs to be and the king has given it to the new order of knighthood for use as a chapterhouse. Sir Aglorak, the commander, has named the order, "The Knights of the Bull Mirror", after the unusual altar to Omno they found in a little chapel in the tower.

2. Languages Spoken in the Circle of Strife.
  • Omnic (aka Common), spoken by most people
  • The Old Tongue (aka Halfling), spoken by halflings and some people in way-back-in-the-hills villages
  • Piraque, spoken by the people of the coastal town of Kirok, settled by dark-skinned refugees from a distant land
  • Batja, spoken by the northern barbarians of the Chopped Lands
  • Orcish
  • Draconic
  • Giant
  • Sylvan
3. Gods Worshipped in the Circle of Strife.
  • Omno - the principal god of this part of the world, worshipped by basically almost everyone
  • the Green Singer and the Lord of Ants and the Lady of Autumn and the Winter Darkfish - this is the Piraque pantheon worshipped by the people of Kirok
  • Isole, the Lady of Sorrow - this goddess was wronged by Omno long ago and this is why the curse of endless strife lies on the land. The people of the Circle know of Isole but few worship her
  • Crim, the Red King - a new god to the area; he's the patron of power and tyranny. The kings he wins to his worship become known as the Red Dukes. It was an alliance of Red Dukes who defeated Goodfountain in the recent war
  • the Celtic pantheon - the same kinds of humans who speak the Old Tongue may also worship the Celtic pantheon, Dagda and the Morrigan and all that; look 'em up yourself
4. Character Classes and Races.

Player Characters in the Circle of Strife are human, halfling, or half-orc.

They can be of any class. It is expected that all PCs will be members of the Knights of the Bull Mirror. Here's how that works for the different character classes.

The church of Omno has various orders of service that people can enter. They include:
  • the Order of St. Celot - warriors sworn to fight for the church, such as fighters, rangers, barbarians, or soldiers
  • the Order of St. Bretalia - holy warriors. Paladins, basically
  • the Order of St. Dare - artisans, tradesmen, or anyone else sworn to serve the church through mundane skills... but this can also include rogues, bards, fighters, rangers, barbarians, or spies
  • the Order of St. Jacovar - scholars, friars, monks of all kinds; this can also include wizards, warlocks, sorcerers, or druids
  • the Order of St. Plenin - clerics, both adventuring-type and non-spellcasting
The Knights of the Bull Mirror mostly have members of the Orders of St. Celot and St. Bretalia, but other types are certainly possible and permissible. PCs are encouraged to play fighters and paladins if they want to... but they don't have to.

Note that cleric and paladin PCs most likely came with the king from Goodfountain, while ranger and druid PCs most likely were already in Oakpledge. PCs of other classes can choose freely where they're from.

Clerics of Omno can choose from the domains of Life, Light, and War.

Player characters who don't fit into this Arthurian theme are also possible; they could be from the town of Kirok, or they could be travellers from much farther away. It is expected, though, that all player characters will be Knights of the Bull Mirror, from one order or another.