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Libra wrote: I would prefer to imagine instead that on the Savage Worlds of Charles Phipps, Evil has a clear edge over the White Hats - but not an invincible one, even absent the intervention of Our Heroes - or, to put it another couple of ways, Our Heroes are in at the ground floor to help Alacarn drag itself up out of Eternal Darkness by it's bootstraps and stop the Villains of the Stellar Cloak before they truly dominate the Galaxy (A bit like being able to head off Palpatine before he really got started on his domination of the Galaxy).
To put it in perspective, I see the worlds of the Winterweir/Black Hole multiverse as dark, but not yet wholly rotten or corrupted, if still permanently balancing on the edge of a knife; honestly it helps me wrap my head around them more comfortably than if they were entirely Doomed to Unspeakable Horror without Our Heroes.
Libra wrote:In her youth, Karmeera D'Traym's absolute conviction that she had it in her to become a Goddess fit to be ranked with or just plain overshadow any amongst the ranks of Kalinka's Twelve would sadly not have been as uncommon as it probably should be (The Aristocracy of Alacarn being what it is), but would still have been considered delusional, if not outright insane.
Libra wrote:Given that High Queen Karmeera is the most absolute tyrant in the history of Vokelstein's Royal House and, as the only Vampire Queen since the destruction of the first at the point of Ebonbane, very probably the most powerful single Vampire in the history of the Continent, these days her power is such that it is difficult to tell if she's still blatantly insane or if she has truly become so powerful that her delusion has passed through madness to become a kind of truth.
Libra wrote:If she actually cared in the slightest about Brother Shadowspawn's dream of making Vokelstein the first stepping stone towards the release of the Crimson King, the Foundations of Alacarn might well start to crumble - thankfully she doesn't care to serve anything beyond her own vanity, appetites and ambition, the latter of which has long since been assuaged by her assumption of the rule of Vokelstein as something very like a Tyrannical Demi-Goddess.
Libra wrote:After all Carnella is well aware that, as an Aristocrat Born and a being convinced she is a GOD, it's the business of inferiors and servants to do the dirty work - if only so that SHE can have her 'Fun' undiluted by effort afterwards.
Libra wrote:I'm planning to do a write-up for 'Brother Shadowspawn' and may even manage to slot in Alfred D'Heller (since I seem to be in a bit of a Vokelstein mood at the moment).
Lucien D'Dragoth has been stabbing Allies and Enemies in the back for so long that it sometimes seems to forget that one can simply go for the jugular instead - as you might expect, this can be a problem for a Vampire.
On a more serious note, Lucien D'Dragoth, an unnatural creature who predates the Empire of Alacarn (albeit only just, having been born into approximately the same generation as it's creator), a beast who has outlived that Empire by centuries and been a master of every subtle art of treachery for just as long.
Fired to an unholy pitch of passionate commitment by his zealotry, a past master of the shadowy underworld which is his chosen battleground and the all the tool neccessary to dominate it, there is very little that can stop him on his chosen ground.
At the top of this short list is his own paranoid fears - fear no longer for his own person, but at the mere prospect that not only might his plans end in failure, they might be less than perfect in theory, in concept and in execution. In the course of his desperate efforts to ensure that his plans are nothing less than perfect Brother Shadowspawn has been known to switch methods, means, agents, short-term goals, outward appearance (although it must be noted that his love for an occult discipline which permits him to twist flesh and bone to his whim means this is seldom stable in any case).
At the height of this madness, even his own patterns of behaviour change like the tide (one instant stalking predator, the next fearsome demagogue, then strangely compelling private gentlemen of monstrous aspect) - only his style remains changeless, pitch-black voice, bestial cunning, graceful craft and absolute conviction knitted into the most charismatic of horrific monsters, a shadowy eminence in Vokelstein and to only slightly lesser degree in the underworld of Alacarn as a whole.
While this unpredictable approach has taken his enemies utterly by surprise, it has also cost him a series of victories where his obsession with perfection in theory has cost him success in practice. It's also noteable that on occasion this paranoia has risen to the point where he will take point on an operation better suited to the talents of another agents, which seldom help at all.
There's also the fact that, as one of the oldest and most storied Vampires on Alacarn, his banes (the weaknesses which as a Vampire circumscribe his every moment) are correspondingly well-known; this leaves him just as hideously vulnerable as one might expect, despite his long experience of minimising any risk he may be exposed to them and their effects upon his plans.
There are heroes in the world but it's mostly about trying to prevent the world from getting worse.
Medieval Wolfram and Hart rules Alacarn, not the Master or Angelus.
Ah, hubris. It's what goes best with dinner.
Given Ebonbane is sentient (and not QUITE as evil as Stormbringer), he hates leaving a job unfinished.
He'd honestly love to test himself against her but his wielders tend to be weak-minded fools easily destroyed by the power inside of him.
Contrary to expectations, Ebonbane WANTS a strong personality wielding him since he's grown too powerful for any Non-PC to wield safely.
It's a mixed blessing Evil vs. Evil is the rule in Alacarn - otherwise the ranks of the Dark Side would really spread.
A very nice summary of her character - Bravo!
What made Alfred D'Heller the man he is today?
In a word? Curiosity. From his earliest years Alfred wanted to KNOW and figured out at an early age that the best way to learn was to ask questions of Everyone and about Everything, including the answers - truly insatiable his curiosity even led him to (carefully and very politely) ask questions of individuals outside his bloodline. Do you know what he learned?
That people are most often just like OTHER people no matter how different one might have been led to expect them to be. Given this bit of knowledge and the answers his insatiable curiosity had helped him garner, Alfred found it impossible to muster the indifference to the fate of those not of his bloodline that permitted much of Modern Vokelstein to go about it's business without being driven to suicide or worse yet to madness - his decision to become a Medical Man (or as he prefers it a Medicine Man) came about to a great degree because this was one of the few ways he could remain affable towards everyone and ask questions no-one knew the answers to as an adult, without being pilloried (or worse).
In all honesty his patience was often tried during this time, especially by the stubborn paranoia his own neighbours directed each other and the chafing restriction this put on EVERYONE, to the point where he removed himself to live in seclusion, deep in the forest (learning the skills of a Woodman which he would later hone to a razor's edge).
In the end, however, Alfred always returned to them, mostly because whatever their faults they were his people and he wanted to help better their lives, help them better themselves no matter how small the degree of change. He married and that marriage bore fruit and he put down such roots that amongst his people that he could not imagine living without them, whatever their faults.
Then the Vampires came to take a daughter of the village for their 'Game' - he joined with her father in refusal and actually slew one of the creatures, saving her soul and even her life, if only for a little while. The Village rallied 'round the family and at his own suggestion refused to see them exiled, previously the customary fate for those who had been marked by the Vampire. It was the proudest moment of his life.
Then the Vampires came again - the Village fought, the Village died and only Alfred was left alive, so that he might carry word of all that had occurred, above all details of the fate that had struck those who had resisted their masters, denied Home but granted safe passage so that this word might be carried to the very farthest corners of Vokelstein.
Alfred did so, although he did not omit the destruction of Vampires nor the gallantry of his fallen Neighbours. He wandered all of Vokelstein, saw how it sickened in the grip of the parasites which had infected it, saw Horrors as they circled the Burgs like the corpse-eaters they were, saw all the Evil which these creatures worked - Alfred D'Heller saw much that was rotten in the State of Vokelstein and resolved to excise as much of it as he might before his Homeland was poisoned to death and died as his Homestead had.
He dedicated what remained of his lifetime to this cause and to the people of Vokelstein; he swore that he would heal as many of the woes of the Vokelstein-folk as he might or die trying.
He isn't dead yet and he's done a lot of good; his curiosity has uncovered those who are afflicted and ferreted out the weaknesses with which he might destroy those that afflicted them, his experience as a surgeon and woodsman gave him the skills so necessary to exploit this weakness and evade vengeance thereafter, his habits of compassion and kindness have won him allies - though not always friendship, for his very kindness forbids him to mark any soul or settlement as a target by making a new home amongst them.
Alfred D'Heller has on the whole been content with the lifestyle of a forest hermit, has been content to grow into a kindly, eccentric soul in his solitude, gentle in the main - yet capable of such utter ruthlessness towards the Monsters that sicken Vokelstein as can chill even the Vampire.
Alfred still asks questions, of himself, of others and of the World. Someday the answers he so carefully records will change it for the better; he trusts because if there is anything his questions have taught him it's that to answer with trust is to give room for a better reply than most.
Charles Phipps wrote:His battle sex, Skull Reaper, is a sacred relic of the Bathas he recovered from a Daemon's tomb.
Great write-up libra.
Alfred is nicely done (very much not just a Van Helsing EXPY) and so is Brother Shadowspawn (a character which could have been very cheesy)
two thumbs up.
In the Bathas kingdoms there was one gladiator who stood above all the rest in terms of battle prowess, Koris Bloodreaver (not his real name but gladiators are meant to be showmen).
Koris, eventually, discovered just how disposable a commodity he was when he had his ax poisoned by a rival so he could take a dive in a fight against a captured Drake.
Koris, of course, promptly swore blood vengeance against the entire Gladiator's Guild. Rather than depend on the law (pishaw) to protect them, the Gladiator's Guildmasters fled and left Koris with the uncomfortable job of tracking them across the surface of Alacarn.
A bloodthirsty, hard-drinking, hard-eating, hard-a-lot of things psychotic Bathas was an odd choice for ending up recruiting the rather posh Winterweir ministrel, Ser Kevan, but this occurred not long after Koris' arrival in the future.
(over a minor matter of a dirty song he wasn't aware would be taken as political libel)
While Koris has picked up a somewhat brutish trade tongue
Contrary to the usual mercenary companies, the two usually end up drastically changing the course of conflicts due to Kevan's unusual way of thinking (informed by genre saviiness* of all things) and Koris' near-invincibility as a warrior. Yes, poor Kevan is a hero now and so is Koris, considered an intrepid duo of monster-hunters due to Kevan's own ballads about them that have spread like wildfire.
Yes, Gods help them, they've become heroes.**
His battle axe, Skull Reaper, is a sacred relic of the Bathas he recovered from a Daemon's tomb.
Kevan, on the other hand, is pretty much the definition of a Winterweir dandy.
His willingness to cheat to survive and make use of every advantage possible, albeit not to the level of Koris also helps him survive to grow stronger.
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