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Ordeith

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☩ Century's Labyrinth ☩

The Forest Without End
____________________________________________



The branches open like a maw, embracing the path from all sides. You step inside a tunnel of leafless, gnarled wood.
Not an inch of sky is visible between the branches; light and sound disappear behind you.

For a moment, you consider turning back. The journey, once begun, cannot be stopped.
Are you willing to live in darkness and silence? Will you chance a lifetime of wandering?

The forest swells around you, and the path blurs. Ahead of you, the Groundsman awaits.

His skin is craggy gray; his eyes, milky white. His beard, thick with moss and fungus, twines around his ankles. Wordlessly, he extends his hands to you—cupped together, to hold something fragile and precious. Hesitation flies from your chest. You place your hand within his two, as per your instructions. A burning in your fingertips—a separation in your chest—and the Groundsman speaks.

"May your light serve you well, Seeker." Hanging from his craggy gray hands, a lamp.
It is no larger than your hand from wrist to fingertips. Inside it, your soul burns softly.

"Hail, Seeker of the Mantle," the Groundsman says. "At your approach may every knee bend."

Shining your lamp onto the path, you enter the Labyrinthine Wood.
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☩ BACKGROUND ☩

For one-thousand years, the Labyrinthine Wood has appeared at the turn of each century, issuing a challenge to mankind's heroes. It springs from the ground in a single night, and its location has always been unpredictable. Scholars and magi have tried in vain to predict its next appearance, or for how long it will stay. It has once remained in place for three decades; another time, it disappeared after only two years, to reemerge at the dawn of the next century.

True to its name, however, it cannot be mapped or measured in any way. The trees shift according to an unseen will, and the laws of the physical world cease to hold sway. No one who enters is ever seen again.

Why venture inside at all? Why send champions and armies into its maw? Why build an entire city around the wood, each time it appears?

The Labyrinthine Wood is said to contain the Mantle of Heaven, a garment worn by God himself. Its owner is recognized as God's steward among men, and will be granted reign over all the world. To this end, entire generations have thrown their lives into the Labyrinthine Wood. Rulers and their champions—from every corner of the world—put their mettle to this final, ultimate test. They cede their souls to the Groundsman, obtain their lanterns, and hunt for the most precious Mantle...

MAGIC

This century's labyrinth has stood for eighteen years, more than enough time for the closest settlements to become bustling townships all. As with previous "host cities," these cities of the Essex region have become hubs of magical activity, a direct response to the influx of Mantle-Seekers. Magic—that is, the manipulation of the natural elements—is largely considered an educated man's pursuit, to be tinkered with in the halls of a university. The Seekers have bastardized it, making it easy and accessible for those hunting the Mantle:

Rather than using a natural power source, such as a controlled chemical flame, Seekers use the light of their soul lamps to temporarily feed a spell. The longer the spell's incantation and duration, the longer one's strength is diminished; the more complex the spell, the longer the incantation. One can summon a wind with but a few words, but the direction and strength of the wind will be entirely random.

Every specification normally requires a specially-formulated phrase—but some profit-seeking magicians have taken up selling tomes of premade spells, for any given situation. They come at a high cost, of course, and few buyers realize that the spells within are very long and taxing to cast.

____________________________________________

☩ MECHANICS ☩

Spoiler Spoiler Show
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Ordeith

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☩ RULES ☩

1. Standard roleplaying rules apply. No god-modding, powerplaying, or anything of that nature. This still applies to random events.

2. Please try to post actively. This roleplay has been constructed with only a skeleton plot; the fleshed-out content is entirely of your making.

3. Keep random events to a reasonable frequency. They're to be used sparingly -- but freely, if that makes any sense.

4. Unlike past roleplays, I will not deny anyone based on their experience. You need only complete the character template according to each field's requirements.

5. This setting, while fictitious, is comparable to the mid-1500s of our real world. Magic and advanced technology exist in low-fantasy levels; the forest is rife with them, but they're hardly commonplace outside.

____________________________________________

☩ TEMPLATE & ROSTER ☩
Spoiler Spoiler Show

[TABLE]Roleplayer | Character | Random Event 1 | Random Event 2
Ordeith | Ser Leo Burgraf | A visit from famed Mantle-Seeker, Ser Arthur the Hawk | -----
----- | ----- | ----- | -----[/table]
 
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Ordeith

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Hello, everybody! It seems that we're in need of new roleplays, so I whipped this one up in a jiffy. The plot is minimal at best, so this RP will be what we make of it. (That seems to be the current idea...)

No one who fills out a proper template will be rejected -- so jump right in!
 

Ordeith

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About the abilities, I'm wondering just what we have to 'work with.'
Goodness, I'm sorry for letting this question sit unanswered for so long. Final exams have me jumping through hoops at the moment, but I promise to clarify several points in the OP soon. I'd actually forgotten to add an entire paragraph's worth of information to the "Background" section...
 

Ordeith

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I've allowed this to sit for far too long...
Better late than never, I suppose.

A section on magic has been added, explaining in loose terms how it will work. Magic will ultimately be a supplement to one's skills—unless your character deals only in magic, with all its effects and repercussions.

The section of the template titled "Abilities" has been changed to "Proficiencies," to perhaps give a clearer idea of what I mean by it. I'm asking less for special perks than I am for your character's fundamental skills; the ability to use a weapon skillfully, to communicate with animals well, etc. Hopefully this will become clearer when I post my character's template.


So, as I said, I'm just throwing this out for consideration—something quick and easy-ish.
 
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Ordeith

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I hope this first template offers some clues about the type of characters/powers that fit. I wasn't even aware of how long it ran, though. Templates don't need to be this long-winded...

If you'd like to see an example of a magic-user, I can provide one easily enough.

_____________________________________________________________

Name: Ser Leopold Burgraf, called Leo

Age: 26

Gender: Male

Appearance: Ser Leopold cuts a fine figure indeed, keeping himself groomed and polished as if he were still serving at his lord's side. He stands at about 5'10", in the peak of physical condition. His reddish-blond hair never passes the nape of his neck, and his goatee stays neatly trimmed. For a man who has spent five years trekking the forest, his hygiene is commendable. Sharp and handsome besides, Ser Leo wins many an admiring glance—even in the Labyrinthine Wood. His dark blue eyes flash danger and courage; the younger adventurers take heart in that gaze, while the veterans scoff.

But even if he were ugly, and took no care in his physical upkeep, he would still look every part a knight. As a former bodyguard to Graf Dietrich, and representative of Duke Arnulf, his armor and weapons are of superior make. Leo wears a silvery coat of mail, forged with metal refined by alchemical means. His boots are hard leather; his gloves are moleskin. Over it all, Ser Leo's surcoat—dark green, with a brilliant red torch upon the breast—is a worthy sight indeed. No one could mistake its wearer as anything other than a knight of the Hessian Empire.

Equipment: Ser Leo's weapon of choice is a long estoc sword, with parrierhaken (parrying hooks) halfway down the blade. He also carries a hunting knife, a longbow, and arrows fletched himself. His miscellaneous items are held in a lightweight leather satchel.

Proficiencies: An excellent swordsman with thrusting swords, particularly the long-bladed estoc. He can hit a still target with his longbow, making it useful for hunting but little else. Ser Leo's skills in tracking and navigation were learned by experience rather than training; he knew little upon entering the Labyrinthine Wood. He has cast magic before, but prefers not to rely on it.

Place of Origin: The Burgundy Crescent, a state in the Hessian Empire. Its name is derived from the arc of mountains that form part of its norther border. Known as a region of considerable wealth, it is home to the famous (or infamous) Duke Arnulf, whose patronage to the magical arts has served the empire well.

Personality: Ser Leopold is proud and vain, to be sure—but his pride is tempered by kindness and goodwill. For every compliment he offers himself, he offers a word of encouragement to fellow Mantle-Seekers. His is a spirit of camaraderie and cooperation. Anyone not opposed to the Duke is a welcome companion, worthy of aid from His Grace's knight. Ser Leo will do everything in his power to deliver his allies from harm, making a great show of chivalry.

That is, it would be a show, were the sentiment not so earnest; he holds knighthood and the knightly vows above all things. Perhaps he feels obligated to help, given what became of his first companions...?

It should also be noted that Ser Leo is very fond of swordplay and contest; while his tongue is smooth and easygoing, his sword unsheathes with remarkable ease. His willingness to fight seems almost childish, but this bravado belies a greater cunning that most cannot see.

Brief Background: Noble-born, Leopold Burgraf entered the knighthood proper at seventeen, as part of Graf Dietrich's honor guard. His duties were mostly ceremonial, until a brief civil uprising sent the Graf's men to Duke Arnulf's aid. Ser Leo's training, fueled by his love of swordplay, paid well: Leading the Graf's soldiers in an independent strike against the enemy, he not only won the day, but did so by besting their leader in single combat.

His deeds hardly went unnoticed by Duke Arnulf, who invited the atheling knight to serve at his court. Ser Leo gladly accepted. He lived in the Duke's keep until he was twenty-one years old, gradually climbing the hierarchy of lords and knights. Young Lord Burgraf did very well for himself in those few years—until it all fell to wrack and ruin. A falling-out with his former liege, Graf Dietrich, led to grave accusations being leveled against him. If he wished to retain his honor, only one path lay open to him:

He elected to join the Hessian Empire's yearly tribute to the Hunt for the Mantle, thereby erasing all crimes and accusations against his name. That year's band of knights styled itself the "Knights of the Red Torch," carrying the empire's light into the lawless unknown.

They departed with great ceremony, to trumpets raised and banners unfurled. After three years in the Labyrinthine Wood, the company was nearly defunct. The first year saw the desertion of all the true criminals, who had joined in order to escape the headsman's axe. The second year saw the deaths of every knight who knew neither fear nor wisdom—including the band's initial leader. By winter of the third year, the Knights of the Red Torch had been reduced to five in number, Ser Leo Burgraf among them.

Following a bandit raid, he was the only Knight of the Red Torch alive. But rather than forsake the empty symbol, he made it his own: Ser Leo is now determined to make a name as the Knight of the Red Torch, to attain honor that the group never had. These past two years have been spent doing exactly that, searching for the Mantle all the while.

Miscellaneous: Character Theme - The Brave Survivor
 
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