Monday, 13 March 2017

A Handful of Hermits

Homeless-ass motherfuckers get EVERYWHERE.

In any Knightly tale its almost invariable that the Knight will, at some point, be either dispossessed, wounded, exiled, robbed, mistaken for a woman and/or driven mad.

At these times they will almost always come upon an 'Ermite in the woods who will usually take them in and let them rest with few, or no, questions asked.



Charcoal Burner - Dark and mystical figures treated with suspicion and awe by churls. Charcoal burners spend a long time out in the ash woods carefully and continually observing their charcoal piles and muttering apocalyptic prophesies.


Outlaw - A "Sprouting Jack" or "Green Thomas". Not all outlaws wear green or pay fealty to the Spring Court, most are just escaped pickpockets and small criminals that ran for it and ended up in the woods, but many, especially the outlaw leaders, will claim some kind of loyalty to a greater cause. After all, it costs nothing and makes you look good. Better the deposed son of a a noble knight still loyal to an ancient warrant to a ruined court than John Pigglesworth, debt-ridden ex-bowyer. The Inquisition can only hang you once! (This is, in fact, not true. If you annoy them enough, the Inquisition will hang you as many times as they like.)


Lunatic "Poor Tom" - One of that narrow class of person in the Eclipsed Kingdom who's visions, delusions or mental fevers are strong or un-charismatic enough to make them useless to even the most cracked and deranged half-elf court, but also not severe enough to stop them from somehow surviving in the wild.


Witch (not necessarily a croneish one) - Witchcraft is standardised in the Eclipsed Kingdom. As the Black Church does not recognise the validity of any Earthly faith, the demons, devils and dark spirits which prey upon that faith are not regarded with any systematic abjuration. They are as inane as angels. The church has no strong objection to anyone selling their soul becasue it regards the soul as an illusion. The greatest Devils and Demons are thought of as nothing more than the spiritual equivalents of ranting conspiracy theorists, raging against an imaginary order that does not truly exist, bending aeons of effort and unceasing hatred towards the destruction of a divine hierarchy which is itself merely a breath of air.

Devils, Daemons and similar spirits are objected to only when their activities interfere with the reasonable running of the Kingdom and of the Church. The most powerful can be dangerous in certain circumstances and should be avoided or controlled appropriately.

Anyone in the Eclipsed Kingdom may indulge themselves in Witchcraft and Demonology if they think they can get away with it. Even church members may do so, though above a certain level of it is considered a rather shameful and childish hobby and a true servant of the church should really direct their efforts towards God.

Consequently Devils and Daemons are (relatively) common, ranging from the sardonic and urbane Devil of the court to the hairy-arsed goatfucking type that hides under bridges and steals pigs.


Fey-Dazzled - in love with a tree or rock or bird (1 in 6 chance if a real fey and they are actually married). This person has abandoned human society to live in connubial bliss with an aspect of the local environment. Trees are common but any discreet element, such as a stream, could be the object of their affection. Other than their sincere relationship with this aspect of the natural world, they may be a completely reasonable person, though they may sneak out of their shack in the night to fuck a tree, and will become utterly enraged if anyone interferes with their 'spouse'.


Astronomer -  Astronomers in the Eclipsed Kingdom concern themselves mainly with the Observation of Azathoth, rather than with observation of the stars (which are merely his dream). An Astronomers hermitage is likely to contain an extremely simple jury-rigged camera obscura which can project the image of god onto the walls. The astronomer will keep reams of records on valuable vellum or simply scratched onto the walls themselves, recording the horrible shifting movements of the limbs of Azathoth, as much as they may be perceived. Most Astronomers think they are close to uncovering a secret code which will indicate some cosmic meaning. Ultimately, they all commit suicide.


Goatherd - Cunning, wizened and crafty from outwitting Goats, the goatherd is a creature of twisted suspicion and murmuring fear, yet, also attains an imperious and kingly aspect towards their own goats when their rule is threatened. A well-fed goat is much more intelligent than the average churl and, having mastered the society of such creatures Goatherds form a Machiavellian peasant intelligentsia.


Shepherd - Frantic, tired, harried and depressed from dealing with the stupidity of sheep the Shepherd would probably rather be doing almost anything else. Sheep cough like men, butt your knees and seemingly want to die. They are regularly eaten by any kind of predator. The owner of the sheep is never the Shepherd and the Shepherd lives in continual moronic terror of their master when they find out that yet another dumb fucking sheep has got itself killed. A Shepherd is impossible to persuade for the finer aspects of their intellect have melted away under the caustic stupidity of the sheep, leaving only an immeasurable horror, but they are relatively easy to terrify as the exercise of power over the sheep has taught them that only brutal and relentless whacking with a stick can force the idiotic masses into anything like sane and decent behaviour. As above, so below.


Swineherd - The friendly and likeable swineherd forms and easy compact with their porcine wards. The pig is a sensitive and civilised creature, crafty of nose and susceptible to reasonable policy. Most swineherds really like their pigs and will discuss their different personalities and capabilities at length. They will wander through the woods looking for mushrooms and truffles and can occasionally make serious money through recovery of a rare specimen, this is money that they always lose through some peasant misadventure.


Egg-Thief - Despite, or perhaps becasue of, the fact that birds do not legally exist in the Eclipsed Kingdoms, the theft of eggs from bird nests is extremely illegal, the eggs being, almost literally, creations of unreasonable beings. Of course as soon as an egg does hatch, the result becomes invisible to the senses of a god-fearing individual, but up until that point it is a form pregnant with unspeakable horror, a shape and object emerging from an impossible and un-nameable potentiality and, in time, re-producing exactly such a Nightmare Being. Eggs are the currency of crime in the Eclipsed Kingdom and to be paid in eggs is the true seal of a rogue, outlaw and heretic. He who caresses an egg puts himself forever beyond the forgiveness of God or King.


Mad Knight - Knights go mad more easily than common men, for the substance of their thought is finer and nobler, more sensitive the the manifold complexities of the dream of God, and also is their burden and honour so much the greater, having the bear the mighty weight of a noble name and, perhaps, even the safety and survival of the Kingdom entire. It should not come as a surprise that they commonly throw off their clothes and run into the forest to live in a ditch.

A Mad Knight can be distinguished from a "Poor Tom" chiefly by their still-significant combat capacity and by the marks of martial training and experience still visible upon their body. They commonly go naked or in rags and are usually mute, miming a childish dumb-play to communicate. They will have thrown away their armour but their sword they will have hidden somewhere secret nearby. It's likely that someone is looking for the Mad Knight for reasons either good or ill.


Peasant Protagonist - This individual usually has some kind of complex but inane problem of  the kind distinct to churls, like trying to trick a devil out of a pig before three bridges are crossed, or something of the kind. The PC's will be meeting and/or hearing of this person again due to their adventures, though not necessarily in connection with the PC's.


A Fair Unknown - i.e. seems humble kitchen hand or swineherd but has suspiciously soft hands and is in fact heir to a major barony. The PC's will encounter this person again where they will be either rewarded or condemned/mocked for how they treated them. However, even if the PC's treated this person well, in the scene where this takes place a wide variety of other NPC's will be present and it will turn out that they treated the Fair Unknown like shit. Since they will be called out for this in front of the PC's they will deeply resent them from this point on.


Crone - The woods and hills are always full of Crones, magical or otherwise. It has been claimed that in the Eclipsed Kingdom one is never more than five miles from a crone. It is a cronish nation.

6 comments:

  1. Oh my god the egg thief is amazing. Did I miss something about birds somewhere?

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    1. The tragedy of Saint Fugol, leading to the Oath of Saint Vish http://falsemachine.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/saints-of-black-church.html

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  2. Astronomer and all of them too. Do you know about this fad?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_hermit

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    1. Yeah I think I found about them through Stoppards Arcadia. Didn't know about this though;

      "In some early instances, hermits were simply represented or hinted-at, rather than personified; outside a folly or grotto, a small table and chair, reading glasses and a classical text might be placed suggesting that it was where a hermit lived"

      Pseudohermits..

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